LIBRARY OF CONGRESS
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LINDSAY TODD DAMON, A.B.
Professor of English in Brown University
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tator — Abbott
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Julius Caesar The Tempest
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SCOTT, FORESMAN AND COMPANY
CHICAGO: 623 S. Wabash Ave. NEW YORK: 8 East 34th Street
Cfce lafee Cngltsi) Classics
REVISED EDITION WITH HELPS TO STUDY
THREE AMERICAN POEMS
EDGAR ALLAN POE
THE COURTSHIP OF MILES STANDISH
HENRY WADS WORTH LONGFELLOW
JOHN GREENLEAF WHITTIER
EDITED FOR SCHOOL USE
UNIVERSITY OF INDIANA
SCOTT, FORESMAN AND COMPANY
CHICAGO NEW YORK
Copyright 1910, 1920
By Scott, Foresman and company •
ROBERT O. LAW COMPANY
EDITION BOOK MANUFACTURERS
CHICAGO. U. S. A
The increasing use of selections from our native
poets is one of the commendable changes in sec-
ondary education. That our poets are equal in merit
to the greatest of England or of the world no compe-
tent critic would care to assert, but that they should
be ignored is also far from reason. An acquaintance
with them will minister to both culture and a na-
tional self-knowledge. For the sake of the latter
the teaching of them should begin as far down as
possible in the English curriculum. In connection
with the former we may see that the same principle
which chooses The Merchant of Ymu-c rather than
Hamlet, The Lady of lh<> Lake rather than In Memo-
nam, for study in preparatory schools, applies to
them; they appeal strongly to younger students. For
these two reasons, therefore, it is well that they
should be represented in the list of entrance re-
The aim of the present volume is to make easy
the approach to three of the notable and typical
poems of three of our best poets. The editor would
suggest that, in the consideration of any one of the 1
poems, the first thing to do is to read it with
the least possible reference to comment?. A more
careful study may follow, but even then the beauty
of the poetry and the spirit of the writer are the
things that should stand out in the student's mind.
The plan of editing and the method of annotating
will largely explain themselves. In the biographical
and critical sections the effort has been to include
significant facts and distinctive phases rather than
a mass of details which few students would compre-
hend or remember. In the notes the purpose has
been to clear up difficulties and to stimulate by an
occasional comment rather than to flaunt an editorial
erudition. In omitting definitions — a plan violated
but seldom in this vohime — the idea has been that a
free use of the dictionary on the part of the student
will train the perceptions and make for accuracy of
speech. It is the sincere hope of the editor that the
work will prove flexible and adaptable, and that it-
will lead the student to crave further knowledge of
the glories of our literature.
The Univeesity of Arkansas,
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Preface .'.....-. 5
Edgar Allan Poe 9
The Raven— Text 21
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow 29
the courtship of miles standish
The Courtship of Miles Standish — Text .... 4]
John Greenleaf Whittier . . ' Ill
Snow-Bound — Text 121
Notes . . : 147
Helps to Study 155
Theme Subjects 159
Selections for Class Reading 160
EDGAR ALLAN POE.
Poe was born January 10. 1809, in Boston, Massa-
chusetts, where his actor-parent? were then filling a
theatrical engagement. His father was of Colt it-
blood and the son of a Revolutionary patriot. His
mother was of English descent. The parents died,
within a few days of each other, at Richmond, Vir-
ginia; and thus at the age of two Poe was left, along
with an older brother and a younger sister, without a
protector. He was adopted by a tobacco merchant,
Mr. John Allan, who became well-to-do. The future
poet was a beautiful, bright child, and speedily
became a good declaimer, a lover of horses and dogs,
and the pet of the Allan household.
In his seventh year he was taken to England and
put into school in a suburb of London. Reminiscences
of the five years that followed may be traced in his
story, "William Wilton. Afterwards he spent five years
in private academies in Richmond, where he dis-
tinguished himself in athletics, especially swimming
and boxing, and in French. Here, too, he met, in the
mother of one of his schoolmates, the first of his
numerous Helens and Lenores. Doubtless she was
attracted by the amiable and refined qualities which
won for him through life the high regard of women.
For months after her death he is said to have haunted
10 Edgar A llan Poe
her grave. To her inspiration is due one of his most
magical lyrics, To Helen, probably written when he
was only fourteen.
He enrolled in the University of Virginia in 1826
and remained there a year, achieving distinction in
Latin, French, and Italian, but confirming an in-
herited taste for drink, and gambling recklessly.
Already it was beginning to be clear that, although
his nature was unmoral rather than immoral, his life
was destined to be tragic. A rupture with Mr. Allan,
consequent upon his delinquencies, led to his going to
Boston, where he published, in 1827, a thin volume of
verse, Tamerlane and Oilier Poems. Void of the
means of subsistence, he enlisted, under an assumed
name, in the United States army. After two years
of faithful service he obtained his release through Mr.
Allan, and later secured an appointment to a cadet-
ship at West Point. His impulsive and imperious
nature could not brook the discipline, however, and he
brought about his own expulsion. As Mr. Allan was
thereafter completely alienated, Poe found himself in
1831 driven to reliance upon himself. A second lite-
rary venture, Al Aaraaf, Tamerlane, and Minor Poems
(1829), had meantime proved as barren of financial
profit as the first. He now issued another volume of
poems, containing, with less notable pieces, To Helen,
Israfel, The City in the Sea, The Sleeper, and Le-
nore; and plunged into a Bohemian life and a bitter
struggle for very existence.
For the attainment of material success he was
wholly unfitted both by nature and by training. He
Edgar Allan Poe 11
was as perverse as he was impractical, and there was
a pettiness about him that made him hard to assist.
Ingratitude was sometimes mingled with his folly.
The age, too, was crude, unpoetic. Much of his work
was a drudgery against which he chafed. Thus his
passionate love for beauty was thwarted on every
hand. His pen was his only resource; and, though he
wielded it with speed and dexterity, the grim shadow
of poverty continued to hang over him. Against
his tendency to drink he fought bravely, and for long
periods with success, though he was hampered by an
irresolute will. In 1833, after two obscure years, he
made a fair start in his literary life by winning a
$100 prize in Baltimore and thereby gaining the
attention of John P. Kennedy, a public man who was
also prominent as a writer of fiction. A position on
the staff of The Southern Literary Messenger re-
sulted. His work, especially his criticisms, gave the
magazine a great reputation : but in 1837 he lost his
position, largely through his own fault. Some years
were spent, largely at hack work, in Philadelphia,
in which city he held for short periods the
editorship of The Gentleman's Magazine and Gra-
ham's Magazine and published (1840) his Tales of
the Grotescpie and Arabesque. Previously, in 1836,
he had married his child-cousin, Virginia Clemm.
His devotion to her was beautiful ; and when in sing-
ing for him in 1842 she broke a blood vessel in her
throat, he suffered the agony of many deaths. In
1844 he went to New York. The publication the
next year of The Raven made him famous the world
12 Edgar A llari Foe
over. The poem, along with others, was quickly in-
eluded in hook form ; and another volume of Talrs
was given to the public
Poe moved in 1846, with his wife and his loyal
mother-in-law. to a cottage at Fordham, near the
field of his labor in New York. Sick and poverty-
stricken, lie saw his Virginia fading from his side;
and in January, 1847, wrapped in a military cloak
that had been her last shield from the cold, he fol-
lowed her body to the grave. He was no longer him-
self; his balance of mind, health of body, and
strength of character were alike impaired; and the
remainder of his life is a sad record of decline.
Nevertheless, he published Ulalume late in 1847.
He also wrote Annabel Lee, an exquisite tribute to his
dead wife, and The Bells, though neither of these
poems was printed during his lifetime. On Septem-
ber 30, 1849, he started, with $1,500 raised by means
of a subscription lecture, from Richmond to Xew
York. On October 3 he was found, drugged and
robbed, in an election booth — the back room of a sa-
loon — in Baltimore. Four days later he died.
Distinction fell to Poe in three fields of literary
activity*— criticism, the short story, and poetry.
It was as a critic that he enjoyed his chief con-
temporary fame. Almost alone among our early men
of letters he possessed the necessary critical attributes
Edgar Allan Foe 13
— a definite ideal in literature, exquisite sensibilities,
and a hio-h standard of excellence. To these he added
an analytical turn of mind that enabled him to dis-
cern very quickly the qualities of promise in young
writers. His criticisms, therefore, were often lumi-
nous and acute. Unfortunately', they too often ad-
hered to the abusive methods of the old school and
were marred by prejudice and personal rancor, as in
his unwarrantable attack on the gentlest of our poets
in an article entitled Mr. LongfelVow and Other
Plagiarists. Such strenuous censure brought two-
fold results — first, a perceptible improvement in the
quality of American letters, and, second, a hostility
toward Poe himself that sought by base means to
blacken his memory.
In the world of fiction his influence is still greater.
It cannot be denied that he was one of the originator-
of the short story as a distinctive literary form. The
modern detective story, in particular, must ascribe
its origin to him. Yet the marked ingenuity which
he practiced and stimulated lias been less fruitful as
a model than his habit, seen in most of his best
work, of laying the emphasis not on incident but on
tone and impression. . The purpose of a writer, he
maintained, should lie to work out. "with deliberate
care, a certain unique or single effect/' Guided by this
precept, he produced a series of tales that have
a strange fascination and are, in some cases, absolutely
flawless as specimens of art. They add to a (i reek-
sense of form an oriental love for ornament, subdued
to the purpose in band by an unerring taste. They
14 Edgar Allan Poe
are tempered, of course, by the peculiar disposition
of the author. They may be divided into three classes,
viz., stories of horror, stories of ratiocination or the
unraveling of mysterious problems, and stories of the
supernatural. Well-known examples are The Pit and
the Pendulum and The Black Cat; The Gold-Bug and
The Purloined Letter; and The Fall of the House of
Usher and Ligeia.
It is with Poe as a poet that we are concerned.
In this province, as in others, he is unique, alone —
the Ishmael of American literature. And his rank is
high. Indeed, it has come to be recognized that he is
the only one of our poets who possessed genius in
any strict sense of the word. He is the only one of
his day who was entirely an artist, though Longfel-
low and Bryant have large claims; and he is the only
one who adds to careful art the imagination and the
plastic touch necessary to achieve anything assuredly
lasting. Abroad he is one of the three American
writers who have won a literaiy following, and his
influence is more decided than Hawthorne's or Whit-
man's. In France particularly, his vogue is strong.
Though Poe is entitled to fairer laurels than our
other poets, he must rest his poetical fame upon a
dozen short lyrics. In the frugal body of his work
lie is comparable to Gray, Collins, and Keats. His
meagre product, like that of these poets, has a rare
distinction. To Helen is filled with a delicate and
classic grace. Israfel has a rapturous and exalted
fire and a yearning at the close for that imperishable
perfection to which lofty souls must aspire. The City
Edgar A llan Poe 15
in the Sea is shadow};, but vivid, lurid, terrible. The
Sleeper distils the essence of a sorrowful and eerie
vagueness. The Haunted Palace is a tremendous and
ethereal picture of the mind's overthrow. The Con-
queror Worm is the knell of human life and hope.
The Raven, as Poe himself said, is the emblem — a
superb one — of "mournful and never-ending remem-
brance." Ulalume, in many ways his most charac-
teristic poem, is a cloud-structure built from an elfin
music. The Bells is the most triumphant wedding
of sound to sense in the English language. Annabel
Lee is as noble a love lyric as literature affords.
There are, in addition, a few other pieces that a lesser
genius might prize ; but none, perhaps, fully worthy
A reading of these poems, together with the
lectures on The Philosophy of Composition and The
Poetic Principle, will show Poe's merits and also his
defects. The poems are clothed with a diction that
is flexible and chaste. They are surcharged with a
melody that is seldom surpassed. They are radiant
with visions of beauty, a beauty afflicted and in ruins.
Often they are brilliantly imaginative, always serene
and secure in their grace and poise. They are fre-
quently graphic, and yet they are permeated with a
dreamy languor, a delicious vagueness that is both
an end in itself and a power to suggest. They are
everywhere replete with indefinable charms. Yet they
exhibit hardly more than a single mood, a single
theme; their range is fatally narrow, and it is only
for the briefest glimpses that they lead us away from
16 Edgar Allan Poe
shadows of the sepulchre. They are almost too
perfect; they have been worked over and over until
we feel that they are not on lire with an imagination
completely unfettered from the devices of form. Their
life is not one with the Life of nature; their imagery
itself is drawn from a Dream-land that lies "out of
Space — out of Time." They are not deeply human,
sometimes not human at all; their passion is not
vitally real, and the love they sing is well-nigh that
of disembodied spirits. They are, while unstained
by "the heresy of the didactic," also without that
moral element which is present in the works of those
writers who accept their duties in the world as it is.
These last two deficiencies may perhaps be made to
comprise the others. If the poems were more human,
they would be more varied, more spontaneous, still
more highly imaginative, more indissolubly linked
with the heart of nature. If they were solidly based
on -moral truth they would be indispensable to man-
kind, not merely rare temples of beauty in the realm
Poe's lack of a robust and virile substance places
him immeasurably below the great world- figures in
literature, such as Homer, Dante, and Shakespeare.
Nor can we console ourselves with thinking that had
he lived longer his achievement would have been of
profounder value and wider scope. He had chosen
his field and reaped therefrom the utmost harvest.
The few themes of his precocious youth were per-
fected and enriched, but not increased, by his man-
Edgar Allan Poe 17
hoods The limits set by his own character and by his
literary theories gave no room for expansion. The
lofty ideal expressed by Arnold — that of "seeing life
steadily and seeing it whole" — it was not in the na-
ture of things for Poe to approach. His objection to
the long poem, his preference for such poetry as that
of Shelley to that of Shakespeare, are alike signifi-
cant, measuring bis weakness and bis strength. His
crowning glory is that in a new country, in an age
when technique was lacking and thin moralizing and
sentimentality were rampant, he proposed to himself
definite poetic ends, and went with admirable sure-
ness to an achievement that is chaste and artistic.
The charges that were brought against his originality
are, on the whole, trivially founded. His earlier
poetry was affected, it is true, by Byron, Moore, and
Shelley. He owed some of the metrical qualities of
The Haven to Mrs. Browning and to Albert Pike.
There is sometimes a resemblance, in form and tone,
between his works and those of T)r. Chivers, of
Georgia, but Poe was less influenced by Chivers
than has often been supposed. A kind of prototype
he found in Coleridge, whose poetry made him trem-
ble, be said, ''dike one who stands upon a volcano,
conscious, from the very darkness bursting from the
crater, of the fire and the light that are weltering
below." But he remains himself — the poet of death,
of despair, and of the enchantment of things that are
fragile and lovely. His verses will haunt the memo-
ries of men so long as the love for pure art endures.
18 Edgar Allan Poe
Two of Poe's theories of poetic art — both of them
woven into the warp and woof of The Raven — have
stirred not a little comment. One he expresses thus :
"I hold that a long poem does not exist" ; "what
we term a long poem is, in fact, merely a succes-
sion of brief ones — that is to say, of brief poetical
effects/' By way of illustration he asserts that from
its very length Paradise Lost, though poetical
throughout, cannot, if read at one sitting, maintain
the enthusiasm of the reader, but gives rise rather to
"a constant alternation of excitement and depres-
sion." This contention for a total and unified im-
pression is perfectly sound if we admit that in poetry
lyrical and emotional effects alone are legitimate. It
ignores the fact that the long poem belongs to an en-
tirely different genre, and affords a fuller "criti-
cism" of the whole of life. The second theory affirms
that "that pleasure which is at once the most intense,
the most elevating, and the most pure, is . . .
derived from the contemplation of the beautiful";
that therefore "Beauty is the sole legitimate province
of the poem"; that, in fact, "the Poetry of words is
the Rhythmical Creation of Beauty"; and that, with-
out "attempting to reconcile the obstinate oils and
waters of Poetry and Truth," the bard who would
allay his "thirst unquenchable" must wage "war on
Vice solely on the ground of her deformity." Since
universal experience attests; lie explains further, that
the tone by which the highest beauty is manifested is
one of sadness, it follows that "the death . . .
Edgar Allan. Poe 19
of a beautiful woman . . . " is the most poetical
topic in the world." How often Poe acted upon this
conclusion his readers need not be told. The theory
itself yields a good corrective to the obtrusion of
didactics into the realm of aesthetics ; yet it savors too
much of "art for art's sake,"' and pays but the slight-
est heed to that which is surely essential — a basic
In The Philosophy of Composition Poe details a
process by which, he insists, The Raven was con-
structed. As the initial axiom he assumed "that
every plot, worth the name, must be elaborated to
its denouement before anything be attempted with
the pen." The germ of the poem lay in the desire to
produce through verse a definite and striking effect.
In casting about for means to this end the author
evolved, not only the theme and the general tone, but
the stanzaic structure as well. In the portrayal of the
deepening of the hero's feeling from casual interest
to overwhelming despair, a certain verisimilitude was
given and curiosity was heightened and prolonged
by sucli devices as making the lover mistake the first
nutter outside for a "tapping" at the door, and by
haying him adopt, when he found only darkness, "the
half-fancy that it was the spirit of his mistress that
knocked." Contrast was deliberately employed in
such matters as the tempestuous night and the phys-
ical serenity of the chamber : the ebon plumage of
the bird and the marble of the bust upon which
it perched ; the quaint diction and fantastic air —
"approaching as nearly to the ludicrous as was ad-
20 Edgar Allan Pcfe
missible" — of some of the earlier parts, and the
morbidness of the ultimate impression. Everything
was rigorously suppressed to "the climacteric effect" ;
and had the poet, in the course of his task, been able
to compose stanzas that were disproportionately vig-
orous, he would, "without scruple, purposely have en-
feebled them." Suspicion of allegorical import was
excluded until the very last, when the reader was
dexterously apprised that all was symbolic of the
memory that is sad and never-ceasing.
Poe's statement of his manner of construction we
need not accept in iota. He himself gave a hint for
modif}dng it when lie declared earlier in life: "With
me poetry has been not a purpose, but a passion."
The Raven is not merely a thing of rule and recipe ;
in no wise did Poe, in his critical theorizing, account
for its fire, it* shaping imagination, its intangible
glory. We may admit that it is more nearly a child
of mathematics, a. creature of logic, than some of
his other poems, and therefore shows a less plastic
genius and less convincing passion. Yet in its
seductive melody, its necromancers weirdness, its
unforgettable picture of the struggle between a
human soul and tormenting memories that will not
down, there dwells an intense fascination. Indeed,
with the exception of Gray's Elegy, The Raven is
perhaps the best known and most widely admired
short poem in the English language.
Once upon a midnight dreary, while T pondered,
weak and wean',
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgot-
ten lore, —
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there
came a tapping.
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my
" 'Tis some visitor," I muttered, "tapping at my
chamber door :
Only this and nothing more."
Ah. distinctly T remember it was in the bleak
And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost
upon the floor.
Eagerly I wished the moruow : — vainly I had
sought to borrow
From my books surcease of sorrow^sorrow for
the lost Lenoir.
For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels
name Lenore :
Nameless here for evermore.
