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THE SONG OF HIAWATIA.
INTRODUCTION. SHOULD you ask me, whence these stories? Whence these legends and traditions, With the odours 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 Dacotals, From the mountains, moors, and fenlands, Where the heron, the Shuh-shuh-gah,* Feeds among the reeds and rushes. I repeat them as I heard them Froin the lips of Nawadaha, The musician, the sweet singer.".
Should you ask where Nawadaha
"All the wild-fowl sang them to him,
If still further you should ask me,
"In the Vale of Tawasentha,
"And the pleasant water-courses,
* There he sang of Hiawatha,
That the tribes of inen might prosper,
Ye who love the haunts of Nature,
Ye who love a nation's legends,
Ye whose hearts are fresli and simpl.',
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!
Be the the
* See Vocabulary, at the end of Poem.
With his finger on the meadow
Listen to the words of warning, Traced a winding pathway for it,
From the lips of the Great Spirit, Saying to it, “Run in this way!"
From the Master of Life, who made you! From the red stone of the quarry
"I have given you lands to hunt in, With his hand he broke a fragment,
I have given you streams to fish in, Monlded it into a pipe-head,
I have given you bear and bison, Shaped and fashioned it with figures;
I have given you roe and reindeer, From the margin of the river
I have given you brant and beaver, Took a long reed for a pipe-stem,
Filled the marshes full of wild-foal, With its dark green leaves upon it;
Filled the rivers full of fishes; Filled the pipe with bark of willow;
Why then are you not contented ? With the bark of the red willow;
Why then will you hunt each other? Breathed upon the neighbouring forest,
"I am weary of your quarrels, Made its great boughs chafe together,
Weary of your wars and bloodshed, Till in flame they burst and kindled;
Weary of your prayers for vengeance, And erect upon the mountains,
Of your wrangling and dissensions; Gitche Manito, the mighty,
All your strength is in your union, Smoked the calumet, the Peace-Pipe,
All your danger is in discord; As a signal to the nations.
Therefore be at peace henceforward, And the smokerose slowly slowly
And as brothers live together. Through the tranquil air of morning,
"I will send a Prophet to you, First a single line of darkness, se me O dar nu
A Deliverer of the nations, Then a denser, bluer vapour,
Who shall guide you and shall teach you, Then a snow-white cloud unfo
Who shall toil and suffer with you. Like the tree-tops of the forest,
If you listen to his counsels, Ever rising, rising, rising,
You will multiply and prosper; Till it touched the top of heaven,
If his warnings pass unheeded, Till it broke aginst the heaven,
You will fade away and perish! And rolled outward all around it.
"Bathe now in the stream before you, From the Vale of Tawasentha,
Wash the war-paint from your faces, From the Valley of Wyoming,
Wash the blood-stains from your fingers, From the groves of Tuscaloosa,
Bury your war-clubs and your weapons, From the Far-off Rocky Mountains,
Break the red stone from this quarry, From the Northern lakes and rivers,
Monld and make it into Peace-Pipes, All the tribes beheld the signal,
Take the reeds that grow beside you, Saw the distant smoke ascending,
Deck them with your brighest feathers, The Pukwana of the Peace-Pipe.
Smoke the calumet together, All the Prophets of the nations
And as brothers live henceforward!" Said: "Behold it, the Pukwana !
Then upon the ground the warriors By this signal from afar off,
Threw their cloaks and skirts of deer-skin, Bending like a wand of willow,
Threw their weapons and their war-gear, Waving like a hand that beckons,
Leaped into the rushing river, Gitche Manito, the mighty,
Washed the war-paint from their faces. Calls the tribes of men together,
Clear above them flowed the water, Calls the warriors to his council!"
Clear and limpid from the footprints Down the rivers, o'er the prairies,
Of the Master of Life descending; Came the warriors of the nations,
Dark below them flowed the water, Came the Delawares and Mohawks,
Soiled and stained with streaks of crimson, Came the Choctaws and Camanches,
As if blood were mingled with it! Came the Shoshonies and Blackfeet,
From the river came the warriors, Came the Pawnees and Omawhaws,
Clean and washed from all their war-paint; Came the Mandans and Dacotans,
On the banks their clubs they buried, Came the Hurons and Ojibways,
Buried all their warlike weapons. All the warriors drawn together
Gitche Manito, the mighty, By the signal of the Peace-Pipe,
The Great Spirit, the Creator, To the Mountains of the Prairie,
Smiled upon his helpless children! To the great Red Pipe-stone Quarry.
