Near to the bank of the river, o'ershadowed by oaks, from whose branches Garlands of Spanish moss and of mystic mistletoe flaunted, Such as the Druids cut down with golden hatchets at Yule-tide, Stood, secluded and still, the house of the herdsman. A garden Girded it round about with a belt of luxuriant blossoms, Filling the air with fragrance. The house itself was of timbers Hewn from the cypress-tree, and carefully fitted together. Large and low was the roof; and on slender columns supported, Rose-wreathed, vine-encircled, a broad and spacious veranda, Haunt of the humming-bird and the bee, extended around it. At each end of the house, amid the flowers of the garden, Stationed the dove-cots were, as love's perpetual symbol, Scenes of endless wooing, and endless contentions of rivals. Silence reigned o'er the place. The line of shadow and sunshine Ran near the tops of the trees; but the house itself was in shadow, And from its chimney-top, ascending and slowly expanding Into the evening air, a thin blue column of smoke rose. In the rear of the house, from the garden gate, ran a pathway Through the great groves of oak to the skirts of the limitless prairie, Into whose sea of flowers the sun was slowly descending. Full in his track of light, like ships with shadowy canvas Hanging loose from their spars in a motionless calm in the tropics, Stood a cluster of trees, with tangled cordage of grapevines.
Just where the woodlands met the flowery surf of the prairie, Mounted upon his horse, with Spanish saddle and stirrups, Sat a herdsman, arrayed in gaiters and doublet of deerskin. Broad and brown was the face that from under the Spanish sombrero Gazed on the peaceful scene, with the lordly look of its master. Round about him were numberless herds of kine, that were grazing Quietly in the meadows, and breathing the vapory freshness That uprose from the river, and spread itself over the landscape. Slowly lifting the horn that hung at his side, and expanding Fully his broad, deep chest, he blew a blast, that resounded Wildly and sweet and far, through the still damp air of the evening. Suddenly out of the grass the long white horns of the cattle Rose like flakes of foam on the adverse currents of ocean. Silent a moment they gazed, then bellowing rushed o'er the prairie, And the whole mass became a cloud, a shade in the distance. Then, as the herdsman turned to the house, through the gate of the garden Saw he the forms of the priest and the maiden advancing to meet him. Suddenly down from his horse he sprang in amazement, and forward Rushed with extended arms and exclamations of wonder; When they beheld his face, they recognized Basil the blacksmith. Hearty his welcome was, as he led his guests to the garden. There in an arbor of roses with endless question and answer Gave they vent to their hearts, and renewed their friendly embraces, Laughing and weeping by turns, or sitting silent and thoughtful. Thoughtful, for Gabriel came not; and now dark doubts and misgivings Stole o'er the maiden's heart; and Basil, somewhat embarrassed, Broke the silence and said, "If you came by the Atchafalaya, How have you nowhere encountered my Gabriel's boat on the bayous?" Over Evangeline's face at the words of Basil a shade passed. Tears came into her eyes, and she said, with a tremulous accent, "Gone? is Gabriel gone?" and, concealing her face on his shoulder, All her o'erburdened heart gave way, and she wept and lamented. Then the good Basil said,—and his voice grew blithe as he said it,— "Be of good cheer, my child; it is only to-day he departed. Foolish boy! he has left me alone with my herds and my horses. Moody and restless grown, and tried and troubled, his spirit Could no longer endure the calm of this quiet existence. Thinking ever of thee, uncertain and sorrowful ever, Ever silent, or speaking only of thee and his troubles, He at length had become so tedious to men and to maidens, Tedious even to me, that at length I bethought me, and sent him Unto the town of Adayes to trade for mules with the Spaniards. Thence he will follow the Indian trails to the Ozark Mountains, Hunting for furs in the forests, on rivers trapping the beaver. Therefore be of good cheer; we will follow the fugitive lover; He is not far on his way, and the Fates and the streams are against him. Up and away to-morrow, and through the red dew of the morning We will follow him fast, and bring him back to his prison."
Then glad voices were heard, and up from the banks of the river, Borne aloft on his comrades' arms, came Michael the fiddler. Long under Basil's roof had he lived like a god on Olympus, Having no other care than dispensing music to mortals. Far renowned was he for his silver locks and his fiddle. "Long live Michael," they cried, "our brave Acadian minstrel!" As they bore him aloft in triumphal procession; and straightway Father Felician advanced with Evangeline, greeting the old man Kindly and oft, and recalling the past, while Basil, enraptured, Hailed with hilarious joy his old companions and gossips, Laughing loud and long, and embracing mothers and daughters. Much they marvelled to see the wealth of the cidevant blacksmith, All his domains and his herds, and his patriarchal demeanor; Much they marvelled to hear his tales of the soil and the climate, And of the prairie; whose numberless herds were his who would take them; Each one thought in his heart, that he, too, would go and do likewise. Thus they ascended the steps, and, crossing the breezy veranda, Entered the hall of the house, where already the supper of Basil Waited his late return; and they rested and feasted together.
Over the joyous feast the sudden darkness descended. All was silent without, and, illuming the landscape with silver, Fair rose the dewy moon and the myriad stars; but within doors, Brighter than these, shone the faces of friends in the glimmering lamplight. Then from his station aloft, at the head of the table, the herdsman Poured forth his heart and his wine together in endless profusion. Lighting his pipe, that was filled with sweet Natchitoches tobacco, Thus he spake to his guests, who listened, and smiled as they listened:— "Welcome once more, my friends, who long have been friendless and homeless, Welcome once more to a home, that is better perchance than the old one! Here no hungry winter congeals our blood like the rivers; Here no stony ground provokes the wrath of the farmer. Smoothly the ploughshare runs through the soil, as a keel through the water. All the year round the orange-groves are in blossom; and grass grows More in a single night than a whole Canadian summer. Here, too, numberless herds run wild and unclaimed in the prairies; Here, too, lands may be had for the asking, and forests of timber With a few blows of the axe are hewn and framed into houses. After your houses are built, and your fields are yellow with harvests, No King George of England shall drive you away from your homesteads, Burning your dwellings and barns, and stealing your farms and your cattle." Speaking these words, he blew a wrathful cloud from his nostrils, While his huge, brown hand came thundering down on the table, So that the guests all started; and Father Felician, astounded, Suddenly paused, with a pinch of snuff half-way to his nostrils. But the brave Basil resumed, and his words were milder and gayer:— "Only beware of the fever, my friends, beware of the fever! For it is not like that of our cold Acadian climate, Cured by wearing a spider hung round one's neck in a nutshell!" Then there were voices heard at the door, and footsteps approaching Sounded upon the stairs and the floor of the breezy veranda. It was the neighboring Creoles and small Acadian planters, Who had been summoned all to the house of Basil the Herdsman. Merry the meeting was of ancient comrades and neighbors: Friend clasped friend in his arms; and they who before were as strangers, Meeting in exile, became straightway as friends to each other, Drawn by the gentle bond of a common country together. But in the neighboring hall a strain of music, proceeding From the accordant strings of Michael's melodious fiddle, Broke up all further speech. Away, like children delighted, All things forgotten beside, they gave themselves to the maddening Whirl of the dizzy dance, as it swept and swayed to the music, Dreamlike, with beaming eyes and the rush of fluttering garments.
Meanwhile, apart, at the head of the hall, the priest and the herdsman Sat, conversing together of past and present and future; While Evangeline stood like one entranced, for within her Olden memories rose, and loud in the midst of the music Heard she the sound of the sea, and an irrepressible sadness Came o'er her heart, and unseen she stole forth into the garden. Beautiful was the night. Behind the black wall of the forest, Tipping its summit with silver, arose the moon. On the river Fell here and there through the branches a tremulous gleam of the moonlight, Like the sweet thoughts of love on a darkened and devious spirit. Nearer and round about her, the manifold flowers of the garden Poured out their souls in odors, that were their prayers and confessions Unto the night, as it went its way, like a silent Carthusian. Fuller of fragrance than they, and as heavy with shadows and night-dews, Hung the heart of the maiden. The calm and the magical moonlight Seemed to inundate her soul with indefinable longing; As, through the garden gate, and beneath the shade of the oak-trees, Passed she along the path to the edge of the measureless prairie. Silent it lay, with a silvery haze upon it, and fire-flies Gleaming and floating away in mingled and infinite numbers. Over her head the stars, the thoughts of God in the heavens, Shone on the eyes of man who had ceased to marvel and worship, Save when a blazing comet was seen on the walls of that temple, As if a hand had appeared and written upon them, "Upharsin." And the soul of the maiden, between the stars and the fire-flies, Wandered alone, and she cried, "O Gabriel! O my beloved! Art thou so near unto me, and yet I cannot behold thee? Art thou so near unto me, and yet thy voice does not reach me? Ah! how often thy feet have trod this path to the prairie! Ah! how often thine eyes have looked on the woodlands around me! Ah! how often beneath this oak, returning from labor, Thou hast lain down to rest and to dream of me in thy slumbers! When shall these eyes behold, these arms be folded about thee?" Loud and sudden and near the note of a whippoorwill sounded Like a flute in the woods; and anon, through the neighboring thickets, Farther and farther away it floated and dropped into silence. "Patience!" whispered the oaks from oracular caverns of darkness: And, from the moonlit meadow, a sigh responded, "To-morrow!"
Bright rose the sun next day; and all the flowers of the garden Bathed his shining feet with their tears, and anointed his tresses With the delicious balm that they bore in their vases of crystal. "Farewell!" said the priest, as he stood at the shadowy threshold; "See that you bring us the Prodigal Son from his fasting and famine, And, too, the Foolish Virgin, who slept when the bridegroom was coming." "Farewell!" answered the maiden, and, smiling, with Basil descended Down to the river's brink, where the boatmen already were waiting. Thus beginning their journey with morning, and sunshine, and gladness, Swiftly they followed the flight of him who was speeding before them, Blown by the blast of fate like a dead leaf over the desert. Not that day, nor the next, nor yet the day that succeeded, Found they trace of his course, in lake or forest or river, Nor, after many days, had they found him; but vague and uncertain Rumors alone were their guides through a wild and desolate Country; Till, at the little inn of the Spanish town of Adayes, Weary and worn, they alighted, and learned from the garrulous landlord, That on the day before, with horses and guides and companions, Gabriel left the village, and took the road of the prairies.
