Imágenes de páginas

Where the ships, with their wavering shadows were riding at anchor.

Life had long been astir in the village, and clamorons labonr

Knocked with its hundred hands at the golden gates of the morning.

Now from the conntry aronnd, from the farms and the neighbonring hamlets,

Came in their holiday dresses the blithe Acadian peasants.

Many a glad good-morrow and jocons laugh from the yonng folk

.Made the bright air brighter, as up from the numerons meadows,

Where no path conld be seen bnt the track of wheels in the greeusward

Gronp after gronp appeared, and joined or passed on the highway.

Long ere noon, in the village all sonnds of labonr were silenced.

Thronged were the streets with the people; and noisy gronps at the honse-doors

Sat in the cheerful sun, and rejoiced and gossiped together.

Every honse was an Iun, and all were welcomed and feasted;

For with this simple people, who live like brothers together,

All things were held in common, and what one had was another's.

Yet under Benediet's roof hospitality seemed more abundant:

For Evangeline stood among the gnests of her father;

Fright was her face with smiles, and words of welcome and gladuess

Fell from her beantiful lips, and blessed the cup as she gave it.

Under the open sky. in the odorons air of the orehard.
Bending with golden fruit, was spread the feast of betrothal.
There in the shade of the poreh were the priest and the notary seated;
There good Benediet sat, and sturdy Basil the blacksmith.
Not far withdrawn from these by the cider-press and the bee-hives,
Michael tlic tiddler was placed, with the gayest of hearts and of waistcoats.
Shadow and light from the leaves alternately played on his suow-white
Hair, as it waved in the wind; and the jolly face of the fiddler
Glowed like a living coal when the ashes are blown from the embers.
Gully the old man sang to the vibrant sonnd of his fiddle,
To us Les Bonrgeois de Chartres, and Le Carillon de Dunkerqucy
And anon wltli his wooden shoes beat time to the umsic.
Merrily, merrily whirled the wheels of the dizzying dances
Under the orehard trees and down the path to the meadows;
Old folk and yonng together, and children mingled amongst them.
Fairest of all the maids was Evangeline, Benediet's daughter!
Noblest of all the yonths was Gabriel, sun of the blacksmith!

No passed the morning away. And lo! with a summous sonorons.
Sonnded the bell from Its tower, and over the meadows a drum beat,
Thronged ere long was the chureh with men. Withont, in the church-yard.
Waited the women. They stood by the graves, and hung on the head-stones
Garlands of antuum-leaves and evergreeus fresh from the forest.
Then came the guards from the ships, and marehing prondly among them
Entered the sacred portal. With lond and dissonant clangonr
Echoed the sonnd of their brazen drum from ceiling and casement,—
Echoed a moment ouly, and slowly the ponderous portal
Closed, and in silence the crowd awaited the will of the soldiers.
Then uprose their commander, and spake from the steps of the altar,
Holding aloft in his hands, with its seals, the royal commission.
"Yon are convened this day," lie said, " by his Majesty's orders,
Clement and kind has he been, bnt how have ye auswered his kinduess,
Let yonr own hearts reply! To my natural make and my temper
l'alnfm the task is I do, which to yon I Know umst he grievons.
Yet umst I bow and obey, and deliver the will of onr monareh;
Namely, that all yonr lands, and dwellings, and cattle of all kinds
Forfeited be to the crown; and that yon yonrselves from this province,
Be trausported to other lands. God grant yon may dwell there
Kver as faithful subjeets, a happy and pcacablc people;
Prisoners now I declare yon; for snch is his Majesty's pleasure!"
As, when the air is serene in the sultry solstice of summer,
Snddeuly gathers a storm, and the deadly sling of the hailstones
Beats down the farmer's corn in the field and shatters his windows,
Hiding the sun, and strewing the gronnd with thatch from the honse-roofs.
Bellowing fly the herds, and seek to break their inclosures;
So on the hearts of the people descended the words of the speaker,
Silent a moment they stood in speechiess wonder, and then rose
Londer, and ever londer a wall of sorrow and anger.
And, by one Impulse moved, they madly rushed to the doorway.
Vain was the hope of escape; and cries and fieree imprecatious
Bang throngh the honse of prayer; and high o'er the heads of the others
Bose, with his arms uplifted, the figure of Basil the blacksmith,
As, on a stormy sea, a spar is tossed by the billows.

