Nadowessian Death-Lament

See, he sitteth on his mat
 Sitteth there upright,
With the grace with which he sat
 While he saw the light.

Where is now the sturdy gripe,--
 Where the breath sedate,
That so lately whiffed the pipe
 Toward the Spirit great?

Where the bright and falcon eye,
 That the reindeer's tread
On the waving grass could spy,
 Thick with dewdrops spread?

Where the limbs that used to dart
 Swifter through the snow
Than the twenty-membered hart,
 Than the mountain roe?

Where the arm that sturdily
 Bent the deadly bow?
See, its life hath fleeted by,--
 See, it hangeth low!

Happy he!--He now has gone
 Where no snow is found:
Where with maize the fields are sown,
 Self-sprung from the ground;

Where with birds each bush is filled,
Where with game the wood;
Where the fish, with joy unstilled,
Wanton in the flood.

With the spirits blest he feeds,--
 Leaves us here in gloom;
We can only praise his deeds,
 And his corpse entomb.

Farewell-gifts, then, hither bring,
 Sound the death-note sad!
Bury with him everything
 That can make him glad!

'Neath his head the hatchet hide
 That he boldly swung;
And the bear's fat haunch beside,
 For the road is long;

And the knife, well sharpened,
 That, with slashes three,
Scalp and skin from foeman's head
 Tore off skilfully.

And to paint his body, place
 Dyes within his hand;
Let him shine with ruddy grace
 In the Spirit-land!

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"Nadowessian Death-Lament" Poetry.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2019. Web. 24 Mar. 2019. <https://www.poetry.net/poem/14343/nadowessian-death-lament>.

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