Hiawatha Libretto

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Transcript of Hiawatha Libretto

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    THE INDIAN PLAY

    HIAWATHAINTRODUCTION

    Should yo u ask me , whence these stories?Whence these legends an d traditions,With th e odors of the forest,With th e de w an d damp of m eadows,With th e curling smoke of wigwams,With the rushing of great rivers,With their frequent repetitions,An d their wild reverberations,As of thunder in th e mountains?I should answer, I should tell you,.. From the fo rests and th e prairies,From th e great lakes of th e Northland,From the land of th e Ojibways,From th e lan d of the Dacotahs,From th e mountains, moors, an d fen-lands,Where the heron, th e Shuh-shuh-gah,Feeds among th e reeds and rushes .I repeat them as I heard themFrom th e lips of Nawadaha,Th e musician, the sweet singer."Should yo u ask where NawadahaFound these songs so wild and wayward,Found these legends and traditions,I should answer, I should tell you,.. In the bird' s-nests of th e forest,

    In th e lodges of th e beaver,In th e hoof-prints of the bison,In th e eyry of th e eagle !"All th e wildfowl sang them to him,In th e moorlands an d the fen-lands,In th e melancholy marshes;Chetowaik, th e plover, sang them,Mahng, th e loon, th e wild goose, W awa,Th e blue heron, th e Shuh-shuh-gah,An d the grouse, th e Mushkodasa!"

    If stlll further yo u should as k meSay ing, "Who was Nawadaha?T ell us of this Nawadaha,"I should answer your inquiriesStraightway in such words as follow:" In th e Vale of T awasentha,In th e green and silent valley,By th e pleasant water-courses,Dwelt the singer Nawadaha .Round about the Indian villageSpread th e meadows an d th e cornfields,An d beyond them stood th e forest,Stood th e groves of singing pine-trees,Green in Summer, white in Winter ,Ever sighing, ever singing,

    "And th e pleasant water-courses ,Yo u could t race them through th e valley,By th e rushing in th e Spring-time,By th e alders in th e Summer,By th e white fog in the Autumn,By the black line in the Winter;An d beside them dwelt th e singer,In th e Vale of Tawasentha,In th e green and silent va lley .

    "There he sang of Hiawatha,Sang th e Song of Hiawatha,Sang his wondrous birth and being,H ow he prayed an d ho w he fasted,H ow he lived, an d toiled, an d suffered,That the tribes of me n might prosper,That he might advance his people !"Y e wh o love the haunts of Nature,Love the sunshine of th e meadow,Love the shadow of th e forest,Love the wind among th e branches,An d the rain-shower and the snow-storm,And the rushing of great riversThrough their palisades of pine-trees,An d th e thunder in the mountains,Whose innumerable echoesFlap lik e eag les in their eyries ,-Listen to these wild traditions,To this Song of Hiawatha!Ye who love a nation's legends,Love the ballads of a people,That like voices from afar offCall to us to pause and listen,Speak in tones so plain and childlike,Scarcely can the ea r distinguishWhether they ar e sung or spoken;- Listen to this Indian Le gend ,To this Song of Hiawatha !Y e whose hearts ar e fresh an d simple,Who have faith in God an d Nature,Who believe that in all agesEvery human heart is human,That in even savage bosomsThere ar e lon gings , yearnings, strivingsFo r th e good th ey comprehend not,That th e feeble hands an d helpless,Groping blindly in th e darkness,Touch God's right hand in that darknessAn d ar e lifted up and strengthened,-Listen to this simple story,To this Song of Hiawatha!

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    SCENE ITH E GATHERING OF TH E TRIBES

    O n the Mountains of the Prairie,O n th e great Re d Pipe-stone Quarry,Gitche Manito, the mighty,He the Master of Life, descending,O n th e re d crags of th e quarryStood erect, an d ca lled th e nations,Called the tribes of me n together-,Filled th e pipe -with bark of -willow-,With th e bark of th e re d -willow-;Breathed upon th e neighboring forest,Made its great boughs chafe together,Till in flame they burst and kindled;An d erect upon th e mountains,Gitche Manito, the mighty,Smoked the calumet, the Peace-Pipe,As a signal to the nations.An d th e smoke rose slow-ly, slow-ly,Through the tranquil air of morning,First a single line of darkness,Then a denser, bluer vapor,Then a sno-w--white cloud unfolding,Like the tree-tops of th e forest,Ever rising, rising, rising,Till it touched th e to p of heaven,Till it broke against the heaven,An d rolled out-ward all around it.From the Vale of T a-wasentha,From th e Valley of Wyoming,From the groves of Tuscaloosa,From the far-off Rocky Mountains,From th e Northern lakes and rivers,Al l th e tribes beheld th e signal,Saw- the distant smoke ascending,Th e Puk-wana of th e Peace-Pipe.Dow-n the rivers, o'er th e prairies,Came th e -warriors of the nations,Al l th e -warriors draw-n togetherBy th e signal of th e Peace-Pipe,To th e Mountains of the Prairie,To th e great Red Pipe-stone Quarry.An d they stood ther-e on th e meadow-,With their -weapons an d their -war-gear,Painted like the leaves of Autumn,Painted like the sk y of morning,Wildly glaring at each other;In their faces stern defiance,In their hearts the feuds of ages,Th e hereditary hatred,Th e ancestral thirst of vengeance.Gitche Manito, th e mighty,Th e creator of the nations,