Far in the West there lies a desert land, where the mountains Lift, through perpetual snows, their lofty and luminous summits. Down from their jagged, deep ravines, where the gorge, like a gateway, Opens a passage rude to the wheels of the emigrant's wagon, Westward the Oregon flows and the Walleway and Owyhee. Eastward, with devious course, among the Wind-river Mountains, Through the Sweet-water Valley precipitate leaps the Nebraska; And to the south, from Fontaine-qui-bout and the Spanish sierras, Fretted with sands and rocks, and swept by the wind of the desert, Numberless torrents, with ceaseless sound, descend to the ocean, Like the great chords of a harp, in loud and solemn vibrations. Spreading between these streams are the wondrous, beautiful prairies, Billowy bays of grass ever rolling in shadow and sunshine, Bright with luxuriant clusters of roses and purple amorphas. Over them wandered the buffalo herds, and the elk and the roebuck; Over them wandered the wolves, and herds of riderless horses; Fires that blast and blight, and winds that are weary with travel; Over them wander the scattered tribes of Ishmael's children, Staining the desert with blood; and above their terrible war-trails Circles and sails aloft, on pinions majestic, the vulture, Like the implacable soul of a chieftain slaughtered in battle, By invisible stairs ascending and scaling the heavens. Here and there rise smokes from the camps of these savage marauders; Here and there rise groves from the margins of swift-running rivers; And the grim, taciturn bear, the anchorite monk of the desert, Climbs down their dark ravines to dig for roots by the brook-side, And over all is the sky, the clear and crystalline heaven, Like the protecting hand of God inverted above them.
Into this wonderful land, at the base of the Ozark Mountains, Gabriel far had entered, with hunters and trappers behind him. Day after day, with their Indian guides, the maiden and Basil Followed his flying steps, and thought each day to o'ertake him. Sometimes they saw, or thought they saw, the smoke of his camp-fire Rise in the morning air from the distant plain; but at nightfall, When they had reached the place, they found only embers and ashes. And, though their hearts were sad at times and their bodies were weary, Hope still guided them on, as the magic Fata Morgana Showed them her lakes of light, that retreated and vanished before them.
Once, as they sat by their evening fire, there silently entered Into the little camp an Indian woman, whose features Wore deep traces of sorrow, and patience as great as her sorrow. She was a Shawnee woman returning home to her people, From the far-off hunting-grounds of the cruel Camanches, Where her Canadian husband, a Coureur-des-Bois, had been murdered. Touched were their hearts at her story, and warmest and friendliest welcome Gave they, with words of cheer, and she sat and feasted among them On the buffalo-meat and the venison cooked on the embers. But when their meal was done, and Basil and all his companions, Worn with the long day's march and the chase of the deer and the bison, Stretched themselves on the ground, and slept where the quivering fire-light Flashed on their swarthy cheeks, and their forms wrapped up in their blankets Then at the door of Evangeline's tent she sat and repeated Slowly, with soft, low voice, and the charm of her Indian accent, All the tale of her love, with its pleasures, and pains, and reverses. Much Evangeline wept at the tale, and to know that another Hapless heart like her own had loved and had been disappointed. Moved to the depths of her soul by pity and woman's compassion, Yet in her sorrow pleased that one who had suffered was near her, She in turn related her love and all its disasters. Mute with wonder the Shawnee sat, and when she had ended Still was mute; but at length, as if a mysterious horror Passed through her brain, she spake, and repeated the tale of the Mowis; Mowis, the bridegroom of snow, who won and wedded a maiden, But, when the morning came, arose and passed from the wigwam, Fading and melting away and dissolving into the sunshine, Till she beheld him no more, though she followed far into the forest. Then, in those sweet, low tones, that seemed like a weird incantation, Told she the tale of the fair Lilinau, who was wooed by a phantom, That, through the pines o'er her father's lodge, in the hush of the twilight, Breathed like the evening wind, and whispered love to the maiden, Till she followed his green and waving plume through the forest, And nevermore returned, nor was seen again by her people. Silent with wonder and strange surprise, Evangeline listened To the soft flow of her magical words, till the region around her Seemed like enchanted ground, and her swarthy guest the enchantress. Slowly over the tops of the Ozark Mountains the moon rose, Lighting the little tent, and with a mysterious splendor Touching the sombre leaves, and embracing and filling the woodland. With a delicious sound the brook rushed by, and the branches Swayed and sighed overhead in scarcely audible whispers. Filled with the thoughts of love was Evangeline's heart, but a secret, Subtile sense crept in of pain and indefinite terror, As the cold, poisonous snake creeps into the nest of the swallow. It was no earthly fear. A breath from the region of spirits Seemed to float in the air of night; and she felt for a moment That, like the Indian maid, she, too, was pursuing a phantom. With this thought she slept, and the fear and the phantom had vanished.
Early upon the morrow the march was resumed; and the Shawnee Said, as they journeyed along, "On the western slope of these mountains Dwells in his little village the Black Robe chief of the Mission. Much he teaches the people, and tells them of Mary and Jesus; Loud laugh their hearts with joy, and weep with pain, as they hear him." Then, with a sudden and secret emotion, Evangeline answered, "Let us go to the Mission, for there good tidings await us!" Thither they turned their steeds; and behind a spur of the mountains, Just as the sun went down, they heard a murmur of voices, And in a meadow green and broad, by the bank of a river, Saw the tents of the Christians, the tents of the Jesuit Mission. Under a towering oak, that stood in the midst of the village, Knelt the Black Robe chief with his children. A crucifix fastened High on the trunk of the tree, and overshadowed by grapevines, Looked with its agonized face on the multitude kneeling beneath it. This was their rural chapel. Aloft, through the intricate arches Of its aerial roof, arose the chant of their vespers, Mingling its notes with the soft susurrus and sighs of the branches. Silent, with heads uncovered, the travellers, nearer approaching, Knelt on the swarded floor, and joined in the evening devotions. But when the service was done, and the benediction had fallen Forth from the hands of the priest, like seed from the hands of the sower, Slowly the reverend man advanced to the strangers, and bade them Welcome; and when they replied, he smiled with benignant expression, Hearing the homelike sounds of his mother-tongue in the forest, And, with words of kindness, conducted them into his wigwam. There upon mats and skins they reposed, and on cakes of the maize-ear Feasted, and slaked their thirst from the water-gourd of the teacher. Soon was their story told; and the priest with solemnity answered:— "Not six suns have risen and set since Gabriel, seated On this mat by my side, where now the maiden reposes, Told me this same sad tale then arose and continued his journey!" Soft was the voice of the priest, and he spake with an accent of kindness; But on Evangeline's heart fell his words as in winter the snow-flakes Fall into some lone nest from which the birds have departed. "Far to the north he has gone," continued the priest; "but in autumn, When the chase is done, will return again to the Mission." Then Evangeline said, and her voice was meek and submissive, "Let me remain with thee, for my soul is sad and afflicted." So seemed it wise and well unto all; and betimes on the morrow, Mounting his Mexican steed, with his Indian guides and companions. Homeward Basil returned, and Evangeline stayed at the Mission.
Slowly, slowly, slowly the days succeeded each other,— Days and weeks and months; and the fields of maize that were springing Green from the ground when a stranger she came, now waving above her, Lifted their slender shafts, with leaves interlacing, and forming Cloisters for mendicant crows and granaries pillaged by squirrels. Then in the golden weather the maize was husked, and the maidens Blushed at each blood-red ear, for that betokened a lover, But at the crooked laughed, and called it a thief in the corn-field. Even the blood-red ear to Evangeline brought not her lover. "Patience!" the priest would say; "have faith, and thy prayer will be answered! Look at this vigorous plant that lifts its head from the meadow, See how its leaves are turned to the north, as true as the magnet; This is the compass-flower, that the finger of God has planted Here in the houseless wild, to direct the traveller's journey Over the sea-like, pathless, limitless waste of the desert. Such in the soul of man is faith. The blossoms of passion, Gay and luxuriant flowers, are brighter and fuller of fragrance, But they beguile us, and lead us astray, and their odor is deadly. Only this humble plant can guide us here, and hereafter Crown us with asphodel flowers, that are wet with the dews of nepenthe."
So came the autumn, and passed, and the winter,—yet Gabriel came not; Blossomed the opening spring, and the notes of the robin and bluebird Sounded sweet upon wold and in wood, yet Gabriel came not. But on the breath of the summer winds a rumor was wafted Sweeter than song of bird, or hue or odor of blossom. Far to the north and east, it said, in the Michigan forests, Gabriel had his lodge by the banks of the Saginaw River, And, with returning guides, that sought the lakes of St. Lawrence, Saying a sad farewell, Evangeline went from the Mission. When over weary ways, by long and perilous marches, She had attained at length the depths of the Michigan forests, Found she the hunter's lodge deserted and fallen to ruin!
Thus did the long sad years glide on, and in seasons and places Divers and distant far was seen the wandering maiden;— Now in the Tents of Grace of the meek Moravian Missions, Now in the noisy camps and the battle-fields of the army, Now in secluded hamlets, in towns and populous cities. Like a phantom she came, and passed away unremembered. Fair was she and young, when in hope began the long journey; Faded was she and old, when in disappointment it ended. Each succeeding year stole something away from her beauty, Leaving behind it, broader and deeper, the gloom and the shadow. Then there appeared and spread faint streaks of gray o'er her forehead, Dawn of another life, that broke o'er her earthy horizon, As in the eastern sky the first faint streaks of the morning.
