Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, SONG OF THE CHICKASAH WIDOW, by ROBERT SOUTHEY



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SONG OF THE CHICKASAH WIDOW, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Twas the voice of my husband that came on the gale
Last Line: And I shall have joy in revenge.
Subject(s): Marriage; Native Americans; Revenge; Vengeance; Widows & Widowers; Women; Weddings; Husbands; Wives; Indians Of America; American Indians; Indians Of South America


'Twas the voice of my husband that came on the gale.
The unappeased spirit in anger complains!
Rest, rest, Ollanahta, be still!
The day of revenge is at hand.

The stake is made ready, the captives shall die
To-morrow the song of their death shalt thou hear,
To-morrow thy widow shall wield
The knife and the fire;—be at rest!

The vengeance of anguish shall soon have its course,—
The fountains of grief and of fury shall flow,—
I will think, Ollanahta! of thee,
Will remember the days of our love.

Ollanahta, all day by thy war-pole I sat,
Where idly thy hatchet of battle is hung;
I gazed on the bow of thy strength
As it waved on the stream of the wind.

The scalps that we number'd in triumph were there,
And the musket that never was levell'd in vain,—
What a leap has it given to my heart
To see thee suspend it in peace.

When the black and blood-banner was spread to the gale,
When thrice the deep voice of the war-drum was heard,
I remember thy terrible eyes
How they flash'd the dark glance of the joy.

I remember the hope that shone over thy cheek
As thy hand from the pole reach'd its doers of death;
Like the ominous gleam of the cloud
Ere the thunder and lightning are born.

He went, and ye came not to warn him in dreams,
Kindred spirits of him who is holy and great!
And where was thy warning, O bird,
The timely announcer of ill?

Alas! when thy brethren in conquest return'd;
When I saw the white plumes bending over their heads,
And the pine-boughs of triumph before,
Where the scalps of their victory swung.—

The war-hymn they pour'd and thy voice was not there!
I call'd thee,—alas, the white deer-skin was brought;
And thy grave was prepared in the tent
Which I had made ready for joy!

Ollanahta, all day by thy war-pole I sit,—
Ollanahta, all night I weep over thy grave!
To-morrow the victims shall die,
And I shall have joy in revenge.





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