Poem By Robert Kirkland Kernighan
Three Red Men near it sat and sang,
While past their feet the Waubigoon
Above the sparkling pebbles rang.
Ah, they were Indians old and grey,
Robed in the skins of bear and coon
That they had slain in days of yore
When hunting on the Waubigoon.
' Alas! We '11 hunt no more, no more,'
The feeblest chieftain cried, ' for soon
We'll pass into the spirit land
And see no more the Waubigoon.
' No more we '11 lay us down to rest
Nor hide us from the heated noon
Upon thy shady banks of green
Thy reedy banks, O Waubigoon.
' No more within the silent night,
When lofty floats the chilly moon,
We '11 watch the deer come down to drink
Thy sacred waters, Waubigoon.
' O Waubigoon, we know that life
Is gone for us; we feel that thou
Must be the holy stream that feeds
The heart of our great Manitou.
' How sweet to ride in birch canoe
That, anchored yonder, frets and bounds,
And painless float upon thy breast
Into the happy hunting grounds.
' Grant this, O Waubigoon, we pray,
O grant to us this simple boon,
The only winding sheet we ask
Is thy loved waters, Waubigoon.
' We wish to live no more, no more;
We wish to see no other noon,
Three chiefs yield up their lives to thee,
Thou chief of waters, Waubigoon.'
He spoke his last, and as he ceased
His comrades caught the frail canoe,
The three grey chieftains entered in
And down the fleeting waters flew.
And they have never since been seen,
From that bright August day till now:
Their people know that they are gone
To dwell with mighty Manitou.
And when the stars are draped in black,
And all extinguished is the moon,
A ghostly boat is seen to float
Adown the secret Waubigoon;
And in the darkness you may hear
Three spirit voices softly croon,
' We loved in life we love in death,
Thy sacred waters, Waubigoon.'