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The Poetical Works of Elizabeth Margaret Chandler/Gayashuta to the Sons of Onas

Gayashuta to the Sons of OnasEdit

The following lines are a versification of a speech or letter
delivered by the Cornplanter to the “Sons of Onas” (William Penn)
from Gayashuta, a chief of the Seneca Nation.

My brothers! Sons of Onas! hear my voice!
And Gayashuta's spirit shall rejoice;
For age has settled on his drooping head;
His hopes have wither'd, and his joys have fled.
When youth and strength were seated on his brow,
He felt not hunger, pain, and want, as now;
For then the wild deer bounded o'er the plain,
And never was his arrow sped in vain.
Our land embraced the mountain and the flood,
The chase—our pleasure—furnish'd us with food.
The red man's tribes the mighty Spirit bless'd,
And every stranger was his welcome guest.
With pleasure, when they sought our lonely haunts,
We gave them shelter, and relieved their wants.
My brothers! when your fathers sought our shores,
The wide extended fertile plains were ours.
They loved the land their mighty ships had found,
And Onas call'd his red-skinn'd brethren round—
They ask'd us, and we gave them of our land,
Whereon to plant, and where their wigwams stand:
And Gayashuta's voice was foremost heard,
To urge and aid the suit his friend preferr'd.
My brothers! Gayashuta had not thought,
When first the Groves of Pines* your fathers sought,
Of age or weakness—strength was in his frame,
And cowards shrunk beneath his eye of flame.
Your fathers saw him then,—he now is old,
And you will ne'er his alter'd form behold,
His wither'd, bending form, that scarce appears
The ghost of what it was in former years.
He wonders, when his shadow meets his eye,
It is so shrunk, so changed from days gone by!
No longer can he track the flying game,
Or point the arrow with unerring aim;
He has no children to supply his wants,
The whites have scared the wild deer from his haunts.
In hunting all the day the youth must toil,
And scarce the chase will yield sufficient spoil
To satisfy themselves—there is none left
For those who are of friends and strength bereft.
For Gayashuta is not here alone—
A remnant yet remains of days long gone.
They were your fathers’ friends, they now are weak,
And poor and feeble—shall they vainly speak!
My brothers! Sons of Onas! in his youth,
Your fathers gave this belt, the badge of truth,
To Gayashuta, this he sends to you,
The ancient bond of friendship to renew.
Look on this belt! and should it warm your heart,
Then comfort to your fathers’ friends impart.
My brothers! we are men, and only say
That we are hungry, naked, old, and gray.
We have no other friends on whom to call,
Than you, the Sons of Onas, friends to all.

(*The place where Philadelphia now stands was called
by the Indians the Grove of the long pine trees.)