Children in Exile

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Children in Exile
by James Thomas Fields
From Poems (1849)


 Two Indian Boys were carried to London not long ago for
exhibition, and both died soon after their arrival. It is related
that one of them, daring his last moments, talked incessantly of
the scenes and sports of his distant home, and that both wished
earnestly to be taken back to their native woods.

Far in the dark old forest glades,
 Where kalmias bloom around,
They had their place of youthful sport,
 Their childhood's hunting-ground,—
And swinging lightly in the vines
 That o'er the wigwam hung,
The golden robins, building near,
 Above their dwelling sung.

Each morn their little dusky feet
 Sprang down the sparkling lea,
To plunge beneath the glowing stream
 Beside the chestnut tree;
And when the hiding squirrel's nest
 They sought, far up the hills,
They bathed their reeking foreheads cool
 Among the mountain rills.

They saw the early silver moon
 Peep through her wavy bower,
And in her beams they chased the bat
 Around his leafy tower;
And, when the stars all silently
 Went out o'er hill and plain,
They listened low to merry chimes
 Of Summer evening rain.

These haunts they missed,—the city air
 No healthful music brings,—
They longed to run through woodland dells,
 Where Nature ever sings;
And, drooping, mid the noise and glare,
 They pined for brook and glen,
And, dying, still looked fondly back,
 And asked for Home again.