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Plodded the German farmer, with flowers and fruits for the
market, Met he that meek, pale face, returning home from its watchings.
Then it came to pass that a pestilence fell on the city, Presaged by wondrous signs, and mostly by flocks of wild
pigeons, 5 Darkening the sun in their flight, with naught in their craws
but an acorn. And, as the tides of the sea arise in the month of September, Flooding some silver stream, till it spreads to a lake in the
meadow, So death flooded life, and, o'erflowing its natural margin,
Spread to a brackish lake the silver stream of existence. 10 Wealth had no power to bribe, nor beauty to charm, the
oppressor; But all perished alike beneath the scourge of his anger ;Only, alas! the poor, who had neither friends nor attendants, Crept away to die in the almshouse, home of the homeless. Then in the suburbs it stood, in the midst of meadows and wood
lands; 15 Now the city surrounds it; but still, with its gateway and
wicket Meek, in the midst of splendor, its humble walls seem to echo Softly the words of the Lord :-“The poor ye always have with
you." Thither, by night and by day, came the Sister of Mercy. The
dying Looked up into her face, and thought, indeed, to behold there 20 Gleams of celestial light encircle her forehead with splendor,
Such as the artist paints o'er the brows of saints and apostles, Or such as hangs by night o'er a city seen at a distance. Unto their eyes it seemed the lamps of the city celestial, Into whose shining gates erelong their spirits would enter.
Thus, on a Sabbath morn, through the streets, deserted and
silent, Wending her quiet way, she entered the door of the almshouse.
Sweet on the summer air was the odor of flowers in the garden, And she paused on her way to gather the fairest among them, That the dying once more might rejoice in their fragrance and
beauty. Then, as she mounted the stairs to the corridors, cooled by the
east-wind, 5 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;
Something within her said, “At length thy trials are ended;" 10 And, with light in her looks, she entered the chambers of sick
Noiselessly 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, Where on their pallets they lay, like drifts of snow by the road
side. 15 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,
Laying his hand upon many a heart, had healed it forever. 20 Many familiar forms had disappeared in the night time;
Vacant their places were, or filled already by strangers.
Suddenly, as if arrested by fear or a feeling of wonder, Still she stood, with her colorless lips apart, while a shudder Ran through her frame, and, forgotten, the flowerets dropped
from her fingers, 25 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. 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; 5 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,
tals, That the Angel of Death might see the sign, and pass over.
Motionless, senseless, dying, he lay, and his spirit exhausted 10 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 reverbera
tions, Heard he that cry of pain, and through the hush that succeeded
Whispered a gentle voice, in accents tender and saintlike, 15 “Gabriel ! O my beloved !" and died away into silence. Then he beheld, in a dream, once more the home of his child
hood : Green Acadian meadows, with sylvan 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. 20 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, 25 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, 30 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. 5 Under the humble walls of the little Catholic churchyard,
In the heart of the city, they lie, unknown and unnoticed. 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, 10 Thousands of toiling hands, where theirs have ceased from their
labors, Thousands of weary feet, where theirs have completed their jour
Still stands the forest primeval; but under the shade of its
branches Dwells another race, with other customs and language.
Only along the shore of the mournful and misty Atlantic 15 Linger a few Acadian peasants, whose fathers from exile
Wandered back to their native land to die in its bosom.
spun, And by the evening fire repeat Evangeline’s story, 20 While from its rocky caverns the deep-voiced, neighboring
Speaks, and in accents disconsolate answers the wail of the forest.
HELPS TO STUDY Historical: The early history of Nova Scotia records the conflict for supremacy between the French and the English. By the French the country was called 'Acadie. 'The Acadians were essentially French in 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 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 coun. try, scattering them throughout the colonies in such a way as to prevent their concerted action in attempting to return to their homes. Accordingly they were driven on board the English transports an three thousand of them sent out of the country. In the confusion incident to their removal, families and friends were separated, in many cases never to meet again. The story of Evangeline is a recital of such separation.
Notes and Questions Into what parts is the poem di Describe in your own words the vided
embarkation, and the death of With what does Part First deal Evangeline's father. Part Second
Note the devotion of Evangeline What purpose do the introductory as shown in her wanderings in lines to Part First serve ?
search of Gabriel in the United Which lines give you the best pic States: The visit of Evangeline ture of Acadie ?
to the Acadian settlement in Which lines best describe the Louisiana, the southern home of Acadians?
Basil; Evangeline and Basil folExplain: “There the richest was low Gabriel to the West; Evan
poor, and the poorest lived in geline as a Sister of Mercy in abundance.
Philadelphia; Gabriel found dyWhat characteristics had Evan. ing; The concluding stanza of
geline? Find lines that tell you. What picture does the poem give Which of the above descriptions
you of the home of Evangeline ? impressed you most ? Which is Who was Gabriel?
most pathetic? Which do you Describe the visit of Basil and like best? Gabriel.
Trace the journeyings of EvanWhat were the characteristics of geline on your map. Father Leblanc?
Find the lines that describe the Which lines in Longfellow's de burning of Grand-Pré. What
scription of the contract and the can you say about this descripevening scene at the farmer's tion? are the most beautiful?
In this poem there are many beauDescribe the betrothal feast in tiful descriptions. What kinds your own words.
of scenery are described ? What What message did the voice of the kinds of people are described ?
thunder convey to Evangeline ?