Sing, O Song of Hiawatha,
Of the happy days that followed,
In the land of the Ojibways,
In the pleasant land and peaceful!
Sing the mysteries of Mondamin,
Sing the Blessing of the Cornfields!
Buried was the bloody hatchet,
Buried was the dreadful war-club,
Buried were all warlike weapons,
And the war-cry was forgotten.
There was peace among the nations;
Unmolested roved the hunters,
Built the birch canoe for sailing,
Caught the fish in lake and river,
Shot the deer and trapped the beaver;
Unmolested worked the women,
Made their sugar from the maple,
Gathered wild rice in the meadows,
Dressed the skins of deer and beaver.
All around the happy village
Stood the maize-fields, green and shining,
Waved the green plumes of Mondamin,
Waved his soft and sunny tresses,
Filling all the land with plenty.
`T was the women who in Spring-time
Planted the broad fields and fruitful,
Buried in the earth Mondamin;
`T was the women who in Autumn
Stripped the yellow husks of harvest,
Stripped the garments from Mondamin,
Even as Hiawatha taught them.
Once, when all the maize was planted,
Hiawatha, wise and thoughtful,
Spake and said to Minnehaha,
To his wife, the Laughing Water:
“You shall bless to-night the cornfields,
Draw a magic circle round them,
To protect them from destruction,
Blast of mildew, blight of insect,
Wagemin, the thief of cornfields,
Paimosaid, who steals the maize-ear
“In the night, when all Is silence,’
In the night, when all Is darkness,
When the Spirit of Sleep, Nepahwin,
Shuts the doors of all the wigwams,
So that not an ear can hear you,
So that not an eye can see you,
Rise up from your bed in silence,
Lay aside your garments wholly,
Walk around the fields you planted,
Round the borders of the cornfields,
Covered by your tresses only,
Robed with darkness as a garment.
“Thus the fields shall be more fruitful,
And the passing of your footsteps
Draw a magic circle round them,
So that neither blight nor mildew,
Neither burrowing worm nor insect,
Shall pass o’er the magic circle;
Not the dragon-fly, Kwo-ne-she,
Nor the spider, Subbekashe,
Nor the grasshopper, Pah-puk-keena;
Nor the mighty caterpillar,
Way-muk-kwana, with the bear-skin,
King of all the caterpillars!”
On the tree-tops near the cornfields
Sat the hungry crows and ravens,
Kahgahgee, the King of Ravens,
With his band of black marauders.
And they laughed at Hiawatha,
Till the tree-tops shook with laughter,
With their melancholy laughter,
At the words of Hiawatha.
“Hear him!” said they; “hear the Wise Man,
Hear the plots of Hiawatha!”
When the noiseless night descended
Broad and dark o’er field and forest,
When the mournful Wawonaissa
Sorrowing sang among the hemlocks,
And the Spirit of Sleep, Nepahwin,
Shut the doors of all the wigwams,
From her bed rose Laughing Water,
Laid aside her garments wholly,
And with darkness clothed and guarded,
Unashamed and unaffrighted,
Walked securely round the cornfields,
Drew the sacred, magic circle
Of her footprints round the cornfields.
No one but the Midnight only
Saw her beauty in the darkness,
No one but the Wawonaissa
Heard the panting of her bosom
Guskewau, the darkness, wrapped her
Closely in his sacred mantle,
So that none might see her beauty,
So that none might boast, “I saw her!”
On the morrow, as the day dawned,
Kahgahgee, the King of Ravens,
Gathered all his black marauders,
Crows and blackbirds, jays and ravens,
Clamorous on the dusky tree-tops,
And descended, fast and fearless,
On the fields of Hiawatha,
On the grave of the Mondamin.
“We will drag Mondamin,” said they,
“From the grave where he is buried,
Spite of all the magic circles
Laughing Water draws around it,
Spite of all the sacred footprints
Minnehaha stamps upon it!”
But the wary Hiawatha,
Ever thoughtful, careful, watchful,
Had o’erheard the scornful laughter
When they mocked him from the tree-tops.
“Kaw!” he said, “my friends the ravens!
Kahgahgee, my King of Ravens!
I will teach you all a lesson
That shall not be soon forgotten!”
