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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 Encounter, 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 Pilgrims.
Long in silence they watched the receding sail of the vessel, Much endeared to them all, as something living and human; Then, as if filled with the spirit, and wrapt in a vision prophetic, 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
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 graveyard; Buried beneath it lay for ever all hope of escaping. Lo! as they turned to depart, they saw the form of an Indian, 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, 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;
And as if thought had the power to draw to itself, like the loadstone,
Whatsoever it touches, by subtile laws of its nature,
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?
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, Spilt on the ground like water, can never be gathered together. 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 hero. Therefore I spake as I did, by an irresistible impulse. You will forgive me, I hope, for the sake of the friendship between us,