In that delightful land which is washed by the Delaware's waters, Guarding in sylvan shades the name of Penn the apostle, Stands on the banks of its beautiful stream the city he founded. There all the air is balm, and the peach is the emblem of beauty, And the streets still re-echo the names of the trees of the forest, As if they fain would appease the Dryads whose haunts they molested. There from the troubled sea had Evangeline landed, an exile, Finding among the children of Penn a home and a country. There old Rene Leblanc had died; and when he departed, Saw at his side only one of all his hundred descendants. Something at least there was in the friendly streets of the city, Something that spake to her heart, and made her no longer a stranger; And her ear was pleased with the Thee and Thou of the Quakers, For it recalled the past, the old Acadian country, Where all men were equal, and all were brothers and sisters. So, when the fruitless search, the disappointed endeavor, Ended, to recommence no more upon earth, uncomplaining, Thither, as leaves to the light, were turned her thoughts and her footsteps. As from a mountain's top the rainy mists of the morning Roll away, and afar we behold the landscape below us, Sun-illumined, with shining rivers and cities and hamlets, So fell the mists from her mind, and she saw the world far below her, Dark no longer, but all illumined with love; and the pathway Which she had climbed so far, lying smooth and fair in the distance. Gabriel was not forgotten. Within her heart was his image, Clothed in the beauty of love and youth, as last she beheld him, Only more beautiful made by his deathlike silence and absence. Into her thoughts of him time entered not, for it was not. Over him years had no power; he was not changed, but transfigured; He had become to her heart as one who is dead, and not absent; Patience and abnegation of self, and devotion to others, This was the lesson a life of trial and sorrow had taught her. So was her love diffused, but, like to some odorous spices, Suffered no waste nor loss, though filling the air with aroma. Other hope had she none, nor wish in life, but to follow Meekly, with reverent steps, the sacred feet of her Saviour. Thus many years she lived as a Sister of Mercy; frequenting Lonely and wretched roofs in the crowded lanes of the city, Where distress and want concealed themselves from the sunlight, Where disease and sorrow in garrets languished neglected. Night after night, when the world was asleep, as the watchman repeated Loud, through the gusty streets, that all was well in the city, High at some lonely window he saw the light of her taper. Day after day, in the gray of the dawn, as slow through the suburbs Plodded the German farmer, with flowers and fruits for the market, Met he that meek, pale face, returning home from its watchings.
Then it came to pass that a pestilence fell on the city, Presaged by wondrous signs, and mostly by flocks of wild pigeons, Darkening the sun in their flight, with naught in their craws but an acorn. And, as the tides of the sea arise in the month of September, Flooding some silver stream, till it spreads to a lake in the meadow, So death flooded life, and, o'erflowing its natural margin, Spread to a brackish lake, the silver stream of existence. Wealth had no power to bribe, nor beauty to charm, the oppressor; But all perished alike beneath the scourge of his anger;— Only, alas! the poor, who had neither friends nor attendants, Crept away to die in the almshouse, home of the homeless. Then in the suburbs it stood, in the midst of meadows and woodlands; Now the city surrounds it; but still, with its gateway and wicket Meek, in the midst of splendor, its humble walls seem to echo Softly the words of the Lord:—"The poor ye always have with you." Thither, by night and by day, came the Sister of Mercy. The dying Looked up into her face, and thought, indeed, to behold there Gleams of celestial light encircle her forehead with splendor, Such as the artist paints o'er the brows of saints and apostles, Or such as hangs by night o'er a city seen at a distance. Unto their eyes it seemed the lamps of the city celestial, Into whose shining gates erelong their spirits would enter.
Thus, on a Sabbath morn, through the streets, deserted and silent, Wending her quiet way, she entered the door of the almshouse. Sweet on the summer air was the odor of flowers in the garden; And she paused on her way to gather the fairest among them, That the dying once more might rejoice in their fragrance and beauty. Then, as she mounted the stairs to the corridors, cooled by the east-wind, Distant and soft on her ear fell the chimes from the belfry of Christ Church, While, intermingled with these, across the meadows were wafted Sounds of psalms, that were sung by the Swedes in their church at Wicaco. Soft as descending wings fell the calm of the hour on her spirit; Something within her said, "At length thy trials are ended"; And, with light in her looks, she entered the chambers of sickness. Noiselessly moved about the assiduous, careful attendants, Moistening the feverish lip, and the aching brow, and in silence Closing the sightless eyes of the dead, and concealing their faces, Where on their pallets they lay, like drifts of snow by the roadside. Many a languid head, upraised as Evangeline entered, Turned on its pillow of pain to gaze while she passed, for her presence Fell on their hearts like a ray of the sun on the walls of a prison. And, as she looked around, she saw how Death, the consoler, Laying his hand upon many a heart, had healed it forever. Many familiar forms had disappeared in the night time; Vacant their places were, or filled already by strangers.
Suddenly, as if arrested by fear or a feeling of wonder, Still she stood, with her colorless lips apart, while a shudder Ran through her frame, and, forgotten, the flowerets dropped from her fingers, And from her eyes and cheeks the light and bloom of the morning. Then there escaped from her lips a cry of such terrible anguish, That the dying heard it, and started up from their pillows. On the pallet before her was stretched the form of an old man. Long, and thin, and gray were the locks that shaded his temples; But, as he lay in the in morning light, his face for a moment Seemed to assume once more the forms of its earlier manhood; So are wont to be changed the faces of those who are dying. Hot and red on his lips still burned the flush of the fever, As if life, like the Hebrew, with blood had besprinkled its portals, That the Angel of Death might see the sign, and pass over. Motionless, senseless, dying, he lay, and his spirit exhausted Seemed to be sinking down through infinite depths in the darkness, Darkness of slumber and death, forever sinking and sinking. Then through those realms of shade, in multiplied reverberations, Heard he that cry of pain, and through the hush that succeeded Whispered a gentle voice, in accents tender and saint-like, "Gabriel! O my beloved!" and died away into silence. Then he beheld, in a dream, once more the home of his childhood; Green Acadian meadows, with sylvan rivers among them, Village, and mountain, and woodlands; and, walking under their shadow, As in the days of her youth, Evangeline rose in his vision. Tears came into his eyes; and as slowly he lifted his eyelids, Vanished the vision away, but Evangeline knelt by his bedside. Vainly he strove to whisper her name, for the accents unuttered Died on his lips, and their motion revealed what his tongue would have spoken. Vainly he strove to rise; and Evangeline, kneeling beside him, Kissed his dying lips, and laid his head on her bosom. Sweet was the light of his eyes; but it suddenly sank into darkness, As when a lamp is blown out by a gust of wind at a casement.
All was ended now, the hope, and the fear, and the sorrow, All the aching of heart, the restless, unsatisfied longing, All the dull, deep pain, and constant anguish of patience! And, as she pressed once more the lifeless head to her bosom, Meekly she bowed her own, and murmured, "Father, I thank thee!"
Still stands the forest primeval; but far away from its shadow, Side by side, in their nameless graves, the lovers are sleeping. Under the humble walls of the little Catholic churchyard, In the heart of the city, they lie, unknown and unnoticed. Daily the tides of life go ebbing and flowing beside them, Thousands of throbbing hearts, where theirs are at rest and forever, Thousands of aching brains, where theirs no longer are busy, Thousands of toiling hands, where theirs have ceased from their labors, Thousands of weary feet, where theirs have completed their journey!
Still stands the forest primeval; but under the shade of its branches Dwells another race, with other customs and language. Only along the shore of the mournful and misty Atlantic Linger a few Acadian peasants, whose fathers from exile Wandered back to their native land to die in its bosom. In the fisherman's cot the wheel and the loom are still busy; Maidens still wear their Norman caps and their kirtles of homespun, And by the evening fire repeat Evangeline's story, While from its rocky caverns the deep-voiced, neighboring ocean Speaks, and in accents disconsolate answers the wail of the forest.
THE SEASIDE AND THE FIRESIDE
As one who, walking in the twilight gloom, Hears round about him voices as it darkens, And seeing not the forms from which they come, Pauses from time to time, and turns and hearkens;
So walking here in twilight, O my friends! I hear your voices, softened by the distance, And pause, and turn to listen, as each sends His words of friendship, comfort, and assistance.
If any thought of mine, or sung or told, Has ever given delight or consolation, Ye have repaid me back a thousand-fold, By every friendly sign and salutation.
Thanks for the sympathies that ye have shown! Thanks for each kindly word, each silent token, That teaches me, when seeming most alone, Friends are around us, though no word be spoken.
Kind messages, that pass from land to land; Kind letters, that betray the heart's deep history, In which we feel the pressure of a hand,— One touch of fire,—and all the rest is mystery!
The pleasant books, that silently among Our household treasures take familiar places, And are to us as if a living tongue Spice from the printed leaves or pictured faces!
Perhaps on earth I never shall behold, With eye of sense, your outward form and semblance; Therefore to me ye never will grow old, But live forever young in my remembrance.
Never grow old, nor change, nor pass away! Your gentle voices will flow on forever, When life grows bare and tarnished with decay, As through a leafless landscape flows a river.
Not chance of birth or place has made us friends, Being oftentimes of different tongues and nations, But the endeavor for the selfsame ends, With the same hopes, and fears, and aspirations.
Therefore I hope to join your seaside walk, Saddened, and mostly silent, with emotion; Not interrupting with intrusive talk The grand, majestic symphonies of ocean.
Therefore I hope, as no unwelcome guest, At your warm fireside, when the lamps are lighted, To have my place reserved among the rest, Nor stand as one unsought and uninvited!
BY THE SEASIDE
THE BUILDING OF THE SHIP
"Build me straight, O worthy Master! Stanch and strong, a goodly vessel, That shall laugh at all disaster, And with wave and whirlwind wrestle!"
The merchant's word Delighted the Master heard; For his heart was in his work, and the heart Giveth grace unto every Art.
