Billeder på siden

More he fain would have said, but the merciless hand of a soldier Smote him upon the mouth, and dragged him down to the pavement.


In the midst of the strife and tumult of angry contention,
Lo! the door of the chancel opened, and Father Felician
Entered, with serious mien, and ascended the steps of the altar.
Raising his reverend hand, with a gesture he awed into silence
All that clamorous throng; and thus he spake to his people;
Deep were his tones and solemn; in accents measured and

mournful Spake, as, after the tocsin's alarum, distinctly the clock strikes.

"What is this that ye do, my children? what madness has seized

[blocks in formation]

Forty years of my life have I labored among you, and taught you,
Not in word alone, but in deed, to love one another!
Is this the fruit of my toils, of my vigils and prayers and priva-
Have you so soon forgotten all lessons of love and forgiveness?
This is the house of the Prince of Peace, and would you profane it
Thus with violent deeds and hearts overflowing with hatred?"


Few were his words of rebuke, but deep in the hearts of his people Sank they, and sobs of contrition succeeded that passionate outbreak; And they repeated his prayer, and said, "O Father, forgive them!"



FOUR times the sun had risen and set; and now on the fifth
Cheerily called the cock to the sleeping maids of the farmhouse.
Soon o'er the yellow fields, in silent and mournful procession,
Came from the neighboring hamleU and farms the Acadian

Driving in ponderous wains their household goods to the seashore,

Pausing and looking back to gaze once more on their dwellings,

Ere they were shut from sight by the winding road and the woodland.

Close at their sides their children ran, and urged on the oxen,

While in their little hands they clasped some fragments of playthings.


Thus to the Gaspereau's mouth they hurried; and there on the sea-beach

Piled in confusion lay the household goods of the peasants.

All day long between the shore and the ships did the boats ply;

All day long the wains came laboring down from the village.

in. Late in the afternoon, when the sun was near to his setting, Echoing far o'er the fields came the roll of drums from the

churchyard. Thither the women and children thronged. On a sudden the

church-doors Opened, and forth came the guard, and marching in gloomy

procession Followed the long-imprisoned, but patient, Acadian farmers.


Even as pilgrims, who journey afar from their homes and their country,

Sing as they go, and in singing forget they are weary and wayworn,

So with songs on their lips the Acadian peasants descended

Down from the church to the shore, amid their wives and their daughters.


Thus to the Gaspereau's mouth moved on that mournful procession.

There disorder prevailed, and the tumult and stir of embarking.

Busily plied the freighted boats; and in the confusion

Wives were torn from their husbands, and mothers, too late, saw their children

Left on the land, extending their arms, with wildest entreaties.

Half the task was not done when the sun went down, and the

Deepened and darkened around; and in haste the refluent ocean
Fled away from the shore, and left the line of the sand-beach
Covered with waife of the tide, with kelp and slippery sea-weed.

Farther back in the midst of the household goods and the wagons.
Like to a gypsy camp, or a leaguer after a battle,
All escape cut off by the sea, and the sentinels near them,
Lay encamped for the night the houseless Acadian farmers.


Back to its nethermost caves retreated the bellowing ocean,
Dragging adown the beach the rattling pebbles, and leaving
Inland and far up the shore the stranded boats of the sailors.
Then, as the night descended, the herds returned from their

Sweet was the moist still air with the odor of milk from their

udders; Lowing they waited, and long, at the well-known bars of the

farm-yard, Waited and looked in vain for the voice and the hand of the

milkmaid. Silence reigned in the streets; from the church no Angelus

sounded, Rose no smoke from the roofs, and gleamed no lights from the



Suddenly rose from the south a light, as in autumn the blood-red
Moon climbs the crystal walls of heaven, and o'er the horizon
Titan-like stretches its hundred hands upon mountain and

Seizing fhe rocks and the rivers, and piling huge shadows

together. Broader and ever broader it gleamed on the roofs of the village, Gleamed on the sky and the sea, and the ships that lay in the


[ocr errors]

X. Columns of shining smoke uprose, and flashes of flame were Thrust through their folds and withdrawn, like the quivering

hands of a martyr. Then as the wind seized the gleeds and the burning thatch, and,

uplifting, Whirled them aloft through the air, at once from a hundred

house-tops Started the sheeted smoke with flashes of flame intermingled.


These things beheld in dismay the crowd on the shore and on

shipboard. Speechless at first they stood, then cried aloud in their anguish, "We shall no more behold our homes in the village of Grand

Pre!" Loud on a sudden the cocks began to crow in the farm-yards, Thinking the day had dawned; and anon the lowing of cattle Came on the evening breeze, by the barking of dogs interrupted.

Then rose a sound of dread, such as startles the sleeping en-
Far in the western prairies or forests that skirt the Nebraska,
When the wild horses affrighted sweep by with the speed of the

whirlwind, Or the loud bellowing herds of buffaloes rush to the river. Such was the sound that arose that night, as the herds and the

horses Broke through their folds and fences, and madly rushed o'er the meadows.

xin. And as the voice of the priest repeated a service of sorrow, Lo! with a mournful sound, like the voice of a vast congregation, Solemnly answered the sea, and mingled its roar with the dirgefv 'Twas the returning tide, that afar from the waste of the ocean, With the first dawn of day, came heaving and hurrying landward. Then recommenced once more the stir and noise of embarking; And with the ebb of that tide the ships sailed out of the harbor. Leaving behind them the dead on the shore, and the village in ruins.

H. W. Longfellow



THERE is an element of poetry in us all. Whatever wakes up intense sensibilities, puts one for a moment into a poetic state—if not the creative state in which we can make poetry, at least the receptive state in which we can feel poetry. Therefore, let no man think that, because he cannot appreciate the verse of Milton or Wordsworth, there is no poetry in his soul; let him be assured that there is something within him which may any day awake, break through the crust of his selfishness, and redeem him from a low, mercenary, or sensual existence.

2. Any man who has for a single moment felt these emotions which are uncalculating, who has ever risked his life for the safety of another, or met some great emergency with Unwavering courage, or felt his whole being shaken with mighty or unutterable indignation against some base cruelty or cowardly scoundrelism, knows what I mean when I say that there is something in him which is infinite, and which can transport him in a moment into the same atmosphere which the poet breathes.

3. Why is it that on the battle-field there is ever one spot where the sabers glitter faster, and the pistol's flash is more frequent, and men and officers crowd together in denser masses? They are struggling for a flag, or an eagle, or a standard. Strip it of its symbolism, take from it the meaning with which imagination has invested it, and it is nothing but a bit of silk rag, torn with shot and blackened with powder. Now go with your common sense, and tell the soldier he is madly striving about a bit of rag. See if your common sense is as true to him as his poetry, or able to quench it for a moment.

4. Take a case. Among the .exploits of marvelous and almost legendary valor performed by that great English

« ForrigeFortsæt »