The Song of Hiawatha

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David Bogue, 1855 - 316 páginas
In the Summer of 1854, Longfellow wrote in his diary: "I have at length hit upon a plan for a poem on the American Indians, which seems to me the right one and the only. It is to weave together their beautiful traditions as whole." What emerged the next year was "The Song of Hiawatha," a composite of legends, folklore, myth, and characters that presents, in short, lilting trochees (who can forget "By the shore of Gitche Gumme / By the shining Big-Sea-Water"?), the life-story of a real Indian, who provides the focus for the narrative thread of this epic drama of high adventure, tragedy, and conflict. The aim was not to tell a particular or specific story, but to unite the strands of various Indian legends, to present a sympathetic portrait of many Native American tribes, and especially to disclose their profound relationship with the natural world. This when both government policies and an expanding, land-hungry population were just initiating their inexorable campaign of displacement and annihilation. The poem received a decidedly mixed reception. Our own Boston Traveller revealed its biases: "We cannot help but express our regret that our own pet national poet should not have selected as a theme of his muse something better and higher than the silly legends of the savage aborigines." Despite this, the poem entered into our canon of great narratives, and was revived again in 1891 when Remington, surely the most renowned artist of the West, provided over 400 newly commissioned pen and ink drawings. This handsome, new, and freshly reset edition (the only unabridged version in print) presents the full text and includes the original Remington illustrations as well as a glossary of the Indian names and their meanings. Book jacket.

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Página 45 - Then upon one knee uprising, Hiawatha aimed an arrow; Scarce a twig moved with his motion, Scarce a leaf was stirred or rustled, But the wary roebuck started, Stamped with all his hoofs together, Listened with one foot uplifted, Leaped as if to meet the arrow; Ah! the singing, fatal arrow, Like a wasp it buzzed and stung him!
Página 3 - Should you ask me whence these stories, Whence these legends and traditions, With the odors of the forest, With the dew and damp of meadows, With the curling smoke of wigwams, With the rushing of great rivers, With their frequent repetitions, And their wild reverberations As of thunder in the mountains, I should answer, I should tell you : From the forests and the prairies; From the great lakes of the Northland, From the land of the Ojibways...
Página 38 - Ewa-yea ! my little owlet ! Who is this, that lights the wigwam ? With his great eyes lights the wigwam ? Ewa-yea ! my little owlet ! " Many things Nokomis taught him Of the stars that shine in heaven ; Showed him Ishkoodah, the comet, Ishkoodah, with fiery tresses ; Showed the Death-Dance of the spirits, Warriors with their plumes and...
Página 90 - 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 murmur of resistance ; But it whispered, bending downward, " Take my boughs, O Hiawatha...
Página 81 - All the many sounds of nature Borrowed sweetness from his singing; All the hearts of men were softened By the pathos of his music; For he sang of peace and freedom, Sang of beauty, love, and longing; Sang of death, and life undying In the Islands of the Blessed, In the kingdom of Ponemah, In the land of the Hereafter.
Página 124 - With the crimson tuft of feathers, With the blood-red crest of Mama. But the wealth of Megissogwon, All the trophies of the battle, He divided with his people, Shared it equally among them. X. HIAWATHA'S WOOING. " As unto the bow the cord is, So unto the man is woman, Though she bends him, she obeys him, Though she draws him, yet she follows, Useless each without the other...
Página 45 - ... Leaped as if to meet the arrow ; Ah ! the singing, fatal arrow, Like a wasp it buzzed and stung him ! Dead he lay there in the forest, By the ford across the river ; Beat his timid heart no longer, But the heart of Hiawatha Throbbed and shouted and exulted, As he bore the red deer homeward, And lagoo and Nokomis Hailed his coming with applauses. From the red deer's hide Nokomis Made a cloak for Hiawatha, From the red deer's flesh Nokomis Made a banquet in his honor. All the village came and feasted,...
Página 77 - And still later, when the Autumn Changed the long, green leaves to yellow, And the soft and juicy kernels Grew like wampum hard and yellow, Then the ripened ears he gathered, Stripped the withered husks from off them, As he once had stripped the wrestler, Gave the first Feast of Mondamin, And made known unto the people This new gift of the Great Spirit.
Página 89 - Hiawatha!" With his knife the tree he girdled; Just beneath its lowest branches, Just above the roots, he cut it, Till the sap came oozing outward; Down the trunk, from top to bottom, Sheer he cleft the bark asunder, With a wooden wedge he raised it, Stripped it from the trunk unbroken. "Give me of your boughs, 0 Cedar! Of your strong and pliant branches, My canoe to make more steady, Make more strong and firm beneath me!
Página 91 - 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 his 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 framework, "Give me of your balm, O Fir-tree! Of your balsam and your resin, So...

Acerca del autor (1855)

During his lifetime, Longfellow enjoyed a popularity that few poets have ever known. This has made a purely literary assessment of his achievement difficult, since his verse has had an effect on so many levels of American culture and society. Certainly, some of his most popular poems are, when considered merely as artistic compositions, found wanting in serious ways: the confused imagery and sentimentality of "A Psalm of Life" (1839), the excessive didacticism of "Excelsior" (1841), the sentimentality of "The Village Blacksmith" (1839). Yet, when judged in terms of popular culture, these works are probably no worse and, in some respects, much better than their counterparts in our time. Longfellow was very successful in responding to the need felt by Americans of his time for a literature of their own, a retelling in verse of the stories and legends of these United States, especially New England. His three most popular narrative poems are thoroughly rooted in American soil. "Evangeline: A Tale of Acadie" (1847), an American idyll; "The Song of Hiawatha" (1855), the first genuinely native epic in American poetry; and "The Courtship of Miles Standish" (1858), a Puritan romance of Longfellow's own ancestors, John Alden and Priscilla Mullens. "Paul Revere's Ride," the best known of the "Tales of a Wayside Inn"(1863), is also intensely national. Then, there is a handful of intensely personal, melancholy poems that deal in very successful ways with those themes not commonly thought of as Longfellow's: sorrow, death, frustration, the pathetic drift of humanity's existence. Chief among these are "My Lost Youth" (1855), "Mezzo Cammin" (1842), "The Ropewalk" (1854), "The Jewish Cemetery at Newport" (1852), and, most remarkable in its artistic success, "The Cross of Snow," a heartfelt sonnet so personal in its expression of the poet's grief for his dead wife that it remained unpublished until after Longfellow's death. A professor of modern literature at Harvard College, Longfellow did much to educate the general reading public in the literatures of Europe by means of his many anthologies and translations, the most important of which was his masterful rendition in English of Dante's Divine Comedy (1865-67).

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