22 Edgar Allan Poe
And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each pur-
Thrilled me — filled me with fantastic tennis never
felt before ;
15 So that now, to still the beating of my heart, T
" ? Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my
Some late visitor entreating entrance at my cham-
This it is and nothing more/'
Presently my sonl grew stronger; hesitating then
20 "Sir," said ], "or Madam, truly your forgiveness
But the fact is I was napping, and so gently yon
And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my
That I scarce was sure I heard you" — here I
opened wide the door : —
Darkness there and nothing more.
25 Deep into that darkness peering, long T stood
there wondering, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared
to dream before ;
But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness
gave no token,
The Raven 23
And the only word there spoken was the whis-
pered word, "Lenore?"
This T whispered, and an echo murmured hack
the word, "Lenore :"
30 Merely this and nothing more.
Back into the chamber turning - , all my soul within
Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder
Purely," said I, "surely that is something at my
Let me see, then, what thereat is. and this mys-
35 Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery
7 Tis the wind and nothing more."
Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many
a flirt and flutter.
In there stepped a stately Raven of the saintly
days of yore.
Not the least obeisance made he: not a minute
stopped or stayed he:
w But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my
Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my
Perched, and sat, and nothing more.
24 Edgar Allan Poe
Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance
it wore, —
45 "Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou,"
I said, u art sure no craven,
Ghastly grim and ancient Raven wandering from
the Nightly shore:
Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night's
Plutonian shore !"
Quoth the Raven, ''Nevermore."
Much I marvelled this ungainly fowl to hear dis-
course so plainly,
50 Though its answer little meaning — little relevancy
For we cannot help agreeing that no living human
Ever yet was blessed with seeing bird above his-
Bird or beast upon the sculptured bust above his
With such name as "'Nevermore/'
55 But the Raven, sitting lonely on the placid bust,
That one word, as if his sonl in that one word he
Nothing further then he nit-red. not a feather
then he fluttered,
Till I scarcely more than muttered, — "Other
friends have flown before;
The Raven 25
On the morrow he will leave me. as my Hopes
have flown before/ 5
o Then the bird said, "Nevermore."
Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly
"Doubtless," said I, "what it utters is its only
stock and stoic.
Caught from some unhappy master whom unmer-
Followed fast and followed faster till his songs
one burden bore:
5 Till the dirges of his Hope that melancholy bur-
Of 'Never — nevermore/ "
Bat the' Raven still beguiling all my fancy into
Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of
bird and bust and door;
Then, upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself
3 Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous
bird of yore,
What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt, and
ominous bird of yore
Meant in croaking "Xevermore."
This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable
26 Edgar Allan Poe
To the fowl whose fiery eyes now burned into my
75 This and more I sat divining, with my head at
On the cushion's velvet lining that the lamp-light
But whose velvet violet lining with the lamplight
She shall press, ah, nevermore !
Then, methought, the air grew denser, perfumed
from an unseen censer
80 Swung by seraphim whose foot-falls tinkled on the
"Wretch," I cried, "thy God hath lent thee— by
these angels he hath sent thee
Eespite — respite and nepenthe from thy memories
of Lenore !
Quaff, oh, quaif this kind nepenthe, and forget
this lost Lenore !"
Quoth the Eaven, "Nevermore."
B5 "Prophet !" said T, "thing of evil ! prophet still,
if bird or devil !
Whether Tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed
thee here ashore,
Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land
On this home by Horror haunted — tell me truly,
I implore :
The Raven 27
Is there — is there balm in Gilead? — tell me — tell
me, I implore I"
io Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."
"Prophet!" said I, "thing of evil — prophet still,
if bird or devil !
By that Heaven that bends above us, by that God
we both adore,
Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the dis-
It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels
name Lenore :
15 Clasp a rare and radiant maiden whom the angels
name Lenore !"
Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."
"Be that word our sign of parting, bird or fiend !"
I shrieked, upstarting :
"Met thee back into the tempest and the Night's
Plutonian shore !
Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy
' soul hath spoken !
>o Leave my loneliness unbroken ! quit the bust above
my door !
Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy
form from off my door \"
Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."
And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still
28 Edgar Allan Poe
On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my cham-
105 And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon**
that is dreaming,
And the lamp-light o'er him streaming throws
his shadow on the floor :
And my soul from out that shadow that lies float-
ing on the floor
Shall be lifted — nevermore !
HENRY WADSWORTH LONGFELLOW.
Longfellow was born in Portland, Maine, on the
27th of February, 1807. He was the second of eight
children and came of an old New England family.
H\> father, a Harvard graduate and a lawyer, was
at one time a member of Congress; bis mother, who
bore with constant sweetness of temper the trials
of an invalid, could trace back her ancestry to John
Alden and Priscilla Mullins, whose story the poet-
was to tell in The Courtship of Miles Standish.
Longfellow himself was a high-minded and active
boy, quick-tempered but easily appeased, orderly, un-
selfish, and eager sometimes to impatience. In the
beautiful and bustling town of Portland he found
much to attract him, and stored his mind vith
memories that inspired not a few of his later poems.
He also had access to his father's library, which was
for that day, unusually full and well chosen. Here he
became thoughtful and studious, though not melan-
choly. The first book to fascinate him was Irving^
Sketch Bool-. The next year, when only thirteen, he
began to cherish literary aspirations and contributed
some verses to the Portland Gazette.
After finishing at Portland Academy, he entered
Bowdoin College, an institution at that time sur-
30 Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
rounded with Indian haunts and legends. Here he
continued to write poetry, which was, of course,
imitative and immature, and to cultivate his mind
through miscellaneous reading. He gave enough at-
tention to his studies, however, to graduate fourth in
a class whose roll held some memorable names, not
the least distinguished of which was that of Nathaniel
The choice of a profession was a matter about
which Longfellow was deeply perplexed. While he
was strongly inclined toward literature, he saw the
wisdom of his father's warning that the America of
that day would not support the man who gave him-
self wholly to letters. Law, medicine, and the min-
istry he considered in turn, finally deciding in favor
of the first. "This/' said he, "will support my real
existence, literature my ideal one." Fortunate^, at
this juncture the trustees of Bowdoin determined to
establish a professorship of modern languages and to
offer the position to Longfellow upon the condition
that he travel in Europe for further study. These
terms the poet was glad to accept.
Three delightful years, 1826-29, were spent among -
the southern nations of Europe, where the poet ob-
tained a practical knowledge of French, Spanish, and
Italian. In addition to a deepened scholarship, he
acquired a passion for the romantic lore and scenery
of the Old World that was to help make him an
apostle of culture to the New. He now entered upon
the duties of his professorship. So limited was the
curriculum of that day that he was obliged to com-
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow 31
(tile his own text books. His responsibilities pro-
longed his poetical silence; but he published Outre-
Mer (1833-34), a collection of prose sketches about
things "Beyond the Sea/' and furnished a few arti-
cles on the elementary phases of various literatures
to the North American Review. To illustrate these
articles he rendered into English a number of for-
eign poems, thus beginning that work as a translator
in which, for many years, he was to exhibit deft
pill, and through which he was to introduce Ameri-
cans to much that was good in modern letters. In
1834 he was offered the most prominent position
iithin his chosen field, the professorship of mod-
ern languages at Harvard. To prepare himself the
Sore thoroughly he sailed the following year for
ughteen months of study in northern Europe. On
:his second trip he gave special attention to German,
md one of the results was the publication in 1839
)f his prose romance, Hyperion, which was greatly
pvored by German influence. It was on this trip
ilso that his first wife, Mary Potter, to whom he had
)een married in 1831, died: and that be met Frances
■ppleton, who was to become his bride in 1843.
At Cambridge he first occupied and afterwards
wiled the famous Craigie house, which overlooked
he Charles river, and in which Washington had been
uartered for some months during the Eevolution.
n 1839 he issued a slender volume of poems, The
oicrs of the Night, in which were included, besides
veral pieces which he called Earlier Poems, such
Hcs as The Psalm of Life and Footsteps of Angels.
32 Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
This was the real beginning of his poetic career^ a:
it brought him into instant and widespread pop
larity. Ballads and Oilier Poems appeared two re-
lator, and contained The Skeleton in Armor, 7
Wreck of the Hesperus, The Village Blacksmith, T
Rainy Day, and Excelsior. Seven brief lyrics mr
the title of Poems of Slavery were published in 18
In this year also, The Spanish Student, a dra
came out as a serial. The Belfry of Bruges ■
Other Poems, though dated 1846, was given to
public at the end of the preceding year. In 18
moreover, Longfellow published The Poets ,
Poetry of Europe, and thus finished, with the ex<
tion of a single volume, his work as mere comp 1 '
and editor. He had "found himself," and was re;
to begin the. second and most fruitful period of 1
Already he had started Evangeline. This ci
brated poem came into print two years later f
was widely acclaimed. It was followed by The £
side and the Fireside, containing The Building
the Ship, in 1849; by The Golden Legend, the fi
and best part of an ambitious trilogy entitled Chris
— a Mystery, in 1851 ; by the famous Indian lege
of Hiawatha in 1855; and by The Courtship of Mi
Standish in 1858. To this second and most frn
ful period belong also My Lost Youth, The Ch
drens Hour, and some of the best of the Tales
a Wayside Inn, the three parts of which were i
published, however, until 1863, 1872, and 1873,
spectively. By 1854 the poet realized that his
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow " 33
, come, outside his salary as professor, was adequate to
; his support; and, impelled by the wish to escape irk-
some confinement and to give more of his energy to
poetry, he resigned the position he had honored
-it Harvard. He continued, however, to reside at
The third period of his literary life — the one de-
. oted primarily to the translation of Dante — began
...bruptly. In 1861 the poet suffered a terrible be-
reavement in the death of his wife from accidental
prns. To sustain him in this loss and to console
him in the years that remained he had the sympa-
hetic friendship of many of the choice spirits of the
f,.ge. His children — three girls and two boys — were
•also a source of great comfort. Furthermore, his
eaders throughout the world were generous in their
xpressions of gratitude for the inspiration his poems
Lad brought them, and the children of his native land
r ,-ionored him, while he was yet living, by celebrating
,;is seventy- fifth birthday. During this period he
published several new volumes, some of them de-
moted to drama; but the best part of his work had
peen clone earlier, and excepting the excellent version
of Dante and a few poems, including The Hanging
of Hie Crane, Morituri Salutamus, and the sonnets,
we do not treasure these productions. The poet died
March 24, 1882. Just nine days before, he had pen-
ned, in The Bells of San Bias, his last poetic words :
Out of the shadow of night
The world rolls into light; —
It is daybreak everywhere.
34 Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
At the beginning of Longfellow's poetic life, and
perhaps at the end of it, New England had not wholly
shaken off the ascetic mood of the Puritan. A stern
rectitude had frowned upon beauty, dismissed sen-
timent as trivial, and glared with intolerance upon
the achievements of art. But now, mingled with this
rigor was an unspoken longing for the warmth and
color of life — a longing too timorous for passionate
expression, but ready for emotions that were quiet
and human. In such a people the sheer worshiper of
beauty — a Keats or a Poe — would only have awakened
alarm ; but Longfellow, reared as he was in a cultured
Puritan home, stimulated by travel, and combining
with a fine alchemy the artistic and the moral in-
stincts, convinced his neighbors, almost before they
knew it, that life to be righteous need not be unlovely.
It is this simple and unconscious virtue which
goes out from Longfellow that gives him his claim to
distinction. The qualities we find in more vehement
poets are qualities that he neither possesses nor seeks.
Creative, profound, imaginative — save at the rarest
intervals — he is not. Lofty passages and thunderous
convictions are lacking to him. Concentrated strength
is found in few places outside the sonnets, where the
exactions of form brought a splendid compression.
Intellectual subjects and subjects that require heat
in the handling are not welcome to him. His taste is
far better than his inspiration. In the Poems of
Slavery, for instance, he has daintiness and finish
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow 35
rather than rugged vehemence : and therefore he fails
where the philippic anger of Whittier and the trench-
ant derision of Lowell succeed. Even where an inno-
vation in form is needed, he is not daring in his de-
parture; he casts about for the old and tried, though it
he so long out of use that most people have forgotten
it. He has no vital touch with the higher aspirations
of the race, no enraptured vision of the future, no en-
thusiasm that, leaving him cosmopolitan in his
sympathies, makes him also the incarnate spirit of
one age or place. His peculiar power lies in telling
effectively an absorbing story, in singing the cheerful
acceptance of the lessons of life, in speaking bravely
and plainly and sweetly Of the emotions that are com-
mon to all. His pages are filled with purity, gen-
uineness, sunshine. We think of him as one to whom
were due an even and unruffled life and a serene old
age. He resembles Irving, not only in his love for the
beaten tracks, in his fondness for mediaeval romance,
and in his graceful assimilation of foreign culture,
but also in the gentle manliness of his personal char-
Along with this tenderness of Longfellow went his
quiet, scholarly habits. His impetus to write came in
no small degree from his reading. This fact — to
which his briefest lyric and his longest narrative alike
attest — constitutes his weakness and his strength .
Without his library he was lost. The mere mention
of a book caused him to pause in fond contemplation,
as we see in The Courtship of Miles Standish:
36 Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Open wide on hev lap lay the well-worn psalm-book of Ains«
Printed in Amsterdam, the words and the music together,
Rough-hewn, angular notes, like stones in the wall of a
Darkened and overhung by the running vine of the verses.
His descriptions, as a rule, were borrowed from the
written page rather than taken from nature, and
therefore lack the robust local flavor of Whittier's.
Some passages, a.: the "goblet" figure in The Bridge,
smell decidedly of the lamp. His metrical form was
also markedly derivative, being in a great many cases
adopted from foreign "models ; The Building of the
Ship and Hiawatha aiv instances. On the other
hand, his familiarity with a great range of literature
contributed, no doubt, to his versatility and his mas-
tery of form. In the former quality he exceeds all
our other writers; in the latter, all except Poe. He
tried, in the course of his prolific career, nearly
every species of poetic composition, making a clear
failure only in the dramatic; and used all measures
with facility except heroic blank verse. In his choice
of themes and in his selection of a metrical me-
dium he showed the delicate tact of the true artist.
The symmetry of his pieces was too often marred
by, his tendency to tack on a moral at the end, but
otherwise his sense of what was fit and attractive was
Of all our poets Longfellow is by far the most gen-
erally read. He is known and loved at thousands of
firesides where writers who are greater and more com-
plex are never guests. He is the poet of the home, of
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow 37
childhood, of simple affection.-, and of pure-hearted,
moral life. In his verse we feel constantly the spirit
of the man — one who was compassionate, courteous,
home-loving; the true friend and benefactor of us all.
For a right appreciation of The Courtship of Miles
Stand ish it is necessary that we should bear in mind
the main incidents in the story of the Pilgrims. For
between the actual history of the colony and Long-
fellow's narrative there are some discrepancies. The
events detailed by the poet are supposed to occur
within a. year after the landing. In reality a number
of them occurred three or even four years later. The
church was not standing and of course} no howitzer was
planted on its roof at the time suggested by the poet.
The rattlesnake-skin challenge was not made until
January, 10??, and the real Standish was not promi-
nent in the incident. The expedition against the In-
dians was not made and ''the ships of the merchants"
(1. 825) did not come until the third year of the setr
tlement. Cattle were not brought to the colony until
the fourth year, 1. 826 to the contrary notwith-
standing. Even in such matters as Priscilla's seem-
ing residence away from the seven houses in
Plymouth there are slight deviations from strict fact.
How can these changes be justified? The poet was
not primarily a chronicler of actual incidents; lie was
telling a story and using every means to make il ef-
fective. A rigid adherence to facts he was forced
to discard for the sake of poetic emphasis. If John
38 Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Aldeirs struggle between love and friendship had been
postponed three or four years, the story would have
been robbed of his dramatic temptation to return that
first spring on the Mayflower — the only deserter ! If
the rattlesnake-skin challenge had been omitted, we
should miss one striking instance of the choleric and
impetuous nature of the captain. If the cattle had
not hastened their coming, the bucolic wedding scene
at the close of the poem would have been deprived of
much of its charm. Thus every variation from his-
toric fidelity has an ample cause back of it.
Longfellow used a good deal of freedom also in his
treatment of the principal characters. Almost all we
know of the real John Alden is conveyed in Brad-
ford's words that he "was hired for a cooper at
Southampton, where the ship victualled, and being a
hopeful young man, was much desired, but left to his
own liking to go or stay when he came here." The
poet represents him as leaving England for love of
Priscilla — a fact to which Standish seems strangely
blind. The Priscilla Mullins of history was in all
likelihood of Huguenot extraction, and probably was
not with the Pilgrims when they were in Holland.
Thus the poet, who in this detail strictly follows the
conjectural fact, does not have her mingle memories
of that country with her charming description of
English lanes and streets (11. 269-279). Her father,
as Bradford tells us, died during the first winter in
the New World. Miles Standish, the bluff Captain
of Plymouth, did not belong to the Church of the
Puritans. He liked the people, however, and they
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow 39
welcomed him for the military prowess he had showed
in the course of an adventurous life. He came from
the Duxbury Hall or Protestant branch of an old
Lancashire family. (See 1. 320 if.). It seems that
he was not permanently downcast by his rejection at
Priscilla's hands. On the contrary, he consoled him-
self by leading to the altar another maiden of whom
we know little.
Though altering the outer details of history, the
poet gives us a penetrating insight into the everyday
life, the dress, the habits, the homes, and the stern,
religious life of the Puritans. He shows us, on the
one hand, how their very language was saturated with
the spirit of the Bible, and, on the other, how they
could mete out vengeance upon those whom they
deemed the enemies of the Lord (1. 818). More-
over, he tells a story which, through its excellence
of structure (a thing at which Longfellow was not
always sure) and its human interest, has the
power to stir, sustain, and convince the emotions.
Finally, he lets ripple across his pages a bracing*
breath from the ocean, the one object in nature which
he treats with unfailing skill and affection.
This is not the place for an inquiry into his use of
the Homeric hexameter, or for a technical discourse
on the interspersion in it of spondees with dactyls.
Suffice it to say that in Evangeline the poet had
adopted, with considerable success, a measure es-
teemed sacred to the epics of Greece and Eome and
supposed to be useless in English verse. This meas-
ure he employed anew in The Courtship of Miles
40 Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Stan dish. It consists, normally, of five poetic ieet
of three syllables each, followed by one foot of
two syllables. The firsl syllable in each foot is
heavy and on it the accent falls. L. 25 is typical:
This' is the | sword' of Da- I inns' ens I | fought' with in |
Flan' ders; this j breast' plate
Sometimes one heavy syllable is substituted for two
light ones, so that the foot altogether contains but
two syllables. Thus 1. 84 would be scanned:
Home' ward' j bound' with the | tid' ings of | all' that' j
ter' ri- ble j win' ter.
If in several successive feet a heavy syllable takes the
place of two lighter ones, a considerable variation
from the normal rhythm is produced. L. 62 is an
Beau' ti- ful J Rose' of | love' that' | bloomed' for' | me' by
' the J way' side.
Beneath these metrical shiftings lurk many subtle
beauties, and the student who searches them out is
richly repaid. Scansion is of value also in that it
aids in the pronunciation of unfamiliar words and
proper names, as
Curved' at the j point' and in- | scribed' with its ] mys' ti-
cal j Ar' a- bie | sen' tence (1. 9);
Fired' point'- j blank' at my ! heart' by a f Span' ish' j ar'
ca- bu- j ce' ro (1. 28);
As' pin- et, j Sam' o- set, | Cor' bit- ant, 1 Squan' to, or [
Tok' a- ma- | ha' mon (1. 53).
