The Feast of the Virgins and Other Poems eBook

The Feast of the Virgins and Other Poems

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Page 1


At odd hours during an active and busy life I have dallied with the Muses.  I found in them, in earlier years, rest from toil and drudgery and, later, relief from physical suffering.

Broken by over-work and compelled to abandon the practice of my profession—­the law, I wrote Pauline after I had been given up to die by my physicians.  It proved to be a better ‘medicine’ for me than all the quackeries of the quacks.  It diverted my mind from myself and, perhaps, saved my life.  When published, its reception by the best journals of this country and England was so flattering and, at the same time, the criticisms of some were so just, that I have been induced to carefully revise the poem and to publish my re-touched Pauline in this volume.  I hope and believe I have greatly improved it.  Several of the minor poems have been published heretofore in journals and magazines; others of equal or greater age flap their wings herein for the first time; a few peeped from the shell but yesterday.

I am aware that this volume contains several poems that a certain class of critics will condemn, but they are my “chicks” and I will gather them under my wings.

“None but an author knows an author’s cares, Or Fancy’s fondness for the child she bears.”—­Cowper.

Much of my life has been spent in the Northwest—­on the frontier of civilization, and I became personally acquainted with many of the chiefs and braves of the Dakota and Ojibway (Chippewa) Indians.  I have written of them largely from my own personal knowledge, and endeavored, above all things, to be accurate, and to present them true to the life.

For several years I devoted my leisure hours to the study of the language, history, traditions, customs and superstitions of the Dakotas.  These Indians are now commonly called the “Sioux”—­a name given them by the early French traders and voyageurs.  “Dakota” signifies alliance or confederation.  Many separate bands, all having a common origin and speaking a common tongue, were united under this name.  See “Tah-Koo Wah-Kan,” or “The Gospel Among the Dakotas,” by Stephen R. Riggs, pp. 1 to 6 inc.

They were but yesterday the occupants and owners of the fair forests and fertile prairies of Minnesota—­a brave, hospitable and generous people—­barbarians, indeed, but noble in their barbarism.  They may be fitly called the Iroquois of the West.  In form and features, in language and traditions, they are distinct from all other Indian tribes.  When first visited by white men, and for many years afterwards, the Falls of St. Anthony (by them called the Ha Ha) was the center of their country.  They cultivated corn and tobacco, and hunted the elk, the beaver and the bison.  They were open-hearted, truthful and brave.  In their wars with other tribes they seldom slew women or children, and rarely sacrificed the lives of their prisoners.

Page 2

For many years their chiefs and head men successfully resisted the attempts to introduce spirituous liquors among them.  More than a century ago an English trader was killed at Mendota, near the present city of St. Paul, because he persisted, after repeated warnings by the chiefs, in dealing out mini wakan (Devil-water) to the Dakota braves.

With open arms and generous hospitality they welcomed the first white men to their land, and were ever faithful in their friendship, till years of wrong and robbery, and want and insult, drove them to desperation and to war.  They were barbarians, and their warfare was barbarous, but not more barbarous than the warfare of our Saxon, Celtic and Norman ancestors.  They were ignorant and superstitious.  Their condition closely resembled the condition of our British forefathers at the beginning of the Christian era.  Macaulay says of Britain:  “Her inhabitants, when first they became known to the Tyrian mariners, were little superior to the natives of the Sandwich Islands.”  And again:  “While the German princes who reigned at Paris, Toledo, Aries and Ravenna listened with reverence to the instructions of bishops, adored the relics of martyrs, and took part eagerly in disputes touching the Nicene theology, the rulers of Wessex and Mercia were still performing savage rites in the temples of Thor and Woden.”

The days of the Dakotas are done.  The degenerate remnants of that once powerful and warlike people still linger around the forts and agencies of the Northwest, or chase the caribou and the elk on the banks of the Saskatchewan, but the Dakotas of old are no more.  The brilliant defeat of Custer, by Sitting Bull and his braves, was their last grand rally against the resistless march of the sons of the Saxons.  The plow-shares of a superior race are fast leveling the sacred mounds of their dead.  But yesterday, the shores of our lakes and our rivers were dotted with their teepees, their light canoes glided over our waters, and their hunters chased the deer and the buffalo on the sites of our cities.  To-day, they are not.  Let us do justice to their memory, for there was much that was noble in their natures.

In the Dakota Legends, I have endeavored to faithfully present many of the customs and superstitions, and some of the traditions, of that people.  I have taken very little ‘poetic license’ with their traditions; none, whatever, with their customs and superstitions.  In my studies for these Legends I was greatly aided by the Rev. S.R.  Riggs, author of the "Grammar and Dictionary of the Dakota Language” “Tah-Koo Wah-Kan," &c., and for many years a missionary among the Dakotas.  He patiently answered my numerous inquiries and gave me valuable information.  I am also indebted to the late Gen. H.H.  Sibley, one of the earliest American traders among them, and to Rev. S.W.  Pond, of Shakopee, one of the first Protestant missionaries to these people, and himself the author of poetical versions of some of their principal legends; to Mrs. Eastman’s "Dacotah," and last, but not least, to the Rev. E.D.  Neill, whose admirable "History of Minnesota" so fully and faithfully presents almost all that is known of the history, traditions, customs, manners and superstitions of the Dakotas.

Page 3

In Winona I have “tried my hand” on a new hexameter verse.  With what success, I leave to those who are better able to judge than I. If I have failed, I have but added another failure to the numerous attempts to naturalize hexameter verse in the English language.

It will be observed that I have slightly changed the length and the rhythm of the old hexameter line; but it is still hexameter, and, I think, improved.

I have not written for profit nor published for fame.  Fame is a coy goddess that rarely bestows her favors on him who seeks her—­a phantom that many pursue and but few overtake.

She delights to hover for a time, like a ghost, over the graves of dead men who know not and care not:  to the living she is a veritable Ignis Fatuus.  But every man owes something to his fellowmen, and I owe much.

If my friends find half the pleasure in reading these poems that I have found in writing them, I shall have paid my debt and achieved success.


Minneapolis, November 1, 1891.



The numerals refer to Notes in appendix.

Onward rolls the Royal River, proudly sweeping to the sea,
Dark and deep and grand, forever wrapt in myth and mystery. 
Lo he laughs along the highlands, leaping o’er the granite walls;
Lo he sleeps among the islands, where the loon her lover calls. 
Still like some huge monster winding downward through the prairied plains,
Seeking rest but never finding, till the tropic gulf he gains. 
In his mighty arms he claspeth now an empire broad and grand;
In his left hand lo he graspeth leagues of fen and forest land;
In his right the mighty mountains, hoary with eternal snow,
Where a thousand foaming fountains singing seek the plains below. 
Fields of corn and feet of cities lo the mighty river laves,
Where the Saxon sings his ditties o’er the swarthy warriors’ graves.

Aye, before the birth of Moses—­ere the Pyramids were piled—­ All his banks were red with roses from the sea to nor’lands wild, And from forest, fen and meadows, in the deserts of the north, Elk and bison stalked like shadows, and the tawny tribes came forth; Deeds of death and deeds of daring on his leafy banks were done, Women loved and men went warring, ere the siege of Troy begun.  Where his foaming waters thundered, roaring o’er the rocky walls, Dusky hunters sat and wondered, listening to the spirits’ calls. “Ha-ha!"[76] cried the warrior greeting from afar the cataract’s roar; “Ha-ha!” rolled the answer beating down the rock-ribbed leagues of shore.  Now, alas, the bow and quiver and the dusky braves have fled, And the sullen, shackled river drives the droning mills instead.

Page 4

Where the war-whoop rose, and after women wailed their warriors slain,
List the Saxon’s silvery laughter, and his humming hives of gain. 
Swiftly sped the tawny runner o’er the pathless prairies then,
Now the iron-reindeer sooner carries weal or woe to men. 
On thy bosom, Royal River, silent sped the birch canoe
Bearing brave with bow and quiver on his way to war or woo;
Now with flaunting flags and streamers—­mighty monsters of the deep—­
Lo the puffing, panting steamers through thy foaming waters sweep;
And behold the grain-fields golden, where the bison grazed of eld;
See the fanes of forests olden by the ruthless Saxon felled. 
Plumed pines that spread their shadows ere Columbus spread his sails,
Firs that fringed the mossy meadows ere the Mayflower braved the gales,
Iron oaks that nourished bruin while the Vikings roamed the main,
Crashing fall in broken ruin for the greedy marts of gain.

Still forever and forever rolls the restless river on,
Slumbering oft but ceasing never while the circling centuries run. 
In his palm the lakelet lingers, in his hair the brooklets hide,
Grasped within his thousand fingers lies a continent fair and wide—­
Yea, a mighty empire swarming with its millions like the bees,
Delving, drudging, striving, storming, all their lives, for golden ease.

Still, methinks, the dusky shadows of the days that are no more,
Stalk around the lakes and meadows, haunting oft the wonted shore: 
Hunters from the land of spirits seek the bison and the deer
Where the Saxon now inherits golden field and silver mere;
And beside the mound where buried lies the dark-eyed maid he loves,
Some tall warrior, wan and wearied, in the misty moonlight moves. 
See—­he stands erect and lingers—­stoic still, but loth to go—­
Clutching in his tawny fingers feathered shaft and polished bow. 
Never wail or moan he utters and no tear is on his face,
But a warrior’s curse he mutters on the crafty Saxon race.

O thou dark, mysterious River, speak and tell thy tales to me;
Seal not up thy lips forever—­veiled in mist and mystery. 
I will sit and lowly listen at the phantom-haunted falls
Where thy waters foam and glisten o’er the rugged, rocky walls,
Till some spirit of the olden, mystic, weird, romantic days
Shall emerge and pour her golden tales and legends through my lays.

Then again the elk and bison on thy grassy banks shall feed,
And along the low horizon shall the plumed hunter speed;
Then again on lake and river shall the silent birch canoe
Bear the brave with bow and quiver on his way to war or woo: 
Then the beaver on the meadow shall rebuild his broken wall,
And the wolf shall chase his shadow and his mate the panther call. 
From the prairies and the regions where the pine-plumed forest grows
Shall arise the tawny legions with their lances and

Page 5

their bows;
And again the cries of battle shall resound along the plain,
Bows shall twang and quivers rattle, women wail their warriors slain;
And by lodge-fire lowly burning shall the mother from afar
List her warrior’s steps returning from the daring deeds of war.

[Illustration:  THE GAME OF BALL]



In pronouncing Dakota words give “a” the sound of “ah",—­“e” the sound of “a",—­“i” the sound of “e” and “u” the sound of “oo;” sound “ee” as in English.  The numerals refer to Notes in appendix.


Clear was the sky as a silver shield;
The bright sun blazed on the frozen field. 
On ice-bound river and white-robed prairie
The diamonds gleamed in the flame of noon;
But cold and keen were the breezes airy
Wa-zi-ya[3] blew from his icy throne.

On the solid ice of the silent river
The bounds are marked, and a splendid prize,
A robe of black-fox lined with beaver,
Is hung in view of the eager eyes;
And fifty merry Dakota maidens,
The fairest-molded of womankind
Are gathered in groups on the level ice. 
They look on the robe and its beauty gladdens
And maddens their hearts for the splendid prize. 
Lo the rounded ankles and raven hair
That floats at will on the wanton wind,
And the round, brown arms to the breezes bare,
And breasts like the mounds where the waters meet,[4]
And feet as fleet as the red deer’s feet,
And faces that glow like the full, round moon
When she laughs in the luminous skies of June.

The leaders are chosen and swiftly divide
The opposing parties on either side. 
Wiwaste[5] is chief of a nimble band,
The star-eyed daughter of Little Crow;[6]
And the leader chosen to hold command
Of the band adverse is a haughty foe—­
The dusky, impetuous Harpstina,[7]
The queenly cousin of Wapasa.[8]

Kapoza’s chief and his tawny hunters
Are gathered to witness the queenly game. 
The ball is thrown and a net encounters,
And away it flies with a loud acclaim. 
Swift are the maidens that follow after,
And swiftly it flies for the farther bound;
And long and loud are the peals of laughter,
As some fair runner is flung to ground;
While backward and forward, and to and fro,
The maidens contend on the trampled snow. 
With loud “Iho!—­Ito!—­Iho!"[9]
And waving the beautiful prize anon,
The dusky warriors cheer them on. 
And often the limits are almost passed,
As the swift ball flies and returns.  At last
It leaps the line at a single bound
From the fair Wiwaste’s sturdy arm
Like a fawn that flies from the baying hound. 
The wild cheers broke like a thunder storm
On the beetling bluffs and the hills profound,
An echoing, jubilant sea of sound. 
Wakawa, the chief, and the loud acclaim
Announced the end of the hard-won game,
And the fair Wiwaste was victor crowned.

Page 6

Dark was the visage of Harpstina
When the robe was laid at her rival’s feet,
And merry maidens and warriors saw
Her flashing eyes and her look of hate,
As she turned to Wakawa, the chief, and said: 
“The game was mine were it fairly played. 
I was stunned by a blow on my bended head,
As I snatched the ball from slippery ground
Not half a fling from Wiwaste’s bound. 
The cheat—­behold her! for there she stands
With the prize that is mine in her treacherous hands. 
The fawn may fly, but the wolf is fleet;
The fox creeps sly on Maga’s[10] retreat,
And a woman’s revenge—­it is swift and sweet.”

She turned to her lodge, but a roar of laughter
And merry mockery followed after. 
Little they heeded the words she said,
Little they cared for her haughty tread,
For maidens and warriors and chieftain knew
That her lips were false and her charge untrue.

Wiwaste, the fairest Dakota maiden,
The sweet-faced daughter of Little Crow,
To her teepee[11] turned with her trophy laden,
The black robe trailing the virgin snow. 
Beloved was she by her princely father,
Beloved was she by the young and old,
By merry maidens and many a mother,
And many a warrior bronzed and bold. 
For her face was as fair as a beautiful dream,
And her voice like the song of the mountain stream;
And her eyes like the stars when they glow and gleam
Through the somber pines of the nor’land wold,
When the winds of winter are keen and cold.

Mah-pi-ya Du-ta[12], the tall Red Cloud,
A hunter swift and a warrior proud,
With many a scar and many a feather,
Was a suitor bold and a lover fond. 
Long had he courted Wiwaste’s father,
Long had he sued for the maiden’s hand. 
Aye, brave and proud was the tall Red Cloud,
A peerless son of a giant race,
And the eyes of the panther were set in his face: 
He strode like a stag, and he stood like a pine;
Ten feathers he wore of the great Wanmdee;[13]
With crimsoned quills of the porcupine
His leggins were worked to his brawny knee. 
The bow he bent was a giant’s bow;
The swift, red elk could he overtake,
And the necklace that girdled his brawny neck
Was the polished claws of the great Mato[14]
He grappled and slew in the northern snow. 
Wiwaste looked on the warrior tall;
She saw he was brawny and brave and great,
But the eyes of the panther she could but hate,
And a brave Hohe[15] loved she better than all. 
Loved was Mahpiya by Harpstina
But the warrior she never could charm or draw;
And bitter indeed was her secret hate
For the maiden she reckoned so fortunate.



Page 7

The night-sun[17] sails in his gold canoe,
The spirits[18] walk in the realms of air
With their glowing faces and flaming hair,
And the shrill, chill winds o’er the prairies blow. 
In the Tee[19] of the Council the Virgins light
The Virgin-fire[20] for the feast to-night;
For the Sons of Heyoka will celebrate
The sacred dance to the giant great. 
The kettle boils on the blazing fire,
And the flesh is done to the chief’s desire. 
With his stoic face to the sacred East,[21]
He takes his seat at the Giant’s Feast.

For the feast of Heyoka[22] the braves are dressed
With crowns from the bark of the white-birch trees,
And new skin leggins that reach the knees;
With robes of the bison and swarthy bear,
And eagle-plumes in their coal-black hair,
And marvelous rings in their tawny ears
That were pierced with the points of their shining spears. 
To honor Heyoka Wakawa lifts
His fuming pipe from the Red-stone Quarry.[23]
The warriors follow.  The white cloud drifts
From the Council-lodge to the welkin starry,
Like a fog at morn on the fir-clad hill,
When the meadows are damp and the winds are still.

They dance to the tune of their wild “Ha-ha
A warrior’s shout and a raven’s caw—­
Circling the pot and the blazing fire
To the tom-tom’s bray and the rude bassoon;
Round and round to their heart’s desire,
And ever the same wild chant and tune—­
A warrior’s shout and a raven’s caw—­
They crouch, they leap, and their burning eyes
Flash fierce in the light of the flaming fire,
As fiercer and fiercer and higher and higher
The rude, wild notes of their chant arise. 
They cease, they sit, and the curling smoke
Ascends again from their polished pipes,
And upward curls from their swarthy lips
To the god whose favor their hearts invoke.

Then tall Wakawa arose and said: 
“Brave warriors, listen, and give due heed. 
Great is Heyoka, the magical god;
He can walk on the air; he can float on the flood. 
He’s a worker of magic and wonderful wise;
He cries when he laughs and he laughs when he cries;
He sweats when he’s cold, and he shivers when hot,
And the water is cold in his boiling pot. 
He hides in the earth and he walks in disguise,
But he loves the brave and their sacrifice. 
We are sons of Heyoka.  The Giant commands
In the boiling water to thrust our hands;
And the warrior that scorneth the foe and fire
Heyoka will crown with his heart’s desire.”

They thrust their hands in the boiling pot;
They swallow the bison-meat steaming hot;
Not a wince on their stoical faces bold,
For the meat and the water, they say, are cold: 
And great is Heyoka and wonderful wise;
He floats on the flood and he walks on the skies,
And ever appears in a strange disguise;
But he loves the brave and their sacrifice,
And the warrior that scorneth the foe and fire
Heyoka will crown with his heart’s desire.

Page 8

Proud was the chief of his warriors proud,
The sinewy sons of the Giant’s race;
But the bravest of all was the tall Red Cloud;
The eyes of the panther were set in his face;
He strode like a stag and he stood like a pine;
Ten feathers he wore of the great Wanmdee,[13]
With crimsoned quills of the porcupine
His leggins were worked to his brawny knee. 
Blood-red were the stripes on his swarthy cheek,
And the necklace that girdled his brawny neck
Was the polished claws of the great Mato[14]
He grappled and slew in the northern snow. 
Proud Red Cloud turned to the braves and said,
As he shook the plumes on his haughty head: 
“Ho! the warrior that scorneth the foe and fire
Heyoka will crown with his heart’s desire!”
He snatched from the embers a red-hot brand,
And held it aloft in his naked hand. 
He stood like a statue in bronze or stone—­
Not a muscle moved, and the braves looked on. 
He turned to the chieftain—­“I scorn the fire—­
Ten feathers I wear of the great Wanmdee;
Then grant me, Wakawa, my heart’s desire;
Let the sunlight shine in my lonely tee.[19]
I laugh at red death and I laugh at red fire;
Brave Red Cloud is only afraid of fear;
But Wiwaste is fair to his heart and dear;
Then grant him, Wakawa, his heart’s desire.” 
The warriors applauded with loud “Ho!  Ho!"[24]
And he flung the brand to the drifting snow. 
Three times Wakawa puffed forth the smoke
From his silent lips; then he slowly spoke: 
“Mahpiya is strong as the stout-armed oak
That stands on the bluff by the windy plain,
And laughs at the roar of the hurricane. 
He has slain the foe and the great Mato
With his hissing arrow and deadly stroke
My heart is swift but my tongue is slow. 
Let the warrior come to my lodge and smoke;
He may bring the gifts;[25] but the timid doe
May fly from the hunter and say him no.”

Wiwaste sat late in the lodge alone,
Her dark eyes bent on the glowing fire: 
She heard not the wild winds shrill and moan;
She heard not the tall elms toss and groan;
Her face was lit like the harvest moon;
For her thoughts flew far to her heart’s desire. 
Far away in the land of the Hohe[15] dwelt
The warrior she held in her secret heart;
But little he dreamed of the pain she felt,
For she hid her love with a maiden’s art. 
Not a tear she shed, not a word she said,
When the brave young chief from the lodge departed;
But she sat on the mound when the day was dead,
And gazed at the full moon mellow-hearted. 
Fair was the chief as the morning-star;
His eyes were mild and his words were low,
But his heart was stouter than lance or bow;
And her young heart flew to her love afar
O’er his trail long covered with drifted snow. 
She heard a warrior’s stealthy tread,
And the tall Wakawa appeared, and said: 
“Is Wiwaste afraid of the spirit dread
That fires the sky in the fatal north?[26]
Behold the mysterious lights.  Come forth: 
Some evil threatens, some danger nears,
For the skies are pierced by the burning spears.”

Page 9

The warriors rally beneath the moon;
They shoot their shafts at the evil spirit. 
The spirit is slain and the flame is gone,
But his blood lies red on the snow-fields near it;
And again from the dead will the spirit rise,
And flash his spears in the northern skies.

Then the chief and the queenly Wiwaste stood
Alone in the moon-lit solitude,
And she was silent and he was grave. 
“And fears not my daughter the evil spirit? 
The strongest warriors and bravest fear it. 
The burning spears are an evil omen;
They threaten the wrath of a wicked woman,
Or a treacherous foe; but my warriors brave,
When danger nears, or the foe appears,
Are a cloud of arrows—­a grove of spears.”

“My Father,” she said, and her words were low,
“Why should I fear? for I soon will go
To the broad, blue lodge in the Spirit-land,
Where my fond-eyed mother went long ago,
And my dear twin-sisters walk hand in hand. 
My Father, listen—­my words are true,”
And sad was her voice as the whippowil
When she mourns her mate by the moon-lit rill,
“Wiwaste lingers alone with you;
The rest are sleeping on yonder hill—­
Save one—­and he an undutiful son—­
And you, my Father, will sit alone
When Sisoka[27] sings and the snow is gone. 
I sat, when the maple leaves were red,
By the foaming falls of the haunted river;
The night-sun was walking above my head,
And the arrows shone in his burnished quiver;
And the winds were hushed and the hour was dread
With the walking ghosts of the silent dead. 
I heard the voice of the Water-Fairy;[28]
I saw her form in the moon-lit mist,
As she sat on a stone with her burden weary,
By the foaming eddies of amethyst. 
And robed in her mantle of mist the sprite
Her low wail poured on the silent night. 
Then the spirit spake, and the floods were still—­
They hushed and listened to what she said,
And hushed was the plaint of the whippowil
In the silver-birches above her head: 
’Wiwaste, the prairies are green and fair
When the robin sings and the whippowil;
But the land of the Spirits is fairer still,
For the winds of winter blow never there;
And forever the songs of the whippowils
And the robins are heard on the leafy hills. 
Thy mother looks from her lodge above—­
Her fair face shines in the sky afar,
And the eyes of thy sisters are bright with love,
As they peep from the tee of the mother-star. 
To her happy lodge in the Spirit land
She beckons Wiwaste with shining hand.’

“My Father—­my Father, her words were true;
And the death of Wiwaste will rest on you. 
You have pledged me as wife to the tall Red Cloud;
You will take the gifts of the warrior proud;
But I, Wakawa,—­I answer—­never! 
I will stain your knife in my heart’s red blood,
I will plunge and sink in the sullen river
Ere I will be wife to the dark Red Cloud!”

Page 10

“Wiwaste,” he said, and his voice was low,
“Let it be as you will, for Wakawa’s tongue
Has spoken no promise;—­his lips are slow,
And the love of a father is deep and strong. 
Be happy, Micunksee;[29] the flames are gone—­
They flash no more in the northern sky. 
See the smile on the face of the watching moon;
No more will the fatal, red arrows fly;
For the singing shafts of my warriors sped
To the bad spirit’s bosom and laid him dead,
And his blood on the snow of the North lies red. 
Go—­sleep in the robe that you won to-day,
And dream of your hunter—­the brave Chaske.”

Light was her heart as she turned away;
It sang like the lark in the skies of May. 
The round moon laughed, but a lone, red star,[30]
As she turned to the teepee and entered in,
Fell flashing and swift in the sky afar,
Like the polished point of a javelin. 
Nor chief nor daughter the shadow saw
Of the crouching listener, Harpstina.

Wiwaste, wrapped in her robe and sleep,
Heard not the storm-sprites wail and weep,
As they rode on the winds in the frosty air;
But she heard the voice of her hunter fair;
For a fairy spirit with silent fingers
The curtains drew from the land of dreams;
And lo in her teepee her lover lingers;
In his tender eyes all the love-light beams,
And his voice is the music of mountain streams.

And then with her round, brown arms she pressed
His phantom form to her throbbing breast,
And whispered the name, in her happy sleep,
Of her Hohe hunter so fair and far: 
And then she saw in her dreams the deep
Where the spirit wailed, and a falling star;
Then stealthily crouching under the trees,
By the light of the moon, the Kan-e-ti-dan, [31]
The little, wizened, mysterious man,
With his long locks tossed by the moaning breeze. 
Then a flap of wings, like a thunder-bird, [32]
And a wailing spirit the sleeper heard;
And lo, through the mists of the moon, she saw
The hateful visage of Harpstina.

But waking she murmured—­“And what are these——­
The flap of wings and the falling star,
The wailing spirit that’s never at ease,
The little man crouching under the trees,
And the hateful visage of Harpstina? 
My dreams are like feathers that float on the breeze,
And none can tell what the omens are——­
Save the beautiful dream of my love afar
In the happy land of the tall Hohe——­
My handsome hunter—­my brave Chaske.”

[Illustration:  BUFFALO CHASE]

"Ta-tanka!  Ta-tanka!"[33] the hunters cried,
With a joyous shout at the break of dawn
And darkly lined on the white hill-side,
A herd of bison went marching on
Through the drifted snow like a caravan. 
Swift to their ponies the hunters sped,
And dashed away on the hurried chase. 
The wild steeds scented the game ahead,

Page 11

And sprang like hounds to the eager race. 
But the brawny bulls in the swarthy van
Turned their polished horns on the charging foes
And reckless rider and fleet footman
Were held at bay in the drifted snows,
While the bellowing herd o’er the hilltops ran,
Like the frightened beasts of a caravan
On Sahara’s sands when the simoon blows. 
Sharp were the twangs of the hunters’ bows,
And swift and humming the arrows sped,
Till ten huge bulls on the bloody snows
Lay pierced with arrows and dumb and dead. 
But the chief with the flankers had gained the rear,
And flew on the trail of the flying herd. 
The shouts of the riders rang loud and clear,
As their foaming steeds to the chase they spurred. 
And now like the roar of an avalanche
Rolls the bellowing wrath of the maddened bulls
They charge on the riders and runners stanch,
And a dying steed in the snow drift rolls,
While the rider, flung to the frozen ground,
Escapes the horns by a panther’s bound. 
But the raging monsters are held at bay,
While the flankers dash on the swarthy rout: 
With lance and arrow they slay and slay;
And the welkin rings to the gladsome shout——­
To the loud Ina’s and the wild Iho’s, [34]
And dark and dead, on the bloody snows,
Lie the swarthy heaps of the buffaloes. 
All snug in the teepee Wiwaste lay,
All wrapped in her robe, at the dawn of day,
All snug and warm from the wind and snow,
While the hunters followed the buffalo. 
Her dreams and her slumber their wild shouts broke;
The chase was afoot when the maid awoke;
She heard the twangs of the hunters’ bows,
And the bellowing bulls and the loud Iho’s,
And she murmured—­“My hunter is far away
In the happy land of the tall Hohe——­
My handsome hunter, my brave Chaske;
But the robins will come and my warrior too,
And Wiwaste will find her a way to woo.”

And long she lay in a reverie,
And dreamed, wide-awake, of the brave Chaske,
Till a trampling of feet on the crispy snow
She heard, and the murmur of voices low:——­
Then the warriors’ greeting—­Iho!  Iho!
And behold, in the blaze of the risen day,
With the hunters that followed the buffalo——­
Came her tall, young hunter—­her brave Chaske. 
Far south has he followed the bison-trail
With his band of warriors so brave and true. 
Right glad is Wakawa his friend to hail,
And Wiwaste will find her a way to woo.

Tall and straight as the larch-tree stood
The manly form of the brave young chief,
And fair as the larch in its vernal leaf,
When the red fawn bleats in the feathering wood. 
Mild was his face as the morning skies,
And friendship shone in his laughing eyes;
But swift were his feet o’er the drifted snow
On the trail of the elk or the buffalo,
And his heart was stouter than lance or bow,

Page 12

When he heard the whoop of his enemies. 
Five feathers he wore of the great Wanmdee
And each for the scalp of a warrior slain,
When down on his camp from the northern plain,
With their murder-cries rode the bloody Cree.[35]
But never the stain of an infant slain,
Or the blood of a mother that plead in vain,
Soiled the honored plumes of the brave Hohe
A mountain bear to his enemies,
To his friends like the red fawn’s dappled form;
In peace, like the breeze from the summer seas——­
In war, like the roar of the mountain storm. 
His fame in the voice of the winds went forth
From his hunting grounds in the happy North,
And far as the shores of the Great Mede [36]
The nations spoke of the brave Chaske.

Dark was the visage of grim Red Cloud,
Fierce were the eyes of the warrior proud,
When the chief to his lodge led the brave Hohe,
And Wiwaste smiled on the tall Chaske. 
Away he strode with a sullen frown,
And alone in his teepee he sat him down. 
From the gladsome greeting of braves he stole,
And wrapped himself in his gloomy soul. 
But the eagle eyes of the Harpstina
The clouded face of the warrior saw. 
Softly she spoke to the sullen brave: 
“Mah-pi-ya Duta—­his face is sad;
And why is the warrior so glum and grave? 
For the fair Wiwaste is gay and glad;
She will sit in the teepee the live-long day,
And laugh with her lover—­the brave Hohe
Does the tall Red Cloud for the false one sigh? 
There are fairer maidens than she, and proud
Were their hearts to be loved by the brave Red Cloud. 
And trust not the chief with the smiling eyes;
His tongue is swift, but his words are lies;
And the proud Mah-pi-ya will surely find
That Wakawa’s promise is hollow wind. 
Last night I stood by his lodge, and lo
I heard the voice of the Little Crow;
But the fox is sly and his words were low. 
But I heard her answer her father—­’Never! 
I will stain your knife in my heart’s red blood,
I will plunge and sink in the sullen river,
Ere I will be wife to the dark Red Cloud!’
Then he spake again, and his voice was low,
But I heard the answer of Little Crow: 
’Let it be as you will, for Wakawa’s tongue
Has spoken no promise—­his lips are slow,
And the love of a father is deep and strong.’

“Mah-pi-ya Duta, they scorn your love,
But the false chief covets the warrior’s gifts. 
False to his promise the fox will prove,
And fickle as snow in Wo-ka-da-wee, [37]
That slips into brooks when the gray cloud lifts,
Or the red sun looks through the ragged rifts. 
Mah-pi-ya Duta will listen to me. 
There are fairer birds in the bush than she,
And the fairest would gladly be Red Cloud’s wife. 
Will the warrior sit like a girl bereft,
When fairer and truer than she are left,
That love Red Cloud as they love their life? 
Mah-pi-ya Duta will listen to me. 
I love him well—­I have loved him long: 
A woman is weak, but a warrior is strong,
And a love-lorn brave is a scorn to see.

Page 13

“Mah-pi-ya Duta, O listen to me! 
Revenge is swift and revenge is strong,
And sweet as the hive in the hollow tree;
The proud Red Cloud will avenge his wrong. 
Let the brave be patient, it is not long
Till the leaves be green on the maple tree,
And the Feast of the Virgins is then to be—­
The Feast of the Virgins is then to be!”

Proudly she turned from the silent brave,
And went her way; but the warrior’s eyes—­
They flashed with the flame of a sudden fire,
Like the lights that gleam in the Sacred Cave[38],
When the black night covers the autumn skies,
And the stars from their welkin watch retire.

Three nights he tarried—­the brave Chaske;
Winged were the hours and they flitted away;
On the wings of Wakandee[39] they silently flew,
For Wiwaste had found her a way to woo. 
Ah little he cared for the bison-chase,
For the red lilies bloomed on the fair maid’s face;
Ah little he cared for the winds that blew,
For Wiwaste had found her a way to woo. 
Brown-bosomed she sat on her fox-robe dark,
Her ear to the tales of the brave inclined,
Or tripped from the tee like the song of a lark,
And gathered her hair from the wanton wind. 
Ah little he thought of the leagues of snow
He trod on the trail of the buffalo;
And little he recked of the hurricanes
That swept the snow from the frozen plains
And piled the banks of the Bloody River.[40]
His bow unstrung and forgotten hung
With his beaver hood and his otter quiver;
He sat spell-bound by the artless grace
Of her star-lit eyes and her moon-lit face. 
Ah little he cared for the storms that blew,
For Wiwaste had found her a way to woo. 
When he spoke with Wakawa her sidelong eyes
Sought the handsome chief in his hunter-guise. 
Wakawa marked, and the lilies fair
On her round cheeks spread to her raven hair. 
They feasted on rib of the bison fat,
On the tongue of the Ta[41] that the hunters prize,
On the savory flesh of the red Hogan,[42]
On sweet tipsanna[43] and pemmican
And the dun-brown cakes of the golden maize;
And hour after hour the young chief sat,
And feasted his soul on her love-lit eyes.

The sweeter the moments the swifter they fly;
Love takes no account of the fleeting hours;
He walks in a dream ’mid the blooming of flowers,
And never awakes till the blossoms die. 
Ah lovers are lovers the wide world over—­
In the hunter’s lodge and the royal palace. 
Sweet are the lips of his love to the lover—­
Sweet as new wine in a golden chalice
From the Tajo’s[44] slope or the hills beyond;
And blindly he sips from his loved one’s lips,
In lodge or palace the wide world over,
The maddening honey of Trebizond.[45]

Page 14

O what are leagues to the loving hunter,
Or the blinding drift of the hurricane,
When it raves and roars o’er the frozen plain! 
He would face the storm—­he would death encounter
The darling prize of his heart to gain. 
But his hunters chafed at the long delay,
For the swarthy bison were far away,
And the brave young chief from the lodge departed. 
He promised to come with the robins in May
With the bridal gifts for the bridal day;
And the fair Wiwaste was happy-hearted,
For Wakawa promised the brave Chaske. 
Birds of a feather will flock together. 
The robin sings to his ruddy mate,
And the chattering jays, in the winter weather,
To prate and gossip will congregate;
And the cawing crows on the autumn heather,
Like evil omens, will flock together,
In common council for high debate;
And the lass will slip from a doting mother
To hang with her lad on the garden gate. 
Birds of a feather will flock together—­
’Tis an adage old—­it is nature’s law,
And sure as the pole will the needle draw,
The fierce Red Cloud with the flaunting feather,
Will follow the finger of Harpstina.

The winter wanes and the south-wind blows
From the Summer Islands legendary;
The skeskas[46] fly and the melted snows
In lakelets lie on the dimpled prairie. 
The frost-flowers[47] peep from their winter sleep
Under the snow-drifts cold and deep. 
To the April sun and the April showers,
In field and forest, the baby flowers
Lift their blushing faces and dewy eyes;
And wet with the tears of the winter-fairies,
Soon bloom and blossom the emerald prairies,
Like the fabled Garden of Paradise.

The plum-trees, white with their bloom in May,
Their sweet perfume on the vernal breeze
Wide strew like the isles of the tropic seas
Where the paroquet chatters the livelong day. 
But the May-days pass and the brave Chaske [17]
O why does the lover so long delay? 
Wiwaste waits in the lonely tee
Has her fair face fled from his memory? 
For the robin cherups his mate to please,
The blue-bird pipes in the poplar-trees,
The meadow lark warbles his jubilees,
Shrilling his song in the azure seas
Till the welkin throbs to his melodies,
And low is the hum of the humble-bees,
And the Feast of the Virgins is now to be.


The sun sails high in his azure realms;
Beneath the arch of the breezy elms
The feast is spread by the murmuring river. 
With his battle-spear and his bow and quiver,
And eagle-plumes in his ebon hair,
The chief Wakawa himself is there;
And round the feast, in the Sacred Ring,[48]
Sit his weaponed warriors witnessing. 
Not a morsel of food have the Virgins tasted
For three long days ere the holy feast;
They sat in their teepee alone and fasted,

Page 15

Their faces turned to the Sacred East.[21]
In the polished bowls lies the golden maize,
And the flesh of fawn on the polished trays. 
For the Virgins the bloom of the prairies wide—­
The blushing pink and the meek blue-bell,
The purple plumes of the prairie’s pride,[49]
The wild, uncultured asphodel,
And the beautiful, blue-eyed violet
That the Virgins call “Let-me-not forget,”
In gay festoons and garlands twine
With the cedar sprigs[50] and the wildwood vine. 
So gaily the Virgins are decked and dressed,
And none but a virgin may enter there;
And clad is each in a scarlet vest,
And a fawn-skin frock to the brown calves bare. 
Wild rose-buds peep from their flowing hair,
And a rose half blown on the budding breast;
And bright with the quills of the porcupine
The moccasined feet of the maidens shine.

Hand in hand round the feast they dance,
And sing to the notes of a rude bassoon,
And never a pause or a dissonance
In the merry dance or the merry tune. 
Brown-bosomed and fair as the rising moon,
When she peeps o’er the hills of the dewy east,
Wiwaste sings at the Virgins’ Feast;
And bright is the light in her luminous eyes;
They glow like the stars in the winter skies;
And the lilies that bloom in her virgin heart
Their golden blush to her cheeks impart—­
Her cheeks half-hid in her midnight hair. 
Fair is her form—­as the red fawn’s fair—­
And long is the flow of her raven hair;
It falls to her knees and it streams on the breeze
Like the path of a storm on the swelling seas.

Proud of their rites are the Virgins fair,
For none but a virgin may enter there. 
’Tis a custom of old and a sacred thing;
Nor rank nor beauty the warriors spare,
If a tarnished maiden should enter there. 
And her that enters the Sacred Ring
With a blot that is known or a secret stain
The warrior who knows is bound to expose,
And lead her forth from the ring again. 
And the word of a brave is the fiat of law;
For the Virgins’ Feast is a sacred thing. 
Aside with the mothers sat Harpstina;
She durst not enter the Virgins’ ring.

Round and round to the merry song
The maidens dance in their gay attire,
While the loud Ho-Ho’s of the tawny throng
Their flying feet and their song inspire. 
They have finished the song and the sacred dance,
And hand in hand to the feast advance—­
To the polished bowls of the golden maize,
And the sweet fawn-meat in the polished trays.

Then up from his seat in the silent crowd
Rose the frowning, fierce-eyed, tall Red Cloud;
Swift was his stride as the panther’s spring,
When he leaps on the fawn from his cavern lair;
Wiwaste he caught by her flowing hair,
And dragged her forth from the Sacred Ring. 
She turned on the warrior, her eyes flashed fire;
Her proud lips quivered with queenly ire;

Page 16

And her sun-browned cheeks were aflame with red. 
Her hand to the spirits she raised and said: 
“I am pure!—­I am pure as the falling snow! 
Great Taku-skan-skan[51] will testify! 
And dares the tall coward to say me no?”
But the sullen warrior made no reply. 
She turned to the chief with her frantic cries: 
“Wakawa,—­my Father! he lies,—­he lies! 
Wiwaste is pure as the fawn unborn;
Lead me back to the feast or Wiwaste dies!”
But the warriors uttered a cry of scorn,
And he turned his face from her pleading eyes.

Then the sullen warrior, the tall Red Cloud,
Looked up and spoke and his voice was loud;
But he held his wrath and he spoke with care: 
“Wiwaste is young; she is proud and fair,
But she may not boast of the virgin snows. 
The Virgins’ Feast is a sacred thing;
How durst she enter the Virgins’ ring? 
The warrior would fain, but he dares not spare;
She is tarnished and only the Red Cloud knows.”

She clutched her hair in her clinched hand; She stood like a statue bronzed and grand; Wakan-dee[39] flashed in her fiery eyes; Then swift as the meteor cleaves the skies—­ Nay, swift as the fiery Wakinyan’s[32] dart, She snatched the knife from the warrior’s belt, And plunged it clean to the polished hilt—­ With a deadly cry—­in the villain’s heart.  Staggering he clutched the air and fell; His life-blood smoked on the trampled sand, And dripped from the knife in the virgin’s hand.

Then rose his kinsmen’s savage yell. 
Swift as the doe’s Wiwaste’s feet
Fled away to the forest.  The hunters fleet
In vain pursue, and in vain they prowl
And lurk in the forest till dawn of day. 
They hear the hoot of the mottled owl;
They hear the were-wolf’s[52] winding howl;
But the swift Wiwaste is far away. 
They found no trace in the forest land;
They found no trail in the dew-damp grass;
They found no track in the river sand,
Where they thought Wiwaste would surely pass.

The braves returned to the troubled chief;
In his lodge he sat in his silent grief. 
“Surely,” they said, “she has turned a spirit. 
No trail she left with her flying feet;
No pathway leads to her far retreat. 
She flew in the air, and her wail—­we could hear it,
As she upward rose to the shining stars;
And we heard on the river, as we stood near it,
The falling drops of Wiwaste’s tears.”

Wakawa thought of his daughter’s words
Ere the south-wind came and the piping birds—­
“My Father, listen—­my words are true,”
And sad was her voice as the whippowil
When she mourns her mate by the moon-lit rill,
“Wiwaste lingers alone with you;
The rest are sleeping on yonder hill—­
Save one—­and he an undutiful son—­
And you, my Father, will sit alone
When Sisoka[53] sings and the snow is gone.” 
His broad breast heaved on his troubled soul,
The shadow of grief o’er his visage stole
Like a cloud on the face of the setting sun.

Page 17


“She has followed the years that are gone,” he said;
“The spirits the words of the witch fulfill;
For I saw the ghost of my father dead,
By the moon’s dim light on the misty hill. 
He shook the plumes on his withered head,
And the wind through his pale form whistled shrill. 
And a low, sad voice on the hill I heard,
Like the mournful wail of a widowed bird.” 
Then lo, as he looked from his lodge afar,
He saw the glow of the Evening-star;
“And yonder,” he said, “is Wiwaste’s face;
She looks from her lodge on our fading race,
Devoured by famine, and fraud, and war,
And chased and hounded by fate and woe,
As the white wolves follow the buffalo;”
And he named the planet the Virgin Star.[54]

“Wakawa,” he muttered, “the guilt is thine! 
She was pure—­she was pure as the fawn unborn. 
O why did I hark to the cry of scorn,
Or the words of the lying libertine? 
Wakawa, Wakawa, the guilt is thine! 
The springs will return with the voice of birds,
But the voice of my daughter will come no more. 
She wakened the woods with her musical words,
And the sky-lark, ashamed of his voice, forbore. 
She called back the years that had passed, and long
I heard their voice in her happy song. 
O why did the chief of the tall Hohe
His feet from Kapoza[6] so long delay? 
For his father sat at my father’s feast,
And he at Wakawa’s—­an honored guest. 
He is dead!—­he is slain on the Bloody Plain,
By the hand of the treacherous Chippeway;
And the face shall I never behold again
Of my brave young brother—­the chief Chaske. 
Death walks like a shadow among my kin;
And swift are the feet of the flying years
That cover Wakawa with frost and tears,
And leave their tracks on his wrinkled skin. 
Wakawa, the voice of the years that are gone
Will follow thy feet like the shadow of death,
Till the paths of the forest and desert lone
Shall forget thy footsteps.  O living breath,
Whence are thou, and whither so soon to fly? 
And whence are the years?  Shall I overtake
Their flying feet in the star-lit sky? 
From his last long sleep will the warrior wake? 
Will the morning break in Wakawa’s tomb,
As it breaks and glows in the eastern skies? 
Is it true?—­will the spirits of kinsmen come
And bid the bones of the brave arise? 
Wakawa, Wakawa, for thee the years
Are red with blood and bitter with tears. 
Gone—­brothers, and daughters, and wife—­all gone
That are kin to Wakawa—­but one—­but one—­
Wakinyan Tanka—­undutiful son! 
And he estranged from his father’s tee,
Will never return till the chief shall die. 
And what cares he for his father’s grief? 
He will smile at my death—­it will make him chief. 
Woe burns in my bosom.  Ho, warriors—­Ho! 
Raise the song of red war; for your chief must go

Page 18

To drown his grief in the blood of the foe! 
I shall fall.  Raise my mound on the sacred hill. 
Let my warriors the wish of their chief fulfill;
For my fathers sleep in the sacred ground. 
The Autumn blasts o’er Wakawa’s mound
Will chase the hair of the thistles’ head,
And the bare-armed oak o’er the silent dead,
When the whirling snows from the north descend,
Will wail and moan in the midnight wind. 
In the famine of winter the wolf will prowl,
And scratch the snow from the heap of stones,
And sit in the gathering storm and howl,
On the frozen mound, for Wakawa’s bones. 
But the years that are gone shall return again,
As the robin returns and the whippowil,
When my warriors stand on the sacred hill
And remember the deeds of their brave chief slain.”

Beneath the glow of the Virgin Star
They raised the song of the red war-dance. 
At the break of dawn with the bow and lance
They followed the chief on the path of war. 
To the north—­to the forests of fir and pine—­
Led their stealthy steps on the winding trail,
Till they saw the Lake of the Spirit[55] shine
Through somber pines of the dusky dale. 
Then they heard the hoot of the mottled owl;[56]
They heard the gray wolf’s dismal howl;
Then shrill and sudden the war-whoop rose
From an hundred throats of their swarthy foes,
In ambush crouched in the tangled wood. 
Death shrieked in the twang of their deadly bows,
And their hissing arrows drank brave men’s blood. 
From rock, and thicket, and brush, and brakes,
Gleamed the burning eyes of the “forest-snakes."[57]
From brake, and thicket, and brush, and stone,
The bow-string hummed and the arrow hissed,
And the lance of a crouching Ojibway shone,
Or the scalp-knife gleamed in a swarthy fist. 
Undaunted the braves of Wakawa’s band
Leaped into the thicket with lance and knife,
And grappled the Chippeways hand to hand;
And foe with foe, in the deadly strife,
Lay clutching the scalp of his foe and dead,
With a tomahawk sunk in his ghastly head,
Or his still heart sheathing a bloody blade. 
Like a bear in the battle Wakawa raves,
And cheers the hearts of his falling braves. 
But a panther crouches along his track—­
He springs with a yell on Wakawa’s back! 
The tall chief, stabbed to the heart, lies low;
But his left hand clutches his deadly foe,
And his red right clinches the bloody hilt
Of his knife in the heart of the slayer dyed. 
And thus was the life of Wakawa spilt,
And slain and slayer lay side by side. 
The unscalped corpse of their honored chief
His warriors snatched from the yelling pack,
And homeward fled on their forest track
With their bloody burden and load of grief.

The spirits the words of the brave fulfill—­
Wakawa sleeps on the sacred hill,
And Wakinyan Tanka, his son, is chief. 
Ah soon shall the lips of men forget
Wakawa’s name, and the mound of stone
Will speak of the dead to the winds alone,
And the winds will whistle their mock regret.

Page 19

The speckled cones of the scarlet berries[58]
Lie red and ripe in the prairie grass. 
The Si-yo[59] clucks on the emerald prairies
To her infant brood.  From the wild morass,
On the sapphire lakelet set within it,
Maga sails forth with her wee ones daily. 
They ride on the dimpling waters gaily,
Like a fleet of yachts and a man-of-war. 
The piping plover, the light-winged linnet,
And the swallow sail in the sunset skies. 
The whippowil from her cover hies,
And trills her song on the amber air. 
Anon to her loitering mate she cries: 
“Flip, O Will!—­trip, O Will!—­skip, O Will!”
And her merry mate from afar replies: 
“Flip I will—­skip I will—­trip I will;”
And away on the wings of the wind he flies. 
And bright from her lodge in the skies afar
Peeps the glowing face of the Virgin Star. 
The fox-pups[60] creep from their mother’s lair,
And leap in the light of the rising moon;
And loud on the luminous, moonlit lake
Shrill the bugle-notes of the lover loon;
And woods and waters and welkin break
Into jubilant song—­it is joyful June.

But where is Wiwaste?  O where is she—­
The virgin avenged—­the queenly queen—­
The womanly woman—­the heroine? 
Has she gone to the spirits? and can it be
That her beautiful face is the Virgin Star
Peeping out from the door of her lodge afar,
Or upward sailing the silver sea,
Star-beaconed and lit like an avenue,
In the shining stern of her gold canoe? 
No tidings came—­nor the brave Chaske: 
O why did the lover so long delay? 
He promised to come with the robins in May
With the bridal gifts for the bridal day;
But the fair May-mornings have slipped away,
And where is the lover—­the brave Chaske?

But what of the venomous Harpstina—­
The serpent that tempted the proud Red Cloud,
And kindled revenge in his savage soul? 
He paid for his crime with his own heart’s blood,
But his angry spirit has brought her dole;[61]
It has entered her breast and her burning head,
And she raves and burns on her fevered bed. 
“He is dead!  He is dead!” is her wailing cry,
“And the blame is mine—­it was I—­it was I! 
I hated Wiwaste, for she was fair,
And my brave was caught in her net of hair. 
I turned his love to a bitter hate;
I nourished revenge, and I pricked his pride;
Till the Feast of the Virgins I bade him wait. 
He had his revenge, but he died—­he died! 
And the blame is mine—­it was I—­it was I! 
And his spirit burns me; I die—­I die!”
Thus, alone in her lodge and her agonies,
She wails to the winds of the night, and dies.

But where is Wiwaste?  Her swift feet flew
To the somber shades of the tangled thicket. 
She hid in the copse like a wary cricket,
And the fleetest hunters in vain pursue. 
Seeing unseen from her hiding place,
She sees them fly on the hurried chase;
She sees their dark eyes glance and dart,
As they pass and peer for a track or trace,
And she trembles with fear in the copse apart,
Lest her nest be betrayed by her throbbing heart.

Page 20

Weary the hours; but the sun at last
Went down to his lodge in the west, and fast
The wings of the spirits of night were spread
O’er the darkling woods and Wiwaste’s head. 
Then slyly she slipped from her snug retreat,
And guiding her course by Waziya’s star,[62]
That shone through the shadowy forms afar,
She northward hurried with silent feet;
And long ere the sky was aflame in the east,
She was leagues from the spot of the fatal feast. 
’Twas the hoot of the owl that the hunters heard,
And the scattering drops of the threat’ning shower,
And the far wolf’s cry to the moon preferred. 
Their ears were their fancies—­the scene was weird,
And the witches[63] dance at the midnight hour. 
She leaped the brook and she swam the river;
Her course through the forest Wiwaste wist
By the star that gleamed through the glimmering mist
That fell from the dim moon’s downy quiver. 
In her heart she spoke to her spirit-mother: 
“Look down from your teepee, O starry spirit. 
The cry of Wiwaste.  O mother, hear it;
And touch the heart of my cruel father. 
He hearkened not to a virgin’s words;
He listened not to a daughter’s wail. 
O give me the wings of the thunder-birds,
For his were wolves[52] follow Wiwaste’s trail;
And guide my flight to the far Hohe—­
To the sheltering lodge of my brave Chaske.”

The shadows paled in the hazy east,
And the light of the kindling morn increased. 
The pale-faced stars fled one by one,
And hid in the vast from the rising sun. 
From woods and waters and welkin soon
Fled the hovering mists of the vanished moon. 
The young robins chirped in their feathery beds,
The loon’s song shrilled like a winding horn,
And the green hills lifted their dewy heads
To greet the god of the rising morn. 
She reached the rim of the rolling prairie—­
The boundless ocean of solitude;
She hid in the feathery hazel-wood,
For her heart was sick and her feet were weary;
She fain would rest, and she needed food. 
Alone by the billowy, boundless prairies,
She plucked the cones of the scarlet berries;
In feathering copse and the grassy field
She found the bulbs of the young Tipsanna,[43]
And the sweet medo [64] that the meadows yield. 
With the precious gift of his priceless manna
God fed his fainting and famished child.

At night again to the northward far
She followed the torch of Waziya’s star;
For leagues away o’er the prairies green,
On the billowy vast, may a man be seen,
When the sun is high and the stars are low;
And the sable breast of the strutting crow
Looms up like the form of the buffalo. 
The Bloody River [40] she reached at last,
And boldly walked in the light of day,
On the level plain of the valley vast;
Nor thought of the terrible Chippeway. 
She was safe from the wolves of her father’s band,
But she trod on the treacherous “Bloody Land.”

Page 21


And lo—­from afar o’er the level plain—­
As far as the sails of a ship at sea
May be seen as they lift from the rolling main—­
A band of warriors rode rapidly. 
She shadowed her eyes with her sun-browned hand;
All backward streamed on the wind her hair,
And terror spread o’er her visage fair,
As she bent her brow to the far-off band. 
For she thought of the terrible Chippeway—­
The fiends that the babe and the mother slay;
And yonder they came in their war-array!

She hid like a grouse in the meadow-grass,
And moaned—­“I am lost!—­I am lost! alas,
And why did I fly from my native land
To die by the cruel Ojibway’s hand?”
And on rode the braves.  She could hear the steeds
Come galloping on o’er the level meads;
And lowly she crouched in the waving grass,
And hoped against hope that the braves would pass.

They have passed; she is safe—­she is safe! 
Ah no!  They have struck her trail and the hunters halt. 
Like wolves on the track of the bleeding doe,
That grappled breaks from the dread assault,
Dash the warriors wild on Wiwaste’s trail. 
She flies—­but what can her flight avail? 
Her feet are fleet, but the flying feet
Of the steeds of the prairies are fleeter still;
And where can she fly for a safe retreat?

But hark to the shouting—­“Iho!—­Iho!"[22]
Rings over the wide plain sharp and shrill. 
She halts, and the hunters come riding on;
But the horrible fear from her heart is gone,
For it is not the shout of the dreaded foe;
’Tis the welcome shout of her native land!

Up galloped the chief of the band, and lo—­
The clutched knife dropped from her trembling hand;
She uttered a cry and she swooned away;
For there, on his steed in the blaze of day,
On the boundless prairie so far away,
With his polished bow and his feathers gay,
Sat the manly form of her own Chaske!

There’s a mote in my eye or a blot on the page,
And I cannot tell of the joyful greeting;
You may take it for granted, and I will engage,
There were kisses and tears at the strange, glad meeting;
For aye since the birth of the swift-winged years,
In the desert drear, in the field of clover,
In the cot, in the palace, and all the world over—­
Yea, away on the stars to the ultimate spheres,
The greeting of love to the long-sought lover—­
Is tears and kisses and kisses and tears.

But why did the lover so long delay? 
And whitherward rideth the chief to-day? 
As he followed the trail of the buffalo,
From the tees of Kapoza a maiden, lo,
Came running in haste o’er the drifted snow. 
She spoke to the chief of the tall Hohe
“Wiwaste requests that the brave Chaske
Will abide with his band and his coming delay
Till the moon when the strawberries are ripe and red,
And then will the chief and Wiwaste wed—­
When the Feast of the Virgins is past,” she said. 
Wiwaste’s wish was her lover’s law;
And so his coming the chief delayed
Till the mid May blossoms should bloom and fade—­
But the lying runner was Harpstina.

Page 22

And now with the gifts for the bridal day
And his chosen warriors he took his way,
And followed his heart to his moon-faced maid. 
And thus was the lover so long delayed;
And so as he rode with his warriors gay,
On that bright and beautiful summer day,
His bride he met on the trail mid-way.

God arms the innocent.  He is there—­
In the desert vast, in the wilderness,
On the bellowing sea, in the lion’s lair,
In the mist of battle, and everywhere. 
In his hand he holds with a father’s care
The tender hearts of the motherless;
The maid and the mother in sore distress
He shields with his love and his tenderness;
He comforts the widowed—­the comfortless—­
And sweetens her chalice of bitterness;
He clothes the naked—­the numberless—­
His charity covers their nakedness—­
And he feeds the famished and fatherless
With the hand that feedeth the birds of air. 
Let the myriad tongues of the earth confess
His infinite love and his holiness;
For his pity pities the pitiless,
His mercy flows to the merciless;
And the countless worlds in the realms above,
Revolve in the light of his boundless love.

And what of the lovers? you ask, I trow. 
She told him all ere the sun was low—­
Why she fled from the Feast to a safe retreat. 
She laid her heart at her lover’s feet,
And her words were tears and her lips were slow. 
As she sadly related the bitter tale
His face was aflame and anon grew pale,
And his dark eyes flashed with a brave desire,
Like the midnight gleam of the sacred fire. [65]
Mitawin,"[66] he said, and his voice was low,
“Thy father no more is the false Little Crow;
But the fairest plume shall Wiwaste wear
Of the great Wanmdee in her midnight hair. 
In my lodge, in the land of the tall Hohe,
The robins will sing all the long summer day
To the happy bride of the brave Chaske.’”

Aye, love is tested by stress and trial
Since the finger of time on the endless dial
Began its rounds, and the orbs to move
In the boundless vast, and the sunbeams clove
The chaos; but only by fate’s denial
Are fathomed the fathomless depths of love. 
Man is the rugged and wrinkled oak,
And woman the trusting and tender vine
That clasps and climbs till its arms entwine
The brawny arms of the sturdy stock. 
The dimpled babes are the flowers divine
That the blessing of God on the vine and oak
With their cooing and blossoming lips invoke.

To the pleasant land of the brave Hohe
Wiwaste rode with her proud Chaske. 
She ruled like a queen in his bountiful tee,
And the life of the twain was a jubilee
Their wee ones climbed on the father’s knee,
And played with his plumes of the great Wanmdee
The silken threads of the happy years
They wove into beautiful robes of love

Page 23

That the spirits wear in the lodge above;
And time from the reel of the rolling spheres
His silver threads with the raven wove;
But never the stain of a mother’s tears
Soiled the shining web of their happy years. 
When the wrinkled mask of the years they wore,
And the raven hair of their youth was gray,
Their love grew deeper, and more and more;
For he was a lover for aye and aye,
And ever her beautiful, brave Chaske. 
Through the wrinkled mask of the hoary years
To the loving eyes of the lover aye
The blossom of beautiful youth appears.

At last, when their locks were as white as snow,
Beloved and honored by all the band,
They silently slipped from their lodge below,
And walked together, and hand in hand,
O’er the Shining Path[68] to the Spirit-land,
Where the hills and the meadows for aye and aye
Are clad with the verdure and flowers of May,
And the unsown prairies of Paradise
Yield the golden maize and the sweet wild rice. 
There, ever ripe in the groves and prairies,
Hang the purple plums and the luscious berries,
And the swarthy herds of the bison feed
On the sun-lit slope and the waving mead;
The dappled fawns from their coverts peep,
And countless flocks on the waters sleep;
And the silent years with their fingers trace
No furrows for aye on the hunter’s face.

To the memory of my devoted wife dead and gone yet always with me I dedicate


The Flower of my heart nursed into bloom by her loving care and ofttimes watered with her tears





Fair morning sat upon the mountain-top,
Night skulking crept into the mountain-chasm. 
The silent ships slept in the silent bay;
One broad blue bent of ether domed the heavens,
One broad blue distance lay the shadowy land,
One broad blue vast of silence slept the sea. 
Now from the dewy groves the joyful birds
In carol-concert sang their matin songs
Softly and sweetly—­full of prayer and praise. 
Then silver-chiming, solemn-voiced bells
Rung out their music on the morning air,
And Lisbon gathered to the festival
In chapel and cathedral.  Choral hymns
And psalms of sea-toned organs mingling rose
With sweetest incense floating up to heaven,
Bearing the praises of the multitudes;
And all was holy peace and holy happiness. 
A rumbling of deep thunders in the deep;
The vast sea shuddered and the mountains groaned;
Up-heaved the solid earth—­the nether rocks
Burst—­and the sea—­the earth—­the echoing heavens
Thundered infernal ruin.  On their knees
The trembling multitudes received the shock,
And dumb with sudden terror bowed their heads
To toppling spire and plunging wall and dome.

