The Passing Race.

A poem by Charles Hamilton Musgrove

I.

Silent as ever, stoic as of old,
The scattered nomads of that dusky race
Whose story shall forever be untold,
Sit mid the ruins of their dwelling place
And watch the white man's empire grow apace.
Passive as one who knows his earthly doom,
And only waits with calm but hopeless face
The while the seasons go with blight and bloom,
So live they day by day beside their nation's tomb.


II.

In the deep woods and by the rolling streams
They made their home, and knew no other clime;
They lived their lives and dreamed barbaric dreams,
Nor heard the menace of relentless Time
As on his thunderous legions swept sublime
Bearing the torch of progress through the night,
Till lo! the primal wastes were all a-chime
With traffic's strange new music, and the might
Of busy hordes that wrought to spread the new-born light.


III.

They were strange wanderers on life's sad deep,
And paused a moment in God's mystic plan
A little vigil on time's shores to keep,
Then passed forever from the tribes of man.
They heard a voice and a strange face did scan,
And what of conquest or of kingly sway
Had filled their dreams, they gave the white man's clan,
And with the dawning of a wondrous day,
They spread their sails again and, voiceless, passed away.


IV.

Silent as ever, stoic as of old,
Their children sit with empty hands to wait
The sequel that the future shall unfold,--
The unwritten "Finis" of remorseless fate.
Vanquished they stand before oblivion's gate,
Knowing that soon the everlasting seal
Of destiny shall all obliterate
Their finished story, which, for woe or weal,
Shall be with Him who writ to hide or to reveal.

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