Verse > Anthologies > Samuel Kettell, ed. > Specimens of American Poetry
Samuel Kettell, ed.  Specimens of American Poetry.  1829.
The Hunter
By Micah P. Flint (1807–1830)
THERE 1 is a vale far in the West,
And silence hovers o’er its breast;
The track of man is seldom seen
Upon its yet unsullied green.
The wild deer fearless roves along;        5
The red bird pours his mellow song;
And the gay mock bird from on high
Repeats, in playful mimicry,
The varied notes, which all around,
From twice ten thousand songsters rise:        10
When, waked at morn, its groves resound
Their matin chorus to the skies,
Its echoes never learn’d to know
The cheering voice of chanticleer,
Or sturdy axeman’s measured blow,        15
Along the wild wood ringing clear.
But still they mock the solemn owl,
And cheat the wolf with mimic howl.
The cloud-capt ridge, that bounds the west,
Behind it rears a snowy crest,        20
Whose evening shadows o’er it rest;
And often when the morning cloud
Has wrapt its mantle, like a shroud,
Around the frowning giant’s form,
The radiant sun is glancing warm;        25
And every songster, warbling sweet,
In that lone valley at his feet.
A winding stream the tribute brings
Of melting snows and crystal springs,
That gush along the mountain’s side,        30
And mingling there in silence glide
Beneath green arbors, where the vine,
The jessamine, and eglantine
Their varying hues of beauty twine,
With many a virgin floweret’s bloom,        35
And fill the air with sweet perfume.
Hard by that stream there whilom stood
A lonely hut, o’er which the wood
Spread with its hundred arms on high
A wild luxuriant canopy.        40
And who was he, that hermit gray,
That thus in loneliness would dwell?
Why did he stray thus far away,
To die in that sequester’d dell?
His look—his form—his speech—his mien        45
Were not of savage mould, I ween;
Nor yet of that dull heavy kind,
That mark so well the common mind.
But such, as chain the wondering eye,
Though none can tell the reason why.        50
Oft would his broken accents tell,
As half unconsciously they fell,
Of joys and griefs, of hopes and fears,
Now lost amid the wreck of years;
Of love by blood and murder crost;        55
Of home and friends for ever lost;
And then, as though his very grief
Were link’d with something like relief,
A bitter smile was seen to play
Across his deeply-furrow’d cheek,        60
And, ere the eye its cause might seek,
Like evening meteors flit away.
His rugged dress and scanty fare
Claim’d but a passing moment’s care.
The earth supplied his simple feast.        65
He stripp’d his garment from the beast;
Not from the tribes of nature mild,
But the fierce tyrants of the wild.
It was his wont o’er hill and dale
To wander forth the livelong day;        70
Till, by the star of evening pale,
He turn’d to trace his homeward way.
But his was not the sordid toil
Of those, that range the valley wide,
Or climb the mountain’s grassy side,        75
To rend from life their furry spoil.
The browsing doe would raise her head,
When startled by his passing tread,
Would gaze perchance, with wondering eye;
But had not learn’d to fear, and fly;        80
For often, when he chanced to hear
The bleating of the captive deer,
His ready shot would quell its foe,
And lay the tyrant panther low.
Note 1. Flint, of Alexandria, in Louisiana, a native we believe of Salem, Massachusetts, wrote “The Hunter, and other Poems,” published in 1826. [back]

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