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13 y the brands that still were burning,
By the glimmering, flickering fire-light,
Heard a sighing, oft repeated,
Heard a sobbing, as of sorrow.
From his couch rose Hiawatha,
From his shaggy hides of bison,
Pushed aside the deer-skin curtain,
Saw the pallid guests, the shadows
Sitting upright on their couches,
Weeping in the silent midnight.
And he said: “O guests' why is it
That your hearts are so afflicted,
That you sob so in the midnight?
Has perchance the old Nokomis,
Has my wife, my Minnehaha,
Wronged or grieved you by unkindness,
Failed in hospitable duties?
Then the sliadows ceased from weeping,
“eased from sobbing and lamenting,
And they said, with gentle voices:
“We are ghosts of the departed,
Souls of those who once were with you.
From the realms of Chibiabos
Hither have we come to try you,
Hither have we come to warn you.
“Cries of grief and lamentation
Reach us in the lolessed Islands;
Cries of anguish from the living,
Calling back their friends departed,
Sadden us with useless sorrow ;
Therefore have we come to try you;
No one knows us, no one heeds us.
We are but a burden to you,
And we see that the departed
Have no place among the living.
“Think of this, O Hiawatha!
Speak of it to all the |.
nat henceforward and for ever
They no more with lamentations
Sadden the souls of the departed
In the Islands of the Blessed.
“Do not lay such heavy burdens
In the graves of those you bury,
Not such weight of furs and wanpum,
Not such weight of pots and kettles,
For the spirits faint beneath theim.
Only give them food to carry
only give them fire to light them.
* Four days is the spirit's journey
To the land of ghosts and shadows,
Four its lonely night encampments:
Four times must their fires be lighted.
Therefore, whon the dead are buried,
Let a fire, as night approaches,
Four times on the grave be kindled.
That the soul upon its journey
May not lack the cheerful fire-light,
May not grope about in darkness.
“Farewell, noble Hiawatha :
We have put you to the trial,
To the proof have put your patience,
I3y the insult of our presence,
Bo, the outrage of our actions.
We have found you great and noble.
Fail not in the greater trial,
Faint not in the harder struggle.”
When they ceased, a sudden darkness
Fell and filled thc silent wigwam.
Hittwatha heard a rmstle
As of garments trailing by him,
Heard the curtain of the doorway
Lifted by a hand he saw not;
Felt the cold breath of the air,
For a moment saw the starlight :
But he saw the ghosts no longer,
Saw no more the wandering spirits
From the kingdom of Ponemah,
From the land of the IIereafter,
O THE long and dreary Winter!
O the cold and cruel Winter :
Ever thicker, thicker, thicker
Froze the ice on lake and river,
Ever deeper, deeper, deeper
Fell the show o'cr all the landscape,
Fell the covering snow and drifted
Through the forest, round the village.
IIardly from his buried wigwam
("ould the hunter force a passage:
With his inittens and his snow-shoes
Vainly walked he through the sorost.
Sought for bird or beast and found none,
saw no track of deer or rabbit.
In the snow behold no sootprints,
In the ghastly, gleaning forest
Fell, and could not rise from weakness,
Perished there from cold and hunger.
O the famine and the sever! -
O the wasting of the famine!
O the blasting of the fever!
O the wailing of the children :
O the anguish of the women'
All the earth was sick and famished;
Hungry was the air around them,
Hungry was the sky above them,
And the hungry stars in heaven
Like the eyes of wolves glared at them :
Into hiawatha's wigwam
Came two other guests, as silent
As the ghosts were, and as gloomy
Waited not to be invited,
Did not parley at the doorway,
Sat there without word or welcome
In the seat of Laughing Water:
Looked with haggard eyes and hollow
At the face of Laughing Water.
And the forcmost said: “Behold me !
I am Famine, Bukada win!"
And the other said: “Behold me!
I am fever, Ahkose win '"
And the lovely Minnehaha
Shuddered as thcy looked upon her,
Shuddered at the words they uttered,
Lay down on her bed in silence,
hid her face, but made no answer:
Lay there trembling, freezing, burning
At the looks they cast upon her,
At the fearful words they uttered.