And in silence all the warriors And they stood there on the meadow,
Broke the red stone of the quarry, With their weapons and their war-gear,
Smoothed and formed it into Peace-Pipes, Painted like the leaves of Autumn,
Broke the long reeds by the river, Painted like the sky of morning,
Decked them with their brightest feathers, Wildly glaring at each other;
And departed each one homeward, In their faces stern defiance,
While the Master of Life, ascending, In their hearts the feuds of ages,
Through the opening of cloud-curtains, The hereditary hatred,
Through the doorways of the heaven, The ancestral thirst of vengeance.
Vanished from before their faces, Gitche Manito, the mighty,
In the smoke that rolled around him,
The Pukwana of the Peace-Pipe!
THE FOUR WINDS. To subdue their stubborn natures,
"HONOUR be to Mudjekeewis !" To allay their thirst and fever,
Cried the warriors, cried the old men, By the shadow of his right hand;
When he came in triumph homeward
With the sacred Belt of Wampum,
From the regions of the North-wind,
From the kingdom of Wabasso, Warning, chiding, spake in this wise:
From the land of the White Rabbit, "O my children! my poor children!
He had stolen the belt of Wampum Listen to the words of wisdom,
From the neck of Mishe-Mokwa,
From the Great Bear of the mountains,
Though the forests and the rivers From the terror of the nations,
Sang and shouted at his coming, As he lay asleep and cumbrous
Still his heart was sad within him. On the summit of the mountains,
For he was alone in heaven Like a rock with mosses on it,
But one morning, gazing earthward, Spotted brown and gray with mosses.
While the village still was sleeping, Silently he stole upon him,
And the fog lay on the river, Till the red nails of the monster
Like a ghost that goes at sunrise, Alinost touched him, almost scared him,
He beheld a maiden walking Till the hot breath of his nostrils
All alone upon a meadow. Warmed the hands of Mudjekeewis,
Gathering water-flags and rushes As he drew the belt of Wampum
By a river in the meadow. Over the round ears, that hear not,
Every morning, gazing earthward, Over the small eyes, that saw not,
Still the first thing he beheld there Over the long nose and nostrils,
Was her blue eyes looking at him, The black muffle of the nostrils,
Two blue lakes among the rushes.
. Out of which the heavy breathing
And he loved the lonely maiden, Warmed the hands of Mudjekeewis,
Who thus waited for his coming; Then he swung aloft his war-club,
For they both were solitary, Shouted loud and long his war-cry,
She on earth and he in heaven. Smote the mighty Mishe-Mokwa
And he wooed her with caresses, In the middle of the forehead,
Wooed her with his smile of sunshine. Right between the eyes he smote him.
With his flattering words he wooed her, With the heavy blow bewildered,
With his sighing and his singing, Rose the Great Bear of the mountains;
Gentlest whispers in the branches, But his knees beneath him trembled,
Softest music, sweetest odours, And he whimpered like a woman,
Till he drew her to his bosom, And he reeled and staggered forward,
Folded in his robes of crimson, As he sat upon his haunches;
Till into a star he changed her, And the mighty Mudjekeewis,
Trembling still upon his bosom; Standing fearlessly before him,
And for ever in the heavens Taunted him in loud derision,
They are seen together walking, Spake disdainfully in this wise :
Wabun and the Wabun-Annung, Hark you, Bear! you are a coward,
Wabun and the Star of Morning And no Brave, as you pretended;
But the fierce Kabibonokka Else you would not cry and whimper
Had his dwelling among icebergs. Like a miserable woman!
In the everlasting snow-drifts, Bear! you know our tribes are hostile,
In the kingdom of Wabasso, Long have been at war together;
In the land of the White Rabbit. Now you find that we are strongest,
He it was whose hand in Autumn You go sneaking in the forest,
Painted all the trees with scarlet, You go hiding in the mountains !
Stained the leaves with red and yellow; Had you conquered me in battle
He it was who sent the snow-flakes, Not a groan would I have uttered;
Sifting, hissing through the forest, But you, Bear! sit here and whimper,
Froze the ponds, the lakes, the rivers, And disgrace your tribe by crying,
Drove the loon and sea-gull southward Like a wretched Shaugodaya,
Drove the cormorant and heron Like a cowardly old woman!"
