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Then uplifting his head, he looked at the sea, and beheld there
Dimly the shadowy form of the Mayflower riding at anchor,
Rocked on the rising tide, and ready to sail on the morrow;
Heard the voices of men through the mist, the rattle of cordage
Clear and distinct, but not loud, in the dripping air of the twilight.
Still for a moment he stood, and listened, and stared at the vessel,
“Yes, it is plain to me now,” he murinured; “the hand of the Lord is
Leading me out of the land of darkness, the bondage of error,
Through the sea, that shall lift the walls of its waters around me,
Hiding me, cutting me off, from the cruel thoughts that pursue me.
Back will I go o'er the ocean, this dreary land will abandon,
Her whom I may not love, and him whom my heart has offended.
Sacred and safe and unseen, in the dark of the narrow chamber
With me my secret shall lie, like a buried jewel that glimmers
Bright on the hand that is dust, in the chambers of silence and darkness,
Yes, as the marriage ring of the great espousal hereafter !"
Thus as he spake, he turned, in the strength of his strong resolution, Leaving behind him the shore, and hurried along in the twilight,
Through the congenial gloom of the forest silent and somber,
Sitting alone, and absorbed in the martial pages of Cæsar,
Fighting some great campaign in Hainaut or Brabant or Flanders. “Long have you been on your errand,” he said with a cheery demeanor,
Even as one who is waiting an answer, and fears not the issue.
Then John Alden spake, and related the wondrous adventure,
From beginning to end, minutely, just as it happened;
How he had seen Priscilla, and how he had sped in his courtship,
Only smoothing a little, and softening down her refusal.
Clanged on the wall, where it hung, with a sound of sinister omen.
Even as a hand-grenade, that scatters destruction around it.
Wildly he shouted, and loud: “John Alden! you have betrayed me!
Me, Miles Standish, your friend! have supplanted, defrauded, betrayed me!
You, who lived under my roof, whom I cherished and loved as a brother;
You, who have fed at my board, and drunk at my cup, to whose keeping
I have intrusted my honor, my thoughts the most sacred and secret,
You, too, Brutus! ah, woe to the name of friendship hereafter!
Brutus was Cæsar's friend, and you were mine, but henceforward
Let there be nothing between us save war, and implacable hatred!"