Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

Fixed with a look so sad, so reproachful, im

ploring, and patient, That with a sudden revulsion his heart recoiled

from its purpose, As from the verge of a crag, where one step

more is destruction. Strange is the heart of man, with its quick,

mysterious instincts ! Strange is the life of man, and fatal or fated

are moments, Whereupon turn, as on hinges, the gates of the

wall adamantine ! "Here I remain !” he exclaimed, as he looked

at the heavens above him, Thanking the Lord whose breath had scattered

the mist and the madness, Wherein, blind and lost, to death he was stag

gering headlong. “Yonder snow-white cloud, that floats in the

ether above me,

Seems like a hand that is pointing and beckon

ing over the ocean. There is another hand, that is not so spectral

and ghost-like, Holding me, drawing me back, and clasping

mine for protection. Float, О hand of cloud, and vanish away in the

ether! Roll thyself up like a fist, to threaten and

daunt me; I heed not Either your warning or menace, or any omen

of evil ! There is no land so sacred, no air so pure and

so wholesome, As is the air she breathes, and the soil that is

pressed by her footsteps. Here for her sake will I stay, and like an invis

ible presence Hover around her for ever, protecting, support

ing her weakness ;

Yes! as my foot was the first that stepped on

this rock at the landing, So, with the blessing of God, shall it be the

last at the leaving !'

Meanwhile the Master alert, but with dig

nified air and important, Scanning with watchful eye the tide and the

wind and the weather, Walked about on the sands; and the people

crowded around him Saying a few last words, and enforcing his

careful remembrance." Then, taking each by the hand, as if he were

grasping a tiller, Into the boat he sprang, and in haste shoved

off to his vessel, Glad in his heart to get rid of all this worry

and flurry, Glad to be gone from a land of sand and sick

ness and sorrow,

Short allowance of victual, and plenty of noth

ing but Gospel! Lost in the sound of the oars was the last fare

well of the Pilgrims. O strong hearts and true! not one went back

in the May Flower ! No, not one looked back, who had set his hand

to this ploughing!

Soon were heard on board the shouts and

songs of the sailors Heaving the windlass round, and hoisting the

ponderous anchor. Then the yards were braced, and all sails set

to the west-wind, Blowing steady and strong; and the May

Flower 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.

« ПредишнаНапред »