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24.
Wondering they listen to the wonderous tale,
But no repining thought such tales excite :
Only a wish, if wishes might avail,
Was haply felt, with juvenile delight,
To mingle in the social dance at night,
Where the broad moonshine, level as a flood,
O'erspread the plain, and in the silver light,

Well-pleased, the placid elders sate and view'd The sport, and seem'd therein to feel their youth renew'd.

25. But when the darker scenes their mother drew, What crimes were wrought when drunken fury

raged, What miseries from their fatal discord grew When horde with horde in deadly strife engaged: The rancorous hate with which their wars they

waged, The more unnatural horrors which ensued, When, with inveterate vengeance unassuaged,

The victors round their slaughter'd captives stood, And babes were brought to dip their little hands in blood :

26. Horrent they heard; and with her hands the Maid Prest her eyes close as if she strove to blot The hateful image which her mind portray’d. The Boy sate silently, intent in thought ; Then with a deep-drawn sigh, as if he sought To heave the oppressive feeling from his breast, Complacently compared their harmless lot

With such wild life, outrageous and unblest, Securely thus to live, he said, was surely best.

27. On tales of blood they could not bear to dwell, From such their hearts abhorrent shrunk in fear. Better they liked that Monnema should tell Ofthings unseen; what Power had placed them here, And whence the living spirit came, and where It past, when parted from this mortal mold; Of such mysterious themes with willing ear

They heard, devoutly listening while she told Strangely-disfigured truths, and fables feign'd of old.

28. By the Great Spirit man was made, she said, His voice it was which peal'd along the sky, And shook the heavens and fill'd the earth with

dread Alone and inaccessible, on high He had his dwelling-place eternally, And Father was his name. This all knew well; But none had seen his face: and if his eye

Regarded what upon the earth befell, Or if he cared for man, she knew not: ... who could

tell ?

29.
But this, she said, was sure, that after death
There was reward and there was punishment:
And that the evil doers, when the breath
of their injurious lives at length was spent,
Into all noxious forms abhorr'd were sent,
Of beasts and reptiles ; so retaining still
Their old propensities, on evil bent,

They work'd where'er they might their wicked will, The natural foes of man, whom we pursue and kill.

30.
Of better spirits, some there were who said
That in the grave they had their place of rest.
Lightly they laid the earth upon the dead,
Lest in its narrow tenement the guest
Should suffer underneath such load opprest.
But that death surely set the spirit free,
Sad proof to them poor Monnema addrest,

Drawn from their father's fate; no grave had he Wherein his soul might dwell. This therefore could

not be.

31. Likelier they taught who said that to the Land Of Souls the happy spirit took its flight, A region underneath the sole command Of the Good Power ; by him for the upright Appointed and replenish'd with delight; A land where nothing evil ever came, Sorrow, nor pain, nor peril, nor affright,

Norchange, nor death; but there the human frame, Untouch'd by age or ill, continued still the same.

32. Winds would not pierce it there, nor heat and cold Grieve, northirst parch and hunger pine; but there The sun by day its even influence hold With genial warmth, and thro' the unclouded air The moon upon her nightly journey fare : The lakes and fish-full streams are never dry ; Trees ever green perpetual fruitage bear ;

And, wheresoe'er the hunter turns his eye, Water and earth and heaven to him their stores ply.

33. And once there was a way to that good land, For in mid-earth a wondrous Tree there grew, By which the adventurer might with foot and hand From branch to branch his upward course pursue; An easy path, if what were said be true, Albeit the ascent was long: and when the height Was gain'd, that blissful region was in view,

Wherein the traveller safely might alight, And roam abroad at will, and take his free delight.

34.
O happy time, when ingress thus was given
To the upper world, and at their pleasure they
Whose hearts were strong might pass from Earth

to Heaven
By their own act and choice! In evil day
Mishap had fatally cut off that way,
And none may now the Land of Spirits gain,
Till from its dear-loved tenement of clay,

Violence or age, infirmity and pain
Divorce thesoul which therefull gladly would remain.

35. Such grievous loss had by their own misdeed Upon the unworthy race of men been brought. An aged woman once who could not speed In fishing, earnestly one day besought Her countrymen, that they of what they caught A portion would upon her wants bestow. They set her hunger and her age at nought,

And still to her entreaties answered no! And mock'd her, till they made her heart with rage

o'erflow.

36. But that Old Woman by such wanton wrong Inflamed, went hurrying down ; and in the pride Of magic power wherein the crone was strong, Her human form infirm she laid aside. Better the Capiguara's limbs supplied A strength accordant to her fierce intent: These she assumed, and, burrowing deep and wide

Beneath the Tree, with vicious will, she went, To inflict upon mankind a lasting punishment.

37. Downward she wrought her way, and all around Labouring, the solid earth she undermined And loosen'd all the roots ; then from the ground Emerging, in her hatred of her kind, Resumed her proper form, and breathed a wind Which gather'd like a tempest round its head: Eftsoon the lofty Tree its top inclined

Uptorn with horrible convulsion dread, And over half the world its mighty wreck lay spread.

38. But never scion sprouted from that Tree, Nor seed sprang up; and thus the easy way, Which had till then for young and old been free, Was closed upon the sons of men for aye. The mighty ruin moulder'd where it lay Till not a trace was left; and now in sooth Almost had all remembrance past away.

This from the elders she had heard in youth ; Some said it was a tale, and some a very truth.

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