Page 24

So shook the mighty North the sudden roar
Of Treason thundering on the April air—­
An earthquake shock that jarred the granite hills
And westward rolled against th’ eternal walls
Rock-built Titanic—­for a moment shook: 
Uprose a giant and with iron hands
Grasped his huge hammer, claspt his belt of steel,
And o’er the Midgard-monster mighty Thor
Loomed for the combat.

Peace—­O blessed Peace! 
The war-worn veterans hailed thee with a shout
Of Alleluias;—­homeward wound the trains,
And homeward marched the bayonet-bristling columns
To “Hail Columbia” from a thousand horns—­
Marched to the jubilee of chiming bells,
Marched to the joyful peals of cannon, marched
With blazing banners and victorious songs
Into the outstretched arms of love and home.

But there be columns—­columns of the dead
That slumber on an hundred battle-fields—­
No bugle-blast shall waken till the trump
Of the Archangel.  O the loved and lost! 
For them no jubilee of chiming bells;
For them no cannon-peal of victory;
For them no outstretched arms of love and home. 
God’s peace be with them.  Heroes who went down,
Wearing their stars, live in the nation’s songs
And stories—­there be greater heroes still,
That molder in unnumbered nameless graves
Erst bleached unburied on the fields of fame
Won by their valor.  Who will sing of these—­
Sing of the patriot-deeds on field and flood—­
Of these—­the truer heroes—­all unsung? 
Where sleeps the modest bard in Quaker gray
Who blew the pibroch ere the battle lowered,
Then pitched his tent upon the balmy beach? 
“Snow-bound,” I ween, among his native hills. 
And where the master hand that swept the lyre
Till wrinkled critics cried “Excelsior”? 
Gathering the “Aftermath” in frosted fields. 
Then, timid Muse, no longer shake thy wings
For airy realms and fold again in fear;
A broken flight is better than no flight;
Be thine the task, as best you may, to sing
The deeds of one who sleeps at Gettysburg
Among the thousands in a common grave. 
The story of his life I bid you tell
As it was told one windy winter night
To veterans gathered around the festal board,
Fighting old battles over where the field
Ran red with wine, and all the battle-blare
Was merry laughter and the merry songs—­
Told when the songs were sung by him who heard
The pith of it from the dying soldier’s lips—­
His Captain—­tell it as the Captain told.


“Well, comrades, let us fight one battle more;
Let the cock crow—­we’ll guard the camp till morn. 
And—­since the singers and the merry ones
Are hors de combat—­fill the cups again;
Nod if you must, but listen to a tale
Romantic—­but the warp thereof is truth. 
When the old Flag on Sumter’s sea-girt walls
From its proud perch a fluttering ruin fell,
I swore an oath as big as Bunker Hill;
For I was younger then, nor battle-scarred,
And full of patriot-faith and patriot-fire.

Page 25

“I raised a company of riflemen,
Marched to the front, and proud of my command,
Nor seeking higher, led them till the day
Of triumph and the nation’s jubilee. 
Among the first that answered to my call
The hero came whose story you shall hear. 
’Tis better I describe him:  He was young—­
Near two and twenty—­neither short nor tall—­
A slender student, and his tapering hands
Had better graced a maiden than a man: 
Sad, thoughtful face—­a wealth of raven hair
Brushed back in waves from forehead prominent;
A classic nose—­half Roman and half Greek;
Dark, lustrous eyes beneath dark, jutting brows,
Wearing a shade of sorrow, yet so keen,
And in the storm of battle flashing fire.

“‘Well, boy,’ I said, ’I doubt if you will do;
I need stout men for picket-line and march—­
Men that have bone and muscle—­men inured
To toil and hardships—­men, in short, my boy,
To march and fight and march and fight again.’ 
A queer expression lit his earnest face—­
Half frown—­half smile.

“‘Well try me.’  That was all
He answered, and I put him on the roll—­
Paul Douglas, private—­and he donned the blue. 
Paul proved himself the best in my command;
I found him first at reveille, and first
In all the varied duties of the day. 
His rough-hewn comrades, bred to boisterous ways,
Jeered at the slender youth with maiden hands,
Nicknamed him ‘Nel,’ and for a month or more
Kept up a fusillade of jokes and jeers. 
Their jokes and jeers he heard but heeded not,
Or heeding did a kindly act for him
That jeered him loudest; so the hardy men
Came to look up to Paul as one above
The level of their rough and roistering ways. 
He never joined the jolly soldier-sports,
But ever was the first at bugle-call,
Mastered the drill and often drilled the men. 
Fatigued with duty, weary with the march
Under the blaze of the midsummer sun,
He murmured not—­alike in sun or rain
His utmost duty eager to perform,
And ever ready—­always just the same
Patient and earnest, sad and silent Paul.

“The day of battle came—­that Sabbath day,
Midsummer.[A] Hot and blistering as the flames
Of prairie-fires wind-driven, the burning sun
Blazed down upon us and the blinding dust
Wheeled in dense clouds and covered all our ranks,
As we marched on to battle.  Then the roar
Of batteries broke upon us.  Glad indeed
That music to my soldiers, and they cheered
And cheered again and boasted—­all but Paul—­
And shouted ’On to Richmond!’—­He alone
Was silent—­but his eyes were full of fire.

[A] The first battle of Bull Run, July 21, 1861.

Page 26

“Then came the order—­’Forward, double quick!’
And we rushed into battle—­formed our line
Facing the foe—­the ambushed, deadly foe,
Hid in the thicket, with the Union flag—­
A cheat—­hung out before it—­luring us
Into a blazing hell.  The battle broke
With wildest fury on us—­crashed and roared
The rolling thunder of continuous fire. 
We broke and rallied—­charged and broke again,
And rallied still—­broke counter-charge and charged
Loud-yelling, furious, on the hidden foe;—­
Met thrice our numbers and came flying back
Disordered and disheartened.  Yet again
I strove to rally my discouraged men,
But hell was fairly howling;—­only Paul—­
Eager, but bleeding from a bullet-wound
In the left arm—­came bounding to my side. 
But at that moment I was struck and fell—­
Fell prostrate; and a swooning sense of death
Came on me, and I saw and heard no more
Of battle on that Sabbath.

“I awoke,
Confined and jolted in an ambulance
Piled with the wounded—­driven recklessly
By one who chiefly cared to save himself. 
Dizzy and faint I raised my head:  my wound
Was not as dangerous as it might have been—­
A scalp-wound on the temple; there, you see—­”
He put his finger on the ugly scar—­
“Half an inch deeper and some soldier friend,
Among the veterans gathered here to-night,
Perchance had told a briefer tale than mine.

“In front and rear I saw the reckless rout—­
A broken army flying panic-struck—­
Our proud brigades of undulating steel
That marched at sunrise under blazoned flags,
Singing the victory ere the cannon roared,
And eager for the honors of the day—­
Like bison Indian-chased on windy plains,
Now broken and commingled fled the field. 
Words of command were only wasted breath;
Colonels and brigadiers, on foot and soiled,
Were pushed and jostled by the hurrying hordes. 
Anon the cry of ’Cavalry!’ arose,
And army-teams came dashing down the road
And plunged into the panic.  All the way
Was strewn with broken wagons, battery-guns,
Tents, muskets, knapsacks and exhausted men. 
My men were mingled with the lawless crowd,
And in the swarm behind us, there was Paul—­
Silent and soldier-like, with knapsack on
And rifle on his shoulder, guarding me
And marching on behind the ambulance. 
So all that dark and dreadful night we marched,
Each man a captain—­captain of himself—­
Nor cared for orders on that wild retreat
To safety from disaster.  All that night,
Silent and soldier-like my wounded Paul
Marched close behind and kept his faithful watch. 
For ever and anon the jaded men,
Clamorous and threat’ning, sought to clamber in;
Whom Paul drove off at point of bayonet,
Wielding his musket with his good right arm. 
But when the night was waning to the morn
I saw that he was weary and I made
A place for Paul and begged him to get in. 
‘No, Captain; no,’ he answered,—­’I will walk—­
I’m making bone and muscle—­learning how
To march and fight and march and fight again.’ 
That silenced me, and we went rumbling on. 
Till morning found us safe at Arlington.

Page 27

“A month off duty and a faithful nurse
Worked wonders and my head was whole again—­
Nay—­to be candid—­cracked a little yet. 
My nurse was Paul.  Albeit his left arm,
Flesh-wounded, pained him sorely for a time,
With filial care he dressed my battered head,
And wrote for me to anxious friends at home—­
But never wrote a letter for himself. 
Thinking of this one day, I spoke of it:—­
A cloud came o’er his face.

“‘My friends,’ he said,
‘Are here among my comrades in the camp.’ 
That made a mystery and I questioned him: 
He gave no answer—­or evasive ones—­
Seeming to shrink from question, and to wrap
Himself within himself and live within.

“Again we joined our regiment and marched;
Over the hills and dales of Maryland
Along the famous river wound our way. 
On picket-duty at the frequent fords
For weary, laggard months were we employed
Guarding the broad Potomac, while our foes,
Stealthily watching for their human game,
Lurked like Apaches on the wooded shores. 
Bands of enemy’s cavalry by night
Along the line of river prowled, and sought
To dash across and raid in Maryland. 
Three regiments guarded miles of river-bank,
And drilled alternately, and one was ours. 
Off picket duty, alike in fair or foul,
With knapsacks on and bearing forty rounds,
From morn till night we drilled—­battalion-drill—­
Often at double-quick for weary hours—­
Bearing our burdens in the blazing sun,
Till strong men staggered from the ranks and fell. 
Aye, many a hardy man in those hard days
Was drilled and disciplined into his grave.  Arose
Murmurs of discontent, and loud complaints
Fell on dull ears till patience was worn out
And mutiny was hinted.  As for Paul
I never heard a murmur from his lips;
Nor did he ask a reason for the things
Unreasonable and hard required of him,
But straightway did his duty just as if
The nation’s fate hung on it.  I pitied Paul;
Slender of form and delicate, he bore
The toils and duties of the hardiest. 
Ill from exposure, or fatigued and worn,
On picket hungered, shivering in the rain,
Or sweltering in full dress, with knapsack on,
Beneath the blaze of the mid-summer sun,
He held his spirit—­always still the same
Patient and earnest, sad and silent Paul.

“We posted pickets two by two.  At night,
By turns each comrade slept and took the watch. 
Once in September, in a drenching storm,
Three days and nights with neither tent nor fire
Paul and a comrade held a picket-post. 
The equinox raged madly.  Chilling winds
In angry gusts roared from the northern hills,
Dashing the dismal rain-clouds into showers
That fell in torrents over all the land. 
In camp the soldiers crouched in dripping tents,
Or shivered by the camp-fires.  I was ill
And gladly sought the shelter of a hut. 

Page 28

Orders were strict and often hard to bear—­
Nor tents nor fire upon the picket-posts—­
Cold rations and a canopy of storms. 
I pitied Paul and would have called him in,
But that I had no man to take his place;
Nor did I know he took upon himself
A double task.  His comrade on the post
Was ill, and so he made a shelter for him
With his own blankets and a bed within;
And took the watch of both upon himself. 
And on the third night near the dawn of day,
In rubber cloak stole in upon the post
A pompous major, on the nightly round,
Unchallenged.  All fatigued and drenched with rain,
Still on his post with rifle in his hand—­
Against a sheltering elm Paul stood and slept. 
Muttering of death the brutal major stormed,
Then pitiless pricked the comrade with his sword,
And from his shelter drove him to the watch,
Burning with fever.  There Paul interposed
And said: 

“’I ask no mercy at your hands;
I shall not whimper, but my comrade here
Is ill of fever; I have stood his watch: 
Sir, if a human heart beats in your breast,
Send him to camp, or he will surely die.’

“The pompous brute—­vaingloriously great
In straps and buttons—­haughtily silenced Paul,
Hand-bound and sent him guarded to the camp,
And the poor comrade shivering stood the watch
Till dawn of day and I was made aware. 
Among the true were some vainglorious fools
Called by the fife and drum from native mire
To lord and strut in shoulder-straps and buttons. 
Scrubs, born to brush the boots of gentlemen,
By sudden freak of fortune found themselves
Masters of better men, and lorded it
As only base and brutish natures can—­
Braves on parade and cowards under fire.

“I interceded in my Paul’s behalf,
Else he had suffered graver punishment,
But as himself for mercy would not beg—­
‘A stubborn boy,’ our bluff old colonel said—­
To extra duty for a month he went
Unmurmuring, storm or shine.  When the cold rain
Poured down most pitiless Paul, drenched and wan,
Guarded the baggage and the braying mules. 
When the hot sun at mid-day blazed and burned,
Like the red flame on Mauna Loa’s top,
Withering the grass and parching earth and air,
I often saw him knapsacked and full-dressed,
Drilling the raw recruits at double-quick;
And yet he wore a patient countenance,
And went about his duty earnestly
As if it were a pleasure to obey.

“The month wore off and mad disaster came—­
Gorging the blood of heroes at Ball’s Bluff. 
’Twas there the brave, unfaltering Baker fell
Fighting despair between the jaws of death. 
Quenched was the flame that fired a thousand hearts;
Hushed was the voice that shook the senate-walls,
And rang defiance like a bugle-blast. 
Broad o’er the rugged mountains to the north
Fell the incessant rain till, like a sea,

Page 29

Him and the deadly ambush of the foe
The swollen river rolled and roared between. 
Brave Baker saw the peril, but not his
The soul to shrink or falter, though he saw
His death-warrant in his orders.  Forth he led
His proud brigade across the roaring chasm,
Firm and unfaltering into the chasm of death. 
From morn till mid-day in a single boat
Unfit, by companies, the fearless band
Passed over the raging river; then advanced
Upon the ambushed foe.  We heard the roll
Of volleys in the forest, and uprose,
From out the wood, a cloud of battle-smoke. 
Then came the yell of foemen charging down
Rank upon rank and furious.  Hand to hand,
The little band of heroes, flanked and pressed,
Fought thrice their numbers; fearless Baker led
In prodigies of valor; front and flank
Volleyed the deadly rifles; in the rear
The rapid, raging river rolled and roared. 
Along the Maryland shore a mile below,
Eager to cross and reinforce our friends,
Ten thousand soldiers lay upon their arms;
And we had boats to spare.  In all our ranks
There was not one who did not comprehend
The peril and the instant need of aid. 
Chafing we waited orders.  We could see
That Baker’s men were fighting in retreat;
For ever nearer o’er the forest rolled
The smoke of battle.  Orders came at last,
And up along the shore our regiment ran,
Eager to aid our comrades, but too late! 
Baker had fallen in the battle-front;
He fought like Spartan and like Spartan fell
Defiant, clutching at the throat of fate. 
Their leader lost, confusion followed fast;
Wild panic and red slaughter swept the field. 
Powerless to saves we saw the farther shore
Covered with wounded and wild fugitives—­
Our own defeated and defenseless friends. 
Shattered and piled with wounded men the boat
Pushed off to brave the river, while the foe
Pressed on the charge with fury, and refused
Mercy to the vanquished.  Officers and men,
Cheating the savage foemen of their spoils,
Their flags and arms into the gurgling depths
Despairing hurled, and following plunged amain. 
As numerous as the wild aquatic flocks
That float in autumn on Lake Nepigon,
The heads of swimmers moved upon the flood. 
And still upon the shore a Spartan few—­
Shoulder to shoulder—­back to back, as one—­
Amid the din and clang of clashing steel,
Surrounded held the swarming foes at bay. 
As in the pre-historic centuries—­
Unnumbered ages ere the Pyramids—­
Whereof we read on pre-diluvian bones
And fretted flints in excavated caves,
When savage men abode in rocky dens,
And wrought their weapons from the fiery flint,
And clothed their tawny thighs in lion-skins—­
Before the mouth of some well-guarded cave,
Where smoked the savory flesh of mammoth, came
The great cave-bear unbidden to the feast. 
Around the monster swarm the brawny men,

Page 30

Wielding with sinewy arms and savage cries
Their flinty spears and tomahawks of stone. 
Erect old bruin growls upon his foes,
And swings with mighty power his ponderous paws—­
Woe unto him who feels the crushing blow—­
Till, bleeding from an hundred wounds and blind,
With sudden plunge he falls at last, and dies
Amid the shouts of his wild enemies. 
So fought the Spartan few, till one by one,
They fell surrounded by a wall of foes. 
The river boiled beneath the storm of lead;
Weighed down with wounded comrades many sunk,
But more went down with bullets in their heads. 
O! it was pitiful.  The outstretched hands
Of men that erst had faced the battle-storm
Unshaken, grasping now in wild despair,
Wrung cries of pity from us.  Vain our fire—­
The range too long—­it fell upon our friends;
At which the foemen yelled their mad delight. 
A storm of bullets poured upon the boat,
Mangling the mangled on her, till at last,
Shattered and over-laden, suddenly
She made a lurch to leeward and went down.

“A shallow boat lay moored upon the shore;
Our gallant Colonel called for volunteers
In mercy’s name to man it and push out. 
But all could see the peril.  Stout the heart
Would dare to face the raging flood and fire,
And to his call responded not a man—­
Save Paul and one who perished at the helm. 
They went as if at bugle-call to drill;
Their comrades said, ‘They never will return.’ 
Stoutly and steadily Paul rowed the boat
Athwart the turbid river’s sullen tide,
And reached the wounded struggling in the flood. 
Bravely they worked away and lifted in
The helpless till the boat would hold no more;
Others they helped to holds upon the rails,
Then pulled away the over-laden craft. 
We cheered them from the shore.  The maddened foe
With furious volleys answered—­hitting oft
The little craft of mercy—­hands anon
Let go their holds and sunk into the deep. 
And in that storm Paul’s gallant comrade fell. 
Trimming his craft with caution Paul could make
But little headway with a single oar—­
Clutched in despair and madly wrenched away
By drowning souls the other.  Firm and cool
Paul stood unscathed; then fell a sudden shower
That broke his bended oar-stem at the blade. 
Down to the brink we crept and stretched our hands,
And shouted, ‘Overboard, Paul! and save yourself.’

“He stood a moment as if all were lost,
Then caught the rope, and stretching forth his hand,
Waved to the foe and plunged into the flood. 
Slowly he towed the clumsy craft and swam,
Down-drifting with the rapid, rolling stream. 
Cheering him on adown the shore we ran;
The current lent its aid and bore him in
Toward us, and beyond the range at last
Of foemen’s fire he safely came to land,
Mooring his boat amid a storm of cheers.

Page 31

“Confined in hospital three days he lay
Fatigued and feverous, but tender hands
Nursed and restored him.  Our old Colonel came
And thanked him—­patting Paul paternally—­
And praised his daring.  ‘My brave boy,’ he said,
’Had I a regiment of such men, by Jove! 
I’d hew a path to Richmond and to fame.’ 
Paul made reply, and in his smile and tone
Mingled a touch of sarcasm: 

“’Thank you, sir;
But let me add—­I fear the wary foe
Would nab your regiment napping on the field. 
You have forgotten, Colonel—­not so fast—­
I am the man that slept upon his post.’ 
Our bluff old Colonel laughed and turned away;
Ten minutes later came his kind reply—­
A basketful of luxuries from his mess.

“Paul marched and fought and marched and fought again,
Patient and earnest through the bootless toils
And fiery trials of that dread campaign
Upon the Peninsula.  ’Twas fitly called
‘Campaign of Battles.’  Aye, it sorely pierced
The scarred and bleeding nation, and drew blood
Deep from her vitals till she shook and reeled,
Like some huge giant staggering to his fall—­
Blinded with blood, yet struggling with his soul,
And stretching forth his ponderous, brawny arms,
Like Samson in the Temple, to o’erwhelm
And crush his mocking enemies in his fall.

“Ah, Malvern! you remember Malvern Hill—­
That night of dreadful butchery!  Round the top
Of the entrenched summit, parked and aimed,
Blazed like Vesuvius when he bellows fire
And molten lava into the midnight heavens,
An hundred crashing cannon, and the hill
Shook to the thunder of the mighty guns,
As ocean trembles to the bursting throes
Of submarine volcanoes; and the shells
From the embattled gun-boats—­fiery fiends—­
Shrieked on the night and through the ether hissed
Like hell’s infernals.  Line supporting line,
From base to summit round the blazing hill,
Our infantry was posted.  Crowned with fire,
And zoned by many a burning, blazing belt
From head to foot, and belching sulphurous flames,
The embattled hill appeared a raging fiend—­
The Lucifer of hell let loose to reign
Over a world wrapt in the final fires.

“In solid columns massed our frenzied foes
Beat out their life against the blazing hill—­
Broke and re-formed and madly charged again,
And thundered like the storm-lashed, furious sea
Beating in vain against the solid cliffs. 
Foremost in from our veteran regiment
Breasted the brunt of battle, but we bent
Beneath the onsets as the red-hot bar
Bends to the sledge, until our furious foes—­
Mown as the withered prairie-grass is mown
By wild October fires—­fell back and left
A field of bloody agony and death
About the base, and victory on the hill.

Page 32

“I lost a score of riflemen that night;
My first lieutenant—­his last battle over—­
Lay cut in twain upon the battle-line. 
With lantern dim wide o’er the slaughter-field
I searched at midnight for my wounded men,
But chiefly searched for Paul.  An hour or more
I sought among the groaning and the dead,
Stooping and to the dim light turning up
The ghastly faces, till at last I found
Him whom I sought, and on the outer line—­
Feet to the foe and silent face to heaven—­
Death pale and bleeding from a ragged wound
Pleading with feeble voice to let him be
And die upon the field, we bore him thence;
And tenderly his comrades carried him,
Sheltered with blankets, on the weary march
At dead of night in dismal storm begun. 
We made a stand at Harrison’s, and there
With careful hands we laid him on a cot. 
Now I had learned to prize the noble boy;
My heart was touched with pity.  Patiently
I watched o’er Paul and bathed his fevered brow,
And pressed the cooling sponge upon his lips,
And washed his wound and gave him nourishment. 
’Twas all in vain, the surgeon said.  I felt
That I could save him and I kept my watch. 
A rib was crushed—­beneath it one could see
The throbbing vitals—­torn as we supposed,
But found unwounded.  In his feverish sleep
He often moaned and muttered mysteries,
And, dreaming, spoke in low and tender tones
As if some loved one sat beside his cot. 
I questioned him and sought the secret key
To solve his mystery, but all in vain. 
A month of careful nursing turned the scale,
And he began to gain upon his wound. 
Propt in his cot one evening as he sat
And I sat by him, thus I questioned him: 
’There is a mystery about your life
That I would gladly fathom.  Paul, I think
You well may trust me, and I fain would hear
The story of your life; right well I know
There is a secret sorrow in your heart.’


“He turned his face and fixed his lustrous eyes
Upon mine own inquiringly, and held
His gaze upon me till his vacant stare
Told me full well his thoughts had wandered back
Into the depth of his own silent soul;
Then he looked down and sadly smiled and said: 

“’Captain, I have no history—­not one page;
My book of life is but a blotted blank. 
Let it be sealed; I would not open it,
Even to one who saved a worthless life,
Only to add a few more leaves in blank
To the blank volume.  All that I now am
I offer to my country.  If I live
And from this cot walk forth, ’twill only be
To march and fight and march and fight again,’
Until a surer aim shall bring me down
Where care and kindness can no more avail. 
Under our country’s flag a soldier’s death
I hope to die and leave no name behind. 
My only wish is this—­for what I am,
Or have been, or have hoped to be, is now
A blank misfortune.  I will say no more.’

Page 33

“I questioned Paul and pressed him further still
To tell his story, but he only shook
His head in silence sadly and lay back
And closed his eyes and whispered—­’All is blank.’ 
That night he muttered often in his sleep;
I could not catch the sense of what he said;
I caught a name that he repeated oft—­
Pauline—­so softly whispered that I knew
She was the blissful burden of his dreams.

“Two moons had waxed and waned, and Paul arose,
Came to the camp and shared my tent and bed. 
While in the hospital he helpless lay—­
To him unknown, and as the choice of all—­
Came his promotion to the vacant rank
Of him who fell at Malvern.  But, alas,
Say what we would he would not take the place. 
To us who importuned him, he replied: 
’Comrades and friends, I did not join your ranks
For honor or for profit.  All I am—­
A wreck perhaps of what I might have been—­
I freely offer in our country’s cause;
And in her cause it is my wish to serve
A private soldier; I aspire to naught
But victory—­and there be better men—­
Braver and hardier—­such should have the place.’

“His comrades cheered, but Paul, methought, was sad. 
One evening as he sat upon his couch,
Communing with himself as he was wont,
I stood before him; looking in his face,
I said, ‘Pauline—­her name is then, Pauline.’ 
All of a sudden up he rose amazed,
And looked upon me with such startled eyes
That I was pained and feared that I had done
A wrong to him whom I had learned to love. 
Then he sat down upon his couch and groaned,
Pressing his hand upon his wound, and said: 
’Captain, I pray you, tell me truthfully,
Wherefore you speak that name.’

“I told him all
That I had heard him mutter in his dreams. 
He listened calmly to the close and said: 
’My friend, if you have any kind regard
For me who suffer more than you may know,
I pray you utter not that name again.’ 
And thereupon he turned and hid his face.

“There was a mystery I might not fathom,
There was a history I might not hear: 
Nor could I further press that saddened heart
To pour its secret sorrow in my ears. 
Thereafter Paul was tenant of my tent—­
Sat at my mess and slept upon my couch,
Save when his duty called him from my side,
And not a word escaped his lips or mine
About his secret—­yet how oft I found
My eyes upon him and my bridled tongue
Prone to a question; but that solemn face
Forbade me and he wore his mystery.

“At that stern battle on Antietam’s banks,
Where gallant Hooker led the fierce attack,
Paul bore a glorious part.  Our starry flag,
Before a whirlwind of terrific fire,
Advancing proudly on the foe, went down. 
Grim death and pale-faced panic seized the ranks. 
Paul caught the flag and waving it aloft
Rallied our regiment.  He came out unscathed.

Page 34

“At Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville he fought: 
Grim in disaster—­bravest in defeat,
He leaped not into danger without cause,
Nor shrunk he from it though a gulf of fire,
When duty bade him face it.  All his aim—­
To win the victory; applause and praise
He almost hated; grimly he endured
The fulsome flattery of his comrades nerved
By his calm courage up to manlier deeds.

“I saw him angered once—­if one might call
His sullen silence anger—­as by night
Across the Rappahannock, from the field
Where brave and gallant ‘Stonewall’ Jackson fell,
With hopeless hearts and heavy steps we marched. 
Such sullen wrath on other human face
I never saw in all those bloody years. 
One evening after, as he read to me
The fulsome General Order of our Chief—­
Congratulating officers and men
On their achievements in the late defeat—­
His handsome face grew rigid as he read,
And as he closed, down like a thunder-clap
Upon the mess-chest fell his clinched fist: 
‘Fit pap for fools!’ he said—­’an Iron Duke
Had ground the Southern legions into dust,
Or, by the gods!—­the field of Chancellorsville
Had furnished graves for ninety thousand men!’[B]

“That dark disaster sickened many a soul;
Stout hearts were sad and cowards cried for peace. 
The vulture, perched hard by the eagle’s crag,
Loud cawed his fellows from afar to feast. 
Ill-omened bird—­his carrion-cries were vain! 
Again our veteran eagles plumed their wings,
And forth he fled from Montezuma’s shores—­
A dastard flight—­betraying unto death
Him whom he dazzled with a bauble crown. 
Just retribution followed swift and sure—­
Germania’s eagles plucked him at Sedan. 
A gloomy month wore off, and then the news
That Lee, emboldened by his late success,
Had poured his legions upon Northern soil,
Rung through the camps, and thrilled the mighty heart
Of the Grand Army.  Louder than the roar
Of brazen cannon on the battle-field. 
Then rose and rolled our thunder-rounds of cheers.

[B] Hooker had 90,000 men at Chancellorsville.

We saw the dawn of victory—­we should meet
Our wary foe upon familiar soil. 
We cheered the news, we cheered the marching-orders,
We cheered our brave commander till the tears
Ran down his cheeks.  Up from its sullen gloom
Leaped the Grand Army, as if God had writ
With fiery finger ’thwart the vault of heaven
A solemn promise of swift victory.

“We marched.  As rolls the deep, resistless flood
Of Mississippi, when the rains of June
Have swelled his thousand northern fountain-lakes
Above their barriers—­rolls with restless roar,
Anon through rock-built gorges, and anon
Down through the prairied valley to the sea,
Gleaming and glittering in the summer sun,
By field and forest on his winding way,
So stretched and rolled the mighty column forth,

Page 35

Winding among the hills and pouring out
Along the vernal valleys; so the sheen
Of moving bayonets glittered in the sun. 
And as we marched there rolled upon the air,
Up from the vanguard-corps, a choral chant,
Feeble at first and far and far away,
But gathering volume as it rolled along
And regiment after regiment joined the choir,
Until an hundred thousand voices swelled
The surging chorus, and the solid hills
Shook to the thunder of the mighty song. 
And ere it died away along the line,
The hill-tops caught the chorus—­rolled away
From peak to peak the pealing thunder-chant,
Clear as the chime of bells on Sabbath morn: 

“’John Brown’s body lies moldering in the grave;
John Brown’s body lies moldering in the grave;
John Brown’s body lies moldering in the grave;
      But his soul is marching on. 
        Glory, Glory, Halleluia! 
        Glory, Glory, Halleluia! 
        Glory, Glory, Halleluia! 
      His soul is marching on!’

“And far away
The mountains echoed and re-echoed still—­
        “’Glory, Glory, Halleluia! 
        Glory, Glory, Halleluia! 
        Glory, Glory, Halleluia! 
      His soul is marching on!’

“Until the winds
Bore the retreating echoes southward far,
And the dull distance murmured in our ears.

“Fast by the field where gallant Baker fell,
We crossed the famous river and advanced
To Frederick.  There a transitory cloud
Gloomed the Grand Army—­Hooker was relieved: 
Fell from command at victory’s open gate
The dashing, daring, soul-inspiring chief,
The idol of his soldiers, and they mourned. 
He had his faults—­they were not faults of heart—­
His gravest—­fiery valor.  Since that day,
The self-same fault—­or virtue—­crowned a chief
With laurel plucked on rugged Kenesaw. 
Envy it was that wrought the hero’s fall,
Envy, with hydra-heads and serpent-tongues,
Hissed on the wolfish clamors of the Press. 
O fickle Fortune, how thy favors fall—­
Like rain upon the just and the unjust! 
Throughout the army, as the soldiers read
The farewell-order, gloomy murmurs ran;
But our new chieftain cheered our drooping hearts.

“That Meade would choose his battle-ground we knew,
And if not his the gallant dash and dare
That on Antietam’s bloody battle-field
Snatched victory from defeat, our faith was firm
That he would fight to win, and hold the reins
Firmly in hand, nor sacrifice our lives
In wild assaults and fruitless daring deeds.

“From Taneytown, at mid-day, on the hills
Of Gettysburg we heard the cannon boom. 
Our gallant Hancock rode full speed away;
We under Gibbon swiftly following him
At midnight camped on Cemetery Hill. 
Sharp the initial combat of the grand
On-coming battle, and the sulphurous smoke
Hung in blue wreaths above the silent vale

Page 36

Between two hostile armies, mightier far
Than met upon the field of Marathon. 
Or where the proud Carthago bowed to Rome. 
Hope of the North and Liberty—­the one;
Pride of the South—­the other.  On the hills—­
A rolling range of rugged, broken hills,
Stretching from Round-Top northward, bending off
And butting down upon a silver stream—­
In open field our veteran regiments lay. 
Facing our battle-line and parallel—­
Beyond the golden valley to the west—­
Lay Seminary Ridge—­a crest of hills
Covered with emerald groves and fields of gold
Ripe for the harvest:  on this rolling range,
As numerous as the swarming ocean-fowl
That perch in squadrons on some barren isle
Far in the Arctic sea when summer’s sun
With slanting spears invades the icy realm,
The Southern legions lay upon their arms. 
As countless as the winter-evening stars
That glint and glow above the frosted fields
Twinkled and blazed upon that crest of hills
The camp-fires of the foe.  Two mighty hosts,
Ready and panoplied for deadliest war,
And eager for the combat where the prize
Of victory was empire—­for the foe
An empire borne upon the bended backs
Of toiling slaves in millions—­but for us,
An empire grounded on the rights of man—­
Lay on their arms awaiting innocent morn
To light the field for slaughter to begin.

“Silent above us spread the dusky heavens,
Silent below us lay the smoky vale,
Silent beyond, the dreadful crest of hills. 
Anon the neigh of horse, a sentry’s call,
Or rapid hoof-beats of a flying steed
Bearing an aid and orders, broke the dread,
Portentous silence.  I was worn and slept.

“The call of bugles wakened me.  The dawn
Was stealing softly o’er the shadowy land,
And morning grew apace.  Broad in the east
Uprose above the crest of hazy hills
Like some broad shield by fabled giant borne,
The golden sun, and flashed upon the field. 
Ripe for the harvest stood the golden grain,
Nodding on gentle slopes and dewy hills. 
Ready for the harvest death’s grim reapers stood
Waiting the signal with impatient steel;
And morning passed, and mid-day.  Here and there
The crack of rifles on the picket-line,
Or boom of solitary cannon broke
The myriad-voiced and dreadful monotone. 
So fled the anxious hours until the hills
Sent forth their silent shadows to the east—­
And then their batteries opened on our left
Advanced into the valley.  All along
The rolling crest of Seminary Ridge
Rolled up the smoke of cannon.  Answered then
The grim artillery on our chain of hills’
And heaven was hideous with the bellowing boom,
The whiz of shot, the infernal shrieks of shells. 
Down from the hills their charging columns came
A glittering mass of steel.  As when the snow
Piled by an hundred winters on the peak
Of cloud-robed Bernard thunders down the cliffs,

Page 37

Nor rocks nor forests stay the mighty mass,
And men and flocks in terror fly the death,
So thundering fell the columns of the foe,
Crushing through Sickles’ corps in front and flank;
And, roaring onward like a mighty wind,
They rushed for Little Round-Top—­rugged hill,
Key to our left and center—­all exposed—­
Manned by a broken battery half unmanned. 
But Hancock saw the peril.  On stalwart steed
Foam-flecked, wide-nostriled, panting like a hound,
That stalwart soldier—­Spartan to the soles—­
Came dashing down where, prone along the ridge
Upon the right, our sheltered regiment lay.
By the left flank, forward—­double-quick!’—­We sprang
And dashed for Little Round-Top; formed our line
Flanking the broken battery.  Up the slope,
Like frightened sheep when howling wolves pursue,
Fled Sickles’ men in panic:  hard behind
On came the Rebel columns.  Hat in hand
Waving and shouting to his eager corps—­
Rode gallant Longstreet leading on the foe.

“Where yonder field-wall bounds the trampled wheat
By grove and meadow, see—­among the trees—­
Their bayonets gleam advancing.  Line on line,
Column on column, in the field beyond,
Their hurrying ranks crowd glittering on and on. 
High at the head their flaunting colors fly;
High o’er the roar their wild, triumphant yell
Shrills like the scream of panthers.

“Hancock’s voice
Rang down our lines above the cannons’ roar: 
’Advance, and take those colors’[C]—­Adown the slope
Like Bengal tigers springing at the hounds,
We sprang and met them at the border wall: 
Muzzle to muzzle—­steel to steel—­we met,
And fought like Romans and like Romans fell. 
Even as a cyclone, growling thunder, roars
Down through a dusky forest, and its path
Is strown with broken and uprooted pines
Promiscuous piled in broad and broken swaths,
So crashed our volleys through their serried ranks,
Mowing great swaths of death; yet on and on,
Closing the gaps and yelling like the fiends
That Dante heard along the gulf of hell,
Still came our furious foes.  A cloud of smoke—­
Dense, sulphurous, stifling—­covered all our ranks. 
Our steady, deadly rifles crackled still,
And still their crashing volleys rolled and roared. 
Our rifles blazed upon the blaze below;
The blaze below upon the blaze above,
And in the blaze the buzz of myriad bees
Whose stings were deadlier than the Libyan asp. 
Five times our colors fell—­five times arose
Defiant, flapping on the broken wall.

[C] These are the very words used by General Hancock on this occasion.

“We hold the perilous breach; on either hand
Our foes out-flank us, leap the sheltering wall
And pour their deadly, enfilading fire. 
God shield our shattered ranks!—­God help us!

Page 38

‘Stars and Stripes’ on the right!—­Hurra!—­Hurra! 
The Green Mountain Boys to our aid!—­Hurra!—­Hurra. 
Cannon-roar down on the left!—­Our batteries are there—­
Hurling hot hell-fire’—­See!—­like sickled corn
The close-ranked foemen fall in toppling swaths: 
But still with hurried steps and steady steel
They close the gaps—­like madmen they press on! 
With one wild yell they rush upon the wall! 
Lo from our lines a sheet of crackling fire
Scorches their grimy faces—­back they reel
And tumble—­down and down—­a writhing mass
Of slaughter and defeat!

“Leaped on the wall
A thousand Blues and swung their caps in air,
Thundering their wild Hurra! above the roar
And crash of cannon;—­victory was ours. 
Back to his crest of hills the baffled foe
Reluctant turned and fled the storm of death.

“The smoke of battle floated from the field,
And lo the woodside piled with slaughter-heaps! 
And lo the meadow dotted with the slain! 
And lo the ranks of dead and dying men
That fighting fell behind the broken wall!

“Only a handful of my men remained;
The rest lay dead or wounded on the field;
Nor skulked their captain, but by grace was spared. 
Behold the miracle!—­This Bible holds,
Embedded in its leaves, the Rebel lead
Aimed at my heart.  But here a scratch and there—­
Not worth the mention where so many fell. 
Paul, foremost ever in the deadly hail,
As if protected by a shield unseen,
Escaped unscathed.

“We camped upon the hill. 
Night hovered o’er us on her dusky wings;
Then all along our lines upon the hills
Blazed up the evening camp-fires.  Facing us
Beyond the smoke-robed valley sparkled up
A chain of fires on Seminary Ridge. 
A hum of mingled voices filled the air. 
As when upon the vast, hoarse-moaning sea
And all along the rock-built somber shore
Murmurs the menace of the coming storm—­
The muttering of the tempest from afar,
The plash and seethe of surf upon the sand,
The roll of distant thunder in the heavens,
Unite and blend in one prevailing voice—­
So rose the mingled murmurs of our camps,
So rose the groans and moans of wounded men
Along the slope and valley, and so rolled
From yonder frowning parallel of hills
The muttered menace of our baffled foes;
And so from camp to camp and hill to hill
Rolled the deep mutter and the dreadful moan
Of an hundred thousand voices blent in one.

“That night a multitude of friends and foes
Slept soundly—­but they slept to wake no more. 
But few indeed among the living slept;
We lay upon our arms and courted sleep
With open eyes and ears:  the fears and hopes
That centered in the half-fought battle held
The balm of slumber from our weary limbs. 
Anon the rattle of the random fire
Broke on our drowsy ears and startled us,
As one is startled by some horrid dream;
Whereat old veterans muttered in their sleep.

Page 39

“Midnight had passed, and I lay wakeful still,
When Paul arose and sat upon the sward. 
He said:  ’I cannot sleep; unbidden thoughts
That will not down crowd on my restless brain. 
Captain, I know not how, but still I know
That I shall see but one more sunrise.  Morn
Will bring the clash of arms—­to-morrow’s sun
Will look upon unnumbered ghastly heaps
And gory ranks of dead and dying men,
And ere it sink beyond the western hills
Up from this field will roll a mighty shout
Victorious, echoed over all the land,
Proclaiming joy to freemen everywhere. 
And I shall fall.  I cannot tell you how
I know it—­but I feel it in my soul. 
I pray that death may spare me till I hear
Our shout of "Victory!" rolling o’er these hills: 
Then will I lay me down and die in peace.’

“I lightly said—­’Sheer superstition, Paul;
I’ll wager a month’s pay you’ll live to fight
A dozen battles yet.  They ill become
A gallant soldier on the battle field—­
Such grandam superstitions.  You have fought
Ever like a hero—­do you falter now?’

“‘Captain,’ he said, ’I shall not falter now,
But gladlier will I hail the rising sun. 
Death has no terror for a heart like mine: 
Say what you may and call it what you will—­
I know that I shall fall to rise no more
Before the sunset of the coming day. 
If this be superstition—­still I know;
If this be fear it will not hold me back.’ 
I answered: 

“’Friend, I hope this prophecy
Will prove you a false prophet; but, my Paul,
Have you no farewells for your friends at home? 
No message for a nearer, dearer one?’

“’None; there is none I knew in other days
Knows where or what I am.  So let it be. 
If there be those—­not many—­who may care
For one who cares so little for himself,
Surely my soldier-name in the gazette
Among the killed will bring no pang to them. 
And then he laid himself upon the sward;
Perhaps he slept—­I know not, for fatigue
O’ercame me and I slept.

“The picket guns
At random firing wakened me.  The morn
Came stealing softly o’er the somber hills;
Dark clouds of smoke hung hovering o’er the field. 
Blood-red as risen from a sea of blood,
The tardy sun as if in dread arose,
And hid his face in the uprising smoke. 
As when the pale moon, envious of the glow
And gleam and glory of the god of day,
Creeps in by stealth between the earth and him,
Eclipsing all his glory, and the green
Of hills and dales is changed to yellowish dun,
So fell the strange and lurid light of morn. 
And as I gazed I heard the hunger-cries
Of vultures circling on their dusky wings
Above the smoke-hid valley; then they plunged
To gorge themselves upon the slaughter-heaps,
As at the Buddhist temples in Siam
Whereto the hideous vultures flock to feast
With famished dogs upon the pauper dead.

Page 40

“The day wore on.  Two mighty armies stood
Defiant—­watching—­dreading to assault;
Each hoping that the other would assault
And madly dash against its glittering steel. 
As in the jungles of the Chambeze—­
Glaring defiance with their fiery eyes—­
Two tawny lions—­rival monarchs—­meet
And fright the forest with their horrid roar;
But ere they close in bloody combat crouch
And wait and watch for vantage in attack;
So on their bannered hills the opposing hosts,
Eager to grapple in the tug of death,
Waited and watched for vantage in the fight. 
Noon came.  The fire of pickets died away. 
All eyes were turned to Seminary Ridge,
For lo our sullen foemen—­park on park—­
Had massed their grim artillery on our corps. 
Hoarse voices sunk to whispers or were hushed;
The rugged hills stood listening in awe;
So dread the ominous silence that I heard
The hearts of soldiers throbbing along the line.

“Up from yon battery curled a cloud of smoke,
Shrieked o’er our heads a solitary shell,—­
Then instantly in horrid concert roared
Two hundred cannon on the Rebel hills—­
Hurling their hissing thunderbolts—­and then
An hundred bellowing cannon from our lines
Thundered their iron answer.  Horrible
Rolled in the heavens the infernal thunders—­rolled
From hill to hill the reverberating roar,
As if the earth were bursting with the throes
Of some vast pent volcano; rocked and reeled,
As in an earthquake-shock, the solid hills;
Anon huge fragments of the hillside rocks,
And limbs and splinters of shot-shattered trees
Danced in the smoke like demons; hissed and howled
The crashing shell-storm bursting over us. 
Prone on the earth awaiting the grand charge,
To which we knew the heavy cannonade
Was but a prelude, for two hours we lay—­
Two hours that tried the very souls of men—­
And many a brave man never rose again. 
Then ceased our guns to swell the infernal roar;
The roll and crash of cannon in our front
Lulled, and we heard the foeman’s bugle-calls. 
Then from the slopes of Seminary Ridge
Poured down the storming columns of the foe. 
As when the rain-clouds from the rim of heaven
Are gathered by the four contending winds,
And madly whirled until they meet and clash
Above the hills and burst—­down pours a sea
And plunges roaring down through gorge and glen,
So poured the surging columns of our foes
Adown the slopes and spread along the vale
In glittering ranks of battle—­line on line—­
Mile-long.  Above the roar of cannon rose
In one wild yell the Rebel battle-cry. 
Flash in the sun their serried ranks of steel;
Before them swarm a cloud of skirmishers. 
That eager host the gallant Pickett leads;
He right and left his fiery charger wheels;
Steadies the lines with clarion voice; anon
His outstretched saber gleaming points the way. 
As mid the myriad twinkling stars of heaven
Flashes the blazing comet, and a column
Of fiery fury follows it, so flashed
The dauntless chief, so followed his wild host.

Page 41

“We waited grim and silent till they crossed
The center and began the dread ascent. 
Then brazen bugles rang the clarion call;
Arose as one twice twenty thousand men,
And all our hillsides blazed with crackling fire. 
With sudden crash and simultaneous roar
An hundred cannon opened instantly,
And all the vast hills shuddered under us. 
Yelling their mad defiance to our fire
Still on and upward came our daring foes. 
As when upon the wooded mountain-side
The unchained Loki[D] riots and the winds
Of an autumnal tempest lash the flames,
Whirling the burning fragments through the air—­
Huge blazing limbs and tops of blasted pines—­
Mowing wide swaths with circling scythes of fire,
So fell our fire upon the advancing host,
And lashed their ranks and mowed them into heaps,
Cleaving broad avenues of death.  Still on
And up they come undaunted, closing up
The ghastly gaps and firing as they come. 
As if protected by the hand of heaven,
Rides at their head their gallant leader still;
The tempest drowns his voice—­his naming sword
Gleams in the flash of rifles.  One wild yell—­Like
the mad hunger-howl of famished wolves
Midwinter on the flying cabris’[E] trail,
Swelled by ten thousand hideous voices, shrills,
And through the battle-smoke the bravest burst. 
Flutters their tattered banner on our wall! 
Thunders their shout of victory!  Appalled
Our serried ranks are broken—­but in vain! 
On either hand our cannon enfilade,
Crushing great gaps along the stalwart lines;
In front our deadly rifles volley still,
Mowing the toppling swaths of daring men. 
Behold—­they falter!—­Ho!—­they break!—­they fly! 
With one wild cheer that shakes the solid hills
Spring to the charge our eager infantry. 
Headlong we press them down the bloody slope,
Headlong they fall before our leveled steel
And break in wild disorder, cast away
Their arms and fly in panic.  All the vale
Is spread with slaughter and wild fugitives. 
Wide o’er the field the scattered foemen fly;
Dread havoc and mad terror swift pursue
Till battle is but slaughter.  Thousands fall—­
Thousands surrender, and the Southern flag
Is trailed upon the field.

[D] Norse fire-fiend

[E] Cabri—­the small, fleet antelope of the northern plains, so called by the Crees and half-breeds.

“The day was ours,
And well we knew the worth of victory. 
Loud rolled the rounds of cheers from corps to corps;
Comrades embraced each other; iron men
Shed tears of joy like women; men profane
Fell on their knees and thanked Almighty God. 
Then ’Hail Columbia’ rang the brazen horns,
And all the hill-tops shouted unto heaven;
The welkin shouted to the shouting hills—­And
heavens and hill-tops shouted ’Victory!’

Page 42

“Night with her pall had wrapped the bloody field. 
The little remnants of our regiment
Were gathered and encamped upon the hill. 
Paul was not with them, and they could not tell
Aught of him.  I had seen him in the fight
Bravest of all the brave.  I saw him last
When first the foremost foemen reached our wall,
Thrusting them off with bloody bayonet,
And shouting to his comrades, ’Steady, men!’
Sadly I wandered back where we had met
The onset of the foe.  The rounds of cheers
Repeated oft still swept from corps to corps,
And as I passed along the line I saw
Our dying comrades raise their weary heads,
And cheer with feeble voices.  Even in death
The cry of victory warmed their hearts again. 
Paul lay upon the ground where he had fought,
Fast by the flag that floated on the line. 
He slept—­or seemed to sleep, but on his brow
Sat such a deadly pallor that I feared
My Paul would never march and fight again. 
I raised his head—­he woke as from a dream;
I said, ’Be quiet—­you are badly hurt;
I’ll call a surgeon; we will dress your wound.’ 
He gravely said: 

“’Tis vain; for I have done
With camp and march and battle.  Ere the dawn
Shall I be mustered out of your command,
And mustered into the Grand Host of heaven.’

“I sought a surgeon on the field and found;
With me he came and opened the bloody blouse,
Felt the dull pulse and sagely shook his head. 
A musket ball had done its deadly work;
There was no hope, he said, the man might live
A day perchance—­but had no need of him. 
I called his comrades and we carried him,
Stretched on his blankets, gently to our camp,
And laid him by the camp-fire.  As the light
Fell on Paul’s face he took my hand and said: 



“Captain, I hear the cheers.  My soul is glad. 
My days are numbered, but this glorious day—­
Like some far beacon on a shadowy cape
That cheers at night the storm-belabored ships—­
Will light the misty ages from afar. 
This field shall be the Mecca.  Here shall rise
A holier than the Caaba where men kiss
The sacred stone that flaming fell from heaven. 
But O how many sad and aching hearts
Will mourn the loved ones never to return! 
Thank God—­no heart will hope for my return! 
Thank God—­no heart will mourn because I die! 
Captain, at life’s mid-summer flush and glow,
For him to die who leaves his golden hopes,
His mourning friends and idol-love behind,
It must be hard and seem a cruel thing. 
After the victory—­upon this field—­For
me to die hath more of peace than pain;
For I shall leave no golden hopes behind,
No idol-love to pine because I die,
No friends to wait my coming or to mourn. 
They wait my coming in the world beyond;

Page 43

And wait not long, for I am almost there. 
’Tis but a gasp, and I shall pass the bound
’Twixt life and death—­through death to life again—­
Where sorrow cometh never.  Pangs and pains
Of flesh or spirit will not pierce me there;
And two will greet me from the jasper walls—­
God’s angels—­with a song of holy peace,
And haste to meet me at the pearly gate,
And kiss the death-damp from my silent lips,
And lead me through the golden avenues—­
Singing Hosanna—­to the Great White Throne.”

So there he paused and calmly closed his eyes,
And silently I sat and held his hand. 
After a time, when we were left alone,
He spoke again with calmer voice and said: 
“Captain, you oft have asked my history,
And I as oft refused.  There is no cause
Why I should longer hold it from my friend
Who reads the closing chapter.  It may teach
One soul to lean upon the arm of Christ—­
That hope and happiness find anchorage
Only in heaven.  While my lonesome life
Saw death but dimly in the dull distance
My lips were sealed to the unhappy tale;
Under my pride I hid a heavy heart.

“I was ambitious in my boyhood days,
And dreamed of fame and honors—­misty fogs
That climb at morn the ragged cliffs of life,
Veiling the ragged rocks and gloomy chasms,
And shaping airy castles on the top
With bristling battlements and looming towers;
But melt away into ethereal air
Beneath the blaze of the mid-summer sun,
Till cliffs and chasms and all the ragged rocks
Are bare, and all the castles crumbled away.

“There winds a river ’twixt two chains of hills—­
Fir-capped and rugged monuments of time;
A level vale of rich alluvial land,
Washed from the slopes through circling centuries,
And sweet with clover and the hum of bees,
Lies broad between the rugged, somber hills. 
Beneath a shade of willows and of elms
The river slumbers in this meadowy lap. 
Down from the right there winds a babbling branch,
Cleaving a narrower valley through the hills. 
A grand bald-headed hill-cone on the right
Looms like a patriarch, and above the branch
There towers another.  I have seen the day
When those bald heads were plumed with lofty pines. 
Below the branch and near the river bank,
Hidden among the elms and butternuts,
The dear old cottage stands where I was born. 
An English ivy clambers to the eaves;
An English willow planted by my hand
Now spreads its golden branches o’er the roof
Not far below the cottage thrives a town,
A busy town of mills and merchandise—­
Belle Meadows, fairest village of the vale. 
Behind it looms the hill-cone, and in front
The peaceful river winds its silent way. 
Beyond the river spreads a level plain—­
Once hid with somber firs—­a tangled marsh—­
Now beautiful with fields and cottages,
And sweet in spring-time with the blooming plum,

Page 44

And white with apple-blossoms blown like snow. 
Beyond the plain a lower chain of hills,
In summer gemmed with fields of golden grain
Set in the emerald of the beechen woods. 
In other days the village school-house stood
Below our cottage on a grassy mound
That sloped away unto the river’s marge;
And on the slope a cluster of tall pines
Crowning a copse of beech and evergreen. 
There in my boyhood days I went to school;
A maiden mistress ruled the little realm;
She taught the rudiments to rompish rogues,
And walked a queen with magic wand of birch. 
My years were hardly ten when father died. 
Sole tenants of our humble cottage home
My sorrowing mother and myself remained;
But she was all economy, and kept
With my poor aid a comfortable house. 
I was her idol and she wrought at night
To keep me at my books, and used to boast
That I should rise above our humble lot. 
How oft I listened to her hopeful words—­
Poured from the fountain of a mother’s heart
Until I longed to wing the sluggard years
That bore me on to what I hoped to be.

“We had a garden-plat behind the house—­
Beyond, an orchard and a pasture-lot;
In front a narrow meadow—­here and there
Shaded with elms and branching butternuts. 
In spring and summer in the garden-plat
I wrought my morning and my evening hours
And kept myself at school—­no idle boy.

“One bright May morning when the robins sang
There came to school a stranger queenly fair,
With eyes that shamed the ethereal blue of heaven,
And golden hair in ringlets—­cheeks as soft,
As fresh and rosy as the velvet blush
Of summer sunrise on the dew-damp hills. 
Hers was the name I muttered in my dreams. 
For days my bashful heart held me aloof
Although her senior by a single year;
But we were brought together oft in class,
And when she learned my name she spoke to me,
And then my tongue was loosed and we were friends. 
Before the advent of the steeds of steel
Her sire—­a shrewd and calculating man—­
Had lately come and purchased timbered-lands
And idle mills, and made the town his home. 
And he was well-to-do and growing rich,
And she her father’s pet and only child. 
In mind and stature for two happy years
We grew together at the village school. 
We grew together!—­aye, our tender hearts
There grew together till they beat as one. 
Her tasks were mine, and mine alike were hers;
We often stole away among the pines—­
That stately cluster on the sloping hill—­
And conned our lessons from the selfsame book,
And learned to love each other o’er our tasks,
While in the pine-tops piped the oriole,
And from his branch the chattering squirrel chid
Our guileless love and artless innocence. 
’Twas childish love perhaps, but day by day
It grew into our souls as we grew up. 
Then there was opened in the prospering town

Page 45

A grammar school, and thither went Pauline. 
I missed her and was sad for many a day,
Till mother gave me leave to follow her. 
In autumn—­in vacation—­she would come
With girlish pretext to our cottage home. 
She often brought my mother little gifts,
And cheered her with sweet songs and happy words;
And I would pluck the fairest meadow-flowers
To grace a garland for her golden hair,
And fill her basket from the butternuts
That flourished in our little meadow field. 
I found in her all I had dreamed of heaven. 
So garlanded with latest-blooming flowers,
Chanting the mellow music of our hopes,
The silver-sandaled Autumn-hours tripped by. 
And mother learned to love her; but she feared,
Knowing her heart and mine, that one rude hand
Might break our hopes asunder.  Like a thief
I often crept about her father’s house,
Under the evening shadows, eager-eyed,
Peering for one dear face, and lingered late
To catch the silver music of one voice
That from her chamber nightly rose to heaven. 
Her father’s face I feared—­a silent man,
Cold-faced, imperative, by nature prone
To set his will against the beating world;
Warm-hearted but heart-crusted.


“Two years more
Thus wore away.  Pauline grew up a queen. 
A shadow fell across my sunny path;—­
A hectic flush burned on my mother’s cheeks;
She daily failed and nearer drew to death. 
Pauline would often come with sun-lit face,
Cheating the day of half its languid hours
With cheering chapters from the holy book,
And border tales and wizard minstrelsy: 
And mother loved her all the better for it. 
With feeble hands upon our sad-bowed heads,
And in a voice all tremulous with tears,
She said to us:  ’Dear children, love each other—­
Bear and forbear, and come to me in heaven;’
And praying for us daily—­drooped and died.


“After the sad and solemn funeral,
Alone and weeping and disconsolate,
I sat at evening by the cottage door. 
I felt as if a dark and bitter fate
Had fallen on me in my tender years. 
I seemed an aimless wanderer doomed to grope
In vain among the darkling years and die. 
One only star shone through the shadowy mists. 
The moon that wandered in the gloomy heavens
Was robed in shrouds; the rugged, looming hills
Looked desolate;—­the silent river seemed
A somber chasm, while my own pet lamb,
Mourning disconsolate among the trees,
As if he followed some dim phantom-form,
Bleated in vain and would not heed my call. 
On weary hands I bent my weary head;
In gloomy sadness fell my silent tears.

Page 46

“An angel’s hand was laid upon my head—­
There in the moonlight stood my own Pauline—­
Angel of love and hope and holy faith—­
She flashed upon me bowed in bitter grief,
As falls the meteor down the night-clad heavens—­
In silence.  Then about my neck she clasped
Her loving arms and on my shoulder drooped
Her golden tresses, while her silent tears
Fell warm upon my cheek like summer rain. 
Heart clasped to heart and cheek to cheek we sat;
The moon no longer gloomed—­her face was cheer;
The rugged hills were old-time friends again;
The peaceful river slept beneath the moon,
And my pet lamb came bounding to our side
And kissed her hand and mine as he was wont. 
Then I awoke as from a dream and said: 
’Tell me, beloved, why you come to me
In this dark hour—­so late—­so desolate?’
And she replied: 

“’My darling, can I rest
While you are full of sorrow?  In my ear
A spirit seemed to whisper—­“Arise and go
To comfort him disconsolate.”  Tell me, Paul,
Why should you mourn your tender life away? 
I will be mother to you; nay, dear boy,
I will be more.  Come, brush away these tears.’

“My heart was full; I kissed her pleading eyes: 
‘You are an angel sent by one in heaven,’
I said,’to heal my heart, but I have lost
More than you know.  The cruel hand of death
Hath left me orphan, friendless—­poor indeed,
Saving the precious jewel of your love. 
And what to do?  I know not what to do,
I feel so broken by a heavy hand. 
My mother hoped that I would work my way
To competence and honor at the bar. 
But shall I toil in poverty for years
To learn a science that so seldom yields
Or wealth or honor save to silvered heads? 
I know that path to fame and fortune leads
Through thorns and brambles over ragged rocks;
But can I follow in the common path
Trod by the millions, never to lift my head
Above the busy hordes that delve and drudge
For bare existence in this bitter world—­
And be a mite, a midge, a worthless worm,
No more distinguished from the common mass
Than one poor polyp in the coral isle
Is marked amid the myriads teeming there? 
Yet ’tis not for myself.  For you, Pauline,
Far up the slippery heights of wealth and fame
Would I climb bravely; but if I would climb
By any art or science, I must train
Unto the task my feet for many years,
Else I should slip and fall from rugged ways,
Too badly bruised to ever mount again.’ 
Then she: 

“’O Paul, if wealth were mine to give! 
O if my father could but know my heart! 
But fear not, Paul, our Father reigns in heaven. 
Follow your bent—­’twill lead you out aright;
The highest mountain lessens as we climb;
Persistent courage wins the smile of fate. 
Apply yourself to law and master it,
And I will wait.  This sad and solemn hour

Page 47

Is dark with doubt and gloom, but by and by
The clouds will lift and you will see God’s face. 
For there is one in heaven whose pleading tongue
Will pray for blessings on her only son
Of Him who heeds the little sparrow’s fall;—­
And O if He will listen to my prayers,
The gates of heaven shall echo to my voice
Morning and evening,—­only keep your heart.’ 
I said: 

“’Pauline, your prayers had rolled away
The ponderous stone that closed the tomb of Christ;
And while they rise to heaven for my success
I cannot doubt, or I should doubt my God. 
I think I see a pathway through this gloom;
I have a kinsman’—­and I told her where—­
’A lawyer; I have heard my mother say—­
A self-made man with charitable heart;
And I might go and study under him;
I think he would assist me.’