Forth into the o forest
Rushed the maddened Hiawatha,
In his heart was deadly sorrow,
In his face a stony firmness:
On his brow the sweat of anguish
Started, but it froze and fell not.
Wrapped in furs and armed for hunting,
With liis mighty bow of ash-tree,
With his quiver full of arrows.
With his mittens, Minjekalawun,
Into the vast and vacant forest
On his snow-shoes strode he forward.
* Gitche Manito, the Mighty 1"
Cried he with his face uplifted
In that bitter hour of anguish,
“Give your children food. O father!
Give us food. or we must perish I
Give me food for Minnehaha,
For my dying Minnehaha '.'
łoś. the far-resounding forest,
Through the forest vast and vacant,
Rang that cry of desolation.
But there came no other answer
Than the echo of this crying,
Than the echo of the woodlands,
“Minnehaha' Minnehaha '"
All day long royed Hiawatha --
In that melancholy forest.
Through the shadow of whose thickets,
In the pleasant days of Summer.
Of that inc'er-forgotten Sulullmer,
He had brought his young wife homeward
From the land of th:8 lyacotahs:
When the birds sang in the thickets,
And the streamlets |#. and glistened,
And the air was full of fragrance,
And the lovely Laughing Watcr
Said with voice that did not tremble,
“I will follow you, my husband."
In the wigwām with Nokomis,
With those gloomy guests, that watched her,
With the Fainine and the Fever,
She was lying, the 13eloved,
She was dying, Minnehaha
“Hark!” she said: “I hear a rushing,
licar a roaring and a rushing,
Hear the falls of Minnehalla
Calling to me from a distance!
“No, my child !” said old Nokomis,
“'Tis the night-wind in the pine-trees.”
“Look!” she said. “I see my father,
Standing lonely at his doorway.
IBeckoning to inc from his wigwam
In the land of the I)acotahs '"
“No, my child!” said old Nokomis,
“'Tis the smoke that waves and beckons !”
“Ah!” she said, “the cycs of Pauguk
Glare upon me in the darkness,
I can feel his icy fingers
Clasping mine âmid the darkness!
Hiawatha : Hiawatha ..."
And the desolate Hiawatha,
Far away amid the forest,
Miles away among the mountains,
Heard that sudden cry of anguisli,
Heard the voice of Minnehaha
Calling to him in the darkness,
“Hiawatha : Hiawatha ..."
Over snow-fields waste and pathless,
Under snow-encumbered branches,
Homeward hurried Hiawatha,
Heard Nokomis wailing, moaning:
“ Walmonomin Wahonomin'!
Would that I had perished for you.
Would that I were dead as you are :
Wahonomin! Walhonomin "
And he rushed into the wigwam,
Saw the old Nokomis slowly
Rocking to and fro and moaning,
Saw his lovely Minnehaha
Lying dead aid cold before him,
And his bursting heart within him -
Uttered such a cry of anguish,
That the forest moaned and shuddered,
That the very stars in heaven
Shook and trembled with his anguish.
Then he sat down, still and speechless,
On the bed of Minnehaha,
At the feet of Laughing Water,
At those willing feet that never
More would lightly run to meet him,
Never more would lightly follow.
With both hands his face he covered,
Seven long days and nights he sat there,
- As if in a swoon he sat there.
Speechless, motionless, unconscious
Of the daylight or the darkness.
Then they buried Minnehaha;
In the snow a grave they made her,
In the forest deep and darksome,
Undern ath the moaning hemlocks;
Clothed her in her richest garments,
Wrapped her in her robes of ermine,
Covered her with snow, like ermine;
Thus they buried Minnehaha.
And at night a fire was lighted,
On her grave four times was kindled,
For her soul upon its journey
To the Isländs of the l8lessed.
From his doorway Hiawatha
saw it burning in the fontest,
Lighting up the gloomy hemlocks,
From his sleepless bed uprising,
From the bed of Minnehaha,
Stood and watched it at the doorway,
That it might not be extinguished,
Might not leave her in the darkness.
“Farewell !” said he, “ Minnehaha I
Farewell, O my Laughing Water :
All my heart is buried with you :
All my thoughts go onward with you!
