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Saying a few last words, and enforcing his careful re
membrance. 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,
594 Glad in his heart to get rid of all this worry
and flurry, Glad to be gone from a land of sand and sickness and
sorrow, Short allowance of victual, and plenty of nothing but
Gospel! Lost in the sound of the oars was the last farewell of
the Pilgrims. O strong hearts and true! not one went back in the
Mayflower! 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 ponder
ous anchor. Then the yards were braced, and all sails set to the
west-wind, Blowing steady and strong; and the Mayflower sailed
from the harbor,
Rounded the point of the Gurnet, and leaving far to the southward
605 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 vis
ion prophetic, Baring his hoary head, the excellent Elder of Plym
outh Said, “Let us pray!” and they prayed, and thanked
the Lord and took courage.
605 Gurnet: a sandy spit of land enclosing the northern part of Plymouth Bay. It was named from a similar cape in England.
606 Island: Clark Island in Plymouth Bay. Cape of sand : it probably means Cape Cod.
Field of the First Encounter: the place on Cape Cod where they had their first strife with the Indians. See the sketch of the Pilgrims in the preface.
611 Filled with the spirit: look up Ephesians v. 18.
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
615 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
Gleamed the departing sail, like a marble slab in a
graveyard; Buried beneath it lay forever all hope of escaping. Lo! as they turned to depart, they saw the form of an Indian,
620 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,
625 Like the spirit of God, moving visibly over the waters.
626 Spirit of God: look up Genesis i. 2.
Thus for a while he stood, and mused by the shore
of the ocean,
Thinking of many things, and most of all of Pris
cilla; And as if thought had the power to draw to itself, like
the loadstone, Whatsoever it touches, by subtile laws of its nature,
630 Lo! as he turned to depart, Priscilla was standing
“ Are you so much offended, you will not speak to
me?” said she. “Am I so much to blame, that yesterday, when you
629 Loadstone: sometimes spelled lodestone, and also called a magnet. It is a piece of iron ore which is capable of attracting other pieces of iron. It was put to its most famous use after it was learned that a needle made of it and suspended so that it could move freely, pointed steadily to the north. From this was constructed the mariner's compass, by the use of which sailors may direct the course of their ship out of sight of land. Thus the modern art of navigation was made possible.
Warmly the cause of another, my heart, impulsive
and wayward, Pleaded your own, and spake out, forgetful perhaps of decorum ?
635 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,
640 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 fight
ing in Flanders, As if by fighting alone you could win the heart of a
641 Spilt on the ground like water: look up II Samuel xiv. 14.