Flushed was his face and distorted with passion; and wildly ho shonted.—
•' Down with the tyrants of England! we never have sworn them allegiance!
Heath to these foreigu soldiers, who seize on onr homes and onr harvests!"
More he fain wonld have said, bnt the mereiless hand of a soldier
Smote him upon the month, and dragged him down to the pavement.

In the midst of the strife and tuumlt of angry contention,
Lo! the door of the chancel opened, and Fat her Felician
Entered, with serions mien, and ascended the steps of the altar.
Raising his reverend hand with a gesture he awed into silence
All that clamorons throng; and thus he spake to his people;

Deep were hia tones and soleum; hi aecents measured ami monrnful
Spake he, as, after the toesin's alarum, distinetly the clock strikes,
"What is this that ye do, my children i what maduess has seized yon?
Forty years of my life have 1 labonred among you and taught yon,
>'ot in word alone, bnt in deed, to love one another!
Is this the fruit of my toils, of my vigils and prayers und privatious?
Have yon so soon forgotten all lessous of love tnwl forgiveness i
This is the honse of the Prince of Peace, and wonld yon profane it
Tims with violent deeds and hearts overflowing with haired t
Lo! where the crncified Christ from his cross is gazing upon yon!
See! in those sorrowful eyes what meekness and holy compassion!
Hark! how those lips still repeat the prayer. 'O Fat her, forgive them!'
Let us repeat that prayer in the honr when the wicked assail us,
Let us repeat it now, and say, 'O Father, forgive them!'"
Few were his words of rebuke, bnt deep in the hearts of his people
Sank they, and sobs of contrition sncceeded that passionate ontbreak;
And they'repeated his prayer, and said, " O Father, forgive them!"

Then came the evening service. The tapers gleamed from the altar
Fervent and deep was the voice of the priest, and the people responded.
Not with their lips ulore, bnt their hearts: and the Ave Muriu
Sang they, and fell on their knees, and their sonls, with devotion trauslated,
Rose on the ardonr of prayer, like Elijah ascending to heaven.

Meanwhile had spread in the village the tidings of ill, and on all sides Wandered wailing, from honse to honse the women and children. Long at her father's door Evangeline stood, with her right hand Shielding her eyes from the level rays of the sun. that, descending. Lighted the village street with mysterions splendonr ami roofed each Feasant's cottage with golden thatch, and emblazoned its windows. Long within had been spread the suow-white cloth on the table. There stood the wheaten loaf, and the honey fragrant witli flowers; There stood the tankard of ale. and the cheese fresh bronght from the dairy; And at the head of the board the great arm-chair of the farmer. Thus did Evangeline wait at her father's door, as the suuset Threw the long shadows of trees o'er the broad ambrosial meadows. Ah! on her spirit within a deeper shadow had fallen, And from the fields of her sonl a fragrance celestial ascended,— Charity, meekness, love and hope, and forgiveness and patience! Then, all-forgetful of self, she wandered into the village, Cheering with looks and words the discousolate hearts of the women, As o'er the darkening fields with lingering steps they departed. Urged by their honsehold cares, and the weary feet of their children. Down sunk the great red sun, and in golden, glimmering vaponrs Veiled the light of his face, like the Prophet descending from Sinai, Sweetly over the village, the bell of the Angelus sounded

Meanwhile amid the gloom, by the chureh Evangeline lingered. All was silent within; and in vain at the door and the windows Stood she, and listened and looked, until, overeome by emotion, "Gabriel!" cried she alond, with treumlons voice; bnt no auswer Came from the graves of the dead, nor the gloomier grave of the living. Slowly at length she returned to the tenant loss honse of her father. Smonldered the fire on the hearth, on the board stood the supper untastcd. Empty and drear was each room, and haunted with phantoms of terror. Sadly echoed her stop on the stair ami the floor of her chamber. In the dead of the night she heard the whispering rain fall Lond on the withered leaves of the sycamore-tree by the window. Keeuly the lightning flashed; and the voice of the echoing thunder Told her that God was in heaven, and governed the world he created! Then she remembered the tale she had heard of the justice of heaven! Soothed was her tronbled sonl, und she peacefully slumbered till morning.

