Published on Academy of American Poets (


  Wearied arm and broken sword
    Wage in vain the desperate fight:
  Round him press a countless horde,
    He is but a single knight.
  Hark! a cry of triumph shrill
    Through the wilderness resounds,
  As, with twenty bleeding wounds,
    Sinks the warrior, fighting still.

  Now they heap the fatal pyre,
    And the torch of death they light:
  Ah! 'tis hard to die of fire!
    Who will shield the captive knight?
  Round the stake with fiendish cry
    Wheel and dance the savage crowd,
  Cold the victim's mien, and proud.
    And his breast is bared to die.

  Who will shield the fearless heart?
    Who avert the murderous blade?
  From the throng, with sudden start,
    See there springs an Indian maid.
  Quick she stands before the knight,
    "Loose the chain, unbind the ring,
  I am daughter of the king,
    And I claim the Indian right!"

  Dauntlessly aside she flings
    Lifted axe and thirsty knife;
  Fondly to his heart she clings,
    And her bosom guards his life!
  In the woods of Powhattan,
    Still 'tis told by Indian fires,
  How a daughter of their sires
    Saved the captive Englishman.


This poem is in the public domain. 

About this Poem

From Ballads and Songs (London: Cassell and Company, 1896).



William Makepeace Thackeray

William Makepeace Thackeray, born July 18, 1811, was an English writer best known for his novels, particularly The History of Henry Esmond, Esq. (The Mershon Company Publishers, 1852) and Vanity Fair (Bradbury and Evans, 1848). While in school, Thackeray began writing poems, which he published in a number of magazines, chiefly Fraser and Punch. He died on December 24, 1863.

Date Published: 2018-07-11

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