Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE WYOMING MASSACRE, by URIAH TERRY



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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

THE WYOMING MASSACRE, by            
First Line: Kind heaven, assist the trembling muse
Last Line: Of cruel tyranny.
Subject(s): American Revolution; Massacres; Native Americans; Wyoming, Pennyslvania; Indians Of America; American Indians; Indians Of South America


KIND Heaven, assist the trembling muse,
While she attempts to tell
Of poor Wyoming's overthrow
By savage sons of hell.

One hundred whites, in painted hue,
Whom Butler there did lead,
Supported by a barb'rous crew
Of the fierce savage breed.

The last of June the siege began,
And several days it held,
While many a brave and valiant man
Lay slaughtered on the field.

Our troops marched out from Forty Fort
The third day of July,
Three hundred strong, they marched along
The fate of war to try.

But oh! alas! three hundred men
Is much too small a band
To meet eight hundred men complete,
And make a glorious stand.

Four miles they marched from the Fort
Their enemy to meet,
Too far indeed did Butler lead,
To keep a safe retreat.

And now the fatal hour is come --
They bravely charge the foe,
And they, with ire, returned the fire,
Which prov'd our overthrow.

Some minutes they sustained the fire,
But ere they were aware,
They were encompassed all around,
Which prov'd a fatal snare.

And then they did attempt to fly,
But all was now in vain,
Their little host -- by far the most --
Was by those Indians slain.

And as they fly, for quarters cry;
Oh hear! indulgent Heav'n!
Hard to relate -- their dreadful fate,
No quarters must be given.

With bitter cries and mournful sighs,
They seek some safe retreat,
Run here and there, they know not where,
Till awful death they meet.

Their piercing cries salute the skies --
Mercy is all their cry:
"Our souls prepare God's grace to share,
We instantly must die."

Some men yet found are flying round
Sagacious to get clear;
In vain to fly, their foes too nigh!
They front the flank and rear.

And now the foe hath won the day,
Methinks their words are these:
"Ye cursed, rebel, Yankee race,
Will this your Congress please?

"Your pardons crave, you them shall have,
Behold them in our hands;
We'll all agree to set you free,
By dashing out your brains.

"And as for you, enlisted crew,
We'll raise your honors higher:
Pray turn your eye, where you must lie,
In yonder burning fire."

Then naked in those flames they're cast,
Too dreadful 't is to tell,
Where they must fry, and burn and die,
While cursed Indians yell.

Nor son, nor sire, these tigers spare, --
The youth, and hoary head,
Were by those monsters murdered there,
And numbered with the dead.

Methinks I hear some sprightly youth
His mournful state condole:
"Oh, that my tender parents knew
The anguish of my soul!

"But oh! there's none to save my life,
Or heed my dreadful fear;
I see the tomahawk and knife,
And the more glittering spear.

"When years ago, I dandled was
Upon my parents' knees,
I little thought I should be brought
To feel such pangs as these.

"I hoped for many a joyful day,
I hoped for riches' store --
These golden dreams are fled away;
I straight shall be no more.

"Farewell, fond mother; late I was
Locked up in your embrace;
Your heart would ache, and even break,
If you could know my case.

"Farewell, indulgent parents dear,
I must resign my breath;
I now must die, and here must lie
In the cold arms of death.

"For oh! the fatal hour is come,
I see the bloody knife, --
The Lord have mercy on my soul!"
And quick resigned his life.

A doleful theme; yet, pensive muse,
Pursue the doleful theme;
It is no fancy to delude,
Nor transitory dream.

The Forty Fort was the resort
For mother and for child,
To save them from the cruel rage
Of the fierce savage wild.

Now, when the news of this defeat
Had sounded in our ears,
You well may know our dreadful woe,
And our foreboding fears.

A doleful sound is whispered round,
The sun now hides his head;
The nightly gloom forebodes our doom.
We all shall soon be dead.

How can we bear the dreadful spear,
The tomahawk and knife?
And if we run, the awful gun
Will rob us of our life.

But Heaven! kind Heaven, propitious power!
His hand we must adore.
He did assuage the savage rage,
That they should kill no more.

The gloomy night now gone and past,
The sun returns again,
The little birds from every bush
Seem to lament the slain.

With aching hearts and trembling hands,
We walked here and there,
Till through the northern pines we saw
A flag approaching near.

Some men were chose to meet this flag,
Our colonel was the chief,
Who soon returned and in his mouth
He brought an olive leaf.

This olive leaf was granted life,
But then we must no more
Pretend to fight with Britain's king,
Until the wars are o'er.

And now poor Westmoreland is lost,
Our forts are all resigned,
Our buildings they are all on fire, --
What shelter can we find?

They did agree in black and white,
If we'd lay down our arms,
That all who pleased might quietly
Remain upon their farms.

But oh! they've robbed us of our all,
They've taken all but life,
And we'll rejoice and bless the Lord,
If this may end the strife.

And now I've told my mournful tale,
I hope you'll all agree
To help our cause and break the jaws
Of cruel tyranny.





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