Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE LAMENT OF THE OUTALISSI, by THOMAS CAMPBELL

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

THE LAMENT OF THE OUTALISSI, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: And I could weep! - the oneyda chief
Last Line: The death-song of an indian chief!
Variant Title(s): Dirge Of Outalissi
Subject(s): Death; Native Americans; Dead, The; Indians Of America; American Indians; Indians Of South America

AND I could weep! -- the Oneyda chief
His descant wildly thus begun: --
But that I may not stain with grief
The death-song of my father's son,
Or bow his head in wo!
For by my wrongs, and by my wrath!
To-morrow Areouski's breath
(That fires yon heaven with storms of death)
Shall light us to the foe;
And we shall share, my Christian boy,
The foeman's blood, the avenger's joy!

But thee, my flower, whose breath was given
By milder genii o'er the deep,
The spirits of the white man's heaven
Forbid not thee to weep: --
Nor will the Christian host,
Nor will thy father's spirit grieve,
To see thee, on the battle's eve,
Lamenting, take a mournful leave
Of her who loved thee most:
She was the rainbow to thy sight;
Thy sun -- thy heaven -- of lost delight!

To-morrow let us do or die!
But when the bolt of death is hurl'd,
Ah! whither then with thee to fly,
Shall Outalissi roam the world?
Seek we thy once-loved home?
The hand is gone that cropt its flowers:
Unheard their clock repeats its hours;
Cold is the hearth within their bowers!
And should we thither roam,
Its echoes, and its empty tread,
Would sound like voices from the dead!

Or shall we cross yon mountains blue,
Whose streams my kindred nation quaff'd?
And by my side, in battle true,
A thousand warriors drew the shaft?
Ah! there in desolation cold,
The desert serpent dwells alone,
Where grass o'ergrows each mouldering bone;
And stones themselves, to ruin grown
Like me, are death-like old.
Then seek we not their camp, -- for there --
The silence dwells of my despair!"

But hark, the trump! -- to-morrow thou
In glory's fires shalt dry thy tears:
Even from the land of shadows now
My father's awful ghost appears,
Amidst the clouds that round us roll;
He bids my soul for battle thirst --
He bids me dry the last -- the first --
The only tears that ever burst
From Outalissi's soul;
Because I may not stain with grief
The death-song of an Indian chief!

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