To their nests of sedge and sea-tang Then again he raised his war-club,
In the realms of Shawondasee. Smote again the Mishe-Mokwa
Once the fierce Kabibonokka In the middle of his forehead,
Issued from his lodge of snow-drifts, Broke his skull, as ice is broken
From his home among the icebergs, When one goes to fish in Winter.
And his hair, with snow besprinkled, Thus was slain the Mishe-Mokwa,
Streamed behind him like a river, He the Great Bear of the Mountains,
Like a black and wintry river, He the terror of the nations.
As he howled and hurried southward, "Honour be to Mudjekeewis !"
Over frozen lakes and moorlands. Henceforth he shall be the West-Wind,
There among the reeds and rushes And hereafter and for ever
Found he Shingebis, the diver, Shall he hold supreme dominion
Trailing strings of fish behind him, Over all the winds of heaven.
O'er the frozen fens and moorlands, Call him no more Mudjekeewis,
Lingering still among the moorlands, Call him Kabeyun, the West-Wind!"
Though his tribe had long departed Thus was Mudjekeewis chosen
To the land of Shawondasee. Father of the Winds of Heaven.
Cried the fierce Kabibonokka, For himself he kept the West-Wind,
“Who is this that dares to brave me? Gave the others to his children;
Dares to stay in my dominions Unto Wabun gave the East-Wind,
When the Wawa has departed, Gave the South to Shawondasee,
When the wild-goose has gone southward, And the North-Wind, wild and cruel,
And the heron, the Shuh-shuh-gah, To the fierce Kabibonokka.
Long ago departed southward ? Young and beautiful was Wabun;
I will go into his wigwam, He it was who brought the morning,
I will put his smouldering fire out!" He it was whose silver arrows
And at night Kabibonokka Chased the dark o'er hill and valley;
To the lodge came wild and wailing, He it was whose cheeks were painted
Heaped the snow in drifts about it, With the brightest streaks of crimson,
Shouted down into the smoke-flue, And whose voice awoke the village,
Shook the lodge-poles in his fury, Called the deer, and called the hunter.
Flapped the curtain of the doorway. Lonely in the sky was Wabun:
Shingebis, the diver, feared not, Though the birds sang gaily to him,
Shingebis, the diver, cared not; Though the wild-lowers of the meadow,
Four great logs had he for fire-wood, Filled the air with odours for him,
1 One for each moon of the winter,
To come forth angebis, thehicker,',
And for food the fishes served him.
To bestir himself and woo her; By his blazing fire he sat there,
Yes, too indolent and easy Warm and merry, eating, laughing,
To pursue her and persuade her, Singing, “ O Kabibonokka,
So he only gazed upon her. You are but my fellow-mortal!"
Only sat and sighed with passion The Kabibonokka entered,
For the maiden of the prairie. And though Shingebis, the diver,
Till one morning, looking northward, Felt his presence by the coldness,
He beheld her yellow tresses Felt his icy breath upon him,
Changed and covered o'er with whiteness, Still he did not cease his singing,
Covered as with whitest snow-flakes. Still he did not leave his laughing,
"Ah! my brother from the North-land, Only turned the log a little,
From the kingdom of Wabasso, Only made the fire burn brighter,
From the land of the White Rabbit! Made the sparks fly up the smoke-flue.
You have stolen the maiden from me, From Kabibonokka's forehead,
You have laid your hand upon her,
ng upon her From his snow-besprinkled tresses,
You have wooed and won my maiden, Drops of sweat fell fast and heavy,
With your stories of the North-land ! Making dints upon the ashes,
Thus the wretched Shawondasee As along the eaves of lodges,
Breathed into the air his sorrow: As from drooping boughs of hemlock,
And the South-Wind o'er the prairie Drips the melting snow in spring-time,
Wandered warm with signs of passion, Making hollows in the snow-drifts.
With the sighs of Shawondasee, Till at last he rose defeated,
Till the air seemed full of snow-flakes, Could not bear the heat and laughter,
Full of thistle-down the prairie, Could not bear the merry singing,
And the maid with hair like sunshine But rushed headlong through the doorway Vanished from his sight for ever; Stamped upon the crusted snow-drifts,
Never more did Shawondasee Stamped upon the lakes and rivers,
See the maid with yellow tresses! Made the snow upon them harder,
Poor deluded Shawondasee! Made the ice upon them thicker,
'Twas no woman that you gazed at, Challenged Shingebis, the diver,
'Twas no maiden that you sighed for, To come forth and wrestle with him,
'Twas the prairie dandelion To come forth and wrestle naked
That through all the dreamy Summer On the frozen fens and moorlands.