Come not back again to labour,
Come not back again to suffer,
Where the Famine and the Fever
Wear the heart and waste the body
Soon my task will be completed,
Soon your footsteps I shall follow
To the Islands of the Blessed,
To the kingdom of Ponemah,
To the Land of the Hereafter:”
xxi. THE WHITE MAN'S FOOTs
IN his lodge beside a river
Close beside a frozen river,
Sat an old man, sad and lonely,
White his hair was as a snow-drift:
I)ull and low his fire was burning,
And the old man shook and trembled,
Folded in his Waubewyon,
In his tattered white-skin wrapper,
Hearing nothing but the tempést
As it roared along the forest,
Seeing nothing but the snow-storm,
As it whirled, and hissed, and drifted.
All the coals were white with ashes,
And the fire was slowly dying,
As a young man, walking lightly,
At the open doorway entered.
Red with blood of youth his cheeks were,
Soft his eyes, as stars in Spring-time,
Bound his forehead was with grasses,
Bound and plumed with scented grasses;
On his | a smile of beauty,
Filling all the lodge with sunshine,
In his hand a bunch of blossoms
Filling all the lodge with sweetness.
“Ah, my son!” exclained the old man,
“Happy are my eyes to see you.
Sit here on the māt beside me,
Sit here by the dying embers,
Let us pass the night together,
Tell me of your strange adventures,
Of the land where you have travelled;
I will tell you of my prowess.
Of my many deeds of wonder.”
From his pouch he drew his peace-pipe,
Very old and strangely fashioned;
Made of red stone was the pipe-head,
And the stem a reed with feathers:
Filled the pipe with bark of willow,
Placed a burning coal upon it,
Gave it to his guest, the stranger,
And began to speak in this wise:
“When I blow my breath about me,
When I breathe upon the landscape.
Motionless are all the rivers,
Hard as stone becomes the water.”
And the young man answered, smiling;
“When I blow my breath about me,
When I breathe upon the landscape,
Flowers spring up o'er all the meådows,
Singing, onward rush the rivers!"
“When I shake my hoary tresses,”
Said the old man, darkly frowning,
“All the land with snow is covered;
All the leaves from all the branches
Fall and fade and die and withor.
For I breathe, and lo! they are not.
From the waters and the marshes
Rise the wild goose and the heron,
Fly away to distant regions,
For I speak, and lo! they are not.
And where'er my footsteps wander, All the wild beasts of the forest Hide themselves in holes and caverns. And the earth becomes as flintstone!". “When I shake my flowing ringlets,” Said the young man, softly laughing, “Showers of rain fall warm and welcome, Plants lift up their heads rejoicing, Back unto their lakes and marshes Come the wild goose and the heron Homeward shoots the arrowy swallow, Sing the blue-bird and the robin, And where'er my footsteps wander, All the meadows wave with blossoms, All the woodlands ring with music, All the trees are dark with foliage '" While they spake the night departed; From the distant realms of Wabun, From his shining lodge of silver, Like a warrior robed and painted, Came the sun, and said, “Behold me! Gheezis, the great sun, behold me !” Then the old man's tongue was speechless, And the air grew warm and pleasant, And upon the wigwam sweetly Sang the blue-bird and the robin, And the stream began to murmur, And a scent of growing grasses Through the lodge was gently wafted, And Swegun, the youthful stranger, More distinctly in the daylight, Saw the icy face before him, It was Peboan, the Winter From his eyes the tears were flowing, As from melting lakes and streamlets, And his body shrunk and dwindled As the shouting sun ascended, Till into the air it faded, Till into the ground it vanished, And the young man saw before him, On the hearth-stone of the wigwam, Where the fire had smoked and smouldered, Saw the earliest flower of Spring-time, Saw the Beauty of the Spring-time, Saw the Miskodeed in blossom. Thus it was that in the Northland After that unheard-of coldness, That intolerable Winter. Came the Spring, with all its splendour, All its birds and all its blossoms, All its flowers and leaves and grasses. Sailing on the wind to northward, Flying in great flocks like arrows, #. huge arrows shot through heaven, Passed the swan, the Mahnahbezee, Speaking almost as a man speaks; And in song lines waving, bonding Like a bow-string snapped asunder, Came the white goose, Waw-be-wawa ; And in pairs, or singly flying. Mahng the loom. with clamorous pinions, The blue heron, the Shuh-shuh-gah, And the grouse, the Mushkodasa. In the thickets and the meadows Piped the blue-bird, the Owaissa, On the summit of the lodges, Sang the robin, the Opechee, In the covert of the pine-trees Cooed the Omeme, the pigeon, And the sorrowing Hiawatha, Speechless in his infinite sorrow, eard their voices calling to him, Went forth from his gloomy doorway, Stood and gazed into the heaven, Gazed upon the earth and waters. From his wanderings far to eastward, From the regions of the morning, From the shining land of Wabun, Homeward now returned Iagoo, The great traveller, the great boaster, Full of new and strange adventures, Marvels many, and many wonders. And the people of the village
Listened to him as he told them Of his inarvellous adventures. Laughing answered him in this wise: “ Ugh! it is indeed Iagoo: No one else beholds such wonders:” He had seen, he said, a water Bigger than the Big-Sea-Water, Broader than the Gitche Gumee, Bitter so that none could drink it : At each other looked the warriors, Looked the women at each other, Smiled, and said, “It cannot be so! Kaw "they said, “It cannot be so!” O'er it, said he, o'er this water Came a great canoe with pinions, A canoe with wings came flying. Iłigger than a grove of pine-trees, Taller than the tallest tree-tops : And the old men and the women Looked and tittered at each other: “Kaw!” they said, “We don't believe it!” From its mouth, he said, to greet him, Came Way wassimo, the lightning, ('ame the thunder, Annemekee! And the warriors and the women Laughed aloud at poor Iagoo: “ Kaw "they said, “what tales you tell us!” In it, said he, came a people, In the great canoe with pinions ('ame, he said, a hundred warriors: I’ainted white were all their faces. .And with hair their chins were covered: And the warriors and the women Laughed and shouted in derision, Like the ravens on the tree-tops, Like the crows upon the hemlock. * Kaw: they said, “what lies you tell us: I)o not think that we believe them ..." Only Hiawatha laughed not, But he gravely spake and answered To their jeering and their jesting: “True is all Iagoo tells us; I have seen it in a vision, Seen the great canoe with pinions, Seen the people with white faces, Seen the coming of this bearded People of the wooden vessel. From the regions of the morning, From the shining land of Wabun. “Gitche-Manito, the Mighty, The Great Spirit. the Creator, Sends them hither on his errand, Sends them to us with his message. Wheresoe'er they move, before them Swarms the stinging fly, the Alimo, Swarms the bee, the honey-maker: Whereso'er they tread, beneath them Springs a flower unknown among us, Springs the White-man's Foot in blossom. “Let us welcome, then, whestrangers, Hail them as our friends and brothers, And the heart's right hand of friendship Five them when they come to see us. Gitche Manito, the Mighty, Said this to me in my vision. “I beheld, too, in that vision All the secrets of the future, Of the distant days that shall be, I beheld the westward marches Of the unknown, crowded nations. All the land was full of people, Restless, struggling, toiling, striving, Speaking many tongues, yet feeling, But one heart-beat in their bosoms. In the woodlands rang their axes, Smoked their towns in all the valleys, Over all the lakes and rivers Rushed their great canoes of thunder. “Then a darker, drearier vision Passed before me, vague and cloud-like, I behold our nations scattered, All forgetful of my counsels. Weakened, warring with each other;
IBY the shore of Gitchc Gumee,
By the shining Big-Sea-Water,
At the doorway of his wigwam,
In the pleasant Summer morning,
IHiawatha stood and waited.
All the air was full of freshness,
All the earth was bright and joyous,
And before him, through the sunshine,
Westward toward the neighbouring forest
'assed in golden swarms the Ahmo,
I’assed the bees, the honey-makers,
Hurning, singing in the sunshine.
13 right above him shone the heavens,
Level spread the lake before him ;
From its bosom leaped the sturgeon,
Sparkling, flashing in the sunshine;
On its margin the great forest
Stood reflected in the water,
Every tree-top had its shadow,
Motionless beneath the water.
From the brow of Hiawathin
Gone was every trace of sorrow,
As the fog from off the water,
As the mist from off the meadow.
