Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > Americas
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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Americas: Vol. XXX.  1876–79.
 
British America: Labrador
The Spirit Guide
Augusta Larned (1835–1924)
 
FAR in the realm of Arctic night,
Where flames the weird auroral light,
And icebergs loom on every hand,
Enchanters of that lonely land,
The patient, dark-skinned Esquimaux        5
A little grave shapes in the snow.
 
And o’er the ice-plain, bleak and wild,
The mourning mother bears her child,
In furry garments softly rolled,
Who ne’er again shall feel the cold,        10
And lays him on the icy breast
To take his last and final rest.
 
And there beside the little mound
The father slays his fleetest hound,
A creature of unerring skill,        15
Of keenest scent and docile will,
To trace far haunts of seal and bear
That stock the little ice-hut there.
 
He lays the faithful beast and brave
Low down beside his baby’s grave,        20
And says: “The little one will stray,
Through night and darkness far away;
His tender feet have never trod,
And cannot find the path to God.
 
“Now guide him safe from night and cold        25
Far out to realms of purest gold,
Where flowery meads and crystal streams
Are smiling in the sun’s glad beams,
Where rise abodes of joy and mirth
And feasting fills the happy earth.”        30
 
Consoled the parents homeward wend,
And leave their baby to the friend
Who for protection and defence
Has proved a gentle Providence,
Sure that the dog so true and wise        35
Will find the gates of Paradise.
 
O love that would outrun the tomb
And light your darlings through the gloom!
O simple faith that deems love’s care
Can be a joy and solace there;        40
Ye cling to each untutored soul,
And bind the tropics to the pole!
 
 
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