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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
America: Vols. XXV–XXIX. 1876–79.

Western States: Cincinnati, Ohio.

The Old Mound

By Charles A. Jones (1818?–1851)

LONELY and sad it stands:

The trace of ruthless hands

Is on its sides and summit, and around

The dwellings of the white man pile the ground;

And curling in the air,

The smoke of thrice a thousand hearths is there:

Without, all speaks of life,—within,

Deaf to the city’s echoing din,

Sleep well the tenants of that silent mound,

Their names forgot, their memories unrenowned.

Upon its top I tread,

And see around me spread

Temples and mansions, and the hoary hills,

Bleak with the labor that the coffer fills,

But mars their bloom the while,

And steals from nature’s face its joyous smile:

And here and there, below,

The stream’s meandering flow

Breaks on the view; and westward in the sky

The gorgeous clouds in crimson masses lie.

The hammer’s clang rings out,

Where late the Indian’s shout

Startled the wildfowl from its sedgy nest,

And broke the wild deer’s and the panther’s rest.

The lordly oaks went down

Before the axe,—the canebrake is a town:

The bark canoe no more

Glides noiseless from the shore;

And, sole memorial of a nation’s doom,

Amid the works of art rises this lonely tomb.

It too must pass away:

Barbaric hands will lay

Its holy ruins level with the plain,

And rear upon its site some goodly fane.

It seemeth to upbraid

The white man for the ruin he has made.

And soon the spade and mattock must

Invade the sleepers’ buried dust,

And bare their bones to sacrilegious eyes,

And send them forth, some joke-collector’s prize.