Canada’s Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, wants this country to assimilate the people to whom we have long made many promises few of which we have kept.
Lord Byron (1788–1824)
(From Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage)
ROLL on, thou deep and dark blue Ocean, roll!
Ten thousand fleets sweep over thee in vain;
Man marks the earth with ruin; his control
Stops with the shore; upon the watery plain
The wrecks are all thy deed, nor doth remain 5
A shadow of man’s ravage, save his own,
When, for a moment, like a drop of rain,
He sinks into thy depths with bubbling groan,
Without a grave, unknelled, uncoffined, and unknown.
His steps are not upon thy paths; thy fields 10
Are not a spoil for him; thou dost arise
And shake him from thee; the vile strength he wields
For earth’s destruction thou dost all despise,
Spurning him from thy bosom to the skies,
And send’st him, shivering in thy playful spray, 15
And howling, to his gods, where haply lies
His petty hope in some near port or bay,
And dashest him again to earth: there let him lay.
The armaments which thunderstrike the walls
Of rock-built cities, bidding nations quake, 20
And monarchs tremble in their capitals,
The oak leviathans, whose huge ribs make
Their clay creator the vain title take
Of lord of thee, and arbiter of war,—
These are thy toys, and, as the snowy flake, 25
They melt into thy yeast of waves, which mar
Alike the Armada’s pride or spoils of Trafalgar.
Thy shores are empires, changed in all save thee:
Assyria, Greece, Rome, Carthage, what are they?
Thy waters washed them power while they were free, 30
And many a tyrant since; their shores obey
The stranger, slave, or savage; their decay
Has dried up realms to deserts: not so thou,
Unchangeable save to thy wild waves’ play;
Time writes no wrinkle on thine azure brow; 35
Such as creation’s dawn beheld, thou rollest now.
Thou glorious mirror, where the Almighty’s form
Glasses itself in tempests; in all time,
Calm or convulsed; in breeze or gale or storm,
Icing the pole, or in the torrid clime 40
Dark-heaving, boundless, endless, and sublime,—
The image of Eternity, the throne
Of the Invisible; even from out thy slime
The monsters of the deep are made; each zone
Obeys thee; thou goest forth, dread, fathomless, alone. 45
And I have loved thee, Ocean! and my joy
Of youthful sports was on thy breast to be
Borne, like thy bubbles, onward: from a boy
I wantoned with thy breakers; they to me
Were a delight; and if the freshening sea 50
Made them a terror, ’t was a pleasing fear,
For I was as it were a child of thee,
And trusted to thy billows far and near,
And laid my hand upon thy mane, as I do here.
“Man marks the earth with ruin; his control
Stops with the shore; upon the watery plain”
Byron was wrong. In the last century we have not only poisoned the streams, rivers and oceans of the world we have also poisoned the rivers of our bodies.
Ours is a world plunging fast towards death. The changes we have wrought were not thought out beyond the moment the thought we could do this first rose in our minds.
In the culture of the people we would assimilate a man was asked to think about the effect of his action seven generations ahead. One who does that will do very little. What he does will be rooted in eternity. It would be better for the planet if the people we met when our ancestors first came here were to assimilate us.
Listen to these words of Chief Seattle: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=e9a70fz6420#!
“Every part of this soil is sacred in the estimation of my people. Every hillside, every valley, every plain and grove, has been hallowed by some sad or happy event in days long vanished. Even the rocks, which seem to be dumb and dead as the swelter in the sun along the silent shore, thrill with memories of stirring events connected with the lives of my people, and the very dust upon which you now stand responds more lovingly to their footsteps than your, because it is rich with the blood of our ancestors, and our bare feet are conscious of the sympathetic touch. Our departed braves, fond mothers, glad happy hearted maidens, and even the little children who lived here and rejoiced here for a brief season, will love these somber solitudes and at eventide they greet shadowy returning spirits. And when the last Red Man shall have perished, and the memory of my tribe shall become a myth among the White Men, these shores will swarm with the invisible dead of my tribe, and when your children’s children think themselves alone in the field, the store, the shop, upon the highway, or in the silence of the pathless woods, they will not be alone. In all the earth there is no place dedicated to solitude. At night when the streets of your cities and villages are silent and you think them deserted, they will throng with the returning hosts that once filled them and still love this beautiful land. The White Man will never be alone.-Suquamish Chief See-Yahtlh (Seattle), 1854 (as recalled by Dr. Henry A. Smith).