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow 41
THE COURTSHIP OF MILES STANDISH.
In the Old Colony days, in Plymouth the land of
To and fro in a room of his simple and primitive
Clad in doublet and hose, and boots of Cordovan
Strode, with a martial air, Miles Standish the
5 Buried in thought he seemed, with his hands be-
hind him, and pausing
Ever and anon to behold his glittering weapons of
Hanging in shining array along the walls of the
Cutlass and corselet of steel, and his trusty sword
Curved at the point and inscribed with its mystical
10 While underneath, in a corner, were fowling-piece,
musket, and matchlock.
Short of stature he was, but strongly built and
Broad in the shoulders, deep-chested, with muscles
and sinews of iron;
Brown as a nut was his face, but his russet beard
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Flaked with patches of snow, as hedges sometimes
15 Near him was seated John Alden, his friend and
Writing with diligent speed at a table of pine by
the window :
Fair-haired, azure-eyed, with delicate Saxon com-
Having the dew of his youth, and the beauty there-
of, as the captives
Whom Saint Gregory saw, and exclaimed, "Not
Angles but Angels."
20 Youngest of all was he of the men who came in
Suddenly breaking the silence, the diligent scribe
Spake, in the pride of his heart, Miles Stand isb
the Captain of Plymouth.
"Look at these arms/ 7 he said, "the warlike
weapons, that hang here
Burnished and bright and cleaji, as if for parade
or inspection !
25 This is the sword of Damascus I fought with in
Flanders : this breastplate,
Well I remember the day ! once saved my life in a
Here in front you can see the very dint of the
Fired point-blank at my heart. by a Spanish arca-
Henry Wads worth Longfellow 43
Had it not been of sheer steel, the forgotten bones
of Miles Stand ish
30 Would at this moment be mould, in their grave in
the Flemish morasses."
Thereupon answered John Alden, but looked not
up from bis writing :
"Truly the breath of the Lord hath slackened the
speed' of the bullet;
He in his mercy preserved yon. to be our shield
and our weapon !"
Still the Captain continued, unheeding the words
of the stripling :
85 "See, how bright they are burnished, as if in an
arsenal hanging ;
That is because I have done it myself, and not left
it to others.
Serve yourself, would you be well served, is an
' excellent adage :
So I take care of my arms, as you of your pens
and your inkhorn.
Then, too, there are nry soldiers, my great, in-
40 Twelve men, all equipped, having each his rest
and his matchlock.
Eighteen shillings a month, together with diet
And. like Caesar, I know the name of each of my
This he said with a smile, that danced in his
eyes, as the sunbeams
44 Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Dance on the waves of the sea, and vanish again
in a moment.
45 Allien- laughed as lie wrote, and still the Captain
"Look! you can see from this window my brazen
High on the roof of the church, a preacher who
speaks to the purpose.
Steady, straightforward, and strong, with irre-
Orthodox, flashing conviction right into the hearts
of the heathen.
50 Xow we are ready. I think, for any assault of the
Let them come, if they like, and the sooner they
try it the better, —
Let them come if they like, he it sagamore, sachem,
Aspinet, Samoset, Corbitant, Squanto, or Toka-
Long at the window he stood, and wistfully
gazed on the landscape,
55 Washed with a cold gray mist, the vapory breath
of the east-wind,
Forest and meadow and hill, and the steel-blue
rim of the ocean,
Lying silent and sad, in the afternoon shadows
Over his countenance flitted a shadow like those
on the landscape,
The Courtship of Miles Standish 45
Gloom intermingled with light : and his voice was
subdued with emotion,
6o Tenderness, pity, regret, as Sffter a pause he pro-
"Yonder there, on the hill by the sea, lies buried
Eose Standish ;
Beautiful rose of love, that bloomed for me by
the wayside !
She was the first to die of all who came in the
Green above her is growing the field of wheat we
have sowm there,
65 Better to hide from the Indian scouts the graves
of our people,
Lest they should count them and see how many
already have perished !"
Sadly his face he averted, and strode up and down
and was thoughtful.
Fixed to the opposite wall was a shelf of books,
and among them
Prominent three, distinguished alike for bulk and
70 BarrifrVs Artillery Guide, and tin 1 Commentaries
Out of the Latin translated by Arthur Goldinge
And. as if guarded by these, between them was
standing the Bible.
Musing a moment before them. Miles Standish
paused, as if doubtfv]
4G Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Which of the three he should choose for his con-
solation and comfort,
ft Whether the wars of the Hebrews, the famous
campaigns of the Romans,
Or the Artillery practice, designed for belligerent
Finally down from its shelf he dragged the pon-
Seated himself at the window, and opened the
book, and in silence
Turned o'er the well-worn leaves, where thumb-
marks thick on the margin,
$u Like the trample of feet, proclaimed the battle was
Nothing was heard in the room but the hurrying
pen of the stripling,
Busily writing epistles important, to go by the
Ready to sail on the morrow, or next day at latest,
God willing !
Homeward bound with 'the tidings of all that
85 Letters written by Alden, and full of the name of
Full of the name and the fame of the Puritan
maiden Priscilla !
The Courtship of Miles Standish 4?
LOVE AND FRIENDSHIP.
Nothing was heard in the room but the hurrying'
pen of the stripling,
Or an occasional sigh from the laboring heart of
Reading the marvellous words and achievements
of Julius Caesar.
90 After a while he exclaimed, as lie smote with his
hand, palm downwards,
Heavily on the page: "A wonderful man was this
You are a writer, and T 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 :
95 '"Yes, he was equally skilled, as you say, with his
pen and his weapons.
Somewhere have I read, but where I forget, he
Seven letters at once at the same tine writing his
Truly." continued the Captain, not heeding or
hearing the other,
"Truly a wonderful man was Caius Julius Caesar!
100 Better be first, he said, in a- little Iberian village.
48 Henry Wadsworth Long fellow
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
105 Finally he was stabbed by his friend,, the orator
Now, do you know what he did on a certain occa-
sion in Flanders.
When the rear-guard of his army retreated, the
front giving way too,
And the immortal Twelfth Legion was crowded so
'J 1 here was no room for their swords? Why, he
seized a shield from a soldier,
no Put himself straight at the head of his troops, and
commanded the captains,
Calling on each by his name, to order forward the
Then to widen the ranks, and give more room for
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,
115 You must do it yourself, you must not leave it to
others I 39
The Courtship of Miles Standish 49
All was silent again; the Captain continued his
Nothing was heard in the room but the hurrying
pen of the stripling
AYriting epistles important to go next day by the
Filled with the name and the fame of the Puritan
maiden Priscilla ;
120 Every sentence began or closed with the name of
Till the treacherous pen, to which he confided the
Strove to betray it by singing and shouting the
name of Priscilla !
Finally closing his book, with a bang of the pon-
Sudden and loud as the sound of a soldier ground-
ing his musket,
125 Thus to the young man spake Miles Standish the
Captain of Plymouth :
""When you have finished your work, I have some-
thing important to tell you.
Be not however in haste : I can wait ; I shall not
be impatient !"
Straightway Alden replied, a? he folded the last
of his letters.
Pushing his papers aside, and giving respectful
130 "Speak; for whenever yon speak, T am always
ready to listen,
50 Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Always ready to hear whatever pertains to Miles
Thereupon answered the Captain, embarrassed,
and culling his phrases:
" T is not good for a man to be alone, say the
This I have said before, and again and again T re-
peat it ;
135 Every hour in the day. 1 think it, and feel it, and
say it. V
Since Rose Standish died, my life has been weary
and dreary :
Sick at heart have T been, beyond the healing of
Oft in my lonely hours have I thought of the
She is alone in the world; her father and mother
140 Died in the winter together ; I saw her going and
Now to the grave of the dead, and now to the bed
of the dying,
Patient, courageous, and strong, and said to my-
self, that if ever
There were angels on earth, as there are angels
Two have I seen and known; and the angel whose
name is Priscilla
145 Holds in my desolate life the place which the
The Courtship of Miles Standish 51
Long have I cherished the thought, but never have
dared to reveal it.
Being a coward in this, though valiant enough
for the most part.
Go to the damsel Priscilla. the loveliest maiden of
Say that a blunt old Captain, a man not of words
but of actions,
150 Offers his hand and his heart, the hand and heart
of a soldier.
Net in these words, you know, but this in short
is my meaning :
T am a maker of war. and not a maker of phrases.
You, who are bred as a scholar, can say it in ele-
Such as you read in your books of the pleadings
and wooings of lovers.
153 Such as you think best adapted to win the heart
of a maiden."
When he had spoken. John Alden, the fair-
haired, taciturn stripling,
All aghast at his words, surprised, embarrassed,
Trying to mask his dismay by treating the subject
Trying to smile, and yet feeling his heart stand
still in his bosom.
160 Just as a timepiece "tops in a house that is stricken
52 Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Thus made answer and spake, or rather stammered
than answered :
"Such a message as that, I am sure I should mangle
and mar it ;
If you would have it well done, — I am only re-
peating your maxim, —
You must do it yourself, you must not leave it
to others !"
165 But with the air of a man whom nothing ean turn
from his purpose.
Gravely shaking his head, made answer the Cap-
tain of Plymouth :
"Truly the maxim is good, and 1 do not mean to
gainsay it ;
But we must use it discreetly, and not waste
powder for nothing.
Now, as I said before, I was never a maker of
no I can march up to a fortress and summon the place
But march up to a woman with such a proposal.
I dare not.
I ni not afraid of ballets, nor shot from the mouth
of a cannon,
But of a thundering 'No!' point-blank from the
.mouth of a woman.
That I confess I in afraid of, nor am I ashamed
to confess it !
175 So you must grant my request, for you are an
The Courtship of Miles Standish 53
Having the grace- of speech, and skill in the turn-
ing of phrases."
Taking the hand of hi? friend, who still was re-
luctant and doubtful,
Holding it long in his own. and pressing it kindly,
he added :
"Though I have spoken thus lightly, yet deep is
the feeling that prompts me;
180 Surely you cannot refuse what 1 ask in the name
of our friendship !"
Then made answer John Alden : "The name of
friendship is sacred :
What yon demand in that name, T have not tin-
power to deny yon !"
So the strong will prevailed, subduing and mould-
ing the gentler,
Friendship prevailed over love, and Alden went on
TTTE LOVER'S ERRAND. _
185 So the strong will prevailed, and Alden went on
Oul of the street of the village and into the paths
of the forest.
Into the tranquil woods, where bluebirds and
robins were building
Towns in the populous trees, with hanging gardens
54 Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Peaceful, aerial cities of joy and affection and free-
190 All around him was calm, but within him coin mo-
tion and conflict,
Love contending with friendship, and self with
each generous impulse.
To and fro in his breast his thoughts were heaving
As in a foundering ship, with every roll of the
Washes the bitter sea, the merciless surge of the
195 "Must I relinquish it all/' he cried with a wild
"Must I relinquish it all, the joy, the hope, the
Was it for this I have loved, and waited, and wor-
shipped in silence?
Was it for this I have followed the flying feet and
Over the wintry sea, to the desolate shores of New
' England ?
200 Truly the heart is deceitful, and out of its depths
Rise, like an exhalation, the misty phantoms of
Angels of light they seem, but are only delusions
All is clear to me now ; I feel it, I see it distinctly !
This is the hand of the Lord; it is laid upon me
The Courtship of Miles Siandisli 55
205 For I have followed too much the heart's desire?
Worshipping Astaroth blindly, and impious idols
This is the cross I must bear ; the sin and the swift
retribution. 7 '
So through the Plymouth woods John Alden
went on his errand ;
Crossing the brook at the ford, where it brawled
over pebble and shallow.
210 Gathering still, as he went, the Mayflowers bloom-
ing around him.
Flagrant, filling the air with a strange and won-
Children lost in the woods, and covered with leaves
in their slumber.
"Puritan flowers," he said, "and the type of Puri-
Modest and simple and sweet, the very type of
215 So I will take them to her; to Priscilla the May-
flower of Plymouth,
Modest and simple and sweet, as a parting gift
will I take them :
Breathing their silent farewells, as they fade and
wither and perish.
Soon to be thrown away as is the heart of the
So through the Plymouth woods John Alden went
on his errand ;
56 Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
220 Came to an open space, and saw the disk of the
Sailless, sombre and cold with the comfortless
breath of the east-wind;
Saw the new-built house, and people at work in
a meadow ;
Heard, as he drew near the door, the musical
voice of Priscilla
Singing the hundredth Psalm, the grand old Puri-
225 Music that Luther sang to the sacred words of the
Full of the breath of the Lord, consoling and com-
Then, as he opened the door, he beheld the foiun
of the maiden
Seated beside her wheel, and the carded wool like
Piled at her knee, her white hands feeding tin 1
230 While with her foot on the treadle she guided the
wheel in its motion.
Open wide on her lap lay the well-worn psalm-
book of Ainsworth,
Printed in Amsterdam, the words and the music
Bough-hewn, angular notes, like stones in the wall
of a churchyard,
Darkened and overhung by the running vine of the
The Courtship of Miles Standish 57
235 Such was the book from whose pages she sang the
old Puritan anthem.
She, the Puritan girl, *m the solitude of the forest.
Making the humble house and the modest apparel
Beautiful with her beaut)', and rich with the
wealth of her being-!
Over him rushed, like a wind that is keen and cold
240 Thoughts of what might have been, and the weight
and woe of his errand ;
All the dreams that had faded, and all the hopes
that had vanished,
All his life henceforth a dreary and tenantless
Haunted by vain regrets, and pallid, sorrowful
Still he said to himself, and almost fiercely he said
245 "Let not him that putteth his hand to the plough
look backwards ;
Though the ploughshare cut through the flowers
of life to its fountains,
Though it pass o ? er the graves of the dead and the
hearths of the living,
it is the will of the Lord; and his'mercy endureth
So he entered the house; and the hum of the
wheel and the Mnsrin^
58 Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
250 Suddenly ceased; i'or Priseilla, aroused by his step
on the threshold,
Rose as he entered and gave him her hand, in
signal of welcome,
Saying, "I knew it was you, when I heard your
step in the passage ;
For I was thinking of you, as I sat there singing
Awkward and dumb with delight, that a thought
of him had been mingled
255 Thus in the sacred psalm, that came from the
heart of the maiden,
Silent before her he stood, and gave her the flowers
for an answer,
Finding no words for his thought. He remem-
bered that day in the winter,
After the first great snow, when he broke a path
from the village.
Reeling and plunging along through the drifts
that encumbered the doorway,
260 Stamping the suoav from his feet as he entered
the house, and Priscilla
Laughed at his snowy locks, and gave him a seat
by the fireside,
Grateful and pleased to know he had thought of
her in the snow-storm.
Had he but spoken then! perhaps not in vain
had he spoken ;
Now it was. all too late; the golden moment had
The Courtship of Miles Stan-dish 59
265 So he stood there abashed, and gave her the flowers
for an answer.
Then they sat down and talked of the birds and
the beautiful Spring-time;
Talked of their friends at home, and the May-
flower that sailed on the morrow.
"I have been thinking all day," said gently the
"Dreaming all night, and thinking all day, of the
hedge-rows of England, —
270 r l hey are in blossom now, and the country is all
like a garden:
Thinking of lanes and fields, and the song of the
lark and the linnet,
Seeing the village street, and familiar face? of
Going about as of old, and stopping to gossip
And, at the end of the street, the village church,
with the ivy
27.-) Climbing the old gray tower, and the quiet graves
in the churchyard.
Kind are the people T live with, and dear to mo
my religion ;
Still my heart is so sad. that T wish myself back
in Old England.
You will say it is wrong, but I cannot help it : I
Wish myself back in Old England. T feel so lonely
60 Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
280 Thereupon answered the youth : "Indeed I do
not condemn you;
Stouter hearts than a woman's have quailed in
this terrible winter.
Yours is tender and trusting, and needs a stronger
to lean on ;
So I have come to you now, with an offer and
proffer of marriage
Made by a good man and true, Miles Standish the
Captain of Plymouth !"
285 Thus he delivered his message, the dexterous
writer of letters, —
Did not embellish the theme, nor array it in
But came straight to the point, and blurted it out
like a school-boy ;
Even the Captain himself could hardly have said
it more bluntly.
Mute with amazement and sorrow, Priscilla the
290 Looked into Alden's face, her eyes dilated with
Feeling his words like a blow, that stunned her
and rendered her speechless;
Till at length she exclaimed, interrupting the
"If the great Captain of Plymouth is so very
eager to wed me,
Why does he not come himself, and take the
trouble to woo me?
The Courtship of Miles Standish 61
295 If I am not worth the wooing, I surely am not
worth the winning !"
Then John Aklen began explaining and smoothing
Making it worse as he went, by saying the Captain
was busy, —
Had no time for such things ; — such thing? ! the
words grating harshly
Fell on the ear of Priscilla; and swift as a flash
she made answer:
300 '"[[as he no time for such things, as you call it,
before he is married,
Would he be likely to find it, or make it, after the
That is the way with you men; you don't under-
stand us, you cannot.
When you have made up your minds. afte r think-
ing of- this one and that one,
Choosing, selecting, rejecting, comparing one with
305 Then you make known your desire, with abrupt
and sudden avowal.
And are offended and hurt, and indignant per-
haps, that a woman
Does not respond at once to a love that she never
Does not attain at a bound the height to which
you have been climbing.
This is not right nor just: for surely a woman's
62 Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
310 Is not a thing to be asked for, and had for only
When one is truly in love, one not only says it,
but show? it.
Had he but waited awhile, , had he only showed
that he loved me.
Even this Captain of yours — who knows? — at
last might have won me,
Old and rough as he is ; but now it never can
315 Still John Alden went on, unheeding the words
Urging the suit of his friend, explaining, persuad-
Spoke of his courage and skill, and of all his bat-
tles in Flanders,
How with the people of God he had chosen to
How, in return for his zeal, they had made him
• Captain of Plymouth ;
320 He was a gentleman born, could trace his pedigree
Back to Hugh Standish of Duxbury Hall, in
Lancashire, Engl and.
Who was the son of Ralph, and the grandson of
Thurston de Standish;
Heir unto vast estates, of which he was basely de
Still bore the family arms, and had for his crest
a cock argent
The Courtship of Miles Standish 63
325 Combed and wattled gules, and all the rest of the
He was a man of honor, of noble and generous
Though he was rough, he was kindly; *\w knew
how during the winter
He had attended the sick, with a hand as gentle
Somewhat hasty and hot. he could not deny it,
330 Stern as a soldier might lie. hut hearty, and pla-
Not to be laughed at and scorned, because he was
little of stature :
For he was great of heart, magnanimous, courtly,
Any woman in Plymouth, nay. any woman i
Might be- happy and proud to be called the wife
of Miles Standish !
335 But as he warmed and glowed, in his simple
and eloquent language.
Quite forgetful of self, and full of the praise of
Archly the maiden smiled, and. with eyes over-
running with laughter.
