Ballads eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 65 pages of information about Ballads.

And now was he come to a place Taiarapu honoured the most,
Where a silent valley of woods debouched on the noisy coast,
Spewing a level river.  There was a haunt of Pai. {1b}
There, in his potent youth, when his parents drove him to die,
Honoura lived like a beast, lacking the lamp and the fire,
Washed by the rains of the trade and clotting his hair in the mire;
And there, so mighty his hands, he bent the tree to his foot —
So keen the spur of his hunger, he plucked it naked of fruit. 
There, as she pondered the clouds for the shadow of coming ills,
Ahupu, the woman of song, walked on high on the hills.

Of these was Rahero sprung, a man of a godly race;
And inherited cunning of spirit and beauty of body and face. 
Of yore in his youth, as an aito, Rahero wandered the land,
Delighting maids with his tongue, smiting men with his hand. 
Famous he was in his youth; but before the midst of his life
Paused, and fashioned a song of farewell to glory and strife.

House of mine (it went), house upon the sea,
Belov’d of all my fathers, more belov’d by me! 
Vale of the strong Honoura, deep ravine of Pai,
Again in your woody summits I hear the trade-wind cry.

House of mine, in your walls, strong sounds the sea,
Of all sounds on earth, dearest sound to me. 
I have heard the applause of men, I have heard it arise and die: 
Sweeter now in my house I hear the trade-wind cry.

These were the words of his singing, other the thought of his heart;
For secret desire of glory vexed him, dwelling apart. 
Lazy and crafty he was, and loved to lie in the sun,
And loved the cackle of talk and the true word uttered in fun;
Lazy he was, his roof was ragged, his table was lean,
And the fish swam safe in his sea, and he gathered the near and the green. 
He sat in his house and laughed, but he loathed the king of the land,
And he uttered the grudging word under the covering hand. 
Treason spread from his door; and he looked for a day to come,
A day of the crowding people, a day of the summoning drum,
When the vote should be taken, the king be driven forth in disgrace,
And Rahero, the laughing and lazy, sit and rule in his place,
Here Tamatea came, and beheld the house on the brook;
And Rahero was there by the way and covered an oven to cook. {1c}
Naked he was to the loins, but the tattoo covered the lack,
And the sun and the shadow of palms dappled his muscular back. 
Swiftly he lifted his head at the fall of the coming feet,
And the water sprang in his mouth with a sudden desire of meat;
For he marked the basket carried, covered from flies and the sun; {1d}
And Rahero buried his fire, but the meat in his house was done.

Project Gutenberg
Ballads from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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