|Stedman and Hutchinson, comps. A Library of American Literature:|
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes. 1891.
Vols. VIVIII: Literature of the Republic, Part III., 18351860
|The Death of Metamora|
|By John Augustus Stone (18011834)|
[From Metamora. A Tragedy. First performed at the Park Theatre, New York, 1829, for the benefit of Edwin Forrest, whose impersonation of the Indian Chief was most heroic in the following Scene.Copied from the Prompters Text, by permission of Mr. James Walter Collier, the present owner of this unpublished Play.Close of the Fifth Act and of the Tragedy.]
SCENE.An Indian retreat. Wood and high rocks.
Alarums. Enter NAHMEOKEE carrying her dead child. She places it behind a rock; then climbs, and stands listening to the subsiding noise of the battle.
NAH. He comes not yet, and the sound of the battle is dying away like the last breath of the storm. Can he be slain? Oh, cruel white man, this day will redly stain your name forever. [Footsteps heard.] Ah, he comes.
Enter METAMORA. MET. Nahmeokee, I am weary with the toil of blood. Where is our little one? Let me take him to my heart and he will quell its mighty tumult.
| NAH. He is here.|| 3|
[She lifts up blanket and shows the corpse of the child.] MET. Dead! Cold! [Turns away.]
| NAH. Nahmeokee could not cover him with her form, for the white men were all around her. The shafts of the fire-weapons flew with a great noise over my head. One smote my babe, and the foe shouted with a great shout, for he thought Nahmeokee and her babe had fallen to rise no more.|| 5|
| MET. His little arms will never clasp thee more. Well, is he not happy? Better he should die by the strangers arm, than live his slave.|| 6|
| NAH. OhMetamora!|| 7|
| MET. Do not bow down thy head. Thou wilt meet him again in the peaceful land of spirits, and he will look smilingly upon thee, asIdonowNahmeokee.|| 8|
[Endeavors to smile. Bursts into an agony of grief.] NAH. Metamora, is our nation dead? Are we alone?
| MET. The Palefaces are all around us, and they march in blood. The blaze of our burning wigwams flashes awfully in the shade of their path. We are destroyed, not beaten. We are no more. Yet we are forever.Nahmeokee!|| 10|
| NAH. What wouldst thou?|| 11|
| MET. Dost thou fear the power of the white man?|| 12|
| NAH. No.|| 13|
| MET. He may come hither in his power and slay thee.|| 14|
| NAH. Thou art with me. Thou wilt not let them.|| 15|
| MET. We cannot fly, for the foe is all about us. We cannot fight, for this is the only weapon I have saved from the strife unbroken. [Draws his knife.]|| 16|
| NAH. It was my brothers. It was Canonchets.|| 17|
| MET. It has tasted the white mans blood and reached the cold heart of the traitor. It has been our truest friend. It is our only treasure. [Solemnly.]|| 18|
| NAH. Thine eye tells me the thought of thy heart.|| 19|
| MET. Come closer, Nahmeokee. I look through the long path of the thin air, and methinks I see our infant borne onward to the land of the happy. Look upward, Nahmeokee! The spirit of thy murdered father beckons thee.|| 20|
| NAH. I will go to him.|| 21|
| MET. Hark! In the distant wood I faintly hear the cautious tread of men. They are upon us. NahNahmeokee, [After a great struggle] the home of the undying is made ready for thee! [He plunges the knife into her bosom and she sinks down without a groan.] She felt no white mans bondage. [In a burst of triumph.] Pure as the snow she lived! Free as the air she died! In smiles she died. Let me kiss her lips before they are cold as the ice.|| 22|
[Is stooping towards the body as a sudden and loud shout is heard. ERRINGTON, KANISHINE, CHURCH, soldiers, and Narragansetts appear on the cliff on all sides.] ERR. He is found. Philip is our prisoner.
| MET. No! He lives, the last of his race, but still your enemy,lives to defy you still. Though numbers overpower me, and treachery has been near me, I defy you still! Come to mecome to me singly, come alland this true knife that has drunk the blood of your nation, and is now red with the purest of mine, will feel a grasp as strong as when it flashed amid your burning dwellings!|| 24|
| CHURCH. Fire upon him.|| 25|
| MET. Do so! For I am weary of the world.|| 26|
[Several shots fired. METAMORA falls.]Nahmeokee, I come to thee! [Dies.]