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The Truce Of Piscataqua
by [?]


In the winter of 1675-76, the Eastern Indians, who had been making war upon the New Hampshire settlements, were so reduced in numbers by fighting and famine that they agreed to a peace with Major Waldron at Dover, but the peace was broken in the fall of 1676. The famous chief, Squando, was the principal negotiator on the part of the savages. He had taken up the hatchet to revenge the brutal treatment of his child by drunken white sailors, which caused its death.

It not unfrequently happened during the Border wars that young white children were adopted by their Indian captors, and so kindly treated that they were unwilling to leave the free, wild life of the woods; and in some instances they utterly refused to go back with their parents to their old homes and civilization.

RAZE these long blocks of brick and stone,
These huge mill-monsters overgrown;
Blot out the humbler piles as well,
Where, moved like living shuttles, dwell
The weaving genii of the bell;
Tear from the wild Cocheco’s track
The dams that hold its torrents back;
And let the loud-rejoicing fall
Plunge, roaring, down its rocky wall;
And let the Indian’s paddle play
On the unbridged Piscataqua!
Wide over hill and valley spread
Once more the forest, dusk and dread,
With here and there a clearing cut
From the walled shadows round it shut;
Each with its farm-house builded rude,
By English yeoman squared and hewed,
And the grim, flankered block-house bound
With bristling palisades around.
So, haply shall before thine eyes
The dusty veil of centuries rise,
The old, strange scenery overlay
The tamer pictures of to-day,
While, like the actors in a play,
Pass in their ancient guise along
The figures of my border song
What time beside Cocheco’s flood
The white man and the red man stood,
With words of peace and brotherhood;
When passed the sacred calumet
From lip to lip with fire-draught wet,
And, puffed in scorn, the peace-pipe’s smoke
Through the gray beard of Waldron broke,
And Squando’s voice, in suppliant plea
For mercy, struck the haughty key
Of one who held, in any fate,
His native pride inviolate!

“Let your ears be opened wide!
He who speaks has never lied.
Waldron of Piscataqua,
Hear what Squando has to say!

“Squando shuts his eyes and sees,
Far off, Saco’s hemlock-trees.
In his wigwam, still as stone,
Sits a woman all alone,

“Wampum beads and birchen strands
Dropping from her careless hands,
Listening ever for the fleet
Patter of a dead child’s feet!

“When the moon a year ago
Told the flowers the time to blow,
In that lonely wigwam smiled
Menewee, our little child.

“Ere that moon grew thin and old,
He was lying still and cold;
Sent before us, weak and small,
When the Master did not call!

“On his little grave I lay;
Three times went and came the day,
Thrice above me blazed the noon,
Thrice upon me wept the moon.

“In the third night-watch I heard,
Far and low, a spirit-bird;
Very mournful, very wild,
Sang the totem of my child.

“‘Menewee, poor Menewee,
Walks a path he cannot see
Let the white man’s wigwam light
With its blaze his steps aright.

“‘All-uncalled, he dares not show
Empty hands to Manito
Better gifts he cannot bear
Than the scalps his slayers wear.’

“All the while the totem sang,
Lightning blazed and thunder rang;
And a black cloud, reaching high,
Pulled the white moon from the sky.

“I, the medicine-man, whose ear
All that spirits bear can hear,–
I, whose eyes are wide to see
All the things that are to be,–