    Spake to them -with voice majesticAs th e sound of far-off -watersFalling into deep abysses,Warning, chiding, spake in this -wise:-" 0 m y children ! M y poor children!Listen to th e -words of -wisdom,Listen to th e -words of -warning,From th e lips of th e Great Spirit,From th e Master of Life, -who made you!" I have given yo u lands to hunt in ,I have given yo u streams to fish in,I have given yo u bear an d bison,I have given yo u ro e and reindeer,I have given yo u brant and beaver,Filled the marshes fu ll of -wild-fo-wl,Filled the rivers full of fishes;W hy then ar e yo u no t contented?W hy then -will yo u hunt each other?"I am -weary of your quarrels,Weary of your -wars an d bloodshed,Wear-y of your prayers for vengeance,Of your -wranglings and dissensions;Al l your strength is in your union,Al l your danger is in discord;Therefore be at peace henceforw-ard,An d as brothers live together." I -will send a Prophet to you,A Deliverer of th e nations,Who shall guide yo u an d shall teach you,Who shall toil and suffer -with you.

    If yo u listen to his counsels "Yo u -will multiply and prosper;If his -warnings pass unheededYo u -will fade a-way and perish !"Bathe now- in th e stream before you,Wash th e -war-paint from your faces,Wash th e blood-stains from your fingers,Bury your -war-clubs an d your -weapons,Break th e re d stone from this quarry,Mould and make it into Peace-Pipes,Take th e reeds that grow- beside you,Deck them -with your brightest f eathers,Smoke th e calumet together,An d as brothers live henceforw-ard !"From the river came th e -warriors,Clean an d -washed from all their -war-paint ;On the banks their clubs they buried,Buried all their -warlike -weapons.An d in silence all th e -warriorsThen departed each one homew-ard.

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    SCENE I I'THE INFANT HIAWATHA

    Downward through the evening twilight,In th e days that ar e forgotten,In th e unremembered ages,From the full moon fell Nokomis,Fell the beautiful Nokomis,Sh e a wife bu t no t a mother.Sh e wa s sporting with her women,Swinging in th e swing of grape-vines,When her rival, th e rejected,Full of jealousy and hatred,Cu t th e leafy swing asunder,Cu t in twain the twisted grape-vines,An d Nokomis fell affrightedDownward through th e evening twilight ,On th e Muskoday, th e meadow,O n th e prairie full of blossoms."See ! a star falls ! " said th e people;" From the sk y a star is falling ! "There among th e ferns an d mosses,Th er e among th e prairie lilies,On the Muskoday, th e meadow,In th e moonlight an d th e starlight,Fair Nokomis bore a daughter.An d sh e called he r name Wenonah,As th e first-born of he r daughters.An d th e daughter of NokomisGrew up lik e th e prairie lilies,Gr ew a tall and slender maiden,With the beauty of th e moonlight,With the beaut y of th e starlight.An d Nokomis warned her often,Sayi ng oft, an d oft repeating,"Oh , beware of Mudjekeewis,Of th e West-Wind, Mudjekeewis;Listen no t to what he tells you;Li e no t down upon the meadow,Stoop no t down among th e lilies,Lest theW est-Wind come an d harm yo u ! "Bu t sh e heeded no t th e warning,H ee ded no t those words of wisdom .

    An d th e West-Wind came at evening,Walking lightly o'er the prairie,Whispering to the leaves and blossoms,Bending low the flowers and grasses,Found the beautiful Wenonah,Lying th er e among th e lilies,Wooed he r with hi s words of sweetness,Wooed her with his soft caresses,Till she bore a so n in sorrow,Bore a so n of love and sorrow.Thus wa s born my Hiawatha,Thus was born th e child of wonder ;.But th e daughter of Nokomis,Hiawatha's gentle mother,

    In he r anguish died desertedBy th e West-Wind, false an d faithless ,By th e heartles s Mudjekeewis.By the shores of Gitche Gumee,By th e shining Big-Sea-Water,Stood th e wigwam of Nokomis,Da ughter of th e Moon, Nokomis.Dark behind it rose the forest,Rose th e black and gloomy pine-trees,Rose th e firs with cones upon them;Bright before it beat the water,Beat the clear and sunny water,Beat th e shining Big-Sea-Water .There the wrink led old NokomisNursed the little Hiawatha,Rocked hi m in his linden cradle,Bedded soft in moss an d rushes,Safely bound with reindeer sinews;

    Stilled his fretful wail by saying,"Hush ! the Naked Bear will hear thee!"Lulled hi m into slumber, singing,"Ewa -ye a ! m y little owlet !Who is this, that lights the wigwam?With his great eyes lights th e wigwam?Ewa-yea ! m y little owlet! "

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