The Complete Poems of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,299 pages of information about The Complete Poems of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.
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.”

XII

THE SON OF THE EVENING STAR

Can it be the sun descending
O’er the level plain of water? 
Or the Red Swan floating, flying,
Wounded by the magic arrow,
Staining all the waves with crimson,
With the crimson of its life-blood,
Filling all the air with splendor,
With the splendor of its plumage? 
  Yes; it is the sun descending,
Sinking down into the water;
All the sky is stained with purple,
All the water flushed with crimson! 
No; it is the Red Swan floating,
Diving down beneath the water;
To the sky its wings are lifted,
With its blood the waves are reddened! 
  Over it the Star of Evening
Melts and trembles through the purple,
Hangs suspended in the twilight. 
No; it is a bead of wampum
On the robes of the Great Spirit
As he passes through the twilight,
Walks in silence through the heavens. 
  This with joy beheld Iagoo
And he said in haste:  “Behold it! 
See the sacred Star of Evening! 
You shall hear a tale of wonder,
Hear the story of Osseo,
Son of the Evening Star, Osseo! 
  “Once, in days no more remembered,
Ages nearer the beginning,
When the heavens were closer to us,
And the Gods were more familiar,
In the North-land lived a hunter,
With ten young and comely daughters,
Tall and lithe as wands of willow;
Only Oweenee, the youngest,
She the wilful and the wayward,
She the silent, dreamy maiden,
Was the fairest of the sisters. 
  “All these women married warriors,
Married brave and haughty husbands;
Only Oweenee, the youngest,
Laughed and flouted all her lovers,
All her young and handsome suitors,
And then married old Osseo,
Old Osseo, poor and ugly,
Broken with age and weak with coughing,
Always coughing like a squirrel. 
  “Ah, but beautiful within him
Was the spirit of Osseo,
From the Evening Star descended,
Star of Evening, Star of Woman,
Star of tenderness and passion! 
All its fire was in his bosom,
All its beauty in his spirit,
All its mystery in his being,
All its splendor in his language! 

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The Complete Poems of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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