He had risen before the daybreak,
He had spread o’er all the cornfields
Snares to catch the black marauders,
And was lying now in ambush
In the neighboring grove of pine-trees,
Waiting for the crows and blackbirds,
Waiting for the jays and ravens.
Soon they came with caw and clamor,
Rush of wings and cry of voices,
To their work of devastation,
Settling down upon the cornfields,
Delving deep with beak and talon,
For the body of Mondamin.
And with all their craft and cunning,
All their skill in wiles of warfare,
They perceived no danger near them,
Till their claws became entangled,
Till they found themselves imprisoned
In the snares of Hiawatha.
From his place of ambush came he,
Striding terrible among them,
And so awful was his aspect
That the bravest quailed with terror.
Without mercy he destroyed them
Right and left, by tens and twenties,
And their wretched, lifeless bodies
Hung aloft on poles for scarecrows
Round the consecrated cornfields,
As a signal of his vengeance,
As a warning to marauders.
Only Kahgahgee, the leader,
Kahgahgee, the King of Ravens,
He alone was spared among them
As a hostage for his people.
With his prisoner-string he bound him,
Led him captive to his wigwam,
Tied him fast with cords of elm-bark
To the ridge-pole of his wigwam.
“Kahgahgee, my raven!” said he,
“You the leader of the robbers,
You the plotter of this mischief,
The contriver of this outrage,
I will keep you, I will hold you,
As a hostage for your people,
As a pledge of good behavior!”
And he left him, grim and sulky,
Sitting in the morning sunshine
On the summit of the wigwam,
Croaking fiercely his displeasure,
Flapping his great sable pinions,
Vainly struggling for his freedom,
Vainly calling on his people!
Summer passed, and Shawondasee
Breathed his sighs o’er all the landscape,
From the South-land sent his ardor,
Wafted kisses warm and tender;
And the maize-field grew and ripened,
Till it stood in all the splendor
Of its garments green and yellow,
Of its tassels and its plumage,
And the maize-ears full and shining
Gleamed from bursting sheaths of verdure.
Then Nokomis, the old woman,
Spake, and said to Minnehaha:
`T is the Moon when, leaves are falling;
All the wild rice has been gathered,
And the maize is ripe and ready;
Let us gather in the harvest,
Let us wrestle with Mondamin,
Strip him of his plumes and tassels,
Of his garments green and yellow!”
And the merry Laughing Water
Went rejoicing from the wigwam,
With Nokomis, old and wrinkled,
And they called the women round them,
Called the young men and the maidens,
To the harvest of the cornfields,
To the husking of the maize-ear.
On the border of the forest,
Underneath the fragrant pine-trees,
Sat the old men and the warriors
Smoking in the pleasant shadow.
In uninterrupted silence
Looked they at the gamesome labor
Of the young men and the women;
Listened to their noisy talking,
To their laughter and their singing,
Heard them chattering like the magpies,
Heard them laughing like the blue-jays,
Heard them singing like the robins.
And whene’er some lucky maiden
Found a red ear in the husking,
Found a maize-ear red as blood is,
“Nushka!” cried they all together,
“Nushka! you shall have a sweetheart,
You shall have a handsome husband!”
“Ugh!” the old men all responded
From their seats beneath the pine-trees.
And whene’er a youth or maiden
Found a crooked ear in husking,
Found a maize-ear in the husking
Blighted, mildewed, or misshapen,
Then they laughed and sang together,
Crept and limped about the cornfields,
Mimicked in their gait and gestures
Some old man, bent almost double,
Singing singly or together:
“Wagemin, the thief of cornfields!
Paimosaid, who steals the maize-ear!”
Till the cornfields rang with laughter,
Till from Hiawatha’s wigwam
Kahgahgee, the King of Ravens,
Screamed and quivered in his anger,
And from all the neighboring tree-tops
Cawed and croaked the black marauders.
“Ugh!” the old men all responded,
From their seats beneath the pine-trees!

