Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > Americas
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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Americas: Vol. XXX.  1876–79.
 
British America: Thames, the River, Canada
Tecumseh
Charles A. Jones (1818?–1851)
 
WHERE rolls the dark and turbid Thames
  His consecrated wave along,
Sleeps one, than whose, few are the names
  More worthy of the lyre and song;
Yet o’er whose spot of lone repose        5
  No pilgrim eyes are seen to weep;
And no memorial marble throws
  Its shadow where his ashes sleep.
 
Stop, stranger! there Tecumseh lies;
  Behold the lowly resting-place        10
Of all that of the hero dies;
  The Cæsar—Tully—of his race;
Whose arm of strength and fiery tongue
  Have won him an immortal name,
And from the mouths of millions wrung        15
  Reluctant tribute to his fame.
 
Stop,—for ’t is glory claims thy tear!
  True worth belongs to all mankind;
And he whose ashes slumber here,
  Though man in form, was god in mind.        20
What matter he was not like thee
  In race and color,—’t is the soul
That marks man’s true divinity,—
  Then let not shame thy tears control.
 
Art thou a patriot?—so was he!        25
  His breast was Freedom’s holiest shrine;
And as thou bendest there thy knee,
  His spirit will unite with thine.
All that a man can give he gave,—
  His life,—the country of his sires        30
From the oppressor’s grasp to save;
  In vain,—quenched are his nation’s fires.
 
Art thou a soldier? dost thou not
  O’er deeds chivalric love to muse?
Here stay thy steps,—what better spot        35
  Couldst thou for contemplation choose?
The earth beneath is holy ground;
  It holds a thousand valiant braves;
Tread lightly o’er each little mound,
  For they are no ignoble graves.        40
 
Thermopylæ and Marathon,
  Though classic earth, can boast no more
Of deeds heroic than yon sun
  Once saw upon this lonely shore,
When in a gallant nation’s last        45
  And deadliest struggle for its own,
Tecumseh’s fiery spirit passed
  In blood, and sought its Father’s throne.
 
Oh, softly fall the summer dew,
  The tears of heaven, upon his sod,        50
For he in life and death was true
  Both to his country and his God;
For oh, if God to man has given,
  From his bright home beyond the skies,
One feeling that ’s akin to heaven,        55
  ’T is his who for his country dies.
 
Rest, warrior, rest! Though not a dirge
  Is thine, beside the wailing blast,
Time cannot in oblivion merge
  The light thy star of glory cast;        60
While heave yon high hills to the sky,
  While rolls yon dark and turbid river,
Thy name and fame can never die,—
  Whom Freedom loves will live forever.
 
 
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