THE INDIAN BURYING GROUND - Louise Imogen Guiney Poems


Poems » louise imogen guiney » the indian burying ground


          In spite of all the learned have said,
          I still my old opinion keep;
          The posture, that we give the dead,
          Points out the soul's eternal sleep.

          Not so the ancients of these lands --
          The Indian, when from life released,
          Again is seated with his friends,
          And shares again the joyous feast.

          His imaged birds, and painted bowl,
          And venison, for a journey dressed,
          Bespeak the nature of the soul,
          Activity, that knows no rest.

          His bow, for action ready bent,
          And arrows, with a head of stone,
          Can only mean that life is spent,
          And not the old ideas gone.

          Thou, stranger, that shalt come this way,
          No fraud upon the dead commit --
          Observe the swelling turf, and say
          They do not lie, but here they sit.

          Here still a lofty rock remains,
          On which the curious eye may trace
          (Now wasted, half, by wearing rains)
          The fancies of a ruder race.

          Here still an aged elm aspires,
          Beneath whose far-projecting shade
          (And which the shepherd still admires)
          The children of the forest played!

          There oft a restless Indian queen
          (Pale Shebah, with her braided hair)
          And many a barbarous form is seen
          To chide the man that lingers there.

          By midnight moons, o'er moistening dews;
          In habit for the chase arrayed,
          The hunter still the deer pursues,
          The hunter and the deer, a shade!

          And long shall timorous fancy see
          The painted chief, and pointed spear,
          And Reason's self shall bow the knee
          To shadows and delusions here.