Social Justice Poetry
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The Indian's Welcome to the Pilgrim Fathers
by Lydia H. Sigourney (1791-1865)

Above them spread a stranger sky

  Around, the sterile plain,
The rock-bound coast rose frowning nigh,
  Beyond,--the wrathful main:
Chill remnants of the wintry snow
  Still chok'd the encumber'd soil,
Yet forth these Pilgrim Fathers go,
  To mark their future toil.

'Mid yonder vale their corn must rise
  In Summer's ripening pride,
And there the church-spire woo the skies
  Its sister-school beside.
Perchance 'mid England's velvet green
  Some tender thought repos'd,--
Though nought upon their stoic mien
  Such soft regret disclos'd.

When sudden from the forest wide
  A red-brow'd chieftain came,
With towering form, and haughty stride,
  And eye like kindling flame:
No wrath he breath'd, no conflict sought,
  To no dark ambush drew,
But simply to the Old World brought,
  The welcome of the New.

That welcome was a blast and ban
  Upon thy race unborn.
Was there no seer, thou fated Man!
  Thy lavish zeal to warn?
Thou in thy fearless faith didst hail
  A weak, invading band,
But who shall heed thy children's wail,
  Swept from their native land?

Thou gav'st the riches of thy streams,
  The lordship o'er thy waves,
The region of thine infant dreams,
  And of thy fathers' graves,
But who to yon proud mansions pil'd
  With wealth of earth and sea,
Poor outcast from thy forest wild,
  Say, who shall welcome thee?

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