Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Prophecy of King Tammany

The Indian Chief who, fam'd of yore
Saw Europe's sons advent'ring here
Look'd sorrowing to the crowded shore,
And sighing dropt a tear:
He saw them half his world explore,
He saw them draw the shining blade,
He saw their hostile ranks display'd,
And cannons blazing thro' that shade,
Where only peace was known before.

"Ah what unequal arms! he cry'd,
How are thou fall'n my country s pride,
The rural sylvan reign!
Far from our pleasing shores to go
To Western Rivers, winding slow,
Is this the boon the Gods bestow?
What have we done, great patrons, say,
That strangers seize our woods away,
And drive us naked from our native plain?

Rage and revenge inspire my soul,
And passion burns without control
Hence strangers, to your native shore,
Far from our Indian shades retire.
Remove these Gods that vomit fire,
And stain with blood these ravag'd glades no more.

In vain I weep, in vain I sigh,
These strangers all our arms defy,
As they advance our chieftains die!—
What can their hosts oppose?
The bow has lost its wonted spring,
The arrow faulters on the wing,
Nor carries ruin from the string
To end their being and our woes.
"Yes yes—I see our nation bends;
The Gods no longer are our friends,
But why these weak complaints and sighs?
Are there not gardens in the West,
Where all our far fam'd Sachems rest?
I ll go an unexpected guest;
And the dark horrors of the way despise.

"Ev'n now the thundering peals draw nigh,
‘Tie theirs to triumph, ours to die!
But mark me, Christians, ere I go—
Thou too shalt have thy share of woe,
The time rolls on, not moving slow,
When hostile squadrons for your blood shall come,
And ravage all your shore!
Your warriors and your children slay,
And some in dismal dungeons lay,
Or lead them captive far away,
To climes unknown, thro' seas untry'd before.

"When struggling long, at last with pain,
You brake a cruel tyrant's chain,
That never shall be joined again,
When half your foes are homeward fled,
And hosts on hosts in triumph fled,
And hundreds maim'd and thousands dead,
A timid race shall then succeed,
Shall slight the virtues of the firmer race,
That brought your tyrants to disgrace,
Shall give your honours to an odious train,
Who shunn'd all conflicts on the main,
And dar'd no battles on the plain,
Whose little souls sunk in the gloomy day,
When Virtues only could support the fray,
And sunshine friends keep off or ran away.


"So spoke the chief; and rais'd his funeral pyre—
Around him soon the crackling flames ascend;
He smil'd amid the fervours of the fire,
To think his troubles were so near their end,.
Till the freed soul, her debt to nature paid,
Rose from the ashes that her prison made,
And sought the world unknown, and dark oblivion's shade. "

4 comments:

Always On Watch said...

Happy St. Tammany Day, FJ.

Always On Watch said...

When struggling long, at last with pain,
You brake a cruel tyrant's chain,
That never shall be joined again,
When half your foes are homeward fled,
And hosts on hosts in triumph fled,
And hundreds maim'd and thousands dead,
A timid race shall then succeed...


The timid race gets more timid generation by generation since "The Greatest Generation."

-FJ said...

Thank you, AoW.

Kewanio che Keeteru!

-FJ said...

ON THE RUINS OF A COUNTRY INN by: Philip Freneau (1752-1832)

HERE now these mingled ruins lie
A temple once to Bacchus rose,
Beneath whose roof, aspiring high,
Full many a guest forgot his woes.

No more this dome, by tempests torn,
Affords a social safe retreat;
But ravens here, with eye forlorn,
And clustering bats henceforth will meet.

The Priestess of this ruined shrine,
Unable to survive the stroke,
Presents no more the ruddy wine,--
Her glasses gone, her china broke.

The friendly Host, whose social hand
Accosted strangers at the door,
Has left at length his wonted stand,
And greets the weary guest no more.

Old creeping Time, that brings decay,
Might yet have spared these mouldering walls,
Alike beneath whose potent sway
A temple or a tavern falls.

Is this the place where mirth and joy,
Coy nymphs, and sprightly lads were found?
Indeed! no more the nymphs are coy,
No more the flowing bowls go round.

Is this the place where festive song
Deceived the wintry hours away?
No more the swains the tune prolong,
No more the maidens join the lay.

Is this the place where Nancy slept
In downy beds of blue and green?
Dame Nature here no vigils kept,
No cold unfeeling guards were seen.

’T is gone!--and Nancy tempts no more;
Deep, unrelenting silence reigns;
Of all that pleased, that charmed before,
The tottering chimney scarce remains.

Ye tyrant winds, whose ruffian blast
Through doors and windows blew too strong,
And all the roof to ruin cast,--
The roof that sheltered us so long,--

Your wrath appeased, I pray be kind
If Mopsus should the dome renew,
That we again may quaff his wine,
Again collect our jovial crew.