Read at the Celebration of the Old Settlers of Hennepin County, at the Academy of Music, Minneapolis, July 4, 1879.
On the Spirit-Island [CH] sitting under midnight's misty moon,
Lo I see the spirits flitting o'er the waters one by one!
Slumber wraps the silent city, and the droning mills are dumb;
One lone whippowil's shrill ditty calls her mate that ne'er will come.
Sadly moans the mighty river, foaming down the fettered falls,
Where of old he thundered ever o'er abrupt and lofty walls.
Great Unktéhee god of waters lifts no more his mighty head;
Fled he with the timid otters? lies he in the cavern dead?
Hark! the waters hush their sighing and the whippowil her call,
Through the moon-lit mists are flying dusky shadows silent all.
Lo from out the waters foaming from the cavern deep and dread
Through the glamour and the gloaming comes a spirit of the dead.
Sad she seems; her tresses raven on her tawny shoulders rest;
Sorrow on her brow is graven, in her arms a babe is pressed.
Hark! she chants the solemn story sings the legend sad and old,
And the river wrapt in glory listens while the tale is told.
Would you hear the legend olden hearken while I tell the tale
Shorn, alas, of many a golden, weird Dakota chant and wail.