A quiet smile played round his lips, As the eddies and dimples of the tide Play round the bows of ships, That steadily at anchor ride. And with a voice that was full of glee, He answered, "Erelong we will launch A vessel as goodly, and strong, and stanch, As ever weathered a wintry sea!" And first with nicest skill and art, Perfect and finished in every part, A little model the Master wrought, Which should be to the larger plan What the child is to the man, Its counterpart in miniature; That with a hand more swift and sure The greater labor might be brought To answer to his inward thought. And as he labored, his mind ran o'er The various ships that were built of yore, And above them all, and strangest of all Towered the Great Harry, crank and tall, Whose picture was hanging on the wall, With bows and stern raised high in air, And balconies hanging here and there, And signal lanterns and flags afloat, And eight round towers, like those that frown From some old castle, looking down Upon the drawbridge and the moat. And he said with a smile, "Our ship, I wis, Shall be of another form than this!" It was of another form, indeed; Built for freight, and yet for speed, A beautiful and gallant craft; Broad in the beam, that the stress of the blast, Pressing down upon sail and mast, Might not the sharp bows overwhelm; Broad in the beam, but sloping aft With graceful curve and slow degrees, That she might be docile to the helm, And that the currents of parted seas, Closing behind, with mighty force, Might aid and not impede her course.
In the ship-yard stood the Master, With the model of the vessel, That should laugh at all disaster, And with wave and whirlwind wrestle!
Covering many a rood of ground, Lay the timber piled around; Timber of chestnut, and elm, and oak, And scattered here and there, with these, The knarred and crooked cedar knees; Brought from regions far away, From Pascagoula's sunny bay, And the banks of the roaring Roanoke! Ah! what a wondrous thing it is To note how many wheels of toil One thought, one word, can set in motion! There's not a ship that sails the ocean, But every climate, every soil, Must bring its tribute, great or small, And help to build the wooden wall!
The sun was rising o'er the sea, And long the level shadows lay, As if they, too, the beams would be Of some great, airy argosy. Framed and launched in a single day. That silent architect, the sun, Had hewn and laid them every one, Ere the work of man was yet begun. Beside the Master, when he spoke, A youth, against an anchor leaning, Listened, to catch his slightest meaning. Only the long waves, as they broke In ripples on the pebbly beach, Interrupted the old man's speech.
Beautiful they were, in sooth, The old man and the fiery youth! The old man, in whose busy brain Many a ship that sailed the main Was modelled o'er and o'er again;— The fiery youth, who was to be the heir of his dexterity, The heir of his house, and his daughter's hand, When he had built and launched from land What the elder head had planned.
"Thus," said he, "will we build this ship! Lay square the blocks upon the slip, And follow well this plan of mine. Choose the timbers with greatest care; Of all that is unsound beware; For only what is sound and strong to this vessel stall belong. Cedar of Maine and Georgia pine Here together shall combine. A goodly frame, and a goodly fame, And the UNION be her name! For the day that gives her to the sea Shall give my daughter unto thee!"
The Master's word Enraptured the young man heard; And as he turned his face aside, With a look of joy and a thrill of pride, Standing before Her father's door, He saw the form of his promised bride. The sun shone on her golden hair, And her cheek was glowing fresh and fair, With the breath of morn and the soft sea air. Like a beauteous barge was she, Still at rest on the sandy beach, Just beyond the billow's reach; But he Was the restless, seething, stormy sea! Ah, how skilful grows the hand That obeyeth Love's command! It is the heart, and not the brain, That to the highest doth attain, And he who followeth Love's behest Far excelleth all the rest!
Thus with the rising of the sun Was the noble task begun And soon throughout the ship-yard's bounds Were heard the intermingled sounds Of axes and of mallets, plied With vigorous arms on every side; Plied so deftly and so well, That, ere the shadows of evening fell, The keel of oak for a noble ship, Scarfed and bolted, straight and strong Was lying ready, and stretched along The blocks, well placed upon the slip. Happy, thrice happy, every one Who sees his labor well begun, And not perplexed and multiplied, By idly waiting for time and tide!
And when the hot, long day was o'er, The young man at the Master's door Sat with the maiden calm and still. And within the porch, a little more Removed beyond the evening chill, The father sat, and told them tales Of wrecks in the great September gales, Of pirates coasting the Spanish Main, And ships that never came back again, The chance and change of a sailor's life, Want and plenty, rest and strife, His roving fancy, like the wind, That nothing can stay and nothing can bind, And the magic charm of foreign lands, With shadows of palms, and shining sands, Where the tumbling surf, O'er the coral reefs of Madagascar, Washes the feet of the swarthy Lascar, As he lies alone and asleep on the turf. And the trembling maiden held her breath At the tales of that awful, pitiless sea, With all its terror and mystery, The dim, dark sea, so like unto Death, That divides and yet unites mankind! And whenever the old man paused, a gleam From the bowl of his pipe would awhile illume The silent group in the twilight gloom, And thoughtful faces, as in a dream; And for a moment one might mark What had been hidden by the dark, That the head of the maiden lay at rest, Tenderly, on the young man's breast!
Day by day the vessel grew, With timbers fashioned strong and true, Stemson and keelson and sternson-knee, Till, framed with perfect symmetry, A skeleton ship rose up to view! And around the bows and along the side The heavy hammers and mallets plied, Till after many a week, at length, Wonderful for form and strength, Sublime in its enormous bulk, Loomed aloft the shadowy hulk! And around it columns of smoke, up-wreathing. Rose from the boiling, bubbling, seething Caldron, that glowed, And overflowed With the black tar, heated for the sheathing. And amid the clamors Of clattering hammers, He who listened heard now and then The song of the Master and his men:—
"Build me straight, O worthy Master. Stanch and strong, a goodly vessel, That shall laugh at all disaster, And with wave and whirlwind wrestle!"
With oaken brace and copper band, Lay the rudder on the sand, That, like a thought, should have control Over the movement of the whole; And near it the anchor, whose giant hand Would reach down and grapple with the land, And immovable and fast Hold the great ship against the bellowing blast! And at the bows an image stood, By a cunning artist carved in wood, With robes of white, that far behind Seemed to be fluttering in the wind. It was not shaped in a classic mould, Not like a Nymph or Goddess of old, Or Naiad rising from the water, But modelled from the Master's daughter! On many a dreary and misty night, 'T will be seen by the rays of the signal light, Speeding along through the rain and the dark, Like a ghost in its snow-white sark, The pilot of some phantom bark, Guiding the vessel, in its flight, By a path none other knows aright! Behold, at last, Each tall and tapering mast Is swung into its place; Shrouds and stays Holding it firm and fast!
Long ago, In the deer-haunted forests of Maine, When upon mountain and plain Lay the snow, They fell,—those lordly pines! Those grand, majestic pines! 'Mid shouts and cheers The jaded steers, Panting beneath the goad, Dragged down the weary, winding road Those captive kings so straight and tall, To be shorn of their streaming hair, And, naked and bare, To feel the stress and the strain Of the wind and the reeling main, Whose roar Would remind them forevermore Of their native forests they should not see again.
And everywhere The slender, graceful spars Poise aloft in the air, And at the mast-head, White, blue, and red, A flag unrolls the stripes and stars. Ah! when the wanderer, lonely, friendless, In foreign harbors shall behold That flag unrolled, 'T will be as a friendly hand Stretched out from his native land, Filling his heart with memories sweet and endless!
All is finished! and at length Has come the bridal day Of beauty and of strength. To-day the vessel shall be launched! With fleecy clouds the sky is blanched, And o'er the bay, Slowly, in all his splendors dight, The great sun rises to behold the sight.
The ocean old, Centuries old, Strong as youth, and as uncontrolled, Paces restless to and fro, Up and down the sands of gold. His beating heart is not at rest; And far and wide, With ceaseless flow, His beard of snow Heaves with the heaving of his breast. He waits impatient for his bride. There she stands, With her foot upon the sands, Decked with flags and streamers gay, In honor of her marriage day, Her snow-white signals fluttering, blending, Round her like a veil descending, Ready to be The bride of the gray old sea.
On the deck another bride Is standing by her lover's side. Shadows from the flags and shrouds, Like the shadows cast by clouds, Broken by many a sunny fleck, Fall around them on the deck.
The prayer is said, The service read, The joyous bridegroom bows his head; And in tear's the good old Master Shakes the brown hand of his son, Kisses his daughter's glowing cheek In silence, for he cannot speak, And ever faster Down his own the tears begin to run. The worthy pastor— The shepherd of that wandering flock, That has the ocean for its wold, That has the vessel for its fold, Leaping ever from rock to rock— Spake, with accents mild and clear, Words of warning, words of cheer, But tedious to the bridegroom's ear. He knew the chart Of the sailor's heart, All its pleasures and its griefs, All its shallows and rocky reefs, All those secret currents, that flow With such resistless undertow, And lift and drift, with terrible force, The will from its moorings and its course. Therefore he spake, and thus said he:— "Like unto ships far off at sea, Outward or homeward bound, are we. Before, behind, and all around, Floats and swings the horizon's bound, Seems at its distant rim to rise And climb the crystal wall of the skies, And then again to turn and sink, As if we could slide from its outer brink. Ah! it is not the sea, It is not the sea that sinks and shelves, But ourselves That rock and rise With endless and uneasy motion, Now touching the very skies, Now sinking into the depths of ocean. Ah! if our souls but poise and swing Like the compass in its brazen ring, Ever level and ever true To the toil and the task we have to do, We shall sail securely, and safely reach The Fortunate Isles, on whose shining beach The sights we see, and the sounds we hear, Will be those of joy and not of fear!"
Then the Master, With a gesture of command, Waved his hand; And at the word, Loud and sudden there was heard, All around them and below, The sound of hammers, blow on blow, Knocking away the shores and spurs. And see! she stirs! She starts,—she moves,—she seems to feel The thrill of life along her keel, And, spurning with her foot the ground, With one exulting, joyous bound, She leaps into the ocean's arms!
And lo! from the assembled crowd There rose a shout, prolonged and loud, That to the ocean seemed to say, "Take her, O bridegroom, old and gray, Take her to thy protecting arms, With all her youth and all her charms!"
How beautiful she is! How fair She lies within those arms, that press Her form with many a soft caress Of tenderness and watchful care! Sail forth into the sea, O ship! Through wind and wave, right onward steer! The moistened eye, the trembling lip, Are not the signs of doubt or fear.
