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grew, fixed,—a very principle of light, and such a light, a subtle, burning, piercing, fascinating gleam, such as gathers in vapor above the old grave, and binds us as we look, shooting, darting directly into her eye, dazzling her gaze, defeating its sense of discrimination, and confusing strangely that of perception. She felt dizzy; for, as she looked, a cloud of colors, bright, gay, various colors, floated and hung like so much drapery around the single object that had so secured her attention and spellbound her feet. Her limbs felt momently more and more insecure, her blood grew cold, and she seemed to feel the gradual freeze of vein by vein throughout her person. At that moment a rustling was heard in the branches of the tree beside her, and the bird, which had repeatedly uttered a single cry above her, as it were of warning, flew away from his station with a scream more piercing than ever. This movement had the effect, for which it really seemed intended, of bringing back to her a portion of the consciousness she seemed so totally to have been deprived of before. She strove to move from before the beautiful but terrible presence, but for a while she strove in vain. The rich, star-like glance still riveted her own, and the subtle fascination kept her bound. The mental energies, however, with the moment of their greatest trial, now gathered suddenly to her aid; and, with a desperate effort, but with a feeling still of most annoying uncertainty and dread, she succeeded partially in the attempt, and threw her arms backwards, her hands grasping the neighboring tree, feeble, tottering, and depending upon it for that support which her own limbs almost entirely denied her. With her movement, however, came the full development of the powerful spell and dreadful mystery before her. As her feet receded, though but a single pace, to the tree against which she now rested, the audibly-articulated ring, like that of a watch when wound up with the verge broken, announced the nature of that splendid yet dangerous presence, in the form of the monstrous rattlesnake, now but a few feet before her, lying coiled at the bottom of a beautiful shrub, with which, to her dreaming eye, many of its own glorious hues had become associated. She was at length conscious enough to perceive and to feel all her danger; but terror had denied her the strength necessary to fly from her dreadful enemy. There still the eye glared beautifully bright and piercing upon her own; and, seemingly in a spirit of sport, the insidious reptile slowly unwound himself from his coil, but only to gather himself up again into his muscular rings, his great flat head rising in the midst, and slowly nodding, as it were, towards her, the eye still peering deeply into her own;–the rattle still slightly ringing at intervals, and giving forth that paralyzi g sound, which, once heard, is remembered forever.
The reptile all this while appeared to be conscious of, and to sport with, while seeking to excite, her terrors. Now, with its flat head, distended mouth, and curving neck, would it dart forward its long form towards her, its fatal teeth, unfolding on either side of its upper jaw, seeming to threaten her with instantaneous death, while its powerful eye shot forth glances of that fatal power of fascination, malignantly bright, which, by paralyzing, with a novel form of terror and of beauty, may readily account for the spell it possesses of binding the feet of the timid, and denying to fear even the privilege of flight. Could she have fled ! She felt the necessity; but the power of her limbs was gone ! and there still it lay, coiling and uncoiling, its arching neck glittering like a ring of brazed copper, bright and lurid; and the dreadful beauty of its eye still fastened, eagerly contemplating the victim, while the pendulous rattle still rang the deathnote, as if to prepare the conscious mind for the fate which is momently approaching to the blow. Meanwhile the stillness became death-like with all surrounding objects. The bird had gone with its scream and rush. The breeze was silent. The vines ceased to wave. The leaves faintly quivered on their stems. The serpent once more lay still; but the eye was never once turned away from the victim. Its corded muscles are all in coil. They have but to unclasp suddenly, and the dreadful folds will be upon her, its full length, and the fatal teeth will strike, and the deadly venom which they secrete will mingle with the life-blood in her veins. The terrified damsel, her full consciousness restored, but not her strength, feels all the danger. She sees that the sport of the terrible reptile is at an end. She cannot now mistake the horrid expression of its eye. She strives to scream, but the voice dies away, a feeble gurgling in her throat. Her tongue is paralyzed ; her lips are sealed; once more she strives for flight, but her limbs refuse their office. She has nothing left of life but its fearful consciousness. It is in her despair that, a last effort, she succeeds to scream, a single wild cry, forced from her by the accumulated agony; she sinks down upon the grass before her enemy, —her eyes, however, still open, and still looking upon those which he directs forever upon them. She sees him approach,--now adancing, now receding.—now swelling in every part with something of anger, while his neck is arched beautifully like that of a wild horse under the curb ; until, at length, tired as it were of play, like the cat with its victim, she sees the neck growing larger and becoming completely bronzed as about to strike, the huge jaws unclosing almost directly above her, the long tubulated fang, charged with venom, protruding from the cavernous mouth, --and she sees no more Insensibility came to her aid, and she lay almost lifeless under the very folds of the monster.
