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Distant and soft on her ear fell the chimes from the belfry of
Christ Church, While, intermingled with these, across the meadows were wafted Sounds of psalms, that were sung by the Swedes in their church
at Wicaco. Soft as descending wings fell the calm of the hour on her spirit; 5 Something within her said, "At length thy trials are ended";
And, with light in her looks, she entered the chambers of sickness. Noislessly moved about the assiduous, careful attendants, Moistening the feverish lip and the aching brow, and in silence
Closing the sightless eyes of the dead, and concealing their faces, 10 Where on their pallets they lay, like drifts of snow by the road
side. Many a languid head, upraised as Evangeline entered, Turned on its pillow of pain to gaze while she passed, for her
presence Fell on their hearts like a ray of the sun on the walls of a prison.
And, as she looked around, she saw how Death, the consoler, 15 Laying his hand upon many a heart, had healed it forever.
Many familiar forms had disappeared in the night time;
Suddenly, as if arrested by fear or a feeling of wonder, Still she stood, with her colorless lips apart, while a shudder 20 Ran through her frame, and, forgotten, the flowerets dropped
from her fingers, And from her eyes and cheeks the light and bloom of the
morning Then there escaped from her lips a cry of such terrible anguish That the dying heard it, and started up from their pillows.
On the pallet before her was stretched the form of an old man. 25 Long, and thin, and gray were the locks that shaded his temples;
But, as he lay in the morning light, his face for a moment Seemed to assume once more the forms of its earlier manhood; So are wont to be changed the faces of those who are dying.
Hot and red on his lips still burned the flush of the fever,
Motionless, senseless, dying, he lay, and his spirit exhausted 5 Seemed to be sinking down through infinite depths in the dark
ness, Darkness of slumber and death, forever sinking and sinking. Then through those realms of shade, in multiplied reverberations, Heard he that cry of pain, and through the hush that succeeded
Whispered a gentle voice, in accents tender and saintlike, 10 “Gabriel! O my beloved !” and died away into silence.
Then he beheld, in a dream, once more the home of his childhood: Green Acadian meadows, with silvan rivers among them, Village, and mountain, and woodlands; and, walking under their
shadow, As in the days of her youth, Evangeline rose in his vision. 15 Tears came into his eyes; and as slowly he lifted his eyelids,
Vanished the vision away, but Evangeline knelt by his bedside. Vainly he strove to whisper her name, for the accents unuttered Died on his lips, and their motion revealed what his tongue would
have spoken. Vainly he strove to rise; and Evangeline, kneeling beside him, 20 Kissed his dying lips, and laid his head on her bosom. Sweet was the light of his eyes; but it suddenly sank into dark
ness, As when a lamp is blown out by a gust of wind at a casement.
All was ended now, the hope, and the fear, and the sorrow, All the aching of heart, the restless, unsatisfied longing, 25 All the dull, deep pain, and constant anguish of patience!
And, as she pressed once more the lifeless head to her bosom, Meekly she bowed her own, and murmured, "Father, I thank Still stands the forest primeval; but far away from its shadow, Side by side, in their nameless graves, the lovers are sleeping. Under the humble walls of the little Catholic churchyard,
In the heart of the city, they lie, unknown and unnoticed. 5 Daily the tides of life go ebbing and flowing beside them: Thousands of throbbing hearts, where theirs are at rest and
forever; Thousands of aching brains, where theirs no longer are busy; Thousands of toiling hands, where theirs have ceased from their
labors; Thousands of weary feet, where theirs have completed their
Still stands the forest primeval; but under the shade of its
Wandered back to their native land to die in its bosom. 15 In the fisherman's cot the wheel and the loom are still busy; Maidens still wear their Norman caps and their kirtles of home
spun, And by the evening fire repeat Evangeline's story, While from its rocky caverns the deep-voiced, neighboring ocean Speaks, and in accents disconsolate answers the wail of the
NOTES AND QUESTIONS
For Biography see page 136.
Historical Note. The conflict for supremacy between the French and the English is a part of the early history of Nova Scotia, which was called Acadie by the French. The Acadians were French in their blood and in their sympathies, though the English were from time to time in authority over the country. At one time the English demanded an oath of allegiance from the Acadians. This they refused to take unless it should be so modified as to exempt them from bearing arms against
France. It was finally decided to remove the Acadians from the country, scattering them throughout the American colonies. Accordingly, they were driven on board the English transports, and three thousand of them were sent out of the country (1755). In the confusion, families and friends were separated, in many cases never to meet again. Longfellow based his poem upon a legend that sprang from this exile.
