And poets sang immortal praise
To mortal heroes ere the fire
Of Homer blazed in Ilion lays,
Or Brage tuned the Northern lyre.
For fame men piled the Pyramids;
Their names have perished with their bones:
For fame men wrote their boasted deeds
On Babel bricks and Runic stones—
On Tyrian temples, gates of brass,
On Roman arch and Damask blades,
And perished like the desert grass
That springs to-day—to-morrow—fades.
And still for fame men delve and die
In Afric heat and Arctic cold;
For fame on flood and field they vie,
Or gather in the shining gold.
Time, like the ocean, onward rolls
Relentless, burying men and deeds;
The brightest names, the bravest souls,
Float but an hour like ocean weeds,
Then sink forever. In the slime—
Forgotten, lost forevermore,
Lies Fame from every age and clime;
Yet thousands clamor on the shore.
Immortal Fame!—O dust and death!
The centuries as they pass proclaim
That Fame is but a mortal breath,
That man must perish—name and fame.
The earth is but a grain of sand—
An atom in a shoreless sea;
A million worlds lie in God’s hand—
Yea, myriad millions—what are we?
O mortal man of bone and blood!
Then is there nothing left but dust?
God made us; He is wise and good,
And we may humbly hope and trust.
When the meadow-lark trilled o’er the leas
and the oriole piped in the maples,
From my hammock, all under the trees,
by the sweet-scented field of red clover,
I harked to the hum of the bees,
as they gathered the mead of the blossoms,
And caught from their low melodies
the air of the song of Winona.
(In pronouncing Dakota words give “a” the sound of “ah,”—“e” the sound of “a,”—“i” the sound of “e” and “u” the sound of “oo.” Sound “ee” as in English. The numerals refer to Notes in appendix.)
* * * * *
Two hundred white Winters and more
have fled from the face of the Summer,
Since here on the oak-shaded shore
of the dark-winding, swift Mississippi,
Where his foaming floods tumble and roar
o’er the falls and the white-rolling rapids,
In the fair, fabled center of Earth,
sat the Indian town of Ka-tha-ga. 
Far rolling away to the north, and the south,
lay the emerald prairies,
All dotted with woodlands and lakes,
and above them the blue bent of ether.
And here where the dark river breaks into spray
and the roar of the Ha-Ha, 
Where gathered the bison-skin tees[F]
of the chief tawny tribe of Dakotas;