I know where the cautious doe lives
In the depth of the shaded valley,
Where the leaves are wide and the magnolia hides,
With its many stems and its tangled sides,
From the eye of the hunter well.
I know where the young white flower grows,
In its lone and lowly look,
On the mossy bank, where the birch-tree throws
Its tall pale bark, in sad song,
Far over the quiet brook.
And that timid deer starts not with fear
When I steal to her secret grove;
And that young white flower to me is dear,
And I visit the silent stream near,
To look upon the lovely flower.
So the young Brave sings as he softly walks
To the hunting-ground in the hills;
A song of his squaw of the woods and rocks,
With her bright black eyes and long black locks,
And a voice like the music of falls.
He goes to the chase, but evil eyes
Are watching in the deeper shades;
For she was lovely that smiled on his sighs,
And he bore, from a hundred lovers, his prize,
The flower of the forest maids.
The branches in the morning wind are stirred,
And the woods their song renew,
With the early cry of many a bird,
And the rapid tune of the stream is heard
Where the rocks drip with dew.
And the Brave has promised his dark-haired squaw,
When twilight shall redden the sky,
A good red deer from the forest shade,
That jumps with the herd through grove and glade,
At her longhouse-end shall lie.
The hollow woods, in the setting sun,
Ring bright with the thunder-bird's lay;
And the Brave's deathly works are done,
And his arrows are spent, but the good they won
He bears homeward on his way.
He stops near his longhouse and his eye spies
Strange traces along the ground;
At once to the earth his hunt he heaves,
He breaks through the veil of thorns and leaves,
And reaches its door with a bound.
But the vines are torn on its walls that lean,
And from the young bushes there
By struggling hands the leaves have been rent,
And there hangs on the sapling, broken and bent,
One thread of well-known hair.
But where is she who, at this calm hour,
Waited long his return to see?
She is not at the door, nor in the woods;
He calls, but he only hears on the flower
The hum of the young bee.
It is not a time for idle grief,
Not a time for tears to flow;
The horror that freezes his limbs is brief;
He grasps his tomahawk and bow, and a sheath
Of darts made sharp for the foe.
And he looks for the track of the robber's feet,
Who bore his young squaw away;
And he darts on the fatal path more quick
Than the blast that rushes the wind and sleet
Over the wild winter gray.
It was early summer when the Cherokee's bride
Was stolen from his door;
But all the oaks in crimson are dyed,
And the pine is black on the longhouse side,
And she smiles at his fire once more.
But deep in the woods, dark and cold,
Where the yellow leaf falls not,
Nor the autumn shines in scarlet and gold,
There lies a hill of fresh dark mold,
In the deepest gloom of the lot.
And the Cherokee girls, who pass that way,
Point out the paleface's grave;
And how soon to the longhouse she loved, they say,
Returned the squaw who was carried away
From her lover, the fond and brave.