and Indians' Advocate
Wednesday, September 23, 1829
Vol. II, no. 25
Page 4, col. 1a
From the Worcester Yeoman,
THE CHEROKEES' REPLY.
TO THE PROPOSITION THAT THEY SHOULD REMOVE BEYOND THE MISSISSIPPI.
No, never! we wear not the shackles of slaves,
And our fathers' stern spirits would start in their graves,
If they heard in their loved haunts the stranger's proud tread,
Trampled lightly the grass that waves o'er their bed.
We own not your laws or your treaties--this soil,
Shall be ours, till your armies have made it their spoil:
For 'twas ours by the gift, by the charter of God,
Long, long ere its wilds by the white men were trod.
There was strength in the bow of the red hunter then,
And the foe fled before the stern Cherokee men.
Then far as the eye now o'er forest can roam
Was the land of the free, and our own sacred home.
But wo [sic] to the day when a welcoming hand,
Spread the bounteous feast for the white man's band,
They came to our shores, a lone shelterless few,
They drank of our cup, and they e'er found us true,
But the serpent we cherished and warmed at our breast,
Has coiled round our vitals-let time tell the rest.
-No never: if perish we must from the earth
Let us die where we've lived, in the land of our birth.
"Tis in vain we are told of a lovier [sic] scene
Far away, where the deer rove in forests more green,
Where the step of the stranger will never intrude,
And nature still smile in her own solitude.
You oak, round whose head the red lightnings have play'd
Till its withering form is scarce traced in its shade-
Say! would you its beauty and vigor restore
If you plant it anew on some far distant shore?
Oh no! while its roots cling to where it once grew,
It may linger a life which no man can renew.
It is thus with our race; we can never again
Repeople the forest, no hope to regain
The power of the past. The dark warriors' form
Is blasted and bowed by the merciless storm,
Then leave us to die, midst our own native shade,
Where we grow in our pride- there alone let us fade.