The Feast of the Virgins and Other Poems eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 265 pages of information about The Feast of the Virgins and Other Poems.

Down into the darkness at last, Daniel,—­down into the darkness at last;
Laid in the lap of our Mother, Daniel,—­sleeping the dreamless sleep,—­
Sleeping the sleep of the babe unborn—­the pure and the perfect rest: 
Aye, and is it not better than this fitful fever and pain? 
Aye, and is it not better, if only the dead soul knew? 
Over your grave the tempest may roar or the zephyr sigh;
Over your grave the blue-bells may blink or the snow-drifts whirl,—­
Dead Ashes, what do you care?—­they break not the sleep of the dead. 
They that were friends may mourn, they that were friends may praise;
They that knew you and yet—­knew you never—­may cavil and blame;
They that were foes in disguise may strike at you down in the grave;
Slander, the scavenger-buzzard—­may vomit her lies on you there;
Dead Ashes, what do you care?—­they break not the sleep of the dead.

The hoarse, low voice of the years croaks on forever-and-aye:  Change!  Change!  Change! and the winters wax and wane.  The old oak dies in the forest; the acorn sprouts at its feet; The sea gnaws on at the land; the continent crowds on the sea.  Bound to the Ixion wheel with brazen fetters of fate Man rises up from the dust and falls to the dust again.  God washes our eyes with tears, and still they are blinded with dust:  We grope in the dark and marvel, and pray to the Power unknown—­ Crying for help to the desert:  not even an echo replies.  Doomed unto death like the moon, like the midget that men call man, Wrinkled with age and agony the old Earth rolls her rounds; Shrinking and shuddering she rolls—­an atom in God’s great sea—­ Only an atom of dust in the infinite ocean of space.  What to him are the years who sleeps in her bosom there?  What to him is the cry wrung out of the souls of men? Change, Change, Change, and the sea gnaws on at the land:  Dead Ashes, what do you care?—­it breaks not the sleep of the dead.

Down into the darkness at last, Daniel,—­down into the darkness at last;
Laid in the lap of our Mother, Daniel,—­sleeping the dreamless sleep,—­
Sleeping the sleep of the babe unborn—­the pure and the perfect rest: 
Aye, and is it not better than this fitful fever and pain? 
Aye, and is it not better if only the dead soul knew?

Up—­out of the darkness at last, Daniel,—­out of the darkness at last;
Into the light of the life eternal—­into the sunlight of God,
Singing the song of the soul immortal freed from the fetters of flesh: 
Aye, and is it not better than this fitful fever and pain? 
Aye, and is it not better than sleeping the dreamless sleep? 
Hark! from the reel of the spheres eternal
          the freed soul answereth “Aye.” 
Aye—­Aye—­Aye—­it is better, brothers,
          if it be but the dream of the famished soul.

MINNETONKA[BY]

[BY] The Dakota name for this beautiful lake is We-ne-a-tan-ka—­Broad Water.  By dropping the “a” before “tanka” we have changed the name to Big Water.

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Project Gutenberg
The Feast of the Virgins and Other Poems from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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