Robert S. Patterson
Where the wild-vines creeping,
Throw a pleasant shade,
Lovely, lone and weeping,
There stood an Indian maid.
Loudly, sweetly, clearly,
The piping blue-birds sang—
And through the forests cheerily,
The voice of insects rang!
She stood there gazing sadly
With eyes of midnight hue—
From which the tears gushed madly,
Like diamond drops of dew;
While the quivering leaves, in pity
Were whispering above—
And soothing called her “Omemee!”
“Sweet Omemee!” the dove!
That Indian maid is praying,
In the forest depths alone:
For her lover’s spirit straying—
To “Ponemah’s* realm” has flown—
And now she seeks to follow him,
Where the “Baim-wa-wa”† sounds
To braid his moccasins and belt
In the happy hunting grounds.
Her mellow tones rose mildly,
Up through the wafting air;
And the busy echo, wildly,
Reverates her prayer
Till rolling o’er the prairies
To the waters of the west
‘Tis heard by “Gitche Manitou”?
In the wigwams of the blest.
Gently smiled the Great One
As he heard Omemee pray,
And pouring forth a cloud storm,
Upon the blushing day,
It wrapped the trees in dusky folds—
The teeming earth it kissed—
Then, upward to the sky it rolled,
Like a noiseless car of mist!
Again through branches peeping,
The sun shines round and fair—
The wild-vines still are creeping—
But no Indian maid is there!
For a fountain now is springing
Where the sweet Omemee stood—
In silvery showers flinging
Its freshness through the wood!
From that pure spring, flowing;
A streamlet takes its rise—
Still broad and deeper growing,
As swift it onward hies;
Fast gurgling o’er the pebbles—
Smooth, running o’er the sand,
And coying with the rushes,
Which bend on either hand!
Now through meadows gliding—
Now tumbling down the hill—
It sweeps through Omemee village,
And turns the clattering mill,
Through rice swamp, and through forest,
It wandering winds along;
Till its stream is lost for ever
In the bosom of “Chemong.”
But the trees its flood o’erhanging
Still breathes Omemee’s name,
And the birds through branches flying
Softly sing the same,
And the “Mud-wa-aushka”* sighing
Tells how she died of love;
And men still call Omemee’s stream
“The river of the Dove.”
* The Land of the Thereafter.
† Pass’ng Thunder
? The Great Spirit.
* The noise of the waves on the shore.
[The above poetry was taken from a book of poems entitled “Selections from Canadian Poets,” kindly loaned to us by Mrs. G. Norris, who received it as a gift from the Rev. E. H. Dewart, of Toronto, 1866.
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