Selections from the American poets
William Cullen Bryant
"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?"
YE say they all have pass'd away,
That noble race and brave,
That their light canoes have vanish'd
From off the crested wave.
That, mid the forests where they roam'd,
There rings no hunter's shout;
But their name is on your waters,
Ye may not wash it out.
'Tis where Ontario's billow
Like ocean's surge is curl'd,
Where strong Niagara's thunders wake
The echo of the world,
Where red Missouri bringeth
Rich tribute from the west,
And Rappahannock sweetly sleeps
On green Virginia's breast.
Ye say their conelike cabins,
That cluster'd o'er the vale,
Have disappear'd, as wither'd leaves
Before the autumn's gale;Page 191
But their memory liveth on your hills,
Their baptism on your shore,
Your everlasting rivers speak
Their dialect of yore.
Old Massachusetts wears it
Within her lordly crown,
And broad Ohio bears it
Amid his young renown.
Connecticut hath wreath'd it
Where her quiet foliage waves,
And bold Kentucky breathes it hoarse
Through all her ancient caves.