Best Famous Bison Poems

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12
Written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow | Create an image from this poem

The Ghosts

 Never stoops the soaring vulture
On his quarry in the desert,
On the sick or wounded bison,
But another vulture, watching
From his high aerial look-out,
Sees the downward plunge, and follows;
And a third pursues the second,
Coming from the invisible ether,
First a speck, and then a vulture,
Till the air is dark with pinions.
So disasters come not singly; But as if they watched and waited, Scanning one another's motions, When the first descends, the others Follow, follow, gathering flock-wise Round their victim, sick and wounded, First a shadow, then a sorrow, Till the air is dark with anguish.
Now, o'er all the dreary North-land, Mighty Peboan, the Winter, Breathing on the lakes and rivers, Into stone had changed their waters.
From his hair he shook the snow-flakes, Till the plains were strewn with whiteness, One uninterrupted level, As if, stooping, the Creator With his hand had smoothed them over.
Through the forest, wide and wailing, Roamed the hunter on his snow-shoes; In the village worked the women, Pounded maize, or dressed the deer-skin; And the young men played together On the ice the noisy ball-play, On the plain the dance of snow-shoes.
One dark evening, after sundown, In her wigwam Laughing Water Sat with old Nokomis, waiting For the steps of Hiawatha Homeward from the hunt returning.
On their faces gleamed the firelight, Painting them with streaks of crimson, In the eyes of old Nokomis Glimmered like the watery moonlight, In the eyes of Laughing Water Glistened like the sun in water; And behind them crouched their shadows In the corners of the wigwam, And the smoke In wreaths above them Climbed and crowded through the smoke-flue.
Then the curtain of the doorway From without was slowly lifted; Brighter glowed the fire a moment, And a moment swerved the smoke-wreath, As two women entered softly, Passed the doorway uninvited, Without word of salutation, Without sign of recognition, Sat down in the farthest corner, Crouching low among the shadows.
From their aspect and their garments, Strangers seemed they in the village; Very pale and haggard were they, As they sat there sad and silent, Trembling, cowering with the shadows.
Was it the wind above the smoke-flue, Muttering down into the wigwam? Was it the owl, the Koko-koho, Hooting from the dismal forest? Sure a voice said in the silence: "These are corpses clad in garments, These are ghosts that come to haunt you, From the kingdom of Ponemah, From the land of the Hereafter!" Homeward now came Hiawatha From his hunting in the forest, With the snow upon his tresses, And the red deer on his shoulders.
At the feet of Laughing Water Down he threw his lifeless burden; Nobler, handsomer she thought him, Than when first he came to woo her, First threw down the deer before her, As a token of his wishes, As a promise of the future.
Then he turned and saw the strangers, Cowering, crouching with the shadows; Said within himself, "Who are they? What strange guests has Minnehaha?" But he questioned not the strangers, Only spake to bid them welcome To his lodge, his food, his fireside.
When the evening meal was ready, And the deer had been divided, Both the pallid guests, the strangers, Springing from among the shadows, Seized upon the choicest portions, Seized the white fat of the roebuck, Set apart for Laughing Water, For the wife of Hiawatha; Without asking, without thanking, Eagerly devoured the morsels, Flitted back among the shadows In the corner of the wigwam.
Not a word spake Hiawatha, Not a motion made Nokomis, Not a gesture Laughing Water; Not a change came o'er their features; Only Minnehaha softly Whispered, saying, "They are famished; Let them do what best delights them; Let them eat, for they are famished.
" Many a daylight dawned and darkened, Many a night shook off the daylight As the pine shakes off the snow-flakes From the midnight of its branches; Day by day the guests unmoving Sat there silent in the wigwam; But by night, in storm or starlight, Forth they went into the forest, Bringing fire-wood to the wigwam, Bringing pine-cones for the burning, Always sad and always silent.
And whenever Hiawatha Came from fishing or from hunting, When the evening meal was ready, And the food had been divided, Gliding from their darksome corner, Came the pallid guests, the strangers, Seized upon the choicest portions Set aside for Laughing Water, And without rebuke or question Flitted back among the shadows.
Never once had Hiawatha By a word or look reproved them; Never once had old Nokomis Made a gesture of impatience; Never once had Laughing Water Shown resentment at the outrage.
All had they endured in silence, That the rights of guest and stranger, That the virtue of free-giving, By a look might not be lessened, By a word might not be broken.
Once at midnight Hiawatha, Ever wakeful, ever watchful, In the wigwam, dimly lighted By the brands that still were burning, By the glimmering, flickering firelight Heard a sighing, oft repeated, 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 shadows ceased from weeping, Ceased 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 Blessed 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 people, That henceforward and forever 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 wampum, Not such weight of pots and kettles, For the spirits faint beneath them.
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, when 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 firelight, May not grope about in darkness.
"Farewell, noble Hiawatha! We have put you to the trial, To the proof have put your patience, By the insult of our presence, By 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 the silent wigwam.
Hiawatha heard a rustle 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 night 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 Hereafter.
Written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow | Create an image from this poem

