Part the First:
Part the Second:
A Tale of Arcadie
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Part the Second
- MANY a weary year had passed since the burning of Grand-Pré,
- When on the falling tide the freighted vessels departed,
- Bearing a nation, with all its household gods, into exile,
- Exile without an end, and without an example in story.
- Far asunder, on separate coasts, the Acadians landed;
- Scattered were they, like flakes of snow when the wind from the northeast
- Strikes aslant through the fogs that darken the Banks of Newfoundland.
- Friendless, homeless, hopeless, they wandered from city to city,
- From the cold lakes of the North to sultry Southern savannas --
- From the bleak shores of the sea to the lands where the Father of Waters
- Seizes the hills in his hands, and drags them down to the ocean,
- Deep in their sands to bury the scattered bones of the mammoth.
- Friends they sought and homes; and many, despairing, heartbroken,
- Asked of the earth but a grave, and no longer a friend nor a fireside.
- Written their history stands on tablets of stone in the churchyards.
- Long among them was seen a maiden who waited and wandered,
- Lowly and meek in spirit, and patiently suffering all things.
- Fair was she and young; but, alas! before her extended,
- Dreary and vast and silent, the desert of life, with its pathway
- Marked by the graves of those who had sorrowed and suffered before her,
- Passions long extinguished, and hopes long dead and abandoned,
- As the emigrant's way o'er the Western desert is marked by
- Camp-fires long consumed, and bones that bleach in the sunshine.
- Something there was in her life incomplete, imperfect, unfinished;
- As if a morning of June, with all its music and sunshine,
- Suddenly paused in the sky, and, fading, slowly descended
- Into the east again, from whence it late had arisen.
- Sometimes she lingered in towns, till, urged by the fever within her,
- Urged by a restless longing, the hunger and thirst of the spirit,
- She would commence again her endless search and endeavor;
- Sometimes in churchyards strayed, and gazed on the crosses and tombstones,
- Sat by some nameless grave, and thought that perhaps in its bosom
- He was already at rest, and she longed to slumber beside him.
- Sometimes a rumor, a hearsay, an inarticulate whisper,
- Came with its airy hand to point and beckon her forward.
- Sometimes she spake with those who had seen her beloved and known him,
- But it was long ago, in some far-off place or forgotten.
- "Gabriel Lajeunesse!" said they; "O, yes! we have seen him.
- He was with Basil the blacksmith, and both have gone to the prairies;
- Coureurs-des-Bois are they, and famous hunters and trappers,"
- "Gabriel Lajeunesse!" said others; "O, yes! we have seen him.
- He is a Voyageur in the lowlands of Louisiana."
- Then would they say: "Dear child! why dream and wait for him longer?
- Are there not other youths as fair as Gabriel? others
- Who have hearts as tender and true, and spirits as loyal?
- Here is Baptiste Leblanc, the notary's son, who has loved thee
- Many a tedious year; come, give him thy hand and be happy!
- Thou art too fair to be left to braid St. Catherine's tresses."
- Then would Evangeline answer, serenely but sadly -- "I cannot!
- Whither my heart has gone, there follows my hand, and not elsewhere.
- For when the heart goes before, like a lamp, and illumines the pathway,
- Many things are made clear, that else lie hidden in darkness."
- And thereupon the priest, her friend and father-confessor,
- Said, with a smile -- "O daughter! thy God thus speaketh within thee!
- Talk not of wasted affection, affection never was wasted;
- If it enrich not the heart of another, its waters, returning
- Back to their springs, like the rain, shall fill them full of refreshment;
- That which the fountain sends forth returns again to the fountain.
- Patience; accomplish thy labor; accomplish thy work of affection!
- Sorrow and silence are strong, and patient endurance is godlike,
- Therefore accomplish thy labor of love, till the heart is made godlike,
- Purified, strengthened, perfected, and rendered more worthy of heaven!"
- Cheered by the good man's words, Evangeline labored and waited.
- Still in her heart she heard the funeral dirge of the ocean,
- But with its sound there was mingled a voice that whispered, "Despair not!"
- Thus did that poor soul wander in want and cheerless discomfort,
- Bleeding, barefooted, over the shards and thorns of existence.
- Let me essay, O Muse! to follow the wanderer's footsteps;
- Not through each devious path, each changeful year of existence;
- But as a traveler follows a streamlet's course through the valley;
- Far from its margin at times, and seeing the gleam of its water
- Here and there, in some open space, and at intervals only:
- Then drawing nearer its banks, through sylvan glooms that conceal it,
- Though he behold it not, he can hear its continuous murmur;
- Happy, at length, if he find the spot where it reaches an outlet.
to Part II, Canto II.