Verse > William Wordsworth > Complete Poetical Works
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THE COMPLAINT

OF A FORSAKEN INDIAN WOMAN

                                   I

          BEFORE I see another day,
          Oh let my body die away!
          In sleep I heard the northern gleams;
          The stars, they were among my dreams;
          In rustling conflict through the skies,
          I heard, I saw the flashes drive,
          And yet they are upon my eyes,
          And yet I am alive;
          Before I see another day,
          Oh let my body die away!

                                   II

          My fire is dead: it knew no pain;
          Yet is it dead, and I remain:
          All stiff with ice the ashes lie;
          And they are dead, and I will die.
          When I was well, I wished to live,
          For clothes, for warmth, for food, and fire;
          But they to me no joy can give,
          No pleasure now, and no desire.
          Then here contented will I lie!
          Alone, I cannot fear to die.

                                  III

          Alas! ye might have dragged me on
          Another day, a single one!
          Too soon I yielded to despair;
          Why did ye listen to my prayer?
          When ye were gone my limbs were stronger;
          And oh, how grievously I rue,
          That, afterwards, a little longer,
          My friends, I did not follow you!
          For strong and without pain I lay,
          Dear friends, when ye were gone away.

                                   IV

          My Child! they gave thee to another,
          A woman who was not thy mother.
          When from my arms my Babe they took,
          On me how strangely did he look!
          Through his whole body something ran,
          A most strange working did I see;
          --As if he strove to be a man,
          That he might pull the sledge for me:
          And then he stretched his arms, how wild!
          Oh mercy! like a helpless child.

                                   V

          My little joy! my little pride!
          In two days more I must have died.
          Then do not weep and grieve for me;
          I feel I must have died with thee.
          O wind, that o'er my head art flying
          The way my friends their course did bend,
          I should not feel the pain of dying,
          Could I with thee a message send;
          Too soon, my friends, ye went away;
          For I had many things to say.

                                   VI

          I'll follow you across the snow;
          Ye travel heavily and slow;
          In spite of all my weary pain
          I'll look upon your tents again.
          --My fire is dead, and snowy white
          The water which beside it stood:
          The wolf has come to me to-night,
          And he has stolen away my food.
          For ever left alone am I;
          Then wherefore should I fear to die?

                                  VII

          Young as I am, my course is run,
          I shall not see another sun;
          I cannot lift my limbs to know
          If they have any life or no.
          My poor forsaken Child, if I
          For once could have thee close to me,
          With happy heart I then would die,
          And my last thought would happy be;
          But thou, dear Babe, art far away,
          Nor shall I see another day.
                                                              1798.


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