Sail forth into the sea of life, O gentle, loving, trusting wife, And safe from all adversity Upon the bosom of that sea Thy comings and thy goings be! For gentleness and love and trust Prevail o'er angry wave and gust; And in the wreck of noble lives Something immortal still survives!
Thou, too, sail on, O Ship of State! Sail on, O UNION, strong and great! Humanity with all its fears, With all the hopes of future years, Is hanging breathless on thy fate! We know what Master laid thy keel, What Workmen wrought thy ribs of steel, Who made each mast, and sail, and rope, What anvils rang, what hammers beat, In what a forge and what a heat Were shaped the anchors of thy hope! Fear not each sudden sound and shock, 'T is of the wave and not the rock; 'T is but the flapping of the sail, And not a rent made by the gale! In spite of rock and tempest's roar, In spite of false lights on the shore, Sail on, nor fear to breast the sea Our hearts, our hopes, are all with thee, Our hearts, our hopes, our prayers, our tears, Our faith triumphant o'er our fears, Are all with thee,—are all with thee!
When descends on the Atlantic The gigantic Storm-wind of the equinox, Landward in his wrath he scourges The toiling surges, Laden with seaweed from the rocks:
From Bermuda's reefs; from edges Of sunken ledges, In some far-off, bright Azore; From Bahama, and the dashing, Silver-flashing Surges of San Salvador;
From the tumbling surf, that buries The Orkneyan skerries, Answering the hoarse Hebrides; And from wrecks of ships, and drifting Spars, uplifting On the desolate, rainy seas;—
Ever drifting, drifting, drifting On the shifting Currents of the restless main; Till in sheltered coves, and reaches Of sandy beaches, All have found repose again.
So when storms of wild emotion Strike the ocean Of the poet's soul, erelong From each cave and rocky fastness, In its vastness, Floats some fragment of a song:
Front the far-off isles enchanted, Heaven has planted With the golden fruit of Truth; From the flashing surf, whose vision Gleams Elysian In the tropic clime of Youth;
From the strong Will, and the Endeavor That forever Wrestle with the tides of Fate From the wreck of Hopes far-scattered, Tempest-shattered, Floating waste and desolate;—
Ever drifting, drifting, drifting On the shifting Currents of the restless heart; Till at length in books recorded, They, like hoarded Household words, no more depart.
Just above yon sandy bar, As the day grows fainter and dimmer, Lonely and lovely, a single star Lights the air with a dusky glimmer
Into the ocean faint and far Falls the trail of its golden splendor, And the gleam of that single star Is ever refulgent, soft, and tender.
Chrysaor, rising out of the sea, Showed thus glorious and thus emulous, Leaving the arms of Callirrhoe, Forever tender, soft, and tremulous.
Thus o'er the ocean faint and far Trailed the gleam of his falchion brightly; Is it a God, or is it a star That, entranced, I gaze on nightly!
THE SECRET OF THE SEA
Ah! what pleasant visions haunt me As I gaze upon the sea! All the old romantic legends, All my dreams, come back to me.
Sails of silk and ropes of sandal, Such as gleam in ancient lore; And the singing of the sailors, And the answer from the shore!
Most of all, the Spanish ballad Haunts me oft, and tarries long, Of the noble Count Arnaldos And the sailor's mystic song.
Like the long waves on a sea-beach, Where the sand as silver shines, With a soft, monotonous cadence, Flow its unrhymed lyric lines:—
Telling how the Count Arnaldos, With his hawk upon his hand, Saw a fair and stately galley, Steering onward to the land;—
How he heard the ancient helmsman Chant a song so wild and clear, That the sailing sea-bird slowly Poised upon the mast to hear,
Till his soul was full of longing, And he cried, with impulse strong,— "Helmsman! for the love of heaven, Teach me, too, that wondrous song!"
"Wouldst thou,"—so the helmsman answered, "Learn the secret of the sea? Only those who brave its dangers Comprehend its mystery!"
In each sail that skims the horizon, In each landward-blowing breeze, I behold that stately galley, Hear those mournful melodies;
Till my soul is full of longing For the secret of the sea, And the heart of the great ocean Sends a thrilling pulse through me.
The twilight is sad and cloudy, The wind blows wild and free, And like the wings of sea-birds Flash the white caps of the sea.
But in the fisherman's cottage There shines a ruddier light, And a little face at the window Peers out into the night.
Close, close it is pressed to the window, As if those childish eyes Were looking into the darkness, To see some form arise.
And a woman's waving shadow Is passing to and fro, Now rising to the ceiling, Now bowing and bending low.
What tale do the roaring ocean, And the night-wind, bleak and wild, As they beat at the crazy casement, Tell to that little child?
And why do the roaring ocean, And the night-wind, wild and bleak, As they beat at the heart of the mother, Drive the color from her cheek?
SIR HUMPHREY GILBERT
Southward with fleet of ice Sailed the corsair Death; Wild and fast blew the blast, And the east-wind was his breath.
His lordly ships of ice Glisten in the sun; On each side, like pennons wide, Flashing crystal streamlets run.
His sails of white sea-mist Dripped with silver rain; But where he passed there were cast Leaden shadows o'er the main.
Eastward from Campobello Sir Humphrey Gilbert sailed; Three days or more seaward he bore, Then, alas! the land-wind failed.
Alas! the land-wind failed, And ice-cold grew the night; And nevermore, on sea or shore, Should Sir Humphrey see the light.
He sat upon the deck, The Book was in his hand "Do not fear! Heaven is as near," He said, "by water as by land!"
In the first watch of the night, Without a signal's sound, Out of the sea, mysteriously, The fleet of Death rose all around.
The moon and the evening star Were hanging in the shrouds; Every mast, as it passed, Seemed to rake the passing clouds.
They grappled with their prize, At midnight black and cold! As of a rock was the shock; Heavily the ground-swell rolled.
Southward through day and dark, They drift in close embrace, With mist and rain, o'er the open main; Yet there seems no change of place.
Southward, forever southward, They drift through dark and day; And like a dream, in the Gulf-Stream Sinking, vanish all away.
The rocky ledge runs far into the sea, And on its outer point, some miles away, The Lighthouse lifts its massive masonry, A pillar of fire by night, of cloud by day.
Even at this distance I can see the tides, Upheaving, break unheard along its base, A speechless wrath, that rises and subsides In the white lip and tremor of the face.
And as the evening darkens, lo! how bright, Through the deep purple of the twilight air, Beams forth the sudden radiance of its light With strange, unearthly splendor in the glare!
Not one alone; from each projecting cape And perilous reef along the ocean's verge, Starts into life a dim, gigantic shape, Holding its lantern o'er the restless surge.
Like the great giant Christopher it stands Upon the brink of the tempestuous wave, Wading far out among the rocks and sands, The night-o'ertaken mariner to save.
And the great ships sail outward and return, Bending and bowing o'er the billowy swells, And ever joyful, as they see it burn, They wave their silent welcomes and farewells.
They come forth from the darkness, and their sails Gleam for a moment only in the blaze, And eager faces, as the light unveils, Gaze at the tower, and vanish while they gaze.
The mariner remembers when a child, On his first voyage, he saw it fade and sink; And when, returning from adventures wild, He saw it rise again o'er ocean's brink.
Steadfast, serene, immovable, the same Year after year, through all the silent night Burns on forevermore that quenchless flame, Shines on that inextinguishable light!
It sees the ocean to its bosom clasp The rocks and sea-sand with the kiss of peace; It sees the wild winds lift it in their grasp, And hold it up, and shake it like a fleece.
The startled waves leap over it; the storm Smites it with all the scourges of the rain, And steadily against its solid form Press the great shoulders of the hurricane.
The sea-bird wheeling round it, with the din Of wings and winds and solitary cries, Blinded and maddened by the light within, Dashes himself against the glare, and dies.
A new Prometheus, chained upon the rock, Still grasping in his hand the fire of Jove, It does not hear the cry, nor heed the shock, But hails the mariner with words of love.
"Sail on!" it says, "sail on, ye stately ships! And with your floating bridge the ocean span; Be mine to guard this light from all eclipse, Be yours to bring man nearer unto man!"
THE FIRE OF DRIFT-WOOD
DEVEREUX FARM, NEAR MARBLEHEAD
We sat within the farm-house old, Whose windows, looking o'er the bay, Gave to the sea-breeze, damp and cold, An easy entrance, night and day.
Not far away we saw the port, The strange, old-fashioned, silent town, The lighthouse, the dismantled fort, The wooden houses, quaint and brown.
We sat and talked until the night, Descending, filled the little room; Our faces faded from the sight, Our voices only broke the gloom.
We spake of many a vanished scene, Of what we once had thought and said, Of what had been, and might have been, And who was changed, and who was dead;
And all that fills the hearts of friends, When first they feel, with secret pain, Their lives thenceforth have separate ends, And never can be one again;
The first slight swerving of the heart, That words are powerless to express, And leave it still unsaid in part, Or say it in too great excess.
The very tones in which we spake Had something strange, I could but mark; The leaves of memory seemed to make A mournful rustling in the dark.
Oft died the words upon our lips, As suddenly, from out the fire Built of the wreck of stranded ships, The flames would leap and then expire.
And, as their splendor flashed and failed, We thought of wrecks upon the main, Of ships dismasted, that were hailed And sent no answer back again.
The windows, rattling in their frames, The ocean, roaring up the beach, The gusty blast, the bickering flames, All mingled vaguely in our speech.
Until they made themselves a part Of fancies floating through the brain, The long-lost ventures of the heart, That send no answers back again.
O flames that glowed! O hearts that yearned! They were indeed too much akin, The drift-wood fire without that burned, The thoughts that burned and glowed within.
BY THE FIRESIDE
There is no flock, however watched and tended, But one dead lamb is there! There is no fireside, howsoe'er defended, But has one vacant chair!
The air is full of farewells to the dying, And mournings for the dead; The heart of Rachel, for her children crying, Will not be comforted!
Let us be patient! These severe afflictions Not from the ground arise, But oftentimes celestial benedictions Assume this dark disguise.
