Albery Allson Whitman

(1851-1901 / the United States)

Death Of Pashepaho - Poem by Albery Allson Whitman

Lo! the old Sac village slumbered
In the basin of the Wabash,
And the doorway of the vallies,
Like some brown old matron napping
On the threshold of her cottage,
When her distaff lieth idle.
All the plaintive vale was cooing,
And the hazy hills were piping,
And the mournful gales were flapping
Thro' their somber realms of sere woods.
Sang the crane migrating southward,
Answered the itin'rant heron
In her dank and grassy rev'rie,
By the blue and pensive waters.
Then it was that sate the Stabber;
In the middle of his tent floor;
Sate with sober words and features,
Talking of the times he once knew,
Now with the departed past blent,
Now deep in the grave of years laid.
At his side sat Nanawawa,
And her voice like running waters
O'er a pebbly bed descanting,
Sank upon his ears with rapture;
With a wild and lonely rapture,
As she asked him of the old times.
'Nanawawa,' said he, trembling,
'You had better take a husband.
From the great tribes of the west plains,
Take a strong ond valiant young chief,
For I soon must go and leave you.
From the wigwam of your mother,
Sixteen years ago you followed;
From the lone spot where we left her,
Where the mournful vine entwines her,
Where the wild briar blooms above her,
Where the wild birds sing unto her;
From that spot I love to think of,
Sixteen years ago you followed
To this wide and unknown country.
Since that time you've e'er been with me,
E'er been sunlight in my tent door,
Ever been the joy of old age;
But my daughter, Oh! my daughter,
Oh! my hind, my Nanawawa!
I am now upon a journey,
And you now cannot go with me!'
Nanawawa could not answer,
And for tears saw not the Stabber,
As he leaned upon the tent floor,
And went on to utter faintly:
'What is that I hear a coming?
Don't I hear the sound of footmen
Coming from a distant country?
Ah! I hear the tread of warriors,
They are coming in a hurry!
I behold great lands before me,
Now I see green mountains rising,
And I see the peaceful wigwams,
Just across the river yonder!
Nanawawa, I must leave you!
Come and see me in the morning.
Oh! my daughter, come and see me!'
Nanawawa caught her father,
Stooping o'er him, called and called him,
Pressed his face against her pale cheek,
Held his hands and watched his still lips.
Then a wail burst from the wigwam;
Pashepao had ceased breathing!

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Poem Submitted: Saturday, September 18, 2010

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