With a smile of joy and triumph,
With a look of exultation.
As of one who in a vision
Sees what is to be but is not.
Stood and waited Hiawatha.
Toward the sum his hands were lifted,
Both the palms spread out against it
And between the parted fingers
Fell the sunshine on his features,
Flecked with light his naked shoulders,
As it falls and flecks an oak-tree
Through the rifted leaves and branches.
O'er the water floating, flying,
Something in the hazy distance,
Something in the mists of morning,
Loomed and lifted from the water,
Now seemed floating, now seemed flying,
Coming nearer, nearer, nearer.
Was it Shingebis, the diver ?
Was it the pelican, the Shada 2
Or the heron, the Shuh-shuh-gah 2
Or the white goose, Waw-be-wawa,
With the water dripping, flashing
From its glossy neck and feathers?
... It was neither goose nor diver,
Neither the pelican, nor heron,
() er the water floating, flying,
Through the shining mist of morning,
But a birch canoe with paddles,
Rising, sinking on the water,
1)ripping, flashing in the sunshine,
And within it came a people
From the distant land of Wabun,
From the farthest realms of morning
Came the Black-Robe chief, the Prophet,
He the Priest of Prayer, the Pale-face,
With his guides and his companions.
And the noble Ilia watha.'
With his hands aloft extended,
Held aloft in sign of welcome,
Waited, full of exultation,
Till the birch canoe with paddles,
Grated on the shining pebbles,
Stranded on the sandy margin.
Till the Black-Robe chief, the Pale-face,
With the cross upon his bosom,
Lapded on the sandy margin.
hen the joyous Hiawatha
Cried aloud and spake in this wise: * Beautiful is the sun, O strangers, When you come so far to see us! All our town in peace awaits you, All our doors stand open for you; You shall enter all our wigwams, For the heart’s right hand we give you. “Never bloomed the earth so gayly Never shone the sun so brightly, As to-day they shine and blossoin When you come so far to see us! Never was our lake so tranquil, Nor so free from rocks and sand-bars: For your birch canoe in passing Has removed both rock and sand-bar ! “Never before had our tobacco Such a Sweet and pleasant flavour, Never the broad leaves of our corn-fields Were so boautiful to look on, As they seem to us this morning, When you come so far to see us!” And the Black-Robe chief made answer, Stammered in his speech a little, Speaking words yet unfamiliar: ... Peaco be with you, Hiawatha. Peace be with you and your people, Peace of prayer, and peace of pardon, Peace of Christ, and joy of Mary''' Then the generous Hiawatha Led the strangers to his wigwam, Seated them on skins of bison, Seated them on skins of eruline. And the careful Old Nokolnis Brought them food in bowls of bass-wood Water brought in birchen dippers, And the calumet, the peace-pipe, Filled and lighted for their smoking. All the old men of the village, All the warriors of the nation. All the Josakeeds, the prophets, The magicians, the Waberios. And the medicine-men, the Medas, Came to bid the strangers welcome: ...It is well,” they said, “O brothers, That you come so far to see us!” In a circle round the doorway, With their pipes they sat in silence, Waiting to behold the strangers, Waiting to receive their message : Till the Black-Robe chief, the Pale-face, From the wigwam came to greet them. Stammering in his speech a little, Speaking words yet unfamiliar: ... It is well,” they said, “O brother, That you come so far to see us !“ Thon the Black-Robe chief, the prophy, Told his message to the people, Told the purport of his mission, Told them of the Virgin Mary, And her blessed son, the Saviour, How in distant lands and ages He had lived on earth as we do : How he fasted, prayed, and laboured; How the Jews, file tribe accursed. Mocked him, scourged him. crucified hia:, How he rose from where they laid him, Walked again with his disciples, And ascended into heaven. And the chiefs made answer, saying: “We have listened to your message, We have beard your words of wisdom, We will think on what you tell us. It is well for us, () brothers, That you come so far to see us!” Then they rose up and departed Fach one homeward to his wigwam, To the young men and the women Told the story of the strangers Whom the Master of Life had sent them. From the shining land of Wabun. Heavy with the heat and silence Grew the afternoon of Summer; With a drowsy sound the forest