You had gazed at with such longing, Forth went Shingebis, the diver,
You had sighed for with such passion, Wrestled all night with the North-Wind
And had puffed away for ever, Wrestled naked on the moorlands
Blown into the air with sighing. With the fierce Kabibonokka,
Ah! deluded Shawondasee! Till his panting breath grew fainter,
Thus the Four Winds were divided; Till his frozen grasp grew feebler,
Thus the sons of Madjekeewis Till he reeled and staggered backward,
Had their stations in the heavens, And retreated, baffled, beaten,
At the corners of the heavens: To the kingdom of Wabasso,
For himself the West-Wind only
Kept the mighty Mudjekeewis.
DOWNWARD through the evening twilight, In the never-ending summer.
In the days that are forgotten, He it was who sent the wood-birds,
In the unremembered ages Sent the robin, the Opechee,
From the full moon fell Nokomis, Sent the blue-bird, the Owaissa,
Fell the beautiful Nokomis, Sent the Shawshaw, sent the swallow,
She a wife, but not a mother. Sent the wild-goose, Wawa, northward,
She was sporting with her women, Sent the melons and tobacco,
Swinging in a swing of grape-vines, And the grapes in purple clusters.
When her rival, the rejected, From his pipe the smoke ascending
Full of jealousy and hatred, Filled the sky with haze and vapour,
Cut the leafy swing asunder, Filled the air with dreamy softness,
Cut in twain the twisted grape-vines, Gave a twinkle to the water,
And Nokomis fell affrighted Tonched the rugged hills with smoothness, Downward through the evening twilight, Brought the tender Indian summer,
On the Muskoday, the meadow, In the Moon when nights are brightest,
On the prairie full of blossoms. In the dreary Moon of Snow-shoes,
“See! a star falls !" said the people; Listless, careless Shawondasee !
"From the sky a star is falling! In his life he had one shadow,
There among the ferns and mossos, In his heart one sorrow had he.
There among the prairie lilies, Once, as he was gazing northward,
On the Muskoday, the meadow, Far away upon a prairie,
In the moonlight and the starlight, He beheld a maiden standing,
Fair Nokomis bore a daughter. Saw a tall and slender maiden
And she called her name Wenonah,07 All alone upon a prairie,
As the first-born of her daughters. Brightest green were all her garments.
And the daughter of Nokomis
i And her hair was like the sunshine.
Grew up like the prairie lilies, pod Day by day he gazed upon her,
Grew a tall and slender maiden. Day by day he sighed with passion,
With the beauty of the moonlight, Day by day his heart within him
With the beauty of the starlight. Grew inore hot with love and longing
And Nokomis warned her often, For the inaid with yellow tresses.
Saying oft, and oft repeating, But he was too fat and lazy
"O, beware of Mudjekeewis;
IVS thereautifuowers in
er the name
Of the West-Wind, Mudjekeewis:
Saw the moon rise from the water Listen not to what he tells you;
Rippling, rounding from the water, Lie not down upon the meadow,
Saw the flecks and shadows on it, Stoop not down among the lilies,
Whispered, "What is that, Nokomis?" Lest the West-Wind come and harm you!" And the good Nokomis answered: But she heeded not the warning,
"Once a warrior", very angry, Ieeded not those words of wisdom,
Seized his grandmother, and threw her And the West-Wind came at evening,
Up into the sky at midnight; Walking lightly o'er the prairie,
Right against the moon he threw her; Whispering to the leaves and blossoms,
"Tis her body that you see there." Bending low the flowers and grasses,
Saw the rainbow in the heaven, Found the beautiful Wenonah,
In the eastern sky, the rainbow, Lying there among the lilies,
Whispered, “What is that, Nokomis?" Wooed her with his words of sweetness.
And the good Nokomis answered: Wooed her with his soft caresses,
'Tis the heaven of flowers you see there; Till she bore a son in sorrow,
All the wild-flowers of the forest, Bore a son of love and sorrow.
