The Chair of the Indian King

For other versions of this work, see The Chair of the Indian King (Sigourney).
The Chair of the Indian King  (1824) 
by Lydia Sigourney

Originally appeared in the Connecticut Mirror. Reprinted in Buckingham, Joseph Tinker, ed.. Miscellanies Selected from the Public Journals. Vol. II. Boston: Joseph T. Buckingham, 1824. The work was unattributed, but much of it uses the same words as Sigourney used in Chapter XII of Sketch of Connecticut, Forty Years Since.

IN the neighbourhood of Mohegan, is a rude recess, environed by rocks, which still retains the name of "the chair of Uncas." When the fort of that king was besieged by the Narragansetts, and his people perishing with famine, he took measures to inform the English of their danger, and was found seated in this rocky chair, anxiously watching the river, on the night when those supplies arrived, which rescued his tribe from destruction. These were conveyed in a large canoe from Saybrook, under cover of darkness, by an enterprising man, of the name of Leffingwell, to whom Uncas, as a proof of his gratitude, gave a large tract of land, comprising nearly the whole of Norwich.

THE monarch sat on his rocky throne,
   Before him, the waters lay ;
His guards, were shapeless columns of stone,
Their lofty helmets with moss o'ergrown,
   And their spears of the braken grey.

His lamps were the fickle stars that beamed
   Through the veil of their midnight shroud,
And the reddening flashes that fitfully gleamed
When the distant fires of the war-dance streamed
Where his foes in frantic revel screamed
   'Neath their canopy of cloud.

Say! why was his glance so restless and keen
   As it fell on the waveless tide?
And why, mid the gloom of that silent scene
Did the sigh heave his warlike bosom's screen
   And bow that front of pride?

Behind him his leagured forces lay
   Withering in famine's blight,
And he knew, with the blush of the morning ray,
That Philip would summon his fierce array
On the core of the warrior's heart to prey,
   And quench a nation's light.

It comes! it comes!—that misty speck
   Which over the waters moves!
It boasts no sail, nor mast, nor deck,
Yet dearer to him was that nameless
   Than the maid to him who loves.

It bears to the warrior's nerveless arm
   The might of a victor's aim—
Its freight is a spell, whose mystic charm
Shall protect the tottering sire from harm,
And the ire-doomed babe, whose life-blood warm
   Was to hiss in the wigwam's flame.

The eye of the king with that rapture blazed
   Which the soul in its rapture sends;
His prayer to the spirit of good he raisrd,
And the shades of his buried fathers praised
   As toward his fort he wends.

That king hath gone to his lowly grave!
   He slumbers in dark decay;
And like the crest of the tossing wave,
Like the rush of the blast, from the mountain cave,
Like the groan of the murdered, with none to save,
   His people have past away.

The monarch hath gone, but his rocky throne
   Still rests on its frowning base;
Its motionless guards, rise in phalanx lone,
And nought save the winds through their helmets that moan,
And none, but those bosoms and hearts of stone,
   Sigh over the fallen race.