Welcome to him the earliest gleam of light;
Welcome to him the earliest sound of day ;
That from the sufferings of that weary night
Released, he may resume his willing way,
Well pleased again the perils to essay
Of that drear wilderness, with hope renew'd:
Success will all his labours overpay,

A quest like his is cheerfully pursued,
The heart is happy still that is intent on good.


And now where Empalado's waters creep
Through low and level shores of woodland wide,
They come; prepared to cross the sluggish deep,
An ill-shaped coracle of hardest hide,
Ruder than ever Cambrian fisher plied
Where Towey and the salt-sea waters meet,
The Indians launch ; they steady it and guide,

Winning their way with arms and practised feet, While in the tottering boat the Father keeps his seat.

32. For three long summer days on every side They search in vain the sylvan solitude ; The fourth a human footstep is espied, And through the mazes of the pathless wood With hound-like skill and hawk-like eye pursued ; For keen upon their pious quest are they As e'er were hunters on the track of blood.

Where softer ground or trodden herbs betray The slightest mark of man, they there explore the way.

More cautious when more certain of the trace
In silence they proceed; not like a crew
Of jovial hunters, who the joyous chase
With hound and horn in open field pursue,
Cheering their way with jubilant halloo,
And hurrying forward to their spoil desired,
The panting game before them, full.in view :

Humaner thoughts this little band inspired,
Yet with a hope as high their gentle hearts were fired.

Nor is their virtuous hope devoid of fear;
The perils of that enterprise they know,

savage horde may have its fastness here,
A race to whom a stranger is a foe,
Who not for friendly words, nor proffer'd show
Of gifts, will peace or parley entertain.
If by such hands their blameless blood should flow

To serve the Lamb who for their sins was slain, Blessed indeed their lot, for so to die is gain !

35. Them thus pursuing where the track


lead, A human voice arrests upon their

They stop, and thither whence the sounds proceed,
All eyes are turn'd in wonder, ... not dismay,
For sure such sounds might charm all fear away;
No nightingale whose brooding mate is nigh,
From some sequester'd bower at close of day,

No lark rejoicing in the orient sky,
Ever pour'd forth so wild a strain of melody.

36. The voice which through the ringing forest floats Is one which having ne'er been taught the skill Of marshalling sweet words to sweeter notes, Utters all unpremeditate, at will, A modulated sequence loud and shrill Of inarticulate and long-breathed sound, Varying its tones with rise and fall and trill,

Till all the solitary woods around
With that far-piercing power of melody resound.

In mute astonishment attent to hear,
As if by some enchantment held, they stood,
With bending head, fix'd


eager ear,
And hand upraised in warning attitude
To check all speech or step that might intrude
Onthatsweet strain. Them leaving thus spell-bound,
A little


alone into the wood The Father gently moved toward the sound, Treading with quiet feet upon the grassy ground.

Anon advancing thus the trees between,
He saw beside her bower the songstress wild,
Not distant far, himself the while unseen.
Mooma it was, that happy maiden mild,
Who in the sunshine, like a careless child
Of nature, in her joy was caroling.
A heavier heart than his it had beguiled

So to have heard so fair a creature sing The strains which she had learnt from all sweet birds of spring.

For these had been her teachers, these alone;
And she in many an emulous essay,
At length into a descant of her own
Had blended all their notes, a wild display
Of sounds in rich irregular array;
And now as blithe as bird in vernal bower,
Pour'd in full flow the unexpressive lay,

Rejoicing in her consciousness of power,
But in the inborn sense of harmony yet more.

In joy had she begun the ambitious song,
With rapid interchange of sink and swell;
And sometimes high the note was raised, and long
Produced, with shake and effort sensible,
As if the voice exulted there to dwell;
But when she could no more that pitch sustain,
So thrillingly attuned the cadence fell,

That with the music of its dying strain
She moved herself to tears of pleasurable pain.

41. It might be deem'd some dim presage possess'd The virgin's soul; that some mysterious sense Of change to come, upon her mind impress’d, Had then callid forth, ere she departed thence, A requiem to their days of innocence. For what thou losest in thy native shade There is one change alone that may compensc,

O Mooma, innocent and simple maid, Only one change, and it will not be long delay'd !

42. When now the Father issued from the wood Into that little glade in open sight, Like one entranced, beholding him, she stood; Yet had she more of wonder than affright, Yet less of wonder than of dread delight, When thus the actual vision came in view; For instantly the maiden read aright

Wherefore he came ; his garb and beard she knew; All that her mother heard had then indeed been true.

43. Nor was the Father fill'd with less surprise ; He too strange fancies well might entertain, When this so fair a creature met his eyes. He might have thought her not of mortal strain ; Rather, as bards of yore were wont to feign, A nymph divine of Mondai's secret stream ; Or haply of Diana's woodland train:

For in her beauty Mooma such might seem, Being less a child of earth than like a poet's dream.

44. No art of barbarous ornament had scarr'd And stain'd her virgin limbs, or 'filed her face; Nor ever yet had evil passion marr’d In her sweet countenance the natural grace Of innocence and youth; nor was there trace Of sorrow, or of hardening want and care. Strange was it in this wild and savage place,

Which seem'd to be for beasts a fitting lair, Thus to behold a maid so gentle and so fair.

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