Hiawathas Lamentation

 In those days the Evil Spirits,
All the Manitos of mischief,
Fearing Hiawatha's wisdom,
And his love for Chibiabos,
Jealous of their faithful friendship,
And their noble words and actions,
Made at length a league against them,
To molest them and destroy them.
Hiawatha, wise and wary, Often said to Chibiabos, "O my brother! do not leave me, Lest the Evil Spirits harm you!" Chibiabos, young and heedless, Laughing shook his coal-black tresses, Answered ever sweet and childlike, "Do not fear for me, O brother! Harm and evil come not near me!" Once when Peboan, the Winter, Roofed with ice the Big-Sea-Water, When the snow-flakes, whirling downward, Hissed among the withered oak-leaves, Changed the pine-trees into wigwams, Covered all the earth with silence, Armed with arrows, shod with snow-shoes, Heeding not his brother's warning, Fearing not the Evil Spirits, Forth to hunt the deer with antlers All alone went Chibiabos.
Right across the Big-Sea-Water Sprang with speed the deer before him.
With the wind and snow he followed, O'er the treacherous ice he followed, Wild with all the fierce commotion And the rapture of the hunting.
But beneath, the Evil Spirits Lay in ambush, waiting for him, Broke the treacherous ice beneath him, Dragged him downward to the bottom, Buried in the sand his body.
Unktahee, the god of water, He the god of the Dacotahs, Drowned him in the deep abysses Of the lake of Gitche Gumee.
From the headlands Hiawatha Sent forth such a wail of anguish, Such a fearful lamentation, That the bison paused to listen, And the wolves howled from the prairies, And the thunder in the distance Starting answered "Baim-wawa!" Then his face with black he painted, With his robe his head he covered, In his wigwam sat lamenting, Seven long weeks he sat lamenting, Uttering still this moan of sorrow: "He is dead, the sweet musician! He the sweetest of all singers! He has gone from us forever, He has moved a little nearer To the Master of all music, To the Master of all singing! O my brother, Chibiabos!" And the melancholy fir-trees Waved their dark green fans above him, Waved their purple cones above him, Sighing with him to console him, Mingling with his lamentation Their complaining, their lamenting.
Came the Spring, and all the forest Looked in vain for Chibiabos; Sighed the rivulet, Sebowisha, Sighed the rushes in the meadow.
From the tree-tops sang the bluebird, Sang the bluebird, the Owaissa, "Chibiabos! Chibiabos! He is dead, the sweet musician!" From the wigwam sang the robin, Sang the robin, the Opechee, "Chibiabos! Chibiabos! He is dead, the sweetest singer!" And at night through all the forest Went the whippoorwill complaining, Wailing went the Wawonaissa, "Chibiabos! Chibiabos! He is dead, the sweet musician! He the sweetest of all singers!" Then the Medicine-men, the Medas, The magicians, the Wabenos, And the Jossakeeds, the Prophets, Came to visit Hiawatha; Built a Sacred Lodge beside him, To appease him, to console him, Walked in silent, grave procession, Bearing each a pouch of healing, Skin of beaver, lynx, or otter, Filled with magic roots and simples, Filled with very potent medicines.
When he heard their steps approaching~, Hiawatha ceased lamenting, Called no more on Chibiabos; Naught he questioned, naught he answered, But his mournful head uncovered, From his face the mourning colors Washed he slowly and in silence, Slowly and in silence followed Onward to the Sacred Wigwam.
There a magic drink they gave him, Made of Nahma-wusk, the spearmint, And Wabeno-wusk, the yarrow, Roots of power, and herbs of healing; Beat their drums, and shook their rattles; Chanted singly and in chorus, Mystic songs like these, they chanted.
"I myself, myself! behold me! `T Is the great Gray Eagle talking; Come, ye white crows, come and hear him! The loud-speaking thunder helps me; All the unseen spirits help me; I can hear their voices calling, All around the sky I hear them! I can blow you strong, my brother, I can heal you, Hiawatha!" "Hi-au-ha!" replied the chorus, "Wayha-way!" the mystic chorus.
Friends of mine are all the serpents! Hear me shake my skin of hen-hawk! Mahng, the white loon, I can kill him; I can shoot your heart and kill it! I can blow you strong, my brother, I can heal you, Hiawatha !" "Hi-au-ha!" replied the chorus, "Wayhaway!" the mystic chorus.
"I myself, myself! the prophet! When I speak the wigwam trembles, Shakes the Sacred Lodge with terror, Hands unseen begin to shake it! When I walk, the sky I tread on Bends and makes a noise beneath me! I can blow you strong, my brother! Rise and speak, O Hiawatha!" "Hi-au-ha!" replied the chorus, "Way-ha-way!" the mystic chorus.
Then they shook their medicine-pouches O'er the head of Hiawatha, Danced their medicine-dance around him; And upstarting wild and haggard, Like a man from dreams awakened, He was healed of all his madness.
As the clouds are swept from heaven, Straightway from his brain departed All his moody melancholy; As the ice is swept from rivers, Straightway from his heart departed All his sorrow and affliction.
Then they summoned Chibiabos From his grave beneath the waters, From the sands of Gitche Gumee Summoned Hiawatha's brother.
And so mighty was the magic Of that cry and invocation, That he heard it as he lay there Underneath the Big-Sea-Water; From the sand he rose and listened, Heard the music and the singing, Came, obedient to the summons, To the doorway of the wigwam, But to enter they forbade him.
Through a chink a coal they gave him, Through the door a burning fire-brand; Ruler in the Land of Spirits, Ruler o'er the dead, they made him, Telling him a fire to kindle For all those that died thereafter, Camp-fires for their night encampments On their solitary journey To the kingdom of Ponemah, To the land of the Hereafter.
From the village of his childhood, From the homes of those who knew him, Passing silent through the forest, Like a smoke-wreath wafted sideways, Slowly vanished Chibiabos! Where he passed, the branches moved not, Where he trod, the grasses bent not, And the fallen leaves of last year Made no sound beneath his footstep.
Four whole days he journeyed onward Down the pathway of the dead men; On the dead-man's strawberry feasted, Crossed the melancholy river, On the swinging log he crossed it, Came unto the Lake of Silver, In the Stone Canoe was carried To the Islands of the Blessed, To the land of ghosts and shadows.
On that journey, moving slowly, Many weary spirits saw he, Panting under heavy burdens, Laden with war-clubs, bows and arrows, Robes of fur, and pots and kettles, And with food that friends had given For that solitary journey.
"Ay! why do the living," said they, "Lay such heavy burdens on us! Better were it to go naked, Better were it to go fasting, Than to bear such heavy burdens On our long and weary journey!" Forth then issued Hiawatha, Wandered eastward, wandered westward, Teaching men the use of simples And the antidotes for poisons, And the cure of all diseases.
Thus was first made known to mortals All the mystery of Medamin, All the sacred art of healing.
Written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow | Create an image from this poem