Fonr times the sun had risen and set; and now on the fifth day
Cheerily called the cock to the sleeping maids of the farm-honse.
Soon o'er the yellow fields, in silent ami monrnful procession,
Came from the neighbonring hamlets and farms the Acadian women,
Driving in ponderons waius their honsehold goods to the sea-shore,
Pausing and looking back to gaze once more on their dwellings,
Ere they were shnt from sight by the winding road and the woodland.
Close at their sides the children ran, and urged on tha oxen.
While in their little hands they clasped some fragment of playthings.

Thus to the Gaspereau's month they hurried: and on the sea-beach,
Piled in confusion, lay the honsehold goods of the peasants.
All day long between the shore and the ships did the bonts ply
All day long the waius came labonring down from the village.
Late in the afternoon, when the sun was near to his setting.
Echoing far o'er the fields came the roll of drums from the churehyard.
Thither the women and children thronged. On a sndden the chureh doors
Opened, and forth came the guard, and marehing in gloomy procession,
Followed the long-imprisoned, bnt patient, Acadian farmers.
Even as pilgrims, who jonrnev afar from their homes and their conntry,

Sing as tney go, and in singing forget they are weary and way-worn

So with song on their lips the Acadian peasants descended

Down from the chureh to the shore, amid their wives and their daughters.

Foremost the yonng men came; and raising together their voices,

Sang they with treumlons lips a chant of the Catholic Missious:—

"Sacred heart of the Savionr! O inexhaustible fonntain!

Flll onr hearts this day with strength and submission and patience!"

Then the old men, as they marehed, and the women that stood by the way-side,

Joined in the sacred psaim, and the birds in the suushine above them

Mingled their notes therewith, like voices of spirits departed.

Half-way down to the shore Evangeline waited in silence,
Not overeome with grief, bnt strong in the honr of afflietion,—
Caimly and sadly waited, until the procession approached her,
As she beheld the face of Gabriel, pale with emotion,
Tears then rifled her eyes, and eagerly ruuning to meet him,
Clasped she his hands, and laid her head on his shonlder, and whispered,—
"Gaijriel! be of good cheer! for if we love one another.
Nothing, in trnth, can harm us, whatever mischances may happen!"
.Smiling she spake these words; then snddeuly paused, for her father
Saw she slowly advancing. Alas! how changed was bis aspeet!
Gone was the glow from his cheek, and the fire from bis eve, and his footstep
Heavier seemed with the weight of the weary heart in his bosom.
Bnt with a smile and a sigh, she clasped his neck and embraced him,
Speaking words of endearment where words of comfort availed not.
Thus to the Gaspereau's month moved on that monrnful procession.
There disorder prevailed, and the tuumlt and stir of embarking.
Busily plied the freighted boats; and in the confusion
Wives torn from their husbands, and mothers, too late saw theif children
Left on the land, extending their arms, with wildest entreaties.
So unto separate ships were Basil and Gabriel carried.
While in despair on the shore Evangeline stood with her father.
Half the task was not done when the sun went down, and the twilight
Deepened and darkened aronnd: and in haste the refluent ocean
Fled away from the shore, and left a liue of the sand-beach
Covered with waifs of the tide, with kelp and the slippery sen-weed.
Farther back, in the midst of the honsehold goods and the waggous,
I.ike to a gipsy camp, or a leagner after a battle,
All escape cnt off by the sea, and the sentinels near them,
Lay encamped for the night the honseless Acadian farmers.
Back to its nethermost caves retreated the bellowing ocean,
Dragging adown the beach the rattling pebbles, and leaving
Iuland and far up the shore the stranded boats of the sailors.
Then, as the night descended, the herds return from their pastures:
Sweet was the moist still air with the odonr of milk from their ndders:
Lowing they waited, and long, at the well-known bars of the farmvard,-
Waited and looked in vain for the voice and the hand of the milkmaid.
Silence reigued in the streets : from the chureh no Angelas sonnded,
ltose no smoke from the roofs, and gleamed no lights from the windows.

