Verse > Anthologies > Samuel Kettell, ed. > Specimens of American Poetry
Samuel Kettell, ed.  Specimens of American Poetry.  1829.
By R. H. Wilde
“’T IS many moons ago—a long—long time
Since first upon this shore a white man trod;
From the great water to the mountain clime
This was our home;—’t was given us by the God
That gave ye yours.—Love ye your native sod?        5
So did our fathers too—for they were men!
They fought to guard it, for their hearts were brave,
And long they fought—we were a people then;
This was our country—it is now our grave—
Would I had never lived, or died the land to save.        10
When first ye came, your numbers were but few,
Our nation many as the leaves or sand:
Hungry and tired ye were—we pitied you—
We called you brothers—took you by the hand—
But soon we found ye came to rob the land:        15
We quarrell’d—and your countrymen we slew,
Till one alone of all, remain’d behind,
Among the false he only had been true,
And much we loved this man of single mind,
And ever while he lived, to him were kind.        20
He loved us too, and taught us many things,
And much we strove the stranger’s heart to glad;
But to its kindred still the spirit clings,
And therefore was his soul for ever sad;
Nor other wish or joy the lone one had,        25
Save on the solitary shore to roam,
Or sit and gaze for hours upon the deep,
That roll’d between him and his native home;
And when he thought none mark’d him, he would weep,
Or sing this song of wo which still our maidens keep.        30
  “My life is like the summer rose
  That opens to the morning sky,
  And ere the shades of evening close,
  Is scatter’d on the ground—to die!
  Yet on that rose’s humble bed        35
  The softest dews of night are shed,
  As though she wept such waste to see,—
  But none shall drop a tear for me!
  My life is like the autumn leaf
  That trembles in the moon’s pale ray,        40
  Its hold is frail—its date is brief,
  Restless—and soon to pass away!
  Yet, when that leaf shall fall and fade,
  The parent tree will mourn its shade,
  The wind bewail the leafless tree,        45
  But none shall breathe one sigh for me!
  My life is like the track of feet
  Left upon Tampa’s desert strand;
  Soon as the rising tide shall beat,
  Their marks shall vanish from the sand;        50
  Yet, as if grieving to efface
  All vestige of the human race,
  On that lone shore loud moans the sea,
  But none shall thus lament for me!”

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