The Yemassee

By William Gilmore Simms; Alexander Cowie | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XXV

" The pain of death is nothing. To the chief,
The forest warrior, it is good to die —
To die as he has lived, battling and hoarse,
Shouting a song of triumph. But to live
Under such doom as this, were far beyond
Even his stoic, cold philosophy."

IT was a gloomy amphitheatre in the deep forests to which the assembled multitude bore the unfortunate Occonestoga. The whole scene was unique in that solemn grandeur, that sombre hue, that deep spiritual repose, in which the human imagination delights to invest the region which has been rendered remarkable for the deed of punishment or crime. A small swamp or morass hung upon one side of the wood, from the rank bosom of which, in numberless millions, the flickering fire-fly perpetually darted upwards, giving a brilliance and animation to the spot, which, at that moment, no assemblage of light or life could possibly enliven. The ancient oak, a bearded Druid, was there to contribute to the due solemnity of all associations — the green but gloomy cedar, the ghostly cypress, and here and there the overgrown pine, — all rose up in their primitive strength, and with an undergrowth around them of shrub and flower, that scarcely, at any time, in that sheltered and congenial habitation, had found it necessary to shrink from winter. In the centre of the area thus invested, rose a high and venerable mound, the tumulus of many preceding ages, from the washed sides of which might now and then be seen protruding the bleached bones of some ancient warrior or sage. A circle of trees, at a little distance, hedged it in, — made secure and sacred by the performance there of many of their religious rites and offices, — themselves, as they bore the broad arrow of the Yemassee, being free from all danger of overthrow or desecration by Indian hands.

Amid the confused cries of the multitude, they bore the captive to the foot of the tumulus, and bound him backward, half reclining upon a tree. An hundred warriors stood around, armed according to the manner of the nation, each with a tomahawk, and knife, and

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The Yemassee
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • American Fiction Series *
  • The Yemassee *
  • Preface v
  • Contents vii
  • Illustrations vii
  • Introduction ix
  • A Simms Chronology xxxvi
  • Selected Bibliography xxxvii
  • The Yemassee Uprising xlii
  • Note on the Text *
  • To Professor Samuel Henry Dickson, M.D., of South Carolina 3
  • Chapter I 9
  • Chapter II 15
  • Chapter III 21
  • Chapter IV 28
  • Chapter V 34
  • Chapter VI 43
  • Chapter VII 51
  • Chapter VIII 65
  • Chapter IX 74
  • Chapter X 81
  • Chapter XI 91
  • Chapter XII 98
  • Chapter XIII 105
  • Chapter XIV 113
  • Chapter XV 118
  • Chapter XVI 123
  • Chapter XVII 133
  • Chapter XVIII 139
  • Chapter XIX 146
  • Chapter XX 151
  • Chapter XXI 159
  • Chapter XXII 165
  • Chapter XXIII 173
  • Chapter XXIV 182
  • Chapter XXV 188
  • Chapter XXVI 201
  • Chapter XXVII 210
  • Chapter XXVIII 215
  • Chapter XXIX 222
  • Chapter XXX 229
  • Chapter XXXI 235
  • Chapter XXXII 243
  • Chapter XXXIII 249
  • Chapter XXXIV 255
  • Chapter XXXV 265
  • Chapter XXXVI 271
  • Chapter XXXVII 276
  • Chapter XXXVIII 283
  • Chapter Xxxix 295
  • Chapter XL 300
  • Chapter XLI 307
  • Chapter XLII 314
  • Chapter XLIII 322
  • Chapter XLIV 329
  • Chapter XLV 336
  • Chapter XLVI 345
  • Chapter XLVII 355
  • Chapter XLVIII 363
  • Chapter Xlix 375
  • Chapter L 382
  • Chapter LI 389
  • Chapter LII 396
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