Said, in a tremulous voice, "Why don't you speak
for yourself, John?"
64 Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Into the open air John Alden, perplexed and
340 Rushed like a man insane, and wandered alone
by the sea-side;
Paced up and down the sands, and bared his head
to the east-wind,
Cooling his heated brow, and the fire and lexer
Slowly, as out of the heavens, with apocalyptical
Sank the City of God7 in the vision of John the
345 So, with its cloudy walls of chrysolite, jasper, and
Sank the broad red sun, and over its turrets up-
Glimmered the golden reed of the angel who meas-
ured the city.
"Welcome, wind of the East!" he exclaimed
in his wild exultation,
"Welcome, wind of the East, from the caves
of the misty Atlantic !
9 50 Blowing o'er fields of dulse, and measureless
meadows of sea-grass,
Blowing o'er rocky wastes, and the grottos and
gardens of ocean !
The Courtship of Miles Standish 65
Lay thy cold, moist hand on my burning forehead,
and wrap me
Close in thy garments of mist, to allay the fever
within me !"
Like an awakened conscience, the sea was moan-
ing and tossing,
355 Beating remorseful and loud the mutable sands
of the sea-shore.
Fierce in his soul was the struggle and tumult of
Love triumphant and crowned, and friendship
wounded and bleeding,
Passionate cries of desire, and importunate plead-
ings of duty !
"Is it my fault," he said, "that the maiden has
chosen between us?
360 Is it my fault that he failed, — my fault that I
am the victor?"
Then within him there thundered a voice, like the
voice of the Prophet:
"It hath displeased the Lord !" — and he thought
of David's transgression,
Bathsheba's beautiful face, and his friend in the
front of the battle !
Shame and confusion of guilt, and abasement and
365 Overwhelmed him at once; and he cried in the
deepest contrition :
"It hath displeased the Lord ! It is the tempta-
tion of Satan!"
66 Henry Wadswotfh Longfellow
Then, uplifting hjs head, he looked at the sea,
and beheld there
Dimly the shadowy form of the Mayflower riding
Rocked on the rising tide, and ready to sail on
370 Heard the voices of men through the mist, the
rattle of cordage
Thrown on the deck, the shouts of the mate, and
the sailors" "Ay, ay. Sir!"
Clear and distinct, but not loud, in the dripping
air of the twilight.
Still for a moment he stood, and listened, and
stared at the vessel,
Then went hurriedly on, as one who, seeing a
375 Stops, then quickens his pace, and follows the
''Yes, it is plain to me now," he murmured; "the
hand of the Lord is
Leading me out of the land of darkness, the bond-
age of error,
Through the sea, that shall lift the walls of its
waters around me,
Hiding me, cutting me off, from the cruel thoughts
that pursue me.
380 Back will I go o'er the ocean, this dreary land
Her whom I may not love, and him whom my
heart has offended.
The Courtship of Miles Standish 67
Better to be in my grave in the green old church-
yard in England,
Close by my mother's side, and among the dust
of my kindred :
Better be dead and forgotten, than living in shame
and dishonor !
385 Sacred and safe and unseen, in the dark of the
narrow chamber j
With me my secret shall lie, like a buried- jewel
Bright on the hand that is dust, in the chambers
of silence and darkness, —
Yes, as the marriage ring of the great espousal
Thus as he spake, he turned, in the strength of
his strong resolution,
390 Leaving behind him the shore, and hurried along
in the twilight.
Through the congenial gloom of the forest silent
Till he beheld the lights in the seven houses of
Shining like seven stars in the dusk and mist of
Soon he entered his door, and found the redoubt-
395 Sitting alone, and absorbed in the martial pages
Fighting some great campaign in Hainault or
Brabant or Flanders.
68 Henri/ Wadsworth Longfellow
"Long have you been on your errand; 17 he said
with a cheery demeanor,
Even as one who is waiting an answer, and fears
not the issue.
"Not far off is the house, although the woods are
400 But you have lingered so long, that while you
were going and coming
I have fought ten battles and sacked and demol-
ished a city.
Come, sit down, and in order relate to me all
that has happened."
Then John Alden spake, and related the won-
From beginning to end, minutely, just as it hap-
405 How he had seen Priseilla, and how he had sped
in his courtship,
Only smoothing a little, and softening down her
But when he came at length to the words Priscilla
Words so tender and cruel, "Why don't you speak
for yourself, John?"
Up leaped the Captain of Plymouth, and stamped
on the floor, till his armor
413 Clanged on the wall, where it hung, with a sound
of sinister omen.
All his pent-up wrath burst forth in a sudden
The Courtship of Miles Standish 69
E'en as a hand-grenade, that scatters destruction
Wildly he shouted, and loud: ''John Alden ! yon
have betrayed me !
Me, Miles Standish, your friend ! have supplanted,
defrauded, betrayed me !
415 One of my ancestors ran his sword through the
heart of Wat Tyler ;
Who shall prevent me from running my own
through the heart of a traitor ?
Yours is the greater treason, for yours is a treason
to friendship !
You, who lived under my roof, whom I cherished
and loved as a brother;
You, who have fed at my board, and drunk at my
cup, to whose keeping
420 I have intrusted my honor, my thought the most
sacred and secret, —
You too, Brutus! all, woe to the name of friend-
ship hereafter !
Brutus was Caesars friend, ami you were mine,
Let there be nothing between us save war, and
implacable hatred !"
So spake the Captain of Plymouth, and strode
about in the chamber,
425 Chafing and choking witli rage; like cords were
the veins on his temples.
But in the midst of his anger a man appeared at
70 Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Bringing in uttermost haste a message of urgent
Rumors of danger and war and hostile incursions
of Indians !
Straightway the Captain paused, and. without
further question or parley,
430 Took from the nail on the wall his sword with
its scabbard of iron.
Buckled the belt round his waist, and, frowning
Alden was left alone. He heard the clank of the
Growing fainter and fainter, and dying away in
Then he arose from his seat, and looked forth into
435 Felt the cool air blow on his cheek, that was hot
with the insult.
Lifted his eyes to the heavens, and, folding his
hands as in childhood,
Prayed in the silence of night to the Father who
seeth in secret.
Meanwhile the choleric Captain strode wrathful
away to the council.
Pound it already assembled, impatiently waiting
his coming ;
440 Men in the middle of life, austere and grave in
Only one of them old. t\w hill that was nearest
The Courtship of Miles Standish 71
Covered with snow, bui erect, the excellent Elder
God had sifterl three kingdoms to find the wheal
for this planting,
Then had sifted the wheat, as the living seed of
a nation ;
445 So say the chronicles old, and such is the faith of
the people !
Xear them was standing an Indian, in attitude
stern and defiant.
Naked down to the waist, and grim and ferocious
in aspect ;
While on the table before them was. lying un-
opened a Bible.
Ponderous, bound in leather, brass-studded,
printed in Holland,
I5Q And beside it outstretched the skin of a rattlesnake
Filled, like a quiver, with arrows: a signal and
challenge of warfare.
Brought by the Indian, and speaking with arrowy
tongues of defiance.
This Miles Standish beheld, as he entered, and
heard them debating
What were an answer befitting the hostile message
455 Talking- of this and of that, contriving, suggesting,
One voice only for peace, and that the voice of
72 [( nry Wadsworth Longfellow
Judging it wise and well that some at least were
Rather than any were slain, for this was but
Christian behavior !
Then out spake Miles Standish, the stalwart Cap-
tain of Plymouth,
460 Muttering deep in his throat, for his voice was
husky with anger,
"What! do you mean to make war with milk and
the water of roses?
Is it to shoot red squirrels you have your howitzer
There on the roof of the church, or is it to shoot
Truly the only tongue that is understood by a
465 Must be the tongue of fire that speaks from the
mouth of the cannon !"
Thereupon answered and said the excellent Elder
Somewhat amazed and alarmed at this irreverent
"Not so thought Saint Paul, nor yet the other
Not from the cannon's mouth were the tongues of
fire they spake with !"
470 But unheeded fell this mild rebuke on the Cap-
Who had advanced to the table, and thus con-
The Courtship of Miles Standish 73
"Leave this matter to me, for to me by right it
War is a terrible trade; but in the cause that is
Sweet is the smell of powder; and thus I answer
the challenge !"
473 Then from the rattlesnake's skin, with a sud-
den, contemptuous gesture,
Jerking the Indian arrows, he filled it with powder
Full to the very jaws, and handed it back to the
Saying, in thundering tones : "Here, take it ! this
is your answer !"
Silently out of the room then glided the glisten-
480 Bearing the serpent's skin, and seeming himself
like a serpent,
Winding his sinuous way in the dark to the depths
of the forest.
THE SAILING OF THE MAYFLOWER.
Just in the gray of the dawn, as the mists
uprose from the meadows,
There was a stir and a sound in the slumbering
village of Plymouth;
Clanging and clicking of arms, and the order im-
perative, "Forward !"
74 Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
485 Given in tone suppressed, a tramp of feet, and
Figures ten, in the mist, marched slowly out of
Standish the stalwart it was. with eight of his
Led by their Indian guide, by Ilobomok, friend
of the white men.
Northward marching to quell the sudden revolt
of the savage.
490 Giants they seemed in the mist, or the mighty
men of King David;
Giants in heart they were, who believed in God
and the Bible, —
Ay, who believed in the smiting of Midianites and
Over them gleamed far off the crimson banners of
Under them loud on the sands, the serried billows,
495 Fired along the line, and in regular order re-
Many a mile had they marched, when at length
the village of Plymouth
Woke from its sleep, and arose, intent on its
Sweet was the air and soft ; and slowly the smoke
from the chimneys
Eose over roofs of thatch, and pointed steadily-
The Courtship of Miles Standish 75
500 Men came forth from the doors, and paused and
talked of the weather.
Said that the wind had changed, and was blowing
fair for the Mayflower;
Talked of their Captain's departure, and all the
dangers that menaced.
He being gone, the* town, and what should be
done in his absence.
Merrily sang the birds, and the tender voices of
505 Consecrated with hymns the common cares of the
Out of the sea rose the sun, and the billows re-
joiced at his coming;
Beautiful were his feet on the purple tops of the
Beautiful on the sails of the Mayflower riding al
Battered and blackened and worn by all the storms
of the winter.
510 Loosely against her masts was hanging and Hap-
ping her canvas,
Rent by so many gales, and patched by the hands
of the sailors.
Suddenly from her side, as the sun rose over the
Darted a puff of smoke, and floated seaward : anon
Loud over field and forest the canon's roar, and
76 Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
515 Heard and repeated the sound, the signal-gun of
Ah ! but with louder echoes replied the hearts of
Meekly, in voices subdued, the chapter was read
from the Bible,
Meekly the prayer was begun, but ended in fervent
Then from their houses in haste came forth/ the
Pilgrims of Plymouth,
520 Men and women and children, all hurrying down
to the sea-shore,
Eager, with tearful eyes, to say farewell to the
Homeward bound o'er the sea, and leaving them
here in the desert.
Foremost among them was Alden. All night
he had lain without slumber,
Turning and tossing about in the heat and unrest
of his fever.
525 He had beheld Miles Standish, who came back
late from the council,
, Stalking into the room, and heard him mutter
Sometimes it seemed a prayer, and sometimes it
sounded like swearing.
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 :
The Courtship of Miles Standish 77
530 Let him sleep on, it is best; for what is the use
of more talking !"
Then he extinguished the light, and threw him-
self down on his pallet,
Dressed as he was, and ready to start at the break
of the morning, —
Covered himself witli the cloak he had worn in
his campaigns in Flanders, —
Slept as a soldier sleeps in his bivouac, ready for
535 But with the dawn he arose; in the twilight Alden
Put on his corselet of steel, and all the rest of his
Buckle about his waist his trusty Made of Da-
Take from the corner his musket, and so stride out
of the chamber.
Often the heart of the youth had burned and
yearned to embrace him,
540 Often his lips had essayed to speak, imploring for
All the old friendship came back with its tender
and grateful emotions:
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
78 Henry Wadstfforth Longfellow
)45 Saw him go forth to danger, perhaps to death, and
lie spake not!
Then he arose from his bed, and heard what the
people were saying,
Joined in the talk at the door, with Stephen and
Richard and Gilbert,
Joined in the morning prayer, and in the reading
And. with the others, in haste went hurrying
down to the sea-shore.
»50 Down to the Plymouth Rock, that had been to
their feet as a doorstep
Into a world unknown, — the corner-stone of a
There with his boat was the Master, already a
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,
555 Speaking with this one and that, and cramming
letters and parcels
Into ln's pockets capacious, and messages mingled
Into lii's narrow brain, till at last he was wholly
Nearer the boat stood Alden, with one foot placed
on the gunwale.
One still firm on the rock, and talking at times
with the sailors,
The Courtship of Miles Standish 79
560 Seated erect on the thwarts, all ready and eager
He too was eager to go. and thus put an end to
Thinking to fly # from despair, that swifter than
keel is or canvas.
Thinking to drown in the sea the ghost that would
rise and pursue him.
But as he gazed on the crowd, he heheld the form
5C5 Standing dejected among them, unconscious of all
that was passing.
Fixed were her eyes upon his, as if she divined
Fixed with a look so sad, so reproachful, implor-
ing, and patient,
That with a sudden revulsion his heart recoiled
from its purpose,
As from the verge of a crag, where one step more
570 'Strange is the heart of man, with its quick, mys-
terious instincts !
Strange is the life of man, and fatal or fated are
Whereupon turn, as on hinges, the gates of the
wall adamantine !
"Here I 'remain!" hp exclaimed, as he looked at
the heavens above him.
Thanking the Lord whose breath had scattered the
mist and the madness,
80 Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
575 Wherein, blind and lost, to death he was stagger-
"Yonder snow-white cloud, that floats in the ether
Seems like a hand that is pointing and beckoning
over the ocean.
There is another hand, that is not so spectral and
Holding me, drawing me back, and clasping mine
580 Float, 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
There is no land so sacred, no air so pure and so
As is the air she breathes, and the soil that is
pressed by her footsteps.
585 > Here for her sake will I stay, and like an invisible
Hover around her forever, protecting, supporting
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 dignified
air and important.
The Courtship of Miles Standish 81
590 Scanning" with watchful eve 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 care-
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,
595 (Had in his heart to get rid of all this worry and
Glad to be gone from a land of sand and sickness
Short allowance of victual, and plenty of nothing
but Gospel !
Lost in the sound of the oars was the last farewell
of the Pilgrims.
strong hearts and true ! not one went back in
600 No, not one looked back, who had set his hand to
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
Blowing steady and strong: and the Mayflower
sailed from the harbor,
82 Henry Wadsworth Longfelloiv
605 Rounded the point of the Gurnet, and leaving far
to the southward
Island and cape of sand, and the Field of the
Took the wind on her quarter, and stood for the
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,
610 Much endeared to them all, as something living
and human :
Then, as if filled with the spirit, and wrapt in a
Baring his hoary head, the excellent Elder of
Said, "Let us pray !' ? and they prayed, and thanked
the Lord and took courage.
Mournfully sohhed the waves at the base of the
rock, and above them
615 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.
Sun-illumined and white, on the eastern verge of
Gleamed the departing sail, like a marble slab in
a graveyard ;
Buried beneath it lay forever all hope of escaping.
The Courtship of Miles Standish 83
620 Lo! as they turned to depart, they saw the form
of an Indian.
Watching them from the hill; but while they
spake with each other.
Pointing with outstretched hands, and saving,
"Look !" he had vanished.
So they returned to their homes: but Alden lin-
gered a little.
Musing alone on the shore, and watching the wash
of the billows
625 Round the base of the rock, and the sparkle and
flash of the sunshine.
Like the spirit of God. moving visibly over the
Thus for a while he stood, and mused by the
shore of the ocean.
Thinking of many things, and most of all of
And as if thought had the power to draw to itself,
like the loadstone,
630 Whatsoever it touches, by subtile lavs of its na-
Lo ! as he turned to depart, Priscilla was standing
"Are you so much offended, you will not speak-
to me?" said she.
84 Henry Wadswofth Longfellow
"Am I so much to blame, that yesterday, when
you were pleading
Warmly the cause of another, my heart, impulsive
635 Pleaded your own, and spake out, forgetful per-
haps of decorum?
Certainly you can forgive me for speaking so
frankly, for saying
What I ought not to have said, yet now T 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
640 Drops some careless word, it overflows, and its
Spilt on the ground like water, can never be
Yesterday I was shocked, when I heard you speak
of Miles Standish,
Praising his virtues, transforming his very de-
fects into virtues,
Praising his courage and strength, and even his
righting in Flanders,
645 As if by righting alone you could win the heart
of a woman,
Quite overlooking } r ourself and the rest, in exalt-
ing your hero.
Therefore I spake as I did, by an irresistible
The Courts]; ip of Miles Standish 85
You will forgive me, I hope, for the sake of the
friendship between us,
Which is too true and too sacred to be so easily
650 Thereupon answered John Alden, the scholar, the
friend of Miles Standish :
"I was not angry with you, with myself alone I
Seeing how badly I managed the matter I had in
"No!" interrupted the maiden, with answer
prompt and decisive ;
*'*Xo; you were angry with me, for speaking so
frankly and freely.
655 It was wrong, I acknowledge: for it is the fate
of a woman
Long to be patient and silent, to wait like a ghost
that is speechless,
Till some questioning voice dissolves the spell of
Hence is the inner life of so many suffering women
Sunless and silent and deep, like subterranean
660 Running through caverns of darkness, unheard,
unseen, and unfruitful,
Chafing their channels of stone, with endless and
Thereupon answered John A Id en. the young man,
the lover of women :
"Heaven forbid it, Priscilla; and truly they seem
to me always
86 Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
More like the beautiful rivers that watered the
garden of Eden,
€65 More like the river Euphrates, through deserts of
Filling the land with delight, and memories sweet
of the garden \"
"Ah, by these words, I can see/' again inter-
rupted the maiden,
"How very little you prize me, or care for what
I am saying.
When from the depths of my heart, in pain and
with secret misgiving,
670 Frankly I speak to you, asking for sympathy only
Straightway you take up my words, that are plain
and direct and in earnest,
Turn them away from their meaning, and answer
with flattering phrases.
This is not right, is not just, is not true to the
best that is in you;
For I know and esteem you, and feel that your
nature is noble,
675 Lifting mine up to a higher, a more ethereal level,
Therefore I value your friendship, and feel it
perhaps the more keenly
If you say aught that implies I am only as one
If you make use of those common and compli-
Most men think so line, in dealing and speaking
The Courtship of Miles Standish 87
30 But which women reject as insipid, if not as
Mute and amazed was Alden : and listened and
looked at Priscilla,
Thinking he never had seen her more fair, more
divine in her beauty.
He who but yesterday pleaded so glibly the cause
Stood there embarrassed and silent, and seeking in
vain for an answer.
685 So the maiden went on, and little divined or im-
What was at work in his heart, that made him so
awkward and speechless.
"Let us, then, be what we are. and speak what
we think, and in all things
Keep ourselves loyal to truth, and the sacred
professions of friendship.
It is no secret I tell yon, nor am I ashamed to
690 I have liked to be with you, to set 3 you, to speak
with you always.
So I was hurt at your words, and a little affronted
to hear you
Urge me to marry your friend, though he were
the Captain Miles Standish.