“Then she sighed: 
’Paul, can you leave me?  You may study here
And here you are among your boyhood friends,
And here I should be near to cheer you on.’

“I promised her that I would think of it—­
Would see what prospect offered in the town;
And then we walked together half-embraced,
But when we neared her vine-arched garden gate,
She bade me stay and kissed me a good-night
And bounded through the moonlight like a fawn. 
I watched her till she flitted from my sight,
Then slowly homeward turned my lingering steps. 
I wrote my kinsman on the morrow morn,
And broached my project to a worthy man
Who kept an office and a case of books—­
An honest lawyer.  People called him learn’d,
But wanting tact and ready speech he failed. 
The rest were pettifoggers—­scurrilous rogues
Who plied the village justice with their lies,
And garbled law to suit the case in hand—­
Mean, querulous, small-brained delvers in the mire
Of men’s misfortunes—­crafty, cunning knaves,
Versed in chicane and trickery that schemed
To keep the evil passions of weak men
In petty wars, and plied their tongues profane
With cunning words to argue honest fools
Into their spider-meshes to be fleeced. 
I laid my case before him; took advice—­
Well-meant advice—­to leave my native town,
And study with my kinsman whom he knew. 
A week rolled round and brought me a reply—­
A frank and kindly letter—­giving me
That which I needed most—­encouragement. 
But hard it was to fix my mind to go;
For in my heart an angel whispered ‘Stay.’ 
It might be better for my after years,
And yet perhaps,’twere better to remain. 
I balanced betwixt my reason and my heart,
And hesitated.  Her I had not seen
Since that sad night, and so I made resolve
That we should meet, and at her father’s house. 
So whispering courage to my timid heart
I went.  With happy greeting at the door
She met me, but her face was wan and pale—­
So pale and wan I feared that she was ill. 
I read the letter to her, and she sighed,
And sat in silence for a little time,
Then said: 

Page 48

“’God bless you, Paul, may be ’tis best—­
I sometimes feel it is not for the best,
But I am selfish—­thinking of myself. 
Go like a man, but keep your boyish heart—­
Your boyish heart is all the world to me. 
Remember, Paul, how I shall watch and wait;
So write me often:  like the dew of heaven
To withering grass will come your cheering words. 
To know that you are well and happy, Paul,
And good and true, will wing the weary months. 
And let me beg you as a sister would—­
Not that I doubt you but because I love—­
Beware of wine—­touch not the treacherous cup,
And guard your honor as you guard your life. 
The years will glide away like scudding clouds
That fleetly chase each other o’er the hills,
And you will be a man before you know,
And I will be a woman.  God will crown
Our dearest hopes if we but trust in Him.’

“We sat in silence for a little time,
And she was weeping, so I raised her face
And kissed away her tears.  She softly said: 
’Paul, there is something I must say to you—­
Something I have no time to tell you now;
But we must meet again before you go—­
Under the pines where we so oft have met. 
Be this the sign,’—­She waved her graceful hand,
’Come when the shadows gather on the pines,
And silent stars stand sentinel in heaven;
Now Paul, forgive me—­I must say—­good-bye.’

“I read her fear upon her anxious brow. 
Lingering and clasped within her loving arms
I, through her dewy, deep, blue eyes, beheld
Her inmost soul, and knew that love was there. 
Ah, then and there her father blustered in,
And caught us blushing in each other’s arms! 
He stood a moment silent and amazed: 
Then kindling wrath distorted all his face,
He showered his anger with a tongue of fire. 
O cruel words that stung my boyish pride! 
O dagger words that stabbed my very soul! 
I strove, but fury mastered—­up I sprang,
And felt a giant as I stood before him. 
My breath was hot with anger;—­impious boy—­
Frenzied—­forgetful of his silvered hairs—­
Forgetful of her presence, too, I raved,
And poured a madman’s curses on his head. 
A moan of anguish brought me to myself;
I turned and saw her sad, imploring face,
And tears that quenched the wild fire in my heart. 
I pressed her hand and passed into the hall,
While she stood sobbing in a flood of tears,
And he stood choked with anger and amazed. 
But as I passed the ivied porch he came
With bated breath and muttered in my ear—­
Beggar!’—­It stung me like a serpent’s fang. 
Pride-pricked and muttering like a maniac,
I almost flew the street and hurried home
To vent my anger to the silent elms.
’Beggar!’—­an hundred times that long, mad night
I muttered with hot lips and burning breath;
I paced the walk with hurried tread, and raved;
I threw myself beneath the willow-tree,

Page 49

And muttered like the muttering of a storm. 
My little lamb came bleating mournfully;
Angered I struck him;—­out among the trees
I wandered mumbling ‘beggar’ as I went,
And beating in through all my burning soul
The bitter thoughts it conjured, till my brain
Reeled and I sunk upon the dew-damp grass,
And—­utterly exhausted—­slept till morn.

“I dreamed a dream—­all mist and mystery. 
I saw a sunlit valley beautiful
With purple vineyards and with garden-plats;
And in the vineyards and the garden-plats
Were happy-hearted youths and merry girls
Toiling and singing.  Grandsires too were there,
Sitting contented under their own vines
And fig-trees, while about them merrily played
Their children’s children like the sportive lambs
That frolicked on the foot-hills.  Low of kine,
Full-uddered, homeward-wending from the meads,
Fell on the ear as soft as Hulder’s loor
Tuned on the Norse-land mountains.  Like a nest
Hid in a hawthorn-hedge a cottage stood
Embowered with vines beneath broad-branching elms
Sweet-voiced with busy bees.

[Illustration:  PAUL’S DREAM]

“On either hand
Rose steep and barren mountains—­mighty cliffs
Cragged and chasm’d and over-grown with thorns;
And on the topmost peak a golden throne
Blazoned with burning characters that read—­
‘Climb’—­it is yours.’  Not far above the vale
I saw a youth, fair-browed and raven-haired,
Clambering among the thorns and ragged rocks;
And from his brow with torn and bleeding hand
He wiped great drops of sweat.  Down through the vale
I saw a rapid river, broad and deep,
Winding in solemn silence to the sea—­
The sea all mist and fog.  Lo as I stood
Viewing the river and the moaning sea,
A sail—­and then another—­flitted down
And plunged into the mist.  A moment more,
Like shapeless shadows of the by-gone years,
I saw them in the mist and they were gone—­
Gone!—­and the sea moaned on and seemed to say—­
’Gone—­and forever!’—­So I gladly turned
To look upon the throne—­the blazoned throne
That sat upon the everlasting cliff. 
The throne had vanished!—­Lo where it had stood,
A bed of ashes and a gray-haired man
Sitting upon it bowed and broken down. 
And so the vision passed.

“The rising sun
Beamed full upon my face and wakened me,
And there beside me lay my pet—­the lamb—­
Gazing upon me with his wondering eyes,
And all the fields were bright and beautiful,
And brighter seemed the world.  I rose resolved. 
I let the cottage and disposed of all;
The lamb went bleating to a neighbor’s field;
And oft my heart ached, but I mastered it. 
This was the constant burden of my brain—­
’Beggar!’—­I’ll teach him that I am a man;
I’ll speak and he shall listen; I will rise,
And he shall see my course as I go up
Round after round the ladder of success. 
Even as the pine upon the mountain-top
Towers o’er the maple on the mountain-side,
I’ll tower above him.  Then will I look down
And call him Father:—­He shall call me Son.’

Page 50

“Thus hushing my sad heart the day drew nigh
Of parting, and the promised sign was given. 
The night was dismal darkness—­not one star
Twinkled in heaven; the sad, low-moaning wind
Played like a mournful harp among the pines. 
I groped and listened through the darkling grove,
Peering with eager eyes among the trees,
And calling as I peered with anxious voice
One darling name.  No answer but the moan
Of the wind-shaken pines.  I sat me down
Under the dusky shadows waiting for her,
And lost myself in gloomy reverie. 
Dim in the darksome shadows of the night,
While thus I dreamed, my darling came and crept
Beneath the boughs as softly as a hare,
And whispered ’Paul’—­and I was at her side. 
We sat upon a mound moss-carpeted—­
No eyes but God’s upon us, and no voice
Spake to us save the moaning of the pines. 
Few were the words we spoke; her silent tears,
Our clasping, trembling, lingering embrace,
Were more than words.  Into one solemn hour,
Were pressed the fears and hopes of coming years. 
Two tender hearts that only dared to hope
There swelled and throbbed to the electric touch
Of love as holy as the love of Christ. 
She gave her picture and I gave a ring—­
My mother’s—­almost with her latest breath
She gave it me and breathed my darling’s name. 
I girt her finger, and she kissed the ring
In solemn pledge, and said: 

“’I bring a gift—­
The priceless gift of God unto his own: 
O may it prove a precious gift to you,
As it has proved a precious gift to me;
And promise me to read it day by day—­
Beginning on the morrow—­every day
A chapter—­and I too will read the same.’

“I took the gift—­a precious gift indeed—­
And you may see how I have treasured it. 
Here, Captain, put your hand upon my breast—­
An inner pocket—­you will find it there.”

I opened the bloody blouse and thence drew forth
The Book of Christ all stained with Christian blood. 
He laid his hand upon the holy book,
And closed his eyes as if in silent prayer. 
I held his weary head and bade him rest. 
He lay a moment silent and resumed: 
“Let me go on if you would hear the tale;
I soon shall sleep the sleep that wakes no more. 
O there were promises and vows as solemn
As Christ’s own promises; but as we sat
The pattering rain-drops fell among the pines,
And in the branches the foreboding owl
With dismal hooting hailed the coming storm. 
So in that dreary hour and desolate
We parted in the silence of our tears.

Page 51

“And on the morrow morn I bade adieu
To the old cottage home I loved so well—­
The dear old cottage home where I was born. 
Then from my mother’s grave I plucked a rose
Bursting in bloom—­Pauline had planted it—­
And left my little hill-girt boyhood world. 
I journeyed eastward to my journey’s end;
At first by rail for many a flying mile,
By mail-coach thence from where the hurrying train
Leaps a swift river that goes tumbling on
Between a village and a mountain-ledge,
Chafing its rocky banks.  There seethes and foams
The restless river round the roaring rocks,
And then flows on a little way and pours
Its laughing waters into a bridal lap. 
Its flood is fountain-fed among the hills;
Far up the mossy brooks the timid trout
Lie in the shadow of vine-tangled elms. 
Out from the village-green the roadway leads
Along the river up between the hills,
Then climbs a wooded mountain to its top,
And gently winds adown the farther side
Unto a valley where the bridal stream
Flows rippling, meadow-flower-and-willow-fringed,
And dancing onward with a merry song,
Hastes to the nuptials.  From the mountain-top—­
A thousand feet above the meadowy vale—­
She seems a chain of fretted silver wound
With artless art among the emerald hills. 
Thence up a winding valley of grand views—­
Hill-guarded—­firs and rocks upon the hills,
And here and there a solitary pine
Majestic—­silent—­mourns its slaughtered kin,
Like the last warrior of some tawny tribe
Returned from sunset mountains to behold
Once more the spot where his brave fathers sleep. 
The farms along the valley stretch away
On either hand upon the rugged hills—­
Walled into fields.  Tall elms and willow-trees
Huge-trunked and ivy-hung stand sentinel
Along the roadway walls—­storm-wrinkled trees
Planted by men who slumber on the hills. 
Amid such scenes all day we rolled along,
And as the shadows of the western hills
Across the valley crept and climbed the slopes,
The sunset blazed their hazy tops and fell
Upon the emerald like a mist of gold. 
And at that hour I reached my journey’s end. 
The village is a gem among the hills—­
Tall, towering hills that reach into the blue. 
One grand old mountain-cone looms on the left
Far up toward heaven, and all around are hills. 
The river winds among the leafy hills
Adown the meadowy dale; a shade of elms
And willows fringe it.  In this lap of hills
Cluster the happy homes of men content
To let the great world worry as it will. 
The court-house park, the broad, bloom-bordered streets,
Are avenues of maples and of elms—­
Grander than Tadmor’s pillared avenue—­
Fair as the fabled garden of the gods. 
Beautiful villas, tidy cottages,
Flower gardens, fountains, offices and shops,
All nestle in a dreamy wealth of woods.

Page 52

“Kind hearts received me.  All that wealth could bring—­
Refinement, luxury and ease—­was theirs;
But I was proud and felt my poverty,
And gladly mured myself among the books
To master ‘the lawless science of the law.’ 
I plodded through the ponderous commentaries—­
Some musty with the mildew of old age;
And these I found the better for their years,
Like olden wine in cobweb-covered flasks. 
The blush of sunrise found me at my books;
The midnight cock-crow caught me reading still;
And oft my worthy master censured me: 
‘A time for work,’ he said, ’a time for play;
Unbend the bow or else the bow will break.’ 
But when I wearied—­needing sleep and rest—­
A single word seemed whispered in my ear—­
Beggar,’ it stung me to redoubled toil. 
I trod the ofttimes mazy labyrinths
Of legal logic—­mined the mountain-mass
Of precedents conflicting—­found the rule,
Then branched into the exceptions; split the hair
Betwixt this case and that—­ran parallels—­
Traced from a ‘leading case’ through many tomes
Back to the first decision on the ‘point,’
And often found a pyramid of law
Built with bad logic on a broken base
Of careless ’dicta;’—­saw how narrow minds
Spun out the web of technicalities
Till common sense and common equity
Were strangled in its meshes.  Here and there
I came upon a broad, unfettered mind
Like Murray’s—­cleaving through the spider-webs
Of shallower brains, and bravely pushing out
Upon the open sea of common sense. 
But such were rare.  The olden precedents—­
Oft stepping-stones of tyranny and wrong—­
Marked easy paths to follow, and they ruled
The course of reason as the iron rails
Rule the swift wheels of the down-thundering train.

“I rose at dawn.  First in this holy book
I read my chapter.  How the happy thought
That my Pauline would read—­the self-same morn
The self-same chapter—­gave the sacred text,
Though I had heard my mother read it oft,
New light and import never seen before. 
For I would ponder over every verse,
Because I felt that she was reading it,
And when I came upon dear promises
Of Christ to man, I read them o’er and o’er,
Till in a holy and mysterious way
They seemed the whisperings of Pauline to me. 
Later I learned to lay up for myself
’Treasures in heaven where neither moth nor rust
Corrupteth, and where thieves do not break through,
Nor steal’—­and where my treasures all are laid
My heart is, and my spirit longs to go. 
O friend, if Jesus was but man of man—­
And if indeed his wondrous miracles
Were mythic tales of priestly followers
To chain the brute till Reason came from heaven—­
Yet was his mission unto man divine. 
Man’s pity wounds, but Jesus’ pity heals: 
He gave us balm beyond all earthly balm;
He gave us strength beyond all human strength;
He taught us love above the low desires;
He taught us hope beyond all earthly hope;
He taught us charity wherewith to build
From out the broken walls of barbarism,
The holy temple of the perfect man.

Page 53

“On every Sabbath-eve I wrote Pauline. 
Page after page was burdened with my love,
My glowing hopes of golden days to come,
And frequent boast of rapid progress made. 
With hungry heart and eager I devoured
Her letters; I re-read them twenty times. 
At morning when I laid the Gospel down
I read her latest answer, and again
At midnight by my lamp I read it over,
And murmuring ‘God bless her,’ fell asleep
To dream that I was with her under the pines.

“Thus fled four years—­four years of patient toil
Sweetened with love and hope, and I had made
Swift progress in my studies.  Master said
Another year would bring me to the bar—­
No fledgeling but full-feathered for the field. 
And then her letters ceased.  I wrote and wrote
Again, but still no answer.  Day after day
The tardy mail-coach lagged a mortal hour,
While I sat listening for its welcome horn;
And when it came I hastened from my books
With hope and fear contending in my soul. 
Day after day—­no answer—­back again
I turned my footsteps with a weary sigh. 
It wore upon me and I could not rest;
It gnawed me to the marrow of my bones. 
The heavy tomes grew dull and wearisome,
And sometimes hateful;—­then I broke away
As from a prison and rushed wildly out
Among the elms along the river-bank—­
Baring my burning temples to the breeze—­
And drank the air of heaven like sparkling wine—­
Conjuring excuses for her;—­was she ill? 
Perhaps forbidden.  Had another heart
Come in between us?—­No, that could not be;
She was all constancy and promise-bound. 
A month, which seemed to me a laggard year,
Thus wore away.  At last a letter came. 
O with what springing step I hurried back—­
Back to my private chamber and my desk! 
With what delight—­what eager, trembling hand—­
The well-known seal that held my hopes I broke! 
Thus ran the letter: 

“’Paul, the time has come
When we must both forgive while we forget. 
Mine was a girlish fancy.  We outgrow
Such childish follies in our later years. 
Now I have pondered well and made an end. 
I cannot wed myself to want, and curse
My life life-long, because a girlish freak
Of folly made a promise.  So—­farewell.’

“My eyes were blind with passion as I read. 
I tore the letter into bits and stamped
Upon them, ground my teeth and cursed the day
I met her, to be jilted.  All that night
My thoughts ran riot.  Round the room I strode
A raving madman—­savage as a Sioux;
Then flung myself upon my couch in tears,
And wept in silence, and then stormed again.
Beggar!’—­it raised the serpent in my breast—­
Mad pride—­bat-blind.  I seized her pictured face
And ground it under my heel.  With impious hand
I caught the book—­the precious gift she gave,
And would have burned it, but that still small voice
Spake in my heart and bade me spare the book.

Page 54

“Then with this Gospel clutched in both my hands,
I swore a solemn oath that I would rise,
If God would spare me;—­she should see me rise,
And learn what she had lost.—­Yes, I would mount
Merely to be revenged.  I would not cringe
Down like a spaniel underneath the lash,
But like a man would teach my proud Pauline
And her hard father to repent the day
They called me ‘beggar.’  Thus I raved and stormed
That mad night out;—­forgot at dawn of morn
This holy book, but fell to a huge tome
And read two hundred pages in a day. 
I could not keep the thread of argument;
I could not hold my mind upon the book;
I could not break the silent under-tow
That swept all else from out my throbbing brain
But false Pauline.  I read from morn till night,
But having closed the book I could not tell
Aught of its contents.  Then I cursed myself,
And muttered—­’Fool—­can you not shake it off—­
This nightmare of your boyhood?—­Brave, indeed—­
Crushed like a spaniel by this false Pauline! 
Crushed am I?—­By the gods, I’ll make an end,
And she shall never know it nettled me!’
So passed the weary days.  My cheeks grew thin;
I needed rest, I said, and quit my books
To range the fields and hills with fowling-piece
And ‘mal prepense’ toward the feathery flocks. 
The pigeons flew from tree-tops o’er my head;
I heard the flap of wings—­and they were gone;
The pheasant whizzed from bushes at my feet
Unseen until its sudden whir of wings
Startled and broke my wandering reverie;
And then I whistled and relapsed to dreams,
Wandering I cared not whither—­wheresoe’er
My silent gun still bore its primal charge. 
So gameless, but with cheeks and forehead tinged
By breeze and sunshine, I returned to books. 
But still a phantom haunted all my dreams—­
Awake or sleeping, for awake I dreamed—­
A spectre that I could not chase away—­
The phantom-form of my own false Pauline.

“Six months wore off—­six long and weary months;
Then came a letter from a school-boy friend—­
In answer to the queries I had made—­
Filled with the gossip of my native town. 
Unto her father’s friend—­a bachelor,
Her senior by full twenty years at least—­
Dame Rumor said Pauline had pledged her hand. 
I knew him well—­a sly and cunning man—­
A honey-tongued, false-hearted flatterer. 
And he my rival—­carrying off my prize? 
But what cared I? ’twas all the same to me—­
Yea, better for the sweet revenge to come. 
So whispered pride, but in my secret heart
I cared, and hoped whatever came to pass
She might be happy all her days on earth,
And find a happy haven at the end.

“My thoughtful master bade me quit my books
A month at least, for I was wearing out. 
‘Unbend the bow,’ he said.  His watchful eye
Saw toil and care at work upon my cheeks;
He could not see the canker at my heart,
But he had seen pale students wear away
With overwork the vigor of their lives;
And so he gave me means and bade me go
To romp a month among my native hills. 
I went, but not as I had left my home—­
A bashful boy, uncouth and coarsely clad,
But clothed and mannered like a gentleman.

Page 55

“My school-boy friend gave me a cordial greeting;
That honest lawyer bade me welcome, too,
And doted on my progress and the advice
He gave me ere I left my native town. 
Since first the iron-horse had coursed the vale
Five years had fled—­five prosperous, magic years,
And well nigh five since I had left my home. 
These prosperous years had wrought upon the place
Their wonders till I hardly knew the town. 
The broad and stately blocks of brick that shamed
The weather-beaten wooden shops I knew
Seemed the creation of some magic hand. 
Adown the river bank the town had stretched,
Sweeping away the quiet grove of pines
Where I had loved to ramble when a boy
And see the squirrels leap from tree to tree
With reckless venture, hazarding a fall
To dodge the ill-aimed arrows from my bow. 
The dear old school-house on the hill was gone: 
A costly church, tall-spired and built of stone
Stood in its stead—­a monument to man. 
Unholy greed had felled the stately pines,
And all the slope was bare and desolate. 
Old faces had grown older; some were gone,
And many unfamiliar ones had come. 
Boys in their teens had grown to bearded men,
And girls to womanhood, and all was changed,
Save the old cottage-home where I was born. 
The elms and butternuts in the meadow-field
Still wore the features of familiar friends;
The English ivy clambered to the roof,
The English willow spread its branches still,
And as I stood before the cottage-door
My heart-pulse quickened, for methought I heard
My mother’s footsteps on the ashen floor.

“The rumor I had heard was verified;
The wedding-day was named and near at hand. 
I met my rival:  gracious were his smiles: 
Glad as a boy that robs the robin’s nest
He grasped the hands of half the men he met. 
Pauline, I heard, but seldom ventured forth,
Save when her doting father took her out
On Sabbath morns to breathe the balmy air,
And grace with her sweet face his cushioned pew. 
The smooth-faced suitor, old dame Gossip said,
Made daily visits to her father’s house,
And played the boy at forty years or more,
While she had held him off to draw him on.


“I would not fawn upon the hand that smote;
I would not cringe beneath its cruel blow,
Nor even let her know I cared for it. 
I kept aloof—­as proud as Lucifer. 
But when the church-bells chimed on Sabbath morn
To that proud monument of stone I went—­
Her father’s pride, since he had led the list
Of wealthy patrons who had builded it—­
To hear the sermon—­for methought Pauline
Would hear it too.  Might I not see her face,
And she not know I cared to look upon it? 
She came not, and the psalms and sermon fell
Upon me like an autumn-mist of rain. 
I met her once by chance upon the street—­
The day before the appointed wedding-day—­

Page 56

Her and her father—­she upon his arm. 
‘Paul—­O Paul!’ she said and gave her hand. 
I took it with a cold and careless air—­
Begged pardon—­had forgotten;—­’Ah—­Pauline?—­
Yes, I remembered;—­five long years ago—­
And I had made so many later friends,
And she had lost so much of maiden bloom!’
Then turning met her father face to face,
Bowed with cold grace and haughtily passed on. 
‘This is revenge,’ I muttered.  Even then
My heart ached as I thought of her pale face,
Her pleading eyes, her trembling, clasping hand! 
And then and there I would have turned about
To beg her pardon and an interview,
But pride—­that serpent ever in my heart—­
Hissed ‘beggar,’ and I cursed her with the lips
That oft had poured my love into her ears. 
’She marries gold to-morrow—­let her wed! 
She will not wed a beggar, but I think
She’ll wed a life-long sorrow—­let her wed! 
Aye—­aye—­I hope she’ll live to curse the day
Whereon she broke her sacred promises. 
And I forgive her?—­yea, but not forget. 
I’ll take good care that she shall not forget;
I’ll prick her memory with a bitter thorn
Through all her future.  Let her marry gold!’
Thus ran my muttered words, but in my heart
There ran a counter-current; ere I slept
Its silent under-tow had mastered all—­
‘Forgive and be forgiven.’  I resolved
That on the morning of her wedding-day
Would I go kindly and forgive Pauline,
And send her to the altar with my blessing. 
That night I read a chapter in this book—­
The first for many months, and fell asleep
Beseeching God to bless her. 
                            Then I dreamed
That we were kneeling at my mother’s bed—­
Her death-bed, and the feeble, trembling hands
Of her who loved us rested on our heads,
And in a voice all tremulous with tears
My mother said:  ’Dear children, love each other;
Bear and forbear, and come to me in heaven.’

“I wakened once—­at midnight—­a wild cry—­
Paul, O Paul!’ rang through my dreams and broke
My slumber.  I arose, but all was still,
And then I, slept again and dreamed till morn. 
In all my dreams her dear, sweet face appeared—­
Now radiant as a star, and now all pale—­
Now glad with smiles and now all wet with tears. 
Then came a dream that agonized my soul,
While every limb was bound as if in chains. 
Methought I saw her in the silent night
Leaning o’er misty waters dark and deep: 
A moan—­a plash of waters—­and, O Christ!—­
Her agonized face upturned—­imploring hands
Stretched out toward me, and a wailing cry—­
Paul, O Paul!’ Then face and hands went down,
And o’er her closed the deep and dismal flood
Forever—­but it could not drown the cry: 
Paul, O Paul!’ was ringing in my ears;
Paul, O Paul!’ was throbbing in my heart;
And moaning, sobbing in my shuddering soul
Trembled the wail of anguish—­’Paul, O Paul!

Page 57

“Then o’er the waters stole the silver dawn,
And lo a fairy boat with silken sail! 
And in the boat an angel at the helm,
And at her feet the form of her I loved. 
The white mists parted as the boat sped on
In silence, lessening far and far away. 
And then the sunrise glimmered on the sail
A moment, and the angel turned her face: 
My mother!—­and I gave a joyful cry,
And stretched my hands, but lo the hovering mists
Closed in around them and the vision passed.

“The morning sun stole through the window-blinds
And fell upon my face and wakened me,
And I lay musing—­thinking of Pauline. 
Yes, she should know the depths of all my heart—­
The love I bore her all those lonely years;
The hope that held me steadfast to my toil,
And feel the higher and the holier love
Her precious gift had wakened in my soul. 
Yea, I would bless her for that precious gift—­
I had not known its treasures but for her,
And O for that would I forgive her all,
And bless the hand that smote me to the soul. 
That would be comfort to me all my days,
And if there came a bitter time to her,
’Twould pain her less to know that I forgave.

“A hasty rapping at my chamber-door;
In came my school-boy friend whose guest I was,
And said: 
        ’Come, Paul, the town is all ablaze! 
A sad—­a strange—­a marvelous suicide! 
Pauline, who was to be a bride to-day,
Was missed at dawn and after sunrise found—­
Traced by her robe and bonnet on the bridge,
Whence she had thrown herself and made an end—­’

“And he went on, but I could hear no more;
It fell upon me like a flash from heaven. 
As one with sudden terror dumb, I turned
And in my pillow buried up my face. 
Tears came at last, and then my friend passed out
In silence.  O the agony of that hour! 
O doubts and fears and half-read mysteries
That tore my heart and tortured all my soul!

“I arose.  About the town the wildest tales
And rumors ran; dame Gossip was agog. 
Some said she had been ill and lost her mind,
Some whispered hints, and others shook their heads
But none could fathom the marvelous mystery. 
Bearing a bitter anguish in my heart,
Half-crazed with dread and doubt and boding fears,
Hour after hour alone, disconsolate,
Among the scenes where we had wandered oft
I wandered, sat where once the stately pines
Domed the fair temple where we learned to love. 
O spot of sacred memories—­how changed! 
Yet chiefly wanting one dear, blushing face
That, in those happy days, made every place
Wherever we might wander—­hill or dale—­
Garden of love and peace and happiness. 
So heavy-hearted I returned.  My friend
Had brought for me a letter with his mail. 
I knew the hand upon the envelope—­
With throbbing heart I hastened to my room;
With trembling hands I broke the seal and read. 
One sheet inclosed another—­one was writ
At midnight by my loved and lost Pauline. 
Inclosed within, a letter false and forged,
Signed with my name—­such perfect counterfeit,
At sight I would have sworn it was my own. 
And thus her letter ran: 

Page 58

“’Beloved Paul,
May God forgive you as my heart forgives. 
Even as a vine that winds about an oak,
Rot-struck and hollow-hearted, for support,
Clasping the sapless branches as it climbs
With tender tendrils and undoubting faith,
I leaned upon your troth; nay, all my hopes—­
My love, my life, my very hope of heaven—­
I staked upon your solemn promises. 
I learned to love you better than my God;
My God hath sent me bitter punishment. 
O broken pledges! what have I to live
And suffer for?  Half mad in my distress,
Yielding at last to father’s oft request,
I pledged my hand to one whose very love
Would be a curse upon me all my days. 
To-morrow is the promised wedding day;
To morrow!—­but to-morrow shall not come! 
Come gladlier, death, and make an end of all! 
How many weary days and patiently
I waited for a letter, and at last
It came—­a message crueler than death. 
O take it back!—­and if you have a heart
Yet warm to pity her you swore to love,
Read it—­and think of those dear promises—­
O sacred as the Savior’s promises—­
You whispered in my ear that solemn night
Beneath the pines, and kissed away my tears. 
And know that I forgive, beloved Paul: 
Meet me in heaven.  God will not frown upon
The sin that saves me from a greater sin,
And sends my soul to Him.  Farewell—­Farewell.’”

Here he broke down.  Unto his pallid lips
I held a flask of wine.  He sipped the wine
And closed his eyes in silence for a time,
Resuming thus: 

“You see the wicked plot. 
We both were victims of a crafty scheme
To break our hearts asunder.  Forgery
Had done its work and pride had aided it. 
The spurious letter was a cruel one—­
Casting her off with utter heartlessness,
And boasting of a later, dearer love,
And begging her to burn the billets-doux
A moon-struck boy had sent her ere he found
That pretty girls were plenty in the world.

“Think you my soul was roiled with anger?—­No;—­
God’s hand was on my head.  A keen remorse
Gnawed at my heart.  O false and fatal pride
That blinded me, else I had seen the plot
Ere all was lost—­else I had saved a life
To me most precious of all lives on earth—­
Yea, dearer then than any soul in heaven! 
False pride—­the ruin of unnumbered souls—­
Thou art the serpent ever tempting me;
God, chastening me, has bruised thy serpent head. 
O faithful heart in silence suffering—­
True unto death to one she could but count
A perjured villain, cheated as she was! 
Captain, I prayed—­’twas all that I could do. 
God heard my prayer, and with a solemn heart,
Bearing the letters in my hand, I went
To ask a favor of the man who crushed
And cursed my life—­to look upon her face—­
Only to look on her dear face once more.

Page 59

“I rung the bell—­a servant bade me in. 
I waited long.  At last the father came—­
All pale and suffering.  I could see remorse
Was gnawing at his heart; as I arose
He trembled like a culprit on the drop. 
‘O, sir,’ he said, ’whatever be your quest,
I pray you leave me with my dead to-day;
I cannot look on any living face
Till her dead face is gone forevermore.’

“‘And who hath done this cruel thing?’ I said. 
‘Explain,’ he faltered.  ‘Pray you, sir, explain!’
I said, and thrust the letters in his hand. 
And as he sat in silence reading hers,
I saw the pangs of conscience on his face;
I saw him tremble like a stricken soul;
And then a tear-drop fell upon his hand;
And there we sat in silence.  Then he groaned
And fell upon his knees and hid his face,
And stretched his hand toward me wailing out—­
’I cannot bear this burden on my soul;
O Paul!—­O God!—­forgive me or I die.’

“His anguish touched my heart.  I took his hand,
And kneeling by him prayed a solemn prayer—­
’Father, forgive him, for he knew not what
He did who broke the bond that bound us twain. 
O may her spirit whisper in his ear
Forever—­God is love and all is well.

“The iron man—­all bowed and broken down—­
Sobbed like a child.  He laid his trembling hand
With many a fervent blessing on my head,
And, with the crust all crumbled from his heart,
Arose and led me to her silent couch;
And I looked in upon my darling dead. 
Mine—­O mine in heaven forevermore! 
God’s angel sweetly smiling in her sleep;
How beautiful—­how radiant of heaven! 
The ring I gave begirt her finger still;
Her golden hair was wreathed with immortelles;
The lips half-parted seemed to move in psalm
Or holy blessing.  As I kissed her brow,
It seemed as if her dead cheeks flushed again
As in those happy days beneath the pines;
And as my warm tears fell upon her face,
Methought I heard that dear familiar voice
So full of love and faith and calmest peace,
So near and yet so far and far away,
So mortal, yet so spiritual—­like an air
Of softest music on the slumbering bay
Wafted on midnight wings to silent shores,
When myriad stars are twinkling in the sea: 


“’Paul, O Paul, forgive and be forgiven; Earth is all trial;—­there is peace in heaven.’

“Aye, Captain, in that sad and solemn hour
I laid my hand upon the arm of Christ,
And he hath led me all the weary way
To this last battle.  I shall win through Him;
And ere you hear the reveille again
Paul and Pauline, amid the psalms of heaven,
Embraced will kneel and at the feet of God
Receive His benediction.  Let me sleep. 
You know the rest;—­I’m weary and must sleep. 
An angel’s bugle-blast will waken me,
But not to pain, for there is peace in heaven.”

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He slept, but not the silent sleep of death. 
I felt his fitful pulse and caught anon
The softly-whispered words “Pauline,” and “Peace.” 
Anon he clutched with eager, nervous hand,
And in hoarse whisper shouted—­“Steady, men!”
Then sunk again.  Thus passed an hour or more
And he woke, half-raised himself and said
With feeble voice and eyes strange luster-lit: 

“Captain, my boat is swiftly sailing out
Into the misty and eternal sea
From out whose waste no mortal craft returns. 
The fog is closing round me and the mist
Is damp and cold upon my hands and face. 
Why should I fear?—­the loved have gone before: 
I seem to hear the plash of coming oars;
The mists are lifting and the boat is near. 
’Tis well.  To die as I am dying now—­
A soldier’s death amid the gladsome shouts
Of victory for which my puny hands
Did their full share, albeit it was small,
Was all my late ambition.  Bring the Flag,
And hold it over my head.  Let me die thus
Under the stars I’ve followed.  Dear old Flag—­”

But here his words became inaudible,
As in the mazes of the Mammoth Cave,
Fainter and fainter on the listening ear,
The low, retreating voices die away. 
His eyes were closed; a gentle smile of peace
Sat on his face.  I held his nerveless hand,
And bent my ear to catch his latest breath;
And as the spirit fled the pulseless clay,
I heard—­or thought I heard—­his wonder-words—­
Pauline,—­how beautiful!

As I arose
The gray dawn paled the shadows in the east.



In the measure of Hiawatha.

[The numerals refer to Notes to The Sea-Gull, in Appendix.]

On the shore of Gitchee Gumee[2]—­
Deep, mysterious, mighty waters—­
Where the manitoes—­the spirits—­
Ride the storms and speak in thunder,
In the days of Neme-Shomis,[3]
In the days that are forgotten,
Dwelt a tall and tawny hunter—­
Gitchee Pez-ze-u the Panther,
Son of Waub-Ojeeg,[4] the warrior,
Famous Waub-Ojeeg, the warrior. 
Strong was he and fleet as roebuck,
Brave was he and very stealthy;
On the deer crept like a panther;
Grappled with Makwa,[5] the monster,
Grappled with the bear and conquered;
Took his black claws for a necklet,
Took his black hide for a blanket.

When the Panther wed the Sea-Gull,
Young was he and very gladsome;
Fair was she and full of laughter;
Like the robin in the spring-time,
Sang from sunrise till the sunset;
For she loved the handsome hunter. 
Deep as Gitchee Gumee’s waters
Was her love—­as broad and boundless;
And the wedded twain were happy—­
Happy as the mated robins. 
When their first-born saw the sunlight

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Joyful was the heart of Panther,
Proud and joyful was the mother. 
All the days were full of sunshine,
All the nights were full of starlight. 
Nightly from the land of spirits
On them smiled the starry faces—­
Faces of their friends departed. 
Little moccasins she made him,
Feathered cap and belt of wampum;
From the hide of fawn a blanket,
Fringed with feathers, soft as sable;
Singing at her pleasant labor,
By her side the tekenagun, [6]
And the little hunter in it,
Oft the Panther smiled and fondled,
Smiled upon the babe and mother,
Frolicked with the boy and fondled,
Tall he grew and like his father,
And they called the boy the Raven—­
Called him Kak-kah-ge—­the Raven. 
Happy hunter was the Panther. 
From the woods he brought the pheasant,
Brought the red deer and the rabbit,
Brought the trout from Gitchee Gumee—­
Brought the mallard from the marshes—­
Royal feast for boy and mother: 
Brought the hides of fox and beaver,
Brought the skins of mink and otter,
Lured the loon and took his blanket,
Took his blanket for the Raven. 
Winter swiftly followed winter,
And again the tekenagun
Held a babe—­a tawny daughter,
Held a dark-eyed, dimpled daughter;
And they called her Waub-omee-mee
Thus they named her—­the White-Pigeon. 
But as winter followed winter
Cold and sullen grew the Panther;
Sat and smoked his pipe in silence;
When he spoke he spoke in anger;
In the forest often tarried
Many days, and homeward turning,
Brought no game unto his wigwam;
Only brought his empty quiver,
Brought his dark and sullen visage.

Sad at heart and very lonely
Sat the Sea-Gull in the wigwam;
Sat and swung the tekenagun
Sat and sang to Waub-omee-mee: 
Thus she sang to Waub-omee-mee,
Thus the lullaby she chanted: 

    Wa-wa, wa-wa, wa-we-yea;
    Kah-ween, nee-zheka ke-diaus-ai,
    Ke-gah nau-wai, ne-me-go s’ween,
    Ne-baun, ne-baun, ne-daun-is ais,
    Wa-wa, wa-wa, wa-we-yea;
    Ne-baun, ne-baun, ne-daun-is-ais,
    E-we wa-wa, wa-we-yea,
    E-we wa-wa, wa-we-yea.


    Swing, swing, little one, lullaby;
    Thou’rt not left alone to weep;
    Mother cares for you—­she is nigh;
    Sleep, my little one, sweetly sleep;
    Swing, swing, little one, lullaby;
    Mother watches you—­she is nigh;
    Gently, gently, wee one, swing;
    Gently, gently, while I sing
    E-we wa-wa—­lullaby,
    E-we wa-wa—­lullaby.

Homeward to his lodge returning
Kindly greeting found the hunter,
Fire to warm and food to nourish,
Golden trout from Gitchee Gumee,
Caught by Kah-kah-ge—­the Raven. 
With a snare he caught the rabbit—­
Caught Wabose,[7] the furry-footed,
Caught Penay,[7] the forest-drummer;
Sometimes with his bow and arrows,

Page 62

Shot the red deer in the forest,
Shot the squirrel in the pine-top,
Shot Ne-ka, the wild-goose, flying. 
Proud as Waub-Ojeeg, the warrior,
To the lodge he bore his trophies. 
So when homeward turned the Panther,
Ever found he food provided,
Found the lodge-fire brightly burning,
Found the faithful Sea-Gull waiting. 
“You are cold,” she said, “and famished;
Here are fire and food, my husband.” 
Not by word or look he answered;
Only ate the food provided,
Filled his pipe and pensive puffed it,
Sat and smoked in sullen silence. 
Once—­her dark eyes full of hunger—­
Thus she spoke and thus besought him: 
“Tell me, O my silent Panther,
Tell me, O beloved husband,
What has made you sad and sullen? 
Have you met some evil spirit—­
Met some goblin in the forest? 
Has he put a spell upon you—­
Filled your heart with bitter waters,
That you sit so sad and sullen,
Sit and smoke, but never answer,
Only when the storm is on you?”

Gruffly then the Panther answered: 
“Brave among the brave is Panther
Son of Waub-Ojeeg, the warrior,
And the brave are ever silent;
But a whining dog is woman,
Whining ever like a coward.” 
Forth into the tangled forest,
Threading through the thorny thickets,
Treading trails on marsh and meadow,
Sullen strode the moody hunter. 
Saw he not the bear or beaver,
Saw he not the elk or roebuck;
From his path the red fawn scampered,
But no arrow followed after;
From his den the sly wolf listened,
But no twang of bow-string heard he. 
Like one walking in his slumber,
Listless, dreaming, walked the Panther;
Surely had some witch bewitched him,
Some bad spirit of the forest.

When the Sea-Gull wed the Panther,
Fair was she and full of laughter;
Like the robin in the spring-time,
Sang from sunrise till the sunset;
But the storms of many winters
Sifted frost upon her tresses,
Seamed her tawny face with wrinkles. 
Not alone the storms of winters
Seamed her tawny face with wrinkles. 
Twenty winters for the Panther
Had she ruled the humble wigwam;
For her haughty lord and master
Borne the burdens on the journey,
Gathered fagots for the lodge-fire,
Tanned the skins of bear and beaver,
Tanned the hides of moose and red-deer;
Made him moccasins and leggins,
Decked his hood with quills and feathers—­
Colored quills of Kaug,[8] the thorny,
Feathers from Kenew,[8] the eagle. 
For a warrior brave was Panther;
Often had he met the foemen,
Met the bold and fierce Dakotas,
Westward on the war-path met them;
And the scalps he won were numbered,
Numbered seven by Kenew-feathers. 
Sad at heart was Sea-Gull waiting,
Watching, waiting in the wigwam;
Not alone the storms of winters
Sifted frost upon her tresses.

Page 63

Ka-be-bon-ik-ka, the mighty,[9]
He that sends the cruel winter,
He that turned to stone the Giant,
From the distant Thunder-mountain,
Far across broad Gitchee Gumee,
Sent his warning of the winter,
Sent the white frost and Kewaydin,[10]
Sent the swift and hungry North-wind. 
Homeward to the South the Summer
Turned and fled the naked forests. 
With the Summer flew the robin,
Flew the bobolink and blue-bird. 
Flock-wise following chosen leaders,
Like the shaftless heads of arrows
Southward cleaving through the ether,
Soon the wild-geese followed after. 
One long moon the Sea-Gull waited,
Watched and waited for her husband,
Till at last she heard his footsteps,
Heard him coming through the thicket. 
Forth she went to met her husband,
Joyful went to greet her husband. 
Lo behind the haughty hunter,
Closely following in his footsteps,
Walked a young and handsome woman,
Walked the Red Fox from the island—­
Gitchee Menis the Grand Island—­
Followed him into the wigwam,
Proudly took her seat beside him. 
On the Red Fox smiled the hunter,
On the hunter smiled the woman.

Old and wrinkled was the Sea-Gull,
Good and true, but old and wrinkled. 
Twenty winters for the Panther
Had she ruled the humble wigwam,
Borne the burdens on the journey,
Gathered fagots for the lodge-fire,
Tanned the skins of bear and beaver,
Tanned the hides of moose and red-deer,
Made him moccasins and leggins,
Decked his hood with quills and feathers,
Colored quills of Kaug, the thorny,
Feathers from the great war-eagle;
Ever diligent and faithful,
Ever patient, ne’er complaining. 
But like all brave men the Panther
Loved a young and handsome woman;
So he dallied with the danger,
Dallied with the fair Algonkin,[11]
Till a magic mead she gave him,
Brewed of buds of birch and cedar.[12]
Madly then he loved the woman;
Then she ruled him, then she held him
Tangled in her raven tresses,
Tied and tangled in her tresses.

Ah, the tall and tawny Panther! 
Ah, the brave and brawny Panther! 
Son of Waub-Ojeeg, the warrior! 
With a slender hair she led him,
With a slender hair she drew him,
Drew him often to her wigwam;
There she bound him, there she held him
Tangled in her raven tresses,
Tied and tangled in her tresses. 
Ah, the best of men are tangled—­
Sometimes tangled in the tresses
Of a fair and crafty woman.

So the Panther wed the Red Fox,
And she followed to his wigwam. 
Young again he seemed and gladsome,
Glad as Raven when the father
Made his first bow from the elm-tree,
From the ash-tree made his arrows,
Taught him how to aim his arrows,
How to shoot Wabose—­the rabbit. 
Then again the brawny hunter
Brought the black bear and the beaver,
Brought the haunch of elk and red-deer,
Brought the rabbit and the pheasant—­
Choicest bits of all for Red Fox. 
For her robes he brought the sable,
Brought the otter and the ermine,
Brought the black-fox tipped with silver.

Page 64

But the Sea-Gull murmured never,
Not a word she spoke in anger,
Went about her work as ever,
Tanned the skins of bear and beaver,
Tanned the hides of moose and red-deer,
Gathered fagots for the lodge-fire,
Gathered rushes from the marshes;
Deftly into mats she wove them;
Kept the lodge as bright as ever. 
Only to herself she murmured,
All alone with Waub-omee-mee,
On the tall and toppling highland,
O’er the wilderness of waters;
Murmured to the murmuring waters,
Murmured to the Nebe-naw-baigs—­
To the spirits of the waters;
On the wild waves poured her sorrow. 
Save the infant on her bosom
With her dark eyes wide with wonder,
None to hear her but the spirits,
And the murmuring pines above her. 
Thus she cast away her burdens,
Cast her burdens on the waters;
Thus unto the good Great Spirit,
Made her lowly lamentation: 
Gitchee Manito, bena-nin! 
Nah, Ba-ba, showain nemeshin! 

Ka-be-bon-ik-ka,[9] the mighty,
He that sends the cruel winter,
From the distant Thunder-mountain
On the shore of Gitchee Gumee,
On the rugged northern border,
Sent his solemn, final warning,
Sent the white wolves of the Nor’land.[14]
Like the dust of stars in ether—­
In the Pathway of the Spirits,[15]
Like the sparkling dust of diamonds,
Fell the frost upon the forest,
On the mountains and the meadows,
On the wilderness of woodland,
On the wilderness of waters. 
All the lingering fowls departed—­
All that seek the South in winter,
All but Shingebis, the diver;[16]
He defies the Winter-maker,
Sits and laughs at Winter-maker.

Ka-be-bon-ik-ka, the mighty,
From his wigwam called Kewaydin—­
From his home among the icebergs,
From the sea of frozen waters,
Called the swift and hungry North-wind. 
Then he spread his mighty pinions
Over all the land and shook them. 
Like the white down of Waubese[17]
Fell the feathery snow and covered
All the marshes and the meadows,
All the hill-tops and the highlands. 
Then old Peboean[18]—­the winter—­
Laughed along the stormy waters,
Danced upon the windy headlands,
On the storm his white hair streaming,
And his steaming breath, ascending,
On the pine-tops and the cedars
Fell in frosty mists of silver,
Sprinkling spruce and fir with silver,
Sprinkling all the woods with silver.

By the lodge-fire all the winter
Sat the Sea-Gull and the Red Fox,
Sat and kindly spoke and chatted,
Till the twain seemed friends together. 
Friends they seemed in word and action,
But within the breast of either
Smoldered still the baneful embers—­
Fires of jealousy and hatred—­
Like a camp-fire in the forest
Left by hunters and deserted;
Only seems a bed of ashes,
But the East wind, Wabun-noodin,

Page 65

Scatters through the woods the ashes,
Fans to flame the sleeping embers,
And the wild-fire roars and rages,
Roars and rages through the forest. 
So the baneful embers smoldered,
Smoldered in the breast of either. 
From the far-off Sunny Islands,
From the pleasant land of Summer,
Where the spirits of the blessed
Feel no more the fangs of hunger,
Or the cold breath of Kewaydin,
Came a stately youth and handsome,
Came Segun,[19] the foe of Winter. 
Like the rising sun his face was,
Like the shining stars his eyes were,
Light his footsteps as the Morning’s,
In his hand were buds and blossoms,
On his brow a blooming garland. 
Straightway to the icy wigwam
Of old Peboean, the Winter,
Strode Segun and quickly entered. 
There old Peboean sat and shivered,
Shivered o’er his dying lodge-fire.

“Ah, my son, I bid you welcome;
Sit and tell me your adventures;
I will tell you of my power;
We will pass the night together.” 
Thus spake Peboean—­the Winter;
Then he filled his pipe and lighted;
Then by sacred custom raised it
To the spirits in the ether;
To the spirits in the caverns
Of the hollow earth he lowered it. 
Thus he passed it to the spirits,
And the unseen spirits puffed it. 
Next himself old Peboean honored;
Thrice he puffed his pipe and passed it,
Passed it to the handsome stranger.

“Lo I blow my breath,” said Winter,
“And the laughing brooks are silent. 
Hard as flint become the waters,
And the rabbit runs upon them.”

Then Segun, the fair youth, answered: 
“Lo I breathe upon the hillsides,
On the valleys and the meadows,
And behold as if by magic—­
By the magic of the spirits,
Spring the flowers and tender grasses.”

Then old Peboean replying: 
Nah![20] I breathe upon the forests,
And the leaves fall sere and yellow;
Then I shake my locks and snow falls,
Covering all the naked landscape.”

Then Segun arose and answered: 
Nashke![20]—­see!—­I shake my ringlets;
On the earth the warm rain falleth,
And the flowers look up like children
Glad-eyed from their mother’s bosom. 
Lo my voice recalls the robin,
Brings the bobolink and bluebird,
And the woods are full of music. 
With my breath I melt their fetters,
And the brooks leap laughing onward.”

Then old Peboean looked upon him,
Looked and knew Segun, the Summer. 
From his eyes the big tears started
And his boastful tongue was silent. 
Now Keezis—­the great life-giver,
From his wigwam in Waubu-nong[21]
Rose and wrapped his shining blanket
Round his giant form and started,
Westward started on his journey,
Striding on from hill to hill-top. 
Upward then he climbed the ether—­
On the Bridge of Stars[22] he traveled,
Westward traveled on his journey
To the far-off Sunset Mountains—­
To the gloomy land of shadows.

Page 66

On the lodge-poles sang the robin—­
And the brooks began to murmur. 
On the South-wind floated fragrance
Of the early buds and blossoms. 
From old Peboean’s eyes the tear-drops
Down his pale face ran in streamlets;
Less and less he grew in stature
Till he melted down to nothing;
And behold, from out the ashes,
From the ashes of his lodge-fire,
Sprang the Miscodeed[23] and, blushing,
Welcomed Segun to the North-land.

So from Sunny Isles returning,
From the Summer-Land of spirits,
On the poles of Panther’s wigwam
Sang Opee-chee—­sang the robin. 
In the maples cooed the pigeons—­
Cooed and wooed like silly lovers. 
“Hah!—­hah!” laughed the crow derisive,
In the pine-top, at their folly—­
Laughed and jeered the silly lovers. 
Blind with love were they, and saw not;
Deaf to all but love, and heard not;
So they cooed and wooed unheeding,
Till the gray hawk pounced upon them,
And the old crow shook with laughter.

[Illustration:  SEGUN AND PEBOAN]

On the tall cliff by the sea-shore
Red Fox made a swing.  She fastened
Thongs of moose-hide to the pine-tree,
To the strong arm of the pine-tree. 
Like a hawk, above the waters,
There she swung herself and fluttered,
Laughing at the thought of danger,
Swung and fluttered o’er the waters. 
Then she bantered Sea-Gull, saying,
“See!—­I swing above the billows! 
Dare you swing above the billows—­
Swing like me above the billows?”

To herself said Sea-Gull—­“Surely
I will dare whatever danger
Dares the Red Fox—­dares my rival;
She shall never call me coward.” 
So she swung above the waters—­
Dizzy height above the waters,
Pushed and aided by her rival,
To and fro with reckless daring,
Till the strong tree rocked and trembled,
Rocked and trembled with its burden. 
As above the yawning billows
Flew the Sea-Gull like a whirlwind,
Red Fox, swifter than red lightning,
Cut the thongs, and headlong downward,
Like an osprey from the ether,
Like a wild-goose pierced with arrows,
Fluttering fell the frantic woman,
Fluttering fell into the waters—­
Plunged and sunk beneath the waters! 
Hark!—­the wailing of the West-wind! 
Hark!—­the wailing of the waters,
And the beating of the billows! 
But no more the voice of Sea-Gull.


In the wigwam sat the Red Fox,
Hushed the wail of Waub-omee-mee,
Weeping for her absent mother. 
With the twinkling stars the hunter
From the forest came and Raven. 
“Sea-Gull wanders late,” said Red Fox,
“Late she wanders by the sea-shore,
And some evil may befall her.” 
In the misty morning twilight
Forth went Panther and the Raven,
Searched the forest and the marshes,
Searched for leagues along the lake-shore,
Searched the islands and the highlands;

Page 67

But they found no trace or tidings,
Found no track in marsh or meadow,
Found no trail in fen or forest,
On the shore-sand found no footprints. 
Many days they sought and found not. 
Then to Panther spoke the Raven: 
“She is in the Land of Spirits—­
Surely in the Land of Spirits. 
High at midnight I beheld her—­
Like a flying star beheld her—­
To the waves of Gitchee Gumee
Downward flashing through the ether. 
Thus she flashed that I might see her,
See and know my mother’s spirit;
Thus she pointed to the waters,
And beneath them lies her body,
In the wigwam of the spirits—­
In the lodge of Nebe-naw-baigs."[24]

Then spoke Panther to the Raven: 
“On the tall cliff by the waters
Wait and watch with Waub-omee-mee. 
If the Sea-Gull hear the wailing
Of her infant she will answer.”

On the tall cliff by the waters
So the Raven watched and waited;
All the day he watched and waited,
But the hungry infant slumbered,
Slumbered by the side of Raven,
Till the pines’ gigantic shadows
Stretched and pointed to Waubu-nong[21]—­
To the far-off land of Sunrise;
Then the wee one woke and, famished,
Made a long and piteous wailing.

From afar where sky and waters
Meet in misty haze and mingle,
Straight toward the rocky highland,
Straight as flies the feathered arrow,
Straight to Raven and the infant,
Swiftly flew a snow-white sea-gull—­
Flew and touched the earth a woman. 
And behold, the long-lost mother
Caught her wailing child and nursed her,
Sang a lullaby and nursed her.

Thrice was wound a chain of silver
Round her waist and strongly fastened. 
Far away into the waters—­
To the wigwam of the spirits—­
To the lodge of Nebe-naw-baigs—­
Stretched the magic chain of silver. 
Spoke the mother to the Raven: 
“O my son—­my brave young hunter,
Feed my tender little orphan;
Be a father to my orphan;
Be a mother to my orphan—­
For the crafty Red Fox robbed us—­
Robbed the Sea-Gull of her husband,
Robbed the infant of her mother. 
From this cliff the treacherous woman
Headlong into Gitchee Gumee
Plunged the mother of my orphan. 
Then a Nebe-naw-baig caught me—­
Chief of all the Nebe-naw-baigs—­
Took me to his shining wigwam,
In the cavern of the waters,
Deep beneath the mighty waters. 
All below is burnished copper,
All above is burnished silver
Gemmed with amethyst and agates. 
As his wife the Spirit holds me;
By this silver chain he holds me.

“When my little one is famished,
When with long and piteous wailing
Cries the orphan for her mother,
Hither bring her, O my Raven;
I will hear her—­I will answer. 
Now the Nebe-naw-baig calls me—­
Pulls the chain—­I must obey him.” 
Thus she spoke, and in the twinkling
Of a star the spirit-woman

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Changed into a snow-white sea-gull,
Spread her wings and o’er the waters
Swiftly flew and swiftly vanished. 
Then in secret to the Panther
Raven told his tale of wonder. 
Sad and sullen was the hunter;
Sorrow gnawed his heart like hunger;
All the old love came upon him,
And the new love was a hatred. 
Hateful to his heart was Red Fox,
But he kept from her the secret—­
Kept his knowledge of the murder. 
Vain was she and very haughty—­
Oge-ma-kwa[25] of the wigwam. 
All in vain her fond caresses
On the Panther now she lavished;
When she smiled his face was sullen,
When she laughed he frowned upon her;
In her net of raven tresses
Now no more she held him tangled. 
Now through all her fair disguises
Panther saw an evil spirit,
Saw the false heart of the woman.

On the tall cliff o’er the waters
Raven sat with Waub-omee-mee,
Sat and watched again and waited,
Till the wee one, faint and famished,
Made a long and piteous wailing. 
Then again the snow-white Sea-Gull,
From afar where sky and waters
Meet in misty haze and mingle,
Straight toward the rocky highland,
Straight as flies the feathered arrow,
Straight to Raven and the infant,
With the silver chain around her,
Flew and touched the earth a woman. 
In her arms she caught her infant—­
Caught the wailing Waub-omee-mee,
Sang a lullaby and nursed her. 
Sprang the Panther from the thicket—­
Sprang and broke the chain of silver! 
With his tomahawk he broke it. 
Thus he freed the willing Sea-Gull—­
From the Water-Spirit freed her,
From the Chief of Nebe-naw-baigs.

Very angry was the Spirit;
When he drew the chain of silver,
Drew and found that it was broken,
Found that he had lost the woman,
Very angry was the Spirit. 
Then he raged beneath the waters,
Raged and smote the mighty waters,
Till the big sea boiled and bubbled,
Till the white-haired, bounding billows
Roared around the rocky headlands,
Rolled and roared upon the shingle.

To the wigwam happy Panther,
As when first he wooed and won her
Led his wife—­as young and handsome. 
For the waves of Gitchee Gumee
Washed away the frost and wrinkles,
And the spirits by their magic
Made her young and fair forever.

In the wigwam sat the Red Fox,
Sat and sang a song of triumph,
For she little dreamed of danger,
Till the haughty hunter entered,
Followed by the happy mother,
Holding in her arms her infant. 
When the Red Fox saw the Sea-Gull—­
Saw the dead a living woman,
One wild cry she gave despairing,
One wild cry as of a demon. 
Up she sprang and from the wigwam
To the tall cliff flew in terror;
Frantic sprang upon the margin,
Frantic plunged into the waters,
Headlong plunged into the waters.

Page 69

Dead she tossed upon the billows;
For the Nebe-naw-baigs knew her,
Knew the crafty, wicked woman,
And they cast her from the waters,
Spurned her from their shining wigwams;
Far away upon the shingle
With the roaring waves they cast her. 
There upon her bloated body
Fed the cawing crows and ravens,
Fed the hungry wolves and foxes.

On the shore of Gitchee Gumee,
Ever young and ever handsome,
Long and happy lived the Sea-Gull,
Long and happy with the Panther. 
Evermore the happy hunter
Loved the mother of his children. 
Like a red star many winters
Blazed their lodge-fire on the sea-shore. 
O’er the Bridge of Souls[26] together
Walked the Sea-Gull and the Panther. 
To the far-off Sunny Islands—­
To the Summer-Land of Spirits,
Sea-Gull journeyed with her husband—­
Where no more the happy hunter
Feels the fangs of frost or famine,
Or the keen blasts of Kewaydin,
Where no pain or sorrow enters,
And no crafty, wicked woman. 
There she rules his lodge forever,
And the twain are very happy,
On the far-off Sunny Islands,
In the Summer-Land of Spirits. 
On the rocks of Gitchee Gumee—­
On the Pictured Rocks—­the legend
Long ago was traced and written,
Pictured by the Water-Spirits;
But the storms of many winters
Have bedimmed the pictured story,
So that none can read the legend
But the Jossakeeds,[27] the prophets.


