AN INDIAN AT THE BURYING PLACE OF HIS FATHERS.
It is the spot I came to seek,
My fathers ancient burial place,
Ere from these vales, ashamed and weak,
Withdrew our wasted race.
It is the spot,-I knew it well--
Of which our old traditions tell.
For here the upland bank sends out
A ridge towards the river side;
I know the shaggy hills about,
The meadow smooth and wide;
The plains, that, toward the southern sky,
Fenced east and west by mountains lie.
A white man gazing on the scene,
Would say a lovely spot was here,
And praise the lawns so fresh and green
Between the hills so sheer.
I like it not-I would the plain
Lay in its tall old groves again.
The sheep are on the slopes around,
The cattle in the meadows feed,
And laborers turn the crumbling ground
Or drop the yellow seed,
And prancing steeds, in trapping gay,
Whirl the bright chariot o'er the way.
Me thinks it were a nobler sight
To see these vales in woods arrayed,
Their summits in the golden light,
Their trunks in grateful shade,
And herds of deer, that bounding go
O'er rills and prostrate trees below
And then to mark the lord of all,
The forest hero trained to wars,
Quivered and plumed, and lithe and tall,
And seamed with glorious scars,
Walk forth amid his reign to dare
The wolf, and grapple with the bear.
This bank, in which the dead were laid,
Was sacred when its soil was ours:
Hither the artless Indian maid
Brought wreaths of beads and flowers,
And the grey chief and gifted seer
Worshipped the God of thunder here.
But now the wheat is green and high
On clods that hide the warrior's breast,
And scattered in the furrows lie
The weapons of his rest,
And there, in the loose sand, is thrown
Of his large arm the mouldering (sic) bone.
Ah little thought the strong and brave
Who bore their lifeless chieftain forth,
Or the young wife, that weeping gave
Here first-born to the earth,
That the pale faced, who waste us now,
Among their bones should guide the plough.
They waste us-aye- like April snow
In the warm noon, we shrink away;
And fast they follow, as we go
Towards the setting day,
Till thrown in the Western sea.
But I behold a fearful sign,
To which the white man's eyes are blind;
Their race may vanish hence, like mine,
And leave no trace behind,
Save ruins o'er the region spread,
And the white stones above the head.
Before these fields were shorn and tilled,
Full to the brim our rivers flowed;
The melody of waters filled
The fresh and boundless wood;
And torrents dashed, and rivulets played,
And fountains spouted in the shade.
Those graceful sounds are heard no more,
The springs are silent in the sun,
The rivers, by the blackening shore,
With lessening current run.
The realm our tribes are crushed to get
May be a barren desert yet.