Part 4 out of 4
Crime came not near him; she is not the child
Of solitude; health shrank not from him, for
Her home is in the rarely trodden wild,
Which, if men seek her not, and death be more
Their choice than life, forgive them, as beguil'd
By habit to what their own hearts abhor--
In cities cag'd. The present case in point I
Cite is, Boone liv'd hunting up to ninety:
And what is stranger, left behind a name,
For which men vainly decimate the throng;
Not only famous, but of that good fame,
Without which glory's but a tavern song;
Simple, serene, the antipodes of shame,
Which hate or envy e'er could tinge with wrong;
An active hermit; even in age the child
Of nature, or the Man of Ross run wild.
'Tis true, he shrank from men even of his nation,
When they built up unto his darling trees;
He mov'd some hundred miles off, for a station,
Where there were fewer houses and more ease.
The inconvenience of civilization
Is, that you neither can be pleased, nor please.
But where he met the individual man,
He showed himself as kind as mortal can.
He was not all alone; around him grew
A sylvan tribe of children of the chase,
Whose young unwaken'd world was always new;
Nor sword, nor sorrow, yet had left a trace
On her unwrinkled brow, nor could you
A frown on nature's, or on human face.
The free-born forest found, and kept them free,
And fresh as is a torrent or a tree.
And tall, and strong, and swift of foot were they,
Beyond the dwarfing city's pale abortions;
Because their thoughts had never been the prey
Of care or gain; the green woods were their portions
No sinking spirits told them they grew gray,
No fashion made them apes of her distortions.
Simple they were; not savage; and their rifles,
Though very true, were not yet used for trifles.
Motion was in their days; rest in their slumbers;
And cheerfulness, the handmaid of their toil;
Nor yet too many, nor too few their numbers;
Corruption could not make their hearts her soil
The lust, which stings; the splendor which encumbers,
With the free foresters divide no spoil.
Serene, not sullen, were the solitudes
Of this unsighing people of the woods