Bnt on the shores meanwhile the evening fires had been kindled.
Built of the drift-wood thrown on the sands from wrecks in the tempest,
lionnd them shapes of gloom and sorrowful faces were gathered,
Voices of women were heard, and of men, and the crying of children
Onward from fire to tire, as from hearth to hearth in'his parish,
Wandered the faithful priest, cousoling and blessing and eheering.
Like unto shipwrecked Paul on Melita's desolate sea-shore.
Thus he approached the place where Evangeline sat with her father.
And in the flickering light beheld the face of the old man,
Haggard and hollow and wan, and withont either thought or emotion,
E'en as the face of a clock from which the hands have been taken,
Vaiuly Evangeline strove with words and caresses to cheer him.
Vaiuly offered him food ; yet he moved not, he looked not, be spake not;
Bnt. with a vacant stare, ever gaxed at the flickering:fire-light,
"Benedtcite.'" umrumred the priest, in tones of compassion,
More he lain wouldhave said, bnt his heart was full, and his aecents
Faltered and paused on his lips, as the feet of a child on the threshold,
Hushed by the scene he beholds, and the awful presence of sorrow.
Silently, therefore, he laid his band on the head of the maiden.
Raising his eyes, full of tears, to the silent stars that above them
Moved on their way, unperturbed by the wrongs and sorrows of mortals.
Then sat he down at their side, and they wept together in silence.

Snddeuly rose from the sonth a light, as in antuum the blood-red
Moon climbs the crystal walls of heaven, and o'er the horizon
Titan-like stretches its hundred bands u'ion monntain and meadow
Seizing the rocks and the rivers, and piling huge shadows together.
Broader and ever broader it gleamed on the roofs of the village,
Gleamed on the sky and the sea, and the ships that lay in the roadstead.
Columus of shining smoke uprose, and flashes of flame wero
Thrust throngh their folds and withdrawn, like the quivering hands of a martyr
Then as the wind seized the gleeds, and the burning thatch, and uplifting,
Whirled them aloft throngh the air, at once from a hundred housetops
Started the sheeted smoke with flashes of flame intermingled.

These things beheld in dismay the crowd on the shore and on shipboard. Speechiess at first they stood, then cried alond in their anguish, "We shall behold no more onr homes in the village of Grnad-Pre"!" Lond on a sndden the cocks began to crow in the farm-yards, Thinking the day h"d dawned : and anon the lowing of cattle Came on the evening breeze; by the harking of dogs interrupted. Then rose a sonnd of dread, snch as startles the sleeping encampments Far in the western prairies or forests that skirt the Nebraska, When the wild horses affrighted sweep by with the speed of the whirlwind, Or the lond bellowing herds of buffaloes rush to the river. Snch was the sonnd that aros.? on the night, as the herds and the horses Broke throngh their folds and fences, and madly rushed o'er the meadnvs.

