Henry Clay Work

(1 October 1832 – 8 June 1884 / Middletown, Connecticut)

The Song Of The Red Man - Poem by Henry Clay Work

When the palefaces came in their whitewing'd canoes,
Long ago, from the sun-rising sea
When they ask'd for a lodge, and we did not refuse
Happy then was the red man, and free.
He could then choose a spot for his wigwam to stand,
Where the forest was crowded with game;
For the blue-rolling lake and the ever smiling land
Were his own till the palefaces came
For the broad grassy plains and the forests deep and grand,
Were his own till the palefaces came.

They came! they came! like the fierce prairie flame,
Sweeping on to the sun-setting shore:
Gazing now on its waves, but a handful of braves,
We shall join in the the chase nevermore
Till we camp on the plains where the Great Spirit reigns,
We shall join in the chase nevermore.

We receiv'd them with gladness, as Sons of the Sky
We believ'd them of heavenly birth;
But alas! to our sorrow we found by and by,
That like us they were born of the earth.
By their false traders wrong'd, by their firewater craz'd,
There was no one our braves to restrain;
So the swift flew, and the tomahawk was raise'd
While we both mourn'd the blood of our slain;
So the smoke-wreath did cease from the calumet of peace,
While we both mourn'd the blood of our slain.

When the oaks, pines and cedars were fell'd to the ground,
'Twas a sight that with sorrow we saw;
For the game fled affrighted, and no food was found
For the old chief, the papoose and squaw.
Driven westward we came, but the paleface was here,
With his sharp axe and death-flashing gun;
And his great iron horse is rumbling in the rear
"O, my brave men!" your journey is done.
Like the beaver and elk like the buffalo and deer
"O, my brave men!" your journey is done.


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Read poems about / on: journey, sorrow, horse, food, birth, sun, happy, peace, red, sea, sky, death, song, smile, son, rose



Poem Submitted: Friday, January 3, 2003



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