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Roll thyself up like a fist, to threaten and daunt me; I heed
not Either your warning or menace, or any omen of evil! There is no land so sacred, no air so pure and so whole
some, As is the air she breathes, and the soil that is pressed by her
footsteps. Here for her sake will I stay, and like an invisible presence
585 Hover around her forever, protecting, supporting her weak
ness; Yes! as my foot was the first that stepped on this rock at
the landing, So, with the blessing of God, shall it be the last at the leav
Meanwhile the Master alert, but with dignified air and
important, Scanning with watchful eye the tide and the wind and the weather,
590 Walked about on the sands, and the people crowded around
him Saying a few last words, and enforcing his careful remem
brance. Then, taking each by the hand, as if he were grasping a
tiller, Into the boat he sprang, and in haste shoved off to his
vessel, Glad in his heart to get rid of all this worry and flurry, 595 Glad to be gone from a land of sand and sickness and
sorrow, Short allowance of victual, and plenty of nothing but Gospel! Lost in the sound of the oars was the last farewell of the
O strong hearts and true! not one went back in the May
flower! No, not one looked back, who had set his hand to this ploughing!1
Soon were heard on board the shouts and songs of the
sailors Heaving the windlass round, and hoisting the ponderous
anchor. Then the yards were braced, and all sails set to the west
wind, Blowing steady and strong; and the Mayflower sailed from
the harbor, Rounded the point of the Gurnet, and leaving far to the
southward Island and cape of sand, and the Field of the First En
counter, Took the wind on her quarter, and stood for the open
Atlantic, Borne on the send of the sea, and the swelling hearts of the
Long in silence they watched the receding sail of the
vessel, Much endeared to them all, as something living and hu
man; Then, as if filled with the spirit, and wrapt in a vision pro
1 Compare Luke, ix. 62.
3 Before making their final landing the Pilgrims anchored off Cape Cod until they could find a suitable place to start the settlement. While on this search, a party of men had their first skirmish with the Indians.
Baring his hoary head, the excellent Elder of Plymouth Said, “Let us pray!” and they prayed, and thanked the
Lord and took courage." Mournfully sobbed the waves at the base of the rock, and
above them Bowed and whispered the wheat on the hill of death, and their kindred
615 Seemed to awake in their graves, and to join in the prayer
that they uttered. Sun-illumined and white, on the eastern verge of the ocean Gleamed the departing sail, like a marble slab in a grave
yard; Buried beneath it lay forever all hope of escaping. Lo! as they turned to depart, they saw the form of an Indian,
620 Watching them from the hill; but while they spake with
each other, Pointing with outstretched hands, and saying, “Look!"
he had vanished. So they returned to their homes; but Alden lingered a little, Musing alone on the shore, and watching the wash of the
billows Round the base of the rock, and the sparkle and flash of the sunshine,
625 Like the spirit of God, moving visibly over the waters.?
Thus for a while he stood, and mused by the shore of the
ocean, Thinking of many things, and most of all of Priscilla ; i Compare Acts, xxviii. 15.
• Compare Genesis, i. 2.
And as if thought had the power to draw to itself, like the
loadstone, Whatsoever it touches, by subtile laws of its nature, 630 Lo! as he turned to depart, Priscilla was standing beside him.
“Are you so much offended, you will not speak to me?"
said she. “Am I so much to blame, that yesterday, when you were
pleading Warmly the cause of another, my heart, impulsive and
wayward, Pleaded your own, and spake out, forgetful perhaps of decorum?
635 Certainly you can forgive me for speaking so frankly, for
saying What I ought not to have said, yet now I can never unsay
it; For there are moments in life, when the heart is so full of
emotion, That if by chance it be shaken, or into its depths like a pebble Drops some careless word, it overflows, and its secret, 640 Spilt on the ground like water, can never be gathered to
gether. Yesterday I was shocked, when I heard you speak of Miles
Standish, Praising his virtues, transforming his very defects into
virtues, Praising his courage and strength, and even his fighting in
Flanders, As if by fighting alone you could win the heart of a
woman, Quite overlooking yourself and the rest, in exalting your
Therefore I spake as I did, by an irresistible impulse.
You will forgive me, I hope, for the sake of the friendship
between us, Which is too true and too sacred to be so easily broken!” Thereupon answered John Alden, the scholar, the friend of
Miles Standish : “I was not angry with you, with myself alone I was
angry, Seeing how badly I managed the matter I had in my keep
ing.” “No!” interrupted the maiden, with answer prompt and
decisive; “No; you were angry with me, for speaking so frankly and
freely. It was wrong, I acknowledge; for it is the fate of a woman
655 Long to be patient and silent, to wait like a ghost that is
speechless, Till some questioning voice dissolves the spell of its silence. Hence is the inner life of so many suffering women Sunless and silent and deep, like subterranean rivers Running through caverns of darkness, unheard, unseen, and unfruitful,
660 Chafing their channels of stone, with endless and profitless
murmurs.”. Thereupon answered John Alden, the young man, the lover
of women: “Heaven forbid it, Priscilla; and truly they seem to me
always More like the beautiful rivers that watered the garden of
Eden, More like the river Euphrates, through deserts of Havilah flowing,
665 Filling the land with delight, and memories sweet of the