The Song of Hiawatha: X

 X.
Hiawatha's Wooing "As unto the bow the cord is, So unto the man is woman, Though she bends him, she obeys him, Though she draws him, yet she follows, Useless each without the other!" Thus the youthful Hiawatha Said within himself and pondered, Much perplexed by various feelings, Listless, longing, hoping, fearing, Dreaming still of Minnehaha, Of the lovely Laughing Water, In the land of the Dacotahs.
"Wed a maiden of your people," Warning said the old Nokomis; "Go not eastward, go not westward, For a stranger, whom we know not! Like a fire upon the hearth-stone Is a neighbor's homely daughter, Like the starlight or the moonlight Is the handsomest of strangers!" Thus dissuading spake Nokomis, And my Hiawatha answered Only this: "Dear old Nokomis, Very pleasant is the firelight, But I like the starlight better, Better do I like the moonlight!" Gravely then said old Nokomis: "Bring not here an idle maiden, Bring not here a useless woman, Hands unskilful, feet unwilling; Bring a wife with nimble fingers, Heart and hand that move together, Feet that run on willing errands!" Smiling answered Hiawatha: "In the land of the Dacotahs Lives the Arrow-maker's daughter, Minnehaha, Laughing Water, Handsomest of all the women.
I will bring her to your wigwam, She shall run upon your errands, Be your starlight, moonlight, firelight, Be the sunlight of my people!" Still dissuading said Nokomis: "Bring not to my lodge a stranger From the land of the Dacotahs! Very fierce are the Dacotahs, Often is there war between us, There are feuds yet unforgotten, Wounds that ache and still may open! Laughing answered Hiawatha: "For that reason, if no other, Would I wed the fair Dacotah, That our tribes might be united, That old feuds might be forgotten, And old wounds be healed forever!" Thus departed Hiawatha To the land of the Dacotahs, To the land of handsome women; Striding over moor and meadow, Through interminable forests, Through uninterrupted silence.
With his moccasins of magic, At each stride a mile he measured; Yet the way seemed long before him, And his heart outran his footsteps; And he journeyed without resting, Till he heard the cataract's laughter, Heard the Falls of Minnehaha Calling to him through the silence.
"Pleasant is the sound!" he murmured, "Pleasant is the voice that calls me!" On the outskirts of the forests, 'Twixt the shadow and the sunshine, Herds of fallow deer were feeding, But they saw not Hiawatha; To his bow be whispered, "Fail not!" To his arrow whispered, "Swerve not!" Sent it singing on its errand, To the red heart of the roebuck; Threw the deer across his shoulder, And sped forward without pausing.
At the doorway of his wigwam Sat his ancient Arrow-maker, In the land of the Dacotahs, Making arrow-heads of jasper, Arrow-heads of chalcedony.
At his side, in all her beauty, Sat the lovely Minnehaha, Sat his daughter, Laughing Water, Plaiting mats of flags and rushes; Of the past the old man's thoughts were, And the maiden's of the future.
He was thinking, as he sat there, Of the days when with such arrows He had struck the deer and bison, On the Muskoday, the meadow; Shot the wild goose, flying southward, On the wing, the clamorous Wawa; Thinking of the great war-parties, How they came to buy his arrows, Could not fight without his arrows.
Ah, no more such noble warriors Could be found on earth as they were! Now the men were all like women, Only used their tongues for weapons! She was thinking of a hunter, From another tribe and country, Young and tall and very handsome, Who one morning, in the Spring-time, Came to buy her father's arrows, Lingered long about the doorway, Sat and rested in the wigwam, Looking back as he departed.
She had heard her father praise him, Praise his courage and his wisdom; Would he come again for arrows To the Falls of Minnehaha? On the mat her hands lay idle, And her eyes were very dreamy.
Through their thoughts they heard a footstep, Heard a rustling in the branches, And with glowing cheek and forehead, With the deer upon his shoulders, Suddenly from out the woodlands Hiawatha stood before them.
Straight the ancient Arrow-maker Looked up gravely from his labor, Laid aside the unfinished arrow, Bade him enter at the doorway, Saying, as he rose to meet him, "Hiawatha, you are welcome!" At the feet of Laughing Water Hiawatha laid his burden, Threw the red deer from his shoulders; And the maiden looked up at him, Looked up from her mat of rushes, Said with gentle look and accent, "You are welcome, Hiawatha!" Very spacious was the wigwam, Made of deer-skins dressed and whitened, With the Gods of the Dacotahs Drawn and painted on its curtains, And so tall the doorway, hardly Hiawatha stooped to enter, Hardly touched his eagle-feathers As he entered at the doorway.
