From the Epic Tales of America, how a remnant band of Iroquois aided Washington at the dawn of freedom…
Long before the Iroquois were born,
A ray of light within the forest shone,
And from the Void, the Father’s spirit blew,
And running came the white-skinned Caribou.
And there a hunter crouched within the mist,
And from his bow a feathered arrow hissed,
And then a skin was stretched across the Void,
And so a little drumming was employed.
And from the Drum there came a steady beat,
And then another made the Form complete,
And as the meter moved the sound along,
The simple rhythm ripened into song.
Now Man was formed within the virgin heath,
And filled with heaven’s uncreated breath,
For Man was in his Father’s form assessed,
And round his brow a native wreath was placed.
And there, Tanagrisson, the Half-King, slept,
His arms around his only Woman rapt
In harmony, the two, in union, wed,
As such, the Iroquois were born and bred.
Now far away, across the rolling sea,
The Lord of All extends a fleur-de-lis,
As waters from the coral basin rise,
Extending life to every enterprise.
And now the Jordan rumbles into place,
And fills the deep Niagara with its grace,
To heal the human spirit and restore
Our fallen nature’s unforgiving lore.
Now in fulfillment of the ancient book,
Tanagrisson is baptized in a brook,
The Iroquois are magnified in peace,
And heaven’s hand upholds their native lease.
But now, alarm! Ye tall and cloven pine,
The Monster, Jumonville, begins to dine!
On heavy bison roaming through his lair,
And he conspires the forest to ensnare!
The French obscure the sacred and profane,
And force the Iroquois onto the plain;
But in the woodland, Washington appears,
And views their plight along the Trail of Tears.
Young Washington, just days ago a boy,
Admired by greater Fairfax to employ
And trace the western tracts of his estate,
In services his wealth would compensate.
As budding love inspires his boyhood dreams,
To Washington no autumn fairer seems
Than Lady Fairfax draped in crimson rays,
Emerging, early, at the dawn of days.
Now Anglo nobles all her land adore,
A commonwealth to settle and explore,
To frame their laws and tax their traded tea,
And, with the Native, live in amity.
And as the budding colonies expand,
The Half-King tends to all the wooded land,
And all his people live in liberty,
As it was promised, by the Lord’s decree.
But other soldiers dressed in French apparel,
With Cour de Bois the Iroquois imperil
And so the Half-King, from the heavy wood
Is forced to traipse through leafy lands abroad.
But Washington preserves the western land,
A haven for the Iroquois’ command;
And so the Half-King leans upon this man,
As Plymouth’s Pilgrims trusted Powhatan.
The French and Indian Wars
Now peace throughout the leafy woodland reigned,
Awhile before the jealous gods complained,
Then Hera from her stony chair declared,
Tanagrisson, at last, cannot be spared:
“Upon these marbled heights, I see below,
The rising Iroquois with twanging bow,
And contemplate the chains of their oppression,
Loosened at the dawning of a nation.”
Thus, jealous of the gift of saving grace,
She plotted to destroy the Native race:
Through French combatants, and a foreign fief,
She waged her war against the woodland Chief.
And mounted on her fiery chariot,
She sought to crush the proletariat,
And trapped the tribe between a rock and root,
And sought to crush the Half-King underfoot.
But Washington, adorned in buckskin gown,
And armed with orders from the British crown,
Demands the French evacuate dale,
Tanagrisson, his ally, to avail.
Now from the river wide Ohio named,
Washington returns, a woodsman famed;
But Jumonville, the French commander,
stays, And sets the British settlements ablaze.
So Washington, with greater force, commences,
To drive the French beyond the northern fences;
The Half-King hides with feathers on his back,
And lies in wait for Jumonville’s attack.
But Washington, the Half-King in his trust,
Amidst the jaws of enemies is thrust,
And learns about the Native’s common lore,
And longings all the forest to restore.
And now commanding even greater forces,
He spurs the French to mount their little horses,
And ride away, to Canada beyond,
While France looks on, across the silent pond.
Tanagrisson suspects the French deceit,
And scouts their soldiers drawn in feigned retreat;
And so the Half-King, hiding in the wood,
Slings waves of pointed arrows at the brood.
Now France’s crested arms and antlered stags,
Blood-drenched heralds torn in tattered rags,
Agree with Washington to sign a truce,
And so the Half-King sets his prisoners loose.
But Hera, from her high Olympian path,
Fills the Half-King’s heart with godless wrath;
And through the heart of captive Jumonville,
His sharpened arrow rushes for the kill.
Now all the lords of France are tossed in pain,
For all the lives the Iroquois have slain;
The crown equips; the Woodsman is intent,
A path of greater warfare to prevent.
But, reinforced, the French rise to pursue;
And Washington the onslaught to subdue,
Aligns his men behind a narrow tree,
And calls his shelter Fort Necessity.
Now Hera instigates her jealous will,
As all of France lament Lord Jumonville,
But Washington, by Providence, is led,
A fox to find a hole to lay its head.
Now from the woods, young Washington returns,
As Turbulence the gray Atlantic churns;
And Hera strikes in Africa afar,
And European empires mount for war.
