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The Pilot of the Plains Analysis

Author: Poetry of E. Pauline Johnson (Tekahionwake) Type: Poetry Views: 137

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1``False," they said, ``thy Pale-face lover, from the land of waking morn ;

2Rise and wed thy Redskin wooer, nobler warrior ne'er was born ;

3Cease thy watching, cease thy dreaming,

4Show the white thine Indian scorn."

5Thus they taunted her, declaring, ``He remembers naught of thee :

6Likely some white maid he wooeth, far beyond the inland sea."

7But she answered ever kindly,

8``He will come again to me,"

9Till the dusk of Indian summer crept athwart the western skies ;

10 But a deeper dusk was burning in her dark and dreaming eyes,

11 As she scanned the rolling prairie,

12Where the foothills fall, and rise.

13 Till the autumn came and vanished, till the season of the rains,

14 Till the western world lay fettered in midwinter's crystal chains,

15 Still she listened for his coming,

16Still she watched the distant plains.

17 Then a night with nor'land tempest, nor'land snows a-swirling fast,

18 Out upon the pathless prairie came the Pale-face through the blast,

19 Calling, calling, ``Yakonwita,

20I am coming, love, at last."

21 Hovered night above, about him, dark its wings and cold and dread ;

22 Never unto trail or tepee were his straying footsteps led ;

23 Till benumbed, he sank, and pillowed

24On the drifting snows his head,

25 Saying, ``O! my Yakonwita call me, call me, be my guide

26 To the lodge beyond the prairie--for I vowed ere winter died

27 I would come again, belovèd ;

28I would claim my Indian bride."

29 ``Yakonwita, Yakonwita! " Oh, the dreariness that strains

30 Through the voice that calling, quivers, till a whisper but remains,

31 ``Yakonwita, Yakonwita,

32I am lost upon the plains."

33 But the Silent Spirit hushed him, lulled him as he cried anew,

34 ``Save me, save me! O! beloved, I am Pale but I am true.

35 Yakonwita, Yakonwita

36I am dying, love, for you."

37 Leagues afar, across the prairie, she had risen from her bed,

38 Roused her kinsmen from their slumber : ``He has come to-night," she said.

39 ``I can hear him calling, calling ;

40But his voice is as the dead.

41 ``Listen! " and they sate all silent, while the tempest louder grew,

42 And a spirit-voice called faintly, ``I am dying, love, for you."

43 Then they wailed, ``O! Yakonwita.

44He was Pale, but he was true."

45 Wrapped she then her ermine round her, stepped without the tepee door,

46 Saying, ``I must follow, follow, though he call for evermore,

47 Yakonwita, Yakonwita ; "

48And they never saw her more.

49 Late at night, say Indian hunters, when the starlight clouds or wanes,

50 Far away they see a maiden, misty as the autumn rains,

51 Guiding with her lamp of moonlight

52Hunters lost upon the plains.


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