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Some of the native Brazilians pay great veneration to a certain bird that sings mournfully in the night time. They say it is a messenger which their deceased friends and relations have sent, and that it brings them news from the other world See Picart's Ceremonies and Religious Customs.
Thou art come from the spirits' land, thou bird !
Thou art come from the spirits' land !
And tell of the shadowy band !
We know that the bowers are green and fair
In the light of that summer shore,
They are there—and they weep no more!
And we know they have quench'd their fever's thirst
From the Fountain of Youth ere now,
Which none may find below!
And we know that they will not be lured to earth
From the land of deathless flowers,
Though their hearts were once with ours ;
Though they sat with us by the night-fire's blaze,
And bent with us the bow,
Which are told to others now!
But tell us, thou bird of the solemn strain!
Can those who bave loved forget ? We call—and they answer not again
-Do they love—do they love us yet?
* An expedition was actually undertaken by Juan Ponce de Leon, in the 16th century, with a view of discovering a wonderful fountain, believed by the natives of Puerto Rico to spring in one of the Lucayo Isles, and to possess the virtue of restoring youth to all who bathed in its waters.-See Robertson's History of America.
Doth not the warrior think of his brother there,
And the father of his child ? And the chief, of those that were wont to share
His wanderings through the wild ?
We call them far through the silent night,
And they speak not from cave or hill; We know, thou bird ! that their land is bright,
But say, do they love there still ?
THE STRANGER IN LOUISIANA.
An early traveller mentions a people on the banks of the Mississippi who burst into tears at the sight of a stranger. The reason of this is, that they fancy their deceased friends and relations to be only gone on a journey, and being in constant expectation of their return, look for them vainly amongst these foreign travellers. Picart's Ceremonies and Religious Customs.
“ J'ai passé moi-même," says Chateaubriand in his Souvenirs d'Amérique, “ chez une peuplade Indienne qui se prenait à pleurer à la vue d'un voyageur, parce qu'il lui rappelait des amis partis pour la Contrée des Ames, et depuis long-tems en voyage."
We saw thee, O stranger, and wept !
He is not in his place when the night-fires burn,
-His brother sat with a drooping brow
We thee, O stranger, and wept ! We look'd for the maid of the mournful song, Mournful, though sweet—she hath left us long ! We told her the youth of her love was gone, And she went forth to seek him—she pass’d alone; We hear not her voice when the woods are still, From the bower where it sang, like a silvery rill. The joy of her sire with her smile is fled, The winter is white on his lonely head, He hath none by his side when the wilds we track, He hath none when we rest-yet she comes not back! We look'd for her eye on the feast to shine, For her breezy step-but the step was thine!
We saw thee, O stranger, and wept ! We look'd for the chief who had left the spear And the bow of his battles forgotten here!