"Child of the Woods, bred in leafy dell,
See the palace home in which I dwell,
With its lofty walls and casements wide,
And objects of beauty on every side;
Now, tell me, dost thou not think it bliss
To dwell in a home as bright as this?"
"Has my pale-faced sister never seen
My home in the pleasant forest green,
With the sunshine weaving its threads of gold
Through the boughs of elm and of maples old,
And soft green moss and wild flowers sweet,
What carpet more fitting for maidens' feet?"
"Well, see these diamonds of price untold,
These costly trinkets of burnished gold,
With rich soft robes - my daily wear -
These graceful flower-wreaths for my hair;
And now, at least, thou must frankly tell
Thou would'st like such garb and jewels well."
"The White Lily surely speaks in jest,
For has she not seen me gaily dressed?
Bright beads and rich wampum belts are mine,
Which by far these paltry stones outshine,
Whilst heron plumes, fresh flowers and leaves,
Are fairer than scentless buds like these."
"But, Forest Maiden, to this my home
What sights - what sounds of beauty come;
Pictures of loveliness - paintings rare -
All the charms that art can bestow are there,
With ravishing music of harp and song,
Sweet notes that to gifted souls belong."
"The wild birds sing in our shady trees,
Mingling their notes with the vesper breeze;
The flow of waters, the wind's low moan,
Have a music sweet that is all their own;
Whilst surely no tints or colors rare
Can with those of the sky and the wood compare."
"But what of the winter's cheerless gloom
When nature sleeps in a snowy tomb,
The storm clouds brooding over head,
Thy song-birds gone - thy wild-flowers dead?
With silence and gloom where'er you roam,
What then, what then, of your forest home?"
"We sing gay songs round our winter fires,
Or list the tales of our gray-haired sires;
When the hunting path has claimed our braves,
We pray to the God of winds and waves;
Or, on snow-shoes swift, we love to go
Over the fields of untrodden snow."
"Then, I cannot tempt thee here to dwell,
Oh! wayward child of the forest dell,
To leave thy wandering, restless life,
With countless dangers and hardships rife
For a home of splendor such as this,
Where thy days would be a dream of bliss?"
"No, sister, it cannot my heart engage,
I would worry to death of this gilded cage
And the high close walls of each darkened room,
Heavy with stifling, close perfume;
Back to the free, fresh woods let me hie,
Amid them to live, - amid them to die."