Saturday, February 14, 2009

Hiawatha's Canoe II

Longfellow continues with Hiawatha's words:
"Give me of your boughs, O Cedar!
Of your strong and pliant branches,
My canoe to make more steady,
Make more strong and firm beneath me!"
   Through the summit of the Cedar
Went a sound, a cry of horror,
Went a murmer of resistance,
but it whispered, bending downward,
"Take my boughs, O Hiawatha!"
  Down he hewed the boughs of cedar,
Shaped them straightway to a frame-work,
Like two bows he formed and shaped them,
Like two bended bows together
  "Give me of your roots, O Tamarack!
Of you fibrous roots, O Larch-tree!
My canoe to bind together,
So to bind the ends together
That the water may not enter,
That the river may not wet me!
   And the Larch, with all its fibres,
Shivered in the air of morning,
Touched its forehead with its tassels,
Said, with one long sigh of sorrow,
"Take them all, O Hiawatha!"
  From the earth he tore the fibres,
Tore the tough roots of the Larch-tree,
Closely sewed the bark together,
Bound it closely to the frame-work.
  "Give me of your balm, O Fir-tree,
Of your balsam and you resin,
So to close the seams together,
That the water may not enter,
That the river may not wet me!
   And the Fir-tree, tall and somber,
Sobbed through all its robes of darkness,
Rattled like the shore with pebbles,
Answered wailing, answered weeping,
"Take my balm, O Hiawatha!
    And he took the tears of balsam,
Took the resin of the Fir-tree,
Smeared therewith each seam and fissure,
Made each crevice safe from water.
NEXT: What Hiawatha wanted from the porcupine.

Hiawatha sketch by Andrea Kowch. Used with permission.


No comments: