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Keep ourselves loyal to truth, and the sacred professions of friendship.
It is no secret I tell you, nor am I ashamed to declare it:
I have liked to be with you, to see you, to speak with you always.

So I was hurt at your words, and a little affronted to hear you

Urge me to marry your friend, though he were the Captain Miles Standish.
For I must tell you the truth: much more to me is your friendship
Than all the love he could give, were he twice the hero you think him.”
Then she extended her hand, and Alden, who eagerly grasped it,
Felt all the wounds in his heart, that were aching and bleeding so sorely,
Healed by the touch of that hand, and he said, with a voice full of feeling:

“Yes, we must ever be friends; and of all who offer you friendship

Let me be ever the first, the truest, the nearest and dearest!"

Casting a farewell look at the glimmering sail of the Mayflower,

Distant, but still in sight, and sinking below the horizon,

Homeward together they walked, with a strange, indefinite feeling,

That all the rest had departed and left them alone in the desert.

But, as they went through the fields in the blessing and smile of the sunshine,

Lighter grew their hearts, and Priscilla said very archly:

“Now that our terrible Captain has gone in pursuit of the Indians,

Where he is happier far than he would be commanding a household,
You may speak boldly, and tell me of all that happened between you,

When you returned last night, and said how ungrateful you found me.”

Thereupon answered John Alden, and told her the whole of the story,–

Told her his own despair, and the direful wrath of Miles Standish. Whereat the maiden smiled, and said between laughing and earnest, “He is a little chimney, and heated hot in a moment !" But as he gently rebuked her, and told her how much he had suffered,

How he had even determined to sail that day in the Mayflower,

And had remained for her sake, on hearing the dangers that threatened,

All her manner was changed, and she said with a faltering accent,

"Truly I thank you for this: how good you have been to me always !"

Thus, as a pilgrim devout, who toward Jerusalem journeys,

Taking three steps in advance, and one reluctantly backward,
Urged by importunate zeal, and withheld by pangs of contrition ;
Slowly but steadily onward, receding yet ever advancing,

Journeyed this Puritan youth to the Holy Land of his longings,

Urged by the fervor of love, and withheld by remorseful misgivings.

THE MARCH OF MILES STANDISH

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