網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

447

Where the dank greensward
Slopes to the pebbles,
Miantowona
Sat in her anguish.
Ice to her maidens,
Ice to the chieftains,
Fire to her lover!
Here he had won her,
Here they had parted,
Here could her tears flow.

With unwet eyelash,
Miantowona
Nursed her old father,
Oldest of Hurons,
Soothed his complainings,
Smiled when he chid her
Vaguely for nothing, -
He was so weak now,
Like a shrunk cedar
White with the hoar-frost.
Sometimes she gently
Linked arms with maidens,
Joined in their dances :
Not with her people,
Not in the wigwam,
Wept for her lover.

Ah! who was like him?
Fleet as an arrow,
Strong as a bison,
Lithe as a panther,
Soft as the south-wind,
Who was like Wawah ?
There is one other
Stronger and fleeter,
Bearing no wampum,
Wearing no war-paint,
Ruler of councils,
Chief of the war-path,
Who can gainsay him,
Who can defy him ?
His is the lightning,
His is the whirlwind.
Let us be humble,
We are but ashes, –
'T is the Great Spirit !

Ever at nightfall
Miantowona
Strayed from the lodges,
Passed through the shadows

Into the forest :
There by the pond-side
Spread her black tresses
Over her forehead.
Sad is the loon's cry
Heard in the twilight ;
Sad is the night-wind,
Moaning and moaning;
Sadder the stifled
Sob of a widow !

Low on the pebbles
Murmured the water :
Often she fancied
It was young Wawah
Playing the reed-flute.
Sometimes a dry branch
Snapped in the forest :
Then she rose, startled,
Ruddy as sunrise,
Warm for his coming !
But when he came not,
Back through the darkness,
Half broken-hearted,
Miantowona
Went to her people.

When an old oak dies,
First 't is the tree-tops,
Then the low branches,
Then the gaunt stem gocs:
So fell Tawanda,
Oldest of Hurons,
Chief of the chieftains.

Miantowona
Wept not, but softly
Closed the sad eyelids ;
With her own fingers
Fastened the deer-skin
Over his shoulders ;
Then laid beside him
Ash-bow and arrows,
Pipe-bowl and wampum,
Dried corn and bear-meat,-
All that was needful
On the long journey.
Thus old Tawanda
Went to the hunting
Grounds of the Red Man.

Then, as the dirges
Rose from the village,

Miantowona
Stole from the mourners,
Stole through the cornfields,
Passed like a phantom
Into the shadows
Through the pine-forest.

One who had watched her
It was Nahoho,
Loving her vainly-
Saw, as she passed him,
That in her features
Made his stout heart quail.
He could but follow.
Quick were her footsteps,
Light as a snow-flake,
Leaving no traces
On the white clover.

Like a trained runner,
Winner of prizes,
Into the woodlands
Plunged the young chieftain.
Once he abruptly
Halted, and listened ;
Then he sped forward
Faster and faster
Toward the bright water.
Breathless he reached it.
Why did he crouch then,
Stark as a statue ?
What did he see there
Could so appall him ?
Only a circle
Swiftly expanding,
Fading before him ;
But, as he watched it,
Up from the centre,
Slowly, superbly
Rose a Pond-Lily.

[blocks in formation]

No word was spoken :
There stood the Hurons
On the dank greensward,
With their swart faces
Bowed in the twilight.
What did they see there?
Only a Lily
Rocked on the azure
Breast of the water.

Then they turned sadly
Each to the other,
Tenderly murmuring,
“ Miantowona !”
Soft as the desv falls
Down through the midnight,
Cleaving the starlight,
Echo repeated,
“ Miantowona !"

PASSAGES FROM HAWTHORNE'S NOTE-BOOKS.

X.

