SONG OF THE WILD BUSHMAN - Matthew Prior Poems


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Let the proud White Man boast his flocks,
    And fields of foodful grain;
My home is 'mid the mountain rocks,
    The Desert my domain.
I plant no herbs nor pleasant fruits,
    I toil not for my cheer;
The Desert yields me juicy roots,
    And herds of bounding deer.

The countless springboks are my flock,
    Spread o'er the unbounded plain;
The buffalo bendeth to my yoke,
    The wild-horse to my rein;
My yoke is the quivering assagai,
    My rein the tough bow-string;
My bridle curb is a slender barb --
    Yet it quells the forest-king.

The crested adder honoureth me,
    And yields at my command
His poison-bag, like the honey-bee,
    When I seize him on the sand.
Yea, even the wasting locusts' swarm,
    Which mighty nations dread,
To me nor terror brings nor harm --
    For I make of them my bread.

Thus I am lord of the Desert Land,
    And I will not leave my bounds,
To crouch beneath the Christian's hand,
    And kennel with his hounds:
To be a hound, and watch the flocks,
    For the cruel White Man's gain --
No! the brown Serpent of the Rocks
    His den doth yet retain;
And none who there his sting provokes,
    Shall find its poison vain!