For I must tell you the truth : much more to me
is your friendship
Than all the love he could give, were he twice the
hero vou think him."
88 Henry Wadswurth Longfellow
695 Then she extended her hand, and Alden, who
eagerly grasped it,
Felt all the wonnds in his heart, that were aching
and bleeding so sorely,
Healed by the touch of that hand, and he said
with a voice full of feeling:
"Yes, we must ever be friends; and of all who
offer you friendship
Let me be ever the first, the truest, the nearest
and dearest \"
700 Casting a farewell look at the glimmering sail
of the Mayflower
Distant, but still in sight, and sinking below the
Homeward together they walked, with a strange,
That all the rest had departed and left them alone
in the desert.
But, as they went through the fields in the blessing
and smile of the sunshine,
705 Lighter grew their hearts, and Priscilla said very
"Now that our terrible Captain has gone in pur-
suit of the Indians,
Where he is happier far than he wxmld be com-
manding a household,
You may speak boldly, and tell me of all that
happened between you,
When you returned last night, and said how un-
grateful you found me."
The Courtship of Miles Stcmdish 89
710 Thereupon answered John Alden, and told her the
whole of the story, —
Told her his own despair, and the direful wrath
of Miles Standish.
Whereat the maiden smiled, and said between
laughing and earnest,
"He is a little chimney, and heated hot in a
But as he gently rebuked her, and told her how he
had suffered, —
715 How he had even determined to sail that day in
And had remained for her sake, on hearing the
dangers that threatened, —
All her manner was changed, and she said with a
"Truly I thank you for this: how good you have
been to me always !"
Thus, as a pilgrim devout, who toward Jerusa-
720 Taking three steps in advance, and one reluctantly
Urged by importunate zeal, and withheld by pangs
- - of contrition;
Slowly but steadily onward, receding yet ever ad-
Journeyed this Puritan youth to the Holy Land
of his longings,
Urged by the fervor of love, and withheld by re-
90 Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
THE MARCH OF MILES STANDI SH.
725 Meanwhile the stalwart Miles Standish was march-
ing steadily northward,
Winding through forest and swamp, and along
the trend of the sea-shore,
All day long, with hardly a halt, the tire of his
Burning and crackling within, and the sulphurous
odor of powder
Seeming more sweet to his nostrils than all the
scents of the forest.
•no Silent and moody he went, and much he revolved
his discomfort :
He who was used to success, and to easy victories
Thus to be flouted, rejected, and laughed to scorn
by a maiden,
Thus to be mocked and betrayed by the friend
whom most he had trusted !
Ah ! 'twas too much to be borne, and he fretted
and chafed, in his armor!
f35 "I alone am to blame/' he muttered, "for mine
was the folly.
What has a rough old soldier, grown grim and
gTay in the harness,
Used to the camp and its ways, to do with the
wooing of maidens?
The Courtship of Miles Standish 91
'T was but a dream. — let it pass. — let it vanish
like so in any others !
What T thought was a flower, is only a weed, and
is worthless :
740 Out of my heart will T pluck it. and throw it
away, and henceforward
Be but a tighter of battles, a lover and wooer of
Thus he revolved in his mind bis sorry defeat and
While be was marching by day or lying at night
in the forest.
Looking up at the trees and the constellations be-
745 After a three days' march be came to an Indian
Pitched on the edge of a meadow, between the
sea and the forest :
Women at work by the tents, and warriors, horrid
Seated about a fire, and smoking and talking to-
"Who. when they saw from afar the sudden ap-
proach of the white men.
750 Saw the flash of the sun on breastplate and sabre
Straightway leaped to their feet, and two, from
among them advancing.
Came to parley with Standish, and offer him furs
as a present;
92 Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Friendship was in their looks, but in their hearts
there was hatred.
Braves of the tribe were these, and brothers, gi-
gantic in stature,
755 Huge as Goliath of Gath, or the terrible Og, king
One was Pecksuot named, and the other was
Round their necks were suspended their knives
in scabbards of jvampum,
Two-edged, trenchant knives, with points as sharp
as a needle.
Other arms had they none, for they were cunning
760 "Welcome, English \" they said, — these words
they had learned from the traders
Touching at times on the coast, to barter and
chaffer for peltries.
Then in their native tongue they began to parley
with Stand ish.
Through his guide and interpreter, Hobomok,
friend of the white man,
Begging for blankets and knives, but mostly for
muskets and powder,
765 Kept by the white man, they said, concealed, with
the plague, in his cellars,
Ready to be let loose, and destroy his brother the
red man !
But when Standish refused, and said he would
give them the Bible,
The Courtship of Miles Standish 93
Suddenly changing' their tone, they began to boast
and to bluster.
Then Wattawamat advanced with a stride in front
of the other,
7™ And, with a lofty demeanor, thus vauntingly spake
to the Captain :
"Now Wattawamat can see, by the fiery eyes of
Angry is he in his heart: but the heart of the
Is not afraid at the sight. He was not born of
But on a mountain, at night, from an oak-tree
riven by lightning.
775 Forth he sprang at a bound, with all his weapons
Shouting, 'Who is there here to fight with the
brave Wattawamat?' "
Then he unsheathed his knife, and, whetting the
blade on his left hand,
Held it aloft and displayed a woman's face on the
Saying, with bitter expression and look of sinister
780 "I have another at home, with the face of a man
on the handle:
By and. by they shall marry; and there will be
plenty of children !"
Then stood Peeksuot forth, self- vaunting, in-
sulting Miles Standish :
94 Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
While with his fingers he patted the knife that
hung at his bosom,
Drawing it half from its sheath, and plunging it
back, as he muttered,
785 "By and by it shall see: it shall eat; ah, ha! but
shall speak not !
This is the mighty Captain the white men have
sent to destroy us !
He is a little man: let him go and work with the
Meanwhile Standish had noted the faces and
figures of Indians
Peeping and creeping about from bush to tree in
■»90 Feigning to look for game, with arrows set on
Drawing about him still closer and closer the net
of their ambush.
But undaunted lie stood, and dissembled and
treated them smoothly:
So the old chronicles say, that were writ in the
days of the fathers.
Bui when he heard their defiance, the boast, the
taunt and the insult,
T95 All the hot blood of Ids race, of Sir Hugh and
of Thurston de Standish,
Boiled and beat in his heart, and swelled in the
veins of his temples.
Headlong he leaped on the boaster, and, snatch-
ing Ids knife from its scabbard,
The Courtship of Miles Standisli 95
Plunged it into his heart, and. reeling backward,
Fell with his face to the sky, and a fiend like fierce-
ness upon it.
) Straight there arose from the forest the awful
sound of the war-whoop,
And, like a flurry of snow on the whistling wind
Swift and sudden and keen came a flight of
Then came a cloud of smoke, and out of the cloud
came the lightning,
Out of the lightning thunder; and death unseen
ran before it.
803 Frightened the savages fled for shelter in swamp
and in thicket.
Hotly pursued and beset : but their sachem, the
Fled not: he was dead. Unswerving and swift
had a bullet
Passed through his brain, and he fell with both
hands clutching the greensward,
Seeming in death to hold hack from his foe the
land of his fathers.
819 There on the flowers of the meadow the war-
riors lay, and above them.
Silent, with folded arm-, -food Hohomok, friend
of the white man.
Smiling at length he exclaimed to the stalwart
Captain of Plymouth :
96 Henry Wads worth Longfellow
"Pecksuot bragged very loud, of his courage, his
strength and his stature, —
Mocked the great Captain, and called him a little
man; but I see now
815 Big enough have you been to lay him speechless
before you !"
Thus the first battle was fought and won by the
stalwart Miles Standish.
When the tidings thereof were brought to the vil-
lage of Plymouth,
And as a trophy of war the head of the brave
Scowled from the roof of the fort, which at once
was a church and a fortress,
320 All who beheld it rejoiced, and praised the Lord,
and took courage.
Only Priscilla averted her face from this spectre
Thanking God in her heart that she had not mar-
ried Miles Standish;
Shrinking, fearing almost, lest, coming home from
He should lay claim to her hand, as the prize and
reward of his valor.
THE SPINNING WHEEL.
825 Month after month passed away, and in autumn
the ships of the merchants
The Courtship of Miles Standish 97
Came with kindred and friends, with rattle and
corn for the Pilgrims.
All in the village was peace; the men were intent
on their labors,
Busy with hewing and building, with garden-plot
and with merestead,
Bus}' with breaking the glebe, and mowing the
grass in the meadows,
830 Searching the sea for its fish, and hunting the
deer in the forest.
All in the village was peace; but at times the
rumor of warfare
Filled the air with alarm, and the apprehension
Bravely the stalwart Standish was scouring the
land with his forces,
Waxing valiant in fight and defeating the alien
835 Till his name had become a sound of fear to the
Anger was still in his heart, but at times the re-
morse and contrition
Which in all noble natures succeed the passionate
Came like a rising tide, that encounter? the rush
of a river,
Staying its current awhile, but making it bitter
840 Meanwhile Alden at home had built him a new
98 Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Solid, substantial, of timber rough-hewn from
the firs of the forest.
Wooden-barred was the door, and the roof was
covered with rushes;
Latticed the windows were, and the window-panes
were of paper,
Oiled to admit the light, while wind and rain
*4o There too he dug a well, and around it planted an
Still may be seen to this day some trace of the well
and the orchard.
Close to the house was the stall, where, safe and
secure from annoyance,
liaghorn, the snow-white bull, that had fallen to
In the division of cattle, might ruminate in the
850 Over the pastures he cropped, made fragrant by
Oft when his labor was finished, with eager feet
would the dreamer
Follow the pathway that ran through the woods
to the house of Priscilla,
Led by illusions romantic and subtile deceptions
Pleasure disguised as duty, and love in the
semblance of friendship.
855 Ever of her he thought, when he fashioned the
walls of his dwelling;
The Courtship of Miles Standish 99
Ever of her he thought, When he delved in the
soil of his garden ;
Ever of her he thought, when he read in l> ; - Bible
Praise of the virtuous woman, as she is described
in the Proverbs, —
How the heart of her husband doth safely trust
in her always,
860 How all the days of her life she will do him good,
and not evil,
How she seekcth the wool and the flax and woik-
eth with gladness,
How she layeth her hand to the spindle and hold-
eth the distaff,
How she is not afraid of the snow for herself or
Knowing her household are clothed with the
scarlet cloth of her weaving!
865 So as she sat at her wheel one afternoon in the
Aklen, who opposite sat, and was watching her
As if the thread she was spinning were thai of
his life and his fortune,
After a pause in their talk, thus spake to the sound
of the spindle.
"Truly, Priscilla," he said, "when I see you spin-
ning and spinning,
870 Never idle a moment, but thrifty and thoughtful
100 Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Suddenly you are transformed, are visibly changed
in a moment :
You are no longer Priscilla, but Bertha the Beau-
Here the light foot on the treadle grew swifter
and swifter; the spindle
Uttered an angry snarl, and the thread snapped
short in her fingers :
375 While the impetuous speaker, not heeding the
mischief, continued :
"You are the beautiful Bertha, the spinner, the
queen of Helvetia ;
She whose story I read at a stall in the streets
Who, as she rode on her palfrey, o'er valley and
meadow and mountain,
Ever was spinning her thread from a distaff fixed
to her, saddle.
•880 She was so thrifty and good, that her name passed
into a proverb.
So shall it be with your own, when the spinning-
wheel shall no longer
Hum in the house of the farmer, and fill its
chambers with music.
Then shall the mothers, reproving, relate how it
was in their childhood,
Praising the good old times, and the days of
Priscilla the spinner \"
885 Straight uprose from her wheel the beautiful
The Courtship of Miles Standish 101.
Pleased with the praise of her thrift from him
whose praise was the sweetest,
Drew from the reel on the table a snowy skein
of her spinning,
Thus making answer, meanwhile, to the flattering
phrases of Alclen :
"Come, you must not be idle: if I am a pattern
-S93 Show yourself equally worthy of being the model
- Hold this skein on your hands, while I wind it,
ready for knitting;
Then who knows but hereafter, when fashions have
changed and the manners,
Fathers may talk to their sons of the good old
times of John Alden I"
Thus, with a jest and a laugh, the skein on his
hands she adjusted,
895 He sitting awkwardly there, with his arms ex-
tended before him,
She standing graceful, erect, and winding .the
thread from his fingers,
Sometimes chiding a little his clumsy manner of
Sometimes touching his hands, as she disentangled
Twist or knot in the yarn, unawares — for how
could she help* it ? —
900 Sending electrical thrills through every nerve in
102 Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Lo ! in the midst of this scene, a breathless
Bringing in hurry and heat the terrible news from
' the village.
Yes ; Miles Standish was dead ! — an Indian had
brought them the tidings, —
Slain by a poisoned arrow, shot down in the front
of the battle,
905 Into an ambush beguiled, cut off with the whole
of his forces ;
All the town would be burned, and all the people
be murdered !
Such were the tidings of evil that burst on the
hearts of the hearers.
Silent and statue-like stood Priscilla, her face
Still at the face of the speaker, her arms uplifted
9io But John Alden, upstarting, as if the barb of the
Piercing the heart of his friend had struck his
own, and had sundered
Once and forever the bonds that held him bound
as a captive,
Wild with excess of sensation, the awful delight
of his freedom,"
Mingled with pain and regret, unconscious of what
he was doing,
915 Clasped, almost with a groan, the motionless form
The Courtship of Miles Standish 103
Pressing her close to his heart, as forever his own,
and exclaiming :
"Those whom the Lord hath united, let no man
put them asunder I"
Even as rivulets twain, from distant and sepa-
Seeing each other afar, as they leap from the
rocks, and pursuing
920 Each one its devious path, but drawing nearer
Rush together at last, at their trysting-place in
the forest ;
So these lives that had run thus far in separate
Coming in sight of each other, then swerving and
Parted by barriers strong, but drawing nearer and
925 Rushed together at last, and one was lost in the
THE WEDDING DAY.
Forth from the curtain of clouds, from the tent
of purple and scarlet,
Issued the sun, the great High- Priest, in his
Holiness unto the Lord, in letters of light, on his
104 Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Round the hem of his robe the golden bells and
930 Blessing the world he came, and the bars of vapor
Gleamed like a grate of brass, and the sea at his
feet was a laver !
This was the wedding mora of Priscilla the
Friends were assembled together; the Elder and
Graced the scene with their presence, and stood
like the Law and the Gospel,
935 One with the sanction of earth and one with the
blessing of heaven.
Simple and brief was the wedding as that of Ruth
and of Boaz.
Softly th^ youth and the maiden repeated the
words of betrothal,
Taking each other for husband and wife in the
After the Puritan way, and the laudable custom
■940 Fervently then and devoutly, the excellent Elder
Prayed for the hearth and the home, that were
founded that day in affection,
Speaking of life and of death, and imploring
Lo ! when the service was ended, a form ap-
peared on the threshold,
The Courtship of Miles Standish 105
Clad in armor of steel, a sombre and sorrowful
945 Why does the bridegroom start and stare at the
Why does the bride turn pale, and hide her face
on his shoulder ?
Is it a phantom of air, — a bodiless, spectral illu-
Is it a ghost from the grave, that has come to
forbid the betrothal ?
Long had it stood there unseen, a guest uninvited,
950 Over its clouded eyes there had passed at times
an expression .
Softening the gloom and revealing the warm heart
hidden beneath them,
As when across the sky the driving rack of the
Grows for a moment thin, and betrays the sun
by its brightness.
Once it had lifted its hand, and moved its lips,
but was silent,
955 As if an iron will had mastered the fleeting inten-
But when were ended the troth and the prayer
and the last benediction,
Into the room it strode, and the people beheld
Bodily there in his armor Miles Standish, the
Captain of Plymouth !
106 Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Grasping the bridegroom's hand, he said with
emotion, "Forgi ve me !
460 I have been angry and hurt, — too long have I
cherished the feeling ;
I have been cruel and hard, but now. thank God!
it is ended.
Mine is the same hot blood that leaped in the veins
of Hugh Standish,
Sensitive, swift to resent, but as swift in atoning
Never so much as now was Miles Standish the
friend of John Aid en. v
£65 Thereupon answered the bridegroom: "Let all be
forgotten between us, —
All save the dear old friendship, and that shall
grow older and dearer !"
Then the Captain advanced, and, bowing, saluted
Gravely, and after the manner of old-fashioned
gentry in England,
Something of camp and of court, of town and of
.970 Wishing her joy of her wedding, and loudly laud-
ing her husband.
Then he said with a smile: "I should have re-
membered the adage, —
If you would be well served, you must serve your-
self ; and moreover,
Xo man can gather cherries in Kent at the season
of Christmas !"
The Courtship of Miles Standish 10?
Great was the people's amazement, and greater
yet their rejoicing,
1)75 Thus to behold once more the sunburnt fare of
AYhom they had mourned as dead; and they gath-
ered and crowded about him,
Eager to see him and hear nim, forgetful of bride
and of bridegroom,
Questioning, answering, laughing, and each inter-
rupting the other,
Till the good Captain declared, being quite over-
powered and bewildered,
HO He had rather by far break into an Indian en-
Than come again to a wedding to which he bad
not been invited..
Meanwhile the bridegroom went forth and stood
with the bride at the doorway,
Breathing the perfumed air of that warm and
Touched with autumnal tints, but lonely and sad
in the sunshine,
985 Lay extended before them the land of toil and
There were the graves of the dead, and the barren
waste of the sea-shore.
There the familiar fields, the groves of pine, and
the meadows :
But to their eyes transfigured, it seemed as the
Garden of Eden,
108 Hennj Wadsworth Longfelloiv
Filled with the presence of God, whose voice was
the sound of the ocean.
990 Soon was their vision disturbed by the noise and
stir of departure,
Friends coming forth from the house, and im-
patient of longer delaying,
Each with his plan for the da} r , and the work
that was left uncompleted.
Then from a stall near at hand, amid exclamations
Alden the thoughtful, the careful, so happy, so
proud of Priscilla,
995 Brought out his snow-white bull, obeying the hand
of its master,
Led by a cord that was tied to an iron ring in its
Covered with crimson cloth, and a cushion placed
for a saddle.
She should not walk, he said, through the dust
and heat of the noonday;
Nay, she should ride like a queen, not plod along
like a peasant.
iooo Somewhat alarmed at first, but reassured by tin'
Placing her hand on the cushion, her foot in the
hand of her husband,
Gayly, with joyous laugh, Priscilla mounted her
"Nothing is wanting now,' 7 he said with a smile,
"but the distaff;
The Courtship of Miles Standish 109.
Then you would be in truth my queen, my beauti-
ful Bertha !"
loos Onward the bridal procession now moved to
their new habitation,
Happy husband and wife, and friends conversing
Pleasantly murmured the brook, as they crossed
the ford in the forest,
pleased with the image that passed, like a dream
of love through its bosom,
Tremulous, floating in air, o'er the depths of the -
1010 Down through the golden leaves the sun was pour-
ing his splendors,
Gleaming on purple grapes, that, from branches
above them suspended,
Mingled their odorous breath with* the balm of
the pine and the fir-tree,
Wild and sweet as the clusters that grew in the
valley of Eshcol.
