William Ross Wallace

Death Song of the Little Manitou of Flowers

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I LAY me down upon the leaves,
And bind my brow with flowers
That were my beautiful birthright care
Within my Indian bowers:
I hear the wind’s sad, solemn song—
Like him, I will not linger long;
I see the pale moon waning low—
Like her, alas! I soon must go.


Why should I linger when the race
On whom ‘twas mine to wait,
Are travelling now so darkly down
To their sepulchral fate?
Yet, in a few more hours and they
Shall sink in yon Pacific’s spray;
I would not hear their last wild cry—
At once, ah, let me, singing, die!


0, lovely flowers! no more ‘tis mine
To nurse you in the glades:
Why should I warm you with my lips
When gone the dark-eyed maids
Who revelled in your gorgequs hues,
While dancing o’er the morning’s dews,
Or sleeping in the moon’s soft beams,
Along the silver-throated streams?


And ye dear vines that cling around
The branches spread above,
Tenderly with entwining leaves,
Like sweet warm thoughts of Love—
Ye too I leave; but when the blast,
The cold north fiend, is sweeping past,
o may be never, never know,
Your Manitou is lying low.


And ye the mighty race that o’er
The great blue water came,
And swept upon my people’s homes
In your all-conquering flame,
The little Manitou in death
Speaks but one word with sinking breath—
When glorying in your battle-towers,
Think sometimes of the ge tle flowers.

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William Ross Wallace