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—
As I arose
The gray dawn paled the shadows in the east.
THE LEGEND OF THE PICTURED ROCKS OF LAKE SUPERIOR. OJIBWAY
In the measure of Hiawatha.
[The numerals refer to Notes to The Sea-Gull, in Appendix.]
On the shore of Gitchee Gumee—
Deep, mysterious, mighty waters—
Where the manitoes—the spirits—
Ride the storms and speak in thunder,
In the days of Neme-Shomis,
In the days that are forgotten,
Dwelt a tall and tawny hunter—
Gitchee Pez-ze-u the Panther,
Son of Waub-Ojeeg, 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, 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