I had rather write one word upon the rock
Of ages than ten thousand in the sand. 
The rock of ages! lo I cannot reach
Its lofty shoulders with my puny hand: 
I can but touch the sands about its feet. 
Yea, I have painted pictures for the blind,
And sung my sweetest songs to ears of stone. 
What matter if the dust of ages drift
Five fathoms deep above my grave unknown,
For I have sung and loved the songs I sung. 
Who sings for fame the Muses may disown;
Who sings for gold will sing an idle song;
But he who sings because sweet music springs
Unbidden from his heart and warbles long,
May haply touch another heart unknown. 
There is sweeter poetry in the hearts of men
Than ever poet wrote or minstrel sung;
For words are clumsy wings for burning thought. 
The full heart falters on the stammering tongue,
And silence is more eloquent than song
When tender souls are wrung by grief or shameful wrong.

The grandest poem is God’s Universe: 
In measured rhythm the planets whirl their course: 
Rhythm swells and throbs in every sun and star,
In mighty ocean’s organ-peals and roar,
In billows bounding on the harbor-bar,
In the blue surf that rolls upon the shore,
In the low zephyr’s sigh, the tempest’s sob,
In the rain’s patter and the thunder’s roar;
Aye, in the awful earthquake’s shuddering throb,
When old Earth cracks her bones and trembles to her core.

Page 70

I hear a piper piping on a reed
To listening flocks of sheep and bearded goats;
I hear the larks shrill-warbling o’er the mead
Their silver sonnets from their golden throats;
And in my boyhood’s clover-fields I hear
The twittering swallows and the hum of bees. 
Ah, sweeter to my heart and to my ear
Than any idyl poet ever sung,
The low, sweet music of their melodies;
Because I listened when my soul was young,
In those dear meadows under maple trees. 
My heart they molded when its clay was moist,
And all my life the hum of honey-bees
Hath waked in me a spirit that rejoiced,
And touched the trembling chords of tenderest memories.

I hear loud voices and a clamorous throng
With braying bugles and with bragging drums—­
Bards and bardies laboring at a song. 
One lifts his locks, above the rest preferred,
And to the buzzing flies of fashion thrums
A banjo.  Lo him follow all the herd. 
When Nero’s wife put on her auburn wig,
And at the Coliseum showed her head,
The hair of every dame in Rome turned red;
When Nero fiddled all Rome danced a jig. 
Novelty sets the gabbling geese agape,
And fickle fashion follows like an ape. 
Aye, brass is plenty; gold is scarce and dear;
Crystals abound, but diamonds still are rare. 
Is this the golden age, or the age of gold? 
Lo by the page or column fame is sold. 
Hear the big journal braying like an ass;
Behold the brazen statesmen as they pass;
See dapper poets hurrying for their dimes
With hasty verses hammered out in rhymes: 
The Muses whisper—­’"Tis the age of brass.” 
Workmen are plenty, but the masters few—­
Fewer to-day than in the days of old. 
Rare blue-eyed pansies peeping pearled with dew,
And lilies lifting up their heads of gold,
Among the gaudy cockscombs I behold,
And here and there a lotus in the shade;
And under English oaks a rose that ne’er will fade.

Fair barks that flutter in the sun your sails,
Piping anon to gay and tented shores
Sweet music and low laughter, it is well
Ye hug the haven when the tempest roars,
For only stalwart ships of oak or steel
May dare the deep and breast the billowy sea
When sweeps the thunder-voiced, dark hurricane,
And the mad ocean shakes his shaggy mane,
And roars through all his grim and vast immensity.

The stars of heaven shine not till it is dark. 
Seven cities strove for Homer’s bones, ’tis said,
“Through which the living Homer begged for bread.” 
When in their coffins they lay dumb and stark
Shakespeare began to live, Dante to sing,
And Poe’s sweet lute began its werbelling. 
Rear monuments of fame or flattery—­
Think ye their sleeping souls are made aware? 
Heap o’er their heads sweet praise or calumny—­
Think ye their moldering ashes hear or care? 
Nay, praise and fame are by the living sought;
But he is wise who scorns their flattery,
And who escapes the tongue of calumny
May count himself an angel or a naught: 
Lo over Byron’s grave a maggot writhes distraught.

Page 71

Genius is patience, labor and good sense. 
Steel and the mind grow bright by frequent use;
In rest they rust.  A goodly recompense
Comes from hard toil, but not from its abuse. 
The slave, the idler, are alike unblessed;
Aye, in loved labor only is there rest. 
But he will read and range and rhyme in vain
Who hath no dust of diamonds in his brain;
And untaught genius is a gem undressed. 
The life of man is short, but Art is long,
And labor is the lot of mortal man,
Ordained by God since human time began: 
Day follows day and brings its toil and song. 
Behind the western mountains sinks the moon,
The silver dawn steals in upon the dark,
Up from the dewy meadow wheels the lark
And trills his welcome to the rising sun,
And lo another day of labor is begun.

Poets are born, not made, some scribbler said,
And every rhymester thinks the saying true: 
Better unborn than wanting labor’s aid: 
Aye, all great poets—­all great men—­are made
Between the hammer and the anvil.  Few
Have the true metal, many have the fire. 
No slave or savage ever proved a bard;
Men have their bent, but labor its reward,
And untaught fingers cannot tune the lyre. 
The poet’s brain with spirit-vision teems;
The voice of nature warbles in his heart;
A sage, a seer, he moves from men apart,
And walks among the shadows of his dreams;
He sees God’s light that in all nature beams;
And when he touches with the hand of art
The song of nature welling from his heart,
And guides it forth in pure and limpid streams,
Truth sparkles in the song and like a diamond gleams.

Time and patience change the mulberry-leaf
To shining silk; the lapidary’s skill
Makes the rough diamond sparkle at his will,
And cuts a gem from quartz or coral-reef. 
Better a skillful cobbler at his last
Than unlearned poet twangling on the lyre;
Who sails on land and gallops on the blast,
And mounts the welkin on a braying ass,
Clattering a shattered cymbal bright with brass,
And slips his girth and tumbles in the mire. 
All poetry must be, if it be true,
Like the keen arrows of the—­Grecian god
Apollo, that caught fire as they flew. 
Ah, such was Byron’s, but alas he trod
Ofttimes among the brambles and the rue,
And sometimes dived full deep and brought up mud. 
But when he touched with tears, as only he
Could touch, the tender chords of sympathy,
His coldest critics warmed and marveled much,
And all old England’s heart throbbed to his thrilling touch.

Truth is the touchstone of all genius Art,
In poet, painter, sculptor, is the same: 
What cometh from the heart goes to the heart,
What comes from effort only is but tame. 
Nature the only perfect artist is: 
Who studies Nature may approach her skill;
Perfection hers, but never can be his,
Though her sweet voice his very marrow thrill;
The finest works of art are Nature’s shadows still.

Page 72

Look not for faultless men or faultless art;
Small faults are ever virtue’s parasites: 
As in a picture shadows show the lights,
So human foibles show a human heart.

O while I live and linger on the brink
Let the dear Muses be my company;
Their nectared goblets let my parched lips drink;
Ah, let me drink the soma of their lips! 
As humming-bird the lily’s nectar sips,
Or Houris sip the wine of Salsabil. 
Aye, let me to their throbbing music thrill,
And let me never for one moment think,
Although no laurel crown my constancy,
Their gracious smiles are false, their dearest kiss a lie.


I am growing old and weary
  Ere yet my locks are gray;
Before me lies eternity,
  Behind me—­but a day. 
How fast the years are vanishing! 
  They melt like April snow: 
It seems to me but yesterday—­
  Twenty years ago.

There’s the school-house on the hill-side,
  And the romping scholars all;
Where we used to con our daily tasks,
  And play our games of ball. 
They rise to me in visions—­
  In sunny dreams—­and ho’
I sport among the boys and girls
  Twenty years ago.

We played at ball in summer time—­
  We boys—­with hearty will;
With merry shouts in winter time
  We coasted on the hill. 
We would choose our chiefs, divide in bands,
  And build our forts of snow,
And storm those forts right gallantly—­
  Twenty years ago.

Last year in June I visited
  That dear old sacred spot,
But the school-house on the hill-side
  And the merry shouts were not. 
A church was standing where it stood;
  I looked around, but no—­
I could not see the boys and girls
  Of twenty years ago.

There was sister dear, and brother,
  Around the old home-hearth;
And a tender, Christian mother,
  Too angel-like for earth. 
She used to warn me from the paths
  Where thorns and brambles grow,
And lead me in the “narrow way”—­
  Twenty years ago.

I loved her and I honored her
  Through all my boyhood years;
I knew her joys—­I knew her cares—­
  I knew her hopes and fears. 
But alas, one autumn morning
  She left her home below,
And she left us there a-weeping—­
  Twenty years ago.

They bore her to the church-yard,
  With slow and solemn pace;
And there I took my last fond look
  On her dear, peaceful face. 
They lowered her in her silent grave,
  While we bowed our heads in woe,
And they heaped the sods above her head—­
  Twenty years ago.

That low, sweet voice—­my mother’s voice—­
  I never can forget;
And in those loving eyes I see
  The big tears trembling yet. 
I try to tread the “narrow way;”
  I stumble oft I know: 
I miss—­how much!—­the helping hand
  Of twenty years ago.

Page 73

Mary—­(Mary I will call you—­
  ’Tis not the old-time name)
Sainted Mary—­blue-eyed Mary—­
  Are you in heaven the same? 
Are your eyes as bright and beautiful,
  Your cheeks as full of glow,
As when the school-boy kissed you, May,
  Twenty years ago?

How we swung upon the grape-vine
  Down by the Genesee;
  And I caught the speckled trout for you,
    While you gathered flowers for me: 
  How we rambled o’er the meadows
    With brows and cheeks aglow,
  And hearts like God’s own angels—­
    Twenty years ago.


How our young hearts grew together
  Until they beat as one;
Distrust it could not enter;
  Cares and fears were none. 
All my love was yours, dear Mary,
  ’Twas boyish love, I know;
But I ne’er have loved as then I loved—­
  Twenty years ago.

How we pictured out the future—­
  The golden coming years,
And saw no cloud in all our sky,
  No gloomy mist of tears;
But ah—­how vain are human hopes! 
  The angels came—­and O—­
They bore my darling up to heaven—­
  Twenty years ago.

I will not tell—­I cannot tell—­
  What anguish wrung my soul;
But a silent grief is on my heart
  Though the years so swiftly roll;
And I cannot shake it off, May,
  This lingering sense of woe,
Though I try to drown the memory
  Of twenty years ago.

I am fighting life’s stern battle, May,
  With all my might and main;
But a seat by you and mother there
  Is the dearest prize to gain;
And I know you both are near me,
  Whatever winds may blow,
For I feel your spirits cheer me
  Like twenty years ago.



Stibor had led in many a fight,
  And broken a score of swords
In furious frays and bloody raids
  Against the Turkish hordes.

And Sigismund, the Polish king,
  Who joined the Magyar bands,
Bestowed upon the valiant knight
  A broad estate of lands.

Once when the wars were o’er, the knight
  Was holding wassail high,
And the valiant men that followed him
  Were at the revelry.

Betzko, his Jester, pleased him so
  He vowed it his the task
To do whatever in human power
  His witty Fool might ask.

“Build on yon cliff,” the Jester cried,
  In drunken jollity,
“A mighty castle high and wide,
  And name it after me.”

“Ah, verily a Jester’s prayer,”
  Exclaimed the knightly crew,
“To ask of such a noble lord
  What you know he cannot do.”

“Who says I cannot,” Stibor cried,
  “Do whatsoe’er I will? 
Within one year a castle shall stand
  On yonder rocky hill—­

Page 74

“A castle built of ponderous stones,
  To give me future fame;
In honor of my witty Fool,
  Betzko shall be its name.”

Now the cliff was high three hundred feet,
  And perpendicular;
And the skill that could build a castle there
  Must come from lands afar.

And craftsmen came from foreign lands,
  Italian, German and Jew—­
Apprentices and fellow-craftsmen,
  And master-masons, too.

And every traveler journeying
  Along the mountain-ways
Was held to pay his toll of toil
  On the castle for seven days.

Slowly they raised the massive towers
  Upon the steep ascent,
And all around a thousand hands
  Built up the battlement.

Three hundred feet above the glen—­
  (By the steps five hundred feet)—­
The castle stood upon the cliff
  At the end of the year—­complete.

Now throughout all the Magyar land
  There’s none other half so high,
So massive built, so strong and grand;—­
  It reaches the very sky.

But from that same high battlement
  (Say tales by gypsies told)
The valiant Stibor met his death
  When he was cross and old.

I’ll tell you the tale as they told it to me,
  And I doubt not it is true,
For ’twas handed down from the middle ages
  From the lips of knights who knew.

One day when the knight was old and cross,
  And a little the worse for grog,
Betzko, the Jester, thoughtlessly
  Struck Stibor’s favorite dog.

Now the dog was a hound and Stibor’s pet,
  And as white as Carpathian snow,
And Stibor hurled old Betzko down
  From the walls to the rocks below.

And as the Jester headlong fell
  From the dizzy, dreadful height,
He muttered a curse with his latest breath
  On the head of the cruel knight.

One year from that day old Stibor held
  His drunken wassail long,
And spent the hours till the cock crew morn
  In jest and wine and song.

Then he sought his garden on the cliff,
  And lay down under a vine
To sleep away the lethargy
  Of a wassail-bowl of wine.

While sleeping soundly under the shade,
  And dreaming of revelries,
An adder crawled upon his breast,
  And bit him in both his eyes.

Blinded and mad with pain he ran
  Toward the precipice,
Unheeding till he headlong fell
  Adown the dread abyss.

Just where old Betzko’s blood had dyed
  With red the old rocks gray,
Quivering and bleeding and dumb and dead
  Old Stibor’s body lay.



When madly raged religious war
  O’er all the Magyar land
And royal archer and hussar
  Met foemen hand to hand,
A princess fair in castle strong
  The royal troops defied
And bravely held her fortress long
  Though help was all denied.

Page 75

Princess Maria was her name—­
  Brave daughter nobly sired;
She caught her father’s trusty sword
  When bleeding he expired,
And bravely rallied warders all
  To meet the storming foe,
And hurled them from the rampart-wall
  Upon the crags below.

Prince Casimir—­her father—­built
  Murana high and wide;
It sat among the mountain cliffs—­
  The Magyars’ boast and pride. 
Bold Wesselenyi—­stalwart knight,
  Young, famed and wondrous fair,
With a thousand men besieged the height,
  And led the bravest there.

And long he tried the arts of war
  To take that castle-hold,
Till many a proud and plumed hussar
  Was lying stiff and cold;
And still the frowning castle stood
  A grim, unbroken wall,
Like some lone rock in stormy seas
  That braves the billows all.

Bold Wesselenyi’s cheeks grew thin;
  A solemn oath he sware
That if he failed the prize to win
  His bones should molder there. 
Two toilsome months had worn away,
  Two hundred men were slain,
His bold assaults were baffled still,
  And all his arts were vain.

But love is mightier than the sword,
  He clad him in disguise—­
In the dress of an inferior lord—­
  To win the noble prize. 
He bade his armed men to wait,
  To cease the battle-blare
And sought alone the castle-gate
  To hold a parley there.

Aloft a flag of truce he bore: 
  Her warders bade him pass;
Within he met the princess fair
  All clad in steel and brass. 
Her bright, black eyes and queenly art,
  Sweet lips and raven hair,
Smote bold young Wesselenyi’s heart
  While he held parley there.

Cunning he talked of great reward
  And royal favor, too,
If she would yield her father’s sword;
  She sternly answered “No.” 
But even while they parleyed there
  Maria’s lustrous eyes
Looked tenderly and lovingly
  On the chieftain in disguise.

“Go tell your gallant chief,” she said,
  “To keep his paltry pelf;
The knight who would my castle win,
  Must dare to come himself.” 
And forth she sternly bade him go,
  But followed with her eyes. 
I ween she knew the brave knight well
  Through all his fair disguise.

But when had dawned another morn,
  He bade his bugleman
To sound again the parley-horn
  Ere yet the fray began. 
And forth he sent a trusty knight
  To seek the castle-gate
And to the princess privately
  His message to relate;—­

That he it was who in disguise
  Her warders bade to pass,
And while he parleyed there her eyes
  Had pierced his plates of brass. 
His heart he offered and his hand,
  And pledged a signet-ring
If she would yield her brave command
  Unto his gracious king.

“Go tell your chief,” Maria cried—­
  “Audacious as he is—­
If he be worthy such a bride
  My castle and hand are his. 
But he should know that lady fair
  By faint heart ne’er was won;
So let your gallant chieftain, sir,
  Come undisguised alone.

Page 76

“And he may see in the northern tower,
  Over yonder precipice,
A lone, dim light at the midnight hour
  Shine down the dark abyss. 
And over the chasm’s dungeon-gloom
  Shall a slender ladder hang;
And if alone he dare to come,—­
  Unarmed—­without a clang,

“More of his suit your chief shall hear
  Perhaps may win the prize;
Tell him the way is hedged with fear,—­
  One misstep and he dies. 
Nor will I pledge him safe retreat
  From out yon guarded tower;
My watchful warders all to cheat
  May be beyond my power.”

At midnight’s dark and silent hour
  The tall and gallant knight
Sought on the cliff the northern tower,
  And saw the promised light. 
With toil he climbed the cragged cliff,
  And there the ladder found;
And o’er the yawning gulf he clomb
  The ladder round by round.

And as he climbed the ladder bent
  Above the yawning deep,
But bravely to the port he went
  And entered at a leap
Full twenty warders thronged the hall
  Each with his blade in hand;
They caught the brave knight like a thrall
  And bound him foot and hand.

They tied him fast to an iron ring,
  At Maria’s stern command,
And then they jeered—­“God save the king
  And all his knightly band!”
They bound a bandage o’er his eyes,
  Then the haughty princess said: 
“Audacious knight, I hold a prize,—­
  My castle or your head!

“Now, mark!—­desert the king’s command,
  And join your sword with mine,
And thine shall be my heart and hand,
  This castle shall be thine. 
I grant one hour for thee to choose,
  My bold and gallant lord;
And if my offer you refuse
  You perish by the sword!”

He spoke not a word, but his face was pale
  And he prayed a silent prayer;
But his heart was oak and it could not quail,
  And a secret oath he sware. 
And grim stood the warders armed all,
  In the torches’ flicker and flare,
As they watch for an hour in the gloomy hall
  The brave knight pinioned there.

The short—­the flying hour is past,
  The warders have bared his breast;
The bugler bugles a doleful blast;
  Will the pale knight stand the test? 
He has made his choice—­he will do his part,
  He has sworn and he cannot lie,
And he cries with the sword at his beating heart,—­
  “Betray?—­nay—­better to die!

Suddenly fell from his blue eyes
  The silken, blinding bands,
And while he looked in sheer surprise
  They freed his feet and hands. 
“I give thee my castle,” Maria cried,
  “And I give thee my heart and hand,
And Maria will be the proudest bride
  In all this Magyar land.

“Grant heaven that thou be true to me
  As thou art to the king,
And I’ll bless the day I gave to thee
  My castle for a ring.” 
The red blood flushed to the brave knight’s face
  As he looked on the lady fair;
He sprang to her arms in a fond embrace,
  And he married her then and there.

Page 77

So the little blind elf with his feathered shaft
  Did more than the sword could do,
For he conquered and took with his magical craft
  Her heart and her castle, too.

[Illustration:  WESSELENYI]


  On my soul the toll of bell
Trembles.  Thou art calmly sleeping
While my weary heart is weeping: 
  I cannot listen to thy knell: 

    Sleep and rest: 
  Sorrow shall not pain thy breast,
Pangs and pains that pierce the mortal
Cannot enter at the portal
  Of the Mansion of the Blest: 
    Sleep and rest.

    Slumber sweet,
  Heart that nevermore will beat
At the footsteps of thy lover;
All thy cares and fears are over. 
  In thy silent winding-sheet
    Slumber sweet.

  In the garden and the dell
Where thou lov’dst to stroll and meet me,
Nevermore thy kiss shall greet me,
  Nevermore, O Isabel! 

    We shall meet—­
  Where the wings of angels beat: 
When my toils and cares are over,
Thou shalt greet again thy lover—­
  Robed and crowned at Jesus’ feet
    We shall meet.

    Watch and wait
  At the narrow, golden gate;
Watch my coming,—­wait my greeting,
For my years are few and fleeting
  And my love shall not abate: 
    Watch and wait.

    So farewell,
  O my darling Isabel;
Till we meet in the supernal
Mansion and with love eternal
  In the golden city dwell,



“Why this fever—­why this sighing?—­
Why this restless longing—­dying
For—­a something—­dreamy something,
Undefined, and yet defying
All the pride and power of manhood?

“O these years of sin and sorrow! 
Smiling while the iron harrow
Of a keen and biting longing
Tears and quivers in the marrow
Of my being every moment—­
Of my very inmost being.

“What to me the mad ambition
For men’s praise and proud position—­
Struggling, fighting to the summit
Of its vain and earthly mission,
To lie down on bed of ashes—­
Bed of barren, bitter ashes?

“Cure this fever?  I have tried it;
Smothered, drenched it and defied it
With a will of brass and iron;
Every smile and look denied it;
Yet it heeded not denying,
And it mocks at my defying
While my very soul is dying.

“Is there balm in Gilead?—­tell me! 
Nay—­no balm to soothe and quell me? 
Must I tremble in this fever? 
Death, O lift thy hand and fell me;
Let me sink to rest forever
Where this burning cometh never.

“Sometimes when this restless madness
Softens down to mellow sadness,
I look back on sun-lit valleys
Where my boyish heart of gladness
Nestled without pain or longing—­
Nestled softly in a vision
Full of love and hope’s fruition,
Lulled by morning songs of spring-time.

Page 78

“Then I ponder, and I wonder
Was some heart-chord snapped asunder
When the threads were soft and silken? 
Did some fatal boyish blunder
Plant a canker in my bosom
That hath ever burned and rankled?

“O this thirsting, thirsting hanker! 
O this burning, burning canker’
Driving Peace and Hope to shipwreck—­
Without rudder, without anchor,
On the reef-rocks of Damnation!”

Invisible Angel:

“Jesus—­Son of Virgin Mary;
Lift the burden from the weary: 
Pity, Jesus, and anoint him
With the holy balm of Gilead.”


“Yea, Christ Jesus, pour thy blessings
On these terrible heart-pressings: 
O I bless thee, unseen Angel;
Lead me—­teach me, holy Spirit.”


  “There is balm in Gilead! 
  There is balm in Gilead! 
Peace awaits thee with caressings—­
Sitting at the feet of Jesus—­
At the right-hand of Jehovah—­
At the blessed feet of Jesus;—­Alleluia!”



From church and chapel and dome and tower,
  Near—­far and everywhere,
The merry bells chime loud and clear
  Upon the frosty air.

All down the marble avenues
  The lamp-lit casements glow,
And from an hundred palaces
  Glad carols float and flow.

A thousand lamps from street to street
  Blaze on the dusky air,
And light the way for happy feet
  To carol, praise and prayer.

’Tis Christmas eve.  In church and hall
  The laden fir-trees bend;
Glad children throng the festival
  And grandsires too attend.

Fur-wrapped and gemmed with pearls and gold,
  Proud ladies rich and fair
As Egypt’s splendid queen of old
  In all her pomp are there.

And many a costly, golden gift
  Hangs on each Christmas-tree,
While round and round the carols drift
  In waves of melody.


In a dim and dingy attic,
  Away from the pomp and glare,
A widow sits by a flickering lamp,
  Bowed down by toil and care.

On her toil-worn hand her weary head,
  At her feet a shoe half-bound,
On the bare, brown table a loaf of bread,
  And hunger and want around.

By her side at the broken window,
  With her rosy feet all bare,
Her little one carols a Christmas tune
  To the chimes on the frosty air.

And the mother dreams of the by-gone years
  And their merry Christmas-bells,
Till her cheeks are wet with womanly tears,
  And a sob in her bosom swells.


The child looked up; her innocent ears
  Had caught the smothered cry;
She saw the pale face wet with tears
  She fain would pacify.

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“Don’t cry, mama,” she softly said—­
  “Here’s a Christmas gift for you,”
And on the mother’s cheek a kiss
  She printed warm and true.

“God bless my child!” the mother cried
  And caught her to her breast—­
“O Lord, whose Son was crucified,
  Thy precious gift is best.

“If toil and trouble be my lot
  While on life’s sea I drift,
O Lord, my soul shall murmur not,
  If Thou wilt spare Thy gift.”


And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery, and when they had set her in the midst, they said unto him “Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act.  Now Moses in the law commanded us that such be stoned; but what sayest thou?”—­[St. John, Chap, viii; 3, 4, 5.

Reach thy hand to me, O Jesus;
  Reach thy loving hand to me,
Or I sink, alas, and perish
  In my sin and agony.

From the depths I cry, O Jesus,
  Lifting up mine eyes to thee;
Save me from my sin and sorrow
  With thy loving charity.

Pity, Jesus—­blessed Savior;
  I am weak, but thou art strong;
Fill my heart with prayer and praises,
  Fill my soul with holy song.

Lift me up, O sacred Jesus—­
  Lift my bruised heart to thee;
Teach me to be pure and holy
  As the holy angels be.

Scribes and Pharisees surround me: 
  Thou art writing in the sand: 
Must I perish, Son of Mary? 
  Wilt thou give the stern command?

Am I saved?—­for Jesus sayeth—­
  “Let the sinless cast a stone.” 
Lo the Scribes have all departed,
  And the Pharisees are gone!

“Woman, where are thine accusers?”
  (They have vanished one by one.)
“Hath no man condemned thee, woman?”
  And she meekly answered—­“None.”

Then he spake His blessed answer—­
  Balm indeed for sinners sore—­
“Neither then will I condemn thee: 
  Go thy way and sin no more.”


Dust of the desert are thy walls
  And temple-towers, O Babylon! 
O’er crumbled halls the lizard crawls,
  And serpents bask in blaze of sun.

In vain kings piled the Pyramids;
  Their tombs were robbed by ruthless hands. 
Who now shall sing their fame and deeds,
  Or sift their ashes from the sands?

Deep in the drift of ages hoar
  Lie nations lost and kings forgot;
Above their graves the oceans roar,
  Or desert sands drift o’er the spot.

A thousand years are but a day
  When reckoned on the wrinkled earth;
And who among the wise shall say
  What cycle saw the primal birth

Of man, who lords on sea and land,
  And builds his monuments to-day,
Like Syrian on the desert sand,
  To crumble and be blown away.

Proud chiefs of pageant armies led
  To fame and death their followers forth,
Ere Helen sinned and Hector bled,
  Or Odin ruled the rugged North.

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And poets sang immortal praise
  To mortal heroes ere the fire
Of Homer blazed in Ilion lays,
  Or Brage tuned the Northern lyre.

For fame men piled the Pyramids;
  Their names have perished with their bones: 
For fame men wrote their boasted deeds
  On Babel bricks and Runic stones—­

On Tyrian temples, gates of brass,
  On Roman arch and Damask blades,
And perished like the desert grass
  That springs to-day—­to-morrow—­fades.

And still for fame men delve and die
  In Afric heat and Arctic cold;
For fame on flood and field they vie,
  Or gather in the shining gold.

Time, like the ocean, onward rolls
  Relentless, burying men and deeds;
The brightest names, the bravest souls,
  Float but an hour like ocean weeds,

Then sink forever.  In the slime—­
  Forgotten, lost forevermore,
Lies Fame from every age and clime;
  Yet thousands clamor on the shore.

Immortal Fame!—­O dust and death! 
  The centuries as they pass proclaim
That Fame is but a mortal breath,
  That man must perish—­name and fame.

The earth is but a grain of sand—­
  An atom in a shoreless sea;
A million worlds lie in God’s hand—­
  Yea, myriad millions—­what are we?

O mortal man of bone and blood! 
  Then is there nothing left but dust? 
God made us; He is wise and good,
  And we may humbly hope and trust.


When the meadow-lark trilled o’er the leas
          and the oriole piped in the maples,
From my hammock, all under the trees,
          by the sweet-scented field of red clover,
I harked to the hum of the bees,
          as they gathered the mead of the blossoms,
And caught from their low melodies
          the air of the song of Winona

(In pronouncing Dakota words give “a” the sound of “ah,”—­“e” the sound of “a,”—­“i” the sound of “e” and “u” the sound of “oo.”  Sound “ee” as in English.  The numerals refer to Notes in appendix.)

* * * * *

Two hundred white Winters and more
          have fled from the face of the Summer,
Since here on the oak-shaded shore
          of the dark-winding, swift Mississippi,
Where his foaming floods tumble and roar
          o’er the falls and the white-rolling rapids,
In the fair, fabled center of Earth,
          sat the Indian town of Ka-tha-ga. [86]
Far rolling away to the north, and the south,
          lay the emerald prairies,
All dotted with woodlands and lakes,
          and above them the blue bent of ether. 
And here where the dark river breaks into spray
          and the roar of the Ha-Ha, [76]
Where gathered the bison-skin tees[F]
          of the chief tawny tribe of Dakotas;

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For here, in the blast and the breeze,
          flew the flag of the chief of Isantees, [86]
Up-raised on the stem of a lance—­
          the feathery flag of the eagle. 
And here to the feast and the dance,
          from the prairies remote and the forests,
Oft gathered the out-lying bands,
          and honored the gods of the nation. 
On the islands and murmuring strands
          they danced to the god of the waters,
Unktehee, [69] who dwelt in the caves,
          deep under the flood of the Ha-Ha; [76]
And high o’er the eddies and waves
          hung their offerings of furs and tobacco,[G]
And here to the Master of life—­
          Anpe-tu-wee, [70] god of the heavens,
Chief, warrior, and maiden, and wife,
          burned the sacred green sprigs of the cedar. [50]
And here to the Searcher-of-hearts—­
          fierce Ta-ku Skan-skan, [51] the avenger,
Who dwells in the uppermost parts of the earth,
          and the blue, starry ether,
Ever watching, with all-seeing eyes,
          the deeds of the wives and the warriors,
As an osprey afar in the skies,
          sees the fish as they swim in the waters,
Oft spread they the bison-tongue feast,
          and singing preferred their petitions,
Till the Day-Spirit[70] rose in the East—­
          in the red, rosy robes of the morning,
To sail o’er the sea of the skies,
          to his lodge in the land of the shadows,
Where the black-winged tornadoes[H] arise,
          rushing loud from the mouths of their caverns. 
And here with a shudder they heard,
          flying far from his tee in the mountains,
Wa-kin-yan,[32] the huge Thunder-Bird,
          with the arrows of fire in his talons.

[F] Tee—­teepee, the Dakota name for tent or wigwam

[G] See Hennepin’s Description of Louisiana, by Shea, pp. 243 and 256. Parkman’s Discovery, p. 246—­and Carver’s Travels, p. 67.


[H] The Dakotas, like the ancient Romans and Greeks, think the home of the winds is in the caverns of the mountains, and their great Thunder-bird resembles in many respects the Jupiter of the Romans and the Zeus of the Greeks.  The resemblance of the Dakota mythology to that of the older Greeks and Romans is striking.

Two hundred white Winters and more
          have fled from the face of the Summer
Since here by the cataract’s roar,
          in the moon of the red-blooming lilies,[71]
In the tee of Ta-te-psin[I] was born
          Winona—­wild-rose of the prairies. 
Like the summer sun peeping, at morn,

Page 82

          o’er the hills was the face of Winona. 
And here she grew up like a queen—­
          a romping and lily-lipped laughter,
And danced on the undulant green,
          and played in the frolicsome waters,
Where the foaming tide tumbles and whirls
          o’er the murmuring rocks in the rapids;
And whiter than foam were the pearls
          that gleamed in the midst of her laughter. 
Long and dark was her flowing hair flung
          like the robe of the night to the breezes;
And gay as the robin she sung,
          or the gold-breasted lark of the meadows. 
Like the wings of the wind were her feet,
          and as sure as the feet of Ta-to-ka[J]
And oft like an antelope fleet
          o’er the hills and the prairies she bounded,
Lightly laughing in sport as she ran,
          and looking back over her shoulder
At the fleet-footed maiden or man
          that vainly her flying feet followed. 
The belle of the village was she,
          and the pride of the aged Ta-te-psin,
Like a sunbeam she lighted his tee,
          and gladdened the heart of her father.

[I] Tate—­wind,—­psin—­wild-rice—­wild-rice wind.

[J] mountain antelope.

In the golden-hued Wazu-pe-wee—­
          the moon when the wild-rice is gathered;
When the leaves on the tall sugar-tree
          are as red as the breast of the robin,
And the red-oaks that border the lea
          are aflame with the fire of the sunset,
From the wide, waving fields of wild-rice—­
          from the meadows of Psin-ta-wak-pa-dan,[K]
Where the geese and the mallards rejoice,
          and grow fat on the bountiful harvest,
Came the hunters with saddles of moose
          and the flesh of the bear and the bison,
And the women in birch-bark canoes
          well laden with rice from the meadows.

[K] Little Rice River.  It bears the name of Rice Creek to-day and empties into the Mississippi from the east, a few miles above Minneapolis.

With the tall, dusky hunters, behold,
          came a marvelous man or a spirit,
White-faced and so wrinkled and old,
          and clad in the robe of the raven. 
Unsteady his steps were and slow,
          and he walked with a staff in his right hand,
And white as the first-falling snow
          were the thin locks that lay on his shoulders. 
Like rime-covered moss hung his beard,
          flowing down from his face to his girdle;
And wan was his aspect and weird,
          and often he chanted and mumbled
In a strange and mysterious tongue,
          as he bent o’er his book in devotion,
Or lifted his dim eyes and sung,
          in a low voice, the solemn “Te Deum,”
Or Latin, or Hebrew, or Greek—­
          all the same were his words to the warriors,—­
All the same to the maids and the meek,
          wide-wondering-eyed, hazel-brown children.

Page 83

Father Rene Menard [L]—­it was he,
          long lost to his Jesuit brothers,
Sent forth by an holy decree
          to carry the Cross to the heathen. 
In his old age abandoned to die,
          in the swamps, by his timid companions,
He prayed to the Virgin on high,
          and she led him forth from the forest;
For angels she sent him as men—­
          in the forms of the tawny Dakotas,
And they led his feet from the fen,
          from the slough of despond and the desert,
Half dead in a dismal morass,
          as they followed the red-deer they found him,
In the midst of the mire and the grass,
          and mumbling “Te Deum laudamus.
Unktomee[72]—­Ho!” muttered the braves,
          for they deemed him the black Spider-Spirit
That dwells in the drearisome caves,
          and walks on the marshes at midnight,
With a flickering torch in his hand,
          to decoy to his den the unwary. 
His tongue could they not understand,
          but his torn hands all shriveled with famine
He stretched to the hunters and said: 
          “He feedeth his chosen with manna;
And ye are the angels of God
          sent to save me from death in the desert.” 
His famished and woe-begone face,
          and his tones touched the hearts of the hunters;
They fed the poor father apace,
          and they led him away to Ka-tha-ga.

[L] See the account of Father Menard, his mission and disappearance in the wilderness. Neill’s Hist.  Minnesota, pp 104-107, inc.

There little by little he learned
          the tongue of the tawny Dakotas;
And the heart of the good father yearned
          to lead them away from their idols—­
Their giants[16] and dread Thunder-birds—­
          their worship of stones[73] and the devil.
Wakan-de!"[M] they answered his words,
          for he read from his book in the Latin,
Lest the Nazarene’s holy commands
          by his tongue should be marred in translation;
And oft with his beads in his hands,
          or the cross and the crucified Jesus,
He knelt by himself on the sands,
          and his dim eyes uplifted to heaven. 
But the braves bade him look to the East—­
          to the silvery lodge of Han-nan-na;[N]
And to dance with the chiefs at the feast—­
          at the feast of the Giant Heyo-ka.[16]
They frowned when the good father spurned
          the flesh of the dog in the kettle,
And laughed when his fingers were burned
          in the hot, boiling pot of the giant. 
“The Black-robe” they called the poor priest,
          from the hue of his robe and his girdle;
And never a game or a feast
          but the father must grace with his presence. 
His prayer-book the hunters revered,—­
          they deemed it a marvelous spirit;

Page 84

It spoke and the white father heard,—­
          it interpreted visions and omens. 
And often they bade him to pray
          this marvelous spirit to answer,
And tell where the sly Chippewa
          might be ambushed and slain in his forest. 
For Menard was the first in the land,
          proclaiming, like John in the desert,
“The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand;
          repent ye, and turn from your idols.” 
The first of the brave brotherhood that,
          threading the fens and the forest,
Stood afar by the turbulent flood
          at the falls of the Father of Waters.

[Illustration:  FATHER RENE MENARD]

[M] It is wonderful!

[N] The morning.

In the lodge of the Stranger[O] he sat,
          awaiting the crown of a martyr;
His sad face compassion begat
          in the heart of the dark-eyed Winona. 
Oft she came to the teepee and spoke;
          she brought him the tongue of the bison,
Sweet nuts from the hazel and oak,
          and flesh of the fawn and the mallard. 
Soft hanpa[P] she made for his feet
          and leggins of velvety fawn-skin,
A blanket of beaver complete,
          and a hood of the hide of the otter. 
And oft at his feet on the mat,
          deftly braiding the flags and the rushes,
Till the sun sought his teepee
          she sat, enchanted with what he related
Of the white-winged ships on the sea
          and the teepees far over the ocean,
Of the love and the sweet charity of the Christ
          and the beautiful Virgin.

[O] A lodge set apart for guests of the village.

[P] Moccasins.

She listened like one in a trance
          when he spoke of the brave, bearded Frenchmen,
From the green, sun-lit valleys of France
          to the wild Hochelaga[Q] transplanted,
Oft trailing the deserts of snow
          in the heart of the dense Huron forests,
Or steering the dauntless canoe
          through the waves of the fresh-water ocean. 
“Yea, stronger and braver are they,”
          said the aged Menard to Winona,
“Than the head-chief, tall Wazi-kute,[74]
          but their words are as soft as a maiden’s,
Their eyes are the eyes of the swan,
          but their hearts are the hearts of the eagles;
And the terrible Masa Wakan[R]
          ever walks by their side like a spirit;
Like a Thunder-bird, roaring in wrath,
          flinging fire from his terrible talons,
He sends to their enemies death
          in the flash of the fatal Wakandee."[S]

[Q] The Ottawa name for the region of the St. Lawrence River.

[R] “Mysterious metal”—­or metal having a spirit in it.  This is the common name applied by the Dakotas to all firearms.

[S] Lightning.

Page 85

The Autumn was past and the snow
          lay drifted and deep on the prairies;
From his teepee of ice came the foe—­
          came the storm-breathing god of the winter. 
Then roared in the groves, on the plains,
          on the ice-covered lakes and the river,
The blasts of the fierce hurricanes
          blown abroad from the breast of Waziya. [3]
The bear cuddled down in his den,
          and the elk fled away to the forest;
The pheasant and gray prairie-hen
          made their beds in the heart of the snow-drift;
The bison herds huddled and stood
          in the hollows and under the hill-sides,
Or rooted the snow for their food
          in the lee of the bluffs and the timber;
And the mad winds that howled from the north,
          from the ice-covered seas of Waziya,
Chased the gray wolf and silver-fox forth
          to their dens in the hills of the forest.

Poor Father Menard—­he was ill;
          in his breast burned the fire of a fever;
All in vain was the magical skill
          of Wicasta Wakan [61] with his rattle;
Into soft, child-like slumber he fell,
          and awoke in the land of the blessed—­
To the holy applause of “Well-done!”
          and the harps in the hands of the angels. 
Long he carried the cross and he won
          the coveted crown of a martyr.

In the land of the heathen he died,
          meekly following the voice of his Master,
One mourner alone by his side—­
          Ta-te-psin’s compassionate daughter. 
She wailed the dead father with tears,
          and his bones by her kindred she buried. 
Then winter followed winter.  The years
          sprinkled frost on the head of her father;
And three weary winters she dreamed
          of the fearless and fair, bearded Frenchmen;
At midnight their swift paddles gleamed
          on the breast of the broad Mississippi,
And the eyes of the brave strangers beamed
          on the maid in the midst of her slumber.

She lacked not admirers;
          the light of the lover oft burned in her teepee—­
At her couch in the midst of the night,—­
          but she never extinguished the flambeau. 
The son of Chief Wazi-kute—­
          a fearless and eagle-plumed warrior—­
Long sighed for Winona,
          and he was the pride of the band of Isantees
Three times, in the night at her bed,
          had the brave held the torch of the lover, [75]
And thrice had she covered her head
          and rejected the handsome Tamdoka. [T]

[T] Tah-mdo-kah, literally, the buck-deer.

Page 86

’Twas Summer.  The merry-voiced birds
          trilled and warbled in woodland and meadow;
And abroad on the prairies the herds
          cropped the grass in the land of the lilies,—­
And sweet was the odor of rose
          wide-wafted from hillside and heather;
In the leaf-shaded lap of repose
          lay the bright, blue-eyed babes of the summer;
And low was the murmur of brooks,
         and low was the laugh of the Ha-Ha; [76]
And asleep in the eddies and nooks
          lay the broods of maga [60]and the mallard. 
’Twas the moon of Wasunpa. [71]
          The band lay at rest in the tees at Ka-tha-ga,
And abroad o’er the beautiful land
          walked the spirits of Peace and of Plenty—­
Twin sisters, with bountiful hand
          wide scattering wild-rice and the lilies.
An-pe-tu-wee[70] walked in the west—­
          to his lodge in the far-away mountains,
And the war-eagle flew to her nest
          in the oak on the Isle of the Spirit.[U]
And now at the end of the day,
          by the shore of the Beautiful Island,[V]
A score of fair maidens and gay
          made joy in the midst of the waters. 
Half-robed in their dark, flowing hair,
          and limbed like the fair Aphrodite,
They played in the waters, and there
          they dived and they swam like the beavers,
Loud-laughing like loons on the lake
          when the moon is a round shield of silver,
And the songs of the whippowils wake
          on the shore in the midst of the maples.

But hark!—­on the river a song,—­
          strange voices commingled in chorus;
On the current a boat swept along
          with DuLuth and his hardy companions;
To the stroke of their paddles they sung,
          and this the refrain that they chanted: 

  “Dans mon chemin j’ai rencontre
   Deux cavaliers bien montes. 
     Lon, lon, laridon daine,
     Lon, lon, laridon da.”

  “Deux cavaliers bien montes;
   L’un a cheval, et l’autre a pied. 
     Lon, lon, laridon daine,
     Lon, lon, laridon da."[W]

[U] The Dakotas say that for many years in olden times war-eagles made their nests in oak trees on Spirit-island—­Wanagi-wita, just below the Falls till frightened away by the advent of white men.

[V] The Dakotas called Nicollet Island Wi-ta Waste—­the Beautiful Island.

[W] A part of one of the favorite songs of the French voyageurs.


Like the red, dappled deer in the glade
          alarmed by the footsteps of hunters,
Discovered, disordered, dismayed,
          the nude nymphs fled forth from the waters,
And scampered away to the shade,
          and peered from the screen of the lindens.

Page 87

A bold and adventuresome man was DuLuth,
          and a dauntless in danger,
And straight to Kathaga he ran,
          and boldly advanced to the warriors,
Now gathering, a cloud on the strand,
          and gazing amazed on the strangers;
And straightway he offered his hand
          unto Wazi-kute, the Itancan.[X]
To the Lodge of the Stranger were led
          DuLuth and his hardy companions;
Robes of beaver and bison were spread,
          and the Peace-pipe[23] was smoked with the Frenchman.

[X] Head-chief

There was dancing and feasting at night,
          and joy at the presents he lavished. 
All the maidens were wild with delight
          with the flaming red robes and the ribbons,
With the beads and the trinkets untold,
          and the fair, bearded face of the giver;
And glad were they all to behold
          the friends from the Land of the Sunrise. 
But one stood apart from the rest—­
          the queenly and silent Winona,
Intently regarding the guest—­
          hardly heeding the robes and the ribbons,
Whom the White Chief beholding admired,
          and straightway he spread on her shoulders
A lily-red robe and attired
          with necklet and ribbons the maiden. 
The red lilies bloomed in her face,
          and her glad eyes gave thanks to the giver,
And forth from her teepee apace
          she brought him the robe and the missal
Of the father—­poor Rene Menard;
          and related the tale of the “Black Robe.” 
She spoke of the sacred regard
          he inspired in the hearts of Dakotas;
That she buried his bones with her kin,
          in the mound by the Cave of the Council;
That she treasured and wrapt in the skin
          of the red-deer his robe and his prayer book—­
“Till his brothers should come from the East—­
          from the land of the far Hochelaga,
To smoke with the braves at the feast,
          on the shores of the Loud-laughing Waters. [16]
For the ‘Black Robe’ spake much of his youth
          and his friends in the Land of the Sunrise;
It was then as a dream; now in truth
          I behold them, and not in a vision.” 
But more spake her blushes, I ween,
          and her eyes full of language unspoken,
As she turned with the grace of a queen
          and carried her gifts to the teepee.

Far away from his beautiful France—­
          from his home in the city of Lyons,
A noble youth full of romance,
          with a Norman heart big with adventure,
In the new world a wanderer, by chance
          DuLuth sought the wild Huron forests. 
But afar by the vale of the Rhone,
          the winding and musical river,
And the vine-covered hills of the Saone,
          the heart of the wanderer lingered,—­

Page 88

’Mid the vineyards and mulberry trees,
          and the fair fields of corn and of clover
That rippled and waved in the breeze,
          while the honey-bees hummed in the blossoms. 
For there, where th’ impetuous Rhone,
          leaping down from the Switzerland mountains,
And the silver-lipped, soft-flowing Saone,
          meeting, kiss and commingle together,
Down winding by vineyards and leas,
          by the orchards of fig-trees and olives,
To the island-gemmed, sapphire-blue seas
          of the glorious Greeks and the Romans;
Aye, there, on the vine-covered shore,
          ’mid the mulberry-trees and the olives,
Dwelt his blue-eyed and beautiful Flore,
          with her hair like a wheat-field at harvest,
All rippled and tossed by the breeze,
          and her cheeks like the glow of the morning,
Far away o’er the emerald seas,
          as the sun lifts his brow from the billows,
Or the red-clover fields when the bees,
          singing sip the sweet cups of the blossoms. 
Wherever he wandered—­
          alone in the heart of the wild Huron forests,
Or cruising the rivers unknown
          to the land of the Crees or Dakotas—­
His heart lingered still on the Rhone,
          ’mid the mulberry trees and the vineyards,
Fast-fettered and bound by the zone
          that girdled the robes of his darling. 
Till the red Harvest Moon[71] he remained
          in the vale of the swift Mississippi. 
The esteem of the warriors he gained,
          and the love of the dark-eyed Winona. 
He joined in the sports and the chase;
          with the hunters he followed the bison,
And swift were his feet in the race
          when the red elk they ran on the prairies. 
At the Game of the Plum-stones[77] he played,
          and he won from the skillfulest players;
A feast to Wa’tanka[78] he made,
          and he danced at the feast of Heyoka.[16]
With the flash and the roar of his gun
          he astonished the fearless Dakotas;
They called it the “Maza Wakan”—­
          the mighty, mysterious metal. 
“’Tis a brother,” they said, “of the fire
          in the talons of dreadful Wakinyan,’[32]
When he flaps his huge wings in his ire,
          and shoots his red shafts at Unktehee."[69]

The Itancan,[74] tall Wazi-kute,
          appointed a day for the races. 
From the red stake that stood by his tee,
          on the southerly side of the Ha-ha,
O’er the crest of the hills and the dunes
          and the billowy breadth of the prairie,
To a stake at the Lake of the Loons[79]—­
          a league and return—­was the distance. 
They gathered from near and afar,
          to the races and dancing and feasting;
Five hundred tall warriors were there

Page 89

Kapoza[6] and far-off Keoza;[8]
Remnica[Y] too, furnished a share
          of the legions that thronged to the races,
And a bountiful feast was prepared
          by the diligent hands of the women,
And gaily the multitudes fared
          in the generous tees of Kathaga
The chief of the mystical clan
          appointed a feast to Unktehee—­
The mystic “Wacipee Wakan"[Z]—­
          at the end of the day and the races. 
A band of sworn brothers are they,
          and the secrets of each one are sacred,
And death to the lips that betray
          is the doom of the swarthy avengers,
And the son of tall Wazi-kute
          was the chief of the mystical order.

[Y] Pronounced Ray-mne-chah—­The village of the Mountains, situate where Red Wing now stands.

[Z] Sacred Dance—­The Medicine-dance—­See description infra.


On an arm of an oak hangs the prize
          for the swiftest and strongest of runners—­
A blanket as red as the skies,
          when the flames sweep the plains in October. 
And beside it a strong, polished bow,
          and a quiver of iron-tipped arrows,
Which Kapoza’s tall chief will bestow
          on the fleet-footed second that follows. 
A score of swift runners are there
          from the several bands of the nation,
And now for the race they prepare,
          and among them fleet-footed Tamdoka. 
With the oil of the buck and the bear
          their sinewy limbs are annointed,
For fleet are the feet of the deer
          and strong are the limbs of the bruin.

Hark!—­the shouts and the braying of drums,
          and the Babel of tongues and confusion! 
From his teepee the tall chieftain comes,
          and DuLuth brings a prize for the runners—­
A keen hunting-knife from the Seine,
          horn-handled and mounted with silver. 
The runners are ranged on the plain,
          and the Chief waves a flag as a signal,
And away like the gray wolves they fly—­
          like the wolves on the trail of the red-deer;
O’er the hills and the prairie they vie,
          and strain their strong limbs to the utmost,
While high on the hills hangs a cloud
          of warriors and maidens and mothers,
To see the swift-runners, and loud
          are the cheers and the shouts of the warriors.

Now swift from the lake they return
          o’er the emerald hills of the prairies;
Like grey-hounds they pant and they yearn,
          and the leader of all is Tamdoka. 
At his heels flies Hu-pa-hu,[AA]
          the fleet—­the pride of the band of Kaoza,—­
A warrior with eagle-winged feet,
          but his prize is the bow and the quiver. 

Page 90

Tamdoka first reaches the post,
          and his are the knife and the blanket,
By the mighty acclaim of the host
          and award of the chief and the judges. 
Then proud was the tall warrior’s stride,
          and haughty his look and demeanor;
He boasted aloud in his pride,
          and he scoffed at the rest of the runners. 
“Behold me, for I am a man![AB]
          my feet are as swift as the West-wind. 
With the coons and the beavers I ran;
          but where is the elk or the cabri?[80]
Come!—­where is the hunter will dare
          match his feet with the feet of Tamdoka? 
Let him think of Tate[AC] and beware,
          ere he stake his last robe on the trial.”
Oho!  Ho!  Ho-heca!"[AD] they jeered,
          for they liked not the boast of the boaster;
But to match him no warrior appeared,
          for his feet wore the wings of the west-wind.

[AA] The wings.

[AB] A favorite boast of the Dakota braves.

[AC] The wind.

[AD] About equivalent to Oho!—­Aha!—­fudge!

Then forth from the side of the chief
          stepped DuLuth and he looked on the boaster;
“The words of a warrior are brief,—­
          I will run with the brave,” said the Frenchman;
“But the feet of Tamdoka are tired;
          abide till the cool of the sunset.” 
All the hunters and maidens admired,
          for strong were the limbs of the stranger.
Hiwo Ho!"[AE] they shouted
          and loud rose the cheers of the multitude mingled;
And there in the midst of the crowd
          stood the glad-eyed and blushing Winona.

[AE] Hurra there!

Now afar o’er the plains of the west
          walked the sun at the end of his journey,
And forth came the brave and the guest,
          at the tap of the drum, for the trial. 
Like a forest of larches the hordes
          were gathered to witness the contest;
As loud as the drums were their words
          and they roared like the roar of the Ha-ha.
For some for Tamdoka contend,
          and some for the fair, bearded stranger,
And the betting runs high to the end,
          with the skins of the bison and beaver. 
A wife of tall Wazi-kute—­
          the mother of boastful Tamdoka—­
Brought her handsomest robe from the tee
          with a vaunting and loud proclamation: 
She would stake her last robe on her son
          who, she boasted, was fleet as the cabri,
And the tall, tawny chieftain looked on,
          approving the boast of the mother. 
Then fleet as the feet of a fawn
          to her lodge ran the dark-eyed Winona,
She brought and she spread on the lawn,
          by the side of the robe of the boaster,
The lily-red mantel DuLuth,
          with his own hands, had laid on her shoulders. 

Page 91

“Tamdoka is swift, but forsooth,
          the tongue of his mother is swifter,”
She said, and her face was aflame
          with the red of the rose and the lily,
And loud was the roar of acclaim;
          but dark was the face of Tamdoka. 
They strip for the race and prepare,—­
          DuLuth in his breeches and leggins;
And the brown, curling locks of his hair
          down droop to his bare, brawny shoulders,
And his face wears a smile debonair,
          as he tightens his red sash around him;
But stripped to the moccasins bare,
          save the belt and the breech-clout of buckskin,
Stands the haughty Tamdoka aware
          that the eyes of the warriors admire him;
For his arms are the arms of a bear
          and his legs are the legs of a panther.

The drum beats,—­the chief waves the flag,
          and away on the course speed the runners,
And away leads the brave like a stag,—­
          like a bound on his track flies the Frenchman;
And away haste the hunters once more
          to the hills, for a view to the lakeside,
And the dark-swarming hill-tops, they roar
          with the storm of loud voices commingled. 
Far away o’er the prairie they fly,
          and still in the lead is Tamdoka,
But the feet of his rival are nigh,
          and slowly he gains on the hunter. 
Now they turn on the post at the lake,—­
          now they run full abreast on the home-stretch: 
Side by side they contend for the stake
          for a long mile or more on the prairie
They strain like a stag and a hound,
          when the swift river gleams through the thicket,
And the horns of the riders resound,
          winding shrill through the depths of the forest. 
But behold!—­at full length on the ground
          falls the fleet-footed Frenchman abruptly,
And away with a whoop and a bound
          springs the eager, exulting Tamdoka
Long and loud on the hills is the
          shout of his swarthy admirers and backers,
“But the race is not won till it’s out,”
          said DuLuth, to himself as he gathered,
With a frown on his face, for the foot
          of the wily Tamdoka had tripped him. 
Far ahead ran the brave on the route,
          and turning he boasted exultant. 
Like spurs to the steed to DuLuth
          were the jeers and the taunts of the boaster;
Indignant was he and red wroth
          at the trick of the runner dishonest;
And away like a whirlwind he speeds—­
          like a hurricane mad from the mountains;
He gains on Tamdoka,—­he leads!—­
          and behold, with the spring of a panther,
He leaps to the goal and succeeds,
          ’mid the roar of the mad acclamation. 
Then glad as the robin in May
          was the voice of Winona exulting;
Tamdoka turned sullen away,
          and sulking he walked by the river;
He glowered as he went and the fire
          of revenge in his bosom was kindled: 
Dark was his visage with ire
          and his eyes were the eyes of a panther.

Page 92


Lo the lights in the "Teepee-Wakan!"
          ’tis the night of the Wakan Wacepee
Round and round walks the chief of the clan,
          as he rattles the sacred Ta-sha-kay; [81]
Long and loud on the Chan-che-ga [81]
          beat the drummers with magical drumsticks,
And the notes of the Cho-tanka [81]
          greet like the murmur of winds on the waters. 
By the friction of white-cedar wood
          for the feast was a Virgin-fire [20] kindled. 
They that enter the firm brotherhood
          first must fast and be cleansed by E-nee-pee;[81]
And from foot-sole to crown of the head
          must they paint with the favorite colors;
For Unktehee likes bands of blood-red,
          with the stripings of blue intermingled. 
In the hollow earth, dark and profound,
          Unktehee and fiery Wakinyan
Long fought, and the terrible sound
          of the battle was louder than thunder;
The mountains were heaved and around
          were scattered the hills and the boulders,
And the vast solid plains of the ground
          rose and fell like the waves of the ocean. 
But the god of the waters prevailed.
          Wakin-yan escaped from the cavern,
And long on the mountains he wailed,
          and his hatred endureth forever.

When Unktehee had finished the earth,
          and the beasts and the birds and the fishes,
And men at his bidding came forth
          from the heart of the huge hollow mountains,[69]
A band chose the god from the hordes,
          and he said:  “Ye are the sons of Unktehee
Ye are lords of the beasts and the birds,
          and the fishes that swim in the waters. 
But hearken ye now to my words,—­
          let them sound in your bosoms forever: 
Ye shall honor Unktehee and hate Wakinyan,
          the Spirit of Thunder,
For the power of Unktehee is great,
          and he laughs at the darts of Wakinyan
Ye shall honor the Earth and the Sun,—­
          for they are your father and mother; [70]
Let your prayer to the Sun be:—­
          Wakan Ate; on-si-md-da ohee-nee."[AF]
And remember the Taku Wakan[73]
          all-pervading in earth and in ether—­
Invisible ever to man,
          but He dwells in the midst of all matter;
Yea, he dwells in the heart of the stone—­
          in the hard granite heart of the boulder;
Ye shall call him forever Tunkan—­
          grandfather of all the Dakotas. 
Ye are men that I choose for my own;
          ye shall be as a strong band of brothers,
Now I give you the magical bone
          and the magical pouch of the spirits,[AG]

Page 93

And these are the laws ye shall heed: 
          Ye shall honor the pouch and the giver. 
Ye shall walk as twin-brothers; in need,
          one shall forfeit his life for another. 
Listen not to the voice of the crow.[AH]
          Hold as sacred the wife of a brother. 
Strike, and fear not the shaft of the foe,
          for the soul of the brave is immortal. 
Slay the warrior in battle,
          but spare the innocent babe and the mother. 
Remember a promise,—­beware,—­
          let the word of a warrior be sacred
When a stranger arrives at the tee—­
          be he friend of the band or a foeman,
Give him food; let your bounty be free;
          lay a robe for the guest by the lodge-fire;
Let him go to his kindred in peace,
          if the peace-pipe he smoke in the teepee;
And so shall your children increase,
          and your lodges shall laugh with abundance. 
And long shall ye live in the land,
          and the spirits of earth and the waters
Shall come to your aid, at command,
          with the power of invisible magic. 
And at last, when you journey afar—­
          o’er the shining “Wanagee Ta-chan-ku,"[68]
You shall walk as a red, shining star[8]
          in the land of perpetual summer.”

[AF] “Sacred Spirit!  Father! have pity on me always.”

[AG] Riggs’ Takoo Wakan, p. 90.

[AH] Slander.

All the night in the teepee they sang,
          and they danced to the mighty Unktehee,
While the loud-braying Chan-che-ga rang
          and the shrill-piping flute and the rattle,
Till Anpetuwee [70] rose in the east—­
          from the couch of the blushing Han-nan-na,
And thus at the dance and the feast
          sang the sons of Unktehee in chorus: 

  “Wa-du-ta o-hna mi-ka-ge! 
  Wa-du-ta o-hna mi-ka-ge! 
  Mini-yata ite wakande maku,
  Ate wakan—­Tunkansidan.

  Tunkansidan pejihuta wakan
  Micage—­he Wicage! 
  Miniyata ite wakande maku. 
  Taukansidan ite, nape du-win-ta woo,
  Wahutopa wan yuha, nape du-win-ta woo.”


  In red swan-down he made it for me;
  In red swan-down he made it for me;
  He of the water—­he of the mysterious face—­
    Gave it to me;
  Sacred Father—­Grandfather!

  Grandfather made me magical medicine. 
    That is true! 
  Being of mystery,—­grown in the water—­
    He gave it to me! 
  To the face of our Grandfather stretch out your hand;
  Holding a quadruped, stretch out your hand!