14 Comments

  1. Jun Ahn :) says:

    I think this poem is great! He made it quality work. And the vocabulary was very used well and wisely. It made the characters and the poem stand out. 🙂 Good job Henry Wadsworth Longfellow I respect your work.

  2. Jason says:

    This poem is long and thoughtful, using some olden vocabulary that is hard to understand independently, but the vocab in here make perfect sense evan though they are old words. Plus, the story itself is fun, and also has many meanings and ways to interpreting ways.

  3. Patrick Ordonez says:

    This poem was very descriptive especially in the description of the characters. The vocabulary words really made the characters stand out and was easy to make an image in my mind about it.

  4. Matthew Huang says:

    This poem was very cool and it really made sense. It showed lots of spirit!

  5. Sang Hyun Kim says:

    I thought this poem was going to be boring and hard to understand with exceptional length and hard vocabulary. However, this poem was easy to understand and relate to his feelings at his time. Nice poem!

  6. Jonathan Lee says:

    This poem was very cool and it really made sense. It showed lots of spirit!

  7. Anthony says:

    This was a nice poem thanks for the poem i really liked it 🙂

  8. Miles says:

    I think that this was a very high quality poem because it was full of very high level vocabulary. He used this vocabulary to create the best descriptions of the characters. At some points in the poem It felt like I knew the people.

  9. Jacob Herrera says:

    Henry wrote this poem very well when i first clicked on the link to come into the place where the poem was i scrolled down and saw amazingly how long this poem was. At first I said to myself there is no way i am reading this because it is so long but then i just got over how long it was and i read the poem I am very glad I got over how long it was, Because it was an amazing poem and i loved it so much. I Kind of thought the whole time I was reading it that the Corn field meant so much to the Indians because that was there food. Like we can go to the market whenever we want they had no markets back then everyone had to live on their own and when someone stole their food or something, Police would not show up on the scene because they had no police back then. So what i am trying to get across here is that the cornfield meant everything to the Indians and when someone or something tried to take it they could not stand to watch. They Had do do something and in this poem that something was done.

  10. Elisa Kim says:

    Blessing the Cornfields by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Is first of all very rather long than most poems. However, he exchanges words with feelings and emotions that we can comprehend too. In spite of the fact that the poem was well written purposely in a long format. His vocabulary is exemplary, he shows spectacularly how the the cornfields mean a lot to these Indians. He shows how willing the Indians would take lengths too, for a cornfield. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, shows that the cornfield might mean nothing to us, but to the Indians its like their world.
    The times in the story change over the length of the poem goes on and on. It changes from spring to summer. From the warmth of summer, they are ready to harvest their symbol of victory. The cornfield. In the beginning of the story, the menacing crows argue with the indians (metaphorically speaking). In the end, only man survived. They kept the crows leader as a captive.
    This story shows how a simple setting and event, can turn into a heroic battle against beasts. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow changes the simple event into a heroic, descriptive, fight against nature event. From simply adding details, great metaphors, and descriptive language. For us to feel in touch to our inner warrior. Longfellow helps you find your inner warrior in this splendid poem.

  11. Alexis {fisler} says:

    Henry is a terrific writer. I can see the the poem come to life when I read it. It was very fascinating I never thought that a poem can come to life like that. Even though it was quiet long it was a interesting poem. I loved reading that I would like to read it over and over again. I can hear the screaming. After you read 2/3 of it you are in to it. It catches you and it makes you read it is a marvelous poem I would keep this poem and read it forever this is a spectacular poem by Henry Longfellow

  12. Hannah_Shim says:

    I think that the poem has good tone and texture to the writer. I think that the poemd describes the setting. I really like the poem.

  13. Tillie Greco says:

    The poem “Blessing The Cornfields” was a really good poem. When I first saw the poem I didn’t think that I would like it. When I started it I really enjoyed it. I thought that the poet used the right words, and tone to tell this poem. I think that the poet got across what he wanted to get across. I think that the poet used the right form of poem too. I think the poem was really good.

  14. Laura says:

    I liked this poem best. It was a very happy poem and I like the title that went with it!

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