Bluegrass Ballads

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Beside the mighty inland sea, that laves
The northern shores and bounds of Illinois, As stand, in fields, the fall-time shocks of corn,
So stood the wigwams of the Iroquois; And harbored in the river's sluggish mouth,
Lay rocking where the water-lilies grew, And lightly on the stream, in huddled fleets,
And myriad, the Indian's bark canoe;
A war-bent host in sullen camp was there, And threatful as the couchant panther's glare.
Where erst the docile Inini had chased,
Through stream, and wood, and on the meadowed plain, The panting deer and shaggy buffalo;
And where, amid the fields of waving grain, Fed feathered flocks; where were content, and peace,
And happy homes, the fell invader swept. The tranquil villages were razed to earth;
Thousands were slain, and sore a nation wept. Despoiled and driven forth, strong men were
cowed, And down to dust a mighty people bowed.
Among the maidens of the Inini
Were none more beautiful in face and form Than youthful Wat-chee-kee, whose loveliness
Outvied the western sky, when by the storm