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Dim grow its fancies,
They darken and die.
Song sinks into silence,
The windows are darkened,
Darker and darker
The black shadows fall; Sleep and oblivion
Reign over 'all.
THIS is- the forést primdval. The murmuring pines and the hemlocks,
Bearded with moss, and in garments green, indistinct in the twilight,
Stand like Druids of eld, with voices sad and prophetic ,
Stand like harpers hoar, with beards that 'rest on their bosoms.
Loud from its rocky caverns, the deep-voiced neighbouring ocean
Speaks, and in accents disconsolate answers the wail of the forest.
This is the forest primeval; but where are the hearts that beneath it Leaped like the roe, when he hears in the'woodland the voice of the huntsman? Vl'here is the thatch-roofed village, the home of Acadian farmers, - I Men whose lives glided on like rivers that water the woodlands, Darkened by shadows of earth, but reflecting an image of heaven? Waste are those pleasant farms, and the farmers forever departed!
Scattered like dust and leaves, when the mighty blasts of
Seize them, and whirl them aloft, and sprinkle them far o’er the ocean. ‘
Naught but tradition remains of the beautiful village of Grand-Pré.
Ye who believe in affection that hopes, and endures, and is patient, Ye who believe in the beauty and strength of woman’s devotion, List to the mournful tradition still sung by the pines of the forest; List to a Tale of Love in Acadie , home of ,the happy.
PART THE FIRST.
IN the Acadian land , on the shores of the Basin of Minas,
Giving the village its name, and pasture to flocks without number.
Dikes, that the hands of the farmers had raised with labor incessant,
Shut out the turbulent tides; but at stated seasons the floodgates
Opened, and welcomed the sea to wander at will o’er the meadows.
West and south there were fields of flax, and orchards and cornfields
Spreading afar and unfenced o’er the plain, and away to the northward
Blomidon rose, and the forests old , and aloft on the mountains
Sea-fogs pitched their tents , and mists from the mightyAtlantie
Looked on the happy valley, but ne’er from their station descended.
There, in the midst of its farms, reposed the Acadian village.
Strongly built were the houses, with frames of oak and of
Such as the peasants of Normandy built in the reign of ‘the Henries.
Thatched were the roofs, with dormer-windows; and gables projecting
Over the basement below protected and shaded the door-way.
There in the tranquil evenings of summer, when brightly the sunset
Lighted the village street, and gilded the vanes on the chimneys,
Matrons and maidens sat in snow-white caps and in kirtles
Scarlet and blue and green, with distatIs spinning the golden
Flax for the gossiping looms , whose noisy shuttles within doors
Mingled their sound with the whir of the wheels and the songs of the maidens.
Solemnly down the street came the parish priest, and the children
Paused in their play to kiss the hand be extended to bless them.
Reverend walked he among them; and up rose matrons and maidens,
Hailing his slow approach with words of affectionate welcome.
Then came the laborers home from the field, and serenely the sun sank
Down to his rest, and twilight prevailed. Anon from the belfry
Softly the Angelus sounded, and over the roofs of the village
Columns of pale blue smoke, like clouds of incense ascending,
Rose from a hundred hearths, the homes of peace and contentment.
Thus dwelt together in love these simple Acadian farmers, —
Dwelt in the love of God and of man. Alike were they free from
Fear, that reigns with the tyrant, and envy, the vice of
Neither looks bad they to their doors, nor-bars to their windows;
But their dwellings were open as day and the‘hearts of the owuers; ,
There the richest was poor, and the poorest lived in abundance.
Somewhat apart from the village, and nearer the Basin of Minas, Benedict Bellefontaine, the wealthiest farmer of Grand-Pré, Dwelt on his goodly acres; and with him, directing his household,