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A poem by Ambrose Bierce

The Setting Sachem

Title:     The Setting Sachem
Author: Ambrose Bierce [More Titles by Bierce]

'Twas an Injin chieftain, in feathers all fine,
Who stood on the ocean's rim;
There were numberless leagues of excellent brine--
But there wasn't enough for him.
So he knuckled a thumb in his painted eye,
And added a tear to the scant supply.

The surges were breaking with thund'rous voice,
The winds were a-shrieking shrill;
This warrior thought that a trifle of noise
Was needed to fill the bill.
So he lifted the top of his head off and scowled--
Exalted his voice, did this chieftain, and howled!

The sun was aflame in a field of gold
That hung o'er the Western Sea;
Bright banners of light were broadly unrolled,
As banners of light should be.
But no one was "speaking a piece" to that sun,
And therefore this Medicine Man begun:

"O much heap of bright! O big ball of warm!
I've tracked you from sea to sea!
For the Paleface has been at some pains to inform
Me, _you_ are the emblem of _me_.
He says to me, cheerfully: 'Westward Ho!'
And westward I've hoed a most difficult row.

"Since you are the emblem of me, I presume
That I am the emblem of you,
And thus, as we're equals, 't is safe to assume,
That one great law governs us two.
So now if I set in the ocean with thee,
With thee I shall rise again out of the sea."

His eloquence first, and his logic the last!
Such orators die!--and he died:
The trump was against him--his luck bad--he "passed"--
And so he "passed out"--with the tide.
This Injin is rid of the world with a whim--
The world it is rid of his speeches and him.

[The end]
Ambrose Bierce's poem: The Setting Sachem