All the lilies of the prairie, Thus was born my Hiawatha,
When on earth they fade and perisli, Thus was born the child of wonder;
Blossom in that heaven above us.' But the daughter of Nokomis,
When he heard the owls at midnight, Hiawatha's gentle mother,
Hooting, laughing in the forest, In her anguish died deserted
" What is that?" he cried in terror; By the West-Wind, false and faithless,
“What is that?" he said, "Nokomis?" By the heartless Mudjekeewis.
And the good Nokom is answered: For her daughter, long and loudly
"That is but the owland owlet, Wailed and wept the sad Nokomis;
Talking in their native language, * ( that I were dead!" she murmured,
Talking, scolding at each oiher "O that I were dead, as thou art !
Then the little Hiawatha No more work, and no more weeping,
Learned of every bird its language, Wahonomin, Wahonomin!"
Learned their names and all their secrets, By the shores of Gitche Gumee,
How they built their nests in Summer, By the shining Big-Sea-Water
Where they hid themselves in Winter, Stood the wigwam of Nokomis,
Talked with them whene'er he met then', Daughter of the Moon, Nokomis.
Called them Hiawatha's Chickens." Dark behind it rose the forest,
Of all beasts he learned the language, Rose the black and gloomy pine-trees,
Learned their names and all their secrets, Rose the firs with cones upon them;
How the beavers built their lodges, Bright before it beat the water,
Where the squirrels hid their acorns, Beat the clear and sunny water,
How the reindeer ran so swiftly, Beat the shining Big-Sea-Water.
Why the rabbit was so timid, There the wrinkled, old Nokomis,
Talked with them whene'er he met them, Nursed the little Hiawatha,
Called them “Hiawatha's Brothers." Rocked him in his linden cradle,
Then Iagoo, the great boaster, Bedded soft in moss and rushes,
He the marvellons story-teller, Safely bound with reindeer sinews;
He the traveller and the talker, Stilled his fretful wail by saying,
He the friend of old Nokomis, "Hush! the Naked Bear will get thec!"
Made a bow for Hiewatha; Lulled him into slumber, singing,
From a branch of ash he made it, * Ewa-yea; my little owlet;
From an oak-bow made the arrows, Who is this, that lights the wigwam ?
Tipped with flint, and winged with feathers, With his great eyes lights the wigwam?
And the cord he made of deer-skin. Ewa-yea! my little owlet!"
Then he said to Hiawatha: Many things Nokomis taught him
“Go, my son, into the forest, Of the stars that shine in heaven;
Where the red deer herd together, Showed him Ishkoodah, the comet,
Kill for us a famous roebuck, Ishkoodah, with fiery tresses:
Kill for us a deer with antlers!"
Forth into the forest straightway
Proudly, with his bow and arrows;
And the birds sang round him, o'er him, Showed the broad, white road in heaven,
"Do not shoot us, Hiawatha!" Pathway of the ghosts, the shadows,
Sang the Robin, the Opechee, Running straight across the heavens,
Sang the blue-bird, the Owaissa, Crowded with the ghosts, the shadows.
"Do not shoot us, Hiawatha!" At the door on summer evenings
Up the oak-tree, close beside him, Sat the little Hiawatha;
Sprang the sanirrel, Adjidarmo, Heard the whispering of the pine-trees,
In and out among the branches, Heard the lapping of the Water,
Coughed and chattered from the oak-tree, Sounds of music, words of wonder;
Laughed, and said between his laughing. * Minne-wawa!" said the pine-trees,
"Do not shoot me, Hiawatha!" Mudway-aushka!" said the water.
And the rabbit from his pathway Saw the firefly, Wah-wah-taysee,
Leaped aside, and at a distance Flitting through the dusk of evening,
Sat erect upon his haunches, With the twinkle of its candle
Half in fear and half in frolic, Lighting up the brakes and bushes,
Saying to the little hunter, And he sang the song of children,
"Do not shoot me, Hiawatha!" Sang the song Nokomis taught him :
But he heeded not nor heard them, * Wah-wah-taysee, little firefly,
For his thoughts were with the red deer': Little, flittiny, white-fire insect,
On their tracks his eyes were fastened, Little, dancing, white-fire creature,
Leading downward to the river, Light me with your little candle,
To the ford across the river, Ere upon my bed I lay me,
And as one in slumber walked he. Ere in sleep I close my eyelids !"
Hidden in the elder-bushes,
Pronine shoviniran wanesid