Pieces People Ask For/Indian Names
Ye say they all have passed away—
That noble race and brave;
That their light canoes have vanished
From off the crested wave;
That, 'mid the forests where they roamed,
There rings no hunter's shout;
But their name is on your waters—
Ye may not wash it out.
'Tis where Ontario's billow,
Like ocean's surge is curled;
Where strong Niagara's thunders wake
The echo of the world;
Where red Missouri bringeth
Rich tribute from the west,
And Rappahannock sweetly sleeps
On green Virginia's breast.
Ye say their cone-like cabins,
That clustered o'er the vale,
Have fled away like withered leaves
Before the Autumn's gale;
But their memory liveth on your hills.
Their baptism on your shore:
Your everlasting rivers speak
Their dialect of yore.
Old Massachusetts wears it
Upon her lordly crown,
And broad Ohio bears it
Amid his young renown;
Connecticut hath wreathed it
Where her quiet foliage waves,
And bold Kentucky breathes it hoarse
Through all her ancient caves.
Wachusett hides its lingering voice
Within his rocky heart,
And Alleghany graves its tone
Throughout his lofty chart;
Monadnock on his forehead hoar
Doth seal the sacred trust;
Your mountains build their monument,
Though ye destroy their dust.
Ye call these red-browed brethren
The insects of an hour:
Crushed like the noteless worm amid
The regions of their power,
Ye drive them from their fathers' lands,
Ye break of faith the seal;
But can ye from the Court of Heaven
Exclude their last appeal?
Ye see their unresisting tribes,
With toilsome steps and slow,
On through the trackless desert pass,
A caravan of woe:
Think ye the Eternal Ear is deaf?
His sleepless vision dim?
Think ye the soul's blood may not cry
From that far land to him?
L. H. Sigourney.