Overwheimed with the sight, yet speechiess, the priest and the maiden Gazed on the scene of terror that reddened and widened before them; And as they turned nt length to speak to their silent companion, Lol from his seat he had fallen, and stretched abroad on the sea-shore Motiouless lay his form, from which the sonl had departed. Slowly the priest uplifted the lifeless head, and the maiden Knelt at her father's side, and wailed alond in her terror. Then in a swoon she sank, and lay with her head in his bossm. Throngh the long night she lay in deep, oblivions slumber; And when she woke from the trance, she beheld a multitnde near her. Faces of friends she beheld, that were monrnfully gazing upon her, Pallid, with tearful eyes, and looks of saddest compassion. Still the blaze of the burning village illumined the landscape, Reddened the sky overhead, and gleamed on thu faces around her, And like the day*of doom it seemed to her wavering seuses. Then a familiar voice she heard, as it'said to the people. "Let us bury him here by the sea. When a happier season Brings us again to onr homes from the unknown land of our exile, Then shall his sacred dust bo pionsly laid in thechurehvard." snch were the words of the priest. And there in haste by the Ken-side, Having the glare of the burning village for funeral torehes, Bnt withont bell or book, they buried the farmer of Grand-Pro. And as the voice of the priest repeated the service of sorrow, Lo! with a monrnful sonnd, like the voice of a vast congregation, Solemuly auswered the sea, and mingled its roar with the dirges. 'Twas the returning tide, that afar from the waste of the ocean. With the first dawn of the day, came heaving and hurrying landward. Then recommenced once more the stir and noise of embarking: And with the ebb of that tide the ships sailed ont of the harbonr. Leaving behind them the dead on the shore, and the village in ruius.

Many a weary year had passed since the burning of Grand-Pre,

When on the falling tide the freighted vessels departed,

Hearing a nation, with all its honsehold gods, into exile,

Exile withont an end, and withont an example in story.

Far asunder, on separate coasts, the Acadiaus landed;

Scattered were they, like flakes of suow, when the wind from the north-cast

Strikes aslant throngh the fogs that darken the Banks of Newfonndland.

Friendless, homeless, hopeless, they wandered from city to city,

From the cold lakes oi the North to sultry Sonthern savaunas',—

From the bleak shores of the sea to the lands where the Father of Waters

Seizes the hills in his hands, and drags them down to the ocean,

I)eep in their sands to bury the scattered bones of the mammoth.

Friends they songht and homes ; and many, despairing, heart-broken,

Asked of the earth bnt a grave, and no longer a friend nor a fireside.

Written their history stands on tablets of stone in the churehyards.

Long among them was seen a maiden who waited and wandered,

Lowly and meek in spirit, and patiently suffering all things.

Fair was she and yonng; bnt, alas! before her extended.

Dreary and vast and silent, the desert of life, with its pathway

Marked by the graves of those who had sorrowed, and suffered before her,

Passious long extinguished, and hopes long dead and abandoned,

As the emigrant's way o'er the Western desert is marked by

Gamp-fires long cousumed, and bones that bleach in the suushine.

Something there was in her life incomplete, imperfeet, unfinished;

As if a morning of June, with all its umsic and suushine.

Snddeuly paused in the sky, and, fading, slowly descended

Into the east again, from whence it late had arisen.

Sometimes she lingered in towus, till, urged by the fever within her,

Urged by a restless longing, the hunger and thirst of the spirit, •

She wonld commence again her endless seareh and endeavonr;

Sometimes in churehyards strayed, and gazed on the crosses and tombstones,

Sat by some nameless grave, and-thonght that perhaps in its bosom

He was aiready at rest, and she longed to slumber beside him.

Sometimes a rumonr, a hearsay, an inarticulate whisper,

Caine With lts airy hand to point and beckon her forward.

Sometimes she spake with those who had seen her beloved and known hinl,

Bnt it was long ago, in some far-off place or forgotten,

"Gabriel Lajeuunesse!" said they; "O, yes! we have seen him.

lie was with Basil the blacksmith, and both have gone to the prairies;

Conreurs-des-lSois are they, and famons hunters and trappers.

"Gabriel Lajeunesse!" said others; "O, yes! we have .seen him,

He is a Voyageur in the lowlands of Lonisiana."

Then would they say,—" Dear child! why dream and wait for him longer?

See there not other yonths as fair as Gabriel? others

Who have hearts as tender and trne, and spirits as loyal?

Here is Baptlste Leblane, the notary's son, who has loved thee

Many a tedions year; come, give him thy hand and be happy!

Thon art too fair to be left to braid St. Catherine's tresses.