SUN
UNDAY, April 9, 1843.— .... Af came a knock at my study-door, and,

ter finishing my record in the jour- behold, there was Molly with a letter! nal, I sat a long time in grandmother's How she came by it I did not ask, bechair, thinking of many things. .... ing content to suppose it was brought My spirits were at a lower ebb than by a heavenly messenger. I had not exthey ever descend to when I am not pected a letter ; and what a comfort it alone; nevertheless, neither was I ab- was to me in my loneliness and sombresolutely sad. Many times I wound and ness! I called Molly to take her note rewound Mr. Thoreau's little musical (enclosed), which she received with a box; but certainly its peculiar sweet- face of delight as broad and bright as ness had evaporated, and I am pretty the kitchen fire. Then I read, and resure that I should throw it out of the read, and re-re-read, and quadruply, window were I doomed to hear it long quintuply, and sextuply re-read my and often. It has not an infinite soul. epistle, until I had it all by heart, and When it was almost as dark as the then continued to re-read it for the moonlight would let it be, I lighted the sake of the penmanship. Then I took lamp, and went on with Tieck's tale, up the phrase-book again ; but could slowly and painfully, often wishing for not study, and so bathed and retired, help in my difficulties. At last I de- it being now not far from ten o'clock. termined to learn a little about pro- I lay awake a good deal in the night, nouns and verbs before proceeding but saw no ghost. further, and so took up the phrase- I arose about seven, and found that book, with which I was commendably the upper part of my nose, and the region busy, when, at about a quarter to nine, round about, was grievously discolored ; and at the angle of the left eye there ice came floating down the current, is a great spot of almost black purple, which, though not very violent, hurried and a broad streak of the same hue along at a much swifter pace than the semicircling beneath either eye, while ordinary one of our sluggish river-god. green, yellow, and orange overspread These ice-masses, when they struck the the circumjacent country. It looks not barrier of ice above mentioned, acted unlike a gorgeous sunset, throwing its upon it like a battering-ram, and were splendor over the heaven of my coun- themselves forced high out of the water, tenance. It will behoove me to show or sometimes carried beneath the main myself as little as possible ; else people sheet of ice. At last, down the stream will think I have fought a pitched bat- came an immense mass of ice, and, tle. .... The Devil take the stick of striking the barrier about at its centre, wood! What had I done, that it should it gave way, and the whole was swept bemaul me so? However, there is no onward together, leaving the river enpain, though, I think, a very slight tirely free, with only here and there a affection of the eyes.

cake of ice floating quietly along. The This forenoon I began to write, and great accumulation, in its downward caught an idea by the skirts, which I course, hit against a tree that stood in intend to hold fast, though it struggles mid-current, and caused it to quiver to get free. As it was not ready to be like a reed; and it swept quite over the put upon paper, however, I took up the shrubbery that bordered what, in sumDial, and finished reading the article mer-time, is the river's bank, but which on Mr. Alcott. It is not very satisfac- is now nearly the centre of the stream. tory, and it has not taught me much. Our river in its present state has quite Then I read Margaret's article on a noble breadth. The little hillock Canova, which is good. About this which formed the abutment of the old time the dinner-bell rang, and I went bridge is now an island with its tuft of down without much alacrity, though trees. Along the hither shore a row with a good appetite enough. .... It of trees stand up to their knees, and was in the angle of my right eye, not the smaller ones to their middles, in the my left, that the blackest purple was water; and afar off, on the surface of collected. But they both look like the the stream, we see tufts of bushes very Devil.

emerging, thrusting up their heads, as Half past five o'clock. After writing it were, to breathe. The water comes the above, .... I again set to work on over the stone wall, and encroaches Tieck's tale, and worried through sev- several yards on the boundaries of our eral pages ; and then, at half past orchard. [Here the supper-bell rang.] four, threw open one of the western If our boat were in good order, I should windows of my study, and sallied forth now set forth on voyages of discovery, to take the sunshine. I went down and visit nooks on the borders of the through the orchard to the river-side. meadows, which by and by will be a The orchard-path is still deeply cov- mile or two from the water's edge. But ered with snow; and so is the whole she is in very bad condition, full of wavisible universe, except streaks upon ter, and, doubtless, as leaky as a sieve. the hillsides, and spots in the sunny On coming from supper, I found that hollows, where the brown earth peeps little Puss had established herself in through. The river, which a few days the study, probably with intent to pass ago was entirely imprisoned, has now the night here. She now lies on the broken its fetters ; but a tract of ice footstool between my feet, purring most extended across from near t!e foot of obstreperously. The day of my wife's the monument to the abutment of the departure, she came to me, talking with old bridge, and looked so solid that I the greatest earnestness; but whether supposed it would yet remain for a day it was to condole with me on my loss, or two. Large cakes and masses of or to demand my redoubled care for

« 上一頁繼續 »