William Wordsworth

(1770-1850 / Cumberland / England)

The Complaint Of A Forsaken Indian Woman - Poem by William Wordsworth

Before I see another day,
Oh let my body die away!
In sleep I heard the northern gleams;
The stars, they were among my dreams;
In rustling conflict through the skies,
I heard, I saw the flashes drive,
And yet they are upon my eyes,
And yet I am alive;
Before I see another day,
Oh let my body die away!

My fire is dead: it knew no pain;
Yet is it dead, and I remain:
All stiff with ice the ashes lie;
And they are dead, and I will die.
When I was well, I wished to live,
For clothes, for warmth, for food, and fire;
But they to me no joy can give,
No pleasure now, and no desire.
Then here contented will I lie
Alone, I cannot fear to die.

Alas! ye might have dragged me on
Another day, a single one!
Too soon I yielded to despair;
Why did ye listen to my prayer
When ye were gone my limb were stronger;
And oh, how grievously I rue,
That, afterward, a little longer,
My friends, I did not follow you!
For strong and without pain I lay,
Dear friends, when ye were gone away.

My Child! they gave thee to another,
A woman who was not thy mother.
When from my arms my Babe they took,
On me how strangely did he look !
Through his whole body something ran,
A most strange working did I see;
---As if he strove to be a man,
That he might pull the sledge for me:
And then he stretched his arm, how wild!
Oh mercy! like a helpless child.

My little joy! my little pride!
In two day more I must have died.
Then do not weep and grieve for me;
I feel I must have died with thee.
O wind, that o'er my head art flying
The way my friends their course did bend,
I should not feel the pain of dying,
Could I with thee a message end;
Too soon, my friend, ye went away;
For I had many thing to say.

I'll follow you across the snow;
Ye travel heavily and slow;
In spite of all my weary pain
I'll look upon your tent again.
---My fire is dead, and snowy white
The water which beside it stood:
The wolf has come to me to-night,
And he has stolen away my food.
Forever left alone am I;
Then wherefore should I fear to die ?

Young as I am, my course is run,
I shall not see another sun;
I cannot lift my limb to know
If they have any life or no.
My poor forsaken child, if I
For once could have thee close to me,
With happy heart I then would die,
And my last thought would happy be;
But thou, dear Babe, art far away,
Nor shall I see another day.

Form: Ballad


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Read poems about / on: food, pain, child, fire, happy, travel, joy, fear, alone, woman, despair, pride, snow, friend, mother, sleep, water, wind, sun, women



Poem Submitted: Thursday, May 17, 2001



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