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Say that a blunt old Captain, a man not of words but of actions,
Offers his hand and his heart, the hand and heart of a soldier.
Not in these words, you know, but this in short is my meaning;
I am a maker of war, and not a maker of phrases.
You, who are bred as a scholar, can say it in elegant language,
Such as you read in your books of the pleadings and wooings of lovers,
Such as you think best adapted to win the heart of a maiden.”
When he had spoken, John Alden, the fair-haired, taciturn stripling,
All aghast at his words, surprised, embarrassed, bewildered,
Trying to mask his dismay by treating the subject with lightness,
Just as a time-piece stops in a house that is stricken by lightning,
Thus made answer and spake, or rather stammered than answered:
“Such a message as that, I am sure I should mangle and mar it ; If you would have it well done,- I am only repeating your maxim,You must do it yourself, you must not leave it to others !"
But with the air of a man whom nothing can turn from his purpose,
Gravely shaking his head, made answer the Captain of Plymouth:
“Truly the maxim is good, and I do not mean to gainsay it;
I'm not afraid of bullets, nor shot from the mouth of a cannon,
But of a thundering ‘No! point-blank from the mouth of a woman,
That I confess I'm afraid of, nor am I ashamed to confess it!
So you must grant my request, for you are an elegant scholar,
" Taking the hand of his friend, who still was reluctant and doubtful,
Holding it long in his own, and pressing it kindly, he added:
“Though I have spoken thus lightly, yet deep is the feeling that prompts me;