Song Of The American Indian

A poem by William Lisle Bowles

Stranger, stay, nor wish to climb
The heights of yonder hills sublime;
For there strange shapes and spirits dwell,[1]
That oft the murmuring thunders swell,
Of power from the impending steep
To hurl thee headlong to the deep;
But secure with us abide,
By the winding river's side;
Our gladsome toil, our pleasures share,
And think not of a world of care.
The lonely cayman,[2] where he feeds
Among the green high-bending reeds,
Shall yield thee pastime; thy keen dart
Through his bright scales shall pierce his heart.
Home returning from our toils,
Thou shalt bear the tiger's spoils;
And we will sing our loudest strain
O'er the forest-tyrant slain!
Sometimes thou shalt pause to hear
The beauteous cardinal sing clear;
Where hoary oaks, by time decayed,
Nod in the deep wood's pathless glade;
And the sun, with bursting ray,
Quivers on the branches gray.
By the river's craggy banks,
O'erhung with stately cypress-ranks,
Where the bush-bee[3] hums his song,
Thy trim canoe shall glance along.
To-night at least, in this retreat,
Stranger! rest thy wandering feet;
To-morrow, with unerring bow,
To the deep thickets fearless we will go.

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