Till high o’er the hills of the east
          Anpetuwee walked on his journey,
In secret they danced at the feast,
          and communed with the mighty Unktehee
Then opened the door of the tee

Page 94

the eyes of the wondering Dakotas,
And the sons of Unktehee to be,
          were endowed with the sacred Ozuha[82]
By the son of tall Wazi-kute, Tamdoka,
          the chief of the Magi. 
And thus since the birth-day of man—­
          since he sprang from the heart of the mountains,[69]
Has the sacred “Wacepee Wakan
          by the warlike Dakotas been honored,
And the god-favored sons of the clan
          work their will with the help of the spirits.


’Twas sunrise; the spirits of mist
          trailed their white robes on dewy savannas,
And the flowers raised their heads to be kissed
          by the first golden beams of the morning. 
The breeze was abroad with the breath
          of the rose of the Isles of the Summer,
And the humming-bird hummed on the heath
          from his home in the land of the rainbow.[AI]
’Twas the morn of departure.  DuLuth
          stood alone by the roar of the Ha-ha;
Tall and fair in the strength of his youth
          stood the blue-eyed and fair-bearded Frenchman. 
A rustle of robes on the grass broke his dream
          as he mused by the waters,
And, turning, he looked on the face of Winona,
          wild-rose of the prairies,
Half hid in her dark, flowing hair,
          like the round, golden moon in the pine-tops. 
Admiring he gazed—­she was fair
          as his own blooming Flore in her orchards,
With her golden locks loose on the air,
          like the gleam of the sun through the olives,
Far away on the vine-covered shore,
          in the sun-favored land of his fathers. 
“Lists the chief to the cataract’s roar
          for the mournful lament of the Spirit?"[AJ]
Said Winona,—­“The wail of the sprite
          for her babe and its father unfaithful,
Is heard in the midst of the night,
          when the moon wanders dim in the heavens.”

“Wild-Rose of the Prairies,” he said,
          “DuLuth listens not to the Ha-ha,
For the wail of the ghost of the dead
          for her babe and its father unfaithful;
But he lists to a voice in his heart
          that is heard by the ear of no other,
And to-day will the White Chief depart;
          he returns to the land of the sunrise.” 
“Let Winona depart with the chief,—­
          she will kindle the fire in his teepee;
For long are the days of her grief,
          if she stay in the tee of Ta-te-psin,”
She replied, and her cheeks were aflame
          with the bloom of the wild prairie lilies.
Tanke[AK], is the White Chief to blame?”
          said DuLuth to the blushing Winona. 
“The White Chief is blameless,” she said,
          “but the heart of Winona will follow
Wherever thy footsteps may lead,

Page 95

          O blue-eyed, brave Chief of the white men. 
For her mother sleeps long in the mound,
          and a step-mother rules in the teepee,
And her father, once strong and renowned,
          is bent with the weight of his winters. 
No longer he handles the spear,—­
          no longer his swift, humming arrows
Overtake the fleet feet of the deer,
          or the bear of the woods, or the bison;
But he bends as he walks, and the wind
          shakes his white hair and hinders his footsteps;
And soon will he leave me behind,
          without brother or sister or kindred. 
The doe scents the wolf in the wind,
          and a wolf walks the path of Winona. 
Three times have the gifts for the bride[55]
          to the lodge of Ta-te-psin been carried,
But the voice of Winona replied
          that she liked not the haughty Tamdoka. 
And thrice were the gifts sent away,
          but the tongue of the mother protested,
And the were-wolf[52] still follows his prey,
          and abides but the death of my father.”

[AI] The Dakotas say the humming-bird comes from the “Land of the rain-bow.”

[AJ] See Legend of the Falls, or Note 28—­Appendix.

[AK] My Sister.

“I pity Winona,” he said,
          “but my path is a pathway of danger,
And long is the trail for the maid
          to the far-away land of the sunrise;
And few are the braves of my band,
          and the braves of Tamdoka are many;
But soon I return to the land,
          and a cloud of my hunters will follow. 
When the cold winds of winter return
          and toss the white robes of the prairies,
The fire of the White Chief will burn
          in his lodge at the Meeting-of-Waters;[AL]
And when from the Sunrise again
          comes the chief of the sons of the Morning,
Many moons will his hunters remain
          in the land of the friendly Dakotas. 
The son of Chief Wazi-Kute guides
          the White Chief afar on his journey;
Nor long on the Tanka Mede[AM]—­
          on the breast of the blue, bounding billows—­
Shall the bark of the Frenchman delay,
          but his pathway shall kindle behind him.”

[AL] Mendota—­properly Mdo-te—­meaning the out-let of a lake or river into another, commonly applied to the region about Fort Snelling.

[AM] Tanka-Mede—­Great Lake, i.e.  Lake Superior.  The Dakotas seem to have had no other name for it.  They generally referred to it as Mini-ya-ta—­There at the water.

She was pale, and her hurried voice
          swelled with alarm as she questioned replying—­
“Tamdoka thy guide?—­I beheld
          thy death in his face at the races. 
He covers his heart with a smile,
          but revenge never sleeps in his bosom;
His tongue—­it is soft to beguile;

Page 96

          but beware of the pur of the panther! 
For death, like a shadow, will walk
          by thy side in the midst of the forest,
Or follow thy path like a hawk
          on the trail of a wounded Mastinca.[AN]
A son of Unktehee is he,—­
          the Chief of the crafty magicians;
They have plotted thy death;
          I can see thy trail—­it is red in the forest;
Beware of Tamdoka,—­beware. 
          Slumber not like the grouse of the woodlands,
With head under wing, for the glare
          of the eyes that sleep not are upon thee.”

[AN] The rabbit.  The Dakotas called the Crees “Mastincapi”—­Rabbits.

“Winona, fear not,” said DuLuth,
          “for I carry the fire of Wakinyan[AO]
And strong is the arm of my youth,
          and stout are the hearts of my warriors;
But Winona has spoken the truth,
          and the heart of the White Chief is thankful. 
Hide this in thy bosom, dear maid,—­
          ’tis the crucified Christ of the white men.[AP]
Lift thy voice to his spirit in need,
          and his spirit will hear thee and answer;
For often he comes to my aid;
          he is stronger than all the Dakotas;
And the Spirits of evil, afraid,
          hide away when he looks from the heavens.” 
In her swelling, brown bosom she hid
          the crucified Jesus in silver;
Niwaste,"[AQ] she sadly replied;
          in her low voice the rising tears trembled;
Her dewy eyes turned she aside,
          and she slowly returned to the teepees
But still on the swift river’s strand,
          admiring the graceful Winona,
As she gathered, with brown, dimpled hand,
          her hair from the wind, stood the Frenchman.


To bid the brave White Chief adieu,
          on the shady shore gathered the warriors;
His glad boatmen manned the canoe,
          and the oars in their hands were impatient. 
Spake the Chief of Isantees
          “A feast will await the return of my brother. 
In peace rose the sun in the East,
          in peace in the West he descended. 
May the feet of my brother be swift
          till they bring him again to our teepees,
The red pipe he takes as a gift,
          may he smoke that red pipe many winters. 
At my lodge-fire his pipe shall be lit,
          when the White Chief returns to Kathaga;
On the robes of my tee shall he sit;
          he shall smoke with the chiefs of my people. 
The brave love the brave, and his son
          sends the Chief as a guide for his brother,
By the way of the Wakpa Wakan[AR]
          to the Chief at the Lake of the Spirits. 
As light as the foot-steps of dawn
          are the feet of the stealthy Tamdoka;

Page 97

He fears not the Maza Wakan;[AS]
          he is sly as the fox of the forest. 
When he dances the dance of red war
          howl the wolves by the broad Mini-ya-ta,[AT]
For they scent on the south-wind afar
          their feast on the bones of Ojibways.” 
Thrice the Chief puffed the red pipe of peace,
          ere it passed to the lips of the Frenchman. 
Spake DuLuth:  “May the Great Spirit bless
          with abundance the Chief and his people;
May their sons and their daughters increase,
          and the fire ever burn in their teepees.” 
Then he waved with a flag his adieu
          to the Chief and the warriors assembled;
And away shot Tamdoka’s canoe
          to the strokes of ten sinewy hunters;
And a white path he clove up the blue,
          bubbling stream of the swift Mississippi;
And away on his foaming trail flew,
          like a sea-gull, the bark of the Frenchman.

[AO] i.e. fire-arms which the Dakotas compare to the roar of the wings of the Thunder-bird and the fierey arrows he shoots.

[AP] DuLuth was a devout Catholic.

[AQ] Nee-wah-shtay—­Thou art good.

[AR] Spirit-River, now called Rum River.

[AS] Fire-arm—­spirit-metal.

[AT] Lake Superior—­at that time the home of the Ojibways (Chippewas).


* * * * *


Then merrily rose the blithe song
          of the voyageurs homeward returning,
And thus, as they glided along,
          sang the bugle-voiced boatmen in chorus: 


  Home again! home again! bend to the oar! 
  Merry is the life of the gay voyageur.
  He rides on the river with his paddle in his hand,
  And his boat is his shelter on the water and the land. 
  The clam has his shell and the water-turtle too,
  But the brave boatman’s shell is his birch-bark canoe. 
  So pull away, boatmen; bend to the oar;
  Merry is the life of the gay voyageur.

  Home again! home again! bend to the oar! 
  Merry is the life of the gay voyageur,
  His couch is as downy as a couch can be,
  For he sleeps on the feathers of the green fir-tree. 
  He dines on the fat of the pemmican-sack,
  And his eau de vie is the eau de lac
  So pull away, boatmen; bend to the oar;
  Merry is the life of the gay voyageur.

  Home again! home again! bend to the oar! 
  Merry is the life of the gay voyageur
  The brave, jolly boatman,—­he never is afraid
  When he meets at the portage a red, forest maid,
  A Huron, or a Cree, or a blooming Chippeway;
  And he marks his trail with the bois brules[AU]
  So pull away, boatmen; bend to the oar;
  Merry is the life of the gay voyageur
  Home again! home again! bend to the oar! 
  Merry is the life of the gay voyageur.

Page 98

In the reeds of the meadow the stag
          lifts his branchy head stately and listens,
And the bobolink, perched on the flag,
          her ear sidelong bends to the chorus. 
From the brow of the Beautiful Isle,[AV]
          half hid in the midst of the maples,
The sad-faced Winona, the while,
          watched the boat growing less in the distance,
Till away in the bend of the stream,
          where it turned and was lost in the lindens,
She saw the last dip and the gleam
          of the oars ere they vanished forever.

[AU] “Burnt woods”—­half-breeds.

[AV] Wita Waste—­“Beautiful Island”; the Dakota name for Nicollet Island.

Still afar on the waters the song,
          like bridal bells distantly chiming,
The stout, jolly boatmen prolong,
          beating time with the stroke of their paddles;
And Winona’s ear, turned to the breeze,
          lists the air falling fainter and fainter,
Till it dies like the murmur of bees
          when the sun is aslant on the meadows. 
Blow, breezes,—­blow softly and sing
          in the dark, flowing hair of the maiden;
But never again shall you bring
          the voice that she loves to Winona.


Now a light rustling wind from the South
          shakes his wings o’er the wide, wimpling waters: 
Up the dark-winding river DuLuth
          follows fast in the wake of Tamdoka. 
On the slopes of the emerald shores
          leafy woodlands and prairies alternate;
On the vine-tangled islands the flowers
          peep timidly out at the white men;
In the dark-winding eddy the loon
          sits warily watching and voiceless,
And the wild-goose, in reedy lagoon,
          stills the prattle and play of her children. 
The does and their sleek, dappled fawns
          prick their ears and peer out from the thickets,
And the bison-calves play on the lawns,
          and gambol like colts in the clover. 
Up the still-flowing Wakpa Wakan’s
          winding path through the groves and the meadows,
Now DuLuth’s brawny boatmen pursue
          the swift-gliding bark of Tamdoka;
And hardly the red braves out-do
          the stout, steady oars of the white men.

Now they bend to their oars in the race—­
          the ten tawny braves of Tamdoka;
And hard on their heels in the chase
          ply the six stalwart oars of the Frenchmen. 
In the stern of his boat sits DuLuth;
          in the stern of his boat sits Tamdoka,
And warily, cheerily, both urge
          the oars of their men to the utmost. 
Far-stretching away to the eyes,
          winding blue in the midst of the meadows,
As a necklet of sapphires that lies
          unclaspt in the lap of a virgin,

Page 99

Here asleep in the lap of the plain
          lies the reed-bordered, beautiful river. 
Like two flying coursers that strain,
          on the track, neck and neck on the home-stretch,
With nostrils distended and mane froth-flecked,
          and the neck and the shoulders,
Each urged to his best by the cry
          and the whip and the rein of his rider,
Now they skim o’er the waters and fly,
          side by side, neck and neck, through the meadows,
The blue heron flaps from the reeds,
          and away wings her course up the river: 
Straight and swift is her flight o’er the meads,
          but she hardly outstrips the canoemen. 
See! the voyageurs bend to their oars
          till the blue veins swell out on their foreheads;
And the sweat from their brawny breasts pours;
          but in vain their Herculean labor;
For the oars of Tamdoka are ten,
          and but six are the oars of the Frenchman,
And the red warriors’ burden of men
          is matched by the voyageurs’ luggage. 
Side by side, neck and neck, for a mile,
          still they strain their strong arms to the utmost,
Till rounding a willowy isle,
          now ahead creeps the boat of Tamdoka,
And the neighboring forests profound,
          and the far-stretching plain of the meadows
To the whoop of the victors resound,
          while the panting French rest on their paddles.


With sable wings wide o’er the land
          night sprinkles the dew of the heavens;
And hard by the dark river’s strand,
          in the midst of a tall, somber forest,
Two camp fires are lighted and beam
          on the trunks and the arms of the pine trees. 
In the fitful light darkle and gleam
          the swarthy-hued faces around them. 
And one is the camp of DuLuth,
          and the other the camp of Tamdoka. 
But few are the jests and uncouth
          of the voyageurs over their supper,
While moody and silent the braves
          round their fire in a circle sit crouching;
And low is the whisper of leaves
          and the sough of the wind in the branches;
And low is the long-winding howl
          of the lone wolf afar in the forest;
But shrill is the hoot of the owl,
          like a bugle-blast blown in the pine-tops,
And the half-startled voyageurs scowl
          at the sudden and saucy intruder. 
Like the eyes of the wolves are the eyes
          of the watchful and silent Dakotas;
Like the face of the moon in the skies,
          when the clouds chase each other across it,
Is Tamdoka’s dark face in the light
          of the flickering flames of the camp-fire. 
They have plotted red murder by night,
          and securely contemplate their victims. 

Page 100

But wary and armed to the teeth
          are the resolute Frenchmen, and ready,
If need be, to grapple with death,
          and to die hand to hand in the forest. 
Yet skilled in the arts and the wiles
          of the cunning and crafty Algonkins[AW]
They cover their hearts with their smiles,
          and hide their suspicions of evil. 
Round their low, smouldering fire,
          feigning sleep, lie the watchful and wily Dakotas;
But DuLuth and his voyageurs heap
          their fire that shall blaze till the morning,
Ere they lay themselves snugly to rest,
          with their guns by their sides on the blankets,
As if there were none to molest
          but the gray, skulking wolves of the forest.

[AW] Ojibways.

’Tis midnight.  The rising moon gleams,
          weird and still, o’er the dusky horizon;
Through the hushed, somber forest she beams,
          and fitfully gloams on the meadows;
And a dim, glimmering pathway she paves,
          at times, on the dark stretch of river. 
The winds are asleep in the caves—­
          in the heart of the far-away mountains;
And here on the meadows and there,
          the lazy mists gather and hover;
And the lights of the Fen-Spirits[72] flare
          and dance on the low-lying marshes,
As still as the footsteps of death
          by the bed of the babe and its mother;
And hushed are the pines, and beneath
          lie the weary-limbed boatmen in slumber. 
Walk softly,—­walk softly, O Moon,
          through the gray, broken clouds in thy pathway,
For the earth lies asleep and the boon
          of repose is bestowed on the weary. 
Toiling hands have forgotten their care;
          e’en the brooks have forgotten to murmur;
But hark!—­there’s a sound on the air!—­
          ’tis the light-rustling robes of the Spirits,
Like the breath of the night in the leaves
           or the murmur of reeds on the river,
In the cool of the mid-summer eyes,
          when the blaze of the day has descended. 
Low-crouching and shadowy forms,
          as still as the gray morning’s footsteps,
Creep sly as the serpent that charms,
          on her nest in the meadow, the plover;
In the shadows of pine-trunks they creep,
          but their panther-eyes gleam in the fire-light,
As they peer on the white-men asleep,
          in the glow of the fire, on their blankets. 
Lo in each swarthy right-hand a knife;
          in the left-hand, the bow and the arrows! 
Brave Frenchmen, awake to the strife!—­
          or you sleep in the forest forever. 
Nay, nearer and nearer they glide,
          like ghosts on the field of their battles,
Till close on the sleepers, they bide
          but the signal of death from Tamdoka. 
Still the sleepers sleep on.  Not a breath

Page 101

          stirs the leaves of the awe-stricken forest;
The hushed air is heavy with death;
          like the footsteps of death are the moments.
Arise!”—­At the word, with a bound,
          to their feet spring the vigilant Frenchmen;
And the depths of the forest resound
          to the crack and the roar of their rifles;
And seven writhing forms on the ground
          clutch the earth.  From the pine-tops the screech-owl
Screams and flaps his wide wings in affright,
          and plunges away through the shadows;
And swift on the wings of the night
          flee the dim, phantom-forms through the darkness. 
Like cabris[80] when white wolves pursue,
          fled the four yet remaining Dakotas;
Through forest and fen-land they flew,
          and wild terror howled on their footsteps. 
And one was Tamdoka.  DuLuth
          through the night sent his voice like a trumpet: 
“Ye are Sons of Unktehee, forsooth! 
          Return to your mothers, ye cowards!”
His shrill voice they heard as they fled,
          but only the echoes made answer. 
At the feet of the brave Frenchmen, dead,
          lay seven swarthy Sons of whitehead;
And there, in the midst of the slain,
          they found, as it gleamed in the fire-light,
The horn-handled knife from the Seine,
          where it fell from the hand of Tamdoka.


In the gray of the morn, ere the sun
          peeped over the dewy horizon,
Their journey again was begun,
          and they toiled up the swift, winding river;
And many a shallow they passed
          on their way to the Lake of the Spirits;[AX]
But dauntless they reached it at last,
          and found Akee-pa-kee-tin’s[AY] village,
On an isle in the midst of the lake;
          and a day in his teepees they tarried. 
Of the deed in the wilderness spake,
          to the brave Chief, the frank-hearted Frenchman. 
A generous man was the Chief,
          and a friend of the fearless explorer;
And dark was his visage with grief
          at the treacherous act of the warriors. 
“Brave Wazi-kute is a man,
          and his heart is as clear as the sunlight;
But the head of a treacherous clan
          and a snake-in-the-grass, is Tamdoka,”
Said the chief; and he promised DuLuth,
          on the word of a friend and a warrior,
To carry the pipe and the truth
          to his cousin, the chief at Kathaga;
For thrice at the Tanka Mede
          he smoked in the lodge of the Frenchman;
And thrice had he carried away
          the bountiful gifts of the trader.

[AX] Mille Lacs

[AY] See Hennepin’s account of “Aqui-pa-que-tin,” and his village.  Shea’s Hennepin, 225.

Page 102

When the chief could no longer prevail
          on the white men to rest in his teepees,
He guided their feet on the trail
          to the lakes of the winding Rice-River.[AZ]
Now on speeds the light bark canoe,
          through the lakes to the broad Gitchee Seebee;[BA]
And up the great river they row,—­
          up the Big Sandy Lake and Savanna;
And down through the meadows they go
          to the river of blue Gitchee-Gumee.[BB]
Still onward they speed to the Dalles—­
          to the roar of the white-rolling rapids,
Where the dark river tumbles and falls
          down the ragged ravine of the mountains. 
And singing his wild jubilee
          to the low-moaning pines and the cedars,
Rushes on to the unsalted sea
          o’er the ledges upheaved by volcanoes. 
Their luggage the voyageurs bore
          down the long, winding path of the portage,[BC]
While they mingled their song with the roar
          of the turbid and turbulent waters. 
Down-wimpling and murmuring there
          ’twixt two dewy hills winds a streamlet,
Like a long, flaxen ringlet of hair
          on the breast of a maid in her slumber.

All safe at the foot of the trail,
          where they left it, they found their felucca,
And soon to the wind spread the sail,
          and glided at ease through the waters,—­
Through the meadows and lakelets and forth,
          round the point stretching south like a finger,
From the pine-plumed hills on the north,
          sloping down to the bay and the lake-side
And behold, at the foot of the hill,
          a cluster of Chippewa wigwams,
And the busy wives plying with skill
          their nets in the emerald waters. 
Two hundred white winters and more
          have fled from the face of the Summer
Since DuLuth on that wild, somber shore,
          in the unbroken forest primeval,
From the midst of the spruce and the pines,
          saw the smoke of the wigwams up-curling,
Like the fumes from the temples and shrines
          of the Druids of old in their forests. 
Ah, little he dreamed then, forsooth,
          that a city would stand on that hill-side,
And bear the proud name of DuLuth,
          the untiring and dauntless explorer,—­
A refuge for ships from the storms,
          and for men from the bee-hives of Europe,
Out-stretching her long, iron arms
          o’er an empire of Saxons and Normans.

[AZ] Now called “Mud River”—­it empties into the Mississippi at Aitkin.

[BA] Gitchee See-bee—­Big River—­is the Ojibway name for the Mississippi, which is a corruption of Gitchee Seebee—­as Michigan is a corruption of Gitchee Gumee—­Great Lake, the Ojibway name of Lake Superior.

[BB] The Ojibways called the St. Louis River Gitchee-Gumee See-bee—­Great-lake River, i.e. the river of the Great Lake (Lake Superior).

Page 103

[BC] The route of DuLuth above described—­from the mouth of the Wild-Rice (Mud) River, to Lake Superior—­was for centuries, and still is, the Indians’ canoe-route.  I have walked over the old portage from the foot of the Dalles to the St. Louis above—­trod by the feet of half-breeds and voyageurs for more than two centuries, and by the Indians for perhaps a thousand years.

The swift west-wind sang in the sails,
          and on flew the boat like a sea-gull,
By the green, templed hills and the dales,
          and the dark, rugged rocks of the North Shore;
For the course of the brave Frenchman lay
          to his fort at the Gah-mah-na-tek-wahk,[83]
By the shore of the grand Thunder Bay,
          where the gray rocks loom up into mountains;
Where the Stone Giant sleeps on the Cape,
          and the god of the storms makes the thunder,[83]
And the Makinak[83] lifts his huge shape
          from the breast of the blue-rolling waters. 
And thence to the south-westward led his course
          to the Holy Ghost Mission,[84]
Where the Black Robes, the brave shepherds,
          fed their wild sheep on the isle Wauga-ba-me,[94]
In the enchanting Cha-quam-e-gon Bay
          defended by all the Apostles,[BD]
And thence, by the Ke-we-naw,
          lay his course to the Mission Sainte Marie,[BE]
Now the waves clap their myriad hands,
          and streams the white hair of the surges;
DuLuth at the steady helm stands,
          and he hums as he bounds o’er the billows: 

    O sweet is the carol of bird,
    And sweet is the murmur of streams,
    But sweeter the voice that I heard—­
    In the night—­in the midst of my dreams.

[BD] The Apostle Islands.

[BE] At the Sault Ste. Marie.


’Tis the moon of the sere, falling leaves. 
          From the heads of the maples the west-wind
Plucks the red-and-gold plumage and grieves
          on the meads for the rose and the lily;
Their brown leaves the moaning oaks strew,
          and the breezes that roam on the prairies,
Low-whistling and wanton pursue
          the down of the silk-weed and thistle. 
All sere are the prairies and brown
          in the glimmer and haze of the Autumn;
From the far northern marshes flock down,
          by thousands, the geese and the mallards. 
From the meadows and wide-prairied plains,
          for their long southward journey preparing. 
In croaking flocks gather the cranes,
          and choose with loud clamor their leaders. 
The breath of the evening is cold,
          and lurid along the horizon
The flames of the prairies are rolled,
          on the somber skies flashing their torches. 
At noontide a shimmer of gold

Page 104

          through the haze pours the sun from his pathway. 
The wild-rice is gathered and ripe,
von the moors, lie the scarlet po-pan-ka,[BF]
Michabo[85] is smoking his pipe,—­
          ’tis the soft, dreamy Indian Summer,
When the god of the South[3] as he flies
          from Waziya, the god of the Winter,
For a time turns his beautiful eyes,
          and backward looks over his shoulder.

[BF] Cranberries.

It is noon.  From his path in the skies
          the red sun looks down on Kathaga
Asleep in the valley it lies,
          for the swift hunters follow the bison. 
Ta-te-psin, the aged brave, bends
        as he walks by the side of Winona;
Her arm to his left hand she lends,
        and he feels with his staff for the pathway;
On his slow, feeble footsteps attends
        his gray dog, the watchful Wichaka; [a]
For blind in his years is the chief
        of a fever that followed the Summer,
And the days of Ta-te-psin are brief. 
        Once more by the dark-rolling river
Sits the Chief in the warm, dreamy haze
        of the beautiful Summer in Autumn;
And the faithful dog lovingly lays his head
        at the feet of his master. 
On a dead, withered branch sits a crow,
        down-peering askance at the old man;
On the marge of the river below
        romp the nut-brown and merry-voiced children,
And the dark waters silently flow,
        broad and deep, to the plunge of the Ha-ha.

[a] Wee-chah kah—­literally “Faithful”.

By his side sat Winona. 
        He laid his thin, shriveled hand on her tresses,
“Winona my daughter,” he said,
        “no longer thy father beholds thee;
But he feels the long locks of thy hair,
        and the days that are gone are remembered,
When Sisoka [BG] sat faithful and fair
        in the lodge of swift footed Ta-te-psin. 
The white years have broken my spear;
        from my bow they have taken the bow-string;
But once on the trail of the deer,
        like a gray wolf from sunrise till sunset,
By woodland and meadow and mere,
        ran the feet of Ta-te-psin untiring. 
But dim are the days that are gone,
        and darkly around me they wander,
Like the pale, misty face of the moon
        when she walks through the storm of the winter;
And sadly they speak in my ear. 
        I have looked on the graves of my kindred. 
The Land of the Spirits is near. 
        Death walks by my side like a shadow. 
Now open thine ear to my voice,
        and thy heart to the wish of thy father,
And long will Winona rejoice
        that she heeded the words of Ta-te-psin. 
The cold, cruel winter is near,
        and famine will sit in the teepee. 
What hunter will bring me the deer,
        or the flesh of the bear or the bison? 

Page 105

For my kinsmen before me have gone;
        they hunt in the land of the shadows. 
In my old age forsaken, alone,
        must I die in my teepee of hunger? 
Winona, Tamdoka can make my empty lodge
        laugh with abundance;
For thine aged and blind father’s sake,
        to the son of the Chief speak the promise. 
For gladly again to my tee
        will the bridal gifts come for my daughter. 
A fleet-footed hunter is he,
        and the good spirits feather his arrows;
And the cold, cruel winter
        will be a feast-time instead of a famine.”

[BG] The Robin—­the name of Winona’s Mother.

“My father,” she said, and her voice
          was filial and full of compassion,
“Would the heart of Ta-te-psin rejoice
          at the death of Winona, his daughter? 
The crafty Tamdoka I hate. 
          Must I die in his teepee of sorrow? 
For I love the White Chief and I wait
          his return to the land of Dakotas. 
When the cold winds of winter return,
          and toss the white robes of the prairies,
The fire of the White Chief will burn
          in his lodge at the Meeting-of-Waters. 
Winona’s heart followed his feet
          far away to the land of the Morning,
And she hears in her slumber his sweet,
          kindly voice call the name of thy daughter. 
My father, abide, I entreat,
          the return of the brave to Katahga
The wild-rice is gathered, the meat
          of the bison is stored in the teepee;
Till the Coon-Moon[71] enough and to spare;
          and if then the white warrior return not,
Winona will follow the bear and the coon
          to their dens in the forest. 
She is strong; she can handle the spear;
          she can bend the stout bow of the hunter;
And swift on the trail of the deer
          will she run o’er the snow on her snow-shoes. 
Let the step-mother sit in the tee,
          and kindle the fire for my father;
And the cold, cruel winter shall be
          a feast-time instead of a famine.” 
“The White Chief will never return,”
          half angrily muttered Ta-te-psin;
“His camp-fire will nevermore burn
          in the land of the warriors he slaughtered. 
I grieve, for my daughter has said
          that she loves the false friend of her kindred;
For the hands of the White Chief are red
          with the blood of the trustful Dakotas.”

Then warmly Winona replied,
          “Tamdoka himself is the traitor,
And the brave-hearted stranger had died
          by his treacherous hand in the forest,
But thy daughter’s voice bade him beware
          of the sly death that followed his footsteps. 
The words of Tamdoka are fair,
          but his heart is the den of the serpents. 
When the braves told their tale like a bird

Page 106

          sang the heart of Winona rejoicing,
But gladlier still had she heard
          of the death of the crafty Tamdoka. 
The Chief will return; he is bold,
          and he carries the fire of Wakinyan: 
To our people the truth will be told,
          and Tamdoka will hide like a coward.” 
His thin locks the aged brave shook;
          to himself half inaudibly muttered;
To Winona no answer he spoke,—­only moaned he “Micunksee!  Micunksee![BH]
In my old age forsaken and blind!
          Yun-he-he!  Micunksee!  Micunksee!"[BI]
And Wichaka, the pitying dog,
          whined as he looked on the face of his master.

[BH] My Daughter; My Daughter.

[BI] Alas, O My Daughter,—­My Daughter!


Waziya came down from the North—­
          from the land of perpetual winter. 
From his frost-covered beard issued forth the sharp-biting,
          shrill-whistling North-wind;
At the touch of his breath
          the wide earth turned to stone, and the lakes and the rivers: 
From his nostrils the white vapors rose,
          and they covered the sky like a blanket. 
Like the down of Maga[BJ] fell the snows,
          tossed and whirled into heaps by the North-wind. 
Then the blinding storms roared on the plains,
          like the simoons on sandy Sahara;
From the fangs of the fierce hurricanes
          fled the elk and the deer and the bison. 
Ever colder and colder it grew,
          till the frozen ground cracked and split open;
And harder and harder it blew,
          till the hillocks were bare as the boulders. 
To the southward the buffalos fled,
          and the white rabbits hid in their burrows;
On the bare sacred mounds of the dead
          howled the gaunt, hungry wolves in the night-time,
The strong hunters crouched in their tees;
          by the lodge-fires the little ones shivered;
And the Magic-Men[BK] danced to appease,
          in their teepee, the wrath of Waziya;
But famine and fatal disease,
          like phantoms, crept into the village. 
The Hard Moon[BL] was past, but the moon
          when the coons make their trails in the forest[BM]
Grew colder and colder.  The coon,
          or the bear, ventured not from his cover;
For the cold, cruel Arctic simoon
          swept the earth like the breath of a furnace. 
In the tee of Ta-te-psin the store
          of wild-rice and dried meat was exhausted;
And Famine crept in at the door,
          and sat crouching and gaunt by the lodge-fire. 
But now with the saddle of deer
          and the gifts came the crafty Tamdoka;
And he said, “Lo I bring you good cheer,
          for I love the blind Chief and his daughter. 
Take the gifts of Tamdoka, for dear

Page 107

          to his heart is the dark-eyed Winona.” 
The aged Chief opened his ears;
          in his heart he already consented: 
But the moans of his child and her tears
          touched the age-softened heart of the father,
And he said, “I am burdened with years,—­
          I am bent by the snows of my winters;
Ta-te-psin will die in his tee;
          let him pass to the Land of the Spirits;
But Winona is young; she is free
          and her own heart shall choose her a husband.” 
The dark warrior strode from the tee;
          low-muttering and grim he departed;
“Let him die in his lodge,” muttered he,
          “but Winona shall kindle my lodge-fire.”

Then forth went Winona.  The bow
          of Ta-te-psin she took and his arrows,
And afar o’er the deep, drifted snow
          through the forest she sped on her snow shoes. 
Over meadow and ice-covered mere,
          through the thickets of red-oak and hazel,
She followed the tracks of the deer,
          but like phantoms they fled from her vision. 
From sunrise to sunset she sped;
          half famished she camped in the thicket;
In the cold snow she made her lone bed;
          on the buds of the birch[BN] made her supper. 
To the dim moon the gray owl preferred,
          from the tree-top, his shrill lamentation,
And around her at midnight she heard
          the dread famine-cries of the gray wolves. 
In the gloam of the morning again
          on the trail of the red-deer she followed—­
All day long through the thickets in vain,
          for the gray wolves were chasing the roebucks;
And the cold, hungry winds from the plain
          chased the wolves and the deer and Winona.

[BJ] Wild-goose

[BK] Medicine-men.

[BL] January.

[BM] February.

[BN] The pheasant feeds on birch-buds in winter.  Indians eat them when very hungry.

In the twilight of sundown she sat
          in the forest, all weak and despairing;
Ta-te-psin’s bow lay at her feet,
          and his otter-skin quiver of arrows
“He promised,—­he promised,” she said,—­
          half-dreamily uttered and mournful,—­
“And why comes he not?  Is he dead? 
          Was he slain by the crafty Tamdoka? 
Must Winona, alas, make her choice—­
          make her choice between death and Tamdoka? 
She will die, but her soul will rejoice
          in the far Summer-land of the spirits. 
Hark!  I hear his low, musical voice!
          he is coming!  My White Chief is coming! 
Ah, no, I am half in a dream!—­
          ’twas the memory of days long departed;
But the birds of the green Summer seem
          to be singing above in the branches.” 
Then forth from her bosom she drew
          the crucified Jesus in silver. 
In her dark hair the cold north-wind blew,

Page 108

          as meekly she bent o’er the image. 
“O Christ of the Whiteman,” she prayed,
          “lead the feet of my brave to Kathaga;
Send a good spirit down to my aid,
          or the friend of the White Chief will perish.” 
Then a smile on her wan features played,
          and she lifted her pale face and chanted

“E-ye-he-kta!  E-ye-he-kta! 
He-kta-ce; e-ye-ce-quon. 
Mi-Wamdee-ska, he-he-kta,
He-kta-ce, e-ye-ce-quon,



He will come; he will come;
He will come, for he promised. 
My White Eagle, he will come;
He will come, for he promised——­

    My White Eagle.

Thus sadly she chanted, and lo—­
          allured by her sorrowful accents—­
From the dark covert crept a red roe
          and wonderingly gazed on Winona. 
Then swift caught the huntress her bow;
          from her trembling hand hummed the keen arrow. 
Up-leaped the red roebuck and fled,
          but the white snow was sprinkled with scarlet,
And he fell in the oak thicket dead. 
          On the trail ran the eager Winona. 
Half-famished the raw flesh she ate. 
          To the hungry maid sweet was her supper
Then swift through the night ran her feet,
          and she trailed the sleek roebuck behind her;
And the guide of her steps was a star—­
          the cold-glinting star of Waziya[BO]—­
Over meadow and hilltop afar, on the way
          to the lodge of her father. 
But hark! on the keen frosty air
          wind the shrill hunger-howls of the gray-wolves! 
And nearer,—­still nearer!—­the blood
          of the deer have they scented and follow;
Through the thicket, the meadow, the wood,
          dash the pack on the trail of Winona. 
Swift she speeds with her burden,
          but swift on her track fly the minions of famine;
Now they yell on the view from the drift,
          in the reeds at the marge of the meadow;
Red gleam their wild, ravenous eyes,
          for they see on the hill-side their supper;
The dark forest echoes their cries,
          but her heart is the heart of a warrior. 
From its sheath snatched Winona her knife,
          and a leg from the roebuck she severed;
With the carcass she ran for her life,—­
          to a low-branching oak ran the maiden;
Round the deer’s neck her head-strap[BP] was tied;
          swiftly she sprang to the arms of the oak-tree;
Quick her burden she drew to her side,
          and higher she clomb on the branches,
While the maddened wolves battled and bled,
          dealing death o’er the leg to each other;
Their keen fangs devouring the dead,—­
          yea, devouring the flesh of the living,
They raved and they gnashed and they growled,

Page 109

the fiends in the regions infernal;
The wide night re-echoing howled,
          and the hoarse North-wind laughed o’er the slaughter. 
But their ravenous maws unappeased
          by the blood and the flesh of their fellows,
To the cold wind their muzzles they raised,
          and the trail to the oak-tree they followed. 
Round and round it they howled for the prey,
          madly leaping and snarling and snapping;
But the brave maiden’s keen arrows slay,
          till the dead number more than the living. 
All the long, dreary night-time, at bay,
          in the oak sat the shivering Winona;
But the sun gleamed at last, and away
          skulked the gray cowards[BQ] down through the forest. 
Then down dropped the deer and the maid. 
          Ere the sun reached the midst of his journey,
Her red, welcome burden she laid
          at the feet of her famishing father.
Waziya’s wild wrath was appeased,
          and homeward he turned to his teepee,[3]
O’er the plains and the forest-land breezed
          from the Islands of Summer the South-wind. 
From their dens came the coon and the bear;
          o’er the snow through the woodlands they wandered;
On her snow-shoes with stout bow and spear
          on their trails ran the huntress Winona. 
The coon to his den in the tree,
          and the bear to his burrow she followed;
A brave, skillful hunter was she,
          and Ta-te-psin’s lodge laughed with abundance.

[BO] Waziya’s Star is the North-star.


[BP] A strap used in carrying burdens.

[BQ] Wolves sometimes attack people at night, but rarely, if ever, in the day time.  If they have followed a hunter all night, and “treed” him, they will skulk away as soon as the sun rises.


The long winter wanes.  On the wings
          of the spring come the geese and the mallards;
On the bare oak the red-robin sings,
          and the crocus peeps up on the prairies,
And the bobolink pipes, but he brings
          of the blue-eyed, brave White Chief no tidings. 
With the waning of winter, alas,
          waned the life of the aged Ta-te-psin;
Ere the wild pansies peeped from the grass,
          to the Land of the Spirits he journeyed;
Like a babe in its slumber he passed,
          or the snow from the hill-tops of April;
And the dark-eyed Winona, at last,
          stood alone by the graves of her kindred. 
When their myriad mouths opened the trees
          to the sweet dew of heaven and the raindrops,
And the April showers fell on the leas,
          on his mound fell the tears of Winona. 
Round her drooping form gathered the years
          and the spirits unseen of her kindred,
As low, in the midst of her tears,
          at the grave of her father she chanted

Page 110

    E-yo-tan-han e-yay-wah-ke-yay! 
    E-yo-tan-han e-yay-wah-ke-yay! 
    E-yo-tan-han e-yay-wah-ke-yay! 
  Ma-kah kin hay-chay-dan tay-han wan-kay. 
  Tu-way ne ktay snee e-yay-chen e-wah chay. 
    E-yo-tan-han e-yay-wah-ke-yay! 
    E-yo-tan-han e-yay-wah-ke-yay! 
Ma-kah kin hay-chay-dan tay-han wan-kay.


    Sore is my sorrow! 
    Sore is my sorrow! 
    Sore is my sorrow! 
  The earth alone lasts. 
  I speak as one dying;
    Sore is my sorrow! 
    Sore is my sorrow! 
  The earth alone lasts.

Still hope, like a star in the night
          gleaming oft through the broken clouds somber,
Cheered the heart of Winona, and bright
          on her dreams beamed the face of the Frenchman. 
As the thought of a loved one and lost,
          sad and sweet were her thoughts of the White Chief;
In the moon’s mellow light, like a ghost,
          walked Winona alone by the Ha-Ha,
Ever wrapped in a dream.  Far away—­
          to the land of the sunrise—­she wandered;
On the blue-rolling Tanka-Mede[BR]
          in the midst of her dreams, she beheld him—­
In his white-winged canoe, like a bird,
          to the land of Dakotas returning,

[BR] Lake Superior,—­The Gitchee Gumee of the Chippewas.

And often in fancy she heard
          the dip of his oars on the river. 
On the dark waters glimmered the moon,
          but she saw not the boat of the Frenchman. 
On the somber night bugled the loon,
          but she heard not the song of the boatmen. 
The moon waxed and waned, but the star
          of her hope never waned to the setting;
Through her tears she beheld it afar,
          like a torch on the eastern horizon. 
“He will come,—­he is coming,” she said;
          “he will come, for my White Eagle promised,”
And low to the bare earth the maid
          bent her ear for the sound of his footsteps,
“He is gone, but his voice in my ear
          still remains like the voice of the robin;
He is far, but his footsteps I hear;
          he is coming; my White Chief is coming!”
But the moon waxed and waned.  Nevermore
          will the eyes of Winona behold him. 
Far away on the dark, rugged shore
          of the blue Gitchee Gumee he lingers. 
No tidings the rising sun brings;
          no tidings the star of the evening;
But morning and evening she sings,
          like a turtle-dove widowed and waiting: 

  Ake u, ake u, ake u;
  Ma cante maseeca. 
  Ake u, ake u, ake u;
  Ma cante maseca.

  Come again, come again, come again;
  For my heart is sad. 
  Come again, come again, come again;
  For my heart is sad.


Page 111

Down the broad Ha-Ha Wak-pa[BS]
          the band took their way to the Games at Keoza[8]
While the swift-footed hunters by land
          ran the shores for the elk and the bison. 
Like magas[BT] ride the birchen canoes
          on the breast of the dark, winding river,
By the willow-fringed island they cruise,
          by the grassy hills green to their summits;
By the lofty bluffs hooded with oaks
          that darken the deep with their shadows;
And bright in the sun gleam the strokes
          of the oars in the hands of the women. 
With the band went Winona. 
          The oar plied the maid with the skill of a hunter. 
They tarried a time on the shore of Remnica—­
          the Lake of the Mountains.[BU]
There the fleet hunters followed the deer,
          and the thorny pahin[BV] for the women
From the tees rose the smoke of good cheer,
          curling blue through the tops of the maples,
Near the foot of a cliff that arose,
          like the battle-scarred walls of a castle,
Up-towering, in rugged repose,
          to a dizzy height over the waters.

[BS] The Dakota name for the Mississippi, see note 76 in Appendix.

[BT] Wild Geese.

[BU] Lake Pepin, by Hennepin called Lake of Tears—­Called by the Dakotas Remnee-chah-Mday—­Lake of the Mountains.

[BV] Pah-hin—­the porcupine—­the quills of which are greatly prized for ornamental work.

But the man-wolf still followed his prey,
          and the step-mother ruled in the teepee;
Her will must Winona obey,
          by the custom and law of Dakotas. 
The gifts to the teepee were brought—­
          the blankets and beads of the White men,
And Winona, the orphaned, was bought
          by the crafty, relentless Tamdoka. 
In the Spring-time of life, in the flush
          of the gladsome mid-May days of Summer,
When the bobolink sang and the thrush,
          and the red robin chirped in the branches,
To the tent of the brave must she go;
          she must kindle the fire in his teepee;
She must sit in the lodge of her foe,
          as a slave at the feet of her master. 
Alas for her waiting! the wings
          of the East-wind have brought her no tidings;
On the meadow the meadow-lark sings,
          but sad is her song to Winona,
For the glad warbler’s melody brings
          but the memory of voices departed. 
The Day-Spirit walked in the west
          to his lodge in the land of the shadows;
His shining face gleamed on the crest
          of the oak-hooded hills and the mountains,
And the meadow-lark hied to her nest,
          and the mottled owl peeped from her cover. 
But hark! from the teepees a cry! 
          Hear the shouts of the hurrying warriors! 
Are the feet of the enemy nigh,—­
          of the crafty and cruel Ojibways? 
Nay; look!—­on the dizzy cliff high—­
          on the brink of the cliff stands Winona! 
Her sad face up-turned to the sky. 
          Hark!  I hear the wild wail of her death-song: 

Page 112

    “My Father’s Spirit, look down, look down—­
     From your hunting grounds in the shining skies;
     Behold, for the light of my heart is gone;
     The light is gone and Winona dies.

     I looked to the East, but I saw no star;
     The face of my White Chief was turned away. 
     I harked for his footsteps in vain; afar
     His bark sailed over the Sunrise-sea.

     Long have I watched till my heart is cold;
     In my breast it is heavy and cold as a stone. 
     No more shall Winona his face behold,
     And the robin that sang in her heart is gone.

     Shall I sit at the feet of the treacherous brave? 
     On his hateful couch shall Winona lie? 
     Shall she kindle his fire like a coward slave? 
     No!—­a warrior’s daughter can bravely die.

     My Father’s Spirit, look down, look down—­
     From your hunting-grounds in the shining skies;
     Behold, for the light in my heart is gone;
     The light is gone and Winona dies.”


Swift the strong hunters climbed as she sang,
          and the foremost of all was Tamdoka;
From crag to crag upward he sprang;
          like a panther he leaped to the summit. 
Too late!—­on the brave as he crept
          turned the maid in her scorn and defiance;
Then swift from the dizzy height leaped. 
          Like a brant arrow-pierced in mid-heaven. 
Down whirling and fluttering she fell,
          and headlong plunged into the waters. 
Forever she sank mid the wail,
          and the wild lamentation of women. 
Her lone spirit evermore dwells
          in the depths of the Lake of the Mountains,
And the lofty cliff evermore tells
          to the years as they pass her sad story.[BW]

In the silence of sorrow the night
          o’er the earth spread her wide, sable pinions;
And the stars[18] hid their faces; and light
          on the lake fell the tears of the spirits. 
As her sad sisters watched on the shore
          for her spirit to rise from the waters,
They heard the swift dip of an oar,
          and a boat they beheld like a shadow,
Gliding down through the night in the gray,
          gloaming mists on the face of the waters. 
’Twas the bark of DuLuth on his way
          from the Falls to the Games at Keoza.

[BW] The Dakotas say that the spirit of Winona forever haunts the lake.  They say that it was many, many winters ago when Winona leaped from the rock,—­that the rock was then perpendicular to the water’s edge and she leaped into the lake, but now the rock has partly crumbled down and the waters have also receded, so that they do not now reach, the foot of the perpendicular rock as of old.


Page 113

Et nunc omnis ager, mine omms parturit arbos; Nunc frondent sylvae, nunc formostssimus annus.  —­Virgil.

Delightful harbinger of joys to come,
  Of summer’s verdure and a fruitful year,
Who bids thee o’er our northern snow-fields roam,
  And make all gladness in thy bright career? 
Lo from the Indian Isle thou dost appear,
  And dost a thousand pleasures with thee bring: 
But why to us art thou so ever dear? 
  Bearest thou the hope—­upon thy radiant wing—­
Of Immortality, O soft, celestial Spring?

Yea, buds and flowers that fade not, they are thine,
  And youth-renewing balms; the sear and old
Are young and gladsome at thy touch divine. 
  Thou breath’st upon the frozen earth—­behold,
Meadows and vales of grass and floral gold,
  Green-covered hills and leafy mountains grand: 
Young life leaps up where all was dumb and cold,
  As smoldering embers into flame are fanned,
Or the dead came back to life at the touch of the Savior’s hand.

The snow-clouds fly the canopy of heaven;
  The rivulets ripple with the merry tone
Of wanton waters, and the breezes given
  To fan the budding hills are all thine own. 
Returning songsters from the tropic zone
  Their vernal love-songs in the tree tops sing,
And talk and twitter in a tongue unknown
  Of joys that journey on thy golden wing,
And God who sends thee forth to wake the world, O Spring!


  Emblem of youth—­enchanting goddess, Spring;
Lo now the happy rustic wends his way
  O’er meadows decked with violets from thy wing,
And laboring to the rhythm of song all day,
  Performs the task the harvest shall repay
  An hundredfold into the reaper’s hand. 
What recks the tiller of his toil in May? 
  What cares he if his cheeks are tinged and tanned
By thy warm sunshine-kiss and by thy breezes bland?

Hark to the tinkling bells of grazing kine! 
  The lambkins bleating on the mountain-side! 
The red squirrel chippering in the proud old pine! 
  The pigeon-cock cooing to his vernal bride! 
O’er all the land and o’er the peaceful tide,
  Singing and praising every living thing,
Till one sweet anthem, echoed far and wide,
  Makes all the broad blue bent of ether ring
With welcomings to thee, God-given, supernal Spring.


O Mollie, I would I possessed such a heart;
  It enchants me—­so gentle and true;
I would I possessed all its magical art,
  Then, Mollie, I would enchant you.

Those dear, rosy lips—­tho’ I never caressed them(?)—­
  Are as sweet as the wild honey-dew;
Your cheeks—­all the angels in Heaven have blessed them,
  But not one is as lovely as you.

Then give me that heart,—­O that innocent heart! 
  For mine own is cold and perdu;
It enchants me, but give me its magical art,
  Then, Mollie, I will enchant you.

Page 114



I know thou art true, and I know thou art fair
  As the rose-bud that blooms in thy beautiful hair;
Thou art far, but I feel the warm throb of thy heart;
  Thou art far, but I love thee wherever thou art.

Wherever at noontide my spirit may be,
  At evening it silently wanders to thee;
It seeks thee, my dear one, for comfort and rest,
  As the weary-winged dove seeks at night-fall her nest.

Through the battle of life—­through its sorrow and care—­
  Till the mortal sink down with its load of despair,—­
Till we meet at the feet of the Father and Son,
  I’ll love thee and cherish thee, beautiful one.



[Nov. 26, 1857, during the great financial depression.]

Father, our thanks are due to thee
  For many a blessing given,
By thy paternal love and care,
  From the bounty-horn of heaven.

We know that still that horn is filled
  With blessings for our race,
And we calmly look thro’ winter’s storm
  To thy benignant face.

Father, we raise our thanks to Thee,—­
  Who seldom thanked before;
And seldom bent the stubborn knee
  Thy goodness to adore: 

But Father, thou hast blessings poured
  On all our wayward days
And now thy mercies manifold
  Have filled our hearts with praise

The winter-storm may rack and roar;
  We do not fear its blast;
And we’ll bear with faith and fortitude
  The lot that thou hast cast.

But Father,—­Father,—­O look down
  On the poor and homeless head
And feed the hungry thousands
  That cry to thee for bread.

Thou givest us our daily bread;
  We would not ask for more;
But, Father, give their daily bread
  To the multitudes of poor.

In all the cities of the land
  The naked and hungry are;
O feed them with thy manna, Lord,
  And clothe them with thy care.

Thou dost not give a serpent, Lord,
  We will not give a stone;
For the bread and meat thou givest us
  Are not for us alone.

And while a loaf is given to us
  From thy all-bounteous horn
We’ll cheerfully divide that loaf
  With the hungry and forlorn.


Frail are the best of us, brothers—­
  God’s charity cover us all—­
Yet we ask for perfection in others,
  And scoff when they stumble and fall. 
Shall we give him a fish—­or a serpent—­
  Who stretches his hand in his need? 
Let the proud give a stone, but the manly
  Will give him a hand full of bread.

Let us search our own hearts and behavior
  Ere we cast at a brother a stone,
And remember the words of the Savior
  To the frail and unfortunate one;
Remember when others displease us
  The Nazarene’s holy command,
For the only word written by Jesus
  Was charity—­writ in the sand.

Page 115


[Written in a friend’s book of autographs, 1876.]

Bear and forbear, I counsel thee,
  Forgive and be forgiven,
For Charity is the golden key
  That opens the gate of heaven.


Away, away, o’er the bounding sea
  My spirit flies like a gull;
For I know my Mary is watching for me,
  And the moon is bright and full.

She sits on the rock by the sounding shore,
  And gazes over the sea;
And she sighs, “Will my sailor-boy come no more? 
  Will he never come back to me?”

The moonbeams play in her raven hair;
  And the soft breeze kisses her brow;
But if your sailor-boy, love, were there,
  He would kiss your sweet lips I trow.

And mother—­she sits in the cottage-door;
  But her heart is out on the sea;
And she sighs, “Will my sailor-boy come no more? 
  Will he never come back to me?”

Ye winds that over the billows roam
  With a low and sullen moan,
O swiftly come to waft me home;
  O bear me back to my own.

For long have I been on the billowy deep,
  On the boundless waste of sea;
And while I sleep there are two who weep,
  And watch and pray for me.

When the mad storm roars till the stoutest fear
  And the thunders roll over the sea,
I think of you, Mary and mother dear,
  For I know you are thinking of me.

Then blow, ye winds, for my swift return;
  Let the tempest roar o’er the main;
Let the billows yearn and the lightning burn;
  They will hasten me home again.


Last night in my feverish dreams I heard
A voice like the moan of an autumn sea,
Or the low, sad wail of a widowed bird,
And it said—­“My darling, come home to me.”

Then a hand was laid on my throbbing head—­
As cold as clay, but it soothed my pain: 
I wakened and knew from among the dead
My darling stood by my coach again.


Dust to dust:  Fall and perish love and lust:  Life is one brief autumn day; Sin and sorrow haunt the way To the narrow house of clay, Clutching at the good and just:  Dust to dust.

Dust to dust: 
Still we strive and toil and trust,
  From the cradle to the grave: 
  Vainly crying, “Jesus, save!”
  Fall the coward and the brave,
Fall the felon and the just: 
    Dust to dust.

    Dust to dust: 
Hark, I hear the wintry gust;
  Yet the roses bloom to-day,
  Blushing to the kiss of May,
  While the north winds sigh and say: 
“Lo we bring the cruel frost—­
    Dust to dust.”

    Dust to dust: 
Yet we live and love and trust,
  Lifting burning brow and eye
  To the mountain peaks on high: 
  From the peaks the ages cry,
Strewing ashes, rime and rust: 
    “Dust to dust!”

Page 116

    Dust to dust: 
What is gained when all is lost? 
  Gaily for a day we tread—­
  Proudly with averted head
  O’er the ashes of the dead—­
Blind with pride and mad with lust: 
    Dust to dust.

    Hope and trust: 
All life springs from out the dust: 
  Ah, we measure God by man,
Looking forward but a span
  On His wondrous, boundless plan;
All His ways are wise and just;
    Hope and trust.

    Hope and trust: 
Hope will blossom from the dust;
  Love is queen:  God’s throne is hers;
  His great heart with loving force
  Throbs throughout the universe;
We are His and He is just;
    Hope and trust.


Call me not back, O cold and crafty world: 
I scorn your thankless thanks and hollow praise. 
Wiser than seer or scientist—­content
To tread no paths beyond these bleating hills,
Here let me lie beneath this dear old elm,
Among the blossoms of the clover-fields,
And listen to the humming of the bees. 
Here in those far-off, happy, boyhood years,
When all my world was bounded by these hills,
I dreamed my first dreams underneath this elm. 
Dreamed?  Aye, and builded castles in the clouds;
Dreamed, and made glad a fond, proud mother’s heart,
Now moldering into clay on yonder hill;
Dreamed till my day-dreams paved the world with gold;
Dreamed till my mad dreams made one desolate;
Dreamed—­O my soul, and was it all a dream?

As I lay dreaming under this old elm,
Building my castles in the sunny clouds,
Her soft eyes peeping from the copse of pine,
Looked tenderly on me and my glad heart leaped
Following her footsteps.  O the dream—­the dream! 
O fawn-eyed, lotus-lipped, white-bosomed Flore! 
I hide my bronzed face in your golden hair: 
Thou wilt not heed the dew-drops on my beard;
Thou wilt not heed the wrinkles on my brow;
Thou wilt not chide me for my long delay.

Here we stood heart to heart and eye to eye,
And I looked down into her inmost soul,
The while she drank my promise like sweet wine
O let me dream the dreams of long ago! 
Soft are the tender eyes of maiden love;
Sweet are the dew-drops of a dear girl’s lips
When love’s red roses blush in sudden bloom: 
O let me dream the dreams of long ago! 
Hum soft and low, O bee-bent clover-fields;
Blink, blue-eyed violets, from the dewy grass;
Break into bloom, my golden dandelions;
Break into bloom, my dear old apple-trees. 
I hear the robins cherup on the hedge,
I hear the warbling of the meadow-larks;
I hear the silver-fluted whippowil;
I hear the harps that moan among the pines
Touched by the ghostly fingers of the dead. 
Hush!—­let me dream the dreams of long ago.

Page 117

And wherefore left I these fair, flowery fields,
Where her fond eyes and ever gladsome voice
Made all the year one joyous, warbling June,
To chase my castles in the passing clouds—­
False as the mirage of some Indian isle
To shipwrecked sailors famished on the brine? 
Wherefore?—­Look out upon the babbling world—­
Fools clamoring at the heels of clamorous fools! 
I hungered for the sapless husks of fame. 
Dreaming I saw, beyond my native hills,
The sunshine shimmer on the laurel trees. 
Ah tenderly plead her fond eyes brimmed with tears;
But lightly laughing at her fears I turned,
Eager to clutch my crown of laurel leaves,
Strong-souled and bold to front all winds of heaven—­
A lamb and lion molded into one—­
And burst away to tread the hollow world. 
Ah nut-brown boys that tend the lowing kine,
Ah blithesome plowmen whistling on the glebe,
Ah merry mowers singing in the swaths,
Sweet, simple souls, contented not to know,
Wiser are ye and ye may teach the wise.

Years trode upon the heels of flying years,
And still my Ignis Fatuus flew before;
On thorny paths my eager feet pursued,
Till she whose fond heart doted on my dreams
Passed painless to the pure eternal peace. 
Years trode upon the heels of flying years
And touched my brown beard with their silver wands,
And still my Ignis Fatuus flew before;
Through thorns and mire my torn feet followed still,
Till she, my darling, unforgotten Flore,
Nursing her one hope all those weary years
Waiting my tardy coming, drooped and died. 
I hear her low, sweet voice among the pines: 
O let me dream the dreams of long ago: 
I see her fond eyes peeping from the pines: 
O let me dream the dreams of long ago
And hide my bronzed face in her golden hair.

Is this the Indian summer of my days—­
Wealth without care and love without desire? 
O misty, cheerless moon of falling leaves! 
Is this the fruitage promised by the spring? 
O blighted clusters withering on the vine! 
O promised lips of love to one who dreams
And wakens holding but the hollow air!

Let me dream on lest, dead unto my dead,
False to the true and true unto the false,
Maddened by thoughts of that which might have been,
And weary of the chains of that which is,
I slake my heart-thirst at forbidden springs. 
I hear the voices of the moaning pines;
I hear the low, hushed whispers of the dead,
And one wan face looks in upon my dreams
And wounds me with her sad, imploring eyes.

Page 118

The dead sun sinks beyond the misty hills;
The chill winds whistle in the leafless elms;
The cold rain patters on the fallen leaves. 
Where pipes the silver-fluted whippowil? 
I hear no hum of bees among the bloom;
I hear no robin cherup on the hedge: 
One dumb, lone lark sits shivering in the rain. 
I hear the voices of the Autumn wind;
I hear the cold rain dripping on the leaves;
I hear the moaning of the mournful pines;
I hear the hollow voices of the dead. 
O let me dream the dreams of long ago
And dreaming pass into the dreamless sleep—­
Beyond the voices of the autumn winds,
Beyond the patter of the dreary rain,
Beyond compassion and all vain regret
Beyond all waking and all weariness: 
O let me dream the dreams of long ago.



When Mollie and I were married from the dear old cottage-home,
  In the vale between the hills of fir and pine,
I parted with a sigh in a stranger-land to roam,
  And to seek a western home for me and mine.

By a grove-encircled lake in the wild and prairied West,
  As the sun was sinking down one summer day,
I laid my knapsack down and my weary limbs to rest,
  And resolved to build a cottage-home and stay.

I staked and marked my “corners,” and I “filed” upon my claim,
  And I built a cottage-home of “logs and shakes;”
And then I wrote a letter, and Mollie and baby came
  Out to bless me and to bake my johnny-cakes.

When Mollie saw my “cottage” and the way that I had “bached”,
  She smiled, but I could see that she was “blue;”
Then she found my “Sunday-clothes” all soiled and torn and patched,
  And she hid her face and shed a tear or two.