Then uprose the Laughing Water, From the ground fair Minnehaha, Laid aside her mat unfinished, Brought forth food and set before them, Water brought them from the brooklet, Gave them food in earthen vessels, Gave them drink in bowls of bass-wood, Listened while the guest was speaking, Listened while her father answered, But not once her lips she opened, Not a single word she uttered.
Yes, as in a dream she listened To the words of Hiawatha, As he talked of old Nokomis, Who had nursed him in his childhood, As he told of his companions, Chibiabos, the musician, And the very strong man, Kwasind, And of happiness and plenty In the land of the Ojibways, In the pleasant land and peaceful.
"After many years of warfare, Many years of strife and bloodshed, There is peace between the Ojibways And the tribe of the Dacotahs.
" Thus continued Hiawatha, And then added, speaking slowly, 'That this peace may last forever, And our hands be clasped more closely, And our hearts be more united, Give me as my wife this maiden, Minnehaha, Laughing Water, Loveliest of Dacotah women! And the ancient Arrow-maker Paused a moment ere he answered, Smoked a little while in silence, Looked at Hiawatha proudly, Fondly looked at Laughing Water, And made answer very gravely: "Yes, if Minnehaha wishes; Let your heart speak, Minnehaha!" And the lovely Laughing Water Seemed more lovely as she stood there, Neither willing nor reluctant, As she went to Hiawatha, Softly took the seat beside him, While she said, and blushed to say it, "I will follow you, my husband!" This was Hiawatha's wooing! Thus it was he won the daughter Of the ancient Arrow-maker, In the land of the Dacotahs! From the wigwam he departed, Leading with him Laughing Water; Hand in hand they went together, Through the woodland and the meadow, Left the old man standing lonely At the doorway of his wigwam, Heard the Falls of Minnehaha Calling to them from the distance, Crying to them from afar off, "Fare thee well, O Minnehaha!" And the ancient Arrow-maker Turned again unto his labor, Sat down by his sunny doorway, Murmuring to himself, and saying: "Thus it is our daughters leave us, Those we love, and those who love us! Just when they have learned to help us, When we are old and lean upon them, Comes a youth with flaunting feathers, With his flute of reeds, a stranger Wanders piping through the village, Beckons to the fairest maiden, And she follows where he leads her, Leaving all things for the stranger!" Pleasant was the journey homeward, Through interminable forests, Over meadow, over mountain, Over river, hill, and hollow.
Short it seemed to Hiawatha, Though they journeyed very slowly, Though his pace he checked and slackened To the steps of Laughing Water.
Over wide and rushing rivers In his arms he bore the maiden; Light he thought her as a feather, As the plume upon his head-gear; Cleared the tangled pathway for her, Bent aside the swaying branches, Made at night a lodge of branches, And a bed with boughs of hemlock, And a fire before the doorway With the dry cones of the pine-tree.
All the travelling winds went with them, O'er the meadows, through the forest; All the stars of night looked at them, Watched with sleepless eyes their slumber; From his ambush in the oak-tree Peeped the squirrel, Adjidaumo, Watched with eager eyes the lovers; And the rabbit, the Wabasso, Scampered from the path before them, Peering, peeping from his burrow, Sat erect upon his haunches, Watched with curious eyes the lovers.
Pleasant was the journey homeward! All the birds sang loud and sweetly Songs of happiness and heart's-ease; Sang the bluebird, the Owaissa, "Happy are you, Hiawatha, Having such a wife to love you!" Sang the robin, the Opechee, "Happy are you, Laughing Water, Having such a noble husband!" From the sky the sun benignant Looked upon them through the branches, Saying to them, "O my children, Love is sunshine, hate is shadow, Life is checkered shade and sunshine, Rule by love, O Hiawatha!" From the sky the moon looked at them, Filled the lodge with mystic splendors, Whispered to them, "O my children, Day is restless, night is quiet, Man imperious, woman feeble; Half is mine, although I follow; Rule by patience, Laughing Water!" Thus it was they journeyed homeward; Thus it was that Hiawatha To the lodge of old Nokomis Brought the moonlight, starlight, firelight, Brought the sunshine of his people, Minnehaha, Laughing Water, Handsomest of all the women In the land of the Dacotahs, In the land of handsome women.
Written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow | Create an image from this poem

