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Lay for the Day
5th April


1614: the wedding day of Pocahontas of the Powhatan and John Rolfe.
 

An Indian Queen

An Indian queen
Called Pocahontas,
Before the USA was made,
Lived in Virginia long ago,
And she ran free.

At ten years old
She saw the white ones,
Played with their own ones in their streets,
Turning cartwheels through the dust.
Her father stern,

Chief Powahtan,
Condemned a soldier,
Captain John Smith, to die by club.
This brave child pleaded for his life
And he was spared.

Her English friend
Recrossed the ocean
And she returned to woodland life.
Though she’d made peace no peace she gained,
But was sought out

And captive held
Within old Jamestown.
She pined and plained for freedoms past,
But so sweethearted, bore no grudge.
Her smiles revived.

She was baptised,
Renamed Rebecca,
And won the love of one John Rolfe.
A day in April for his bride
She walked the aisle.

Far and wide their fame did travel
And for England they set sail.
Lords and ladies did them honour,
And old England’s king and queen.

They turned for home,
To far Virginia,
The woods and hillsides that they missed,
But she fell ill before the day
And at Gravesend

By Father Thames,
The smallpox claimed her.
Just twenty-one, she left her bones
On that grey shore till time shall cease,
Where her good name
Lives on.

 

Words and music by The Children

 

The Lay Reader: an archive of the poetic calendar