But she went to work in earnest and the cabin fairly shone,
  And her dinners were so savory and so nice
That I felt it was “not good that the man should be alone”—­
  Even in this lovely land of Paradise.

Well, the neighbors they were few and were many miles apart,
  And you couldn’t hear the locomotive scream;
But I was young and hardy, and my Mollie gave me heart,
  And my “steers” they made a fast and fancy team.

And the way I broke the sod was a marvel, you can bet,
  For I fed my “steers” before the dawn of day;
And when the sun went under I was plowing prairie yet,
  Till my Mollie blew the old tin horn for tea.

And the lazy, lousy “Injuns” came a-loafing round the lake,
  And a-begging for a bone or bit of bread;
And the sneaking thieves would steal whatever they could take—­
  From the very house where they were kindly fed.

O the eastern preachers preach, and the long-haired poets sing
  Of the “noble braves” and “dusky maidens fair;”
But if they had pioneered ’twould have been another thing
  When the “Injuns” got a-hankering for their “hair.”

Page 119

Often when we lay in bed in the middle of the night,
  How the prairie-wolves would howl their jubilee! 
Then Mollie she would waken in a shiver and a fright,
  Clasp our baby-pet and snuggle up to me.

There were hardships you may guess, and enough of weary toil
  For the first few years, but then it was so grand
To see the corn and wheat waving o’er the virgin soil,
  And two stout and loving hearts went hand in hand.

But Mollie took the fever when our second babe was born,
  And she lay upon the bed as white as snow;
And my idle cultivator lay a rusting in the corn;
  And the doctor said poor Mollie she must go.

Now I never prayed before, but I fell upon my knees,
  And I prayed as never any preacher prayed;
And Mollie always said that it broke the fell disease;
  And I truly think the Lord He sent us aid: 

For the fever it was broken, and she took a bit of food,
  And O then I went upon my knees again;
And I never cried before,—­and I never thought I could,—­
  But my tears they fell upon her hand like rain.

And I think the Lord has blessed us ever since I prayed the prayer,
  For my crops have never wanted rain or dew: 
And Mollie often said in the days of debt and care,
  “Don’t you worry, John, the Lord will help us through.”

For the “pesky,” painted Sioux, in the fall of ’sixty-two,
  Came a-whooping on their ponies o’er the plain,
And they killed my pigs and cattle, and I tell you it looked “blue,”
  When they danced around my blazing stacks of grain.

And the settlers mostly fled, but I didn’t have a chance,
  So I caught my hunting-rifle long and true,
And Mollie poured the powder while I made the devils dance,
  To a tune that made ’em jump and tumble, too.

And they fired upon the cabin; ’twas as good as any fort,
  But the “beauties” wouldn’t give us any rest;
For they skulked and blazed away, and I didn’t call it sport,
  For I had to do my very “level best.”

Now they don’t call me a coward, but my Mollie she’s a “brick;”
  For she chucked the children down the cellar-way,
And she never flinched a hair tho’ the bullets pattered thick,
  And we held the “painted beauties” well at bay.

But once when I was aiming, a bullet grazed my head,
  And it cut the scalp and made the air look blue;
Then Mollie straightened up like a soldier and she said: 
  “Never mind it, John, the Lord will help us through.”

And you bet it raised my “grit,” and I never flinched a bit,
  And my nerves they got as strong as steel or brass;
And when I fired again I was sure that I had hit,
  For I saw the skulking devil “claw the grass.”

Well, the fight was long and hot, and I got a charge of shot
  In the shoulder, but it never broke a bone;
And I never stopped to think whether I was hit or not
  Till we found our ammunition almost gone.

Page 120

But the “Rangers” came at last—­just as we were out of lead,—­
  And I thanked the Lord, and Mollie thanked Him, too;
Then she put her arms around my neck and sobbed and cried and said: 
  “Bless the Lord!—­I knew that He would help us through.”

And yonder on the hooks hangs that same old trusty gun,
  And above it—­I am sorry they’re so few—­
Hang the black and braided trophies[BX] yet that I and Mollie won
  In that same old bloody battle with the Sioux.

[BX] Scalp-locks.

Fifteen years have rolled away since I laid my knapsack down,
  And my prairie claim is now one field of grain;
And yonder down the lake loom the steeples of a town,
  And my flocks are feeding out upon the plain.

The old log-house is standing filled with bins of corn and wheat,
  And the cars they whistle past our cottage-home;
But my span of spanking trotters they are “just about” as fleet,
  And I wouldn’t give my farm to rule in Rome.

For Mollie and I are young yet, and monarchs, too, are we—­
  Of a “section” just as good as lies out-doors;
And the children are so happy (and Mollie and I have three)
  And we think that we can “lie upon our oars.”

[Illustration:  THE PIONEER]

So this summer we went back to the old home by the hill: 
  O the hills they were so rugged and so tall! 
And the lofty pines were gone but the rocks were all there still,
  And the valleys looked so crowded and so small;

And the dear familiar faces that I longed so much to see,
  Looked so strangely unfamiliar and so old,
That the land of hills and valleys was no more a home to me,
  And the river seemed a rivulet as it rolled.

So I gladly hastened back to the prairies of the West—­
  To the boundless fields of waving grass and corn;
And I love the lake-gemmed land where the wild-goose builds her nest,
  Far better than the land where I was born.

And I mean to lay my bones over yonder by the lake—­
  By and by when I have nothing else to do—­
And I’ll give the “chicks” the farm, and I know for Mollie’s sake,
  That the good and gracious Lord will help ’em through.


Le notte e madre dipensien.”

I tumble and toss on my pillow,
  As a ship without rudder or spars
Is tumbled and tossed on the billow,
  ’Neath the glint and the glory of stars. 
’Tis midnight and moonlight, and slumber
  Has hushed every heart but my own;
O why are these thoughts without number
  Sent to me by the man in the moon?

Thoughts of the Here and Hereafter,—­
  Thoughts all unbidden to come,—­
Thoughts that are echoes of laughter—­
  Thoughts that are ghosts from the tomb,—­
Thoughts that are sweet as wild honey,—­
  Thoughts that are bitter as gall,—­
Thoughts to be coined into money,—­
  Thoughts of no value at all.

Page 121

Dreams that are tangled like wild-wood,
  A hint creeping in like a hare;
Visions of innocent childhood,—­
  Glimpses of pleasure and care;
Brave thoughts that flash like a saber,—­
  Cowards that crouch as they come,—­
Thoughts of sweet love and sweet labor
  In the fields at the old cottage-home.

Visions of maize and of meadow,
  Songs of the birds and the brooks,
Glimpses of sunshine and shadow,
  Of hills and the vine-covered nooks;
Dreams that were dreams of a lover,—­
  A face like the blushing of morn,—­
Hum of bees and the sweet scent of clover
  And a bare-headed girl in the corn.

Hopes that went down in the battle,
  Apples that crumbled to dust,—­
Manna for rogues, and the rattle
  Of hail-storms that fall on the just. 
The “shoddy” that lolls in her chariot,—­
  Maud Muller at work in the grass: 
Here a silver-bribed Judas Iscariot,—­
  There—­Leonidas dead in the pass.

Commingled the good and the evil;
  Sown together the wheat and the tares;
In the heart of the wheat is the weevil;
  There is joy in the midst of our cares. 
The past,—­shall we stop to regret it? 
  What is,—­shall we falter and fall? 
If the envious wrong thee, forget it;
  Let thy charity cover them all.

The cock hails the morn, and the rumble
  Of wheels is abroad in the streets,
Still I tumble and mumble and grumble
  At the fleas in my ears and—­the sheets;
Mumble and grumble and tumble
  Till the buzz of the bees is no more;
In a jumble I mumble and drumble
  And tumble off—­into a snore.


[Written at the grave of an old friend.]

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?

Joy was there in the spring-time and hope like a blossoming rose,
When the wine-blood of youth ran tingling and throbbing in every vein;
Chirrup of robin and blue-bird in the white-blossomed apple and pear;
Carpets of green on the meadows spangled with dandelions;
Lowing of kine in the valleys, bleating of lambs on the hills;
Babble of brooks and the prattle of fountains that flashed in the sun;
Glad, merry voices, ripples of laughter, snatches of music and song,
And blue-eyed girls in the gardens that blushed like the roses they wore.

And life was a pleasure unvexed, unmingled with sorrow and pain? 
A round of delight from the blink of morn
          till the moon rose laughing at night? 
Nay, there were cares and cankers—­envy and hunger and hate;
Death and disease in the pith of the limbs,
          in the root and the bud and the branch;
Dry-rot, alas, at the heart, and a canker-worm gnawing therein.

Page 122

The summer of life came on with its heat and its struggle and toil,
Sweat of the brow and the soul, throbbing of muscle and brain,
Toil and moil and grapple with Fortune clutched as she flew—­
Only a shred of her robe, and a brave heart baffled and bowed! 
Stern-visaged Fate with a hand of iron uplifted to fell;
The secret stab of a friend that stung like the sting of an asp,
Wringing red drops from the soul and a stifled moan of despair;
The loose lips of gossip and then—­a storm of slander and lies,
Till Justice was blind as a bat and deaf to the cries of the just,
And Mercy, wrapped up in her robe, stood by like a statue in stone.

Sear autumn followed the summer with frost and the falling of leaves
And red-ripe apples that blushed on the hills in the orchard of peace: 
Red-ripe apples, alas, with worms writhing down to the core,
Apples of ashes and fungus that fell into rot at a touch;
Clusters of grapes in the garden blighted and sour on the vines;
Wheat-fields that waved in the valley and promised a harvest of gold,
Thrashing but chaff and weevil or cockle and shriveled cheat. 
Fair was the promise of spring-time; the harvest a harvest of lies: 
Fair was the promise of summer with Fortune clutched by the robe;
Fair was the promise of autumn—­a hollow harlot in red,
A withered rose at her girdle and the thorns of the rose in her hand.

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? 
Dead Ashes, what do you care if it storm, if it shine, if it shower? 
Hail-storm, tornado or tempest, or the blinding blizzard of snow,
Or the mid-May showers on the blossoms with the glad sun blinking between,
Dead Ashes, what do you care?—­they break not the sleep of the dead.

Proud stands the ship to the sea, fair breezes belly her sails;
Strong masted, stanch in her shrouds, stanch in her beams and her bones;
Bound for Hesperian isles—­for the isles of the plantain and palm,
Hope walks her deck with a smile and Confidence stands at the helm;
Proudly she turns to the sea and walks like a queen on the waves. 
Caught in the grasp of the tempest, lashed by the fiends of the storm,
Torn into shreds are her sails, tumbled her masts to the main;
Rudderless, rolling she drives and groans in the grasp of the sea;
Harbor or hope there is none; she goes to her grave in the brine: 
Dead in the fathomless slime lie the bones of the ship and her crew. 
Such was the promise of life; so is the promise fulfilled.

Page 123

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.


[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.

Page 124

I sit once more on breezy shore, at sunset in this glorious June,
I hear the dip of gleaming oar, I list the singers’ merry tune. 
Beneath my feet the waters beat, and ripple on the polished stones,
The squirrel chatters from his seat; the bag-pipe beetle hums and drones. 
The pink and gold in blooming wold,—­the green hills mirrored in the lake! 
The deep, blue waters, zephyr-rolled, along the murmuring pebbles break. 
The maples screen the ferns, and lean the leafy lindens o’er the deep;
The sapphire, set in emerald green, lies like an Orient gem asleep. 
The crimson west glows
          like the breast of Rhuddin[CA] when he pipes in May,
As downward droops the sun to rest, and shadows gather on the bay. 
In amber sky the swallows fly and sail and circle o’er the deep;
The light-winged night-hawks whir and cry; the silver pike and salmon leap. 
The rising moon, o’er isle and dune, looks laughing down on lake and lea;
Weird o’er the waters shrills the loon; the high stars twinkle in the sea. 
From bank and hill the whippowil sends piping forth his flute-like notes,
And clear and shrill the answers trill from leafy isles and silver throats. 
The twinkling light on cape and height; the hum of voices on the shores;
The merry laughter on the night; the dip and plash of frolic oars,—­
These tell the tale.  On hill and dale the cities pour their gay and fair;
Along the sapphire lake they sail, and quaff like wine the balmy air. 
’Tis well.  Of yore from isle and shore
          the smoke of Indian teepees[CB] rose;
The hunter plied the silent oar; the forest lay in still repose. 
The moon-faced maid, in leafy glade, her warrior waited from the chase;
The nut-brown, naked children played, and chased the gopher on the grass. 
The dappled fawn on wooded lawn, peeped out upon the birch canoe,
Swift-gliding in the gray of dawn along the silent waters blue. 
In yonder tree the great Wanm-dee[CC] securely built her spacious nest;
The blast that swept the landlocked sea[CD]
          but rocked her clamorous babes to rest. 
By grassy mere the elk and deer gazed on the hunter as he came;
Nor fled with fear from bow or spear;—­
          “so wild were they that they were tame.” 
Ah, birch canoe, and hunter, too, have long forsaken lake and shore;
He bade his fathers’ bones adieu and turned away forevermore. 
But still, methinks, on dusky brinks the spirit of the warrior moves;
At crystal springs the hunter drinks, and nightly haunts the spot he loves. 
For oft at night I see the light of lodge-fires on the shadowy shores,
And hear the wail some maiden’s sprite above her slaughtered warrior pours. 
I hear the sob, on Spirit Knob,[BZ] of Indian mother o’er her child;
And on the midnight waters throb her low yun-he-he’s[CE] weird and wild: 
And sometimes, too, the light canoe glides like a shadow o’er the deep
At midnight when the moon is low, and all the shores are hushed in sleep. 
Alas,—­Alas!—­for all things pass; and we shall vanish too, as they;
We build our monuments of brass, and granite, but they waste away.

Page 125

[BZ] Spirit-Knob was a small hill upon a point in the lake in full view from Wayzata.  It is now washed away by the waves.  The spirit of a Dakota mother, whose only child was drowned in the lake during a storm many years ago, often wailed at midnight (so the Dakotas said), on this hill.  So they called it Wa-na-gee Pa-zo-dan—­Spirit-Knob. (Literally—­little hill of the spirit.)

[CA] The Welsh name for the robin.


[CB] Lodges.

[CC] Wanm-dee—­the war-eagle of the Dakotas.

[CD] Lake Superior.

[CE] Pronounced Yoon-hay-hay—­the exclamation used by Dakota women in their lament for the dead, and equivalent to “woe-is-me.”


White-haired and hoary-bearded, who art thou That speedest on, albeit bent with age, Even as a youth that followeth after dreams?  Whence are thy feet, and whither trends thy way?

Stayed not his hurried steps, but as he passed
His low, hoarse answer fell upon the wind: 
“Go thou and question yonder mountain-peaks;
Go thou and ask the hoary-heaving main;—­
Nay, if thou wilt, the great, globed, silent stars
That sail innumerable the shoreless sea,
And let the eldest answer if he may. 
Lo the unnumbered myriad, myriad worlds
Rolling around innumerable suns,
Through all the boundless, bottomless abyss,
Are but as grains of sand upwhirled and flung
By roaring winds and scattered on the sea. 
I have beheld them and my hand hath sown.

“Far-twinkling faint through dim, immeasured depths,
Behold Alcyone—­a grander sun. 
Round him thy solar orb with all his brood
Glimmering revolves.  Lo from yon mightier sphere
Light, flying faster than the thoughts of men,
Swift as the lightnings cleave the glowering storm,
Shot on and on through dim, ethereal space,
Ere yet it touched thy little orb of Earth,
Five hundred cycles of thy world and more. 
Round him thy Sun, obedient to his power,
Thrice tenfold swifter than the swiftest wing,
His aeon-orbit, million-yeared and vast,
Wheels through the void.  Him flaming I beheld
When first he flashed from out his central fire—­
A mightier orb beyond thine utmost ken. 
Round upon round innumerable hath swung
Thy sun upon his circuit; grander still
His vaster orbit far Alcyone
Wheels and obeys the mightier orb unseen.

“Seest thou yon star-paved pathway like an arch
Athwart thy welkin?—­wondrous zone of stars,
Dim in the distance circling one huge sun,
To whom thy sun is but a spark of fire—­
To whom thine Earth is but a grain of dust: 
Glimmering around him myriad suns revolve
And worlds innumerable as sea-beach sands. 
Ere on yon Via Lactea rolled one star
Lo I was there and trode the mighty round;
Yea, ere the central orb was fired and hung

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A lamp to light the chaos.  Star on star,
System on system, myriad worlds on worlds,
Beyond the utmost reach of mortal ken,
Beyond the utmost flight of mortal dream,
Yet have mine eyes beheld the birth of all. 
But whence I am I know not.  We are three—­
Known, yet unknown—­unfathomable to man,
Time, Space, and Matter pregnant with all life,
Immortals older than the oldest orb. 
We were and are forever:  out of us
Are all things—­suns and satellites, midge and man. 
Worlds wax and wane, suns flame and glow and die;
Through shoreless space their scattered ashes float,
Unite, cohere, and wax to worlds again,
Changing, yet changless—­new, but ever old—­
No atom lost and not one atom gained,
Though fire to vapor melt the adamant,
Or feldspar fall in drops of summer rain. 
And in the atoms sleep the germs of life,
Myriad and multiform and marvelous,
Throughout all vast, immeasurable space,
In every grain of dust, in every drop
Of water, waiting but the thermal touch. 
Yea, in the womb of nature slumber still
Wonders undreamed and forms beyond compare,
Minds that will cleave the chaos and unwind
The web of fate, and from the atom trace
The worlds, the suns, the universal law: 
And from the law, the Master; yea, and read
On yon grand starry scroll the Master’s will.”

Yea, but what Master?  Lift the veil, O Time! 
Where lie the bounds of Space and whither dwells
The Power unseen—­the infinite Unknown? 
Faint from afar the solemn answer fell: 

“AEon on aeon, cycles myriad-yeared,
Swifter than light out-flashing from the suns,
My flying feet have sought the bounds of space
And found not, nor the infinite Unknown. 
I see the Master only in his work: 
I see the Ruler only in his law: 
Time hath not touched the great All-father’s throne,
Whose voice unheard the Universe obeys,
Who breathes upon the deep and worlds are born. 
Worlds wax and wane, suns crumble into dust,
But matter pregnant with immortal life,
Since erst the white-haired centuries wheeled the vast,
Hath lost nor gained.  Who made it, and who made
The Maker?  Out of nothing, nothing.  Lo
The worm that crawls from out the sun-touched sand,
What knows he of the huge, round, rolling Earth? 
Yet more than thou of all the vast Beyond,
Or ever wilt.  Content thee; let it be: 
Know only this—­there is a Power unknown—­
Master of life and Maker of the worlds.”


On the death of Captain Hiram A. Coats, my old schoolmate and friend.

Dead? or is it a dream—­
Only the voice of a dream? 
Dead in the prime of his years,
And laid in the lap of the dust;
Only a handful of ashes
Moldering down into dust.

Page 127

Strong and manly was he,
Strong and tender and true;
Proud in the prime of his years;
Strong in the strength of the just: 
A heart that was half a lion’s,
And half the heart of a girl;
Tender to all that was tender,
And true to all that was true;
Bold in the battle of life,
And bold on the bloody field;
First at the call of his country,
First in the front of the foe. 
Hope of the years was his—­
The golden and garnered sheaves;
Fair on the hills of autumn
Reddened the apples of peace.

Dead? or is it a dream? 
Dead in the prime of his years,
And laid in the lap of the dust.

Aye, it is but a dream;
For the life of man is a dream: 
Dead in the prime of his years
And laid in the lap of the dust;
Only a handful of ashes
Moldering down into dust.

Only a handful of ashes
Moldering down into dust? 
Aye, but what of the breath
Blown out of the bosom of God? 
What of the spirit that breathed
And burned in the temple of clay? 
Dust unto dust returns;
The dew-drop returns to the sea;
The flash from the flint and the steel
Returns to its source in the sun. 
Change cometh forever-and-aye,
But forever nothing is lost—­
The dew-drop that sinks in the sand,
Nor the sunbeam that falls in the sea. 
Ah, life is only a link
In the endless chain of change. 
Death giveth the dust to the dust
And the soul to the infinite soul: 
For aye since the morning of man—­

Since the human rose up from the brute—­
Hath Hope, like a beacon of light,
Like a star in the rift of the storm,
Been writ by the finger of God
On the longing hearts of men. 
O follow no goblin fear;
O cringe to no cruel creed;
Nor chase the shadow of doubt
Till the brain runs mad with despair. 
Stretch forth thy hand, O man,
To the winds and the quaking earth—­
To the heaving and falling sea—­
To the ultimate stars and feel
The throb of the spirit of God—­
The pulse of the Universe.



[NOTE.—­The great Sioux massacre in Minnesota commenced at the Agency village, on the Minnesota River, early in the morning of the 16th day of August, 1862, precipitated, doubtless, by the murders at Acton on the day previous.  The massacre and the Indian war that followed developed many brave men, but no truer hero than Mauley, an obscure Frenchman, the ferry-man at the Agency.  Continually under fire, he resolutely ran his ferry-boat back and forth across the river, affording the terror-stricken people the only chance for escape.  He was shot down on his boat just as he had landed on the opposite shore the last of those who fled from the burning village to the ferry-landing.  The Indians disemboweled his dead body, cut off the head, hands and feet and thrust them into the cavity.  See Heard’s Hist.  Sioux War, p 67.]

Page 128

Crouching in the early morning,
Came the swarth and naked “Sioux;"[CF]
On the village, without warning,
Fell the sudden, savage blow. 
Horrid yell and crack of rifle
Mingle as the flames arise;—­
With the tomahawk they stifle
Mothers’ wails and children’s cries. 
Men and women to the ferry
Fly from many a blazing cot;—­
Brave and ready—­grim and steady,
Mauley mans the ferry-boat.

Can they cross the ambushed river? 
’Tis for life the only chance;
Only this may some deliver
From the scalping-knife and lance. 
Through the throng of wailing women
Frantic men in terror burst;—­
“Back, ye cowards!” thundered Mauley,—­
“I will take the women first!”
Then with brawny arms and lever
Back the craven men he smote. 
Brave and ready—­grim and steady,
Mauley mans the ferry-boat.

To and fro across the river
Plies the little mercy-craft,
While from ambushed gun and quiver
On it falls the fatal shaft. 
Trembling from the burning village,
Still the terror-stricken fly,
For the Indians’ love of pillage
Stays the bloody tragedy. 
At the windlass-bar bare-headed—­
Bare his brawny arms and throat—­
Brave and ready—­grim and steady,
Mauley mans the ferry-boat.

Hark!—­a sudden burst of war-whoops! 
They are bent on murder now;
Down the ferry-road they rally,
Led by furious Little Crow. 
Frantic mothers clasp their children,
And the help of God implore;
Frantic men leap in the river
Ere the boat can reach the shore. 
Mauley helps the weak and wounded
Till the last soul is afloat;—­
Brave and ready—­grim and steady,
Mauley mans the ferry-boat.

Speed the craft!—­The fierce Dakotas
Whoop and hasten to the shore,
And a shower of shot and arrows
On the crowded boat they pour. 
Fast it floats across the river,
Managed by the master hand,
Laden with a freight so precious,—­
God be thanked!—­it reaches land. 
Where is Mauley—­grim and steady,
Shall his brave deed be forgot? 
Grasping still the windlass-lever,
Dead he lies upon the boat.

[CF] Pronounced Soo; a name given to the Dakotas in early days by the French traders.



Man is a creature of a thousand whims;
The slave of hope and fear and circumstance. 
Through toil and martyrdom a million years
Struggling and groping upward from the brute,
And ever dragging still the brutish chains,
And ever slipping backward to the brute. 
Shall he not break the galling, brazen bonds
That bind him writhing on the wheel of fate? 
Long ages groveling with his brother brutes,
He plucked the tree of knowledge and uprose
And walked erect—­a god; but died the death: 
For knowledge brings but sadness and unrest

Page 129

Forever, insatiate longing and regret. 
Behold the brute’s unerring instinct guides
True as the pole-star, while man’s reason leads
How oft to quicksands and the hidden reefs! 
Contented brute, his daily wants how few! 
And these by Nature’s mother-hand supplied. 
Man’s wants unnumbered and unsatisfied,
And multiplied at every onward step—­
Insatiate as the cavernous maw of time. 
His real wants how simple and how few! 
Behold the kine in yonder pasture-field
Cropping the clover, or in rest reclined,
Chewing meek-eyed the cud of sweet content. 
Ambition plagues them not, nor hope, nor fear;
No demons fright them and no cruel creeds;
No pangs of disappointment or remorse. 
See man the picture of perpetual want,
The prototype of all disquietude;
Full of trouble, yet ever seeking more;
Between the upper and the nether stone
Ground and forever in the mill of fate. 
Nature and art combine to clothe his form,
To feed his fancy and to fill his maw;
And yet the more they give the more he craves. 
Give him the gold of Ophir, still he delves;
Give him the land, and he demands the sea;
Give him the earth—­he reaches for the stars. 
Doomed by his fate to scorn the good he has
And grasp at fancied good beyond his reach,
He seeks for silver in the distant hills
While in the sand gold glitters at his feet.

O man, thy wisdom is but folly still;
Wiser the brute and full of sweet content. 
The wit and wisdom of five thousand years—­What
are they but the husks we feed upon,
While beast and bird devour the golden grain? 
Lo for the brutes dame Nature sows and tills;
For them the Tuba-tree of Paradise
Bends with its bounties free and manifold;
For them the fabled fountain Salsabil,
Gushes pure wine that sparkles as it runs,
And fair Al Cawthar flows with creamy milk. 
But man, forever doomed to toil and sweat,
Digs the hard earth and casts his seeds therein,
And hopes the harvest;—­how oft he hopes in vain! 
Weeds choke, winds blast, and myriad pests devour,
The hot sun withers and the floods destroy. 
Unceasing labor, vigilance and care
Reward him here and there with bounteous store. 
Had man the blessed wisdom of content,
Happy were he—­as wise Horatius sung—­
To whom God gives enough with sparing hand. 
Of all the crops by sighing mortals sown,
And watered with man’s sweat and woman’s tears,
There is but only one that never fails
In drouth or flood, on fat or flinty soil,
On Nilus’ banks or Scandia’s stony hills—­
The plenteous, never-stinted crop of fools. 
So hath it been since erst aspiring man
Broke from the brute and plucked the fatal tree,
And will be till eternity grows gray.

Page 130

Princes and parasites comprise mankind: 
To one wise prince a million parasites;
The most uncommon thing is common-sense;
A truly wise man is a freak of nature. 
The herd are parasites of parasites
That blindly follow priest or demagogue,
Himself blind leader of the blind.  The wise
Weigh words, but by the yard fools measure them. 
The wise beginneth at the end; the fool
Ends at the beginning, or begins anew: 
Aye, every ditch is full of after-wit. 
Folly sows broad cast; Wisdom gathers in,
And so the wise man fattens on the fool,
And from the follies of the foolish learns
Wisdom to guide himself and bridle them. 
“To-morrow I made my fortune,” cries the fool,
“To-day I’ll spend it.”  Thus will Folly eat
His chicken ere the hen hath laid the egg. 
So Folly blossoms with promises all the year—­
Promises that bud and blossom but to blast. 
“All men are fools,” said Socrates, the wise,
And in the broader sense I grant it true,
For even Socrates had his Xanthipp’. 
Whose head is wise oft hath a foolish heart;
The wisest has more follies than he needs;
Wisdom and madness, too, are near akin. 
The marrow-maddening canker-worm of love
Feeds on the brains of wise men as on fools’.

The wise man gathers wisdom from all men
As bees their honey hive from plant and weed. 
Yea, from the varied history of the world,
From the experience of all times, all men,
The wise man learneth wisdom.  Folly learns
From his own bruises if he learns at all. 
The fool—­born wise—­what need hath he to learn? 
He needs but gabble wisdom to the world: 
Grill him on a gridiron and he gabbles still.

Wise men there are—­wise in the eyes of men—­
Who cram their hollow heads with ancient wit
Cackled in Carthage, babbled in Babylon,
Gabbled in Greece and riddled in old Rome,
And never coin a farthing of their own. 
Wise men there are—­for owls are counted wise—­
Who love to leave the lamp-lit paths behind,
And chase the shapeless shadow of a doubt. 
Too wise to learn, too wise to see the truth,
E’en though it glow and sparkle like a gem
On God’s outstretched forefinger for all time. 
These have one argument, and only one,
For good or evil, earth or jeweled heaven—­
The olden, owlish argument of doubt. 
Ah, he alone is wise who ever stands
Armed cap-a-pie with God’s eternal truth. 
Where Grex is Rex God help the hapless land. 
The yelping curs that bay the rising moon
Are not more clamorous, and the fitful winds
Not more inconstant.  List the croaking frogs
That raise their heads in fen or stagnant pool,
Shouting at eve their wisdom from the mud. 
Beside the braying, bleating, bellowing mob,
Their jarring discords are sweet harmony. 
The headless herd are but a noise of wind;
Sometimes, alas, the wild tornado’s roar. 

Page 131

As full of freaks as curs are full of fleas,
Like gnats they swarm, like flies they buzz and breed. 
Thought works in silence:  Wisdom stops to think. 
No ass so obstinate as ignorance. 
Oft as they seize the ship of state, behold—­
Overboard goes all ballast and they crowd
To blast or breeze or hurricane full sail,
Each dunce a pilot and a captain too. 
How often cross-eyed Justice hits amiss! 
Doomed by Athenian mobs to banishment,
See Aristides leave the land he saved: 
Wisdom his fault and justice his offense. 
See Caesar crowned a god and Tully slain;
See Paris red with riot and noble blood,
A king beheaded and a monster throned,—­
King Drone, flat fool that weather-cocked all winds,
Gulped gall and vinegar and smacked it wine,
Wig-wagged his way from gilded Oeil de Boeuf
Through mob and maelstrom to the guillotine. 
Chateaus up-blazing torch the doom of France,
While human wolves howl ruin round their walls. 
Contention hisses from a million mouths,
And from ten thousand muttering craters smokes
The smell of sulphur.  Gaul becomes a ghoul;
While Parlez-Tous in hot palaver holds
Hubbub ad Bedlam—­Pandemonium thriced. 
There, voices drowning voice with frantic cries,
Discord demented flaps her ruffled wings
And shrieks delirium to her screeching brood. 
Sneer-lipped, hawk-eyed, wolf-tongued oraculars—­
Wise-wigs, Girondins, frothing Jacobins—­
Reason to madness run, tongues venom-tanged—­
Howl chaos all with one united throat. 
Maelstrom of madness, lazar-howled, hag-shrilled! 
Quack quackles quack; all doctors disagree,
While Doctor Guillotine’s huge scalpel heads
Hell-dogs beheading helpless innocents. 
The very babes bark rabies.  Journalism,
Moon-mad, green-eyed, hound-scented, lupus-tongued
On howls the pack and smells her bread in blood.

O Tempus ferax insanorum, Heu!
Physicked with metaphysics, pamphleteered
Into paroxysms, bruited into brutes. 
And metamorphosed into murder, lo
Men lapse to savagery and turn to beasts. 
Hell-broth hag-boiled:  a mad Theroigne is queen—­
Mounts to the brazen throne of Harlotdom,
Queen of the cursed, and flares her cannon-torch. 
Watch-wolves, lean-jawed, fore-smelling feast of blood,
In packs on Paris howl from farthest France. 
Discord demented bursts the bounds of Dis;
Mad Murder raves and Horror holds her hell. 
Hades up-heaves her whelps.  In human forms
Up-flare the Furies, serpent-haired and grin
Horrid with bloody jaws.  Scaled reptiles crawl
From slum and sewer, slimy, coil on coil—­
Danton, dark beast, that builded for himself
A monument of quicksand limed with blood;
Horse-leech Marat, blear-eyed, vile vulture born;
Fair Charlotte’s dagger robbed the guillotine! 
Black-biled, green-visaged, traitorous Robespierre,

Page 132

That buzzard-beaked, hawk-taloned octopus
Who played with pale poltroonery of men,
And drank the cup of flattery till he reeled;
Hell’s pope uncrowned, immortal for a day. 
Tinville, relentless dog of murder-plot—­
Doom-judge whose trembling victims were foredoomed;
Maillard who sucked his milk from Murder’s dugs,
Twin-whelp to Theroigne, captain of the hags;
Jourdan, red-grizzled mule-son blotched with blood,
Headsman forever “famous-infamous;”
Keen, hag-whelped journalist Camille Desmoulins,
Who with a hundred other of his ilk
Hissed on the hounds and smeared his bread with blood;
Lebon, man-fiend, that vampire-ghoul who drank
Hot blood of headless victims, and compelled
Mothers to view the murder of their babes;
At whose red guillotine, in Arras raised,
The pipe and fiddle played at every fall
Of ghastly head the ribald “Ca Ira;”
And fiends unnamed and nameless brutes untaled.

Petticoat-patriots sans bas, and Sans-culottes,
Rampant in rags and hunger-toothed uproar
Paris the proud.  With Jacobin clubs they club
The head of France till all her brains are out. 
Hired murder hunts in packs.  Men murder-mad
Slay for the love of murder.  Gloomy night,
Hiding her stars lest they in pity fall,
Beholds a thousand guiltless, trembling souls—­
Men, women, children—­forth from prisons flung
In flare of torch and glare of demon eyes,
Among the howling wolves and lazar-hags,
Crying for mercy where no mercy is,
Hewed down in heaps by bloody ax and pike. 
From their grim battlements the imps of hell
Indignant hissed and damped their fires with tears;
And Manhood from the watch-towers of the world
Cried in the name of Human Nature—­“Hold!”
As well the drifting snail might strive to still
The volcan-heaved, storm-struck, moon-maddened sea. 
Blood-frenzied beasts demand their feast of blood.
"Liberty—­Equality—­Fraternity!"—­the cry
Of blood-hounds baying on the track of babes. 
Queen innocent beheaded—­mother-queen! 
And queenly Roland—­Nature’s queenly queen! 
Aye, at the foot of bloody guillotine
She stood a heroine:  before her loomed
The Goddess of Liberty—­in statue-stone. 
Queen Roland saw, and spake the words that ring
Along the centuries—­"O Liberty! 
What crimes are committed in thy name!"
—­and died. 
And when the headsman raised her severed head
To hell-dogs shouting "Vive la Liberte,"
Godlike disdain still sparkled in her eyes. 
Grim Hell herself in pity stood aghast,
Clanged shut her doors and stopped her ears with pitch.

Page 133

See the wise ruler—­father of Brazil,
Who struck the shackles from a million slaves,
Whose reign was peace and love and gentleness,
Despoiled and driven from the land he loves. 
See jealous Labor strike the hand that feeds,
And burn the mills that grind his daily bread;
Yea, in blind rage denounce the very laws
That shield his home from Europe’s pauperdom. 
See the grieved farmer raise his horny hand
And splutter garlic.  Hear the demagogues
Fist-maul the wind and weather-cock the crowd,
With brazen foreheads full of empty noise
Out-bellowing the bulls of Bashan; and behold
Shrill, wrinkled Amazons in high harangue
Stamp their flat feet and gnash their toothless gums,
And flaunt their petticoat-flag of “Liberty.” 
Hear the old bandogs of the Daily Press,
Chained to their party posts, or fetter-free
And running amuck against old party creeds,
On-howl their packs and glory in the fight. 
See mangy curs, whose editorial ears
Prick to all winds to catch the popular breeze,
Slang-whanging yelp, and froth and snap and snarl,
And sniff the gutters for their daily food. 
And these—­are they our prophets and our priests? 
Hurra!—­Hurra!—­Hurra!—­for “Liberty!”
Flaunt the red flag and flutter the petticoat;
Ran-tan the drums and let the bugles bray,
The eagle scream and sixty million throats
Sing Yankee-doodle—­Yankee-doodle-doo.

The state is sick and every fool a quack
Running with pills and plasters and sure-cures,
And every pill and package labelled Ism
See Liberty run mad, and Anarchy,
Bearing the torch, the dagger and the bomb
Red-mouthed run riot in her sacred name
Hear mobs of idlers cry—­"Equality! 
Let all men share alike:  divide, divide!"

Butting their heads against the granite rocks
Of Nature and the eternal laws of God. 
Pull down the toiler, lift the idler up! 
Despoil the frugal, crown the negligent! 
Offer rewards to idleness and crime! 
And pay a premium for improvidence! 
Fools, can your wolfish cries repeal the laws
Of God engraven on the granite hills,
Written in every Wrinkle of the earth,
On every plain, on every mountain-top,—­
Nay, blazened o’er all the boundless Universe
On every jewel that sparkles on God’s throne? 
And can ye rectify God’s mighty plan? 
O pygmies, can ye measure God himself? 
Aye, would ye measure God’s almighty power,
Go—­crack Earth’s bones and heave the granite hills;
Measure the ocean in a drinking-cup;
Measure Eternity by the town-clock;
Nay, with a yard-stick measure the Universe: 
Measure for measure.  Measure God by man! 
“Fools to the midmost marrow of your bones!”
O buzzing flies and gnats!  Ye cannot strike
One little atom from God’s Universe,
Or warp the laws of Nature by a hair!

Page 134

His loving eye sees through all evil good. 
Man’s life is but a breath; but lo with Him
To-day, to-morrow, yesterday, are one
One in the cycle of eternal time
That hath beginning none, nor any end. 
The Earth revolving round her sire, the Sun,
Measures the flying year of mortal man,
But who shall measure God’s eternal year? 
The unbegotten, everlasting God;
Unmade, eternal, all-pervading power;
Center and source of all things, high and low,
Maker and master of the Universe—­
Ah, nay, the mighty Universe itself! 
All things in nature bear God’s signature
So plainly writ that he who runs may read. 
We know not what life is; how may we know
Death—­what it is, or what may lie beyond? 
Whoso forgets his God forgets himself.

Let me not blindly judge my brother man: 
There is but one just judge; there is but one
Who knows the hearts of men.  Him let us praise—­
Not with blind prayer, or idle, sounding psalms—­
But let us daily in our daily works,
Praise God by righteous deeds and brother-love. 
Go forth into the forest and observe—­
For men believe their eyes and doubt their ears—­
The creeping vine, the shrub, the lowly bush,
The dwarfed and stunted trees, the bent and bowed,
And here and there a lordly oak or elm,
And o’er them all a tall and princely pine. 
All struggle upward, but the many fail;
The low dwarfed by the shadows of the great,
The stronger basking in the genial sun. 
Observe the myriad fishes of the seas—­
The mammoths and the minnows of the deep. 
Behold the eagle and the little wren,
The condor on his cliff, the pigeon-hawk,
The teal, the coot, the broad-winged albatross. 
Turn to the beasts in forest and in field—­
The lion, the lynx, the mammoth and the mouse,
The sheep, the goat, the bullock and the horse,
The fierce gorillas and the chattering apes—­
Progenitors and prototypes of man. 
Not only differences in genera find,
But grades in every kind and every class.

I would not doom to serfdom or to toil
One race, one caste, one class, or any man: 
Give every honest man an honest chance;
Protect alike the rich man and the poor;
Let not the toiler live upon a crust
While Croesus’ bread is buttered on both sides.

O people’s king and shepherd, throned Law,
Strike down the monsters of Monopoly. 
Lift up thy club, O mighty Hercules! 
Behold thy “Labors” yet unfinished are: 
Tear off thy Nessus shirt and bare thine arms. 
The Numean lion fattens on our flocks;
The Lernean Hydra coils around our farms,
Our towns, our mills, our mines, our factories;
The triple monster Geryon lives again,
Grown quadruple, and over all our plains
And thousand hills his fattening oxen feed. 
Stymphalean buzzards ravage round our fields;
The Augean stables reeking stench the land;
The hundred-headed monster Cerberus,

Page 135

That throttled Greece and ravaged hapless France,
Hath broke from hell and howls for human blood. 
Lift up thy knotted club, O Hercules! 
Strike swift and sure:  crush down the Hydra’s heads;
Throttle the Numean lion:  strike! nor spare
The monster Geryon or the buzzard-beaks. 
Clean the Augean stables if thou can’st;
But hurl the hundred-headed monster down
Headlong to Hades:  chain him; make thee sure
He shall not burst the bonds of hell again.

To you, O chosen makers of the laws,
The nation looks—­and shall it look in vain? 
Will ye sit idle, or in idle wind
Blow out your zeal, and crack your party whips,
Or drivel dotage, while the crisis cries—­
While all around the dark horizon loom
Clouds thunder-capped that bode a hurricane? 
Sleep ye as slept the “Notables” of France,
While under them an hundred AEtnas hissed
And spluttered sulphur, gathering for the shock? 
Be ye our Hercules—­and Lynceus-eyed: 
Still ye the storm or ere the storm begin—­
Ere “Liberty” take Justice by the throat,
And run moon-mad a Malay murder-muck,
Throttle the “Trusts”, and crush the coils combined
That crack our bones and fatten on our fields. 
Strike down the hissing heads of Anarchy: 
Strike swift and hard, nor parley with the fiend
Mothered of hell and father of all fiends—­
Fell monster with an hundred bloody mouths,
And every mouth an hundred hissing tongues,
And every tongue drips venom from his fangs.

Protect the toiling millions by just laws;
Let honest labor find its sure reward;
Let willing hands find work and honest bread. 
So frame the laws that every honest man
May find his home protected and his craft. 
Let Liberty and Order walk hand in hand
With Justice:  happy Trio! let them rule. 
Put up the bars:  bar out the pauper swarms
Alike from Asia’s huts and Europe’s hives. 
Let charity begin at home.  In vain
Will we bar out the swarms from Europe’s hives
And Asia’s countless lepers, if our ports
Are free to all the products of their hands. 
Put up the bars:  bar out the pauper hordes;
Bar out their products that compete with ours: 
Give honest toil at home an honest chance: 
Build up our own and keep our coin at home. 
In vain our mines pour forth their wealth of gold
And silver, if by every ship it sail
For London, Paris, Birmingham or Berlin.

We have been prodigal.  The days are past When virgin acres wanted willing hands, When fertile empires lay in wilderness Waiting the teeming millions of the world.  Lo where the Indian and the bison roamed—­Lords of the prairies boundless as the sea—­But twenty years ago, behold the change!  Homesteads and hamlets, flocks and lowing herds, Railways and cities, miles of rustling corn, And leagues on leagues of waving fields of gold.

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Let wise men teach and honest men proclaim
The mutual dependence of the rich and poor;
For if the wealthy profit by the poor,
The poor man profits ever by the rich. 
Wealth builds our churches and our colleges;
Wealth builds the mills that grind the million’s bread;
Wealth builds the factories that clothe the poor;
Wealth builds the railways and the million ride. 
God hath so willed the toiling millions reap
The golden harvest that the rich have sown. 
Six feet of earth make all men even; lo
The toilers are the rich man’s heirs at last. 
But there be men would grumble at their lot,
Even if it were a corner-lot on Broadway. 
We stand upon the shoulders of the past. 
Who knoweth not the past how may he know
The folly or the wisdom of to-day? 
For by comparison we weigh the good,
And by comparison all evil weigh. 
“What can we reason, but from what we know?”
Let honest men look back an hundred years—­
Nay, fifty, and behold the wondrous change. 
Where wooden tubs like sluggards sailed the sea,
Steam-ships of steel like greyhounds course the main;
Where lumbering coach and wain and wagon toiled
Through mud and mire and rut and rugged way,
The cushioned train a mile a minute flies. 
Then by slow coach the message went and came,
But now by lightning bridled to man’s use
We flash our silent thoughts from sea to sea;
Nay, under ocean’s depths from shore to shore;
And talk by telephone to distant ears. 
The dreams of yesterday are deeds to-day. 
Our frugal mothers spun with tedious toil,
And wove the homespun cloth for all their fold;
Their needles plied by weary fingers sewed. 
Behold, the humming factory spins and weaves,
The singing “Singer” sews with lightning speed. 
Our fathers sowed their little fields by hand,
And reaped with bended sickles and bent backs;
By hand they bound the sheaves of wheat and rye;
With flails they threshed and winnowed in the wind. 
Now by machines we sow and reap and bind;
By steam we thresh and sack the bounteous grain. 
These are but few of all the million ways
Whereby man’s toil is lightened and he hath gained
Tenfold in comfort, luxury and ease. 
For these and more the millions that enjoy
May thank the wise and wealthy few who gave. 
If the rich are richer the poor are richer too. 
A narrow demagogue I count the man
Who cries to-day—­"Progress and Poverty";
As if a thousand added comforts made
The poor man poorer and his lot the worse. 
’Tis but a new toot on the same old horn
That brayed in ancient Greece and Babylon,
And now amid the ruined walls of Rome
Lies buried fathoms deep in dead men’s dust.

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"Progress and Poverty!" Man, hast thou traced The blood that throbs commingled in thy veins?  Over thy shoulder hast thou cast a glance On thine old Celtic-Saxon-Norman sires—­ Huddled in squalid huts on beds of straw?  Barefooted churls swine-herding in the fens, Bare-legged cowherds in their cow-skin coats, Wearing the collars of their Thane or Eorl, His serfs, his slaves, even as thy dog is thine; Harried by hunger, pillaged, ravaged, slain, By Viking robbers and the warring Jarls;
Oft glad like hunted swine to fill their maws
With herbs and acorns. "Progress and Poverty!"
The humblest laborer in our mills or mines
Is royal Thane beside those slavish churls;
The frugal farmer in our land to-day
Lives better than their kings—­himself a king.

Lo every age refutes old errors still,
And still begets new errors for the next;
But all the creeds of politics or priests
Can’t make one error truth, one truth a lie. 
There is no religion higher than the truth;
Men make the creeds, but God ordains the law.

Above all cant, all arguments of men,
Above all superstitions, old or new,
Above all creeds of every age and clime,
Stands the eternal truth—­the creed of creeds.

Sweet is the lute to him who hath not heard
The prattle of his children at his knees: 
Ah, he is rich indeed whose humble home
Contains a frugal wife and sweet content.


I saw a light on yester-night—­
  A low light on the misty lea;
The stars were dim and silence grim
  Sat brooding on the sullen sea.

From out the silence came a voice—­
  A voice that thrilled me through and through,
And said, “Alas, is this your choice? 
  For he is false and I was true.”

And in my ears the passing years
  Will sadly whisper words of rue: 
Forget—­and yet—­can I forget
  That one was false and one was true?


Change is the order of the universe. 
Worlds wax and wane; suns die and stars are born. 
Two atoms of cosmic dust unite, cohere—­
And lo the building of a world begun. 
On all things—­high or low, or great or small—­
Earth, ocean, mountain, mammoth, midge and man,
On mind and matter—­lo perpetual change—­
God’s fiat—­stamped!  The very bones of man
Change as he grows from infancy to age. 
His loves, his hates, his tastes, his fancies, change. 
His blood and brawn demand a change of food;
His mind as well:  the sweetest harp of heaven
Were hateful if it played the selfsame tune
Forever, and the fairest flower that gems
The garden, if it bloomed throughout the year,
Would blush unsought.  The most delicious fruits
Pall on our palate if we taste too oft,
And Hyblan honey turns to bitter gall. 
Perpetual winter is a reign of gloom;

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Perpetual summer hardly pleases more. 
Behold the Esquimau—­the Hottentot: 
This doomed to regions of perpetual ice,
And that to constant summer’s heat and glow: 
Inferior both, both gloomy and unblessed. 
The home of happiness and plenty lies
Where autumn follows summer and the breath
Of spring melts into rills the winter’s snows. 
How gladly, after summer’s blazing suns,
We hail the autumn frosts and autumn fruits: 
How blithesome seems the fall of feathery snow
When winter comes with merry clang of bells: 
And after winter’s reign of ice and storm
How glad we hail the robins of the spring. 
For God hath planted in the hearts of men
The love of change, and sown the seeds of change
In earth and air and sea and shoreless space. 
Day follows night and night the dying day,
And every day—­and every hour—­is change;
From when on dewy hills the rising dawn
Sprinkles her mists of silver in the east,
Till in the west the golden dust up-wheels
Behind the chariot of the setting sun;
From when above the hills the evening star
Sparkles a diamond ’mong the grains of gold,
Until her last faint flicker on the sea. 
The voices of the hoar and hurrying years
Cry from the silence—­“Change!—­perpetual Change!”
Man’s heart responding throbs—­“Perpetual Change,”
And grinds like a mill-stone:  wanting grists of change
It grinds and grinds upon its troubled self.

Behold the flowers that spring and bloom and fade. 
Behold the blooming maid:  the song of larks
Is in her warbling throat; the blue of heaven
Is in her eyes; her loosened tresses fall
A shower of gold on shoulders tinged with rose;
Her form a seraph’s and her gladsome face
A benediction.  Lo beneath her feet
The loving crocus bursts in sudden bloom. 
Fawn-eyed and full of gentleness she moves—­
A sunbeam on the lawn.  The hearts of men
Follow her footsteps.  He whose sinewy arms
Might burst through bars of steel like bands of straw,
Caught in the net of her unloosened hair,
A helpless prisoner lies and loves his chains. 
Blow, ye soft winds, from sandal-shaded isle,
And bring the mogra’s breath and orange-bloom.

Fly, fleet-winged doves, to Ponce de Leon’s spring,
And in your bills bring her the pearls of youth;
For lo the fingers of relentless Time
Weave threads of silver in among the gold,
And seam her face with pain and carking care,
Till, bent and bowed, the shriveled hands of Death
Reach from the welcome grave and draw her in.


Hark, the storm is raging high;
  Beat the breakers on the coast,
And the wintry waters cry
  Like the wailing of a ghost.

On the rugged coast of Maine
  Stands the frugal farmer’s cot: 
What if drive the sleet and rain? 
  John and Hannah heed it not.

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On the hills the mad winds roar,
  And the tall pines toss and groan;
Round the headland—­down the shore—­
  Stormy spirits shriek and moan.

Inky darkness wraps the sky;
  Not a glimpse of moon or star;
And the stormy-petrels cry
  Out along the harbor-bar.

Seated by their blazing hearth—­
  John and Hannah—­snug and warm—­
What if darkness wrap the earth? 
  Drive the sleet and howl the storm!

Let the stormy-petrels fly! 
  Let the moaning breakers beat! 
Hark!  I hear an infant cry
  And the patter of baby-feet: 

And Hannah listened as she spoke,
  But only heard the driving rain,
As on the cottage-roof it broke
  And pattered on the window-pane.

And she sat knitting by the fire
  While pussy frolicked at her feet;
And ever roared the tempest higher,
  And ever harder the hailstones beat.

“Hark! the cry—­it comes again!”
  “Nay, it is the winds that wail,
And the patter on the pane
  Of the driving sleet and hail”

Replied the farmer as he piled
  The crackling hemlock on the coals,
And lit his corn-cob pipe and smiled
  The smile of sweet contented souls.

Aye, let the storm rave o’er the earth;
  Their kine are snug in barn and byre;
The apples sputter on the hearth,
  The cider simmers on the fire.

But once again at midnight high,
  She heard in dreams, through wind and sleet,
An infant moan, an infant cry,
  And the patter of baby-feet.

Half-waking from her dreams she turned
  And heard the driving wind and rain;
Still on the hearth the fagots burned,
  And hail beat on the window-pane.

John rose as wont, at dawn of day;
  The earth was white with frozen sleet;
And lo his faithful Fido lay
  Dead on the door-stone at his feet.


The day of truth is dawning.  I behold
O’er darksome hills the trailing robes of gold
And silent footsteps of the gladsome dawn. 
The morning breaks by sages long foretold;
Truth comes to set upon the world her throne. 
Men lift their foreheads to the rising sun,
And lo the reign of Reason is begun. 
Fantastic phantasms fly before the light—­
Pale, gibbering ghosts and ghouls and goblin fears: 
Man who hath walked in sleep—­what thousands years? 
Groping among the shadows of the night,
Moon-struck and in a weird somnambulism,
Mumbling some cunning cant or catechism,
Thrilled by the electric magic of the skies—­
Sun-touched by Truth—­awakes and rubs his eyes.

Old Superstition, mother of cruel creeds,
O’er all the earth hath sown her dragon-teeth. 
Lo centuries on centuries the seeds
Grew rank, and from them all the haggard breeds
Of Hate and Fear and Hell and cruel Death. 
And still her sunken eyes glare on mankind;
Her livid lips grin horrible; her hands,
Shriveled to bone and sinew, clutch all lands
And with blind fear lead on or drive the blind. 
Ah ignorance and fear go hand in hand,
Twin-born, and broadcast scatter hate and thorns,
They people earth with ghosts and hell with horns,
And sear the eyes of truth with burning brand.

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Behold, the serried ranks of Truth advance,
And stubborn Science shakes her shining lance
Full in the face of stolid Ignorance. 
But Superstition is a monster still—­
An Hydra we may scotch but hardly kill;
For if with sword of Truth we lop a head,
How soon another groweth in its stead! 
All men are slaves.  Yea, some are slave to wine
And some to women, some to shining gold,
But all to habit and to customs old. 
Around our stunted souls old tenets twine
And it is hard to straighten in the oak
The crook that in the sapling had its start: 
The callous neck is glad to wear the yoke;
Nor reason rules the head, but aye the heart: 
The head is weak, the throbbing heart is strong;
But where the heart is right the head is not far wrong.

Men have been learning error age on age,
And superstition is their heritage
Bequeathed from age to age and sire to son
Since the dim history of the world begun. 
Trust paves the way for treachery to tread;
Under the cloak of virtue vices creep;
Fools chew the chaff while cunning eats the bread,
And wolves become the shepherds of the sheep. 
The mindless herd are but the cunning’s tools;
For ages have the learned of the schools
Furnished pack-saddles for the backs of fools. 
Pale Superstition loves the gloom of night;
Truth, like a diamond, ever loves the light. 
But still ’twere wrong to speak but in abuse,
For priests and popes have had, and have, their use. 
Yea, Superstition since the world began
Hath been an instrument to govern man: 
For men were brutes, and brutal fear was given
To chain the brute till Reason came from heaven. 
Aye, men were beasts for lo how many ages! 
And only fear held them in chains and cages.

Wise men were priests, and gladly I accord
They were the priests and prophets of the Lord;
For love was lust and o’er all earth’s arena
Hell-fire alone could tame the wild hyena. 
All history is the register, we find,
Of the crimes and lusts and sufferings of mankind;
And there are still dark lands where it is well
That Superstition wear the horns of hell,
And hold her torches o’er the brutal head,
And fright the beast with fire and goblin dread
Till Reason come the darkness to dispel.

How hard it is for mortals to unlearn
Beliefs bred in the marrow of their bones! 
How hard it is for mortals to discern
The truth that preaches from the silent stones,
The silent hills, the silent universe,
While Error cries in sanctimonious tones
That all the light of life and God is hers! 
Lo in the midst we stand:  we cannot see
Either the dark beginning or the end,
Or where our tottering footsteps turn or trend
In the vast orbit of Eternity. 
Let Reason be our light—­the only light
That God hath given unto benighted man,
Wherewith to see a glimpse of his vast plan

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And stars of hope that glimmer on our night. 
Lo all-pervading Unity is His;
Lo all-pervading Unity is He: 
One mighty heart throbs in the earth and sea,
In every star through heaven’s immensity,
And God in all things breathes, in all things is. 
God’s perfect order rules the vast expanse,
And Love is queen and all the realms are hers;
But strike one planet from the Universe
And all is chaos and unbridled chance.

And is there life beyond this life below? 
Aye, is death death?—­or but a happy change
From night to light—­on angel wings to range,
And sing the songs of seraphs as we go? 
Alas, the more we know the less we know we know.

God hath laid down the limits we cannot pass;
And it is well he giveth us no glass
Wherewith to see beyond the present glance,
Else we might die a thousand deaths perchance
Before we lay our bones beneath the grass. 
What is the soul, and whither will it fly? 
We only know that matter cannot die,
But lives and lived through all eternity,
And ever turns from hoary age to youth. 
And is the soul not worthier than the dust? 
So in His providence we put our trust;
And so we humbly hope, for God is just—­
Father all-wise, unmoved by wrath or ruth: 
What then is certain—­what eternal?  Truth,
Almighty God, Time, Space and Cosmic Dust.


Seek ye the fairest lily of the field,
  The fairest lotus that in lakelet lies,
The fairest rose that ever morn revealed,
And Love will find—­from other eyes concealed—­
  A fairer flower in some fair woman’s eyes.

List ye the lark that warbles to the morn,
  The sweetest note that linnet ever sung,
Or trembling lute in tune with silver horn,
And Love will list—­and laugh your lute to scorn—­
  A sweeter lute in some fair woman’s tongue.

Seek ye the dewy perfume seaward blown
  From flowering orange-groves to passing ships;
Nay, sip the nectared dew of Helicon,
And Love will find—­and claim it all his own—­
  A sweeter dew on some fair woman’s lips.

Seek ye a couch of softest eider-down,
  The silken floss that baby birdling warms,
Or shaded moss with blushing roses strown,
And Love will find—­when they are all alone—­
  A softer couch in some fair woman’s arms.


Silence is the voice of mighty things. 
In silence dropped the acorn in the rain;
In silence slept till sun-touched.  Wondrous life
Peeped from the mold and oped its eyes on morn. 
Up-grew in silence through a thousand years
The Titan-armed, gnarl-jointed, rugged oak,
Rock-rooted.  Through his beard and shaggy locks
Soft breezes sung and tempests roared:  the rain
A thousand summers trickled down his beard;

Page 142

A thousand winters whitened on his head;
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.

Silent hours
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 misty moon,
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? 

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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.


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.

Page 144

[CJ] E-tan-can—­Chief.

Young and fair was Ape-duta[CK]—­full of craft and very fair;
Proud she walked a queen of beauty with her dark, abundant hair. 
In her net of hair she caught him—­caught Wanata with her wiles;
All in vain his wife besought him—­begged in vain his wonted smiles. 
Ape-duta ruled the teepee—­all Wanata’s smiles were hers;
When the lodge was wrapped in sleep a star[CL] beheld the mother’s tears. 
Long she strove to do her duty for the black-eyed babe she bore;
But the proud, imperious beauty made her sad forevermore. 
Still she dressed the skins of beaver, bore the burdens, spread the fare;
Patient ever, murmuring never, though her cheeks were creased with care. 
In the moon Maga-o kada, [71] twice an hundred years ago—­
Ere the “Black Robe’s"[CM] sacred shadow
          stalked the prairies’ pathless snow—­
Down the swollen, rushing river, in the sunset’s golden hues,
From the hunt of bear and beaver came the band in swift canoes. 
On the queen of fairy islands, on the Wita Waste’s [CN] shore
Camped Wanata, on the highlands just above the cataract’s roar. 
Many braves were with Wanata; Ape-duta, too, was there,
And the sad Anpetu-sapa spread the lodge with wonted care. 
Then above the leafless prairie leaped the fat-faced, laughing moon,
And the stars—­the spirits fairy—­walked the welkin one by one. 
Swift and silent in the gloaming on the waste of waters blue,
Speeding downward to the foaming, shot Wanata’s birch canoe. 
In it stood Anpetu-sapa—­in her arms her sleeping child;
Like a wailing Norse-land drapa [CO] rose her death-song weird and wild: 

[CK] A-pe—­leaf,—­duta—­Scarlet,—­Scarlet leaf

[CL] Stars, the Dakotas say, are the faces of the departed watching over their friends and relatives on earth.

[CM] The Dakotas called the Jesuit priests “Black Robes,” from the color of their vestments.

[CN] Wee-tah Wah-stay—­Beautiful Island,—­the Dakota name for Nicollet Island, just above the Falls.

[CO] Drapa, a Norse funeral wail in which the virtues of the deceased are recounted.

[Illustration:  ANPETU-SAPA]

  Mihihna,[CP] Mihihna, my heart is stone;
    The light is gone from my longing eyes;
  The wounded loon in the lake alone
    Her death-song sings to the moon and dies.

