Verse > Anthologies > William McCarty, ed. > The American National Song Book
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William McCarty, comp.  The American National Song Book.  1842.
 
The Winnebagoe’s Sigh
 
          The detachment of troops that was sent to superintend the removal of the Winnebagoe Indians, having arrived at their principal village on the Wisconsin river, the order was given them to prepare for their departure in a week. A youthful hunter, the favourite of his tribe, on hearing the order proclaimed, ran to his lodge, and throwing himself on the floor in a paroxysm of despair, refused all sustenance, and before the preparations for the journey were completed, he expired.

MY own, my long familiar hearth,
  I cannot leave thee so;
No dearer, holier spot of earth
  Can greet me where I go.
’Twas here my eyes first saw the light,        5
  Here did my father dwell,
And here I bring my game at night,
  I cannot say, farewell!
 
O spare the wigwam of my rest—
  The toil-worn hunter’s home;        10
Joy comes not to the exile’s breast;
  Then bid me not to roam.
The wild-bird’s song is lorn and sad,
  When she breathes not her native air;
And shall the hunter’s soul be glad,        15
  In stranger lands afar?
 
None but the woodlands of my home
  Yield me a pleasant shade,
And I would rest in days to come,
  Where my father’s bones are laid.        20
Shall stranger footsteps tread the ground,
  Where slumbers many a brave,
And none protect each lowly mound—
  O spare my father’s grave!
 
The oak, when years have thinn’d his crest,        25
  Falls in his own good time,
And new-born oaks watch o’er his rest,
  On the soil of his native clime.
Thus I had hoped, in coming years,
  To guard the sleeping brave,        30
And when my toils were past, with theirs’
  To find a peaceful grave.
 
The stranger comes—it may not be—
  Great Spirit, call me home,
That henceforth I may wander free,        35
  Where spectre-visions roam.
There hunting-grounds are ever green,
  Inviting us to dwell,
Where lakes are calm and skies serene,
  No more to say, farewell!        40
 
 
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