Talked of their Captain's departure, and all the dangers that


He being gone, the town, and what should be done in his


Merrily sang the birds, and the tender voices of women

Consecrated with hymns the common cares of the household.

Out of the sea rose the sun, and the billows rejoiced at his coming;


Beautiful were his feet on the purple tops of the mountains; Beautiful on the sails of the "Mayflower" riding at anchor, Battered and blackened and worn by all the storms of the


Loosely against her masts was hanging and flapping her can


Rent by so many gales, and patched by the hands of the



Suddenly from her side, as the sun rose over the ocean,
Darted a puff of smoke, and floated seaward; anon rang
Loud over field and forest the cannon's roar, and the echoes
Heard and repeated the sound, the signal-gun of depart-


Ah! but with louder echoes replied the hearts of the people! 35 Meekly, in voices subdued, the chapter was read from the


Meekly the prayer was begun, but ended in fervent entreaty!

Then from their houses in haste came forth the Pilgrims of Plymouth,

Men and women and children, all hurrying down to the seashore,

Eager, with tearful eyes, to say farewell to the "May



Homeward bound o'er the sea, and leaving them here in the


Foremost among them was Alden. All night he had lain without slumber,

Turning and tossing about in the heat and unrest of his fever. He had beheld Miles Standish, who came back late from the council,

Stalking into the room, and heard him mutter and murmur, 45 Sometimes it seemed a prayer, and sometimes it sounded like


Once he had come to the bed, and stood there a moment in silence;

Then he had turned away, and said: "I will not awake him; Let him sleep on, it is best; for what is the use of more talk


Then he extinguished the light, and threw himself down on

his pallet,


Dressed as he was, and ready to start at the break of the


Covered himself with the cloak he had worn in his campaigns

in Flanders,

Slept as a soldier sleeps in his bivouac,' ready for action.

But with the dawn he arose; in the twilight Alden beheld



Put on his corselet of steel, and all the rest of his armor,
Buckle about his waist his trusty blade of Damascus,
Take from the corner his musket, and so stride out of the


Often the heart of the youth had burned and yearned to em

brace him,

Often his lips had essayed to speak, imploring for pardon;

1 Pronounced bĭv'-wǎk: the night-watch of an army when in danger of surprise, or an encampment for the night without tents or shelter. Cf. O'Hara's beautiful use of the word in his poem in memory of the Kentuckians who fell at Buena Vista:

"On Fame's eternal camping-ground,
Their silent tents are spread,

And Glory guards, with solemn round,
The bivouac of the dead."

All the old friendship came back with its tender and grateful emotions; 60

But his pride overmastered the nobler nature within him,— Pride, and the sense of his wrong, and the burning fire of the insult.

So he beheld his friend departing in anger, but spake not, Saw him go forth to danger, perhaps to death, and he spake not! Then he arose from his bed, and heard what the people were saying, 65

Joined in the talk at the door, with Stephen and Richard and


Joined in the morning prayer, and in the reading of Scripture,

And, with the others, in haste went hurrying down to the


Down to the Plymouth Rock, that had been to their feet as a doorstep

Into a world unknown,-the corner-stone of a nation!


There with his boat was the Master,' already a little im


Lest he should lose the tide, or the wind might shift to the eastward,

Square-built, hearty, and strong, with an odor of ocean about him,

Speaking with this one and that, and cramming letters and parcels

Into his pockets capacious, and messages mingled together 75 Into his narrow brain, till at last he was wholly bewildered. Nearer the boat stood Alden, with one foot placed on the gunwale,

1 The actual names of three of the "Mayflower " Stephen Hopkins, Richard Warren, and Gilbert Winslow.

passengers surviving in 1621 :

2 The title, in the seventeenth century, of the commander of a merchant vessel. Cf. Tempest, I. i.

One still firm on the rock, and talking at times with the


Seated erect on the thwarts, all ready and eager for start


He too was eager to go, and thus put an end to his anguish, 80 Thinking to fly from despair, that swifter than keel is or


Thinking to drown in the sea the ghost that would rise and pursue him.

But as he gazed on the crowd, he beheld the form of Priscilla Standing dejected among them, unconscious of all that was passing.

Fixed were her eyes upon his, as if she divined his inten85


Fixed with a look so sad, so reproachful, imploring, and


That with a sudden revulsion his heart recoiled from its pur


As from the verge of a crag, where one step more is destruc


Strange is the heart of man, with its quick, mysterious in


Strange is the life of man, and fatal or fated are moments, 90 Whereupon turn, as on hinges, the gates of the wall adaman


"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 staggering head



Yonder snow-white cloud, that floats in the ether above



Seems like a hand that is pointing and beckoning over the


There is another hand, that is not so spectral and ghost-like, Holding me, drawing me back, and clasping mine for protec


Float, O 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


Here for her sake will I stay, and like an invisible pres


Hover around her forever, protecting, supporting her weak



Yes! as my foot was the first that stepped on this rock at the


So, with the blessing of God, shall it be the last at the leav


Meanwhile the Master alert, but with dignified air and im


Scanning with watchful eye the tide and the wind and the weather,

Walked about on the sands, and the people crowded around



Saying a few last words, and enforcing his careful remem


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 sickness and



Short allowance of victual, and plenty of nothing but Gospel! Lost in the sound of the oars was the last farewell of the


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