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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

HENRY WADSWORTH LONGFELLOW: The Peace-Pipe

The Peace-Pipe

(From “The Song of Hiawatha”)
On the Mountains of the Prarie,
On the great Red Pipe-stone Quarry,
Gitche Manito, the mighty,
He the Master of Life, descending,
On the red crags of the quarry
Stood erect, and called the nations,
Called the tribes of men together.

 .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .

And they stood there on the meadow,
With their weapons and their war-gear,
Painted like the leaves of Autumn,
Painted like the sky of morning,
Wildly glaring at each other;
In their faces stern defiance,
In their hearts the feuds of ages,
The hereditary hatred,
The ancestral thirst for vengeance.
    Gitche Manito, the mighty,
The creator of the nations,
Looked upon them with compassion,
With paternal love and pity;
Looked upon their wrath and wrangling
But as quarrels of the children,
But as feuds and fights of children!
    Over them he stretched his right hand,
To subdue their stubborn natures,
To allay their thirst and fever,
By the shadow of his right hand;
Spake to them with voice majestic,
As a sound of far-off waters
Falling into deep abysses,
Warning, chiding, spake in this wise: -
    “O my children! my poor children!
Listen to the words of wisdom,
Listen to the words of warning,
From the lips of the Great Spirit,
From the Master of Life, who made you!
    “I have given you lands to hunt in,
I have given you streams to fish in,
I have given you bear and bison,
I have given you roe and reindeer,
I have given you brant and beaver,
Filled the marshes full of wild-fowls,
Filled the rivers full of fishes;
Why then are you not contended?
Why then will you hunt each other?
    “I am weary of your quarrels,
Weary of your wars and bloodshed,
Weary of your prayers of vengeance,
Of your wrangling and dissensions;
All your strength is in your union,
All your danger is in discord;
Therefore be at peace henceforward,
And as brothers live together.

 .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .

    “Bath now in the stream before you,
Wash the war-paint from your faces,
Wash the blood-stains from your fingers,
Bury your war-clubs and your weapons,
Break the red stone from this quarry,
Mould and make it into Peace-Pipes,
Take the reads that grow beside you,
Deck them with your brightest feathers,
Smoke the calumet together,
And as brothers live henceforward!”

 .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .






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