It is interesting to note that a bronze statue of "Evangeline” was unveiled on July 29, 1920, at Grand Pré, Nova Scotia. The statue represents Evangeline about to leave her native land, her face turned slightly backward in a sorrowful manner.
Discussion. 1. Into what parts is the poem divided? 2. With what does Part the First deal? Part the Second? 3. What purpose does the Prelude serve? 4. What may have given rise to the comparison of the trees to harpers ? 5. What tells us that the mood of the ocean is in sympathy with the melancholy of the forest? 6. To what are the lives of the farmers compared? 7. Upon whom does the poet call to listen to his story?
Part the First. (I) 1. What does Longfellow mean when he says that vast meadows gave the village its name? 2. In what sense was the richest in Acadie poor? 3. Find lines that describe Evangeline's father. 4. Find lines that describe Evangeline. 5. How has the "craft of the smith” been regarded from earliest times? How can you account for this? (II) 6. What do we call that “beautiful season" which the Acadians called the "Summer of All Saints”? 7. What pictures make up the evening scene? (III) 8. How was the bethrothal celebrated ? 9. What forebodings were expressed? (IV) 10. What proclamation was made at the church? 11. How was it received by the Acadians? 12. How did Evangeline try to help the women and children? (V) 13. What happened when the time came for entering the boats? 14. What was done to the homes that the Acadians had left? 15. What caused the death of Evangeline's father? 16. Find in the Glossary the meaning of: (1) ethereal; mutation; (II) regent; glebe; notary; (III) irascible; congealed; (IV) jocund; vibrant; dissonant; convened; solstice; imprecations; (V) refluent; kelp; unperturbed; gleeds; oblivious. 17. Pronounce: prelude; (I) hearth; heirloom; exquisite; (III) warier; (IV) sonorous; clement; mien; contrition. (For "Phrases” see p. 440.)
Part the Second. (I) 1. Where did the Acadians land? 2. What did the exiles do in the strange country? 3. Find the words with which the priest comforted Evangeline. 4. How does the poet say he will follow Evangeline's footsteps? (II) 5. Who accompanied Evangeline and the priest on their journey down the Mississippi? 6. What thought sustained Evangeline on this voyage? 7. What vision came to her? (III) 8. Describe the meeting with Basil. 9. Find lines in which Basil contrasts his new home with the old. 10. Why was it that Evangeline's party failed to see Gabriel's boat? (IV) 11. Where did Evangeline seek for Gabriel as the years passed? 12. How did her appearance change as time went on? (V) 13. What had her life of sorrow taught her? 14. What did her loving heart lead her to do? 15. Where did her work as a Sister of Mercy take her? 16. How had the priest's words come true? 17. Contrast the conduct of Evangeline in the time of pestilence with that of Prince Prospero in Poe's story “The Masque of the Red Death.” 18. What helped Evangeline to recognize Gabriel? 19. What reasons for thankfulness did she have? 20. What words of the good priest may have come to her mind at this time? 21. This is a tale of devotion showing the beauty and holiness of affection “that hopes and endures and is patient”; it also teaches certain facts about early American history. Which of these values do you think the poet wished to impress upon us? 22. The poem has the "twofold province” about which you read in the Introduction on pages 334 and 335; can you show that this is true? 23. This poem consists of a series of descriptions, each forming a beautiful picture; make a list of these scenes, and place a star before those that you can see most distinctly. 24. What did you learn from the Introduction on page 335 about the value of literature as a supplement to your history? How has this poem added to your understanding of the wild, unsettled regions of early America ? 25. If you have seen Evangeline in motion pictures tell how the film-story differed from the poem-story. 26. Find in the Glossary the meaning of: (I) inarticulate; shards; devious; (II) multitudinous; (III) hilarious; accordant; inundate; oracular; (IV) incantation; cloisters; mendicant: (V) abnegation; diffused; assiduous. 27. Pronounce: (II) tenebrous; demoniac; buoy; (IV) implacable; taciturn; subtle; (V) presaged.
Phrases for Study
reign of the Henries, 384, 1 envy, the vice ..
384, 21 penitent Peter, 386, 15 held in repute, 387,
13 ripened thought .
io sign of the Scorpion, 388, 17 birds of passage, 388,
18 plane-tree .... adorned, 389, 16 royal commission, 400, 9
natural make, 400, 12