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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.
The Library of the World’s Best Literature. An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.

Alfred Billings Street (1811–1881)

The Settler

HIS echoing axe the settler swung

Amid the sea-like solitude,

And rushing, thundering, down were flung

The Titans of the wood;

Loud shrieked the eagle, as he dashed

From out his mossy nest, which crashed

With its supporting bough,

And the first sunlight, leaping, flashed

On the wolf’s haunt below….

His roof adorned a pleasant spot;

Mid the black logs green glowed the grain,

And herbs and plants the woods knew not

Throve in the sun and rain.

The smoke-wreath curling o’er the dell,

The low, the bleat, the tinkling bell,—

All made a landscape strange,

Which was the living chronicle

Of deeds that wrought the change.

The violet sprung at spring’s first tinge,

The rose of summer spread its glow,

The maize hung out its autumn fringe,

Rude winter brought his snow;

And still the lone one labored there,

His shout and whistle broke the air,

As cheerily he plied

His garden-spade, or drove his share

Along the hillock’s side.

He marked the fire-storm’s blazing flood

Roar crackling on its path,

And scorching earth, and melting wood,

Beneath its greedy wrath;

He marked the rapid whirlwind shoot,

Trampling the pine-tree with its foot,

And darkening thick the day

With streaming bough and severed root,

Hurled whizzing on its way.

His gaunt hound yelled, his rifle flashed,

The grim bear hushed his savage growl;

In blood and foam the panther gnashed

His fangs with dying howl;

The fleet deer ceased its flying bound,

And with its moaning cry

The beaver sank beneath the wound

Its pond-built Venice by.

Humble the lot, yet his the race,

When Liberty sent forth her cry,

Who thronged in conflict’s deadliest place,

To fight—to bleed—to die!

Who cumbered Bunker’s height of red,

By hope through weary years were led,

And witnessed Yorktown’s sun

Blaze on a nation’s banner spread,

A nation’s freedom won.