The Feast of the Virgins and Other Poems eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 375 pages of information about The Feast of the Virgins and Other Poems.

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,

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