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.
Hark!—­the waters hush their sighing and the whippowil her call,
Through the moon-lit mists are flying dusky shadows silent all. 
Lo from out the waters foaming—­from the cavern deep and dread—­
Through the glamour and the gloaming comes a spirit of the dead. 
Sad she seems; her tresses raven on her tawny shoulders rest;
Sorrow on her brow is graven, in her arms a babe is pressed. 
Hark!—­she chants the solemn story—­sings the legend sad and old,
And the river wrapt in glory listens while the tale is told. 
Would you hear the legend olden hearken while I tell the tale—­
Shorn, alas, of many a golden, weird Dakota chant and wail.

[CH] The small island of rock a few rods below the Falls, was called by the Dakotas Wanagee We-ta—­Spirit-Island.  They say the spirit of Anpetu Sapa sits upon that island at night and pours forth her sorrow in song.  They also say that from time out of mind, war-eagles nested on that island, until the advent of white men frightened them away.  This seems to be true.  See Carver’s Travels (London, 1778), p. 71.

THE LEGEND

Tall was young Wanata, stronger than Heyoka’s [16] giant form,—­
Laughed at flood and fire and hunger, faced the fiercest winter storm. 
When Wakinyan [32] flashed and thundered, when Unktehee raved and roared,
All but brave Wanata wondered, and the gods with fear implored. 
When the war-whoop shrill resounded, calling friends to meet the foe,
From the teepee swift he bounded, armed with polished lance and bow. 
In the battle’s din and clangor fast his fatal arrows flew,
Flashed his fiery eyes with anger,—­many a stealthy foe he slew. 
Hunter swift was he and cunning, caught the beaver, slew the bear,
Overtook the roebuck running, dragged the panther from his lair. 
Loved was he by many a maiden; many a dark eye glanced in vain;
Many a heart with sighs was laden for the love it could not gain. 
So they called the brave “Ska Capa;"[CI] but the fairest of the band—­
Moon-faced, meek Anpetu-Sapa—­won the hunter’s heart and hand.

[CI] Or Capa Ska—­White beaver.  White beavers are very rare, very cunning and hard to catch.

From the wars with triumph burning, from the chase of bison fleet,
To his lodge the brave returning, spread his trophies at her feet. 
Love and joy sat in the teepee; him a black-eyed boy she bore;
But alas, she lived to weep a love she lost forevermore. 
For the warriors chose Wanata first Itancan[CJ] of the band. 
At the council-fire he sat a leader brave, a chieftain grand. 
Proud was fair Anpetu-Sapa, and her eyes were glad with joy;
Proud was she and very happy with her warrior and her boy. 
But alas, the fatal honor that her brave Wanata won,
Brought a bitter woe upon her,—­hid with clouds the summer sun. 
For among the brave Dakotas wives bring honor to the chief. 
On the vine-clad Minnesota’s banks he met the Scarlet Leaf.

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