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Stern as a soldier might be, but hearty, and
placable always, Not to be laughed at and scorned, because he
was little of stature ; For he was great of heart, magnanimous, court
ly, courageous; Any woman in Plymouth, nay, any woman
in England, Might be happy and proud to be called the
wife of Miles Standish!
But as he warmed and glowed, in his simple
and eloquent language, Quite forgetful of self, and full of the praise of
his rival, Archly the maiden smiled, and, with eyes over
running with laughter, Said, in a tremulous voice, “Why don't you
speak for yourself, John ?”
INTO the open air John Alden, perplexed and
Rushed like a man insane, and wandered alone
by the sea-side ; Paced up and down the sands, and bared his
head to the east-wind,
Cooling his heated brow, and the fire and
fever within him.
Slowly as out of the heavens, with apocalypti
cal splendors, Sank the City of God, in the vision of John
So, with its cloudy walls of chrysolite, jasper,
Sank the broad red sun, and over its turrets
uplifted Glimmered the golden reed of the angel who
measured the city.
“ Welcome, O wind of the East!” he ex
claimed in his wild exultation,
“ Welcome, 0 wind of the East, from the caves
of the misty Atlantic !
Blowing o'er fields of dulse, and measureless
meadows of sea-grass,
Blowing o’er rocky wastes, and the grottos and
gardens of ocean! Lay thy cold, moist hand on my burning fore
head, and wrap me Close in thy garments of mist, to allay the
fever within me!”
Like an awakened conscience, the sea was
moaning and tossing, Beating remorseful and loud the mutable sands
of the sea-shore.
Fierce in his soul was the struggle and tumult
of passions contending; Love triumphant and crowned, and friendship
wounded and bleeding, Passionate cries of desire, and importunate
pleadings of duty ! “ Is it my fault,” he said, “ that the maiden
has chosen between us ?
Is it my fault that he failed, - my fault that I
am the victor?"
Then within him there thundered a voice, like
the voice of the Prophet: " It hath displeased the Lord!" -- and he
thought of David's transgression, Bathsheba's beautiful face, and his friend in
the front of the battle!
Shame and confusion of guilt, and abasement
Overwhelmed him at once; and he cried in the
deepest contrition: “ It hath displeased the Lord! It is the temp
tation of Satan!
Then, uplifting his head, he looked at the
sea, and beheld there
Dimly the shadowy form of the May Flower
riding at anchor, Rocked on the rising tide, and ready to sail on
Heard the voices of men through the mist, the
rattle of cordage
Thrown on the deck, the shouts of the mate,
and the sailors' “ Ay, ay, Sir!" Clear and distinct, but not loud, in the dripping
air of the twilight. Still for a moment he stood, and listened, and
stared at the vessel,