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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.
The Library of the World’s Best Literature. An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.

Guy Humphrey McMaster (1829–1887)

Brant to the Indians

YE braves of the Ancient League—the people’s defenders!

Here, in the gates of the South, the white foe comes,

Daring his doom, yet marching with banners and splendors,

With empty roar of cannon and rattle of drums.

These are the hungry eaters of land—the greedy

Devourers of forest and lake and meadow and swamp;

Gorged with the soil they have robbed from the helpless and needy,

The tribes that trembled before their martial pomp.

These are the rich who covet the humble goods of the poor;

The wise, who with their cunning the simple ensnare;

The strong, who trample the weak as weeds on the moor;

The great, who grudge with the small the earth to share.

But you are the valiant braves of Ho-den-a-sau-nee;

The tribes of the East were weaklings, with hearts of the deer;

Unconquered in war you are, and ever shall be,

For your limbs are mighty—your hearts are void of fear.

Continue to listen! These white men are liars who say

That red men are faithless to treaty, and heed not their pledge;

That they love but to ravage and burn, to torture and slay,

And to ruin the towns with torch, and the hatchet’s edge!

The Spirit above gave his red children these lands,

The deer on the hills, the beaver and fowls in the ponds;

The bow and the hatchet and knife he placed in your hands,

And bound your tribes together in mighty bonds….

Who are these farm-house curs that foolishly rant

At you, the untamable cubs of the mountain-cat?

Who is this lawyer that seeks on the war-path for Brant,

And struts with a new-bought sword and general’s hat?

Why do these choppers of wood, these ox-driving toilers,

Lust for the ancient homes of Ho-den-a-sau-nee?

Why from their barnyards came these rustic despoilers?

Shall the sweet wilderness like their vile farms e’er be?

Can the warrior become a farmer’s hired clown?

Shall he hoe like the squaw, or toss up grass on a fork?

Will the panther churn milk in the pen of the treadmill hound?

Or the bear wear an apron and do a scullion’s work?

Continue to listen! Ye are not fashioned for slaves!

And that these blue-eyed robbers at once shall know:

Want they your lands?—they shall not even have graves,

Until their bodies are buried by winter’s snow!”