Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, ORTIZ (1528), by HEZEKIAH BUTTERWORTH



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ORTIZ (1528), by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Go bring the captive, he shall die
Last Line: "away with the warrior's plume!"
Subject(s): America - Exploration; Cuba; Ortiz, Juan (16th Century); Slavery; Serfs


"Go bring the captive, he shall die,"
He said, with faltering breath;
"Him stretch upon a scaffold high,
And light the fire of death!"
The young Creeks danced the captive round,
And sang the Song of Doom, --
"Fly, fly, ye hawks, in the open sky,
Fly, wings of the warrior's plume!"

They brought the fagots for the flame,
The braves and maids together,
When came the princess -- sweet her name:
The Red Flamingo Feather.
Then danced the Creeks the scaffold round,
And sang the Song of Doom, --
"Fly, fly, ye hawks, in the open sky,
Fly, wings of the warrior's plume!"

In shaded plumes of silver gray,
The young Creeks danced together,
But she danced not with them that day,
The Red Flamingo Feather.
Wild sped the feet the scaffold round,
Wild rose the Song of Doom, --
"Fly, fly, ye hawks, in the open sky,
Fly, wings of the warrior's plume!"

They stretched the stranger from the sea,
Above the fagots lighted, --
Ortiz, -- a courtly man was he,
With deeds heroic knighted.
And sped the feet the scaffold round,
And rose the Song of Doom, --
"Fly, fly, ye hawks, in the open sky,
Fly, wings of the warrior's plume!"

The white smoke rose, the braves were gay,
The war drums beat together,
But sad in heart and face that day
Was Red Flamingo Feather.
They streaked with flames the dusky air,
They shrieked the Song of Doom, --
"Fly, fly, ye hawks, in the open sky,
Fly, wings of the warrior's plume!"

"Dance, dance, my girl, the torches gleam,
Dance, dance, the gray plumes gather,
Dance, dance, my girl, the war-hawks scream,
Dance, Red Flamingo Feather!"
More swiftly now the torches sped,
Amid the Dance of Doom, --
"Fly, fly, ye hawks, in the open sky,
Fly, wings of the warrior's plume!"

She knelt upon the green moss there,
And clasped her father's knees:
"My heart is weak, O father, spare
The wanderer from the seas!"
Like madness now swept on the dance,
And rose the Song of Doom, --
"Fly, fly, ye hawks, in the open sky,
Ye wings of the warrior's plume!'

"Grand were the men who sailed away,
And he is young and brave;
'T is small in heart the weak to slay,
'T is great in heart to save."
He saw the torches sweep the air,
He heard the Song of Doom, --
"Fly, fly, ye hawks, in the open sky,
Fly, wings of the warrior's plume!"

"My girl, I know thy heart would spare
The wanderer from the sea."
"The man is fair, and I am fair,
And thou art great," said she.
The dance of fire went on and on,
And on the Song of Doom, --
"Fly, fly, ye hawks, in the open sky,
Fly, wings of the warrior's plume!"

The dark chief felt his pride abate:
"I will the wanderer spare,
My Bird of Peace, since I am great,
And he, like thee, is fair!"
They dropped the torches, stopped the dance,
And died the Song of Doom, --
"Fly, fly, ye hawks, in the open sky,
Away with the warrior's plume!"





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