Then wonld Evangeline auswer, serenely bnt sadly,—"I caunot!

Whither my heart has gone, there follows my hand, and not elsewhere.

For when the heart goes before, like a lamp, and illumines the pathwav,

Many things are made clear, that else lie hidden in darkness."

And thereupon the priest, her friend and father-confessor,

Said, with a smile,—" O daughter! thy god thus speaketh within thee!

Talk not of wasted affeetion, affeetion never was wasted;

If it eurich not the heart of another, its waters, returning

Hack to their springs, like the rain, shall fill them full of refreshment;

That which the fonntain sends forth returus again to the fonntain

Patience; aecomplish thy labonr; aecomplish thy work of affeetion I

Sorrow and silence are strong, and patient endurance is godlike.

Therefore aecomplish thy labonr of love, till the heart is made godlike,

Purified, strengthened, perfeeted, and rendered mare worthy of heaven!

Cheered by the good man's words, Evangeline labonred and waited.

Still in her heart she heard the funeral dirge of the ocean.

Bnt with its sonnd there was mingled a voice that whispered, "Despair not J

Thus did that poor sonl wander in want and cheerless discomfort.

Bleeding, barefooted, over the shards and thorus of existence.

Let me essay, O Muse! to follow the wanderer's footsteps ;—

Not throngh each devions path, each changeful year of existence;

Bnt as a traveller follows a streamlet's conrse throngh the valley:

Far from its margin at times, and seeing the gleam of its water

Here and there, in some open space, and at intervals ouly;

Then drawing nearer its banks, throngh sylvan gloom that conceal it

Thongh he behold it not, he can hear its continuons umrumr;

Happy, at length, if he find the spot where it reaches an ontlet


It was the month of May. Far down the Beantiful River, Past the Ohio shore and past the month of the Wabash, Into the golden stream of the broad and swift Mississippi, Floated a cumbrons boat, that was rowed by Acadian boatmen. It was a band of exiles! a raft, as it were, from the shipwrecked Nation, scattered along the coast, now floating together, Bonnd by the bonds of a common belief and a common misfortune. Men and women and children, who, guided by hope or by hearsay; Songht for their kith and their kin among the few-acred farmers On the Acadian coast, and the prairies of fair Opolonsas. With them Evangeline went, and her guide, the Father Felician. Onward o'er sunken sands, throngh a wilderness sombre with forests, Day after day they glided adown the turbulent river; Night after night, oy their blazing fires, encamped on its borders. Now throngh rushing chntes, among green islands, -where plum-like Cotton-trees nodded their shaddowy crests, they swept with the current. Then emerged into broad lagoous, where silvery sand-bars Lay in the stream, and along the wimpling waves of their margin, Shining with suow-white plumes, large flocks of pelicaus waded, Level the landscape grew, and along the shores m the river, Shaded by china-trees, in the midst of luxuriant gardeus, Stood the honses of planters, with negro-cabius and dove-cots. They wero approaching the region where reigus perpetual summer, Where throngh the Golden Coast, and groves of orange and citron, Sweeps with majestic curve the river away to the eastward. They, too, swerved from their conrse; and, entering the Bayon of PI a quem I ne, Soon were lost in a maze of sluggish and devions waters, Which, like a network of steel, extended in every direetion. Over their heads the towering and tenebrons bonghs of the eypress Met in a dusky areh, and trailing mosses in mid air Waved like bauners that hang on the walls of ancient cathedrals. Deathiike the silence seemed, and uubroken, save by the herous Home to their roosts in the cedar trees returning at suuset. Or by the owl, us he greeted the moon with demoniac laughter. Lovely the moonlight was as it glanced and gleamed on the water. Gleamed on the columus of eypress and cedar, sustaining the arehes. Down throngh whose broken vaults it fell as throngh chinks in a ruin Dreamlike and indistinet, and strange were all things aronnd them; And o'er their spirits there came a feeling of wonder and saduess,— Strange forebodings of ill, uuseen and that caunot be compassed.

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