The Bear Slayer
Tanagrisson, beneath the moonlight, slept,
And in a dream a monster Grizzly crept
Towards the children of the Iroquois,
And this is what the native Half-King saw:
A hungry beast, with massive iron jaws,
With eyes aflame, and razored teeth and claws,
Encroaches on the Iroquois to feast,
Beginning with the largest to the least.
Now, from the trees, a lanky woodsman strides,
Upon his horse, towards the monster rides,
Then from his mount, the menace to subdue,
The woodsman tears the grizzly beast in two.
Each severed half arises in the vale,
One Anglo red, the other French royale,
Two armies, like two serpents, rapt in war,
Imperiling the children, as before.
Then once again, the noble woodsman sped,
His frame unyielding to the flying led,
Impervious, he guides the children forth,
And shields them safely at the nation’s birth…
Now Washington, the Old Dominion reaches,
Where leaders of the foreign wars make speeches;
And greet the man, but offer him no thanks,
And round the humble leader close their ranks.
And as the Generals talk about their gain,
In India, the Philippines and Spain,
The tall Virginian, fading from their stand,
Retreats away to more familiar land.
Beneath the starry skies of his estate,
He stands before the watching eyes of Fate,
And listens to the whispers through the trees,
And Song of Independence on the breeze.
He rests upon his oak, Mount Vernon bed,
The strings of virtue playing in his head,
And as he sleeps, the high elect awoke,
And this is what the forms of Heaven spoke:
Our blissful souls are saddened by the fate
And trauma of the Iroquois, of late,
The French once led these native souls to grace,
Now politicians sort and sift their race.
As Independence crashes on the shore,
The faithless British rally as before,
As wanton Henry stole the sacred crown,
And stormed the Church, and tore the altars down.
Now like the devil, tempting from within,
The Sister Tribes, save one, are drawn to sin,
The brave Oneida sole to truth subscribe,
Because a priest named Andrew loves the tribe.
Now Evening leads her oxen through the sky,
And Autumn wanes to Winter’s majesty,
Her snowy blankets, draped upon the plow,
To warm and comfort nature’s sleeping brow.
Before the dawn of time had woke the earth,
A gentle yeoman lit his humble hearth,
Where holy bliss illumined every chore,
As written in the verse of priestly lore.
Now through the mist, this priest named Andrew spies,
Three young Oneida, yoked in enterprise;
So, in the House of Burgesses, he’ll stand,
To lobby Washington to cede more land.
Now lessons of their harvest they entrust,
With cattle corn, in bushels ground to dust,
Dried and stored in fieldstone in the hold,
To feed his faithful through the coming cold…
The Temptation of the Fire King
The fire that blazed before the world began,
Was trusted to the Onondaga clan;
The Half-King was the keeper of the spark,
That flickered like a beacon in the dark.
The Half-King and his native rib-drawn wife
Were cautioned by the Author of all life,
To never disavow their sacred call;
For that would be the sudden death of all.
The two, as one, preserved the sacred fire,
Which glimmered through the forestland entire,
An ocean from the garden Adam plowed,
Then lost for the transgressions of the proud.
But finally, the keepers of the fire,
Who’d long endured, respecting God’s desire,
To keep the flame, despite the longest odds,
At last, were tempted by the jealous gods.
Now Hera, with her most seductive forms,
Appearing in the flesh of thunderstorms,
Approached the woman, to the Half-King wed,
And this is what the jealous goddess said:
The Spirit owes a debt of gratitude To you,
Most Noble Woman, strong and good;
You are so free, yet by your vows confined,
Illumined by the light, yet still so blind.
I’m certain that the truth, in its entire,
Was not divulged to you about the fire;
To rule forever from your native throne,
If you would claim the fire to be your own.
And so the woman, drawn by Hera’s lies,
From the glowing cinders stole the prize,
And to Half-King gave the stolen spark,
And in the forest, everything grew dark!
Now hopelessness the Iroquois enthralls,
And midnight through the moonless forest falls;
The Iroquois, upon forest floor,
Are torn between the godless thrones of war.
They fight against each other, each one cursed,
Then fight again, the last against the first,
Then into war, and war again seduced,
By war, and war again, they are reduced.
One remnant, though, retained a ray of hope,
And God looked down, in His eternal scope,
And saw a priest, named Andrew, in the light,
And morning dawned upon the longest night.
Now Andrew kept the fire, without alloy,
Which blazened in the halls of ancient Troy,
And lit the path through all the Christian states,
And blazed a trail beyond the western gates.
Towards this light, Tanagrisson is drawn,
To join in Freedom’s fight against the Crown,
And with the young Americans pursue,
The civil frames of liberty anew.
The Half-King joined the fight against King George
At Saratoga, and at Valley forge,
Where freedom, like a candle in a gale,
Dimmed but would forevermore prevail.
Now let us from the Iroquois adjourn,
Onward, to the next lay, let us turn;
We find the light of freedom westward bound,
Across the waves where Baltimore was found.
For as the last are first, the first are last,
So let us leave these heroes of the past
In sweet accord, with the Eternal One;
And with these words our woodland tale is done.