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Finally down from its shelf he dragged the ponderous Roman,

Seated himself at the window, and opened the book, and in silence

Turned o'er the well-worn leaves, where thumbmarks thick on the margin,

Like the trample of feet, proclaimed the battle was hottest.

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

Busily writing epistles important, to go by the May Flower,

Ready to sail on the morrow, or next day at latest, God willing!

Homeward bound with the tidings of all that terrible winter,

Letters written by Alden, and full of the name of Priscilla,

Full of the name and the fame of the Puritan

maiden Priscilla !



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 achieve

ments of Julius Cæsar.

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

Heavily on the page: "A wonderful man was

this Cæsar!

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

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.

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


Better be first, he said, in a little Iberian


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 ;

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


Finally he was stabbed by his friend, the orator

Brutus !

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,

Calling on each by his name, to order forward the ensigns;

Then to widen the ranks, and give more room

for their weapons ;

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


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!"

All was silent again; the Captain continued his reading.

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

Writing epistles important to go next day by the May Flower,

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

Every sentence began or closed with the name of Priscilla,

Till the treacherous pen, to which he confided

the secret,

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

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