The Indian Lament (Kenneth Peacock)

See also: Killing The Deer And The Wild Buffalo
(MacEdward Leach)

I'll sing you a song, it may seem a sad one,
Of my trials and troubles when first I begun;
I left my own country, my kingdom and home,
To plow o'er the ocean on the distantly foam.

We joined the glad Aryans, we got on the train,
We rode over hills, through woods, valleys, and plains;
Ofttimes on the prairie a-hunting we'd go,
To shoot the wild antelope and the wild buffalo.

We travelled three weeks till we came to a flat,
We pitched our tents in the mouth of a gap;
We spread out our blankets on the green mossy ground,
Where the horses and mules came grazing all 'round.

In taking refreshment we heard a loud yell,
Like a crowd of wild Indians coming out from their dell;
Each man took his rifle with a flash in his eye.
"Brave boys," says our leader, "we must fight now or die."

Our neat little band, about twenty and four,
Against a crowd of wild Indians, one hundred or more;
And by their bold dashing they came near our trail,
And the arrows came 'round us like snow in a gale.

We shot down their bold chief, the head of the band,
He died like a warrior with his gun in his hand;
And when they saw their bold chief laying dead in his gore,
They yelled and they yelled and we saw them no more.

We saddled our horses, we got on their trail,
Six more bloody battles we fought on the field;
And in our last battle six of our men fell,
And we left them to rest in a dark shady dell.

####.... Author unknown. Variant of an early 20th-century ballad, The Sioux Indians [Laws B11] Native American Balladry (G Malcolm Laws, 1964) ....####

This variant was collected in 1958 by Kenneth Peacockfrom Levi Everett Bennett [1899-?] of St Paul's, NL, and published in Songs Of The Newfoundland Outports , Vol 1, pp.155-156, by the National Museum of Canada (1965) Crown Copyrights Reserved.

A similar variant was collected in 1951 from Cyril O'Brien [ca.1902-?] of Trepassey, NL, and published as Killing The Deer And The Wild Buffalo in MacEdward Leach And The Songs Of Atlantic Canada © 2004 Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore and Language Archive (MUNFLA).

Kenneth Peacock noted that Mr and Mrs Bennett would sing both this and the similarly titled The Indian's Lament and refer to them simply as 'number one' and 'number two'. The Indian's Lament is better known, and 'Indian' is usually in the possessive form. Though called by similar names, no two songs could have a more varied content. This song tells of the white man's rape of the west, and The Indian's Lament of the Indian's plight in the east after the white conquest. Peacock also commented that this song seems to be a sort of immigrant ballad dating from the time the west was new and men crossed the Atlantic to seek their fortunes on the new frontier.

Paraphrased from Wikipedia: Aryan - English word derived from a Sanskrit word meaning noble or honorable. Aryan came to be applied in the West to Indo-European speaking peoples as a whole and has been in frequent use since the 1830s. It was widely used as a synonym for Indo-European in non-linguistic and popular usage by the end of the nineteenth century. This popular usage persists even after some academic authors have condemned such usage because of its negative connotations derived from the Nazi-era.


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