The Revenge of Rain-in-the-Face

 In that desolate land and lone,
Where the Big Horn and Yellowstone
Roar down their mountain path,
By their fires the Sioux Chiefs
Muttered their woes and griefs
And the menace of their wrath.
"Revenge!" cried Rain-in-the-Face, "Revenue upon all the race Of the White Chief with yellow hair!" And the mountains dark and high From their crags re-echoed the cry Of his anger and despair.
In the meadow, spreading wide By woodland and riverside The Indian village stood; All was silent as a dream, Save the rushing a of the stream And the blue-jay in the wood.
In his war paint and his beads, Like a bison among the reeds, In ambush the Sitting Bull Lay with three thousand braves Crouched in the clefts and caves, Savage, unmerciful! Into the fatal snare The White Chief with yellow hair And his three hundred men Dashed headlong, sword in hand; But of that gallant band Not one returned again.
The sudden darkness of death Overwhelmed them like the breath And smoke of a furnace fire: By the river's bank, and between The rocks of the ravine, They lay in their bloody attire.
But the foemen fled in the night, And Rain-in-the-Face, in his flight Uplifted high in air As a ghastly trophy, bore The brave heart, that beat no more, Of the White Chief with yellow hair.
Whose was the right and the wrong? Sing it, O funeral song, With a voice that is full of tears, And say that our broken faith Wrought all this ruin and scathe, In the Year of a Hundred Years.
Written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow | Create an image from this poem

Introduction To The Song Of Hiawatha

 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 hoofprint 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 be 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!
Written by Robert William Service | Create an image from this poem

Sunshine

 I

Flat as a drum-head stretch the haggard snows;
The mighty skies are palisades of light;
The stars are blurred; the silence grows and grows;
Vaster and vaster vaults the icy night.
Here in my sleeping-bag I cower and pray: "Silence and night, have pity! stoop and slay.
" I have not slept for many, many days.
I close my eyes with weariness -- that's all.
I still have strength to feed the drift-wood blaze, That flickers weirdly on the icy wall.
I still have strength to pray: "God rest her soul, Here in the awful shadow of the Pole.
" There in the cabin's alcove low she lies, Still candles gleaming at her head and feet; All snow-drop white, ash-cold, with closed eyes, Lips smiling, hands at rest -- O God, how sweet! How all unutterably sweet she seems.
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Not dead, not dead indeed -- she dreams, she dreams.
II "Sunshine", I called her, and she brought, I vow, God's blessed sunshine to this life of mine.
I was a rover, of the breed who plough Life's furrow in a far-flung, lonely line; The wilderness my home, my fortune cast In a wild land of dearth, barbaric, vast.
When did I see her first? Long had I lain Groping my way to life through fevered gloom.
Sudden the cloud of darkness left my brain; A velvet bar of sunshine pierced the room, And in that mellow glory aureoled She stood, she stood, all golden in its gold.
Sunshine! O miracle! the earth grew glad; Radiant each blade of grass, each living thing.
What a huge strength, high hope, proud will I had! All the wide world with rapture seemed to ring.
Would she but wed me? YES: then fared we forth Into the vast, unvintageable North.
III In Muskrat Land the conies leap, The wavies linger in their flight; The jewelled, snakelike rivers creep; The sun, sad rogue, is out all night; The great wood bison paws the sand, In Muskrat Land, in Muskrat Land.
In Muskrat Land dim streams divide The tundras belted by the sky.
How sweet in slim canoe to glide, And dream, and let the world go by! Build gay camp-fires on greening strand! In Muskrat Land, in Muskrat Land.
IV And so we dreamed and drifted, she and I; And how she loved that free, unfathomed life! There in the peach-bloom of the midnight sky, The silence welded us, true man and wife.
Then North and North invincibly we pressed Beyond the Circle, to the world's white crest.
And on the wind-flailed Arctic waste we stayed, Dwelt with the Huskies by the Polar sea.
Fur had they, white fox, marten, mink to trade, And we had food-stuff, bacon, flour and tea.
So we made snug, chummed up with all the band: Sudden the Winter swooped on Husky Land.
V What was that ill so sinister and dread, Smiting the tribe with sickness to the bone? So that we waked one morn to find them fled; So that we stood and stared, alone, alone.
Bravely she smiled and looked into my eyes; Laughed at their troubled, stern, foreboding pain; Gaily she mocked the menace of the skies, Turned to our cheery cabin once again, Saying: "'Twill soon be over, dearest one, The long, long night: then O the sun, the sun!" VI God made a heart of gold, of gold, Shining and sweet and true; Gave it a home of fairest mould, Blest it, and called it -- You.
God gave the rose its grace of glow, And the lark its radiant glee; But, better than all, I know, I know God gave you, Heart, to me.