Like a picture it seemed of the primitive, pastoral
1015 Fresh with the youth of the world, and recalling
Eebecca and Isaac,
Old and yet ever new, and simple and beautiful
Love immortal and young in the endless succession
So through the Plymouth woods passed onward
the bridal procession.
JOHN GEEEXLEAF WHITTIER.
Whittier was born near Haverhill, Massachusetts.
December IT, 1807. He sprang from a race of sturdy
Quaker farmers, whose men were inured to rough
manual labor and whose women added to their house-
hold duties patient toil at the wheel or loom. Whit-
tier himself was not of robust frame, and the hard-
ships and exposure he underwent in early life im-
paired his health for the rest of his days. Yet his
contact with mother earth and his knowledge of rural
customs were to be of the greatest service to him.
That he was not embittered by privations the readers
of Snow -Bound know.
The family was very loyal to the religious tenets
of the Quakers. Indeed, it will go far to explain
Whittier if we bear it in mind that he was a Quaker
amid Puritan surroundings. His formal education
was meagre. He spent a few weeks each year in
the district school, the teacher of which "boarded
round" with the patrons; and he devoured eagerly
the scanty contents of the family library — the Bible,
almanacs, religious pamphlets, and lives of the
Quaker worthies. Through the kindness of a teacher
a copy of Burns came into his hands. It stirred
all his slumbering faculties ; and from this time.
112 John Greenleaf Whittier
as he tells us, he began to make rhymes for
himself, and to imagine stories and adventures.
A sister, without consulting him, forwarded one of
his poems to William Lloyd Garrison, then in charge
of a local newspaper. So impressed was the editor
that he rode out to see the boyish poet, and in their
well-known interview he urged an academic training.
The elder Whittier, partly from prejudice against
Kterary culture but more from the stringent condi-
tion of his finances, gave little encouragement. Whit-
tier resorted, nevertheless, to making shoes and to
employment at keeping books, and thus paid his way
for two terms at Haverhill Academy. For a number
of years after this he was connected with various
papers, though returning at intervals to his home
that he might recuperate his health or succor the
family fortunes. All the while he was turning off
verse of a comparatively facile type, much of it deal-
ing with New England legendary, lore.
Moreover, he was growing deeply interested in
political matters. Shrewd, sympathetic, endowed
with unusual skill to foresee the drift of events, he
wielded an increasing influence in the affairs of com-
munity, section, and nation. He never held, it is true,
a higher position than that of representative from his
county in the state legislature; his work was of the
practical kind that emanates from the power behind
the throne. Yet outward recognition, too, in the form
of a nomination for Congress lay almost in his grasp,
when in 1833 he deliberately chose a course that
blasted his political prospects. He joined the aboli-
John Greenleaf Whittier 113
tion movement. The cause was at that time highly
unpopular, even in the North ; and its advocates were
regarded much as we look upon anarchists today.
The whole soul of Whittier was enlisted, however —
so much so that during the years in which he should
have been most productive he in no wise concentrated
his energy for a master effort in literature. There
could be no better illustration of his unvarying con-
viction that the most important thing in his life was
his work of reform and not his service of the Muses.
Yet he hurled forth stanzas that rang with appeal
and denunciation. He also edited a series of aboli-
tion papers and became, after a time, a regular con-
tributor to a well-known anti-slavery journal, the
National Era. Seeing only the awful side of slavery,
and because of his outspoken stand suffering the per-
secutions of the mob, he differed, nevertheless, from
the school of Garrison in wishing to get rid of the
evil through existing forces and institutions. He
realized that on many subjects of a moral nature
practical politics may have a bearing. He had this
in mind when he exclaimed : "How absurd is moral
action apart from political !"
In 1836 he had moved to Amesbury. In this vil-
lage he lived for forty years, or until he took up his
residence with his kinsfolk at Oak Knoll, in Danvers.
From poverty, poor health, or a Quaker reluctance to
link himself with one outside his own sect, he never
married. His most intimate companion was his sister
Elizabeth, wh6 died in 1864. From the ties of home
and from admiration for the children of rugged toil
114 John Greenleaf Whittier
he had been too loyal to break away wholly, even
during the period when he had been engrossed
with the slavery question. With such militant vol-
umes as Ballads (1838), Anti-Slavery Poems (1838),
and Voices of Freedom (1841), he mingled the softer
strains of Lays of My Home (1843) and the peace-
loving Songs of Labor (1850). During the hostilities
between North and South he incited the Union
soldiers, whom his religion forbade him to join, to
more earnest exertion with an occasional fire-born
ballad like Barbara Frietchie; and he greeted the out-
come -of the struggle with the ecstatic and fervent
Laus Deo. What depths of serenity, of forbearance,
and of humble faith lay beneath his animated zeal
may be judged from The Eternal Goodness, which
was written about this time.
With the appearance of Snow-Bound in 1866 began
the third and, poetically, the most fruitful of the
periods of Whittier's life. Public matters still inter-
ested him greatly, but no longer usurped all his en-
ergy. Moreover, he was no longer on the unpopular
side of great questions, and people had learned to
admire the sturdy courage he had shown. Literary
recognition was freely accorded. The publication of
SnoiD-Bound freed him from financial vexation, and
he now had leisure for the reading he had so long
neglected, as well as for the cultivation of poetry
that was not merely the servant of ulterior aims. In
.\867 appeared The Tent on the Beach, two years
irter Among the Hills, and in 1870 the Ballad* of
New England. The life of the old poet continued
John Greenleaf Whittier 115
until September 7, 1892 — its eighty-fifth year.
Among Whittier's last words were: "Love — love to ail
Much as we may admire the character of a writer,
we must judge his works solely on the basis of their
own merit. It is no extenuation;, therefore, of the
blemishes in Whittier's poetry that his life was singu-
larly free from blemish. And flaws in his poetry are
frequent. One of them is an inequality due to dif-
fuseness. Whittier lacked the stern censorship to
reject commonplace stanzas and the artistic judgment
to know when to leave off. He possessed from the
beginning a fatal facility and a tendency to let the
first effusion pass without subsequent toning up. This
weakness grew in the days of controversy, when he
learned to write verses much as he wrote editorials,
and often on subjects that were not poetical; and it
finally became so ingrained that nothing were easier
than to name a long list of his poems that miss 1 excel-
lence only through the want of a slight compression
and revision. A kindred flaw is the badness of many of
h is. rhymes. Dialect may explain, though it cannot ex-
cuse, such lame resemblances as Martlia and swarthy,
pasture and faster ; but many imperfections of the
kind may be accounted for only on the ground of
slip-shod method. A third and very grave defect is
the willingness to moralize in season and out of sea-
son. Such a thing we may expect from a devout
116 . John Greenjeaf Whittier
mind that is eager to make poetry serve the occasion
and not the occasion poetry, but it is opposed to the
very fundamentals of art. It spoils in Whittier the
structural symmetry of such vigorous ballads as Bar-
clay of Urij, and obtrudes disagreeably upon many
There are three main themes that engaged Whittier
—reform, religion, and New England life. Their ex-
pression, we may note, came often through the bal-
lad form, the measure best suited to him ; for he sang
more by ear than by a discriminating knowledge of
technique. Indeed, he exceeded the rest of our
poets in every quality of the balladist except the first
and most essential — that of narrative power. In this
he was inferior to Longfellow.
His reform pieces fall largely in the abolition
period, but they include all his poems that make mar-
tial protest against evil or ring with the praise of
martyrdom. As a rule they are imperative rather
than artistic, blaring rather than substantially based.
But their scorn and invectives were weapons in great
crusades. Time has lessened the value of the ma-
jority of them — for in poetry, as in life,
"The Gods approve
The depth, and not the tumult, of the soul."
Yet a few remain as trumpet-blasts in the cause of
progress, as the incarnation of the militant spirit.
By far the most notable, though among the most tem-
perate, of them is Jchahod, which was written in sor-
John Greenleaf Whittier -117
row rather than in anger when Daniel Webster
seemed to have deserted the opponents of slavery.
A much greater importance attaches to his religious
pieces, and these easily stamp him our foremost re-
ligious poet. The style of the Bible is frequently
traceable in his pages, its spirit practicably always.
This would suggest that with him the religious ele-
ment is pervasive rather than prominent. Such is
partly the case. A sentiment of worship, fervent,
wholesome, and beautiful, greets us in unsuspected
places ; and beyond his calls to zealous action we
hear the gentler notes by winch we may know him
as an apostle of the meek and lowly Xazarene — as a
pure, simple-hearted prophet in an age when doubt
and disbelief were not wanting. Yet his faith is also
outspoken. He has left behind him an array of
hymns, some of them to be numbered with his highest
achievements. The supreme expression of his buo} 7 -
ant and brotherly creed may be found in two poems,
My Triumph and The Eternal Goodness.
Most of all is he the poet of Xew England. In
sympathetic pictures of her deeds, her legends, and
her everyday rural life he stands alone. Every word
that he utters about her is intrinsically genuine, for
it comes from a first-hand knowledge of both her
glories and her faults. Here lies the key, perhaps,
of his chief limitation and his greatest distinction.
He is not truly a national poet because he finds
his material in one group of states; but it is to be
remembered that those states have been broadly in-
fluential and that he sings of them with fidelity. It
118 John Greenleaf Whittier
is a matter of slight consequence that now and then
he admits into his unstudied verse an incongruity, as
in naming a typical farm girl Maud Muller. It is
also of little importance that no such character as
Hosea Biglow is horn of his genius. We feel that
miles and miles of social and intellectual distance
lie hetween Lowell and the people over whom his
imagination plays. Xot so with Whittier. He is of
the same stuff, though more plentifully endowed. The
misery of the loveless farm home he graphically
paints in the Prelude to Among the Hills (11. 44-
98). His pride in honest toil is conveyed in the
rhetorical stanzas of the Songs of Labor. The more
beautiful aspects of the life he has shared, idealized
by memory, give a wistful tenderness to Telling the
Bees, a Sea Dream, My Playmate, In School-Days,
Marguerite, and The Barefoot Bog : and reach a con-
summate expression in Snow-Bound. Other poets of
the section know the ways of the cities and speak
well enough on more general themes — but none are so
local as he; none have sifted so thoroughly the life
of the thrifty, plain, and earnest common people or
have set it forth in numbers with equal truth and
In Snow-Bound we have an accurate portrayal of
the Whittier household during the long and lonely
months of winter. Before us as they lived and were
are the various inmates of the home — besides the poet
himself, the father, mother, uncle, aunt, brother
John Greenleaf Whittier 119
Matthew, sisters Mary and Elizabeth, school-master
(George Haskell), and passionate, eccentric, half-
fanatical guest, Harriet Livermore. We see their
every-day life, their quaint custom?, and their
methods of beguiling the tedium of imprisonment.
And we almost feel, at the end, as if we ourselves
had been among them.
The poem has comparatively few of the prevalent
flaws of Whittier's verse, and, on the other hand, it
is full of his characteristic merits. Grammar and
syntax are handled loosely in a few places, as in the
latter half of 1. 182. Accents are occasionally shifted,
as in 1. 310 and 1. 719. But had rhymes, though not
absent, are not numerous. Compactness and unity
are secured, to a greater extent than is usual with
Whittier, through a fairly close adherence to the main
theme and a suppression of the tendency to moralize.
The poem exhibits a sense of proportion, a balance be-
tween restraint and adequacy, very rare in Whittier;
and blends the meditations admirably with the tone
of the whole. Color and contrast are employed, not
only in details, but also in the choice of guests for
the circle by the fireside. There is the usual frugality
of pretentious decoration. The movement is easy and
natural. I Especially to be commended is the concord
between an imaginative idealism and a homely real-
ism, and the facility of transition from one to the
other. In 11. 15-40, for instance, we pass from the
former quality to the latter, back again to the former,
and thence once more to the latter ; and these changes
are managed so well as to enhance the charm, the
120 John Greenleaf Whittier
impressiveness, and the convincing reality of the
Finally, we should remember that Snow-Bound en-
shrines in artistic form a phase of life that was and
still is typical of no mean portion of our continent.
Hence it seems assured of a sectional, if not a
national, immortality. In less than a thousand lines
of verse Whittier does for us what countless diaries
have attempted, without surpassing his fidelity to
fact or approaching his power to interpret.
A WINTER IDYL.
'As the Spirits of Darkness be stronger in the dark, so
good Spirits which be Angels of Light are augmented not
only by the Divine light of the Sun, but also by our common
Wood Fire : and as the Celestial Fire drives away dark spir-
its, so also this our Fire of Wood doth the same." — Cor.
Agrippa, Occult Philosophy, Book I. ch. v.
"Announced by all the trumpets of the sky,
Arrives the snow ; and, driving o'er the fields,
Seems nowhere to alight ; the whited air
Hides hills and woods, the river and the heaven,
And veils the farm-house at the garden's end.
The sled and traveller stopped, the courier's feet
Delayed, all friends shut out, the housemates sit
Around the radiant fireplace, enclosed
In a tumultuous privacy of storm."
— Emerson, The Snow Storm.
The sun that brief December day
Rose cheerless over hills of gray,
And, darkly circled, gave at noon
A sadder light than waning moon.
Slow tracing down the thickening sky
Its mute and ominous prophecy,
A portent seeming less than threat,
It sank from sight before it set.
A chill no coat, however stout,
Of homespun stuff could quite shut out,
A hard, dull bitterness of cold,
That checked, mid- vein, the circling race
Of life-blood in the sharpened face,
The coming of the snow-storm told.
The wind blew east ; we heard the roar
Of ocean on his wintry shore,
122 John Greenleaf Whittier
And felt the strong pulse throbbing there
Beat with Low rhythm our inland air.
Meanwhile we did our nightly chores, —
20 Brought in the wood from out of doors,
Littered the stalls, and from the mows
Baked down the herdVgrass for the cows :
Heard the horse whinnying for his corn;
And, sharply clashing horn on horn,
25 Tm patient down the stanchion rows
The cattle shake their walnut bows;
While, peering from his early perch
Upon the scaffold's pole of birch,
The cock his crested helmet bent
30 And down his querulous challenge sent.
Unwarmed by any sunset light
The gray day darkened into night,
A night made hoary with the swarm
And whirl-dance of the blinding storm,
35 As zigzag wavering to and fro
Crossed and recrossed the winged snow :
And ere the early bedtime came
The white drift piled the window-frame,
And through the glass the clothes-line posts
40 Looked in like tall and sheeted ghosts.
So all night long the storm roared on :
The morning broke without a sun;
In tiny spherule traced with lines
Of Nature's geometric signs,
45 In starry Hake and pellicle
All day the hoary meteor fell :
And, when the second morning shone,
We looked upon a world unknown.
On nothing we could call our own.
Around the glistening wonder bent
The blue walls of the firmament,
No cloud above, no earth below, —
A universe of sky and snow !
The old familiar sights of ours
Took marvellous shapes; strange domes and
Rose up where sty or corn-crib stood,
Or garden-wall or belt of wood ;
A smooth white mound the brush-pile showed,
A fenceless drift what once was road :
The bridle-post an old man sat
With loose-flung coat and high cocked hat;
The well-curb had a Chinese roof ;
And even the long sweep, high aloof.
In its slant splendor, seemed to tell
Of Pisa's leaning miracle.
A prompt, decisive man, no breath
Our father wasted : "Boys, a path !"
AVell pleased, (for when did farmer boy
Count such a summons less than joy?)
Our buskins on our feet we drew :
With mittened hands, and caps drawn low,
To guard our necks and ears from snow,
We cut the solid whiteness through :
And, where the drift was deepest, made
124 John GrcenJcaf Whittier
/5 A tunnel walled and overlaid
With dazzling crystal : Ave had read
Of rare Aladdin's wondrous cave,
And to our own his name we gave,
With many a wish the luck were ours
80 To test his lamp's supernal powers.
We reached the barn with merry din,
And roused the prisoned brutes within.
The old horse thrust his long head out,
And grave with wonder gazed about;
85 The cock his lusty greeting said,
And forth his speckled harem led;
The oxen lashed their tails, and hooked,
And mild reproach of hunger looked;
The horned patriarch of the sheep,
90 Like Egypt's Amun roused from sleep,
Shook his sage head with gesture mute,
And emphasized with stamp of foot.
All day the gusty north-wind bore
The loosening drift its breath before;
95 Low circling round its southern zone,
The sun through dazzling snow-mist shone.
No church-bell lent its Christian tone
To the savage air, no social smoke
Curled over woods of snow-hung oak.
!00 A solitude made more intense
By dreary-voiced elements, .
The shrieking of the mindless wind.
The moaning tree-boughs swaying blind,
And on the glass the unmeaning beat
Of ghostly finger-tips of sleet.
Beyond the circle of our hearth
Xo welcome sound of toil or mirth
Unbound the spell, and testified
Of human life and thought outside.
We minded that the sharpest ear
The buried brooklet could not hear,
The music of whose liquid lip
Had been to us companionship.
And, in our lonely life, had grown
To have an almost human tone.
As night drew on, and, from the crest
Of wooded knolls that ridged the west,
The sun, a snow-blown traveller, sank
From sight beneath the smothering bank,
We piled with care our nightly stack
Of wood against the chimney-back, —
The oaken log, green, huge, and thick,
And on its top the stout back-stick;
The knotty forestick laid apart,
And filled between with curious art
The ragged brush ; then, hovering near,
We watched the first red blaze appear,
Heard the sharp crackle, caught the gleam
On whitewashed wall and sagging beam,
Until the old, rude-furnished room
Burst, flower-like, into rosy bloom;
While radiant with a mimic flame
Outside the sparkling drift became,
And through the bare-boughed lilac-tree
126 John Greenleaf Whittier
135 Our own warm heartli seemed blazing free.
The crane and pendent trammels snowed,
The Turk's heads on the andirons glowed ;
While childish fancy, prompt to tell
The meaning of the miracle,
140 Whispered the old rhyme: "Under the tree
When fire outdoors turns merrily,
There the witches are making tea."
The moon above the eastern wood
Shone at its full ; the hill-range stood
145 Transfigured in the silver flood,
Its blown snows flashing cold and keen,
Dead white, save where some sharp ravine
Took shadow, or the sombre green
Of hemlocks turned to pitchy black
(50 Against the whiteness of their back.
For such a world and such a night
Most fitting that unwarming light,
Which only seemed where'er it fell
To make the coldness visible.
155 Shut in from all the world without,
We sat the clean-winged hearth about,
Content to let the north-wind roar
In baffled rage at pane and door,
While the red logs before us beat
160 The frost-line back with tropic heat;
And ever, when a louder blast
Shook beam and rafter as it passed.
The merrier up its roaring draught
S now-Bound 127
The great throat of the chimney laughed.
The house-dog on his paws outspread
Laid to the fire his drowsy head.
The cat's dark silhouette on the waL 1
A couchant tiger's seemed to fall:
And, for the winter fireside meet,
Between the andirons* straddling feet
The mug of cider simmered slow.
The apples sputtered in a row,
And, close at hand, the basket stood
With nuts from brown October's wood.
What matter how the night behaved ?
What matter how the north-wind raved ?
Blow high, blow low, not ail its snow
Could quench our hearth-fire's ruddy glow.
Time and Change! — with hair as gray
As was my sire's that winter day.
