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Burial Of The Minnisink
(27 February 1807 – 24 March 1882 / Portland, Maine)

Burial Of The Minnisink

Poem By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

On sunny slope and beechen swell,
The shadowed light of evening fell;
And, where the maple's leaf was brown,
With soft and silent lapse came down,
The glory, that the wood receives,
At sunset, in its golden leaves.

Far upward in the mellow light
Rose the blue hills. One cloud of white,
Around a far uplifted cone,
In the warm blush of evening shone;
An image of the silver lakes,
By which the Indian's soul awakes.

But soon a funeral hymn was heard
Where the soft breath of evening stirred
The tall, gray forest; and a band
Of stern in heart, and strong in hand,
Came winding down beside the wave,
To lay the red chief in his grave.

They sang, that by his native bowers
He stood, in the last moon of flowers,
And thirty snows had not yet shed
Their glory on the warrior's head;
But, as the summer fruit decays,
So died he in those naked days.

A dark cloak of the roebuck's skin
Covered the warrior, and within
Its heavy folds the weapons, made
For the hard toils of war, were laid;
The cuirass, woven of plaited reeds,
And the broad belt of shells and beads.

Before, a dark-haired virgin train
Chanted the death dirge of the slain;
Behind, the long procession came
Of hoary men and chiefs of fame,
With heavy hearts, and eyes of grief,
Leading the war-horse of their chief.

Stripped of his proud and martial dress,
Uncurbed, unreined, and riderless,
With darting eye, and nostril spread,
And heavy and impatient tread,
He came; and oft that eye so proud
Asked for his rider in the crowd.

They buried the dark chief; they freed
Beside the grave his battle steed;
And swift an arrow cleaved its way
To his stern heart! One piercing neigh
Arose, and, on the dead man's plain,
The rider grasps his steed again.

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Comments (7)

What a sad and touching story and how well it is told!
Death! Burial; Laid to rest. Thanks for sharing this poem with us.
End of busy day takes place with Sunset like the life of a soldier who dies in war and his body is laid to rest for peace to prevail. In ancient Egypt, the deceased pharaoh with buried in Pyramid along with golden things including his caretakers and loved one; this poem reminds of that by slaying of the soldier's horse too to take rest with its chief! Nicely written poem about a burial culture for a dead soldier!
What a sublime but glorious depiction of the red chief who died and buried in the wood. Henry W Longfellow was among the immortal poets of the era.
But soon a funeral hymn was heard Where the soft breath of evening stirred The tall, gray forest; and a band Of stern in heart, and strong in hand, Came winding down beside the wave, To lay the red chief in his grave. ........//////////elegiac tone writing; great poem penned


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