VII She was all sunshine in those dubious days; Our cabin beaconed with defiant light; We chattered by the friendly drift-wood blaze; Closer and closer cowered the hag-like night.
A wolf-howl would have been a welcome sound, And there was none in all that stricken land; Yet with such silence, darkness, death around, Learned we to love as few can understand.
Spirit with spirit fused, and soul with soul, There in the sullen shadow of the Pole.
VIII What was that haunting horror of the night? Brave was she; buoyant, full of sunny cheer.
Why was her face so small, so strangely white? Then did I turn from her, heart-sick with fear; Sought in my agony the outcast snows; Prayed in my pain to that insensate sky; Grovelled and sobbed and cursed, and then arose: "Sunshine! O heart of gold! to die! to die!" IX She died on Christmas day -- it seems so sad That one you love should die on Christmas day.
Head-bowed I knelt by her; O God! I had No tears to shed, no moan, no prayer to pray.
I heard her whisper: "Call me, will you, dear? They say Death parts, but I won't go away.
I will be with you in the cabin here; Oh I will plead with God to let me stay! Stay till the Night is gone, till Spring is nigh, Till sunshine comes .
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be brave .
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I'm tired .
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good-bye.
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" X For weeks, for months I have not seen the sun; The minatory dawns are leprous pale; The felon days malinger one by one; How like a dream Life is! how vain! how stale! I, too, am faint; that vampire-like disease Has fallen on me; weak and cold am I, Hugging a tiny fire in fear I freeze: The cabin must be cold, and so I try To bear the frost, the frost that fights decay, The frost that keeps her beautiful alway.
XI She lies within an icy vault; It glitters like a cave of salt.
All marble-pure and angel-sweet With candles at her head and feet, Under an ermine robe she lies.
I kiss her hands, I kiss her eyes: "Come back, come back, O Love, I pray, Into this house, this house of clay! Answer my kisses soft and warm; Nestle again within my arm.
Come! for I know that you are near; Open your eyes and look, my dear.
Just for a moment break the mesh; Back from the spirit leap to flesh.
Weary I wait; the night is black; Love of my life, come back, come back!" XII Last night maybe I was a little mad, For as I prayed despairful by her side, Such a strange, antic visioning I had: Lo! it did seem her eyes were open wide.
Surely I must have dreamed! I stared once more.
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No, 'twas a candle's trick, a shadow cast.
There were her lashes locking as before.
(Oh, but it filled me with a joy so vast!) No, 'twas a freak, a fancy of the brain, (Oh, but to-night I'll try again, again!) XIII It was no dream; now do I know that Love Leapt from the starry battlements of Death; For in my vigil as I bent above, Calling her name with eager, burning breath, Sudden there came a change: again I saw The radiance of the rose-leaf stain her cheek; Rivers of rapture thrilled in sunny thaw; Cleft were her coral lips as if to speak; Curved were her tender arms as if to cling; Open the flower-like eyes of lucent blue, Looking at me with love so pitying That I could fancy Heaven shining through.
"Sunshine," I faltered, "stay with me, oh, stay!" Yet ere I finished, in a moment's flight, There in her angel purity she lay -- Ah! but I know she'll come again to-night.
Even as radiant sword leaps from the sheath Soul from the body leaps--we call it Death.
XIV Even as this line I write, Do I know that she is near; Happy am I, every night Comes she back to bid me cheer; Kissing her, I hold her fast; Win her into life at last.
Did I dream that yesterday On yon mountain ridge a glow Soft as moonstone paled away, Leaving less forlorn the snow? Could it be the sun? Oh, fain Would I see the sun again! Oh, to see a coral dawn Gladden to a crocus glow! Day's a spectre dim and wan, Dancing on the furtive snow; Night's a cloud upon my brain: Oh, to see the sun again! You who find us in this place, Have you pity in your breast; Let us in our last embrace, Under earth sun-hallowed rest.
Night's a claw upon my brain: Oh, to see the sun again! XV The Sun! at last the Sun! I write these lines, Here on my knees, with feeble, fumbling hand.
Look! in yon mountain cleft a radiance shines, Gleam of a primrose -- see it thrill, expand, Grow glorious.
Dear God be praised! it streams Into the cabin in a gush of gold.
Look! there she stands, the angel of my dreams, All in the radiant shimmer aureoled; First as I saw her from my bed of pain; First as I loved her when the darkness passed.
Now do I know that Life is not in vain; Now do I know God cares, at last, at last! Light outlives dark, joy grief, and Love's the sum: Heart of my heart! Sunshine! I come .
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I come.
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Written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow | Create an image from this poem