How strange it seems, with so much gone
Of life and love, to still live on !
Ah, brother ! only I and thou
Are left of all that circle now, —
The dear home faces whereupon
That fitful firelight paled and shone.
Henceforward, listen as we will,
The voices of that hearth are still;
Look where w r e may, the wide earth o'er.
Those lighted faces smile no more.
We tread the paths their feet have worn.
We sit beneath their orchard treos.
We hear, like them, the hum of bees
128 John Greenleaf Whittier
And rustle of the bladed corn;
193 We turn the pages that they read,
Their written words we linger o'er,
But in the sun they cast no shade,
No voice is heard, no sign is made,
No step is on the conscious floor !
200 Yet Love will dream and Faith will trust
(Since He who knows our need is just)
That somehow, somewhere, meet we must,
Alas for him who never sees
The stars shine through his cypress-trees !
205 Who, hopeless, lays his dead away,
Nor looks to see the breaking day
Across the mournful marbles play !
Who hath not learned, in hours of faith,
The truth to flesh and sense unknown,
210 That Life is ever lord of Death,
And Love can never lose its own !
We sped the time with stories old,
Wrought puzzles out, and riddles told,
Or stammered from our school-book lore
215 "The chief of Gambia's golden shore."
How often since, when all the land
Was clay in Slavery's shaping hand,
As if a far-blown trumpet stirred
The languorous, sin-sick air, I heard
220 "Does not the voice of reason cry,
Claim the first right which Nature gave,
From the red scourge of bondage fly
Nor deign to live a burdened slave!"
Our father rode again his ride
225 On Memphremagog's wooded side;
Sat down again to moose and samp
In trappers hut and Indian camp;
Lived o'er the old idyllic ease
Beneath St. Francois' hemlock trees;
230 Again for him the moonlight shone
On Norman cap -and bodiced zone ;
Again he heard the violin play
Which led the village dance away,
And mingled in its merry whirl
235 The grandam and the laughing girl.
Or, nearer home, our steps he led
Where Salisbury's level marshes spread
Mile-wide as flies the laden bee;
Where merry mowers, hale and strong,
240 Swept, scythe on scythe, their swaths along
The low green prairies of the sea.
We shared the fishing off Boar's Head,
And round the rocky Isles of Shoals
The hake-broil on the driftwood coals ;
245 The chowder on the sand-beach made,
Dipped by the hungry, steaming hot,
With spoons of clam-shell from the pot.
We heard the tales of witchcraft old,
And dream'and sign and marvel told
250 To sleepy listeners as they lay
Stretched idly on the salted hay,
Adrift along the winding shores,
When favoring breezes deigned to blow
130 John Greenleaf Whittier
The square sail of the gundalow,
255 And idle lay the useless oars.
Our mother, while she turned her wheel
Or run the new-knit stocking-heel,
Told how the Indian hordes came down
At midnight on Cochecho town,
260 And how her own great-uncle bore
His cruel scalp-mark to fourscore.
Eecalling, in her fitting phrase,
So rich and picturesque and free
(The common unrlrymed poetry
255 Of simple life and country ways),
The story of her early days, —
She made us welcome to her home i
Old hearths grew wide to give us room;
We stole with her a frightened look
270 At the gray wizard's conjuring-book,
The fame whereof went far and wide
Through all the simple country-side ;
We heard the hawks at twilight play,
The boat-horn on Piscataqua,
275 The loon's weird laughter far away ;
We fished her little trout-brook, knew
What flowers in wood and meadow grew,
What sunny hillsides autumn-brown
She climbed to shake the ripe nuts down,
280 Saw where in sheltered cove and bay
The duck's black squadron anchored lay,
And heard the wild geese calling loud
Beneath the gray November cloud.
Snow-Bo u ii: I 131
Then, haply, with a look more grave,
And soberer tone, some tale she gave
From painful SewePs ancient tome,
Beloved in every Quaker home,
Of faith fire-winged by martyrdom.
Or Chalkley's Journal, old and quaint, — -
Gentlest of skippers, rare sea-saint !—
AYho, when the dreary calms prevailed,
And water-butt and bread-cask failed,
And cruel, hungry eyes pursued
His portly presence, mad for food,
With dark hints muttered under breath
Of casting lots for life or death,
Offered, if Heaven withheld supplies,
To be himself the sacrifice.
Then, suddenly, as if to save
The good man from his living grave,
A ripple on the water grew,
A school of porpoise flashed in view.
'Take, eat," he said, "and be content ;
These fishes in my stead are sent
By Him who gave the tangled rain
To spare the child of Abraham."'
Our uncle, innocent of books,
"Was rich in lore of fields and brooks,
The ancient teachers never dumb
Of Xature's unhoused lyceum.
In moons and tides and weather wise,
He read the clouds as prophecies,
And foul or fair could well divine,
132 John Greenleaf Whittier
By many an occult hint and sign,
315 - Holding the cunning-warded keys
To all the woodcraft mysteries;
Himself to Nature's heart so near
That all her voices in his ear
Of beast or bird had meanings clear,
320 Like Apollonius of old,
Who knew the tales the sparrows told,
Or Hermes, who interpreted
"What the sage cranes of Xilus said;
A simple, guileless, childlike man,
325 Content to live where life began ;
Strong only on his native grounds,
The little world of sights and sounds
Whose girdle was the parish bounds,
Whereof his fondly partial pride
330 The common features magnified,
As Surrey hills to mountains grew
In White of Selborne's loving view, —
He told how teal and loon he shot,
And how the eagle's eggs he got,
335 The feats on pond and river done,
The prodigies of rod and gun;
Till, warming with the tales he told,
Forgotten was the outside cold,
The bitter wind unheeded blew,
340 From ripening corn the pigeons flew,
The partridge drummed i' the wood, the mink
Went fishing down the river brink.
In fields with bean or clover gay,
The wood chuck, like a hermit gray,
Peered from the doorway of his cell;
The muskrat plied the mason's trade,
And tier by tier his mud-wails laid ;
And from the shagbark overhead
The grizzled squirrel dropped his shell.
Next, the dear aunt, whose smile of cheer
And voice in dreams I see and hear, —
The sweetest, woman ever Fate
Perverse denied a household mate,
"Who, lonely, homeless, not the less
Found peace in love's unselfishness,
And welcome whereso'er she went,
A calm and gracious element,
Whose presence seemed the sweet income
And womanly atmosphere of home, —
Called up her girlhood memories
The huskings and the apple-bees,
The sleigh-rides and the summer sails,
Weaving through all the poor details
And homespun warp of circumstance
A golden woof-thread of romance.
For well she kept her genial mood
And simple faith of maidenhood;
Before her still a cloud-land lay,
The mirage loomed across her way ;
The morning dew, that dried so soon
W 7 ith others, glistened at her noon;
Through years of toil and soil and care,
From glossy tress to thin gray hair,
All unprofaned she held apart
134 Jolin Grcenleaf Whittier
375 The virgin fancies of the heart.
Be shame to him -of woman horn
Who had for such but thought of scorn.
There, too, our elder sister plied
Her evening task the stand beside ;
A full, rich nature, free to-trust,
Truthful and almost sternly just,
Impulsive, earnest, prompt to act,
And make her generous thought a fact,
Keeping with many a light disguise
The secret of self-sacrifice.
heart sore-tried ! thou hast the best
That Heaven itself could give thee, — rest.
Eest from all bitter thoughts and things !
How many a poor one's blessing went
With thee beneath the low green tent
Whose curtain never outward swings !
As one who held herself a part
Of all she saw, and let her heart
Against the household bosom lean,
Upon the motley-braided mat
395 Our youngest and our dearest sat,
Lifting her large, sweet, asking eyes,
Now bathed within the fadeless green
And holy peace of Paradise.
Oh, looking from some heavenly hill,
400 Or from the shade of saintly palms,
Or silver reach of river calms,
Do those large eyes behold me still ?
With me one little year ago: —
The chill weight of the winter snow
For months upon her grave has lain ;
And now, when summer south-winds blow
And brier and harebell bloom again,
I tread the pleasant paths we trod,
I see the violet-sprinkled sod,
Whereon she leaned, too frail and weak
The hillside flowers she loved to seek,
Yet following me where'er I went
With dark eyes full of love's content.
The birds are glad ; the brier-rose fills
The air with sweetness; all the hills
Stretch green to June's unclouded sky ;
But still I wait with ear and eye
For something gone which should be nigh,
A loss in all faniiliar things,
In flower that blooms, and bird that sings.
And yet, dear heart ! remembering thee,
Am I not richer than of old ? _
Safe in thy immortality,
"What change can reach the wealth I hold?
What chance can mar the pearl and gold
Thy love hath left in trust with me ?
And while in life's late afternoon,
Where cool and long the shadows grow, t
I walk to meet the night that soon
Shall shape and shadow overflow,
I cannot feel that thou art far,
Since near at need the angels are ;
And when the sunset gates unbar,
Shall I not see thee waiting stand,
136 John Greenleaf Whittier
435 And, white against the evening star,
The welcome of thy beckoning hand ?
Brisk wielder of the birch and rule,
The master of the district school
440 Held at the fire his favored place ;
Its warm glow lit a laughing face
Fresh-hued and fair, where scarce appeared
The uncertain prophecy of beard.
He teased the mitten-blinded cat,
445 Played cross-pins on my uncle's hat,
Sang songs, and told us what befalls
In classic Dartmouth's college halls.
Born the wild Xorthern hills among,
From whence his yeoman father wrung
450 By patient toil subsistence scant,
Xot competence and yet not want,
He early gained the power to pay
His cheerful, self-reliant way;
Could doff at ease his scholar's gown
455 To peddle wares from town to town ;
Or through the long vacation's reach
In lonely lowland districts teach,
Where all the droll experience found
» At stranger hearths in boarding round,
460 The moonlit skater's keen delight,
The sleigh-drive through the frosty night,
The rustic party, with its rough
Accompaniment of blind-man's-buff,
And whirling plate, and forfeits paid,
465 His winter task a pastime made.
Happy the snow-locked homes wherein
He timed his merry violin,
Or played the athlete in the barn,
Or held the good dame's winding yarn,
Or mirth-provoking versions told
Of classic legends rare and old,
Wherein the scenes of Greece and Borne
Had all the commonplace of home,
And little seemed at best the odds
'Twixt Yankee pedlers and old gods;
Where Pindus-born Arachthus took
The guise of any grist-mill brook,
And dread Olympus at his will
Became a huckleberry hill.
A careless boy that night he seemed ;
But at his desk he had the look
And air of one who wisely schemed,
And hostage from the future took
In trained thought and lore of book.
Large-brained, clear-eyed, — of such as he
Shall Freedom's young apostles be,
Who, following in War's bloody trail,
Shall every lingering wrong assail;
All chains from limb and spirit strike,
Uplift the black and white alike ;
Scatter before their swift advance
The darkness and the ignorance,
The pride, the lust, the squalid sloth,
Which nurtured Treason's monstrous growth,
Made murder pastime, and the hell
138 John Grcenleaf Whittier
Of prison-torture possible;
The cruel lie of caste refute,
Old forms remould, and substitute
For Slavery's lash the freeman's will,
500 For blind routine, wise-handed skill;
A school-house plant on every hill,
Stretching in radiate nerve-lines thence
The quick wires of intelligence;
Till Xorth and South together brought
6C5 Shall own the same electric thought,
In peace a common flag salute,
And, side by side in labor's free
And unresentful rivalry,
Harvest the fields wherein they fought.
510 Another guest that winter night
Flashed back from lustrous eyes the light.
Unmarked by time, and yet not young,
The honeyed music of her tongue
And words of meekness scarcely told
515 A nature passionate and bold,
Strong, self-concentred, spurning guide,
Its milder features dwarfed beside
Her unbent will's majestic pride.
She sat among us, at the best,
520 A not unfearecl, half-welcome guest,
Rebuking with her cultured phrase
Our homeliness of words and ways.
A certain pard-like, treacherous grace
Swayed the lithe limbs and dropped the lash,
525 Lent the white teeth their dazzling flash;
And under low brows, black with night,
Rayed out at times a dangerous light ;
The sharp heat-lightnings of her face
Presaging ill to him whom Fate
Condemned to share her love or hate.
A woman tropical, intense
In thought and act, in soul and sense,
She blended in a like degree
The vixen and the devotee,
Revealing with each freak or feint
The temper of Petruchio's Kate,
The raptures of Siena's saint.
Her tapering hand and rounded wrist
Had facile power to form a fist ;
The warm, dark languish of her eyes
"Was never safe from wrath's surprise.
Brows saintly calm and lips devout
Knew every change of scowl and pout ;
And the sweet voice had notes more high
And shrill for social battle-cry.
Since then what old cathedral town
Has missed her pilgrim staff and gown,
"What convent-gate has held its lock
Against the challenge of her knock !
Through Smyrna's plague-hushed thorough-
Up sea-set Malta's rocky stair?,
Gray olive slopes of hills that hem
Thy tombs and shrines, Jerusalem,
Or startling on her desert throne
The crazy Queen of Lebanon
1.40 John Greenleaf Whittier
With claims fantastic as her own,
Her tireless feet have held their way ;
And still, unrestful, bowed, and gray,
She watches under Eastern skies,
56P With hope each day renewed and fresh,
> The Lord's quick coming in the flesh,
Whereof she dreams and prophesies !
Where'er her troubled path may be,
The Lord's sweet pity with her go !
565 The outward wayward life we see,
The hidden springs we may not know.
Nor is it given us to discern
What threads the fatal sisters spun,
Through what ancestral years has run
570 The sorrow with the woman born,
What forged her cruel chain of moods,
What set her feet in solitudes,
And held the love within her mute,
What mingled madness in the blood,
575 ' A lifelong discord and annoy,
Water of tears with oil of joy,
And hid within the folded bud
Perversities of flower and fruit.
It is not ours to separate
580 The tangled skein of will and fate,
To show what metes and bounds should stand
Upon the soul's debatable land,
And between choice and Providence
Divide the circle of events;
585 But He who knows our frame is just,
Merciful and compassionate,
And full of sweet assurances
And hope for all the language is,
That He remembereth we are dust !
At last the great logs, crumbling low,
Sent out a dull and duller glow,
The bull's-eye watch that hung in view,
Ticking its weary circuit through,
Pointed with mutely-warning sign
Its black hand to the hour of nine.
That sign the pleasant circle broke :
My uncle ceased his pipe to smoke,
Knocked from its bowl the refuse gray,
And laid it tenderly away,
Then roused himself to safely cover
The dull red brand with ashes over.
And while, with care, our mother laid
The work aside, her steps she stayed
One moment, seeking to express
Her grateful sense of happiness
For food and shelter, warmth and health,
And love's contentment more than wealth,
With simple wishes (not the weak,
Vain prayers which no fulfilment seek,
But such as warm the generous heart,
O'er-prompt to do with Heaven its part)
That none might lack, that bitter night,
For bread and clothing, warmth and light.
Within our beds awhile we heard
142 John Greenleaf Whittier
615 The wind that round the gables roared,
With now and then a ruder shock,
Which made our very bedsteads rock.
We heard the loosened clapboards tost,
The board-nails snapping in the frost;
620 And on us, through the unplastered wall,
Felt the light sifted snow-flakes fall;
But sleep stole on, as sleep will do
When hearts are light and life is new;
Faint and more faint the murmurs grew,
625 Till in the summer-land of dreams
They softened to the sound of streams,
Low stir of leaves, and dip of oars,
And lapsing waves on quiet shores.
Next morn we wakened with the shout
630 Of merry voices high and clear;
And saw the teamsters drawing near
To break the drifted highways out.
Down the long hillside treading slow
We saw the half-buried oxen go,
635 Shaking the snow from heads uptost,
Their straining nostrils white with frost.
Before our door the straggling train
Drew up, an added team to gain.
The eiders threshed their hands a-colcl,
540 Passed, with the cider-mug, their jokes
From lip to lip ; the younger folks
Down the loose snow-banks, wrestling, rolled,
Then toiled again the cavalcade
O'er windy hill, through clogged ravine,
And woodland paths that wound between
Low drooping pine-boughs winter-weighed.
From every barn a team afoot,
At every house a new recruit,
Where, drawn by Nature's subtlest law,
Haply the watchful young men saw
Sweet doorway pictures of the curls
And curious eyes of merry girls,
Lifting their hands in mock defence
Against the snow-balls' compliments,
And reading in each missive tost
The charm which Eden never lost.
We heard once more the sleigh-bells' sound;
And, following where the teamsters led,
The wise old Doctor went his round,
Just pausing at our door to sa} r ,
In the brief autocratic way
Of one who, prompt at Duty's call,
Was free to urge her claim on all,
That some poor neighbor sick abed
At night our mother's aid would need.
For, one in generous thought and deed,
What mattered in the sufferer's sight
The Quaker matron's inward light,
The Doctor's mail of Calvin's creed?
All hearts confess the saints elect
Who, twain in faith, in love agree,
And melt not in an acid sect
The Christian pearl of charity !
So days went on : a week had passed
144 John Greenledf Whittier
675 Since the great world was heard from last.
The Almanac we studied o'er,
Eead and reread our little store
Of books and pamphlets, scarce a score ;
One harmless novel, mostly hid
680 From younger eyes, a book forbid,
And poetry, (or good or bad,
A single book was alLwe had,)
Where Ellwood's meek, drab-skirted Muse,
A stranger to the heathen Nine,
685 Sang, with a somewhat nasal whine,
The wars of David and the Jews.
At last the floundering carrier bore
The village paper to our door.
Lo ! broadening outward as we read,
690 To warmer zones the horizon spread ;
In panoramic length unrolled
We saw the marvel that it told.
Before us passed the painted Creeks,
And daft McGregor on his raids
695 In Costa Eica's everglades.
And up Taygetus winding slow
Eode Ypsilanti's Mainote Greeks,
A Turk's head at each saddle bow !
Welcome to us its week-old news,
700 Its corner for the rustic Muse,
Its monthly gauge of snow and rain,
Its record, mingling in a breath
The wedding bell and dirge of death;
Jest, anecdote, and love-lorn tale,
705 The latest culprit sent to jail ;
Its hue and cry of stolen and lost,
Its vendue sales and goods at cost,
And traffic calling loud for gain.
We felt the stir of hall and street,
The pulse of life that round us beat;
The chill embargo of the snow
Was melted in the genial glow ;
Wide swung again our ice-locked door,
And all the world was ours once more !
Clasp, Angel of the backward look
And folded wings of ashen gray
And voice of echoes far away,
The brazen covers of thy book;
The weird palimpsest old and vast,
Wherein thou hid'st the spectral past;
Where, closely mingling, pale and glow
The characters of joy and woe;
The monographs of outlived years,
Or smile-illumed or dim with tears,
Green hills of life that slope to death,
And haunts of home, whose vistaed trees
Shade off to mournful cypresses
With the white amaranths underneath.
Even while I look, I can but heed
The restless sands' incessant fall,
Importunate hours that hours succeed,
Each clamorous with its own sharp need,
And duty keeping pace with all.
Shut down and clasp the heavy lids;
I hear as^ain the voice that bids
146 John Grecnleaf Whittier
The dreamer leave his dream midway
For larger hopes and graver fears :
Life greater] s in these later years,
The century's aloe flowers to-day!
