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And the soul of the maiden, between the stars and the fire-flies,
Art thou so near unto me, and yet thy voice does not reach me?
Thou hast lain down to rest, and to dream of me in thy slumbers.
Farther and farther away it floated and dropped into silence. "Patience!" whispered the oaks from oracular caverns of dark
And, from the moonlit meadow, a sigh responded, "To-morrow!"
Bright rose the sun next day; and all the flowers of the garden Bathed his shining feet with their tears, and anointed his tresses With the delicious balm that they bore in their vases of crystal. "Farewell!" said the priest, as he stood at the shadowy threshold; "See that you bring us the Prodigal Son from his fasting and famine,
And, too, the Foolish Virgin, who slept when the bridegroom was coming."
"Farewell!" answered the maiden, and, smiling, with Basil descended
Down to the river's brink, where the boatmen already were
Thus beginning their journey with morning, and sunshine, and gladness,
Swiftly they followed the flight of him who was speeding before them.
Blown by the blast of fate like a dead leaf over the desert.
Nor, after many days, had they found him; but vague and uncertain
Rumours alone were their guides through a wild and desolate
Till, at the little inn of the Spanish town of Adayes,
Weary and worn, they alighted, and learned from the garrulous
That on the day before, with horses and guides and companions, Gabriel left the village, and took the road of the prairies.
Far in the West there lies a desert land, where the mountains Lift, through perpetual snows, their lofty and luminous summits, Down from their jagged, deep ravines, where the gorge, like a gateway,
Opens a passage rude to the wheels of the emigrant's waggon, Westward the Oregon flows and the Walleway and Owyhee. Eastward, with devious course, among the Wind-river Mountains, Through the Sweet-water Valley precipitate leaps the Nebraska ; And to the south, from Fontaine-qui-bout and the Spanish sierras, Fretted with sands and rocks, and swept by the wind of the desert. Numberless torrents, with ceaseless sound, descend to the ocean, Like the great chords of a harp, in loud and solemn vibrations. Spreading between these streams are the wondrous, beautiful prairies,
Billowy bays of grass ever rolling in shadow and sunshine,
Bright with luxuriant clusters of roses and purple amorphas
Over them wander the buffalo herds, and the elk and the roebuck;
Here and there rise smokes from the camps of these savage marauders;
Here and there rise groves from the margins of swift-running
And the grim, taciturn bear, the anchorite monk of the desert,
Into this wonderful land, at the base of the Ozark Mountains, Gabriel far had entered, with hunters and trappers behind him. Day after day, with their Indian guides, the maiden and Basil Followed his flying steps, and thought each day to o'ertake him. Sometimes they saw, or thought they saw, the smoke of his camp-fire
Rise in the morning air from the distant plain; but at nightfall, When they had reached the place, they found only embers and
And, though their hearts were sad at times and their bodies were
Hope still guided them on, as the magic Fata Morgana
Showed them her lakes of light, that retreated and vanished before them.
Once, as they sat by their evening fire, there silently entered
Into the little camp an Indian woman, whose features
Where her Canadian husband, a Coureur-des-Bois, had been murdered.
Touched were their hearts at her story, and warmest and friendliest welcome
Gave they, with words of cheer, and she sat and feasted among
On the buffalo-meat and the venison cooked on the embers.
But when their meal was done, and Basil and all his companions, Worn with the long day's march and the chase of the deer and the
Stretched themselves on the ground, and slept where the quivering fire-light
Flashed on their swarthy cheeks, and their forms wrapped up in their blankets,
Then at the door of Evangeline's tent she sat and repeated
Slowly, with soft, low voice, and the charm of her Indian accent,
Mute with wonder the Shawnee sat, and when she had ended
Passed through her brain, she spake, and repeated the tale of the
Mowis, the bridegroom of snow, who won and wedded a maiden, But, when the morning came, arose and passed from the wigwam, Fading and melting away and dissolving into the sunshine,
Till she beheld him no more, though she followed far into the
Then, in those sweet, low tones, that seemed like a weird incan
Told she the tale of the fair Lilinau, who was wooed by a phantom, That, through the pines o'er her father's lodge, in the hush of the twilight,
Breathed like the evening wind, and whispered love to the maiden,
Slowly over the tops of the Ozark Mountains the moon rose,
Lighting the little tent, and with a mysterious splendour Touching the sombre leaves, and embracing and filling the woodland.
With a delicious sound the brook rushed by, and the branches
Subtile sense crept in of pain and indefinite terror,
As the cold, poisonous snake creeps into the nest of the swallow. It was no earthly fear. A breath from the region of spirits Seemed to float in the air of night; and she felt for a moment That, like the Indian maid, she, too, was pursuing a phantom. And with this thought she slept, and the fear and the phantom had vanished.'
Early upon the morrow the march was resumed; and the