Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > America
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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
America: Vols. XXV–XXIX.  1876–79.
 
Western States: Big Horn, the River, Montana Ter.
The Revenge of Rain-in-the-Face
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807–1882)
 
IN that desolate land and lone
Where the Big Horn and Yellowstone
  Roar down their mountain path,
By their fires the Sioux chiefs
Muttered their woes and griefs,        5
  And the menace of their wrath.
 
“Revenge!” cried Rain-in-the-Face;
“Revenge upon all the race
  Of the White Chief with yellow hair!”
And the mountains dark and high        10
From their crags re-echoed the cry
  Of his anger and despair.
 
In the meadow, spreading wide
By woodland and river-side
  The Indian village stood;        15
All was silent as a dream,
Save the rushing of the stream
  And the blue-jay in the wood.
 
In his war-paint and his beads,
Like a bison among the reeds,        20
  In ambush the Sitting Bull
Lay with three thousand braves
Crouched in the clefts and caves,
  Savage, unmerciful!
 
Into the fatal snare        25
The White Chief with yellow hair,
  And his three hundred men,
Dashed headlong, sword in hand;
But of that gallant band
  Not one returned again.        30
 
The sudden darkness of death
Overwhelmed them, like the breath
  And smoke of a furnace of fire;
By the river’s bank, and between
The rocks of the ravine,        35
  They lay in their bloody attire.
 
But the foemen fled in the night,
And Rain-in-the-Face, in his flight,
  Uplifted high in air,
As a ghastly trophy, bore        40
The brave heart that beat no more
  Of the White Chief with yellow hair.
 
Whose was the right and wrong?
Sing it, O funeral song,
  With a voice that is full of tears,        45
And say that our broken faith
Wrought all this ruin and scathe,
  In the Year of a Hundred Years!
 
 
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