Carolina Chansons eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 83 pages of information about Carolina Chansons.

    Ever, from the north-north-east,
    The great winged canoes
    Swept landward from the shining water
    Into Bull’s Bay,
    Where the poor Sewees trapped the otter,
    Or took the giant oysters for their feast—­
    Ever the ships came from the north and east.

    Surely, at morning, when they walked the beaches,
    Over the smoky-silver, whispering reaches,
    Where the ships came from, loomed a land,
    Far-off, one mountain-top, away
    Where the great camp-fire sun made day: 
    “There are the pale-face lodges,” they would say. 
    So all one winter
    Was great hunting on that shore;
    Much maize was pounded,
    And of acorn oil great store
    Was tried;
    And collops of smoked deer meat set aside,
    And skins and furs,
    And furs and skins,
    And bales of furs beside.

    And all that winter, too,
    The smoke eddied
    From many a huge canoe,
    Hollowed by flame from cypress trees
    That with stone ax and fire
    The Sewee shaped to the good shape
    Of his desire.

    So when next spring
    The traders came from Charles Town,
    Bringing a gift of blankets from the king,
    The Sewees would not trade a pelt—­
    Saying, “We go to see
    The Great White Father in his own tepee—­
    Heap, heap much rum!”
    And then they passed the pipe of peace,
    And puffed it, and looked glum. 
    The traders thought the redskins must be daft;
    They saw the huge canoes,
    And, wondering at their use,
    Asked, “What will you do with these?”
    And the chief pointed east across the seas;
    And then the pale-face laughed.

    And yet—­
    There was a story told
    By one of Black Beard’s men
    Who had done evil things for gold,
    That one morning, out at sea,
    The fog made a sudden lift,
    And from the high poop, looking through the rift,
    He saw
    Twenty canoes, each with six warriors,
    Paddling straight toward the rising sun,
    Where the wind made a flaw—­
    He swore he saw
    And counted twenty hulls,
    Circled about by screaming gulls—­
    Then such a storm came down
    That some prayed on that hellion ship,
    But he did not—­
    He was not born to drown.

This was the tale Told with much bluster, Over ale And oaths, At Charles Town.  He swore he saw the Indians in the dawn, And he’d be danged! And by Christ’s Mother—­ Take his rings in pawn! But he was hanged With poor Stede Bonnet, later on.


[3] See the note at the back of the book.


    That evening, gathered on the vessel’s poop,
    They saw the glimmering land,
    And far lights moved there,
    As once Columbus saw them, winking, strange;
    Around the ship two darkies in a small canoe
    Paddled and grinned, and held up silver fish.

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Carolina Chansons from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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