Графични страници
PDF файл

Letters written by Alden, and full of the name of

Priscilla, 35 Full of the name and the fame of the Puritan maiden Priscilla! II


Nothing was heard in the room but the hurrying pen of the stripling,

Or an occasional sigh from the laboring heart of the Captain,

Reading the marvellous words and achievements of Julius Caesar.

After a while he exclaimed, as he smote with his hand, palm downwards, 9°

Heavily on the page: “A wonderful man was this Caesar!

You are a writer, and I am a fighter, but here is a fellow

tions they suffered in trying to make a home in an unsettled country. But the season itself was a mild one for New England.

55 Priscilla: see the sketch of the poem in the preface.

89 Bring into class a sketch of Julius Caesar.

Who could both write and fight, and in both was equally skilful !”

Straightway answered and spake John Alden, the comely, the youthful :

“Yes, he was equally skilled, as you say, with his pen and his weapons. 95

Somewhere have I read, but where I forget, he could dictate

Seven letters at once, at the same time writing his memoirs.”

“ Truly,” continued the Captain, not heeding or hearing the other,

“ Truly a wonderful man was Caius Julius Caesar!

Better be first, he said, in alittle Iberian village, loo

Than be second in Rome, and I think he was right when he said it.

Twice was he married before he was twenty, and many times after ;

Battles five hundred he fought, and a thousand cities he conquered;

10° It is told of Cassar that as he was once marching through a wretched little village of barbarians and there arose some mocking comment among his companions about there being no canvassing for office there, he remarked that for his part he would rather be first there than second even in Rome. Standish evidently agrees with him. What do you think of the sentiment ?

He, too, fought in Flanders, as he himself has recorded;

Finally he was stabbed by his friend, the orator Brutus! 105

Now, do you know what he did on a certain occasion in Flanders,

When the rear-guard of his army retreated, the front giving way too,

And the immortal Twelfth Legion was crowded so closely together

There was no room for their swords ? Why, he seized a shield from a soldier,

Put himself straight at the head of his troops, and

commanded the captains, no Calling on each by his name, to order forward the ensigns;

1“ Can you give the name of a famous man connected with the Virginia colony who also fought in Flanders?

Flanders: a county of the Low Countries or the Netherlands (now Holland and Belgium) where war was waged with Spain. The seven counties which continued the war until they gained their independence made up the modern Holland.

106 Flanders: in the time of Caesar, Flanders and the rest of what is now Belgium were not divided from France, and the Romans called the whole country Gaul. This part of it was occupied by the Belgi whom Caesar considers “ the bravest of all the Gauls.”

103 Legion: a division of the Roman army consisting of about five thousand men. The Twelfth Legion was Caesar’s favorite.

111 What would be the effect of this order when executed ?

Then to widen the ranks, and give more room for their weapons ;

So he won the day, the battle of something-or-other.

That’s what I always say ; if you wish a thing to be

well done, You must do it yourself, you must not leave it to others!” 115

All was silent again; the Captain continued his


Nothing was heard in the room but the hurrying pen of the stripling

Writing epistles important to go next day by the Mayflower,

Filled with the name and the fame of the Puritan maiden Priscilla;

Every sentence began or closed with the name of

Priscilla, . :20 Till the treacherous pen, to which he confided the secret,

Strove to betray it by singing and shouting the name of Priscilla!

Finally closing his book, with a bang of the ponderous cover,

Sudden and loud as the sound of a soldier grounding his musket,

Thus to the young man spake Miles Standish the Captain of Plymouth: 125

“ When you have finished your work, I have something important to tell you.

Be not however in haste; I can wait; I shall not be impatient l”

Straightway Alden replied, as he folded the last of his


Pushing his papers aside, and giving respectful attention:

“ Speak ; for whenever you speak, I am always ready to listen, 13o

Always ready to hear whatever pertains to Miles Standish.”

Thereupon answered the Captain, embarrassed, and culling his phrases:

“ ’Tis not good for a man to be alone, say the Scriptures.

This I have said before, and again and again I repeat it;

Every hour in the day, I think it, and feel it, and say it.

Since Rose Standish died, my life has been weary and dreary ; 136

Sick at heart have I been, beyond the healing of friendship.

Oft in my lonely hours have I thought of the maiden Priscilla.

133 Look up Genesis ii. 18.

« ПредишнаНапред »