The Souvenir of Western Women/Babies of the Pioneers (Poem)

Babies of the Pioneers


Tired cattle stumbled on the dusty trail,
Men's hearts grew faint and women's cheeks turned pale.
But some there were who knew no cares nor fears—
The laughing babies of the pioneers.

The giant mountains made their gloomy boast.
And frowned defiance at the weary host,
But still their laughter lightened toil and tears—
Those jocund babies of the pioneers.

Where widening rivers rolled in sullen pride.
Bearing a menace on each sombre tide.
Their voices woke the mirth that charms and cheers—
Those bonny babies of the pioneers.

Wherever danger lurked and courage failed,
When even the stout hearts of their fathers quailed,
They scorned the foeman's arrows and his spears—
Those sturdy babies of the pioneers.

Life's morning broadened into glowing day.
Life's noontide faded into twilight gray,
They bore the heavy burdens of the years—
Those stalwart children of the pioneers.

The time of testing is forever past.
The days of rest and honor come at last;
We give them every title that endears—
Those toil-worn children of the pioneers.

And still they smile, as memory leads the way
Along the trails the cattle made that day;
They smile and wait till evening's star appears—
Those gray-haired children of the pioneers.