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Hanging in shining array along the walls of the chamber,
Cutlass and corselet of steel, and his trusty sword of Damascus,
Curved at the point and inscribed with its mystical Arabic sentence,
Short of stature he was, but strongly built and athletic,
Broad in the shoulders, deep-chested, with muscles and sinews of iron;
Brown as a nut was his face, but his russet beard was already
Whom Saint Gregory saw, and exclaimed, “Not Angles, but Angels."
Youngest of all was he of the men who came in the Mayflower.
Suddenly breaking the silence, the diligent scribe interrupting,
Spake, in the pride of his heart, Miles Standish, the Captain of Plymouth. “Look at these arms,” he said, “the warlike weapons that hang here Burnished and bright and clean, as if for parade or inspection!
This is the sword of Damascus I fought with in Flanders; this breastplate,
Fired point-blank at my heart by a Spanish arcabucero.
Would at this moment be mold, in their grave in the Flemish morasses."
Thereupon answered John Alden, but looked not up from his writing: “Truly the breath of the Lord hath slackened the speed of the bullet;
He in his mercy preserved you, to be our shield and our weapon!”
Still the Captain continued, unheeding the words of the stripling:
“See, how bright they are burnished, as if in an arsenal hanging;
That is because I have done it myself, and not left it to others.
Serve yourself, would you be well served, is an excellent adage;
Eighteen shillings a month, together with diet and pillage,
And, like Cæsar, I know the name of each of my soldiers !"
Dance on the waves of the sea, and vanish again in a moment.
Alden laughed as he wrote, and still the Captain continued :
“Look! you can see from this window my brazen howitzer planted High on the roof of the church, a preacher who speaks to the purpose,
Steady, straightforward, and strong, with irresistible logic,
Orthodox, flashing conviction right into the hearts of the heathen.
Now we are ready, I think, for any assault of the Indians;
Let them come, if they like, and the sooner they try it the better,-
Long at the window he stood, and wistfully gazed on the landscape, Washed with a cold gray mist, the vapory breath of the east wind,
Forest and meadow and hill, and the steel-blue rim of the ocean,
Over his countenance fitted a shadow like those on the landscape,
Gloom intermingled with light; and his voice was subdued with emotion,
Tenderness, pity, regret, as after a pause he proceeded:
“Yonder there, on the hill by the sea, lies buried Rose Standish;