Hiawathas Wedding-Feast

 You shall hear how Pau-Puk-Keewis, 
How the handsome Yenadizze 
Danced at Hiawatha's wedding; 
How the gentle Chibiabos, 
He the sweetest of musicians, 
Sang his songs of love and longing; 
How Iagoo, the great boaster, 
He the marvellous story-teller, 
Told his tales of strange adventure, 
That the feast might be more joyous, 
That the time might pass more gayly, 
And the guests be more contented.
Sumptuous was the feast Nokomis Made at Hiawatha's wedding; All the bowls were made of bass-wood, White and polished very smoothly, All the spoons of horn of bison, Black and polished very smoothly.
She had sent through all the village Messengers with wands of willow, As a sign of invitation, As a token of the feasting; And the wedding guests assembled, Clad in all their richest raiment, Robes of fur and belts of wampum, Splendid with their paint and plumage, Beautiful with beads and tassels.
First they ate the sturgeon, Nahma, And the pike, the Maskenozha, Caught and cooked by old Nokomis; Then on pemican they feasted, Pemican and buffalo marrow, Haunch of deer and hump of bison, Yellow cakes of the Mondamin, And the wild rice of the river.
But the gracious Hiawatha, And the lovely Laughing Water, And the careful old Nokomis, Tasted not the food before them, Only waited on the others Only served their guests in silence.
And when all the guests had finished, Old Nokomis, brisk and busy, From an ample pouch of otter, Filled the red-stone pipes for smoking With tobacco from the South-land, Mixed with bark of the red willow, And with herbs and leaves of fragrance.
Then she said, "O Pau-Puk-Keewis, Dance for us your merry dances, Dance the Beggar's Dance to please us, That the feast may be more joyous, That the time may pass more gayly, And our guests be more contented!" Then the handsome Pau-Puk-Keewis, He the idle Yenadizze, He the merry mischief-maker, Whom the people called the Storm-Fool, Rose among the guests assembled.
Skilled was he in sports and pastimes, In the merry dance of snow-shoes, In the play of quoits and ball-play; Skilled was he in games of hazard, In all games of skill and hazard, Pugasaing, the Bowl and Counters, Kuntassoo, the Game of Plum-stones.
Though the warriors called him Faint-Heart, Called him coward, Shaugodaya, Idler, gambler, Yenadizze, Little heeded he their jesting, Little cared he for their insults, For the women and the maidens Loved the handsome Pau-Puk-Keewis.
He was dressed in shirt of doeskin, White and soft, and fringed with ermine, All inwrought with beads of wampum; He was dressed in deer-skin leggings, Fringed with hedgehog quills and ermine, And in moccasins of buck-skin, Thick with quills and beads embroidered.
On his head were plumes of swan's down, On his heels were tails of foxes, In one hand a fan of feathers, And a pipe was in the other.
Barred with streaks of red and yellow, Streaks of blue and bright vermilion, Shone the face of Pau-Puk-Keewis.
From his forehead fell his tresses, Smooth, and parted like a woman's, Shining bright with oil, and plaited, Hung with braids of scented grasses, As among the guests assembled, To the sound of flutes and singing, To the sound of drums and voices, Rose the handsome Pau-Puk-Keewis, And began his mystic dances.
First he danced a solemn measure, Very slow in step and gesture, In and out among the pine-trees, Through the shadows and the sunshine, Treading softly like a panther.
Then more swiftly and still swifter, Whirling, spinning round in circles, Leaping o'er the guests assembled, Eddying round and round the wigwam, Till the leaves went whirling with him, Till the dust and wind together Swept in eddies round about him.
Then along the sandy margin Of the lake, the Big-Sea-Water, On he sped with frenzied gestures, Stamped upon the sand, and tossed it Wildly in the air around him; Till the wind became a whirlwind, Till the sand was blown and sifted Like great snowdrifts o'er the landscape, Heaping all the shores with Sand Dunes, Sand Hills of the Nagow Wudjoo! Thus the merry Pau-Puk-Keewis Danced his Beggar's Dance to please them, And, returning, sat down laughing There among the guests assembled, Sat and fanned himself serenely With his fan of turkey-feathers.
Then they said to Chibiabos, To the friend of Hiawatha, To the sweetest of all singers, To the best of all musicians, "Sing to us, O Chibiabos! Songs of love and songs of longing, That the feast may be more joyous, That the time may pass more gayly, And our guests be more contented!" And the gentle Chibiabos Sang in accents sweet and tender, Sang in tones of deep emotion, Songs of love and songs of longing; Looking still at Hiawatha, Looking at fair Laughing Water, Sang he softly, sang in this wise: "Onaway! Awake, beloved! Thou the wild-flower of the forest! Thou the wild-bird of the prairie! Thou with eyes so soft and fawn-like! "If thou only lookest at me, I am happy, I am happy, As the lilies of the prairie, When they feel the dew upon them! "Sweet thy breath is as the fragrance Of the wild-flowers in the morning, As their fragrance is at evening, In the Moon when leaves are falling.
"Does not all the blood within me Leap to meet thee, leap to meet thee, As the springs to meet the sunshine, In the Moon when nights are brightest? "Onaway! my heart sings to thee, Sings with joy when thou art near me, As the sighing, singing branches In the pleasant Moon of Strawberries! "When thou art not pleased, beloved, Then my heart is sad and darkened, As the shining river darkens When the clouds drop shadows on it! "When thou smilest, my beloved, Then my troubled heart is brightened, As in sunshine gleam the ripples That the cold wind makes in rivers.
"Smiles the earth, and smile the waters, Smile the cloudless skies above us, But I lose the way of smiling When thou art no longer near me! "I myself, myself! behold me! Blood of my beating heart, behold me! Oh awake, awake, beloved! Onaway! awake, beloved!" Thus the gentle Chibiabos Sang his song of love and longing; And Iagoo, the great boaster, He the marvellous story-teller, He the friend of old Nokomis, Jealous of the sweet musician, Jealous of the applause they gave him, Saw in all the eyes around him, Saw in all their looks and gestures, That the wedding guests assembled Longed to hear his pleasant stories, His immeasurable falsehoods.
Very boastful was Iagoo; Never heard he an adventure But himself had met a greater; Never any deed of daring But himself had done a bolder; Never any marvellous story But himself could tell a stranger.
Would you listen to his boasting, Would you only give him credence, No one ever shot an arrow Half so far and high as he had; Ever caught so many fishes, Ever killed so many reindeer, Ever trapped so many beaver! None could run so fast as he could, None could dive so deep as he could, None could swim so far as he could; None had made so many journeys, None had seen so many wonders, As this wonderful Iagoo, As this marvellous story-teller! Thus his name became a by-word And a jest among the people; And whene'er a boastful hunter Praised his own address too highly, Or a warrior, home returning, Talked too much of his achievements, All his hearers cried, "Iagoo! Here's Iagoo come among us!" He it was who carved the cradle Of the little Hiawatha, Carved its framework out of linden, Bound it strong with reindeer sinews; He it was who taught him later How to make his bows and arrows, How to make the bows of ash-tree, And the arrows of the oak-tree.
So among the guests assembled At my Hiawatha's wedding Sat Iagoo, old and ugly, Sat the marvellous story-teller.
And they said, "O good Iagoo, Tell us now a tale of wonder, Tell us of some strange adventure, That the feast may be more joyous, That the time may pass more gayly, And our guests be more contented!" And Iagoo answered straightway, "You shall hear a tale of wonder, You shall hear the strange adventures Of Osseo, the Magician, From the Evening Star descending.
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Written by Alan Alexander (A A) Milne | Create an image from this poem

At the Zoo

There are lions and roaring tigers,
and enormous camels and things,
There are biffalo-buffalo-bisons,
and a great big bear with wings.
There's a sort of a tiny potamus,
and a tiny nosserus too -
But I gave buns to the elephant
when I went down to the Zoo!

