"Truthe, this is an olde chronycle, ywritte
Ynne a strange lettere, whyche myne eyne have redde
whenne birchen were a lessonne of the schoole,
Of nighe applyance. I doe note it welle,
'I faithe, evenne by that tokenne; albeit muche,
The type hath worne away to skeleton,
That once, lyke some fatte, punsy aldermanne,
Stoode uppe in twentie stonne."
OUR tale becomes history. The web of fiction is woven — the romance is nigh over. The old wizard may not trench upon the territories of truth. He stops short at her approach with a becoming reverence. It is for all things, even for the upsoaring fancy, to worship and keep to the truth. There is no security unless in its restraints. The fancy may play capriciously only with the unknown. Where history dare not go, it is then for poetry, borrowing a wild gleam from the blear eye of tradition, to couple with her own the wings of imagination, and overleap the boundaries of the defined and certain. We have done this in our written pages. We may do this no longer. The old chronicle is before us, and the sedate muse of history, from her graven tablets, dictates for the future. We write at her bidding now.
In safety, and with no long delay, Harrison, — or, as we should call him, the Palatine, — reached Charleston, the metropolis of Carolina. He found it in sad dilemma and dismay. As he had feared, the warlike savages were at its gates. The citizens were hemmed in — confined to the shelter of the seven forts which girdled its dwellings — half-starved, and kept in constant watchfulness against hourly surprise. The Indians had ravaged with fire and the tomahawk all the intervening country. Hundreds of the innocent and unthinking inhabitants had perished by deaths the most painful and protracted. The farmer had been shot down in the furrows where he sowed his corn. His child had been butchered upon the threshold, when, hearing the approaching footsteps, it had run to meet its father. The long hair of his young wife, grasped in the clutches of the murderer, became the decoration of a savage,
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Publication information: Book title: The Yemassee. Contributors: William Gilmore Simms - Author, Alexander Cowie - Editor. Publisher: American Book Company. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1937. Page number: 396.
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