In that moment the copse parted,—and an arrow, piercing the monster through and through the neck, bore his head forward to the ground, alongside of the maiden, while his spiral extremities, now unfolding in his own agony, were actually, in part, writhing upon her person. The arrow came from the fugitive Occonestoga, who had fortunately reached the spot, in season, on his way to the Block House. He rushed from the copse as the snake fell, and, with a stick, fearlessly approached him where he lay tossing in agony upon the grass. Seeing him advance, the courageous reptile made an effort to regain his coil, shaking the fearful rattle violently at every evolution which he took for that purpose; but the arrow, completely passing through his neck, opposed an unyielding obstacle to the endeavor; and, finding it hopeless, and seeing the new enemy about to assault him, with something of the spirit of the white man under like circumstances, he turned desperately round, and striking his charged fangs, so that they were riveted in the wound they made, into a susceptible part of his own body, he threw himself over with a single convulsion, and, a moment after, lay dead beside the utterly unconscious maiden."
I have come from the deeps where the sea-maiden twines,
Thou hast dream'd in thy boyhood of sea-circled bowers,
Her charms will beguile thee when noonday is nigh,
She will watch o'er thy couch as the storm hurries by,
* “The power of the rattlesnake to fascinate is a frequent faith among the superstitious of the Southern country-people. Of this capacity in roserence to birds and insects, frogs, and the smaller reptiles, there is indeed little question. Its power over persons is not so well authenticated, although numberless instances of this sort are given by persons of very excellent veracity. The above is almost literally worded after a verbal narrative furnished the author by an old lady, who never dreamed, herself, of doubting the narration.”
But still, with a charm which is born of the hours,
HEART ESSENTIAL TO GENIUS.
We are not always equal to our fate
Is AAc McLEllAN is a native of Portland, Maine, and was born on the 21st of May, 1806. In early life, his father, Isaac McLellan, removed to Boston, where for many years he was a prominent merchant, distinguished for his integrity and success in business. The son, after receiving his degree at Bowdoin College, in 1826, returned to Boston, completed a course of legal study, and was admitted to practice in the courts of that city. But the Muses and general literature had more charms for him than clients and briefs, and for many years he contributed, both in prose and poetry, to several magazines and papers published In the city and vicinity, and had the editorial management of two or three of them. About the year 1840, he went abroad, and passed about two years in Europe. On his return, he gave a description of his journeyings, in a series of letters published in the “Boston Daily Courier.” Since that period, he has been engaged chiefly in literary pursuits, and now resides in the city of New York.
Mr. McLellan's published works are, The Fall of the Indian, in 1830; The Year, and other Poems, in 1832; and Mount Auburn, and other Poems, in 184. Though the Muse of Mr. McLellan aims at no ambitious flight, yet in the middle region of the descriptive and the lyrical in which she delights chiefly to play, she moves with even and graceful wing, bearing such offerings as the following:—
NEW ENGLAND's DEAD."
New England's dead : New England's dead:
The land is holy where they fought,
They left the ploughshare in the mould,
And where are ye, O fearless men?
“Mr. President: I shall enter on no encomium upon Massachusetts; she
There she is: behold her, and judge for yourselves. There is her
history. The world knows it by heart. The past, at least, is secure. There is Boston, and Concord, and Lexington, and Bunker Hill; and there they will remain forever. The bones of her sons, falling in the great struggle for independence, now lie mingled with the soil of every State, from New England to Georgia; and there they will remain forever.”— Webster's Speech in Reply to Hayne, 1830.