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mode of constructing the weapon never practised by the Indians, not even with their arrows of thin shell. Parts of the shaft still remain on some of them. When first discovered, the arrows were in a sort of quiver of bark, which fell to pieces when exposed to the air.”

The more generally received opinion amongst archæologists makes the skeleton to be that of an Indian.

The following is the form in which the poem was printed in the Knickerbocker.


The Poet questions the Skeleton in Armor at Fall River, and

asks why his imagination

should be haunted by so fearful an apparition.

“ Speak I speak! thou fearful guest !

Who, with thy hollow breast
Still in rude armor drest,

Comest to daunt me!
Wrapt not in Eastern balms,
But with thy fleshless palms
Stretched, as if asking alms,

Why dost thou haunt me?"

A spectral light gleams in the hollow eyes of the Skeleton, and & low, mournful voice issues from his chest.

Then from those cavernous eyes
Pale flashes seemed to rise,
As when the Northern skies

Gleam in December;
And, like the water's flow
Under December's snow,
Came a dull voice of woe

From the heart's chamber,

The Skeleton speaks; he had been a Northern Viking, or Pirate; but no song of the bard nor popular tradition had preserved his heroic deeds from oblivion.

“ I was a Viking old !

My deeds, though manifold,
No Skald in song has told,

No Saga taught thee!
Take heed, that in thy verse
Thou dost the tale rehearse,
Else dread a dead man's curse;

For this I sought thee.

Relates the courage and adventures of his childhood.

“ Far in the Northern Land,

By the wild Baltic's strand,
I, with my childish hand,

Tamed the gerfalcon;
And, with my skates fast-bound,
Skimmed the half-frozen Sound,
That the poor whimpering hound

Trembled to walk on.

" Oft to his frozen lair

Tracked I the grisly bear,
While from my path the hare

Fled like a shadow;
Oft through the forest dark
Followed the were-wolf's bark,
Until the soaring lark

Sang from the meadow.

6 But when I older grew,

Joining a Corsair's crew,
O'er the dark sea I flew

With the marauders.
Wild was the life we led;
Many the souls that sped,
Many the hearts that bled,

By our stern orders.

Many a wassail-bout

Wore the long Winter out;
Often our midnight shout

Set the cocks crowing,
As we the Berserk's tale
Measured in cups of ale,
Draining the oaken pail,

Filled to o'erflowing.

“ Once as I told in glee

Tales of the stormy sea,
Soft eyes



perilous achievements of his youth.

Becomes a pirate, and leads a wild life at sea.

Likewise a wild life on shore in winter, carousing at night, and hearing the tales of some fierce Berserk, a descendant of Arngrim, who fought his

foes with a naked breast, as the name Berserk, Bare-shirt, sufficiently de. notes.

gaze on me,
Burning yet tender;
And as the white stars shine
On the dark Norway pine,
On that dark heart of mine

Fell their soft splendor.

As he tells a story of the sea, the eyes of a maiden gaze at him, and he becomes enamored.

“I wooed the blue-eyed maid,

Yielding, yet half afraid,
And in the forest's shade

Our vows were plighted.
Under its loosened vest
Fluttered her little breast,
Like birds within their nest

By the hawk frighted.

He wins the maiden's heart in the forest.

“ Bright in her father's hall

Shields gleamed upon the wall,
Loud sang the minstrels all,

Chanting his glory ;
When of old Hildebrand
I asked his daughter's hand,

A beer-carouse in the halls of her father Hildebrand. He asks her hand, and the minstrels are mute at his audacity,

[blocks in formation]
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His soul ascends to the


of Odin ; and with the souls of warriors, drinks a skoal or health to the Northland. The Saga ends.

" Thus, seamed with many scars

Bursting these prison bars,
Up to its native stars

My soul ascended !
There from the flowing bowl
Deep drinks the warrior's soul,
Skoal ! to the Northland ! skoal!"

- Thus the tale ended. Page 60. Skoal !

In Scandinavia, this is the customary salutation when drinking a health. I have slightly changed the orthography of the word, in order to preserve the correct pronunciation (skaal].

Page 79. Excelsior.

[The history of the development of this poem is suggested by the erasures and alterations which an examination of the original manuscript discloses. The first stanza with its erasures is as follows :

The shades of night were falling fast

When through an Alpine village pass'd

through snow and ice
bore above all price

A youth who as the peasant stig

A banner with the strange device

Responded in atr-unknown tongue,


The poet's first attempt was at a contrasted image of the peasant's humble life with its contentment, and the aspiring youth unintelligible to the peasant in the valley. It was too soon to introduce this contrast ; he resolved to show the youth only, not speaking, but silently displaying his symbol, precious however to himself. Then the preciousness appeared commonplace or necessarily involved in the very action of the youth, and the poet returned to the idea of a contrast, but this time a contrast of cold, indifferent nature and passionate, spiritual man. What an immense advance in fulness of expression! It is curious, however, that in the second draft, on another paper, also preserved, the poet returned to this idea and tried again,

A youth who bore a pearl of price, possibly seeking to connect the image with the Biblical one in order to suggest the interpretation of his parable by linking it with an accepted image of spiritual contempt of the world. There is a slight verbal correction also in ʼmid for through, as if the physical difficulty of through ice annoyed him. The second stanza in the first draft reads :

his eye beneath His brow was sad ; but underneath

Flash'd like a faulchion from its sheath

His steel blue eye

rung And like a silver clarion sung, The accents of that Hie sweet voice in an unknown tongue,


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