  Mihihna, Mihihna, the path is long,
    The burden is heavy and hard to bear;
  I sink—­I die, and my dying song
    Is a song of joy to the false one’s ear.

  Mihihna, Mihihna, my young heart flew
    Far away with my brave to the bison-chase;
  To the battle it went with my warrior true,
    And never returned till I saw his face.

  Mihihna, Mihihna, my brave was glad
    When he came from the chase of the roebuck fleet;
  Sweet were the words that my hunter said
    As his trophies he laid at Anpetu’s feet.

Page 145

  Mihihna, Mihihna, the boy I bore—­
    When the robin sang and my brave was true,
  I can bear to look on his face no more,
    For he looks, Mihihna, so much like you.

  Mihihna, Mihihna, the Scarlet Leaf
    Has robbed my boy of his father’s love;
  He sleeps in my arms—­he will find no grief
    In the star-lit lodge in the land above.

  Mihihna, Mihihna, my heart is stone;
    The light is gone from my longing eyes;
  The wounded loon in the lake alone
    Her death-song sings to the moon and dies.

[CP] Mee-heen-yah—­My husband.

Swiftly down the turbid torrent, as she sung her song she flew;
Like a swan upon the current, dancing rode the light canoe. 
Hunters hurry in the gloaming; all in vain Wanata calls;
Singing through the surges foaming, lo she plunges o’er the Falls.

Long they searched the sullen river—­searched for leagues along the shore,
Bark or babe or mother never saw the sad Dakotas more;
But at night or misty morning oft the hunters heard her song,
Oft the maidens heard her warning in their mellow mother-tongue. 
On the bluffs they sat enchanted till the blush of beamy dawn;
Spirit Isle, they say, is haunted, and they call the spot Wakan[CQ]
Many summers on the highland in the full moon’s golden glow—­
In the woods on Fairy Island,[CR] walked a snow-white fawn and doe—­
Spirits of the babe and mother sadly seeking evermore
For a father’s love another turned away with evil power.

Sometimes still when moonbeams shimmer through the maples on the lawn,
In the gloaming and the glimmer walk the silent doe and fawn;
And on Spirit Isle or near it, under midnight’s misty moon,
Oft is seen the mother’s spirit, oft is heard her mournful tune.

[CQ] Pronounced Walk-on,—­Sacred, inhabited by a spirit.

[CR] Fairy Island,—­Wita-Waste—­Nicollet Island.


Chickadee, chickadee, chickadee-dee! 
That was the song that he sang to me—­Sang
from his perch in the willow tree—­
Chickadee, chickadee, chickadee-dee. 
  My little brown bird,
  The song that I heard
Was a happier song than the minstrels sing—­
A paean of joy and a carol of spring;
And my heart leaped throbbing and sang with thee
Chickadee, chickadee, chickadee-dee.

  My birdie looked wise
  With his little black eyes,
As he peeked and peered from his perch at me
With a throbbing throat and a flutter of glee,
  As if he would say—­
  Sing trouble away,
Chickadee, chickadee, chickadee-dee.

  Only one note
  From his silver throat;
  Only one word
  From my wise little bird;
But a sweeter note or a wiser word
From the tongue of mortal I never have heard,
Than my little philosopher sang to me
From his bending perch in the willow tree—­
Chickadee, chickadee, chickadee-dee.

Page 146

    Come foul or fair,
    Come trouble and care—­
    No—­never a sigh
    Or a thought of despair! 
For my little bird sings in my heart to me, As he sang from his perch in the willow tree—­ Chickadee, chickadee, chickadee dee:  Chickadee-dee, chickadee-dee;
Chickadee, chickadee, chickadee-dee.


[APRIL, 1861.]

Spirit of Liberty,
  Wake in the Land! 
Sons of our Forefathers,
  Raise the strong hand! 
Burn in each heart anew
  Liberty’s fires;
Wave the old Flag again,
  Flag of our sires;
Glow all thy stars again,
  Banner of Light! 
Wave o’er us forever,
  Emblem of might;
God for our Banner! 
  God for the Right!

Minions of Tyranny,
  Tremble and kneel! 
The sons of the Pilgrims
Are sharpening their steel. 
Pledge for our Land again
  Honor and life;
Wave the old Flag again;
  On to the strife! 
Shades of our Forefathers,
  Witness our fright! 
Wave o’er us forever,
  Emblem of might;
God for our Banner! 
  God for our Right!


[May, 1861.]

Come then, brave men, from the Land of Lakes
  With steady steps and cheers;
Our country calls, as the battle breaks,
  On the Northwest Pioneers. 
Let the eagle scream, and the bayonet gleam! 
  Hurrah for the Volunteers!


[First battle of Bull Run.]

Our columns are broken, defeated, and fled;
We are gathered, a few from the flying and dead,
Where the green flag is up and our wounded remain
Imploring for water and groaning in pain. 
Lo the blood-spattered bosom, the shot-shattered limb,
The hand-clutch of fear as the vision grows dim,
The half-uttered prayer and the blood-fettered breath,
The cold marble brow and the calm face of death. 
O proud were these forms at the dawning of morn,
When they sprang to the call of the shrill bugle-horn: 
There are mothers and wives that await them afar;
God help them!—­Is this then the glory of war? 
But hark!—­hear the cries from the field of despair;
“The Black-Horse” are charging the fugitives there;
They gallop the field o’er the dying and dead,
And their blades with the blood of their victims are red. 
The cries of the fallen and flying are vain;
They saber the wounded and trample the slain;
And the plumes of the riders wave red in the sun,
As they stoop for the stroke and the murder goes on. 
They halt for a moment—­they form and they stand;
Then with sabers aloft they ride down on our band
Like the samiel that sweeps o’er Arabia’s sand. 
“Halt!—­down with your sabers!—­the dying are here! 
Let the foeman respect while the friend sheds a tear.” 

Page 147

Nay; the merciless butchers were thirsting for blood,
And mad for the murder still onward they rode.
Stand firm and be ready!”—­Our brave, gallant few
Have faced to the foe, and our rifles are true;
Fire!—­a score of grim riders go down in a breath
At the flash of our guns—­in the tempest of death! 
They wheel, and they clutch in despair at the mane! 
They reel in their saddles and fall to the plain!

The riderless steeds, wild with wounds and with fear,
Dash away o’er the field in unbridled career;
Their stirrups swing loose and their manes are all gore
From the mad cavaliers that shall ride them no more. 
Of the hundred so bold that rode down on us there
But few rode away with the tale of despair;
Their proud, plumed comrades so reckless, alas,
Slept their long, dreamless sleep on the blood-spattered grass.


[The soldier was Louis Mitchell, of Co. 1, 1st Minn.  Vols., killed in a skirmish, near Ball’s Bluff, October 22, 1861.]

“We’ve had a brush,” the Captain said,
 “And Rebel blood we’ve spilled;
We came off victors with the loss
  Of only a private killed.” 
“Ah,” said the orderly—­“it was hot,”—­
  Then he breathed a heavy breath—­
“Poor fellow!—­he was badly shot,
  Then bayoneted to death.”

And now was hushed the martial din;
  The saucy foe had fled;
They brought the private’s body in;
  I went to see the dead;
For I could not think our Rebel foes—­
  So valiant in the van—­
So boastful of their chivalry—­
  Could kill a wounded man.

A musket ball had pierced his thigh—­
  A frightful, crushing wound—­
And then with savage bayonets
  They pinned him to the ground. 
One deadly thrust drove through the heart,
  Another through the head;
Three times they stabbed his pulseless breast
  When he lay cold and dead.

His hair was matted with his gore,
  His hands were clinched with might,
As if he still his musket bore
  So firmly in the fight. 
He had grasped the foemen’s bayonets
  Their murderous thrusts to fend: 
They raised the coat-cape from his face,
  And lo—­it was my friend!

Think what a shudder chilled my heart! 
  ’Twas but the day before
We laughed together merrily,
  As we talked of days of yore. 
“How happy we shall be,” he said,
  “When the war is o’er, and when
With victory’s song and victory’s tread
  We all march home again.”

Ah little he dreamed—­that soldier brave
  So near his journey’s goal—­
How soon a heavenly messenger
  Would claim his Christian soul. 
But he fell like a hero—­fighting,
  And hearts with grief are filled;
And honor is his,—­tho’ the Captain says
  “Only a private killed.”

I knew him well,—­he was my friend;
  He loved our land and laws,
And he fell a blessed martyr
  To our Country’s holy cause;
And I know a cottage in the West
  Where eyes with tears are filled
As they read the careless telegram—­
  “Only a private killed.”

Page 148

Comrades, bury him under the oak,
  Wrapped in his army-blue;
He is done with the battle’s din and smoke,
  With drill and the proud review. 
And the time will come ere long, perchance,
  When our blood will thus be spilled,
And what care we if the Captain say—­
  “Only a private killed.”

For the glorious Old Flag beckons. 
  We have pledged her heart and hand,
And we’ll brave even death to rescue
  Our dear old Fatherland. 
We ask not praise—­nor honors,
  Then—­as each grave is filled—­
What care we if the Captain say—­
  “Only a private killed.”


[October, 1861, after the Battle of Ball’s Bluff.]

Do they think of us, say—­in the far distant West—­
On the Prairies of Peace, in the Valleys of Rest? 
On the long dusty march when the suntide is hot,
O say, are their sons and their brothers forgot? 
Are our names on their lips, is our comfort their care
When they kneel to the God of our fathers in prayer? 
When at night on their warm, downy pillows they lie,
Wrapped in comfort and ease, do they think of us, say? 
When the rain patters down on the roof overhead,
Do they think of the camps without shelter or bed? 
Ah many a night on the cold ground we’ve lain—­
Chilled, chilled to the heart by the merciless rain,
And yet there stole o’er us the peace of the blest,
For our spirits went back to our homes in the West. 
O we think of them, and it sharpens our steel,
When the battle-smoke rolls and the grim cannon peal,
When forward we rush at the shrill bugle’s call
To the hail-storm of conflict where many must fall.

When night settles down on the slaughter-piled plain,
And the dead are at rest and the wounded in pain,
Do they think of us, say, in the far distant West—­
On the Prairies of Peace, in the Valleys of Rest? 
Aye, comrades, we know that our darlings are there
With their hearts full of hope and their souls full of prayer,
And it steadies our rifles—­it steels every breast—­
The thought of our loved ones at home in the West—­
On the Prairies of Peace, in the Valleys of Rest.


On they ride—­on they ride—­
Only three hundred,—­
Ride the brave Body-Guard,
From the “Prairie Scouts” sundered: 
Two thousand riflemen,
Ambushed on either side,
The signal of slaughter bide: 
Ho! has the farmer-guide
Led them astray and lied? 
How can they pass the wood? 
On they ride—­on they ride—­
  Fearlessly, readily,
  Silently, steadily
Ride the brave Body-Guard
  Led by Zagonyi.

Page 149

Up leap the Southrons there;
Loud breaks the battle-blare;
Now swings his hat in air;
Flashes his saber bare: 
Draw sabers;—­follow me!”
Shouts the brave Captain: 
Union and Liberty!”
Thunders the Captain. 
Three hundred sabers flash;
Three hundred Guardsmen dash
On to the fierce attack;
Into the cul-de-sac
  Plunge the Three Hundred. 
Yell the mad ambushed pack—­
Two thousand rifles crack
  At the Three Hundred.

Dire is the death they deal,
Gleams the steel—­volleys peal—­
Horses plunge—­riders reel;
Sabers and bayonets clash;
Guns in their faces flash;
Blue coats are spattered red—­
Fifty brave Guards are dead—­
Zagonyi is still ahead,
Swinging his hat in air,
  Flashing his saber: 
“Steady men;—­steady there;

On they plunge—­on they dash
Thro’ the dread gantlet;
Death gurgles in the gash
Of furious-dealt saber-slash;
Over them the volleys crash
Thro’ the trees like a whirlwind. 
They pass through the fire of death;
Pant riders and steeds for breath;
  “Halt!” cried the Captain
Then he looked up the hill;
There on the summit still
  The “Third Company” paltered. 
Right through the fire of hell,
Where fifty brave Guardsmen fell,
Zagonyi had ridden well;
Foley had faltered.

Flashed like a flame of fire—­
Flashed with a menace dire—­
Flashed with a yell of ire
  The sword of the Captain. 
Kennedy saw the flash,
And ordered the “Third” to dash
  Gallantly forward: 
“Come on, Boys, for Liberty! 
Forward, and follow me! 
  Remember Kentucky!”
Into the hell they broke—­
Into the fire and smoke—­
Dealing swift saber-stroke—­
  The gallant Kentuckians. 
  Horses plunge,
  Riders lunge
  Heavily forward;
Over the fallen they ride
Down to Zagonyi’s side,
Mowing a swath of death
Either side,—­right and left
  Piling the slaughtered!

Under the storm of lead,
Still hissing overhead,
They re-formed the battle-line;
Then the brave Captain said: 
“Guardsmen:  avenge our dead!
Charge!”—­Up the hill they go,—­
Right into the swarming foe! 
Woe to the foemen—­woe! 
See mad Zagonyi there;
Streams on the wind his hair,
Flashes his saber bare;
  On they go—­on they go;
  Volleys flash,
  Sabers clash,
On they plunge, on they dash,
Following Zagonyi
  Into the hell again.

Hand to hand fight and die
  Infantry, cavalry;
Grappled and mixed they lie—­
  Infantry, cavalry: 
Hurra!—­the Rebels fly! 
Bravo!—­Three Hundred! 
“Forward and follow me!”
  Shouted the Captain;
“Union and Liberty!”
  All the Guards thundered. 
With mad hearts and sabers stout
Into the Rebel-rout
  Gallop the Guardsmen,

Page 150

Thundering their cry again,
Cleaving their foes in twain,
Piling the heaps of slain
  Sabered and sundered. 
Three hundred foes they slayed,
Glorious the charge they made,
Victorious the charge they made—­
  The gallant Three Hundred! 
Let the Crown-Poet paid
Sing of the “Light Brigade”
And “The wild charge they made”
  When “Some one had blundered;”
Following the British Bard,
I sing of the Body-Guard—­
The Heroes that fought so hard—­
  Where nobody blundered. 
Hail, brave Zagonyi—­hail! 
All hail, the Body-Guard!—­
  The glorious—­
  The victorious—­
The invincible Three Hundred.


[AUGUST, 1862.]

The nation calls aloud again,
For Freedom wounded writhes in pain. 
Gird on your armor, Northern men;
Drop scythe and sickle, square and pen;
A million bayonets gleam and flash;
A thousand cannon peal and crash;
Brothers and sons have gone before;
A million more!—­a million more!

Fire and sword!—­aye, sword and fire! 
Let war be fierce and grim and dire;
Your path be marked by flame and smoke,
And tyrant’s bones and fetters broke: 
Stay not for foe’s uplifted hand;
Sheathe not the sword; quench not the brand
Till Freedom reign from shore to shore,
Or might ’mid ashes smoke and gore.

If leader stay the vengeance-rod,
Let him beware the wrath of God;
The maddened millions long his trust
Will crush his puny bones to dust,
And all the law to guide their ire
Will be the law of blood and fire. 
Come, then—­the shattered ranks implore—­
A million more—­a million more!

Form and file and file and form;
This war is but God’s thunder-storm
To purify our cankered land
And strike the fetter from the hand. 
Forced by grim fate our Chief at last
Shall blow dear Freedom’s bugle-blast;
And then shall rise from shore to shore
Four millions more—­four millions more.[CS]

[CS] There were four millions of slaves in the South when the war began.


To Horace Greeley, of date Aug. 22, 1862—­“If I could save the Union without freeing any slave, I would do it,” etc.

Perish the power that, bowed to dust,
Still wields a tyrant’s rod—­
That dares not even then be just,
And leave the rest with God.


All-day-long the crash of cannon
  Shook the battle-covered plain;
All-day-long the frenzied foemen
  Dashed against our lines in vain;
All the field was piled with slaughter;
  Now the lurid setting sun
Saw our foes in wild disorder,
  And the bloody day was won.

Foremost on our line of battle
  All-day-long a veteran stood—­
Stalwart, brawny, grim and steady,
  Black with powder, smeared with blood;
Never flinched and never faltered
  In the deadliest storm of lead,
And before his steady rifle
  Lay a score of foemen dead.

Page 151

Never flinched and never faltered
  Till our shout of victory rose,
Till he saw defeat, disaster,
  Overwhelmed our flying foes;
Then he trembled, then he tottered,
  Gasped for breath and dropped his gun,
Staggered from the ranks and prostrate
  Fell to the earth.  His work was done.

Silent comrades gathered round him,
  And his Captain sadly came,
Bathed his quivering lips with water,
  Took his hand and spoke his name;
And his fellow soldiers softly
  On his knapsack laid his head;
Then his eyes were lit with luster,
  And he raised his hand and said: 

“Good-bye, comrades; farewell, Captain! 
  I am glad the day is won;
I am mustered out, I reckon—­
  Never mind-my part is done. 
We have marched and fought together
  Till you seem like brothers all,
But I hope again to meet you
  At the final bugle-call.

“Captain, write and tell my mother
  That she must not mourn and cry,
For I never flinched in battle,
  And I do not fear to die. 
You may add a word for Mary;
  Tell her I was ever true. 
Mary took a miff one Sunday,
  And so I put on the “blue.”

“And I know she has repented,
  But I never let her see
How it cut—­her crusty answer—­
  When she turned away from me. 
I was never good at coaxing,
  So I didn’t even try;
But you tell her I forgive her,
  And she must not mourn and cry,”

Then he closed his eyes in slumber,
  And his spirit passed away,
And his comrades spread a blanket
  O’er his cold and silent clay. 
At dawn of morn they buried him,
  Wrapped in his army-blue. 
On the bloody field of Fair Oaks
  Sleeps the soldier tried and true.


Mount to horse—­mount to horse;
  Forward, Battalion! 
Gallop the gallant force;
  Down with Rebellion! 
Over hill, creek and plain
  Clatter the fearless—­
Dash away—­splash away—­
  Led by the Peerless.

Carbines crack—­foemen fly
  Hither and thither;
Under the death-fire
  They falter and wither. 
Burn the bridge—­tear the track—­
  Down with Rebellion! 
Cut the wires—­cut the wires! 
  Forward, Battalion! 
Day and night—­night and day,
  Gallop the fearless—­
Swimming the rivers’ floods—­
  Led by the Peerless;
Depots and powder-trains
  Blazing and thundering
Masters and dusky slaves
  Gazing and wondering. 
Eight hundred miles they ride—­
  Dauntless Battalion—­
Down through the Southern Land
  Mad with Rebellion. 
Into our lines they dash—­
  Brave Cavaliers—­
Greeting our flag with
  A thunder of cheers.


[Written July 4, 1863.]

Have ye heard of Fort Donelson’s desperate fight,
Where the giant Northwest bared his arm for the right,
Where thousands so bravely went down in the slaughter,
And the blood of the West ran as freely as water;
Where the Rebel Flag fell and our banner arose
O’er an army of captured and suppliant foes? 
Lo—­torn by the shot and begrimed by the powder,
The Old Flag is waving there prouder and prouder.

Page 152

Heard ye of Shiloh, where fierce Beauregard
O’erwhelmed us with numbers and pressed us so hard,
Till our veteran supporters came up to our aid
And the tide of defeat and disaster was staid—­
Where like grain-sheaves the slaughtered were piled on the plain
And the brave rebel Johnston went down with the slain? 
Lo—­torn by the shot and begrimed by the powder,
The Old Flag is waving there prouder and prouder.

Heard ye the cannon-roar down by Stone River? 
Saw ye the bleeding braves stagger and quiver? 
Heard ye the shout and the roar and the rattle? 
And saw ye the desperate surging of battle? 
Volley on volley and steel upon steel—­
Breast unto breast—­how they lunge and they reel! 
Lo—­torn by the shot and begrimed by the powder,
The Old Flag is waving there prouder and prouder.

Heard ye of Vicksburg—­the Southern Gibraltar,
Where the hands of our foemen built tyranny’s altar,
Where their hosts are walled in by a cordon of braves,
And the pits they have dug for defense are their graves,
Where the red bombs are bursting and hissing the shot,
Where the nine thunders death and the charge follows hot? 
Lo—­torn by the shot and begrimed by the powder,
The Old Flag is waving there prouder and prouder.

Heard ye from Gettysburg?—­Glory to God! 
Bare your heads, O ye Freemen, and kneel on the sod! 
Praise the Lord!—­praise the Lord!—­it is done!—­it is done! 
The battle is fought and the victory won! 
They first took the sword, and they fall by the sword;
They are scattered and crushed by the hand of the Lord! 
Lo—­torn by the shot and begrimed by the powder,
The Old Flag is waving there prouder and prouder.


[Written for and read at the Camp Fire of the G.A.R.  Department of Minnesota, National Encampment of the Grand Army of the Republic, at Minneapolis, June 22, 1884.]

Ready and ripe for the harvest lay the acres of golden grain
Waving on hillock and hillside and bending along the plain. 
Ready and ripe for the harvest two veteran armies lay
Waiting the signal of battle on the Gettysburg hills that day. 
Sharp rang the blast of the bugles calling the foe to the fray,
And shrill from the enemy’s cannon the demon shells shrieked as they flew;
Crashed and rumbled and roared our batteries ranged on the hill,
Rumbled and roared at the front the bellowing guns of the foe
Swelling the chorus of hell ever louder and deadlier still,
And shrill o’er the roar of the cannon rose the yell of the rebels below,
As they charged on our Third Corps advanced
          and crushed in the lines at a blow. 
Leading his clamorous legions, flashing his saber in air,
Forward rode furious Longstreet charging on Round Top there—­
Key to our left and center—­key to the fate of the field—­
Leading his wild-mad Southrons on to the lions’ lair.

Page 153

Red with the blood of our legions—­red with the blood of our best, Waiting the fate of the battle the lurid sun stood in the west.  Hid by the crest of the hills we lay at the right concealed, Prone on the earth that shuddered under us there as we lay.  Thunder of cheers on the left!—­dashing down on his stalwart bay, Spurring his gallant charger till his foaming flanks ran blood, Hancock, the star of our legions, rode down where our officers stood:  “By the left flank, double-quick, march!”—­
          We sprang to our feet and away,
Like a fierce pack of hunger-mad wolves that pant
          for the blood of the prey.
Halt!”—­on our battery’s flank we stood like a hedge-row of steel—­ Bearing the banner of Freedom on the Gettysburg hills that day.

Down at the marge of the valley our broken ranks stagger and reel,
Grimy with dust and with powder, wearied and panting for breath,
Flinging their arms in panic, flying the hail-storm of death. 
Rumble of volley on volley of the enemy hard on the rear,
Yelling their wild, mad triumph, thundering cheer upon cheer,
Dotting the slope with slaughter and sweeping the field with fear. 
Drowned is the blare of the bugle, lost is the bray of the drum,
Yelling, defiant, victorious, column on column they come. 
Only a handful are we, thrown into the gap of our lines,
Holding the perilous breach where the fate of the battle inclines,
Only a handful are we—­column on column they come.

Roared like the voice of a lion brave Hancock fierce for the fray:  “Hurry the reserve battalions; bring every banner and gun:  Charge on the enemy, Colvill, stay the advance of his lines:  Here—­by the God of our Fathers!—­here shall the battle be won, Or we’ll die for the banner of Freedom on the Gettysburg hills today.”  Shrill rang the voice of our Colonel, the bravest and best of the brave:  “Forward, the First Minnesota!  Forward, and follow me, men!” Gallantly forward he strode, the bravest and best of the brave.

Two hundred and fifty and two—­all that were left of us then—­ Two hundred and fifty and two fearless, unfaltering men Dashed at a run for the enemy, sprang to the charge with a yell.  On us their batteries thundered solid shot, grape shot and shell; Never a man of us faltered, but many a comrade fell. “Forward, the First Minnesota!”—­like tigers we sprang at our foes; Grim gaps of death in our ranks, but ever the brave ranks close:  Down went our sergeant and colors—­defiant our colors arose! “Fire!” At the flash of our rifles—­grim gaps in the ranks of our foes!

Forward, the First Minnesota!” our brave Colonel cried as he fell Gashed and shattered and mangled—­“Forward!” he cried as he fell.  Over him mangled and bleeding frenzied we sprang to the fight, Over him mangled and bleeding we sprang to the jaws of hell.  Flashed in our faces their rifles, roared on the left and the right, Swarming around us by thousands we fought them with desperate might.  Five times our banner went down—­five times our banner arose, Tattered and torn but defiant, and flapped in the face of our foes.  Hold them?  We held them at bay, as a bear holds the hounds on his track, Knee to knee, shoulder to shoulder, we met them and staggered them back.

Page 154

Desperate, frenzied, bewildered, blindly they fired on their own;
Like reeds in the whirl of the cyclone columns and colors went down. 
Banner of stars on the right!  Hurrah! gallant Gibbon is come! 
Thunder of guns on the left!  Hurrah! ’tis our cannon that boom! 
Solid-shot, grape-shot and canister crash like the cracking of doom. 
Baffled, bewildered and broken the ranks of the enemy yield;
Panic-struck, routed and shattered they fly from the fate of the field. 
Hold them?  We held them at bay, as a bear holds the hounds on his track;
Knee to knee, shoulder to shoulder, we met them and staggered them back;
Two hundred and fifty and two, we held their mad thousands at bay,
Met them and baffled and broke them, turning the tide of the day;
Two hundred and fifty and two when the sun hung low in heaven,
But ah! when the stars rode over we numbered but forty-seven: 
Dead on the field or wounded the rest of our regiment lay;
Never a man of us faltered or flinched in the fire of the fray,
For we bore the banner of Freedom on the Gettysburg hills that day.

Tears for our fallen comrades—­cover their graves with flowers,
For they fought and fell like Spartans for this glorious land of ours. 
They fell, but they fell victorious, for the Rebel ranks were riven,
And over our land united—­one nation from sea to sea,
Over the grave of Treason, over millions of men made free,
Triumphant the flag of our fathers waves in the winds of heaven—­
Striped with the blood of her heroes she waves in the winds of heaven. 
Tears for our fallen comrades—­cover their graves with flowers,
For they fought and fell like Spartans for this glorious land of ours;
And oft shall our children’s children garland their graves and say: 
“They bore the banner of Freedom on the Gettysburg hills that day.”


[After the Battle of Gettysburg.]

Float in the winds of heaven, O tattered Flag! 
Emblem of hope to all the misruled world: 
Thy field of golden stars is rent and red—­
Dyed in the blood of brothers madly spilled
By brother-hands upon the mother-soil. 
O fatal Upas of the savage Nile,[CT]
Transplanted hither—­rooted—­multiplied—­
Watered with bitter tears and sending forth
Thy venom-vapors till the land is mad,
Thy day is done.  A million blades are swung
To lay thy jungles open to the sun;
A million torches fire thy blasted boles;
A million hands shall drag thy fibers out
And feed the fires till every root and branch
Lie in dead ashes.  From the blackened soil,
Enriched and moistened with fraternal blood,
Beside the palm shall spring the olive-tree,
And every breeze shall waft the happy song
Of Freedom crowned with olive-twigs and flowers.

Yea, Patriot-Flag of our old patriot-sires,
Honored—­victorious on an hundred fields
Where side by side for Freedom’s mother-land
Her Southern sons and Northern fighting fell,
And side by side in glorious graves repose,

Page 155

[CT] African slavery.

I see the dawn of glory grander still,
When hand in hand upon this battle-field
The blue-eyed maidens of the Merrimac
With dewy roses from the Granite Hills,
And dark-eyed daughters from the land of palms
With orange-blossoms from the broad St. Johns,
In solemn concert singing as they go,
Shall strew the graves of these fraternal dead. 
The day of triumph comes, O blood-stained Flag! 
Washed clean and lustrous in the morning light
Of a new era, thou shalt float again
In more than pristine glory o’er the land
Peace-blest and re-united.  On the seas
Thou shalt be honored to the farthest isle. 
The oppressed of foreign lands shall flock the shores
To look upon and bless thee.  Mothers shall lift
Their infants to behold thee as a star
New-born in heaven to light the darksome world. 
The children weeping round the desolate,
Sore-stricken mother in the saddened home
Whereto the father shall no more return,
In future years will proudly boast the blood
Of him who bravely fell defending thee. 
And these misguided brothers who would tear
Thy starry field asunder and would trail
Their own proud flag and history in the dust,
Ere many years will bless thee, dear old Flag,
That thou didst triumph even over them. 
Aye, even they with proudly swelling hearts
Will see the glory thou shalt shortly wear,
And new-born stars swing in upon thy field
In lustrous clusters.  Come, O glorious day
Of Freedom crowned with Peace.  God’s will be done! 
God’s will is peace on earth—­good-will to men. 
The chains all broken and the bond all free,
O may this nation learn to war no more;
Yea, into plow-shares may these brothers beat
Their swords and into pruning-hooks their spears,
Clasp hands again, and plant these battle-fields
With golden corn and purple-clustered vines,
And side by side re-build the broken walls—­
Joined and cemented as one solid stone
With patriot-love and Christ’s sweet charity.


[Written for the St. Paul Pioneer.]

Good morning—­good morning—­a happy new year! 
We greet you, kind friends of the old Pioneer;
Hope your coffee is good and your steak is well done,
And you’re happy as clams in the sand and the sun. 
The old year’s a shadow—­a shade of the past;
It is gone with its toils and its triumphs so vast—­
With its joys and its tears—­with its pleasure and pain—­
With its shouts of the brave and its heaps of the slain—­
Gone—­and it cometh—­no, never again. 
And as we look forth on the future so fair
Let us brush from the picture the visage of care;
The error, the folly, the frown and the tear—­
Drop them all at the grave of the silent old year. 
Has the heart been oppressed with a burden of woe? 

Page 156

Has the spirit been cowed by a merciless blow? 
Has the tongue of the brave or the voice of the fair
Prayed to God and received no response to its prayer? 
Look up!—­’twas a shadow—­the morning is here: 
A Happy New Year!—­O, a Happy New Year! 
Yet stay for a moment.  We cannot forget
The fields where the true and the traitor have met;
When the old year came in we were trembling with fear
Lest Freedom should fall in her glorious career;
And the roar of the conflict was loud o’er the land
Where the traitor-flag waved in a rebel’s red hand;
But the God of the Just led the hosts of the Free,
And Victory marched from the north to the sea. 
Behold—­where the conflict was doubtful and dire—­
There—­on house-top and hill-top, on fortress and spire—­
The Old Banner waves again higher and prouder,
Though torn by the shot and begrimed by the powder.

God bless the brave soldiers that followed that flag
Through river and swamp, over mountain and crag—­
On the wild charge triumphant—­the sullen retreat—­
On fields spread with victory or piled with defeat;
God bless their true hearts for they stood like a wall,
And saved us our Country and saved us our all. 
But many a mother and many a daughter
Weep, alas, o’er the brave that went down in the slaughter. 
Pile the monuments high—­not on hill-top and plain—­
To the glorious sons ’neath the old banner slain—­
But over the land from the sea to the sea—­
Pile their monuments high in the hearts of the Free. 
Heaven bless the brave souls that are spared to return
Where the “lamp in the window” ceased never to burn—­
Where the vacant chair stood at the desolate hearth
Since the son shouldered arms or the father went forth. 
“Peace!—­Peace!”—­was the shout;—­at the jubilant word
Wives and mothers went down on their knees to the Lord!

Methinks I can see, through the vista of years—­
From the memories of old such a vision appears—­
A gray-haired old veteran in arm-chair at ease,
With his grandchildren clustered intent at his knees,
Recounting his deeds with an eloquent tongue,
And a fire that enkindles the hearts of the young;
How he followed the Flag from the first to the last—­
On the long, weary march, in the battle’s hot blast;
How he marched under Sherman from center to sea,
Or fought under Grant in his battles with Lee;
And the old fire comes back to his eye as of yore,
And his iron hand clutches his musket once more,
As of old on the battle-field ghastly and red,
When he sprang to the charge o’er the dying and dead;
And the eyes of his listeners are gleaming with fire,
As he points to that Flag floating high on the spire.


Page 157

Heaven bless the new year that is just ushered in;
May the Rebels repent of their folly and sin,
Depart from their idols, extend the right hand,
And pledge that the Union forever shall stand. 
May they see that the rending of fetter and chain
Is their triumph as well—­their unspeakable gain;
That the Union dissevered and weltering in blood
Could yield them no profit and bode them no good. 
’Tis human to err and divine to forgive;
Let us walk after Christ—­bid the poor sinners live,
And come back to the fold of the Union once more,
And we’ll do as the prodigal’s father of yore—­
Kill the well-fatted calf—­(but we’ll not do it twice)
And invite them to dinner—­and give them a slice.

There’s old Johnny Bull—­what a terrible groan
Escapes when he thinks of his big “Rebel Loan”—­
How the money went out with a nod and a grin,
But the cotton—­the cotton—­it didn’t come in. 
Then he thinks of diplomacy—­Mason-Slidell,
And he wishes that both had been warming in hell,
For he got such a rap from our little Bill Seward
That the red nose he blows is right hard to be cured;
And then the steam pirates he built and equipped,
And boasted, you know, that they couldn’t be whipped;
But alas for his boast—­Johnny Bull “caught a Tartar,”
And now like a calf he is bawling for quarter. 
Yes, bluff Johnny Bull will be tame as a yearling,
Beg pardon and humbly “come down” with his sterling.

There’s Monsieur l’Escamoteur[CU] over in France; He has had a clear field and a gay country dance Down there in Mexico—­playing his tricks While we had a family “discussion wid sticks”; But the game is played out; don’t you see it’s so handy For Grant and his boys to march over the Grande.  He twists his waxed moustache and looks very blue, And he says to himself, (what he wouldn’t to you) “Py tam—­dair’s mon poor leetle chappie—­Dutch Max! Cornes du Diable[CV]—­’e’ll ’ave to make tracks Or ve’ll ’ave all dem tam Yankee poys on our packs.”

Monsieur l’Empereur, if your Max can get out
With the hair of his head on—­he’d better, no doubt. 
If you’ll not take it hard, here’s a bit of advice—­
It is dangerous for big pigs to dance on the ice;
They sometimes slip up and they sometimes fall in,
And the ice you are on is exceedingly thin. 
You’re au fait, I’ll admit, at a sharp game of chance,
But the Devil himself couldn’t always beat France. 
Remember the fate of your uncle of yore,
Tread lightly, and keep very close to the shore.

The Giant Republic—­its future how vast! 
Now, freed from the follies and sins of the past,

[CU] The Juggler.

[CV] Horns of the Devil!—­equivalent to the exclamation—­The Devil!

Page 158

It will tower to the zenith; the ice-covered sea
And Darien shall bound-mark the Land of the Free. 
Behold how the landless, the poor and oppressed,
Flock in on our shores from the East and the West! 
Let them come—­bid them come—­we have plenty of room;
Our forests shall echo, our prairies shall bloom;
The iron horse, puffing his cloud-breath of steam,
Shall course every valley and leap every stream;
New cities shall rise with a magic untold,
While our mines yield their treasures of silver and gold,
And prosperous, united and happy, we’ll climb
Up the mountain of Fame till the end of Old Time—­
Which, as I figure up, is a century hence: 
Then we’ll all go abroad without any expense;
We’ll capture a comet—­the smart Yankee race
Will ride on his tail through the kingdom of Space,
Tack their telegraph wires to Uranus and Mars;
Yea, carry their arts to the ultimate stars,
And flaunt the Old Flag at the suns as they pass,
And astonish the Devil himself with—­their brass.

And now, “Gentle Readers,” I’ll bid you farewell;
I hope this fine poem will please you—­and sell
You’ll ne’er lack a friend if you ne’er lack a dime;
May you never grow old till the end of Old Time;
May you never be cursed with an itching for rhyme;
For in spite of your physic, in spite of your plaster,
The rash will break out till you go to disaster—­
Which you plainly can see is the case with my Muse,
For she scratches away though she’s said her adieus.

Dear Ladies, though last to receive my oblation,
And last in the list of Mosaic creation,
The last is the best, and the last shall be first. 
Through Eve, sayeth Moses, old Adam was cursed;
But I cannot agree with you, Moses, that Adam
Sinned and fell through the gentle persuasion of madam. 
The victim, no doubt, of Egyptian flirtation,
You mistook your chagrin for divine inspiration,
And condemned all the sex without proof or probation,
As we rhymsters mistake the moonbeams that elate us
For flashes of wit or the holy afflatus,
And imagine we hear the applause of a nation,—­
But all honest men who are married and blest
Will agree that the last work of God is the best.

And now to you all—­whether married or single—­
Whether sheltered by slate, or by “shake,” or by shingle—­
God bless you with peace and with bountiful cheer,
Happy houses, happy hearts—­and a happy New Year!

P.S.—­If you wish all these blessings, ’tis clear
You should send in your “stamps” for the old Pioneer.

* * * * *


[From the German of Theodor Korner.]

Where is the minstrel’s Father-land? 
  Where the sparks of noble spirits flew,
  Where flowery wreaths for beauty grew,
  Where strong hearts glowed so glad and true
  For all things sacred, good and grand: 
There was my Father-land.

Page 159

How named the minstrel’s Father-land? 
  O’er slaughtered son—­’neath tyrants’ yokes,
  She weepeth now—­and foreign strokes;
  They called her once the Land of Oaks—­
  Land of the Free—­the German Land: 
Thus was called my Father-land. 
Why weeps the minstrel’s Father-land? 
  Because while tyrant’s tempest hailed
  The people’s chosen princes quailed,
  And all their sacred pledges failed;
  Because she could no ear command,
Alas must weep my Father-land.

Whom calls the minstrel’s Father-land? 
  She calls on heaven with wild alarm—­
  With desperation’s thunder-storm—­
  On Liberty to bare her arm,
  On Retribution’s vengeful hand: 
On these she calls—­my Father-land.

What would the minstrel’s Father-land? 
  She would strike the base slaves to the ground
  Chase from her soil the tyrant hound,
  And free her sons in shackles bound,
  Or lay them free beneath her sand: 
That would my Father-land.

And hopes the minstrel’s Father-land? 
  She hopes for holy Freedom’s sake,
  Hopes that her true sons will awake,
  Hopes that just God will vengeance take,
  And ne’er mistakes the Avenger’s hand: 
Thereon relies my Father-land.


[From the German of Wolfgang Muller.]

My heart’s on the Rhine—­in the old Father-land;
Where my cradle was rocked by a dear mother’s hand,
My youth and my friends—­they are there yet, I know,
And my love dreams of me with her cheeks all aglow;
O there where I reveled in song and in wine! 
Wherever I wander my heart’s on the Rhine.

I hail thee, thou broad-breasted, golden-green stream;
Ye cities and churches and castles that gleam;
Ye grain-fields of gold in the valley so blue;
Ye vineyards that glow in the sun-shimmered dew;
Ye forests and caverns and cliffs that were mine! 
Wherever I wander my heart’s on the Rhine.

I hail thee, O life of the soul-stirring song,
Of waltz and of wine, with a yearning so strong,
Hail, ye stout race of heroes, so brave and so true. 
Ye blue-eyed, gay maidens, a greeting to you! 
Your life and your aims and your efforts be mine;
Wherever I wander my heart’s on the Rhine.

My heart’s on the Rhine—­in the old Father-land,
Where my cradle was rocked by a dear mother’s hand;
My youth and my friends—­they are there yet, I know,
And my love dreams of me with her cheeks all aglow: 
Be thou ever the same to me, Land of the Vine! 
Wherever I wander my heart’s on the Rhine.


[From the German of Goethe]

[Wilhelm Meister’s Apprenticeship, Book 2, Chap. 2.]

“What hear I at the gateway ringing? 
What bard upon the drawbridge singing? 
Go bid him to repeat his song
Here, in the hall amid the throng,”
The monarch cried;
The little page hied;
As back he sped,
The monarch said—­
“Bring in the gray-haired minstrel.”

Page 160

“I greet you, noble lords and peers;
I greet you, lovely dames. 
O heaven begemmed with golden spheres! 
Who knows your noble names? 
In hall of splendor so sublime,
Close ye, mine eyes—­’tis not the time
To gaze in idle wonder.”

The gray-haired minstrel closed his eyes;
He struck his wildest air;
Brave faces glowed like sunset skies;
Cast down their eyes the fair. 
The king well pleased with the minstrel’s song,
Sent the little page through the wondering throng
A chain of gold to bear him.

“O give not me the chain of gold;
Award it to thy braves,
Before whose faces fierce and bold
Quail foes when battle raves;
Or give it thy chancellor of state,
And let him wear its golden weight
With his official burdens.

“I sing, I sing as the wild birds sing
That in the forest dwell;
The songs that from my bosom spring
Alone reward me well: 
But may I ask that page of thine
To bring me one good cup of wine
In golden goblet sparkling?”

He took the cup; he drank it all: 
“O soothing nectar thine! 
Thrice bless’d the highly favored hall
Where flows such glorious wine: 
If thou farest well, then think of me,
And thank thy God, as I thank thee
For this inspiring goblet.”


[From the German of Schiller.]

Men talk and dream of better days—­
  Of a golden time to come;
Toward a happy and shining goal
  They run with a ceaseless hum. 
The world grows old and grows young again,
Still hope of the better is bright to men.

Hope leads us in at the gate of life;
  She crowns the boyish head;
Her bright lamp lures the stalwart youth,
  Nor burns out with the gray-haired dead;
For the grave closes over his trouble and care,
But see—­on the grave—­Hope is planted there!

’Tis not an empty and flattering deceit,
  Begot in a foolish brain;
For the heart speaks loud with its ceaseless throbs,
  “We are not born in vain”;
And the words that out of the heart-throbs roll,
They cannot deceive the hoping soul.


Misce stultitiam consiliis brevem.—­Horace.

    Mrs. McNair
    Was tall and fair;
  Mrs. McNair was slim;
She had flashing black eyes and raven hair; But a very remarkably modest air; And her only care was for Mr. McNair;
  She was exceedingly fond of him.

    He sold “notions” and lace
    With wonderful grace,
And kept everything neatly displayed in its place: 
The red, curly hair on his head and his face
    He always persisted
    Should be oiled and twisted;
He was the sleekest young husband that ever existed.

    Precisely at four
    He would leave his store;
And Mr. McNair with his modest bride
Seated snugly and lovingly by his side,
    On the rural Broadway,
    Every pleasant day,
In his spick-span carriage would rattle away.

Page 161

    Though it must be allowed
    The lady was proud,
She’d have no maid about her the dear lady vowed: 
    So for Mr. McNair
    The wear and the fare
She made it a care of her own to prepare. 
I think I may guess, being married myself,
That the cause was not solely the saving of pelf.

    As for her, I’ll declare,
    Though raven her hair,
Though her eyes were so dark and her body so slim,
She hadn’t a thought for a man but him.

    From three to nine,
    Invited to dine,
Oft met at the house of the pair divine: 
Her husband—­and who, by the way, was well able—­
Did all the “agreeable” done at the table;
While she—­most remarkably loving bride—­
Sat snugly and modestly down by his side. 
    And when they went out
    It was whispered about,
“She’s the lovingest wife in the town beyond doubt;”
And every one swore, from pastor to clown,
They were the most affectionate couple in town.

    Yes; Mrs McNair
    Was modest and fair;
She never fell into a pout or a fret;
    And Mr. McNair
    Was her only care
  And indeed her only pet. 
The few short hours he spent at his store
She spent sewing or reading the romancers’ lore;
    And whoever came
   It was always the same
With the modest lady that opened the door.

But there came to town
    One Captain Brown
    To spend a month or more. 
    Now this same Captain Brown
    Was a man of renown,
And a dashing blue coat he wore;
    And a bright, brass star. 
    And a visible scar
On his brow—­that he said he had got in the war
    As he led the van: 
    (He never ran!)
In short, he was the “General’s” right-hand man,
And had written his name on the pages of fame. 
    He was smooth as an eel,
    And rode so genteel
That in less than a week every old maid and dame
Was constantly lisping the bold Captain’s name.

    Now Mr. McNair,
    As well as the fair,
Had a “bump of reverence” as big as a pear,
    And whoever like Brown
    Had a little renown,
And happened to visit that rural town,
Was invited of course by McNair—­to “go down.”

    So merely by chance,
    The son of the lance
Became the bold hero of quite a romance: 
For Mrs. McNair thought him wonderful fair,
And that none but her husband could with him compare. 
Half her timidity vanished in air
The first time he dined with herself and McNair. 
    Now the Captain was arch
    In whiskers and starch
And preferred, now and then, a gay waltz to a march. 
A man, too, he was of uncommon good taste;
Always “at home” and never in haste,
And his manners and speech were remarkably chaste. 
    To tell you in short
    His daily resort
He made at the house of “his good friend McNair,”
Who (’twas really too bad) was so frequently

Page 162

When the Captain called in “just to see him” (no doubt)
But Mrs. McNair was so lonely—­too bad;
So he chatted and chattered and made her look glad. 
    And many a view
    Of his coat of blue,
All studded with buttons gilt, spangled and new,
    The dear lady took
    Half askance from her book,
As she modestly sat in the opposite nook. 
    Familiarly he
    And modestly she
Talked nonsense and sense so strangely commingled,
That the dear lady’s heart was delighted and tingled. 
    A man of sobriety
    Renown and variety
It could not be wrong to enjoy his society: 
    O was it a sin
    For him to “drop in,”
And sometimes to pat her in sport on the chin?

    Dear Ladies, beware;
    Dear Ladies, take care—­
How you play with a lion asleep in his lair: 
“Mere trifling flirtations”—­these arts you employ? 
Flirtations once led to the siege of old Troy;
    And a woman was in
For the sorrow and sin
And slaughter that fell when the Greeks tumbled in;
Nor is there a doubt, my dears, under the sun,
But they’ve led to the sack of more cities than one. 
    I would we were all
    As pure as Saint Paul
That we touched not the goblet whose lees are but gall;
But if so we must know where a flirtation leads;
Beware of the fair and look out for our heads. 
    Remember the odious,
    Frail woman, Herodias
Sent old Baptist John to a place incommodious,
And prevailed on her husband to cut off his head
For an indiscreet thing the old Nazarite said.

    Day in and day out
    The blue coat was about;
And the dear little lady was glad when he came
And began to be talkative, tender and tame. 
Then he gave her a ring, begged a curl of her hair,
And smilingly whispered her—­“don’t tell McNair.” 
    She dropped her dark eyes
    And with two little sighs
Sent the bold Captain’s heart fluttering up to the skies.

    Then alas—­
    What a pass! 
He fell at the feet of the lady so sweet,
And swore that he loved her beyond his control—­
With all his humanity—­body and soul! 
    The lady so frail
    Turned suddenly pale,
Then—­sighed that his love was of little avail;
For alas, the dear Captain—­he must have forgot—­
She was tied to McNair with a conjugal knot. 
  But indeed
  She agreed—­
Were she only a maid he alone could succeed;
But she prayed him by all that is sacred and fair,
Not to rouse the suspicion of Mr. McNair.

  ’Twas really too bad,
  For the lady was sad: 
And a terrible night o’t the poor lady had,
While Mr. McNair wondered what was the matter,
And endeavored to coax, to console and to flatter. 
  Many tears she shed
  That night while in bed
For she had such a terrible pain in her head! 
“My dear little pet, where’s the camphor?” he said;
“I’ll go for the doctor—­you’ll have to be bled;
I declare, my dear wife, you are just about dead.”

Page 163

  “O no, my dear;
  I pray you don’t fear,
Though the pain, I’ll admit, is exceeding severe. 
I know what it is—­I have had it before—­
It’s only neuralgia:  please go to the store
And bring me a bottle of ’Davis’s Pain-
Killer,’ and I shall be better again.” 
  He sprang out of bed
  And away he sped
In his gown for the cordial to cure her head,
Not dreaming that Cupid had played her a trick—­
The blind little rogue with a sharpened stick. 
  I confess on my knees
  I have had the disease;
It is worse than the bites of a thousand fleas;
And the only cure I have found for these ills
Is a double dose of “Purgative Pills.” 
  He rubbed her head—­
  And eased it, she said;
And he shrugged and shivered and got into bed. 
He slept and he snored, but the poor lady’s pain,
When her lord slept soundly, came on again. 
  It wore away
  However by day
And when Brown called again she was smiling and gay;
But alas, he must say—­to the lady’s dismay—­
In the town of his heart he had staid out his stay,
And must leave for his regiment with little delay.

  Now Mrs. McNair
  Was tall and fair,
Mrs. McNair was slim,
But the like of Brown was so wonderful rare
  That she could not part with him. 
Indeed you can see it was truly a pity,
For her husband was just going down to the city,
  And Captain Brown—­
  The man of renown—­
Could console her indeed were he only in town. 
So McNair to the city the next Monday hied,
And left bold Captain Brown with his modest young bride.

  As the serpent did Eve
  Most sorely deceive—­
Causing old father Adam to sorrow and grieve,
And us, his frail children, tho’ punished and chidden,
To hanker for things that are sweet but forbidden—­
  The Captain so fair,
  With his genius so rare,
Wound the web of enchantment round Mrs. McNair;
And alas, fickle Helen, ere three days were over,
She had sworn to elope with her brass-buttoned lover. 
  Like Helen, the Greek,
  She was modest and meek,
And as fair as a rose, but a trifle too weak. 
When a maid she had suitors as proud as Ulysses,
But she ne’er bent her neck to their arms or their kisses,
  Till McNair he came in
  With a brush on his chin—­
It was love at first sight—­but a trifle too thin;
For, married, the dreams of her girlhood fell short all,
And she found that her husband was only a mortal.

  Dear ladies, betray us—­
  Fast and loose play us—­
We’ll follow you still like bereaved Menelaus,
Till the little blind god with his cruel shafts slay us. 
  Cold-blooded as I am,
  If a son of old Priam
Should break the Mosaic commands and defy ’em,
And elope with my “pet,” and moreover my riches,
I would follow the rogue if I went upon crutches
To the plains of old Troy without jacket or breeches. 
  But then I’m so funny
  If he’d give up the money,
He might go to the dogs with himself and his “Honey.”

Page 164

  The lovers agreed
  That the hazardous deed
Should be done in the dark and with very great speed,
For Mr. McNair—­when the fellow came back—­
Might go crazy and foolishly follow their track. 
  So at midnight should wait
  At her garden-gate
A carriage to carry the dear, precious freight
Of Mrs. McNair who should meet Captain Brown
At the Globe Hotel in a neighboring town. 
  A man should be hired
  To convey the admired. 
And keep mum as a mouse, and do what was desired.

Wearily, wearily half the night
  The lady watched away;
At times in a spirit of sadness quite,
But fully resolved on her amorous flight,
  She longed to be under way;
Yet with sad heaving heart and a tear, I declare,
As she sorrowfully thought of poor Mr. McNair.

  “Poor fellow,” she sighed,
  “I wish he had died
Last spring when he had his complaint in the side
For I know—­I am sure—­it will terribly grieve him
To have me elope with the Captain and leave him. 
  But the Captain—­dear me! 
  I hardly can see
Why I love the brave Captain to such a degree: 
But see—­there’s the carriage, I vow, at the gate! 
I must go—­’tis the law of inveterate fate.” 
  So a parting look
  At her home she took,
While a terrible conflict her timid soul shook;
Then turned to the carriage heart-stricken and sore,
Stepped hastily in and closed up the door. 
  “Crack!” went the whip;
  She bit her white lip,
And away she flew on her desperate trip. 
She thought of dear Brown; and poor Mr. McNair—­
She knew he would hang himself straight in despair.

She sighed
  And she cried
  All during the ride,
And endeavored—­alas, but she could not decide. 
  Three times she prayed;
  Three times she essayed
To call to the driver for pity and aid—­
  To drive her straight
  To her garden-gate,
And break the spell of her terrible fate. 
  But her tongue was tied—­
  She couldn’t decide,
And she only moaned at a wonderful rate.

  No mortal can tell
  “What might have befell,”
Had it been a mile more to the Globe Hotel;
But as they approached it she broke from her spell. 
  A single hair
  For Mr. McNair
She vowed to herself that she did not care;
  But the Captain so true
  In his coat of blue—­
To his loving arms in her fancy she flew. 
  In a moment or more
  They drove up to the door,
And she felt that her trials and troubles were o’er. 
The landlord came hastily out in his slippers,
For late he had sat with some smokers and sippers. 
  As the lady stepped down
  With a fret and a frown,
She sighed half aloud, “Where is dear Captain Brown?”
“This way, my dear madam,” politely he said,
And straightway to the parlor the lady he led.

Page 165

Now the light was dim
  Where she followed him,
And the dingy old parlor looked gloomy and grim. 
As she entered, behold, in contemplative mood,
In the farther corner the bold Captain stood
  In his coat of blue: 
  To his arms she flew;
She buried her face in his bosom so true: 
“Dear Captain!—­my Darling!” sighed Mrs. McNair;
Then she raised her dark eyes and—­Good Heavens’
  I declare!—–­
Instead of the Captain ’twas—­Mr. McNair!
She threw up her arms—­she screamed—­and she fainted;
Such a scene!—­Ah the like of it never was painted.

Of repentance and pardon I need not tell;
Her vows I will not relate,
For every man must guess them well
Who knows much of the “married state.” 
Of the sad mischance suffice it to say
That McNair had suspected the Captain’s “foul play;”
  So he laid a snare
  For the bold and the fair,
But he captured, alas, only Mrs. McNair;
And the brass-buttoned lover—­bold Captain Brown—­
Was nevermore seen in that rural town.

  Mrs. McNair
  Is tall and fair;
  Mrs. McNair is slim;
And her husband again is her only care—­
She is wonderfully fond of him; For now he is all the dear lady can wish—­he Is a captain himself—­in the State militia.



[January, 1865.]

Old Father Abe has issued his “Call”
 For Three Hundred Thousand more! 
By Jupiter, boys, he is after you all—­
Lamed and maimed—­tall and small—­
With his drag-net spread for a general haul
  Of the “suckers” uncaught before.

I am sorry to see such a woeful change
  In the health of the hardiest;
It is wonderful odd—­it is “passing strange”—­
As over the country you travel and range,
To behold such a sudden, lamentable change
  All over the East and the West.

“Blades” tough and hearty a week ago,
  Who tippled and danced and laughed,
Are “suddenly taken,” and some quite low
With an epidemical illness, you know: 
“What!—­Zounds!—­the cholera?” you quiz;—­no—­no—­
  The doctors call it the “Draft.”

What a blessed thing it were to be old—­
  A little past “forty-five;”
’Twere better indeed than a purse of gold
At a premium yet unwritten, untold,
For what poor devil that’s now “enrolled”
  Expects to get off alive?

There’s a miracle wrought in the Democrats;
  They swore it was murder and sin
To put in the “Niggers,” like Kilkenny cats,
To clear the ship of the rebel rats,
But now I notice they swing their hats
  And shout to the “Niggers”—­“Go in!


Page 166

Once Satan and a monk went on a “drunk,”
And Satan struck a bargain with the monk,
Whereby the Devil’s crew was much increased
By penceless poor and now and then a priest
Who, lacking cunning or good common sense,
Got caught in flagrante and out of pence. 
Then in high glee the Devil filled a cup
And drank a brimming bumper to the pope: 
Then—­“Here’s to you,” he said, “sober or drunk,
In cowl or corsets, every monk’s a punk. 
Whate’er they preach unto the common breed,
At heart the priests and I are well agreed. 
Justice is blind we see, and deaf and old,
But in her scales can hear the clink of gold. 
The convent is a harem in disguise,
And virtue is a fig-leaf for the wise
To hide the naked truth of lust and lecheries.

“And still the toilers feed the pious breed,
And pin their faith upon the bishop’s sleeve;
Hungry for hope they gulp a moldy creed
And dine on faith.  ’Tis easier to believe
An old-time fiction than to wear a tooth
In gnawing bones to reach the marrow truth. 
Priests murder Truth and with her gory ghost
They frighten fools and give the rogues a roast
Until without or pounds or pence or price—­
Free as the fabled wine of paradise—­
They furnish priestly plates with buttered toast. 
Your priests of superstition stalk the land
With Jacob’s winning voice and Esau’s hand;
Sinners to hell and saints to heaven they call,
And eat the fattest fodder in the stall. 
They, versed in dead rituals in dead language deep,
Talk Greek to th’ grex and Latin to their sheep,
And feed their flocks a flood of cant and college
For every drop of sense or useful knowledge.”

“I beg your pardon,” softly said the monk,
“I fear your Majesty is raving drunk. 
I would be courteous.” 
                      But the Devil laughed
And slyly winked and sagely shook his head. 
“My fawning dog,” the sage satanic said,
“Wags not his tail for me but for my bread. 
Brains rule to day as they have ruled for aye,
And craft grown craftier in this modern day
Still rides the fools, but in a craftier way;
And priestcraft lingers and survives its use;
What was a blessing once is now abuse: 
Grown fat and arrogant on power and pelf,
The old-time shepherd has become a wolf
And only feeds his flocks to feast himself. 
To clink of coin the pious juggler jumps,
For still he thinks, as in the days of old,
The key to holy heaven is made of gold,
That in the game of mortals money is trumps,
That golden darts will pierce e’en Virtue’s shield,
And by the salve of gold all sins are healed. 
So old Saint Peter stands outside the fence
With hand outstretched for toll of Peter-pence,
And sinners’ souls must groan in Purgatory
Until they pay the admission-fee to glory.

Page 167

“There was an honest poet once on earth
Who beat all other bardies at a canter;
Rob’ Burns his mother called him at his birth. 
Though handicapped by rum and much a ranter,
He won the madcap race in Tam O’Shanter
He drove a spanking span from Scottish heather,
Strong-limbed, but light of foot as flea or feather—­
Rhyme and Reason, matched and yoked together,
And reined them with light hand and limber leather. 
He wrote to me once on a time—­I mind it—­
A bold epistle and the poet signed it. 
He thought to cheat “Auld Nickie” of his dues,
But who outruns the Devil casts his shoes;
And so at last from frolicking and drinkin’,
‘Some luckless hour’ sent him to Hell ’alinkin’![CW]
Times had been rather dull in my dominion,
And all my imps like lubbers lay a snoring,
But Burns began to rhyme us his opinion,
And in ten minutes had all Hell aroaring. 
Then Robbie pulled his book of poems out
And read us sundry satires from the book;
Death and Doctor Hornbook’ raised a shout
Till all the roof-tin on the rafters shook;
And when his ‘Unco Guid’ the bardie read
The crew all clapped their hands and yelled like mad;
But ‘Holy Willie’s Prayer’ ‘brought down the house’. 
So I was glad to give the bard a pass
And a few pence for toll at Peter’s gate;
For if the roof of Hell were made of brass
Bob Burns would shake it off as sure as fate. 
I mind it well—­that poem on a louse! 
‘O wad some pow’r the giftie gie us,’ Monk,
’To see oursels as others see us’—­drunk;
’It wad frae monie a blunder free us’—­list!—­
‘And foolish notion.’  Abbot, bishop, priest,
‘What airs in dress an’ gait wad lea’e’ you all,
‘And ev’n devotion.’  Cowls and robes would fall,
And sometimes leave a bishop but a beast,
And show a leper sore where erst they made a priest.”

