Title: The Queen at the Wild West Show | The Song of Punchiwatha

Periodical: The Roman Citizen

Date: July 8, 1887

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The Queen at the Wild West Show.


THE SONG OF PUNCHIWATHA. [1]

Would you hear how Col. Cody
Gave his wondrous exhibition,
Of his Indians on the war path,
In the sight of Queen Victoria;
Listen to this simple story
From the mouth of Punchiwatha;

When she reached the exhibition,
Lo! a box near the arena
Was propared for her reception;
Whitely too, and Col. Russell [2]
And the wily Townsend Percy [3]
As an escort to the lady,
To the empress of the North Land.
Then the Indians and the cowboys,
And the wonderful vacqueras,
Raced and charged and whirled before her,
Stopped the coach and wheeled and circled,
Like some birds of brilliant plumage
Round a carcass on the mountains.
Balls of glass were thrown and shattered
By the clever Col. Cody,
Like Wade-no the magician;
Ladies, too, there wielded rifles
Even as the strong man Kwa-sind.

To the queen came Ogila-sa,
Sioux chief, [4] and bowed before her;
He across the Big Sea-Water
Came to see the queen and empress,
And will tell the wondrous story
Oft-times in the Wild West wigwams,
In the days of the hereafter.

To the queen, too, the papooses,
Dusky little Indian babies,
Were presented, and she touched them
Gently with a royal finger;
That the squaws, the happy mothers,
Might go back upon the Kee-way-din.
On the Home-Wind o'er the water.
To the land of the Ojibiways.
To the land of the Dacotahs.
To the mountains of the prairie.
Singing gaily all the praises
Of the gentle queen and empress,
And the wonders of the North Land.

Note 1: To honor Queen Victoria's private visit to Buffalo Bill's Wild West on May 5, 1887, Punch, or The London Charivari, a weekly British magazine of humor and satire from 1841 to 1992, created The Song of Punchiwatha, which closely resembled Longfellow's poem Hiawatha. [back]

Note 2: The American Exhibition was represented by Americans Colonel Henry S. Russell (1838-1905), president, and John Robinson Whitley (1843-1922), director-general, who managed to ensure a place for Buffalo Bill's Wild West to perform at Earl's Court. [back]

Note 3: Townsend Percy, the official Press Representative for the American Exhibition and a member of the Royal Geographical Society of London, was an author and lecturer. [back]

Note 4: Ogila-sa (Ogilesha, Ogle Sa, Ogilasa, and Ógle Lúta among other variants) was Chief Red Shirt. [back]

Title: The Queen at the Wild West Show | The Song of Punchiwatha

Periodical: The Roman Citizen

Date: July 8, 1887

Topic: European Tours

Keywords: American Indians Buffalo Bill's Wild West Company Cowboys Dakota Indians Kings, queens, rulers, etc. Ojibwa Indians Shooting Sioux Nation

People: Red Shirt, 1845?-1925 Victoria, Queen of Great Britain, 1819-1901

Sponsor: This project is supported in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Geraldine W. & Robert J. Dellenback Foundation.

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