Indian Names

Original Text: 
Sigourney, L. H. Poems (Philadelphia: Key and Biddle, 1834):164-66. Internet Archive
1"How can the red men be forgotten, while so many of our states and territories, bays, lakes and rivers, are indelibly stamped by names of their giving?"
2Ye say they all have passed away,
3    That noble race and brave,
4That their light canoes have vanished
5    From off the crested wave;
6That, mid the forests where they roamed,
7    There rings no hunter's shout,
8But their name is on your waters,
9    Ye may not wash it out.
10'Tis where Ontario's billow
11    Like Ocean's surge is curled,
12Where strong Niagara's thunders wake
13    The echo of the world.
14Where red Missouri bringeth
15    Rich tribute from the west,
16And Rappahannock sweetly sleeps
17    On green Virginia's breast.
18Ye say their cone-like cabins,
19    That clustered o'er the vale,
20Have fled away like withered leaves
21    Before the autumn gale,
22But their memory liveth on your hills,
23    Their baptism on your shore,
24Your everlasting rivers speak
25    Their dialect of yore.
26Old Massachusetts wears it,
27    Within her lordly crown,
28And broad Ohio bears it,
29    Amid his young renown;
30Connecticut hath wreathed it
31    Where her quiet foliage waves,
32And bold Kentucky breathes it hoarse
33    Through all her ancient caves.
34Wachuset hides its lingering voice
35    Within his rocky heart,
36And Alleghany graves its tone
37    Throughout his lofty chart;
38Monadnock, on his forehead hoar
39    Doth seal the sacred trust,
40Your mountains build their monument,
41    Though ye destroy their dust.
42Ye call these red-brown brethren
43    The insects of an hour,
44Crushed like the noteless worm amid
45    The regions of their power;
46Ye drive them from their father's lands,
47    Ye break of faith the seal,
48But can ye from the court of Heaven
49    Exclude their last appeal?
50Ye see their unresisting tribes
51    With toilsome step and slow,
52On through the trackless desert pass,
53    A caravan of woe;
54Think ye the Eternal's ear is deaf?
55    His sleepless vision dim?
56Think ye the soul's blood may not cry
57    From that far land to him?
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire / Sharine Leung
RPO Edition: 
2012
Rhyme: 
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