We see but dimly through the mists and vapors; Amid these earthly damps What seem to us but sad, funereal tapers May be heaven's distant lamps.
There is no Death! What seems so is transition; This life of mortal breath Is but a suburb of the life elysian, Whose portal we call Death.
She is not dead,—the child of our affection,— But gone unto that school Where she no longer needs our poor protection, And Christ himself doth rule.
In that great cloister's stillness and seclusion, By guardian angels led, Safe from temptation, safe from sin's pollution, She lives, whom we call dead.
Day after day we think what she is doing In those bright realms of air; Year after year, her tender steps pursuing, Behold her grown more fair.
Thus do we walk with her, and keep unbroken The bond which nature gives, Thinking that our remembrance, though unspoken, May reach her where she lives.
Not as a child shall we again behold her; For when with raptures wild In our embraces we again enfold her, She will not be a child;
But a fair maiden, in her Father's mansion, Clothed with celestial grace; And beautiful with all the soul's expansion Shall we behold her face.
And though at times impetuous with emotion And anguish long suppressed, The swelling heart heaves moaning like the ocean, That cannot be at rest,—
We will be patient, and assuage the feeling We may not wholly stay; By silence sanctifying, not concealing, The grief that must have way.
All are architects of Fate, Working in these walls of Time; Some with massive deeds and great, Some with ornaments of rhyme.
Nothing useless is, or low; Each thing in its place is best; And what seems but idle show Strengthens and supports the rest.
For the structure that we raise, Time is with materials filled; Our to-days and yesterdays Are the blocks with which we build.
Truly shape and fashion these; Leave no yawning gaps between; Think not, because no man sees, Such things will remain unseen.
In the elder days of Art, Builders wrought with greatest care Each minute and unseen part; For the Gods see everywhere.
Let us do our work as well, Both the unseen and the seen; Make the house, where Gods may dwell, Beautiful, entire, and clean.
Else our lives are incomplete, Standing in these walls of Time, Broken stairways, where the feet Stumble as they seek to climb.
Build to-day, then, strong and sure, With a firm and ample base; And ascending and secure Shall to-morrow find its place.
Thus alone can we attain To those turrets, where the eye Sees the world as one vast plain, And one boundless reach of sky.
SAND OF THE DESERT IN AN HOUR-GLASS
A handful of red sand, from the hot clime Of Arab deserts brought, Within this glass becomes the spy of Time, The minister of Thought.
How many weary centuries has it been About those deserts blown! How many strange vicissitudes has seen, How many histories known!
Perhaps the camels of the Ishmaelite Trampled and passed it o'er, When into Egypt from the patriarch's sight His favorite son they bore.
Perhaps the feet of Moses, burnt and bare, Crushed it beneath their tread; Or Pharaoh's flashing wheels into the air Scattered it as they sped;
Or Mary, with the Christ of Nazareth Held close in her caress, Whose pilgrimage of hope and love and faith Illumed the wilderness;
Or anchorites beneath Engaddi's palms Pacing the Dead Sea beach, And singing slow their old Armenian psalms In half-articulate speech;
Or caravans, that from Bassora's gate With westward steps depart; Or Mecca's pilgrims, confident of Fate, And resolute in heart!
These have passed over it, or may have passed! Now in this crystal tower Imprisoned by some curious hand at last, It counts the passing hour,
And as I gaze, these narrow walls expand; Before my dreamy eye Stretches the desert with its shifting sand, Its unimpeded sky.
And borne aloft by the sustaining blast, This little golden thread Dilates into a column high and vast, A form of fear and dread.
And onward, and across the setting sun, Across the boundless plain, The column and its broader shadow run, Till thought pursues in vain.
The vision vanishes! These walls again Shut out the lurid sun, Shut out the hot, immeasurable plain; The half-hour's sand is run!
THE OPEN WINDOW
The old house by the lindens Stood silent in the shade, And on the gravelled pathway The light and shadow played.
I saw the nursery windows Wide open to the air; But the faces of the children, They were no longer there.
The large Newfoundland house-dog Was standing by the door; He looked for his little playmates, Who would return no more.
They walked not under the lindens, They played not in the hall; But shadow, and silence, and sadness Were hanging over all.
The birds sang in the branches, With sweet, familiar tone; But the voices of the children Will be heard in dreams alone!
And the boy that walked beside me, He could not understand Why closer in mine, ah! closer, I pressed his warm, soft hand!
KING WITLAF'S DRINKING-HORN
Witlaf, a king of the Saxons, Ere yet his last he breathed, To the merry monks of Croyland His drinking-horn bequeathed,—
That, whenever they sat at their revels, And drank from the golden bowl, They might remember the donor, And breathe a prayer for his soul.
So sat they once at Christmas, And bade the goblet pass; In their beards the red wine glistened Like dew-drops in the grass.
They drank to the soul of Witlaf, They drank to Christ the Lord, And to each of the Twelve Apostles, Who had preached his holy word.
They drank to the Saints and Martyrs Of the dismal days of yore, And as soon as the horn was empty They remembered one Saint more.
And the reader droned from the pulpit Like the murmur of many bees, The legend of good Saint Guthlac, And Saint Basil's homilies;
Till the great bells of the convent, From their prison in the tower, Guthlac and Bartholomaeus, Proclaimed the midnight hour.
And the Yule-log cracked in the chimney, And the Abbot bowed his head, And the flamelets flapped and flickered, But the Abbot was stark and dead.
Yet still in his pallid fingers He clutched the golden bowl, In which, like a pearl dissolving, Had sunk and dissolved his soul.
But not for this their revels The jovial monks forbore, For they cried, "Fill high the goblet! We must drink to one Saint more!"
By his evening fire the artist Pondered o'er his secret shame; Baffled, weary, and disheartened, Still he mused, and dreamed of fame.
'T was an image of the Virgin That had tasked his utmost skill; But, alas! his fair ideal Vanished and escaped him still.
From a distant Eastern island Had the precious wood been brought Day and night the anxious master At his toil untiring wrought;
Till, discouraged and desponding, Sat he now in shadows deep, And the day's humiliation Found oblivion in sleep.
Then a voice cried, "Rise, O master! From the burning brand of oak Shape the thought that stirs within thee!" And the startled artist woke,—
Woke, and from the smoking embers Seized and quenched the glowing wood; And therefrom he carved an image, And he saw that it was good.
O thou sculptor, painter, poet! Take this lesson to thy heart: That is best which lieth nearest; Shape from that thy work of art.
PEGASUS IN POUND
Once into a quiet village, Without haste and without heed, In the golden prime of morning, Strayed the poet's winged steed.
It was Autumn, and incessant Piped the quails from shocks and sheaves, And, like living coals, the apples Burned among the withering leaves.
Loud the clamorous bell was ringing From its belfry gaunt and grim; 'T was the daily call to labor, Not a triumph meant for him.
Not the less he saw the landscape, In its gleaming vapor veiled; Not the less he breathed the odors That the dying leaves exhaled.
Thus, upon the village common, By the school-boys he was found; And the wise men, in their wisdom, Put him straightway into pound.
Then the sombre village crier, Ringing loud his brazen bell, Wandered down the street proclaiming There was an estray to sell.
And the curious country people, Rich and poor, and young and old, Came in haste to see this wondrous Winged steed, with mane of gold.
Thus the day passed, and the evening Fell, with vapors cold and dim; But it brought no food nor shelter, Brought no straw nor stall, for him.
Patiently, and still expectant, Looked he through the wooden bars, Saw the moon rise o'er the landscape, Saw the tranquil, patient stars;
Till at length the bell at midnight Sounded from its dark abode, And, from out a neighboring farm-yard Loud the cock Alectryon crowed.
Then, with nostrils wide distended, Breaking from his iron chain, And unfolding far his pinions, To those stars he soared again.
On the morrow, when the village Woke to all its toil and care, Lo! the strange steed had departed, And they knew not when nor where.
But they found, upon the greensward Where his straggling hoofs had trod, Pure and bright, a fountain flowing From the hoof-marks in the sod.
From that hour, the fount unfailing Gladdens the whole region round, Strengthening all who drink its waters, While it soothes them with its sound.
I heard a voice, that cried, "Balder the Beautiful Is dead, is dead!" And through the misty air Passed like the mournful cry Of sunward sailing cranes.
I saw the pallid corpse Of the dead sun Borne through the Northern sky. Blasts from Niffelheim Lifted the sheeted mists Around him as he passed.
And the voice forever cried, "Balder the Beautiful Is dead, is dead!" And died away Through the dreary night, In accents of despair.
Balder the Beautiful, God of the summer sun, Fairest of all the Gods! Light from his forehead beamed, Runes were upon his tongue, As on the warrior's sword.
All things in earth and air Bound were by magic spell Never to do him harm; Even the plants and stones; All save the mistletoe, The sacred mistletoe!
Hoeder, the blind old God, Whose feet are shod with silence, Pierced through that gentle breast With his sharp spear, by fraud Made of the mistletoe, The accursed mistletoe!
They laid him in his ship, With horse and harness, As on a funeral pyre. Odin placed A ring upon his finger, And whispered in his ear.
They launched the burning ship! It floated far away Over the misty sea, Till like the sun it seemed, Sinking beneath the waves. Balder returned no more!
So perish the old Gods! But out of the sea of Time Rises a new land of song, Fairer than the old. Over its meadows green Walk the young bards and sing.
Build it again, O ye bards, Fairer than before! Ye fathers of the new race, Feed upon morning dew, Sing the new Song of Love!
The law of force is dead! The law of love prevails! Thor, the thunderer, Shall rule the earth no more, No more, with threats, Challenge the meek Christ.
Sing no more, O ye bards of the North, Of Vikings and of Jarls! Of the days of Eld Preserve the freedom only, Not the deeds of blood!
