The Poetical Works of Elizabeth Margaret Chandler/The Appeal of the Choctaw

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The Appeal of the Choctaw[edit]

We cannot leave our fathers’ land!
We cannot leave our fathers’ graves!
The long-loved hills that round us stand—
Our valleys, with their pleasant waves.
Oh, bid us not to trace afar,
The pathway of the evening star;
We cannot find, where'er we roam,
A spot which bears, like this, the name of home!

What though the western forest rise,
More tall, more darkly close, than these;
And calm the stately wild deer lies,
In slumber ‘neath the stately trees;—
Though hill and vale are passing fair,
And all seems bright and lovely there,
We cannot love the beauteous spot,
To us the great Manitto gave it not!

What care we for those prairies wide?
Our fathers never hunted there;—
Those cavern echoes ne'er, in pride,
Flung back their wild halloo of war.
Those wooded glens, and shaded streams,
Came never to our children's dreams;
Nor have we, in our young hearts’ glee,
Loved, like familiar friends, each rock and tree.

But here, amid the tempest's rush,
Our spirit fathers’ voices thrill!
They come at midnight's moonlit hush,
Or when the eve-star lights the hill.
The thoughts of other times are spread
O'er every gray crag's misty head;—
And how then can we lightly leave
The scenes to which our hearts so fondly cleave?

Then have we not in worship bow'd,
Before your God, the humbled head?
And tamed our spirits, fierce and proud,
To till our hunting grounds for bread?
And now, that in our bosom's cell,
A white man's calmer soul would dwell,
You seek to grasp our planted soil,
And drive us hence, in distant lands to toil!

Oh, white men! ye have fair smooth brows,
And lips whose words we well might trust,
But treachery mingles in your vows,
Your chain of friendship is but dust!
Ye come with falsehood in your hearts,
Ye frame your laws with wily arts,
And bid us ‘neath their shades to dwell
, That we may wither by their blighting spell!