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The Grizzly Bear

from Songs of Lewis & Clark by Sara Bouchard



Lewis: Tuesday May 14th 1805.

In the evening the men in two of the rear canoes
discovered a large [grizzly] bear.
[He was] lying in the open grounds
about 300 paces from the river.

Six of them went out to attack him,
[they are] all good hunters;
they took the advantage of a small eminence which concealed them
and got within 40 paces of him unperceived.

Four [of them] fired nearly at the same time
and put each his bullet through him,
two of the [bullets] passed through the bulk
of both lobes of his lungs.

In an instant this monster ran at them
with open mouth,
the two who had reserved their fir[e]s
discharged their pieces at him as he came towards them.

Boath of them struck him, one only slightly,
the other fortunately broke his shoulder,
this however only retarded his motion
for a moment only.

The men unable to reload their guns took to flight,
the bear pursued
and had very nearly overtaken them
before they reached the river.

Two of the party betook themselves to a canoe
and the others seperated
an[d] concealed themselves among the willows,
reloaded their pieces.

Each discharged his piece at him
as they had an opportunity
they struck him several times again
but the guns served only to direct the bear to them.

In this manner he pursued two of them seperately
so close that they were obliged to throw aside their guns
and throw themselves into the river
altho' the bank was nearly twenty feet perpendicular.

So enraged was this anamal
that he [too] plunged into the river
only a few feet behind the second man,
when one of those who remained on shore
shot him through the head
and finally killed him.


from Songs of Lewis & Clark, released November 8, 2008


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Sara Bouchard Richmond, Virginia

I am a multi-disciplinary artist and songwriter with a strong foothold in American roots. As an artist, I investigate ways to interact with and represent the American landscape through song. As a musician, I perform original and traditional tunes - drawn from bluegrass, old-time, jazz, country and blues - with my band SALT PARADE. ... more

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