ON MRS. KEMBLE'S READINGS FROM SHAKESPEARE
O precious evenings! all too swiftly sped! Leaving us heirs to amplest heritages Of all the best thoughts of the greatest sages, And giving tongues unto the silent dead! How our hearts glowed and trembled as she read, Interpreting by tones the wondrous pages Of the great poet who foreruns the ages, Anticipating all that shall be said! O happy Reader! having for thy text The magic book, whose Sibylline leaves have caught The rarest essence of all human thought! O happy Poet! by no critic vext! How must thy listening spirit now rejoice To be interpreted by such a voice!
God sent his Singers upon earth With songs of sadness and of mirth, That they might touch the hearts of men, And bring them back to heaven again.
The first, a youth, with soul of fire, Held in his hand a golden lyre; Through groves he wandered, and by streams, Playing the music of our dreams.
The second, with a bearded face, Stood singing in the market-place, And stirred with accents deep and loud The hearts of all the listening crowd.
A gray old man, the third and last, Sang in cathedrals dim and vast, While the majestic organ rolled Contrition from its mouths of gold.
And those who heard the Singers three Disputed which the best might be; For still their music seemed to start Discordant echoes in each heart,
But the great Master said, "I see No best in kind, but in degree; I gave a various gift to each, To charm, to strengthen, and to teach.
"These are the three great chords of might, And he whose ear is tuned aright Will hear no discord in the three, But the most perfect harmony."
Take them, O Death! and bear away Whatever thou canst call thine own! Thine image, stamped upon this clay, Doth give thee that, but that alone!
Take them, O Grave! and let them lie Folded upon thy narrow shelves, As garments by the soul laid by, And precious only to ourselves!
Take them, O great Eternity! Our little life is but a gust That bends the branches of thy tree, And trails its blossoms in the dust!
FOR MY BROTHER'S ORDINATION
Christ to the young man said: "Yet one thing more; If thou wouldst perfect be, Sell all thou hast and give it to the poor, And come and follow me!"
Within this temple Christ again, unseen, Those sacred words hath said, And his invisible hands to-day have been Laid on a young man's head.
And evermore beside him on his way The unseen Christ shall move, That he may lean upon his arm and say, "Dost thou, dear Lord, approve?"
Beside him at the marriage feast shall be, To make the scene more fair; Beside him in the dark Gethsemane Of pain and midnight prayer.
O holy trust! O endless sense of rest! Like the beloved John To lay his head upon the Saviour's breast, And thus to journey on!
THE SONG OF HIAWATHA <Notes from HIAWATHA follow>
Should you ask me, whence these stories? Whence these legends and traditions, With the odors of the forest With the dew and damp of meadows, With the curling smoke of wigwams, With the rushing of great rivers, With their frequent repetitions, And their wild reverberations As of thunder in the mountains? I should answer, I should tell you, "From the forests and the prairies, From the great lakes of the Northland, From the land of the Ojibways, From the land of the Dacotahs, From the mountains, moors, and fen-lands Where the heron, the Shuh-shuh-gah, Feeds among the reeds and rushes. I repeat them as I heard them From the lips of Nawadaha, The musician, the sweet singer." Should you ask where Nawadaha Found these songs so wild and wayward, Found these legends and traditions, I should answer, I should tell you, "In the bird's-nests of the forest, In the lodges of the beaver, In the hoof-prints of the bison, In the eyry of the eagle! "All the wild-fowl sang them to him, In the moorlands and the fen-lands, In the melancholy marshes; Chetowaik, the plover, sang them, Mahng, the loon, the wild-goose, Wawa, The blue heron, the Shuh-shuh-gah, And the grouse, the Mushkodasa!" If still further you should ask me, Saying, "Who was Nawadaha? Tell us of this Nawadaha," I should answer your inquiries Straightway in such words as follow. "In the vale of Tawasentha, In the green and silent valley, By the pleasant water-courses, Dwelt the singer Nawadaha. Round about the Indian village Spread the meadows and the corn-fields, And beyond them stood the forest, Stood the groves of singing pine-trees, Green in Summer, white in Winter, Ever sighing, ever singing. "And the pleasant water-courses, You could trace them through the valley, By the rushing in the Spring-time, By the alders in the Summer, By the white fog in the Autumn, By the black line in the Winter; And beside them dwelt the singer, In the vale of Tawasentha, In the green and silent valley. "There he sang of Hiawatha, Sang the Song of Hiawatha, Sang his wondrous birth and being, How he prayed and how he fasted, How he lived, and toiled, and suffered, That the tribes of men might prosper, That he might advance his people!" Ye who love the haunts of Nature, Love the sunshine of the meadow, Love the shadow of the forest, Love the wind among the branches, And the rain-shower and the snow-storm, And the rushing of great rivers Through their palisades of pine-trees, And the thunder in the mountains, Whose innumerable echoes Flap like eagles in their eyries;— Listen to these wild traditions, To this Song of Hiawatha! Ye who love a nation's legends, Love the ballads of a people, That like voices from afar off Call to us to pause and listen, Speak in tones so plain and childlike, Scarcely can the ear distinguish Whether they are sung or spoken;— Listen to this Indian Legend, To this Song of Hiawatha! Ye whose hearts are fresh and simple, Who have faith in God and Nature, Who believe that in all ages Every human heart is human, That in even savage bosoms There are longings, yearnings, strivings For the good they comprehend not, That the feeble hands and helpless, Groping blindly in the darkness, Touch God's right hand in that darkness And are lifted up and strengthened;— Listen to this simple story, To this Song of Hiawatha! Ye, who sometimes, in your rambles Through the green lanes of the country, Where the tangled barberry-bushes Hang their tufts of crimson berries Over stone walls gray with mosses, Pause by some neglected graveyard, For a while to muse, and ponder On a half-effaced inscription, Written with little skill of song-craft, Homely phrases, but each letter Full of hope and yet of heart-break, Full of all the tender pathos Of the Here and the Hereafter;— Stay and read this rude inscription, Read this Song of Hiawatha!
On the Mountains of the Prairie, On the great Red Pipe-stone Quarry, Gitche Manito, the mighty, He the Master of Life, descending, On the red crags of the quarry Stood erect, and called the nations, Called the tribes of men together. From his footprints flowed a river, Leaped into the light of morning, O'er the precipice plunging downward Gleamed like Ishkoodah, the comet. And the Spirit, stooping earthward, With his finger on the meadow Traced a winding pathway for it, Saying to it, "Run in this way!" From the red stone of the quarry With his hand he broke a fragment, Moulded it into a pipe-head, Shaped and fashioned it with figures; From the margin of the river Took a long reed for a pipe-stem, With its dark green leaves upon it; Filled the pipe with bark of willow, With the bark of the red willow; Breathed upon the neighboring forest, Made its great boughs chafe together, Till in flame they burst and kindled; And erect upon the mountains, Gitche Manito, the mighty, Smoked the calumet, the Peace-Pipe, As a signal to the nations. And the smoke rose slowly, slowly, Through the tranquil air of morning, First a single line of darkness, Then a denser, bluer vapor, Then a snow-white cloud unfolding, Like the tree-tops of the forest, Ever rising, rising, rising, Till it touched the top of heaven, Till it broke against the heaven, And rolled outward all around it. From the Vale of Tawasentha, From the Valley of Wyoming, From the groves of Tuscaloosa, From the far-off Rocky Mountains, From the Northern lakes and rivers All the tribes beheld the signal, Saw the distant smoke ascending, The Pukwana of the Peace-Pipe. And the Prophets of the nations Said: "Behold it, the Pukwana! By the signal of the Peace-Pipe, Bending like a wand of willow, Waving like a hand that beckons, Gitche Manito, the mighty, Calls the tribes of men together, Calls the warriors to his council!" Down the rivers, o'er the prairies, Came the warriors of the nations, Came the Delawares and Mohawks, Came the Choctaws and Camanches, Came the Shoshonies and Blackfeet, Came the Pawnees and Omahas, Came the Mandans and Dacotahs, Came the Hurons and Ojibways, All the warriors drawn together By the signal of the Peace-Pipe, To the Mountains of the Prairie, To the great Red Pipe-stone Quarry. And they stood there on the meadow, With their weapons and their war-gear, Painted like the leaves of Autumn, Painted like the sky of morning, Wildly glaring at each other; In their faces stern defiance, In their hearts the feuds of ages, The hereditary hatred, The ancestral thirst of vengeance. Gitche Manito, the mighty, The creator of the nations, Looked upon them with compassion, With paternal love and pity; Looked upon their wrath and wrangling But as quarrels among children, But as feuds and fights of children! Over them he stretched his right hand, To subdue their stubborn natures, To allay their thirst and fever, By the shadow of his right hand; Spake to them with voice majestic As the sound of far-off waters, Falling into deep abysses, Warning, chiding, spake in this wise:— "O my children! my poor children! Listen to the words of wisdom, Listen to the words of warning, From the lips of the Great Spirit, From the Master of Life, who made you! "I have given you lands to hunt in, I have given you streams to fish in, I have given you bear and bison, I have given you roe and reindeer, I have given you brant and beaver, Filled the marshes full of wild-fowl, Filled the rivers full of fishes: Why then are you not contented? Why then will you hunt each other? "I am weary of your quarrels, Weary of your wars and bloodshed, Weary of your prayers for vengeance, Of your wranglings and dissensions; All your strength is in your union, All your danger is in discord; Therefore be at peace henceforward, And as brothers live together. "I will send a Prophet to you, A Deliverer of the nations, Who shall guide you and shall teach you, Who shall toil and suffer with you. If you listen to his counsels, You will multiply and prosper; If his warnings pass unheeded, You will fade away and perish! "Bathe now in the stream before you, Wash the war-paint from your faces, Wash the blood-stains from your fingers, Bury your war-clubs and your weapons, Break the red stone from this quarry, Mould and make it into Peace-Pipes, Take the reeds that grow beside you, Deck them with your brightest feathers, Smoke the calumet together, And as brothers live henceforward!" Then upon the ground the warriors Threw their cloaks and shirts of deer-skin, Threw their weapons and their war-gear, Leaped into the rushing river, Washed the war-paint from their faces. Clear above them flowed the water, Clear and limpid from the footprints Of the Master of Life descending; Dark below them flowed the water, Soiled and stained with streaks of crimson, As if blood were mingled with it! From the river came the warriors, Clean and washed from all their war-paint; On the banks their clubs they buried, Buried all their warlike weapons. Gitche Manito, the mighty, The Great Spirit, the creator, Smiled upon his helpless children! And in silence all the warriors Broke the red stone of the quarry, Smoothed and formed it into Peace-Pipes, Broke the long reeds by the river, Decked them with their brightest feathers, And departed each one homeward, While the Master of Life, ascending, Through the opening of cloud-curtains, Through the doorways of the heaven, Vanished from before their faces, In the smoke that rolled around him, The Pukwana of the Peace-Pipe!
