The Song Hiawatha




A Link to the entire poem: http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/toc/modeng/public/LonHiaw.html

Did You Know?
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's "The Song of Hiawatha" was published in 1855. The name Hiawatha is Iroquois, but most of the stories he drew on for his work were from the Chippewa.

‚Äč The Mythological Theory of Hiawatha
In "The Song of Hiawatha" Longfellow tells about the mythic hero, Hiawatha. Longfellow attempted to tell the story of a legendary chief of the Onodaga people. The tale begins with the great spirit recounting of Hiawatha's birth and how Hiawatha's mother, Nokomis, fell from the sky. Hiawatha sets out on a journey, an important element of a myth, to seek out his father. There are conflicts and obstacles. He must also deal with the elements of the cosmogonic myths of the tribes. He was called to be the peacekeeper amongst the tribes as well as with the European settlers. When he sets out and leaves his tribe, he canoes away from his people for the last time. Along the way he finds his love, Minnehaha. He takes Minnehaha as his bride. There are spirits and Gods woven throughout the tale. There is famine and the death of Minnehaha. In the end, "Hiawatha's Departure" Longfellow speaks of the coming of white man, Christianity, and the departure or death of Hiawatha.
"It is well," they said, "O brother,
That you come so far to see us!"
Then the Black-Robe chief, the Prophet,
Told his message to the people,
Told the purport of his mission,
Told them of the Virgin Mary,
And her blessed Son, the Saviour,
How in distant lands and ages
He had lived on earth as we do;
How he fasted, prayed, and labored;
How the Jews, the tribe accursed,
Mocked him, scourged him, crucified him;
How he rose from where they laid him,
Walked again with his disciples,
And ascended into heaven.