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Bush together at last, at their trysting-place in
the forest; So these lives that had run thus far in separate
channels, Coming in sight of each other, then swerving
and flowing asunder, Parted by barriers strong, but drawing nearer
and nearer, Rushed together at last, and one was lost in the
Forth from the curtain of clouds, from the
tent of purple and scarlet, Issued the sun, the great High-Priest, in his
garments resplendent, Holiness unto the Lord, in letters of light, on
his forehead, Round the hem of his robe the golden bells and
pomegranates. Blessing the world he came, and the bars of
vapor beneath him Gleamed like a grate of brass, and the sea at
his feet was a laver!
This was the wedding morn of Priscilla the Puritan maiden.
Friends were assembled together; the Elder and Magistrate also
Graced the scene with their presence, and stood like the Law and the Gospel,
One with the sanction of earth and one with the blessing of heaven.
Simple and brief was the wedding, as that of Ruth and of Boaz.
Softly the youth and the maiden repeated the words of betrothal,
Taking each other for husband and wife in the Magistrate's presence,
After the Puritan way, and the laudable custom of Holland,
Fervently then, and devoutly, the excellent Elder of Plymouth
Prayed for the hearth and the home, that were founded that day in affection,
Speaking of life and of death, and imploring divine benedictions.
Lo! when the service was ended, a form appeared on the threshold,
Clad in armor of steel, a sombre and sorrowful figure!
Why does the bridegroom start and stare at the strange apparition?
Why does the bride turn pale, and hide her face on his shoulder?
Is it a phantom of air, — a bodiless, spectral illusion?
Is it a ghost from the grave, that has come to forbid the betrothal?
Long had it stood there unseen, a guest uninvited, unwelcomed;
Over its clouded eyes there had passed at times an expression
Softening the gloom and revealing the warm heart hidden beneath them,
As when across the sky the driving rack of the
rain-cloud Grows for a moment thin, and betrays the sun
by its brightness. Once it had lifted its hand, and moved its lips,
but was silent, As if an iron will had mastered the fleeting
intention. But when were ended the troth and the prayer
and the last benediction, Into the room it strode, and the people beheld
with amazement Bodily there in his armor Miles Standish, the
Captain of Plymouth!' Grasping the bridegroom's hand, he said with
emotion, "Forgive me! I have been angry and hurt, -—too long have I
cherished the feeling;
I have been cruel and hard, but now, thank
God! it is ended.