There are badgers and bidgers and bodgers,
and a Super-in-tendent's House,
There are masses of goats, and a Polar,
and different kinds of mouse,
And I think there's a sort of a something
which is called a wallaboo -
But I gave buns to the elephant
when I went down to the Zoo!

If you try to talk to the bison,
he never quite understands;
You can't shake hands with a mingo -
he doesn't like shaking hands.
And lions and roaring tigers
hate saying, "How do you do?" -
But I give buns to the elephant
when I go down to the Zoo!
Written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow | Create an image from this poem

The Peace-Pipe

 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 stem 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!
Written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow | Create an image from this poem

Hiawathas Departure

 By the shore of Gitche Gumee,
By the shining Big-Sea-Water,
At the doorway of his wigwam,
In the pleasant Summer morning,
Hiawatha 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 neighboring forest Passed in golden swarms the Ahmo, Passed the bees, the honey-makers, Burning, singing In the sunshine.
Bright 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 Hiawatha 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 sun 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? Or the pelican, the Shada? Or the heron, the Shuh-shuh-gah? 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 pelican nor heron, O'er the water floating, flying, Through the shining mist of morning, But a birch canoe with paddles, Rising, sinking on the water, Dripping, 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 Hiawatha, 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, Landed on the sandy margin.
Then 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 blossom 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 flavor, Never the broad leaves of our cornfields Were so beautiful 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: "Peace 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 ermine, And the careful old Nokomis Brought them food in bowls of basswood, 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 Jossakeeds, the Prophets, The magicians, the Wabenos, 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!" Then the Black-Robe chief, the Prophet, 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 labored; How the Jews, the tribe accursed, Mocked him, scourged him, crucified him; 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 heard your words of wisdom, We will think on what you tell us.
It is well for us, O brothers, That you come so far to see us!" Then they rose up and departed Each 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 Whispered round the sultry wigwam, With a sound of sleep the water Rippled on the beach below it; From the cornfields shrill and ceaseless Sang the grasshopper, Pah-puk-keena; And the guests of Hiawatha, Weary with the heat of Summer, Slumbered in the sultry wigwam.
Slowly o'er the simmering landscape Fell the evening's dusk and coolness, And the long and level sunbeams Shot their spears into the forest, Breaking through its shields of shadow, Rushed into each secret ambush, Searched each thicket, dingle, hollow; Still the guests of Hiawatha Slumbered In the silent wigwam.
From his place rose Hiawatha, Bade farewell to old Nokomis, Spake in whispers, spake in this wise, Did not wake the guests, that slumbered.
"I am going, O Nokomis, On a long and distant journey, To the portals of the Sunset.
To the regions of the home-wind, Of the Northwest-Wind, Keewaydin.
But these guests I leave behind me, In your watch and ward I leave them; See that never harm comes near them, See that never fear molests them, Never danger nor suspicion, Never want of food or shelter, In the lodge of Hiawatha!" Forth into the village went he, Bade farewell to all the warriors, Bade farewell to all the young men, Spake persuading, spake in this wise: I am going, O my people, On a long and distant journey; Many moons and many winters Will have come, and will have vanished, Ere I come again to see you.
But my guests I leave behind me; Listen to their words of wisdom, Listen to the truth they tell you, For the Master of Life has sent them From the land of light and morning!" On the shore stood Hiawatha, Turned and waved his hand at parting; On the clear and luminous water Launched his birch canoe for sailing, From the pebbles of the margin Shoved it forth into the water; Whispered to it, "Westward! westward!" And with speed it darted forward.
And the evening sun descending Set the clouds on fire with redness, Burned the broad sky, like a prairie, Left upon the level water One long track and trail of splendor, Down whose stream, as down a river, Westward, westward Hiawatha Sailed into the fiery sunset, Sailed into the purple vapors, Sailed into the dusk of evening: And the people from the margin Watched him floating, rising, sinking, Till the birch canoe seemed lifted High into that sea of splendor, Till it sank into the vapors Like the new moon slowly, slowly Sinking in the purple distance.
And they said, "Farewell forever!" Said, "Farewell, O Hiawatha!" And the forests, dark and lonely, Moved through all their depths of darkness, Sighed, "Farewell, O Hiawatha!" And the waves upon the margin Rising, rippling on the pebbles, Sobbed, "Farewell, O Hiawatha!" And the heron, the Shuh-shuh-gah, From her haunts among the fen-lands, Screamed, "Farewell, O Hiawatha!" Thus departed Hiawatha, Hiawatha the Beloved, In the glory of the sunset,.
In the purple mists of evening, To the regions of the home-wind, Of the Northwest-Wind, Keewaydin, To the Islands of the Blessed, To the Kingdom of Ponemah, To the Land of the Hereafter!
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