[CW] Tripping.  See Burns’ “Address to the Deil

Not to be beat the jolly monk filled up His silver mug with rare old Burgundy; “Here’s to your health,” he said, “your Majesty”—­ And drained the brimming goblet at a gulp—­ “’For when the Devil was sick the Devil a monk would be; But when the Devil got well a devil a monk was he.’ In vino veritas is true, no doubt—­ When wine goes in teetotal truth comes out.  To shake a little Shakespeare in the wine:  ‘Some rise by sin and some by virtue fall’; But in the realm of Fate, as I opine, A devil a virtue is or sin at all.  ‘The Devil be damned’ is what we preach, you know it—­ At mass and vespers, holy-bread and dinner:  From priest to pope, from pedagogue to poet, We sanctify the sin and damn the sinner.  This poet Shakespeare, whom I read with pleasure,
Wrote once—­I think, in taking his own ’Measure’:—­
’They say best men are molded out of faults,
And, for the most, become much more the better
For being a little bad.’  The reason halts: 

Page 168

If read between the lines—­not by the letter—­
‘Tis plain enough that Shakespeare was atrimmin’
His own unruly ship and furling sail
To meet a British tempest or a gale,
And keep cold water from his wine and women. 
Now I’ll admit, when he’s a little mellow,
The Devil himself’s a devilish clever fellow,
And, though his cheeks and paunch are somewhat shrunk,
He only lacks a cowl to make a monk. 
Time is the mother of twins et hic et nunc;
Come, hood your horns and fill the mug abrimmin’,
For we are cheek by jowl on wit and wine and women.”

And so the monk and Devil filled the mug,
And quaffed and chaffed and laughed the night away;
And when the “wee sma” hours of night had come,
The monk slipped out and stole the abbot’s rum;
And when the abbot came at break of day,
There cheek by jowl—­horns, hoofs, and hood—­they lay,
With open missal and an empty jug,
And broken beads and badly battered mug—­
In fond embrace—­dead drunk upon the rug.

Think not, wise reader, that the bard hath drunk
The wine that fumed these vagaries from the monk;
Nor, in the devil ethics thou hast read,
There spake the poet in the Devil’s stead. 
Let Virtue be our helmet and our shield,
And Truth our weapon—­weapon sharp and strong
And deadly to all error and all wrong. 
Yea, armed with Truth, though rogues and rascals throng
The citadel of Virtue shall not yield,
For God’s right arm of Truth prevails in every field.

[Illustration:  THE DEVIL AND THE MONK]


Monarch of Hannah’s rocking-chair,
With unclipped beard and unkempt hair,
Sitting at ease by the kitchen fire,
  Nor heeding the wind and the driving sleet,
Jo Lumpkin perused the Daily Liar—­
  A leading and stanch Democratic sheet,
While Hannah, his wife, in her calico,
Sat knitting a pair of mittens for Jo.

“Hanner,” he said, and he raised his eyes
And looked exceedingly grave and wise,
“The kentry’s agoin, I guess, tu the dogs: 
Them durned Republikins, they air hogs: 
A dev’lish purty fix we air in;
They’ve gone un riz the teriff on tin.”

“How’s thet?” said Hannah, and turned her eyes
With a look of wonder and vague surprise.

“Why them confoundered Congriss chaps
Hez knocked the prices out uv our craps: 
We can’t sell butter ner beans no more
Tu enny furren ship er shore,
Becuz them durned Republikins
Hez gone un riz the teriff on tins.”

Hannah dropped her knitting-work on her knees,
And looked very solemn and ill-at-ease: 
  She gazed profoundly into the fire,
Then hitched her chair a little bit nigher,
  And said as she glanced at the Daily Liar
With a sad, wan look in her buttermilk eyes: 
“I vum thet’s a tax on punkin-pies,
Fer they know we allers bakes ’em in
Pans un platters un plates uv tin.”

Page 169

“I wouldn’t agrumbled a bit,” said Jo,
“Et a tax on sugar un salt un sich;
  But I swow it’s a morul political sin
Tu drive the farmer intu the ditch
  With thet pesky teriff on tin. 
Ef they’d a put a teriff on irn un coal
  Un hides un taller un hemlock bark,
Why thet might a helped us out uv a hole
  By buildin uv mills un givin uv work,
Un gladd’nin many a farmer’s soul
  By raisin the price of pertaters un pork: 
But durn their eyes, it’s a morul sin—­
They’ve gone un riz the teriff on tin. 
I wouldn’t wonder a bit ef Blaine
Hed diskivered a tin mine over in Maine;
Er else he hez foundered a combinashin
Tu gobble the tin uv the hull creashin. 
I’ll bet Jay Gould is intu the’trust,’
Un they’ve gone in tergether tu make er bust;
Un tu keep the British frum crowdin in
They’ve gone un riz the teriff on tin. 
What’ll we du fer pans un pails
When the cow comes in un the old uns fails? 
Tu borrer a word frum Scripter, Hanner,
Un du it, tu, in pious manner,
You’ll hev tu go down in yer sock fer a ducat,
Er milk old Roan in a wooden bucket: 
Fer them Republikins—­durn their skin—­
Hez riz sich a turrible teriff on tin. 
Tu cents a pound on British tin-plate! 
Why, Hanner, you see, at thet air rate,
Accordin tu this ere newspaper-print—­
Un it mus be so er it wouldn’t’ be in’t—­
It’s a dollar un a half on one tin pan,
Un about six shillin on a coffee-can,
Un ten shillin, Hanner, on a dinner-pail! 
Gol! won’t it make the workin men squeal—­
Thet durned Republikin tax un steal! 
They call it Protecshin, but blast my skin
Ef it aint a morul political sin—­
Thet durned Republikin teriff on tin.

“Un then they hev put a teriff on silk
Un satin un velvit un thet air ilk,
Un broadcloth un brandy un Havanny cigars,
Un them slick silk hats thet our preacher wears;
Un he’ll hev tu wear humspun un drink skim milk. 
Un, Hanner, you see we’ll hev tu be savin,
Un whittle our store-bill down tu a shavin;
You can’t go tu meetin in silks; I vum
You’ll hev tu wear ging-um er stay tu hum.” 
But Hannah said sharply—­“I won’t though, I swum!”
And Hannah gazed wistfully on her Jo
As he rocked himself mournfully to and fro,
And then she looked thoughtfully into the fire,
While the sleet fell faster and the wind blew higher,
And Jo took a turn at the Daily Liar.




Old Deutchland’s the country for sauerkraut and beer,
Old England’s the land of roast beef and good cheer,
Auld Scotland’s the mother of gristle and grit,
But Ireland, my boy, is the mother of wit. 
Once Pat was indicted for stealing a pig,
And brought into court to the man in the wig. 

Page 170

The indictment was long and so lumbered with Latin
That Pat hardly knew what a pickle was Pat in;
But at last it was read to the end, and the wig
Said:  “Pat, are you guilty of stealing the pig?”
Pat looked very wise, though a trifle forlorn,
And he asked of milord that the witness be sworn. 
“Bless yer sowl,” stammered Pat, “an’ the day ye was born! 
Faith how in the divil d’ye think Oi can tell
Till Oi hear the ividince?”
                           Pat reckoned well;
For the witness was sworn and the facts he revealed—­
How Pat stole the piggy and how the pig squealed,
Whose piggy the pig was and what he was worth,
And the slits in his ears and his tail and—­so forth;
But he never once said, ’in the county of Meath,’[CX]
So Pat he escaped by the skin of his teeth.

[CX] In criminal cases it is necessary to prove that the crime was committed in the county where the venue is laid.


[1] Called in the Dakota tongue “Hok-see-win-na-pee Wo-han-pee”—­Virgins’ Dance (or Feast).

[2] One of the favorite and most exciting games of the Dakotas is ball-playing.  A smooth place on the prairie, or in winter, on a frozen lake or river, is chosen.  Each player has a sort of bat, called “Ta-kee-cha-pse-cha,” about thirty-two inches long, with a hoop at the lower end four or five inches in diameter, interlaced with thongs of deer-skin, forming a sort of pocket.  With these bats they catch and throw the ball.  Stakes are set as bounds at a considerable distance from the center on either side.  Two parties are then formed and each chooses a leader or chief.  The ball (Tapa) is then thrown up half way between the bounds, and the game begins, the contestants contending with their bats for the ball as it falls.  When one succeeds in getting it fairly into the pocket of his bat he swings it aloft and throws it as far as he can toward the bound to which his party is working, taking care to send it if possible where some of his own side will take it up.  Thus the ball is thrown and contended for till one party succeeds in casting it beyond the bounds of the opposite party.  A hundred players on a side are sometimes engaged in this exciting game.  Betting on the result often runs high.  Moccasins, pipes, knives, hatchets, blankets, robes and guns are hung on the prize-pole.  Not unfrequently horses are staked on the issue and sometimes even women.  Old men and mothers are among the spectators, praising their swift-footed sons, and young wives and maidens are there to stimulate their husbands and lovers.  This game is not confined to the warriors but is also a favorite amusement of the Dakota maidens, who generally play for prizes offered by the chief or warriors. (See Neill’s Hist.  Minn., pp 74-5; Riggs’ Takoo Wakan, pp 44-5, and Mrs. Eastman’s Dacotah, p 55.)

Page 171

[3] Pronounced Wah-zee-yah—­the god of the North, or Winter.  A fabled spirit who dwells in the frozen North, in a great teepee of ice and snow.  From his mouth and nostrils he blows the cold blasts of winter.  He and I-to-ka-ga Wi cas-ta—­the spirit or god of the South (literally the “South Man”) are inveterate enemies, and always on the war-path against each other.  In winter Wa-zi-ya advances southward and drives I-to-ka-ga Wi-cas-ta before him to the Summer-Islands.  But in spring the god of the South having renewed his youth and strength in the “Happy Hunting Grounds,” is able to drive Wa-zi-ya back again to his icy wigwam in the North.  Some Dakotas say that the numerous granite boulders scattered over the prairies of Minnesota and Dakota, were hurled in battle by Wa-zi-ya from his home in the North at I-to-ka-ga Wi-cas-ta.  The Wa-zi-ya of the Dakotas is substantially the same as “Ka be-bon-ik-ka”—­the “Winter-maker” of the Ojibways.

[4] Mendota—­(meeting of the waters) at the confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers.  The true Dakota word is Mdo-te—­applied to the mouth of a river flowing into another, also to the outlet of a lake.

[5] Pronounced Wee-wah-stay; literally—­a beautiful virgin or woman.

[6] Cetan-wa-ka-wa-mani—­“He who shoots pigeon-hawks walking”—­was the full Dakota name of the grandfather of the celebrated “Little Crow” (Ta-o-ya-te-du-ta—­His Red People) who led his warriors in the terrible outbreak in Minnesota in 1862-3.  The Chippeways called the grandfather Ka-ka-ge—­crow or raven—­from his war-badge, a crow-skin; and hence the French traders and courriers du bois called him “Petit Corbeau”—­Little Crow.  This sobriquet, of which he was proud, descended to his son, Wakinyan Tanka—­Big Thunder, who succeeded him as chief; and from Big Thunder to his son Ta-o-ya-te-du-ta, who became chief on the death of Wakinyan Tanka.  These several “Little Crows” were successively Chiefs of the Light-foot, or Kapoza band of Dakotas. Kapoza, the principal village of this band, was originally located on the east bank of the Mississippi near the site of the city of St. Paul. Col.  Minn.  Hist.  Soc., 1864, p. 29.  It was in later years moved to the west bank.  The grandfather whom I, for short, call Wakawa, died the death of a brave in battle against the Ojibways (commonly called Chippeways)—­the hereditary enemies of the Dakotas. Wakinyan Tanka—­Big Thunder, was killed by the accidental discharge of his own gun.  They were both buried with their kindred near the “Wakan Teepee,” the sacred Cave—­(Carver’s Cave). Ta-o-ya-te-du-ta, the last of the Little Crows, was killed July 3, 1863, during the outbreak, near Hutchinson, Minnesota, by the Lampsons—­father and son, and his bones were duly “done up” for the Historical Society of Minnesota.  See Heard’s Hist.  Sioux War, and Neill’s Hist.  Minnesota, Third Edition.

Page 172

[Illustration:  LITTLE CROW. From an original photograph in the author’s possession]

Little Crow’s sixteen-year-old son, Wa-wi-na-pe—­(One who appears —­like the spirit of his forefather) was with him at the time he was killed; but escaped, and after much hardship and suffering, was at last captured at Mini Wakan (Devil’s Lake, in North Dakota).  From him personally I obtained much information in regard to Little Crow’s participation in the “Sioux War,” and minutely the speech that Little Crow made to his braves when he finally consented to lead them on the war-path against the whites.  A literal translation of that speech will be found further on in this note.

I knew Ta-o-ya-te-du-ta, and from his own lips, in 1859-60 and 61, obtained much interesting information in regard to the history, tradition, customs, superstitions and habits of the Dakotas, of whom he was the recognized Head-Chief.  He was a remarkable Indian—­a philosopher and a brave and generous man.  “Untutored savage” that he was, he was a prince among his own people, and the peer in natural ability of the ablest white men in the Northwest in his time.  He had largely adopted the dress and habits of civilized man, and he urged his people to abandon their savage ways, build houses, cultivate fields, and learn to live like the white people.  He clearly forsaw the ultimate extinction of his people as a distinct race.  He well knew and realized the numbers and power of the whites then rapidly taking possession of the hunting-grounds of the Dakotas, and the folly of armed opposition on the part of his people.  He said to me once:  “No more Dakotas by and by; Indians all white men.  No more buffaloes by and by; all cows, all oxen.”  But his braves were restless.  They smarted under years of wrong and robbery, to which, indeed, the most stinging insults were often added by the traders and officials among them.  If the true, unvarnished history of the cause and inception of the “Sioux Outbreak” in Minnesota is ever written and published, it will bring the blush of shame to the cheeks of every honest man who reads it.

Against his judgment and repeated protests, Little Crow was at last, after the depredations had begun, forced into the war on the whites by his hot-headed and uncontrollable “young men.”

Goaded to desperation, a party of Little Crow’s young “bucks,” in August, 1862, began their depredations and spilled white blood at Acton.  Returning to their chief’s camp near the agency, they told their fellow braves what they had done.  The hot-headed young warriors immediately demanded of Little Crow that he put on the “war-paint” and lead them against the white men.  The chief severely rebuked the “young men” who had committed the murders, blackened his face (a sign of mourning), retired to his teepee and covered his head in sorrow.

Page 173

His braves surrounded his tent and cut it into strips with their knives.  They threatened to depose him from the chiefship unless he immediately put on the “war-paint” and led them against the whites.  They knew that the Civil War was then in progress, that the white men were fighting among themselves, and they declared that now was the time to regain their lost hunting-grounds; that now was the time to avenge the thievery and insults of the Agents who had for years systematically cheated them out of the greater part of their promised annuities, for which they had been induced to part with their lands; that now was the time to avenge the debauchery of their wives and daughters by the dissolute hangers-on who, as employees of the Indian Agents and licensed traders, had for years hovered around them like buzzards around the carcasses of slaughtered buffaloes.

But Little Crow was unmoved by the appeals and threats of his warriors.  It is said that once for a moment he uncovered his head; that his face was haggard and great beads of sweat stood out on his forehead.  But at last one of his enraged braves, bolder than the rest, cried out: 

Ta-o-ya-te-du-ta is a coward!”

Instantly Little Crow sprang from his teepee, snatched the eagle-feathers from the head of his insulter and flung them on the ground.  Then, stretching himself to his full height, his eyes flashing fire, and in a voice tremulous with rage, he exclaimed: 

Ta-o-ya-te-du-ta is not a coward, and he is not a fool!  When did he run away from his enemies?  When did he leave his braves behind him on the war-path and turn back to his teepees?  When he ran away from your enemies, he walked behind on your trail with his face to the Ojibways and covered your backs as a she-bear covers her cubs!  Is Ta-o-ya-te-du-ta without scalps?  Look at his war-feathers!  Behold the scalp-locks of your enemies hanging there on his lodge-poles!  Do they call him a coward? Ta-o-ya-te-du-ta is not a coward, and he is not a fool.  Braves, you are like little children; you know not what you are doing.

“You are full of the white man’s devil-water” (rum).  “You are like dogs in the Hot Moon when they run mad and snap at their own shadows.  We are only little herds of buffaloes left scattered; the great herds that once covered the prairies are no more.  See!—­the white men are like the locusts when they fly so thick that the whole sky is a snow-storm.  You may kill one—­two—­ten; yes, as many as the leaves in the forest yonder, and their brothers will not miss them.  Kill one—­two—­ten, and ten times ten will come to kill you.  Count your fingers all day long and white men with guns in their hands will come faster than you can count.

Page 174

“Yes; they fight among themselves—­away off.  Do you hear the thunder of their big guns?  No; it would take you two moons to run down to where they are fighting, and all the way your path would be among white soldiers as thick as tamaracks in the swamps of the Ojibways.  Yes; they fight among themselves, but if you strike at them they will all turn on you and devour you and your women and little children just as the locusts in their time fall on the trees and devour all the leaves in one day.  You are fools.  You cannot see the face of your chief; your eyes are full of smoke.  You cannot hear his voice; your ears are full of roaring waters.  Braves, you are little children—­you are fools.  You will die like the rabbits when the hungry wolves hunt them in the Hard Moon (January). Ta-o-ya-te du-ta is not a coward:  he will die with you.”

[7] Harps-te-nah.  The first-born daughter of a Dakota is called Winona; the second, Harpen; the third, Harpstina; the fourth, Waska; the fifth, Weharka.  The first-born son is called Chaske; the second, Harpam; the third, Hapeda; the fourth, Chatun; the fifth, Harka.  They retain these names till others are given them on account of some action, peculiarity, etc.  The females often retain their child-names through life.

[8] Wah-pah-sah was the hereditary name of a long and illustrious line of Dakota chiefs.  Wabashaw is a corrupt pronunciation.  The name is a contraction of Wa-pa-ha-sa, which is from Wa-ha-pa, the standard or pole used in the Dakota dances and upon which feathers of various colors are tied, and not from Wa-pa—­leaf, as has been generally supposed.  Therefore Wapasa means the Standard—­and not the “Leaf-Shaker,” as many writers have it.  The principal village of these hereditary chiefs was Ke-uk-sa, or Ke-o-sa,—­where now stands the fair city of Winona. Ke-uk-sa signifies—­The village of law-breakers; so called because this band broke the law or custom of the Dakotas against marrying blood relatives of any degree.  I get this information from Rev. Stephen R. Riggs, author of the Dakota Grammar and Dictionary, “Takoo Wakan,” etc. Wapasa, grandfather of the last chief of that name, and a contemporary of Cetan-Wa-ka-wa-mani, was a noted chief, and a friend of the British in the war of the Revolution. Neill’s Hist.  Minn., pp. 225-9.

[9] E-ho, E-to—­Exclamations of surprise and delight.

[10] Mah-gah—­The wild-goose.

[11] Tee-pee—­A lodge or wigwam, often contracted to “tee.”

[12] Pronounced Mahr-pee-yah-doo-tah—­literally, Cloud Red.

[13] Pronounced Wahnmdee—­The War Eagle.  Each feather worn by a warrior represents an enemy slain or captured—­man, woman or child; but the Dakotas, before they became desperate under the cruel warfare of their enemies, usually spared the lives of their captives, and never killed women or infants, except in rare instances under the lex talionis. Neill’s Hist.  Minn., p. 112.

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[14] Mah-to—­The polar bear—­ursus maritimus.  The Dakotas say that in olden times white bears were often found about Rainy Lake and the Lake of the Woods in winter, and sometimes as far south as the mouth of the Minnesota.  They say one was once killed at White Bear Lake (but a few miles from St. Paul and Minneapolis), and they therefore named the lake Mede Mato—­White Bear Lake, literally—­Lake White Bear.

[15] The Ho-he (Ho-hay) are the Assiniboins or “Stone-roasters.”  Their home is the region of the Assiniboin River in Manitoba.  They speak the Dakota tongue, and originally were a band of that nation.  Tradition says a Dakota “Helen” was the cause of the separation and a bloody feud that lasted for many years.  The Hohes are called “Stone-roasters,” because, until recently at least, they used wa-ta-pe kettles and vessels made of birch bark in which they cooked their food.  They boiled water in these vessels by heating stones and putting them in the water.  The wa-ta-pe kettle is made of the fibrous roots of the white cedar interlaced and tightly woven.  When the vessel is soaked it becomes water-tight. [Snelling’s] Tales of the North-west, p 21, Mackenzie’s Travels.

[16] Hey-o-ka is one of the principal Dakota deities.  He is a giant, but can change himself into a buffalo, a bear, a fish or a bird.  He is called the Anti-natural God or Spirit.  In summer he shivers with cold, in winter he suffers from heat; he cries when he laughs and he laughs when he cries, etc.  He is the reverse of nature in all things. Heyoka is universally feared and reverenced by the Dakotas, but so severe is the ordeal that the Heyoka Wacipee (the dance to Heyoka) is now rarely celebrated.  It is said that the “Medicine-men” use a secret preparation which enables them to handle fire and dip their hands in boiling water without injury and thereby gain great eclat from the uninitiated.  The chiefs and the leading warriors usually belong to the secret order of “Medicine-men” or “Sons of Unktehee”—­the Spirit of the Waters.

[17] The Dakota name for the moon is Han-ye-tu-wee—­literally, Night-Sun.  He is the twin brother of An-pe-tu-wee—­the Day Sun.  See note 70.

[18] The Dakotas believe that the stars are the spirits of their departed friends.

[19] Tee—­Contracted from teepee, lodge or wigwam, and means the same.

[20] For all their sacred feasts the Dakotas kindle a new fire called “The Virgin Fire.”  This is done with flint and steel, or by rubbing together pieces of wood till friction produces fire.  It must be done by a virgin, nor must any woman, except a virgin, ever touch the “sacred armor” of a Dakota warrior.  White cedar is “Wakan”—­sacred.  See note 50. Riggs’ Tahkoo Wakan, p. 84.

[21] All Northern Indians consider the East a mysterious and sacred land whence comes the sun.  The Dakota name for the East is Wee-yo-hee-yan-pa—­the sunrise.  The Ojibways call it Waub-o-nong —­the white land or land of light, and they have many myths, legends and traditions relating thereto.  Barbarous peoples of all times have regarded the East with superstitious reverence simply because the sun rises in that quarter.

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[22] See Mrs. Eastman’s Dacotah, pp. 225-8, describing the feast to Heyoka.

[23] This stone from which the Dakotas have made their pipes for ages, is esteemed wakan—­sacred.  They call it I-yan-ska, probably from iya, to speak, and ska, white, truthful, peaceful,—­hence, peace-pipe, herald of peace, pledge of truth, etc.  In the cabinet at Albany, N.Y., there is a very ancient pipe of this material which the Iroquois obtained from the Dakotas.  Charlevoix speaks of this pipe-stone in his History of New France.  LeSueur refers to the Yanktons as the village of the Dakotas at the Red-Stone Quarry.  See Neill’s Hist.  Minn., p. 514.

[24] “Ho” is an exclamation of approval—­yea, yes, bravo.

[25] Buying is the honorable way of taking a wife among the Dakotas.  The proposed husband usually gives a horse or its value in other articles to the father or natural guardian of the woman selected—­sometimes against her will.  See note 75.

[26] The Dakotas believe that the Aurora Borealis is an evil omen and the threatening of an evil spirit (perhaps Waziya, the Winter-god—­some say a witch, or a very ugly old woman).  When the lights appear danger threatens, and the warriors shoot at, and often slay, the evil spirit, but it rises from the dead again.

[27] Se-so-kah—­The Robin.

[28] The spirit of Anpetu-sapa that haunts the Falls of St. Anthony with her dead babe in her arms.  See the Legend in Neill’s Hist.  Minn., or my Legend of the Falls.

[29] Mee-coonk-shee—­My daughter.

[30] The Dakotas call the meteor, “Wakan-denda” (sacred fire) and Wakan-wohlpa (sacred gift).  Meteors are messages from the Land of Spirits warning of impending danger.  It is a curious fact that the “sacred stone” of the Mohammedans, in the Kaaba at Mecca, is a meteoric stone, and obtains its sacred character from the fact that it fell from heaven.

[31] Kah-no-te-dahn,—­the little, mysterious dweller in the woods.  This spirit lives in the forest, in hollow trees. Mrs. Eastman’s Dacotah, Pre.  Rem. xxxi.  “The Dakota god of the woods—­an unknown animal said to resemble a man, which the Dakotas worship:  perhaps, the monkey.”—­Riggs’ Dakota Dic.  Tit—­Canotidan.

[32] The Dakotas believe that thunder is produced by the flapping of the wings of an immense bird which they call Wakinyan—­the Thunder-bird.  Near the source of the Minnesota River is a place called “Thunder-Tracks” where the foot-prints of a “Thunder-bird” are seen on the rocks twenty-five miles apart. Mrs. Eastman’s Dacotah, p. 71.  There are many Thunder-birds.  The father of all the Thunder-birds—­“Wakinyan Tanka”—­or “Big Thunder,” has his teepee on a lofty mountain in the far West.  His teepee has four openings, at each of which is a sentinel; at the east, a butterfly;

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at the west, a bear; at the south, a red deer; at the north, a caribou.  He has a bitter enmity against Unktehee (god of waters) and often shoots his fiery arrows at him, and hits the earth, trees, rocks, and sometimes men. Wakinyan created wild-rice, the bow and arrow, the tomahawk and the spear.  He is a great war-spirit, and Wanmdee (the war-eagle) is his messenger.  A Thunder-bird (say the Dakotas) was once killed near Kapoza by the son of Cetan-Wakawa-mani and he thereupon took the name of “Wakinyan Tanka”—­“Big Thunder.”

[33] Pronounced Tah-tahn-kah—­Bison or Buffalo.

[34] Enah—­An exclamation of wonder. Eho—­Behold! see there!

[35] The Crees are the Knisteneaux of Alexander Mackenzie.  See his account of them, Mackenzie’s Travels, (London, 1801) p. xci to cvii.

[36] Lake Superior.  The only names the Dakotas have for Lake Superior are Mede Tanka or Tanka Mede—­Great Lake, and Me-ne-ya-ta—­literally, At-the-Water.

[37] April—­Literally, the moon when the geese lay eggs.  See note 71.

[38] Carver’s Cave at St. Paul was called by the Dakotas Wakan Teepee—­sacred lodge.  In the days that are no more they lighted their council-fires in this cave and buried their dead near it.  See Neill’s Hist.  Minn., p. 207.  Capt.  Carver in his Travels, London, 1778, p. 63, et. seq., describes this cave as follows:  “It is a remarkable cave of an amazing depth.  The Indians term it Wakonteebe, that is, the Dwelling of the Great Spirit.  The entrance into it is about ten feet wide, the height of it five feet, the arch within is near fifteen feet high and about thirty feet broad.  The bottom of it consists of fine clear sand.  About twenty feet from the entrance begins a lake, the water of which is transparent, and extends to an unsearchable distance; for the darkness of the cave prevents all attempts to acquire a knowledge of it.  I threw a small pebble toward the interior parts of it with my utmost strength.  I could hear that it fell into the water, and notwithstanding it was of so small a size it caused an astonishing and horrible noise that reverberated through all those gloomy regions.  I found in this cave many Indian hieroglyphics which appeared very ancient, for time had nearly covered them with moss so that it was with difficulty I could trace them.  They were cut in a rude manner upon the inside of the walls, which were composed of a stone so extremely soft that it might be easily penetrated with a knife:  a stone everywhere to be found near the Mississippi.  This cave is only accessible by ascending a narrow, steep passage that lies near the brink of the river.  At a little distance from this dreary cavern is the burying-place of several bands of the Naudowessie (Dakota) Indians,” Many years ago the roof fell in but the cave has been partly restored and is now used as a beer cellar.

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[39] Wah-kahn-dee—­The lightning.

[40] The Bloody River—­the Red River was so called on account of the numerous Indian battles that have been fought on its banks.  The Ojibways say that its waters were colored red by the blood of many warriors slain on its banks in the fierce wars between themselves and the Dakotas.

[41] Tah—­The Moose.  This is the root-word for all ruminating animals:  Ta-tanka, buffalo—­Ta-toka, mountain antelope—­Ta-hinca, the red deer—­Ta-mdoka, the buck-deer—­Ta-hinca-ska, white deer (sheep).

[42] Hogahn—­Fish.  Red Hogan, the trout.

[43] Tipsanna (often called tipsinna) is a wild prairie-turnip used for food by the Dakotas.  It grows on high, dry land, and increases from year to year.  It is eaten both cooked and raw.

[44] Rio Tajo (or Tagus), a river of Spain and Portugal.

  * * * * “Bees of Trebizond—­
  Which from the sunniest flowers that glad
  With their pure smile the gardens round,
  Draw venom forth that drives men mad.”

_—­Thomas Moore_.

[46] Skee-skah—­The Wood-duck.

[47] The Crocus.  I have seen the prairies in Minnesota spangled with these beautiful flowers in various colors before the ground was free from frost.  The Dakotas call them “frost-flowers.”

[48] The “Sacred Ring” around the Feast of the Virgins is formed by armed warriors sitting, and none but a virgin must enter this ring.  The warrior who knows is bound on honor, and by old and sacred custom, to expose and publicly denounce any tarnished maiden who dares to enter this ring, and his word cannot be questioned—­even by the chief.  See Mrs. Eastman’s Dacotah, p. 64.

[49] Prairie’s Pride.—­This annual shrub, which abounds on many of the sandy prairies in Minnesota, is sometimes called “tea-plant,” “sage-plant,” and “red-root willow.”  I doubt if it has any botanic name.  Its long plumes of purple and gold are truly the “pride of the prairies.”

[50] The Dakotas consider white cedar “Wakan,” (sacred).  They use sprigs of it at their feasts, and often burn it to destroy the power of evil spirits. Mrs. Eastman’s Dacotah, p. 210.

[51] Tahkoo-skahng-skahng.  This deity is supposed to be invisible, yet everywhere present; he is an avenger and a searcher of hearts. (Neill’s Hist.  Minn., p. 57).  I suspect he was the chief spirit of the Dakotas before the missionaries imported “Wakan-Tanka” (Great Spirit).

[52] The Dakotas believe in “were-wolves” as firmly as did our Saxon ancestors, and for similar reasons—­the howl of the wolf being often imitated as a decoy or signal by their enemies the Ojibways.

[53] Shee-sho-kah—­The Robin.

[54] The Dakotas call the Evening Star the “Virgin Star,” and believe it to be the spirit of the virgin wronged at the feast.

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[55] Mille Lacs.  This lake was discovered by Du Luth, and by him named Lac Buade in honor of Governor Frontenac of Canada, whose family name was Buade.  The Dakota name for it is Mde Wakan—­Spirit Lake.

[56] The Ojibways imitate the hoot of the owl and the howl of the wolf to perfection, and often use these cries as signals to each other in war and the chase.

[57] The Dakotas called the Ojibways the “Snakes of the Forest” on account of their lying in ambush for their enemies.

[58] Strawberries.

[59] See-yo—­The prairie-hen.

[60] Mahgah—­The wild-goose. Fox-pups.  I could never see the propriety of calling the young of foxes kits or kittens, which mean little cats.  The fox belongs to the canis or dog family, and not the felis or cat family.  If it is proper to call the young of dogs and wolves pups, it is equally proper to so call the young of foxes.

[61] When a Dakota is sick he thinks the spirit of an enemy or some animal has entered into his body, and the principal business of the “medicine-man”—­Wicasta Wakan—­is to cast out the “unclean spirit,” with incantations and charms.  See Neill’s Hist.  Minn., pp. 66-8.  The Jews entertained a similar belief in the days of Jesus of Nazareth.

[62] Wah-zee-yah’s star—­The North-star.  See note 3.

[63] The Dakotas, like our forefathers and all other barbarians, believe in witches and witchcraft.

[64] The Medo is a wild potato; it resembles the sweet-potato in top and taste.  It grows in bottom-lands, and is much prized by the Dakotas for food.  The “Dakota Friend,” for December, 1850. (Minn.  Hist.  Col.)

[65] The meteor—­Wakan-denda—­Sacred fire.

[66] Me-ta-win—­My bride.

[68] The Via Lactea or Milky Way.  The Dakotas call it Wanagee Tach-anku—­The pathway of the spirits; and believe that over this path the spirits of the dead pass to the Spirit-land.  See Riggs’ Tah-koo Wah-kan, p. 101.

[69] Oonk-tay-he.  There are many Unktehees, children of the Great Unktehee, who created the earth and man, and who formerly dwelt in a vast cavern under the Falls of St. Anthony.  The Unktehee sometimes reveals himself in the form of a huge buffalo-bull.  From him proceed invisible influences.  The Great Unktehee created the earth.  “Assembling in grand conclave all the aquatic tribes he ordered them to bring up dirt from beneath the waters, and proclaimed death to the disobedient.  The beaver and otter forfeited their lives.  At last the muskrat went beneath the waters, and, after a long time, appeared at the surface, nearly exhausted, with some dirt.  From this Unktehee fashioned the earth into a large circular plain.  The earth being finished he took a deity, one of his own offspring,

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and, grinding him to powder, sprinkled it upon the earth, and this produced many worms.  The worms were then collected and scattered again.  They matured into infants and these were then collected and scattered and became full-grown Dakotas.  The bones of the mastodon, the Dakotas think, are the bones of Unktehees, and they preserve them with the greatest care in the medicine-bag.” Neill’s Hist.  Minn., p. 55.  The Unktehees and the Thunder-birds are perpetually at war.  There are various accounts of the creation of man.  Some say that at the bidding of the Great Unktehee, men sprang full grown from the caverns of the earth.  See Riggs’ “Tahkoo Wahkan", and Mrs. Eastman’s Dacotah.  The Great Unktehee and the Great Thunder-bird had a terrible battle in the bowels of the earth to determine which should be the ruler of the world.  See description in Winona.

[70] Pronounced Ahng-pay-too-wee—­The Sun; literally the Day-Sun, thus distinguishing him from Han-ye-tuwee (Hahng-yay-too-wee) the Night Sun (the moon).  They are twin brothers, but Anpetuwee is the more powerful. Han-ye-tuwee receives his power from his brother and obeys him.  He watches over the earth while the sun sleeps.  The Dakotas believe the sun is the father of life.  Unlike the most of their other gods, he is beneficent and kind; yet they worshiped him (in the sun-dance) in the most dreadful manner.  See Riggs’ Tahkoo Wakan, pp. 81-2, and Catlin’s Okeepa.  The moon is worshiped as the representative of the sun; and in the great Sun-dance, which is usually held in the full of the moon, when the moon rises the dancers turn their eyes on her (or him). Anpetuwee issues every morning from the lodge of Han-nan-na (the Morning) and begins his journey over the sky to his lodge in the land of shadows.  Sometimes he walks over on the Bridge (or path) of the Spirits—­Wanage Ta-chan-ku,—­and sometimes he sails over the sea of the skies in his shining canoe; but somehow, and the Dakotas do not explain how, he gets back again to the lodge of Hannanna in time to take a nap and eat his breakfast before starting anew on his journey.  The Dakotas swear by the sun, “As Anpetuwee hears me, this is true!” They call him Father and pray to him—­“Wakan!  Ate, on-she-ma-da”—­“Sacred Spirit,—­Father, have mercy on me.”  As the Sun is the father, so they believe the Earth is the mother, of life.  Truly there is much philosophy in the Dakota mythology.  The Algonkins call the earth “Me-suk-kum-mik-o-kwa”—­the great-grandmother of all. Narrative of John Tanner, p. 193.

[71] The Dakotas reckon their months by moons.  They name their moons from natural circumstances.  They correspond very nearly with our months, as follows: 

January—­Wee-te-rhee—­The Hard Moon; i.e.—­the cold moon.

February—­Wee-ca-ta-wee—­The Coon Moon—­(the moon when the coons come out of their hollow trees).

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March—­Ista-wee-ca-ya-zang-wee—­the sore-eyes moon (from snow blindness).

April—­Maga-oka-da-wee—­the moon when the geese lay eggs; also called Woka da-wee—­egg-moon; and sometimes Wato-papee-wee, the canoe-moon, or moon when the streams become free from ice.

May—­Wo-zu-pee-wee—­the planting moon.

June—­Wazu-ste-ca-sa-wee—­the strawberry moon.

July—­Wa-sun-pa-wee—­the moon when the geese shed their feathers, also called Chang-pa-sapa-wee—­Choke-Cherry moon, and sometimes—­Mna-rcha-rcha-wee—­“The moon of the red-blooming lilies,” literally, the red-lily moon.

August—­Wasu-ton-wee—­the ripe moon, i.e., Harvest Moon.

September—­Psin-na-ke-tu-wee—­the ripe rice moon. (When the wild rice is ripe.)

October—­Wa-zu-pee-wee or Wee-wa-zu-pee—­the moon when wild rice is gathered and laid up for winter.

November—­Ta-kee-yu-hra-wee—­the deer-rutting moon.

December—­Ta-he-cha-psung-wee—­the moon when deer shed their horns.

[72] Oonk-to-mee—­is a bad spirit in the form of a monstrous black spider.  He inhabits fens and marshes and lies in wait for his prey.  At night he often lights a torch (evidently the ignis fatuus or Jack-o’ lantern) and swings it on the marshes to decoy the unwary into his toils.

[73] The Dakotas have their stone-idol, or god, called Toon-kan—­or Inyan.  This god dwells in stone or rocks and is, they say, the oldest god of all—­he is grandfather of all living things.  I think, however, that the stone is merely the symbol of the everlasting, all-pervading, invisible Ta-ku Wa-kan—­the essence of all life,—­pervading all nature, animate and inanimate.  The Rev. S.R.  Riggs, who for forty years has been a student of Dakota customs, superstitions, etc., says, Tahkoo Wahkan, p. 55, et seq.:  “The religious faith of the Dakota is not in his gods as such.  It is in an intangible, mysterious something of which they are only the embodiment, and that in such measure and degree as may accord with the individual fancy of the worshiper.  Each one will worship some of these divinities, and neglect or despise others, but the great object of all their worship, whatever its chosen medium, is the Ta-koo Wa-kan, which is the supernatural and mysterious.  No one term can express the full meaning of the Dakota’s Wakan.  It comprehends all mystery, secret power and divinity.  Awe and reverence are its due, and it is as unlimited in manifestation as it is in idea.  All life is Wakan; so also is everything which exhibits power, whether in action, as the winds and drifting clouds; or in passive endurance, as the boulder by the wayside.  For even the commonest sticks and stones have a spiritual essence which must be reverenced as a manifestation of the all-pervading, mysterious power that fills the universe.”

[74] Wazi-kute—­Wah-ze-koo-tay; literally—­Pine-shooter,—­he that shoots among the pines.  When Father Hennepin was at Mille Lacs in 1679-80, Wazi-kute was the head chief (Itancan) of the band of Isantees.  Hennepin writes the name Ouasicoude, and translates it—­the “Pierced Pine.”  See Shea’s Hennepin, p. 234, Minn.  Hist.  Coll. vol. i, p. 316.

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[75] When a Dakota brave wishes to “propose” to a “dusky maid,” he visits her teepee at night after she has retired, or rather, laid down in her robe to sleep.  He lights a splinter of wood and holds it to her face.  If she blows out the light, he is accepted; if she covers her head and leaves it burning he is rejected.  The rejection however is not considered final till it has been thrice repeated.  Even then the maiden is often bought of her parents or guardian, and forced to become the wife of the rejected suitor.  If she accepts the proposal, still the suitor must buy her of her parents with suitable gifts.

[76] The Dakotas called the falls of St. Anthony the Ha-Ha—­the loud laughing, or roaring.  The Mississippi River they called Ha-Ha Wa-kpa River of the Falls.  The Ojibway name for the Falls of St. Anthony is Ka-ka-bik-kung.  Minnehaha is a combination of two Dakota words—­Mini—­water and Ha-Ha, Falls; but it is not the name by which the Dakotas designated that cataract.  Some authorities say they called it I-ha-ha—­pronounced E-rhah-rhah—­lightly laughing.  Rev. S.W.  Pond, whose long residence as a missionary among the Dakotas in this immediate vicinity makes him an authority that can hardly be questioned, says they called the Falls of Minnehaha “Mini-i-hrpa-ya-dan,” and it had no other name in Dakota.  “It means Little Falls and nothing else.”  Letter to the author.

[77] The game of the Plum-stones is one of the favorite games of the Dakotas.  Hennepin was the first to describe this game, in his Description de la Louisiane, Paris, 1683, and he describes it very accurately.  See Shea’s translation p. 301.  The Dakotas call this game Kan-soo Koo-tay-pe—­shooting plum-stones.  Each stone is painted black on one side and red on the other; on one side they grave certain figures which make the stones Wakan.  They are placed in a dish and thrown up like dice.  Indeed, the game is virtually a game of dice.  Hennepin says:  “There are some so given to this game that they will gamble away even their great coat.  Those who conduct the game cry at the top of their voices when they rattle the platter, and they strike their shoulders so hard as to leave them all black with the blows.”

[78] Wa-tanka—­contraction of Wa-kan Tanka—­Great Spirit.  The Dakotas had no Wakan Tanka or Wakan-peta—­fire spirit—­till white men imported them.  There being no name for the Supreme Being in the Dakota tongue (except Taku Skan-skan.—­See note 51)—­and all their gods and spirits being Wakan—­the missionaries named God in Dakota—­“Wakan Tanka”—­which means Big Spirit, or The Big Mysterious.

[79] The Dakotas called Lake Calhoun, at Minneapolis, Minn.—­Mde-mdo-za—­Loon Lake.  They also called it Re-ya-ta-mde—­the lake back from the river.  They called Lake Harriet—­Mde-unma—­the other lake—­or (perhaps) Mde-uma—­Hazel-nut Lake.  The lake nearest Calhoun on the north—­Lake of the Isles—­they called Wi-ta Mde—­Island-Lake.  Lake Minnetonka they called Me-ne-a-tan-ka—­Broad Water.

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[80] The animal called by the French voyageurs the cabri (the kid) is found only on the prairies.  It is of the goat kind, smaller than a deer and so swift that neither horse nor dog can overtake it. (Snelling’s “Tales of the Northwest,” p. 286, note 15.) It is the gazelle, or prairie antelope, called by the Dakotas Ta-toka-dan—­little antelope.  It is the Pish-tah-te-koosh of the Algonkin tribes, “reckoned the fleetest animal in the prairie country about the Assiniboin.” Captivity and Adventures of John Tanner, p. 301.

[81] The Wicastapi Wakanpi (literally, men supernatural) are the “Medicine-men” or Magicians of the Dakotas.  They call themselves the sons or disciples of Unktehee.  In their rites, ceremonies, tricks and pretensions they closely resemble the Dactyli, Idae, and Curetes of the ancient Greeks and Romans, the Magi of the Persians and the Druids of Britain.  Their pretended intercourse with spirits, their powers of magic and divination, and their rites are substantially the same, and point unmistakably to a common origin.  The Dakota “Medicine-Man” can do the “rope trick” of the Hindoo magician to perfection.  The teepee used for the Wakan Wacipee—­or Sacred Dance—­is called the Wakan Teepee—­the Sacred Teepee.  Carvers Cave at St. Paul was also called Wakan Teepee because the Medicine-men or magicians often held their dances and feasts in it.  For a full account of the rites, etc., see Riggs’ Tahkoo Wahkan, Chapter VI.  The Ta-sha-ke—­literally, “Deer-hoofs”—­is a rattle made by hanging the hard segments of deer-hoofs to a wooden rod a foot long—­about an inch in diameter at the handle end, and tapering to a point at the other.  The clashing of these horny bits makes a sharp, shrill sound something like distant sleigh-bells.  In their incantations over the sick they sometimes use the gourd shell rattle.

The Chan-che-ga—­is a drum or “Wooden Kettle.”  The hoop of the drum is from a foot to eighteen inches in diameter, and from three to ten inches deep.  The skin covering is stretched over one end, making a drum with one end only.  The magical drum-sticks are ornamented with down, and heads of birds or animals are carved on them.  This makes them Wakan.

The flute called Cho-tanka (big pith) is of two varieties—­one made of sumac, the pith of which is punched out.  The second variety is made of the long bone of the wing or thigh of the swan or crane.  They call the first the bubbling chotanka from the tremulous note it gives when blown with all the holes stopped.  Riggs’ Tahkoo Wahkan, p. 476, et seq.

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E-ne-pee—­vapor-bath, is used as a purification preparatory to the sacred feasts.  The vapor-bath is taken in this way:  “A number of poles, the size of hoop-poles or less, are taken, and their larger ends being set in the ground in a circle, the flexible tops are bent over and tied in the center.  This frame-work is then covered with robes and blankets, a small hole being left on one side for an entrance.  Before the door a fire is built, and round stones about the size of a man’s head, are heated in it.  When hot they are rolled within, and the door being closed steam is made by pouring water on them.  The devotee, stripped to the skin, sits within this steam-tight dome, sweating profusely at every pore, until he is nearly suffocated.  Sometimes a number engage in it together and unite their prayers and songs.” Tahkoo Wakan, p. 83.  Father Hennepin was subjected to the vapor-bath at Mille Lacs by Chief Aqui-pa-que-tin, two hundred years ago.  After describing the method, Hennepin says:  “When he had made me sweat thus three times in a week, I felt as strong as ever.”  Shea’s Hennepin, p. 228.  For a very full and accurate account of the Medicine-men of the Dakotas, and their rites, etc., see Chap.  II, Neill’s Hist.  Minnesota.

[82] The sacred O-zu-ha—­or Medicine sack must be made of the skin of the otter, the coon, the weasel, the squirrel, the loon, a certain kind of fish or the skins of serpents.  It must contain four kinds of medicine (or magic) representing birds, beasts, herbs and trees, viz.:  The down of the female swan colored red, the roots of certain grasses, bark from the roots of cedar trees, and hair of the buffalo.  “From this combination proceeds a Wakan influence so powerful that no human being, unassisted, can resist it.”  Wonderful indeed must be the magic power of these Dakota Druids to lead such a man as the Rev. S.R.  Riggs to say of them:  “By great shrewdness, untiring industry, and more or less of actual demoniacal possession, they convince great numbers of their fellows, and in the process are convinced themselves of their sacred character and office.” Tahkoo Wakan, pp. 88-9.

[83] Gah-ma-na-tek-wahk—­the river of many falls—­is the Ojibway name of the river commonly called Kaministiguia, near the mouth of which is situated Fort William.  The view on Thunder-Bay is one of the grandest in America.  Thunder-Cap, with its sleeping stone-giant, looms up into the heavens.  Here Ka-be-bon-ikka—­the Ojibway’s god of storms—­flaps his huge wings and makes the Thunder.  From this mountain he sends forth the rain, the snow, the hail, the lightning and the tempest.  A vast giant, turned to stone by his magic, lies asleep at his feet.  The island called by the Ojibways the Mak-i-nak (the turtle) from its tortoise-like shape, lifts its huge form in the distance.  Some “down-east Yankee” called it “Pie-island,” from its fancied resemblance to a pumpkin pie, and the name, like all bad names, sticks.  McKay’s Mountain on the mainland, a perpendicular rock more than a thousand feet high, upheaved by the throes of some vast volcano, and numerous other bold and precipitous headlands, and rock-built islands, around which roll the sapphire-blue waters of the fathomless bay, present some of the most magnificent views to be found on either continent.

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[84] The Mission of the Holy Ghost—­at La Pointe, on the isle Wauga-ba-me—­(winding view) in the beautiful bay of Cha-quam-egon —­was founded by the Jesuits about the year 1660.  Father Rene Menard was probably the first priest at this point.  After he was lost in the wilderness, Father Glaude Allouez permanently established the mission in 1665.  The famous Father Marquette, who took Allouez’s place, Sept. 13, 1669, writing to his superior, thus describes the Dakotas:  “The Nadouessi are the Iroquois of this country, beyond La Pointe, but less faithless, and never attack till attacked. Their language is entirely different from the Huron and Algonquin.  They have many villages but are widely scattered.  They have very extraordinary customs.  They principally use the calumet.  They do not speak at great feasts, and when a stranger arrives give him to eat of a wooden fork, as we would a child.  All the lake tribes make war on them, but with small success.  They have false oats (wild rice,) use little canoes, and keep their word strictly.” Neill’s Hist.  Minn., p.  III.

[85] Michabo or Manni-bozo—­the Good Spirit of the Algonkins.  In autumn, in the moon of the falling leaf, ere he composes himself to his winter’s sleep, he fills his great pipe and takes a god-like smoke.  The balmy clouds from his pipe float over the hills and woodland, filling the air with the haze of “Indian Summer.” Brinton’s Myths of the New World, p. 163.

[86] Pronounced Kah-thah-gah—­literally, the place of waves and foam.  This was the principal village of the Isantee band of Dakotas two hundred years ago, and was located at the Falls of St. Anthony, which the Dakotas called the Ha-ha,—­pronounced Rhah-rhah,—­the loud-laughing waters.  The Dakotas believed that the Falls were in the center of the earth.  Here dwelt the Great Unktehee, the creator of the earth and man:  and from this place a path led to the Spirit-land.  DuLuth undoubtedly visited Kathaga in the year 1679.  In his “Memoir” (Archives of the Ministry of the Marine) addressed to Seignelay, 1685, he says:  “On the 2nd of July, 1679, I had the honor to plant his Majesty’s arms in the great village of the Nadouecioux called Izatys, where never had a Frenchman been, etc.” Izatys is here used not as the name of the village, but as the name of the band—­the Isantees. Nadouecioux was a name given the Dakotas generally by the early French traders and the Ojibways.  See Shea’s Hennepin’s Description of Louisiana, pp. 203 and 375.  The villages of the Dakotas were not permanent towns.  They were hardly more than camping grounds, occupied at intervals and for longer or shorter periods, as suited the convenience of the hunters; yet there were certain places, like Mille Lacs, the Falls of St. Anthony, Kapoza (near St. Paul), Remnica (where the city of Red Wing now stands), and Keuxa (or Keoza) on the site of the city of Winona, so frequently occupied by several of the bands as to be considered their chief villages respectively.

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Mr. Neill, usually very accurate and painstaking, has fallen into an error in his prefatory notes to the last edition of his valuable History of Minnesota.  Speaking of DuLuth, he says: 

“He appears to have entered Minnesota by way of the Pigeon or St. Louis River, and to have explored where no Frenchman had been, and on July 2, 1679, was at Kathio (Kathaga) perhaps on Red Lake or Lake of the Woods, which was called ‘the great village of the Wadouessioux,’ one hundred and twenty leagues from the Songaskicons and Houetepons who were dwellers in the Mille Lac region.”

Now Kathaga (Mr. Neill’s Kathio) was located at the Falls of St. Anthony on the Mississippi as the whole current of Dakota traditions clearly shows and DuLuth’s dispatches clearly indicate.  Besides, the Songaskicons and Houetepons were not and never were “dwellers in the Mille Lac region.”  The Songaskicons (Sissetons) were at that time located on the Des Moines river (in Iowa), and the Houetabons (Ouadebatons) at and around Big Stone Lake.  The Isantees occupied the region lying between the mouth of the Minnesota River and Spirit Lake (Mille Lacs) with their principal village—­Kathaga—­where the city of Minneapolis now stands.  These facts account for the “one hundred and twenty leagues” as distances were roughly reckoned by the early French explorers.

September 1, 1678, Daniel Greysolon DuLuth, a native of Lyons, France, left Quebec to explore the country of the Dakotas.  “The next year (1679) on the 2nd day of July, he caused the king’s arms to be planted in the great village of the Nadouessioux (Dakotas) called Kathio” (Kathaga) “where no Frenchman had ever been, also at the Songaskicons and Houetabons, one hundred and twenty leagues distant from the former. * * * * On this tour he visited Mille Lacs, which he called Lake Buade, the family name of Frontenac, governor of Canada.” Neill’’s History of Minnesota, p. 122.  This is correct, except the name of the village—­Kathio, which is a misprint or perhaps an error of a copyist.  It should be Kathaga.  DuLuth was again at the Falls of St. Anthony in 1680 and returned to Lake Superior via the Mississippi, Rum River and Mille Lacs, according to his own dispatches.

Franquelin’s “Carte de la Louisiane” printed at Paris A.D. 1684, from information derived from DuLuth, who visited France in 1682-3, and conferred with the minister of the Colonies and the minister of Marine—­shows the inaccuracy, as to points of compass at least, of the early French explorers.  According to this map, Lake Buade (Mille Lacs) lies north-west of Lake Superior and Lake Pepin lies due west of it.

DuLuth was afterward appointed to the command of Fort Frontenac near Niagara Falls, and died there in 1710.  The official dispatch from the Governor of Canada to the French Government is, as regards the great explorer, brief and expressive—­“Captain DuLuth is dead.  He was an honest man.”

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To Daniel Greysolon DuLuth, and not to Father Hennepin, whom he rescued from his captors at Mille Lacs, belongs the credit of the first exploration of Minnesota by white men.

Father Hennepin was a self-conceited and self-convicted liar.  Daniel Greysolon DuLuth “was an honest man.”


[1] Kay-oshk is the Ojibway name for the sea-gull.

[2] Gitchee—­great,—­Gumee—­sea or lake,—­Lake Superior; also often called Ochipwe Gitchee Gumee, Great lake (or sea) of the Ojibways.

[3] Ne-me-Shomis—­my grandfather.  “In the days of my grandfather” is the Ojibway’s preface to all his traditions and legends.

[4] Waub—­white—­O-jeeg—­fisher, (a furred animal).  White Fisher was the name of a noted Ojibway chief who lived on the south shore of Lake Superior many years ago.  Schoolcraft married one of his descendants.

[5] Ma-kwa or mush-kwa—­the bear.

[6] The Te-ke-nah-gun is a board upon one side of which a sort of basket is fastened or woven with thongs of skin or strips of cloth.  In this the babe is placed and the mother carries it on her back.  In the wigwam the tekenagun is often suspended by a cord to the lodge-poles and the mother swings her babe in it.

[7] Wabose (or Wabos)-the rabbit. Penay, the pheasant.  At certain seasons the pheasant drums with his wings.

[8] Kaug, the porcupine. Kenew, the war-eagle.

[9] Ka-be-bon-ik-ka is the god of storms, thunder, lightning, etc.  His home is on Thunder-Cap at Thunder-Bay, Lake Superior.  By his magic the giant that lies on the mountain was turned to stone.  He always sends warnings before he finally sends the severe cold of winter, in order to give all creatures time to prepare for it.

[10] Kewaydin or Kewaytin, is the North wind or North-west wind.

[11] Algonkin is the general name applied to all tribes that speak the Ojibway language or dialects of it.

[12] This is the favorite “love-broth” of the Ojibway squaws.  The warrior who drinks it immediately falls desperately in love with the woman who gives it to him.  Various tricks are devised to conceal the nature of the “medicine” and to induce the warrior to drink it; but when it is mixed with a liberal quantity of “fire-water” it is considered irresistible.

[13] Translation: 

  Woe-is-me!  Woe-is-me! 
  Great Spirit, behold me! 
  Look, Father; have pity upon me! 
  Woe-is-me!  Woe-is-me!

[14] Snow-storms from the North-west.

[15] The Ojibways, like the Dakotas, call the Via Lactea (Milky Way) the Pathway of the Spirits.

[16] Shinge-bis, the diver, is the only water-fowl that remains about Lake Superior all winter.

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[17] Waub-ese—­the white swan.

[18] Pe-boan, Winter, is represented as an old man with long white hair and beard.

[19] Segun is Spring (or Summer).  This beautiful allegory has been “done into verse” by Longfellow in Hiawatha.  Longfellow evidently took his version from Schoolcraft.  I took mine originally from the lips of Pah-go-nay-gie-shiek—­“Hole-in-the-day”—­(the elder) in his day head-chief of the Ojibways.  I afterward submitted it to Gitche Shabash-Konk, head-chief of the Misse-sah-ga-e-gun—­(Mille Lacs band of Ojibways), who pronounced it correct.

“Hole-in-the-day,” although sanctioned by years of unchallenged use, is a bad translation of Pah-go-nay-gie-shiek, which means a clear spot in the sky.

[Illustration:  HOLE-IN-THE-DAY. From an original photograph in the author’s possession.]

He was a very intelligent man; had been in Washington several times on business connected with his people, and was always shrewd enough to look out for himself in all his treaties and transactions with the Government.  He stood six feet two inches in his moccasins, was well-proportioned, and had a remarkably fine face.  He had a nickname—­Que-we-zanc—­(Little Boy) by which he was familiarly called by his people.

The Pillagers—­Nah-kand-tway-we-nin-ni-wak—­who live about Leech Lake (Kah-sah-gah-squah-g-me-cock) were opposed to Pa-go-nay-gie-shiek, but he compelled them through fear to recognize him as Head-Chief.  At the time of the “Sioux outbreak” in 1862 “Hole-in-the-day” for a time apparently meditated an alliance with the Po-ah-nuck (Dakotas) and war upon the whites.  The Pillagers and some other bands urged him strongly to this course, and his supremacy as head-chief was threatened unless he complied.  Messengers from the Dakotas were undoubtedly received by him, and he, for a time at least, led the Dakotas to believe that their hereditary enemies, the Ojibways, would bury the hatchet and join them in a war of extermination against the whites.  “Hole-in-the-day,” with a band of his warriors, appeared opposite Fort Ripley (situated on the west bank of the Mississippi River between Little Falls and Crow Wing), and assumed a threatening attitude toward the fort, then garrisoned by volunteer troops.  The soldiers were drawn up on the right bank and “Hole-in-the-day” and his warriors on the left.  A little speech-making settled the matter for the time being and very soon thereafter a new treaty was made with “Hole-in-the-day” and his head men, by which their friendship and allegiance were secured to the whites.  It was claimed by the Pillagers that “Hole-in-the-day” seized the occasion to profit personally in his negotiations with the agents of the Government.

In 1867 “Hole-in-the-day” took “another wife.”  He married Helen McCarty, a white woman, in Washington, D.C., and took her to his home at Gull Lake (Ka-ga-ya-skunc-cock) literally, plenty of little gulls.

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She bore him a son who is known as Joseph H. Woodbury, and now (1891) resides in the city of Minneapolis.  His marriage with a white woman increased the hatred of the Pillagers, and they shot him from ambush and killed him near Ninge-ta-we-de-gua-yonk—­Crow Wing—­on the 27th day of June, 1868.

At the time of his death, “Hole-in-the-day” was only thirty-seven years old but had been recognized as Head-Chief for a long time.  He could speak some English, and was far above the average of white men in native shrewdness and intelligence.  He was thoroughly posted in the traditions and legends of his people.

The Ojibways have for many years been cursed by contact with the worst elements of the whites, and seem to have adopted the vices rather than the virtues of civilization.  I once spoke of this to “Hole-in-the-day.”  His reply was terse and truthful—­“Madge tche-mo-ko-mon, madge a-nische-nabe:  menoge tche-mo-ko-mon, meno a-nische-nabe.—­Bad white men, bad Indians:  good white men, good Indians.”

[20] Nah—­look, see. Nashke—­behold.

[21] Kee-zis—­the sun,—­the father of life. Waubunong—­or Waub-o-nong—­is the White Land or Land of Light,—­the Sun-rise, the East.

[22] The Bridge of Stars spans the vast sea of the skies, and the sun and moon walk over on it.

[23] The Miscodeed is a small white flower with a pink border.  It is the earliest blooming wild flower on the shores of Lake Superior, and belongs to the crocus family.

[24] The Ne-be-naw-baigs, are Water-spirits; they dwell in caverns in the depths of the lake, and in some respects resemble the Unktehee of the Dakotas.

[25] Ogema, Chief,—­Oge-ma-kwa—­female Chief.  Among the Algonkin tribes women are sometimes made chiefs. Net-no-kwa, who adopted Tanner as her son, was Oge-ma-kwa of a band of Ottawas.  See John Tanner’s Narrative, p. 36.

[26] The “Bridge of Souls” leads from the earth over dark and stormy waters to the spirit-land.  The “Dark River” seems to have been a part of the superstitions of all nations.

[27] The Jossakeeds of the Ojibways are soothsayers who are able, by the aid of spirits, to read the past as well as the future.