Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE REVENGE OF RAIN-IN-THE-FACE, by HENRY WADSWORTH LONGFELLOW



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THE REVENGE OF RAIN-IN-THE-FACE, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: In that desolate land and lone, / where the big horn and yellowstone
Last Line: In the year of a hundred years.
Subject(s): Custer, George Armstrong (1839-1876); Little Bighorn, Battle Of; Rain-in-the-face (Indian Chief); Revenge


IN that desolate land and lone,
Where the Big Horn and Yellowstone
Roar down their mountain path,
By their fires the Sioux Chiefs
Muttered their woes and griefs
And the menace of their wrath.

"Revenge!" cried Rain-in-the-Face,
"Revenge upon all the race
Of the White Chief with yellow hair!"
And the mountains dark and high
From their crags reechoed the cry
Of his anger and despair.

In the meadow, spreading wide
By woodland and river-side
The Indian village stood;
All was silent as a dream,
Save the rushing of the stream
And the blue-jay in the wood.

In his war paint and his beads,
Like a bison among the reeds,
In ambush the Sitting Bull
Lay with three thousand braves
Crouched in the clefts and caves,
Savage, unmerciful!

Into the fatal snare
The White Chief with yellow hair
And his three hundred men
Dashed headlong, sword in hand;
But of that gallant band
Not one returned again.

The sudden darkness of death
Overwhelmed them like the breath
And smoke of a furnace fire:
By the river's bank, and between
The rocks of the ravine,
They lay in their bloody attire.

But the foemen fled in the night,
And Rain-in-the-Face, in his flight,
Uplifted high in air
As a ghastly trophy, bore
The brave heart, that beat no more,
Of the White Chief with yellow hair.

Whose was the right and the wrong?
Sing it, O funeral song,
With a voice that is full of tears,
And say that our broken faith
Wrought all this ruin and scathe,
In the Year of a Hundred Years.





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