THE NATIVES OF AMERICA.
me a story, father please,
And then I sat upon his knees.
Then answer'd he,--"what speech make known,
Or tell the words of native tone,
Of how my Indian fathers dwelt,
And, of sore oppression felt;
And how they mourned a land serene,
It was an ever mournful theme."
Yes, I replied,--I like to hear,
And bring my father's spirit near;
Of every pain they did forego,
Oh, please to tell me all you know.
In history often I do read,
Of pain which none but they did heed.
He thus began. "We were a happy race,
When we no tongue but ours did trace,
We were in ever peace,
We sold, we did release--
Our brethren, far remote, and far unknown,
And spake to them in silent, tender tone.
We all were then as in one band,
We join'd and took each others hand;
Our dress was suited to the clime,
Our food was such as roam'd that time,
Our houses were of sticks compos'd;
No matter,--for they us enclos'd.
But then discover'd was this land indeed
By European men; who then had need
Of this far country. Columbus came afar,
And thus before we could say Ah!
What meaneth this?--we fell in cruel hands.
Though some were kind, yet others then held bands
Of cruel oppression. Then too, foretold our chief,--
Beggars you will become--is my belief.
We sold, then some bought lands,
We altogether moved in foreign hands.
Wars ensued. They knew the handling of fire-arms.
Mothers spoke,--no fear this breast alarms,
112They will not cruelly us oppress,
Or thus our lands possess.
Alas! it was a cruel day; we were crush'd:
Into the dark, dark woods we rush'd
To seek a refuge.
My daughter, we are now diminish'd, unknown,
Unfelt! Alas! no tender tone
To cheer us when the hunt is done;
Fathers sleep,--we're silent every one.
Oh! silent the horror, and fierce the fight,
When my brothers were shrouded in night;
Strangers did us invade--strangers destroy'd
The fields, which were by us enjoy'd.
Our country is cultur'd, and looks all sublime,
Our fathers are sleeping who lived in the time
That I tell. Oh! could I tell them my grief
In its flow, that in roaming, we find no relief.
I love my country; and shall, until death
Shall cease my breath.
Now daughter dear I've done,
Seal this upon thy memory; until the morrow's sun
Shall sink, to rise no more;
And if my years should score,
Remember this, though I tell no more."