The Yemassee

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

CHAPTER XXXV

"Cords for the warrior — he shall see the fray
His arm shall share not — a worse doom than death,
For him whose heart, at every stroke, must bleed —
Whose fortune is the stake, and yet denied
All throw to win it."

THERE was no resisting this decree of the Prophet. The Seratee chief was silenced. The people were submissive. They were given to understand that their new captive was to be reserved for the sacrifice at the close of the campaign, when, as they confidently expected, they were to celebrate their complete victory over the Carolinians. Meanwhile, he was taken back, and under proper custodians, to the place where the ceremonies were still to be continued. The war-dance was begun in the presence of the prisoner. He looked down upon the preparations for a conflict, no longer doubtful, between the savages and his people. He watched their movements, heard their arrangements, saw their direction, knew their design, yet had no power to strike in for the succour or the safety of those in whom only he lived. What were his emotions in that survey? Who shall describe them?

They began the war-dance, the young warriors, the boys, and women — that terrible but fantastic whirl — regulated by occasional strokes upon the uncouth drum and an attenuated blast from the more flexible native bugle. That dance of death — a dance, which, perfectly military in its character, calling for every possible position or movement common to Indian strategy, moves them all with an extravagant sort of grace; and if contemplated without reference to the savage purposes which it precedes, is singularly pompous and imposing; wild, it is true, but yet exceedingly unaffected and easy, as it is one of the most familiar practices of Indian education. In this way, by extreme physical exercise, they provoke a required degree of mental enthusiasm. With this object the aborigines have many kinds of dances, and others of even more interesting character. Among many of the tribes these exhibitions are literally so many chronicles. They are the only records, left by tradition, of leading events in their history which

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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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