Poems and Songs

The Ballad of Tanna

Henry Kendall

SHE KNELT by the dead, in her passionate grief,
    Beneath a weird forest of Tanna;
She kissed the stern brow of her father and chief,
    And cursed the dark race of Alkanna.
With faces as wild as the clouds in the rain,
The sons of Kerrara came down to the plain,
And spoke to the mourner and buried the slain.
                Oh, the glory that died with Deloya!

“Wahina,” they whispered, “Alkanna lies low,
    And the ghost of thy sire hath been gladdened,
For the men of his people have fought with the foe
    Till the rivers of Warra are reddened!”
She lifted her eyes to the glimmering hill,
Then spoke, with a voice like a musical rill,
“The time is too short; can I sojourn here still?”
                Oh, the Youth that was sad for Deloya!

“Wahina, why linger,” Annatanam said,
    “When the tent of a chieftain is lonely?
There are others who grieve for the light that has fled,
    And one who waits here for you only!”
“Go—leave me!” she cried. “I would fain be alone;
I must stay where the trees and the wild waters moan;
For my heart is as cold as a wave-beaten stone.”
                Oh, the Beauty that was broke for Deloya!

“Wahina, why weep o’er a handful of dust,
    When the souls of the brave are approaching?
Oh, look to the fires that are lit for the just,
    And the mighty who sleep in Arrochin!”
But she turned from the glare of the flame-smitten sea,
And a cry, like a whirlwind, came over the lea—
“Away to the mountains and leave her with me!”
                Oh, the heart that was broke for Deloya!

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