Yet spake he not. He, from his coigne of hills,
Beheld the rise and fall of empire, saw
The pageantry and perjury of kings,
The feudal barons and the slavish churls,
The peace of peasants; heard the merry song
Of mowers singing to the swing of scythes,
The solemn-voiced, low-wailing funeral dirge
Winding slow-paced with death to humble graves;
And heard the requiem sung for coffined kings.
Saw castles rise and castles crumble down,
Abbeys up-loom and clang their solemn bells,
And heard the owl hoot ruin on their walls:
Beheld a score of battle fields corpse-strewn—
Blood-fertiled with ten thousand flattered fools
Who, but to please the vanity of one,
Marched on hurrahing to the doom of death—
And spake not, neither sighed nor made a moan.
Saw from the blood of heroes roses spring,
And where the clangor of steel-sinewed War
Roared o’er embattled rage, heard gentle Peace
To bleating hills and vales of rustling gold
Flute her glad notes from morn till even-tide.
Grim with the grime of a thousand years he stood—
Grand in his silence, mighty in his years.
Under his shade the maid and lover wooed;
Under his arms their children’s children played
And lambkins gamboled; at his feet by night
The heart-sick wanderer laid him down and died,
And he looked on in silence.
In ghostly pantomime on tip-toe tripped
The stately minuet of the passing years,
Until the horologe of Time struck One.
Black Thunder growled and from his throne of gloom
Fire-flashed the night with hissing bolt, and lo,
Heart-split, the giant of a thousand years
Uttered one voice and like a Titan fell,
Crashing one hammer-clang, and passed away.
[CG] An-pe-tu Sa-pa—Clouded Day—was the name of the Dakota mother who committed suicide, as related in this legend, by plunging over the Falls of St. Anthony. Schoolcraft calls her “Ampata Sapa.” Ampata is not Dakota. There are several versions of this legend, all agreeing in the main points.
[Read at the Celebration of the Old Settlers of Hennepin County, at the Academy of Music, Minneapolis, July 4, 1879.]
[The Numerals refer to Notes in Appendix.]
On the Spirit-Island [CH] sitting under midnight’s
Lo I see the spirits flitting o’er the waters one by one!
Slumber wraps the silent city, and the droning mills are dumb;
One lone whippowil’s shrill ditty calls her mate that ne’er will come.
Sadly moans the mighty river, foaming down the fettered falls,
Where of old he thundered ever o’er abrupt and lofty walls.
Great Unktehee—god of waters—lifts no more his mighty head;
Fled he with the timid otters?—lies he in the cavern dead?