The Four Winds
"Honor be to Mudjekeewis!" Cried the warriors, cried the old men, When he came in triumph homeward With the sacred Belt of Wampum, From the regions of the North-Wind, From the kingdom of Wabasso, From the land of the White Rabbit. He had stolen the Belt of Wampum From the neck of Mishe-Mokwa, From the Great Bear of the mountains, From the terror of the nations, As he lay asleep and cumbrous On the summit of the mountains, Like a rock with mosses on it, Spotted brown and gray with mosses. Silently he stole upon him, Till the red nails of the monster Almost touched him, almost scared him, Till the hot breath of his nostrils Warmed the hands of Mudjekeewis, As he drew the Belt of Wampum Over the round ears, that heard not, Over the small eyes, that saw not, Over the long nose and nostrils, The black muffle of the nostrils, Out of which the heavy breathing Warmed the hands of Mudjekeewis. Then he swung aloft his war-club, Shouted loud and long his war-cry, Smote the mighty Mishe-Mokwa In the middle of the forehead, Right between the eyes he smote him. With the heavy blow bewildered, Rose the Great Bear of the mountains; But his knees beneath him trembled, And he whimpered like a woman, As he reeled and staggered forward, As he sat upon his haunches; And the mighty Mudjekeewis, Standing fearlessly before him, Taunted him in loud derision, Spake disdainfully in this wise:— "Hark you, Bear! you are a coward; And no Brave, as you pretended; Else you would not cry and whimper Like a miserable woman! Bear! you know our tribes are hostile, Long have been at war together; Now you find that we are strongest, You go sneaking in the forest, You go hiding in the mountains! Had you conquered me in battle Not a groan would I have uttered; But you, Bear! sit here and whimper, And disgrace your tribe by crying, Like a wretched Shaugodaya, Like a cowardly old woman!" Then again he raised his war-club, Smote again the Mishe-Mokwa In the middle of his forehead, Broke his skull, as ice is broken When one goes to fish in Winter. Thus was slain the Mishe-Mokwa, He the Great Bear of the mountains, He the terror of the nations. "Honor be to Mudjekeewis!" With a shout exclaimed the people, "Honor be to Mudjekeewis! Henceforth he shall be the West-Wind, And hereafter and forever Shall he hold supreme dominion Over all the winds of heaven. Call him no more Mudjekeewis, Call him Kabeyun, the West-Wind!" Thus was Mudjekeewis chosen Father of the Winds of Heaven. For himself he kept the West-Wind, Gave the others to his children; Unto Wabun gave the East-Wind, Gave the South to Shawondasee, And the North-Wind, wild and cruel, To the fierce Kabibonokka. Young and beautiful was Wabun; He it was who brought the morning, He it was whose silver arrows Chased the dark o'er hill and valley; He it was whose cheeks were painted With the brightest streaks of crimson, And whose voice awoke the village, Called the deer, and called the hunter. Lonely in the sky was Wabun; Though the birds sang gayly to him, Though the wild-flowers of the meadow Filled the air with odors for him, Though the forests and the rivers Sang and shouted at his coming, Still his heart was sad within him, For he was alone in heaven. But one morning, gazing earthward, While the village still was sleeping, And the fog lay on the river, Like a ghost, that goes at sunrise, He beheld a maiden walking All alone upon a meadow, Gathering water-flags and rushes By a river in the meadow. Every morning, gazing earthward, Still the first thing he beheld there Was her blue eyes looking at him, Two blue lakes among the rushes. And he loved the lonely maiden, Who thus waited for his coming; For they both were solitary, She on earth and he in heaven. And he wooed her with caresses, Wooed her with his smile of sunshine, With his flattering words he wooed her, With his sighing and his singing, Gentlest whispers in the branches, Softest music, sweetest odors, Till he drew her to his bosom, Folded in his robes of crimson, Till into a star he changed her, Trembling still upon his bosom; And forever in the heavens They are seen together walking, Wabun and the Wabun-Annung, Wabun and the Star of Morning. But the fierce Kabibonokka Had his dwelling among icebergs, In the everlasting snow-drifts, In the kingdom of Wabasso, In the land of the White Rabbit. He it was whose hand in Autumn Painted all the trees with scarlet, Stained the leaves with red and yellow; He it was who sent the snow-flake, Sifting, hissing through the forest, Froze the ponds, the lakes, the rivers, Drove the loon and sea-gull southward, Drove the cormorant and curlew To their nests of sedge and sea-tang In the realms of Shawondasee. Once the fierce Kabibonokka Issued from his lodge of snow-drifts From his home among the icebergs, And his hair, with snow besprinkled, Streamed behind him like a river, Like a black and wintry river, As he howled and hurried southward, Over frozen lakes and moorlands. There among the reeds and rushes Found he Shingebis, the diver, Trailing strings of fish behind him, O'er the frozen fens and moorlands, Lingering still among the moorlands, Though his tribe had long departed To the land of Shawondasee. Cried the fierce Kabibonokka, "Who is this that dares to brave me? Dares to stay in my dominions, When the Wawa has departed, When the wild-goose has gone southward, And the heron, the Shuh-shuh-gah, Long ago departed southward? I will go into his wigwam, I will put his smouldering fire out!" And at night Kabibonokka, To the lodge came wild and wailing, Heaped the snow in drifts about it, Shouted down into the smoke-flue, Shook the lodge-poles in his fury, Flapped the curtain of the door-way. Shingebis, the diver, feared not, Shingebis, the diver, cared not; Four great logs had he for firewood, One for each moon of the winter, And for food the fishes served him. By his blazing fire he sat there, Warm and merry, eating, laughing, Singing, "O Kabibonokka, You are but my fellow-mortal!" Then Kabibonokka entered, And though Shingebis, the diver, Felt his presence by the coldness, Felt his icy breath upon him, Still he did not cease his singing, Still he did not leave his laughing, Only turned the log a little, Only made the fire burn brighter, Made the sparks fly up the smoke-flue. From Kabibonokka's forehead, From his snow-besprinkled tresses, Drops of sweat fell fast and heavy, Making dints upon the ashes, As along the eaves of lodges, As from drooping boughs of hemlock, Drips the melting snow in spring-time, Making hollows in the snow-drifts. Till at last he rose defeated, Could not bear the heat and laughter, Could not bear the merry singing, But rushed headlong through the door-way, Stamped upon the crusted snow-drifts, Stamped upon the lakes and rivers, Made the snow upon them harder, Made the ice upon them thicker, Challenged Shingebis, the diver, To come forth and wrestle with him, To come forth and wrestle naked On the frozen fens and moorlands. Forth went Shingebis, the diver, Wrestled all night with the North-Wind, Wrestled naked on the moorlands With the fierce Kabibonokka, Till his panting breath grew fainter, Till his frozen grasp grew feebler, Till he reeled and staggered backward, And retreated, baffled, beaten, To the kingdom of Wabasso, To the land of the White Rabbit, Hearing still the gusty laughter, Hearing Shingebis, the diver, Singing, "O Kabibonokka, You are but my fellow-mortal!" Shawondasee, fat and lazy, Had his dwelling far to southward, In the drowsy, dreamy sunshine, In the never-ending Summer. He it was who sent the wood-birds, Sent the robin, the Opechee, Sent the bluebird, the Owaissa, Sent the Shawshaw, sent the swallow, Sent the wild-goose, Wawa, northward, Sent the melons and tobacco, And the grapes in purple clusters. From his pipe the smoke ascending Filled the sky with haze and vapor, Filled the air with dreamy softness, Gave a twinkle to the water, Touched the rugged hills with smoothness, Brought the tender Indian Summer To the melancholy north-land, In the dreary Moon of Snow-shoes. Listless, careless Shawondasee! In his life he had one shadow, In his heart one sorrow had he. Once, as he was gazing northward, Far away upon a prairie He beheld a maiden standing, Saw a tall and slender maiden All alone upon a prairie; Brightest green were all her garments, And her hair was like the sunshine. Day by day he gazed upon her, Day by day he sighed with passion, Day by day his heart within him Grew more hot with love and longing For the maid with yellow tresses. But he was too fat and lazy To bestir himself and woo her; Yes, too indolent and easy To pursue her and persuade her; So he only gazed upon her, Only sat and sighed with passion For the maiden of the prairie. Till one morning, looking northward, He beheld her yellow tresses Changed and covered o'er with whiteness, Covered as with whitest snow-flakes. "Ah! my brother from the North-land, From the kingdom of Wabasso, From the land of the White Rabbit! You have stolen the maiden from me, You have laid your hand upon her, You have wooed and won my maiden, With your stories of the North-land!" Thus the wretched Shawondasee Breathed into the air his sorrow; And the South-Wind o'er the prairie Wandered warm with sighs of passion, With the sighs of Shawondasee, Till the air seemed full of snow-flakes, Full of thistle-down the prairie, And the maid with hair like sunshine Vanished from his sight forever; Never more did Shawondasee See the maid with yellow tresses! Poor, deluded Shawondasee! 'T was no woman that you gazed at, 'T was no maiden that you sighed for, 'T was the prairie dandelion That through all the dreamy Summer You had gazed at with such longing, You had sighed for with such passion, And had puffed away forever, Blown into the air with sighing. Ah! deluded Shawondasee! Thus the Four Winds were divided; Thus the sons of Mudjekeewis Had their stations in the heavens, At the corners of the heavens; For himself the West-Wind only Kept the mighty Mudjekeewis.