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II the awakening No one may say what time elapsed, or when The slumberous shadow lifted over Hugh: But some globose1 immensity of blue Enfolded him at last, within whose light He seemed to float, as some faint swimmer might, A deep beneath and overhead a deep. So one late plunged into the lethal sleep, A spirit diver fighting for his breath, Swoops through the many-fathomed glooms of death, Emerging in a daylight strange and new. Rousing a languid2 wonder, came on Hugh The quiet, steep-arched splendor of the day. Agrope for some dim memory, he lay Upon his back, and watched a lucent3 fleece Fade in the blue profundity4 of peace As did the memory he sought in vain. Then with a stirring of mysterious pain, Old habit of the body bade him rise; But when he would obey, the hollow skies Broke as a bubble punctured, and went out. Again he woke, and with a drowsy doubt, Remote unto his horizontal gaze He saw the world’s end kindle to a blaze And up the smoky steep pale heralds run. And when at length he knew it for the sun, Dawn found the darkling reaches of his mind, Where in the twilight he began to find Strewn shards5 and torsos6 of familiar things. As from the rubble in a place of kings Men school the dream to build the past anew, So out of dream and fragment builded Hugh, And came upon the reason of his plight: The bear’s attack—the shot—and then the night Wherein men talked as ghosts above a grave. Some consciousness of will the memory gave:7 He would get up. The painful effort spent Made the wide heavens billow as a tent Wind-struck, the shaken prairie sag and roll. Some moments with an effort at control He swayed, half raised upon his arms, until The dizzy cosmos righted, and was still. Then would he stand erect and be again The man he was: an overwhelming pain Smote him to earth, and one unruly limb8 Refused the weight and crumpled under him. Sickened with torture he lay huddled there, Gazing about him with a great despair Proportioned to the might that felt the chain. Far-flung as dawn, collusive9 sky and plain Stared bleak denial back. Why strive at all?— That vacancy about him like a wall, Yielding as light, a granite scarp10 to climb! Some little waiting on the creep of time, Abandonment to circumstance; and then— 126 the song of hugh glass Here flashed a sudden thought of Henry’s men Into his mind and drove the gloom away. They would be riding westward with the day! How strange he had forgot! That battered leg Or some scalp wound, had set his wits a-beg! Was this Hugh Glass to whimper like a squaw? Grimly amused, he raised his head and saw— The empty distance: listened long and heard— Naught but the twitter of a lonely bird That emphasized the hush. Was something wrong? ’Twas not the Major’s way to dally long, And surely they had camped not far behind. Now woke a query in his troubled mind— Where was his horse? Again came creeping back The circumstances of the bear’s attack. He had dismounted, thinking at the spring To spend the night—and then the grisly thing— Of course the horse had bolted; plain enough! But why was all the soil about so rough As though a herd of horses had been there? The riddle vexed him till his vacant stare Fell on a heap of earth beside a pit. What did that mean? He wormed his way to it, The newly wakened wonder dulling pain. No paw of beast had scooped it—that was plain. ’Twas squared; indeed, ’twas like a grave, he thought. A grave—a grave—the mental echo wrought Sick fancies! Who had risen from the dead? Who, lying there, had heard above his head The ghostly talkers deaf unto his shout? 127 The Awakening Now searching all the region round about, As though the answer were a lurking thing, He saw along the margin of the spring An ash-heap and the litter of a camp. Suspicion, like a little smoky lamp That daubs the murk but cannot fathom it,11 Flung blear grotesques before his groping wit. Had Rees been there? And he alive? Who then? And were he dead, it might be Henry’s men! How many...

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