740 Yet, haply, in some lull of life,
Some Truce of God which breaks its strife,
The worldling's eyes shall gather dew,
Dreaming in throngful city ways
Of winter joys his boyhood knew ;
745 And dear and early friends — the few
Who yet remain- — shall pause to view
These Flemish pictures of old days;
Sit with me by the homestead hearth,
And stretch the hands of memory forth
750 To warm them at the wood-fire's blaze !
And thanks untraced to lips unknown
Shall greet me like the odors blown
From unseen meadows newly mown,
Or lilies floating in some pond,
755 Wood-f ringed, the wayside gaze beyond ;
The traveller owns the grateful sense
Of sweetness near, he knows not' whence,
And, pausing, takes with forehead bare
The benediction of the air.
NOTES ON "THE RAVEN/ 5
Line 2. Forgotten lore. Poe prided himself upon his
knowledge of old books that nobody else read. This knowl-
edge was not always profound, for his scholarship was wide
rather than thorough ; but it served his turn in ministering
to many a poetic effect. Naturally such an attribute of his
own he gave to some of his characters. Of Berenice, one of
the tales, Professor Woodberry says : "In it Poe's hero first
comes upon the stage, a man struck with some secret dis-
ease, given to the use of drugs and to musing over old books
in an antiquated and gloomy chamber, and reserved for a
10. Lenorc. A favorite word with Poe because of its
sonorous sound. Read the opening stanzas of Ulalume for
an example of his musical use of fictitious proper names.
13. Cf. Hie Sleeper:
The bodiless airs, a wizard rout,
Flit through thy chamber in and out,
And wave the curtain canopy
So fitfully— so fearfully,
Cf. also the fourth stanza in the conclusion of Lady Ger-
aldine's Courtship by Mrs. Browning; the line,
With a murmurous stir uncertain, in the air the purple
is clearly echoed by Poe.
20. This line and lines 03-60 may be applied to the poet
41. Pallas was the Greek goddess of wisdom, and the
replies of the bird, thus associated with her, become the
words of fate.
47. Plutonian shore: the land of Pluto, Greek god of
48. Nevermore. Another word the sonorous roll of
which recommended it to Poe. Cf. Sonnet to Zante :
No more ! alas, that magical sad sound,
Transforming all !
81. "Wretch"! The lover addresses himself. He has
three objects of hope — forgetfulness, an allaying balm, and
a reunion with his lost love. These are to be dispelled in
turn. Perhaps the frantic inquiries of the lover »*« led
less by the expectation of a favorable answer than by "the
human thirst for self-torture."
82. Nepenthe: a potion that banishes pain and induces
S9. Balm in Gilead: a reference to Jeremiah 8 :22 — "Is
there no balm in Gilead; is there no physician there?"
93. Aidenn Eden.
106. Would this have been possible?
NOTES ON "THE COUETSHIP OF MILES
1. Old Colony: a name given to Plymouth after the
"Massachusetts Bay" settlements had been made around Bos-
ton and Salem.
3. Cordova is a city in Spain. It was celebrated for a
preparation of goat-skin. Look up the derivation of cord-
8. Sword of Damascus. The Saracens were noted for
their workmanship in steel. In the twenty-seventh chapter
of Scott's Talisman, which recounts the trial of skill be-
tween the Saladin and Richard Coeur de Lion, we have
proof of the finely tempered edge of the weapons made at
19. Ancient Britain was overrun in the fifth century by
Angles, Saxons, and other Teutonic tribes. When, a cen-
tury later, Pope Gregory the Great, then a deacon, saw the
fair complexions of some captives in Rome, he inquired who
they were. The answer was, "Angles" ; whereupon he ex-
claimed, "Not Angles but Angels!"
25. Flanders, Hainault, and Brabant, all of which are
mentioned in 1. 396, were counties of the Netherlands. In
the war of the United Provinces, as Holland was then called,
for independence from Spain, many English soldiers and
adventurers besides Standish joined the forces of the
42. This line gives one of the secrets of Caesar's popu-
larity with his men.
64. Of the one hundred Pilgrims fifty died during the
first "terrible winter." The remainder took the method
here explained of concealing the extent of the loss.
85-86. Are these linos effective from the standpoint of
the story-teller's art? Do they hint new relations and hurry
us on to the next section* 3
100. Better be first, he said. The incident back of these
well-known lines is given in Plutarch's Life of Caesar
(Clough's translation) thus:
"In his journey, as he was crossing the Alps and passing
by a small village of the barbarians with but few inhabi-
tants, and those wretchedly poor, his companions asked the
question among themselves by way of mockery if there were
any canvassing for offices there ; any contention which should
be uppermost, or feuds of great men one against another.
To which Caesar made answer seriously, 'For my part I had
rather be the first man among these fellows, than the second
man in Rome'/'
106. On a certain occasion. See the Commentaries, Bk.
2, Ch. 10.
10S. Caesar's Twelfth Legion, like Napoleon's Old Guard,
was famous for its loyalty and courage.
149-150. In Shakespeare's Henry the Fifth, Act 5, Scene
2, there is a famous example of courtship by a man of
188. Hanging gardens of verdure. The reference is to
the celebrated terraces of Babylon, erected by Nebuchad-
nezzar to pleaso his wife, a Median princess, who missed
the broken scenery of her native land.
206. Astaroth was the chief female, and Baal the chief
male deity of the Phoenicians. They are mentioned in
Judges 2 :13 and First Samuel 12 :10.
210. Mayflowers: the trailing arbutus.. In England the
word is used to designate the hawthorn.
22.">. The Psalmist was David.
231. Ainsworth was driven from England on account of
his religious teachings. In Holland he published com-
mentaries and translations.
232. Amsterdam was at this time tolerant to all sects.
Pamphlets could be printed there that were not allowed else-
where in Europe.
240. What might have heen. Compare these lines from
Whittier's Maud Muller, published four years before :
For of all sad words of tongue or pen,
The saddest are these : "It might have been I"
324. Family arms were permitted only to those who
were of gentle lineage or had themselves been granted a coat
of arms. In the head or body of the animal usually shown
in heraldic designs, argent (silver) and gules (red) were
often conspicuous colors.
344. Sank the City of God. See Revelation 21:10-27.
349. The winds, in Greek mythology, were confined in
361-3. David, because of his love for Bathshela, had hef
husband, Uriah, sent to the front in battle that he might
be killed. For this act David was reproached by the prophet
415. Froissart relates in his Chronicles how "a squyer
of the kynges. . . . John Standysshe", slew the rebel,
Wat Tyler, in the presence of Richard the Second. For this
deed Standish was knighted.
421. When Caesar saw his old friend among the mur-
derers, he cried, Et tu, Brute ? (You too, Brutus?) and
ceased to resist.
442. The excellent Elder of Plymouth: William Brew-
444. They had sifted the icheat. Many of the dissenters
of England, France, and Holland renounced their faith on
account of persecution. Of the remainder only the most
zealous came to America.
448. A Bible: not the King James version, but the Gen-
eva Bible, the annotations of which are colored by the stern
theology of Calvin.
450. Such a challenge was actually sent — in 1622, how-
ever — by Canonicus, chief of the Narragansetts. It was
Governor Bradford who intimidated the Indians by sending
back powder and bullets. The words paraphrased by the
poet in lines 457-8 belong, not to Brewster, but to John
Robinson, former minister of the congregation ; they/ were
spoken when Robinson heard of the first encounter with
501. The return voyage was begun on April 15, 1621.
605. Gurnet: a headland north of Fiymouth Bay.
606. The island is Clark Island, the cape of satid prob-
ably Cape Cod. The Field of the First Encounter, on Cape
Cod, was the scene of an early skirmish between an ex-
ploring party and the Indians.
626. Cf. Genesis 1:2: "And the Spirit of God moved
upon the face of the waters."
656. A ghost could not speak until it was addressed. A
fine use of this tradition is made in the opening scene of
719 ff. In the days when pilgrimages to the Holy Land
were undertaken, many ascetic practices were introduced
into the journeys. One of these methods of penance is here
755. For Goliath of Gath see First Samuel 17 :4-51. For
Og, king of Bashan, see Deuteronomy 3 :1-11.
765. Squanto, a friendly Indian, having an eye to his
own importance, had told the neighboring tribes that the
white men kept the plague in their cellars and that he could
persuade them to unloose it.
787. Remember that the Indians had little respect for
826. Corn is here used in the old sense of small grain.
Maize was not cultivated in Europe before America was
828. Merestead means, literally, bounded or boundary-
place. Glebe (in the next line) means turf or sod.
838-9. Compare the closing lines of this section ; also the
lines from Maidenhood:
Standing, with reluctant feet,
Where the brook and river meet.
843-4. Glass was not unknown at this time, but even in
Europe oiled paper, which was cheaper, was far more com-
846. The present house of the Aldens is thought to be
on the site of the original one.
85S. See Proverbs 31 :10-31.
867. In Greek mythology the thread of each human be-
ing's life was spun out and severed by the three Fates.
872. Bertha, wife of Rudolph the Second of Burgundy,
was famed for her domestic virtues. She was especially
noted for her spinning.
881-2. Is it natural for Alden to utter such a prophecy?
927. Look up the description of the Hebrew High-Priest
and his dress in the 28th chapter of Exodus.
973. Kent is the south-eastern shire of England.
1015. See Genesis 24.
NOTES- OX "SNOW-BOUND."
65. The celebrated Leaning Tower of Pisa deflects from
the perpendicular more than six feet in eighty.
77. The story of Aladdin and his lamp may be found in
The Arabian Nights.
90. Amun, or Ammon, was an Egyptian deity one of
whose attributes was represented under the guise of a ram.
152-154. Cf. Milton's Paradise Lost, Book 1, 11. 61-63 :
A dungeon horrible, on all sides round,
As one great furnace flamed ; yet from those flame3
No light ; but rather darkness visible.
169. What is the meaning of meet?
204. The cypress is associated with death.
215. This line and four others beginning with 220 be-
long to the poem, The African Chief, by Mrs. Sarah Went-
worth Morton. The poem was included in one of Whittier's
school-books, The American Preceptor.
224 ff. Whittier explains that his father had traveled
considerably in Canada. Memphremagog is a lake between
Vermont and Canada ; St. Francis is a river in Canada ;
Salisbury is a town in Massachusetts ; Boar's Head is a
headland on the New Hampshire coast ; the Isles of Shoals
are near the mouth of the Piscataqua river (between Maine
and New Hampshire) ; and Cochecho town is Dover, New
226. Samp: a kind of hominy.
254. Gundalow (variant of gondola) : in the United
States, a flat-bottomed boat.
269-270. Whittier says of his mother : "She described
strange people who lived on the Piscataqua and Cocheco,
among whom was Bantam the sorcerer. I have in my pos-
session the wizard's 'conjuring book', which he solemnly
opened when consulted. It is a copy of Cornelius Agrippg;s
Magic, printed in 1651."
274. One of Whittier's forced rhymes. The final a in
Piscataqua is pronounced like the a in peninsula.
276 ff. With this passage and the description of the
uncle (11. 307-349) compare The Barefoot Boy.
286. William Sewel's history of the Quakers. Charles
Lamb praises the book in his essay, A Quakers' Meeting.
289. The incident which Whittier retells is given in the
Journal of Thomas Chalkley, published in 1747.
305-6. See Genesis 22 :1-13.
320. Apollonius, born in Cappadocia just before the
Christian era, was a philosopher of the school of Pythagoras
and an ascetic. Among the strange stories told about him
were some that related how he conversed with animals and
322. Hermes Trismegistus (i. e. the thrice-great) was a
priest, philosopher, and king of Egypt, far-famed for his
skill in the sciences and arts.
331-2. Gilbert White's Natural History of Selbome, Eng-
land, is a loving and minute description of a restricted sec-
390-1. Cf. Shakespeare's Hamlet, Act. 3, Scene I :
The undiscovered country from whose bourn
No traveler returns.
420. This line is suggestive of many individual phrases
and the general tone of Wordsworth's Intimations of Immor-
438-85. Cf. the description of the school-master in Gold-
smith's Deserted Village, 11. 193-216.
476. Arachthus is one of the five rivers that take their
rise from the central peak of the mountain ,range of Pindus,
478. Olympus, a celebrated mountain in Greece, was once
reputed to be the home of the gods.
536. See Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew, especially
the first scene of Act I and the first scene of Act II.
537. St. Catherine of Siena is noted for her miraculous
visions and extreme self-sacrifice.
546 ff. Miss Livermore believed in the Second Advent of
our Lord. Much of her later life was given up to travel,
especially in the Holy Land.
568. See note on The Courtship of Miles Standish, 1. 867.
580. Compare Shakespeare's metaphor in All's Well that
Ends ~\Yell, Act. 4, Scene 3 : "The web of our life is of
mingled yarn, good and ill together."
656. Compare Among the Hills, 11. 395-6 :
If woman lost us Eden, such
As she alone restore it.
659. Doctor Weld of Haverhill.
669. John Calvin: a great reformer and contemporary of
Luther, noted for his austere life and rigid tenets.
683. Thomas Ellwood, a Quaker, was the author of a tire-
some epic poem, Davideis, which deals with the life of David.
He was also a friend of Milton and suggested to Milton the
subject of Paradise Regained.
684. The Nine Muses were Greek goddesses, the patrons
of various branches of the fine arts.
693. The Creek Indians were removed from Georgia be-
yond the Mississippi in 1826. This event, which came after
much agitation and dispute, seems to have been one of the
public affairs which Whittier remembered vividly from his
694-5. Sir Gregor McGregor ineffectually sought, in 1822,
to establish a colony in Costa Rica.
696-S. Ypsilanti a patriot of Greece, found cavalry for
a struggle against Turkey in the district of Maina, near the
mountain Taygetus. He was killed in 1821, but his brother
lived to see the independence of Greece.
728. Amaranths: in mythology, a never-fading flower.
741. The Truce of God: a period during which, accord-
ing to the terms of a famous compact of the Eleventh Cen-
tury, all warfare and contention were to cease.
747. Flemish pictures concern themselves, as a rule, with
simple subjects, treating them lovingly and in detail. The
work of Rembrandt (1607-1669) is in many ways char-
acteristic of the whole school.
751-0. Cp. with these lines George Eliot's poem, The
(Adapted, and enlarged, from the Manual for the Study
of English Classics, by George L. Marsh)
HELPS TO STUDY
When and where was he born? What can you say as to
his parents? By whom and in what circumstances was he
brought up (p. 9) ?
Where, successively, was he educated 1 What was his
record in the higher institutions which he attended?
What became his occupation after he left West Point
What had been his first publication (p. 10) ? At what
age? What was his first conspicuous success in literature
(p. 11)? When did it come?
When did Poe marry, and whom (p. 11) ? What can
you say of his married life? When did his wife die?
What was the effect of her death on Poe (p. 12) ?
Name some of the most important newspapers and
magazines with which Poe was connected (pp. 11, 12; ,
Some of his literary associates.
What habits interfered with his success (pp. 10, 11) ?
Name some other great authors who have been similarly
handicapped. Did any one of them resemble Poe, either
personally or in his work ?
When, where, and in what circumstances did he die !
Perry Picture 33 is a portrait of Poe.
Poe's Poetry and The Raven
What basis is there for the claim that Poe is the most
remarkable of American poets (p. 14) 1 What has been
m -6 1920
the estimate of him abroad? Where must he be ranked in
relation to the great figures in literature (p. 16), and
What were Poe's main theories as to poetic art (pp. 18,
19), and how did he illustrate them? Note your editor's
criticism of them.
Study the structure of The Raven; bringing out specif-
ically the various points mentioned by the editor. Note
striking examples of adaptation of sound to sense.
What is the substance of Poe 's account of the composi-
tion of this poem? Discuss the reasonableness of Poe's
assertions (pp. 19, 20).
Point out resemblances between The Raven and The
Ancient Mariner. What other poems may liave influenced
Poe in the composition of The Raven (p. 17) ?
List the most effective examples you find of the follow-
ing devices: (a) alliteration, (b) repetition, (c) internal
rhyme. What do you think of the rhymes within the third
and fourth lines of the middle stanza on page 23?
Tell what you consider to be the story of the poem.
When and where was Longfellow born? What is note-
worthy about his parents (p. 29) ? When, and under
what inspiration, did he begin to write?
Where did he attend college? Who was his most im-
portant classmate (p. 30) ? —
What occupation did Longfellow adopt, and how did he
prepare for it (pp. 30, 31) ? What important services did
he render as a direct result of his occupation?
When did Longfellow first publish a volume of poems?
What prose works had preceded it (p. 31) ? What are
some of his principal poetical works? What particularly
important translation did he make (p. 33)?
Where did he live during most of his life, and when did
What poetical qualities, and what poetical deficiencies,
had Longfellow (pp. 34-36) ? Have these, even the latter,
an effect on his popularity?
Perry Pictures 15-21 have to do with Longfellow per-
sonally; and 1331-40, 1344, 1345, and 3298 may be used
in Illustration of The Courtship of Miles Standish.
Note discrepancies between actual history and the rep-
resentation of it in The Courtship of Miles Standish
(pp. 37 ff.). Are these really objectionable? Give rea-
sons for your answer. In what important respects is the
poem true to history?
What is the metrical form of Miles Standish (p. 39) ?
Where else had Longfellow used it? Is it common in
See the editor 's questions and suggestions in the Notes
(pp. 148, etc.;.
Why does the poet have Standish repeat the thought
found in lines 36 and 115? Note other repetitions, for
other purposes — e. g., pages 46 and 49.
Note bits of characteristic Puritan speech in the lan-
guage of John Alden (e. g., pp. 54, 55). Is there similar
language in Standish 's speeches? Do you find any reason
What parts of the work are most poetical — that is,
what sort of material seems to inspire Longfellow most?
(See hint on p. 39.)
Pick out the dramatic elements in the story. Could it
be arranged in a series of scenes? What striking dramatic
situations are there?
Does the end of part III (p. 63) come as a complete
surprise? Is it made to seem natural and reasonable?
What striking truth as to a common fate of women in
our social system does Priscilla utter more than once (as
on p. 85) ?
Are Alden 's resolves, first to sail on the Mayflower, then
not to sail, sufficiently accounted for?
Why is there so much about Standish's encounter with
the Indians (part VII) ?
Is it made to seem natural, even right, that Alden and
Priscilla should defer their marriage till they hear of 'the
death of Ptandish, and then at once arrange for it?
Does the reappearance of Standish call to mind any-
thing in one of the other books commonly read for col-
lege entrance? Is it accounted for in any way?
Discuss the title of this poem.
Whittier and Snow-Bound
Perry Pictures 25-30 have to do with Whittier.
When was Whittier born (p. Ill) ? Of what sort of
people ? What kind of education did he have ? How did
he happen to begin to write poetry?
What had Whittier to do with politics (p. 112) ? With
what movement was he associated, and with what results
to himself? What writing did he do in support of this
What are the main themes of Whittier 's poetry (p.
116) ? What defects are to be noted (p. 115) ? In what
field was his most important work done, and why (pp.
When was Snow-Bound written (p. 114) ? Is it realistic
or imaginative? Illustrate specifically from the poem the
various characteristics brought out on pages 119, 120.
What is the metrical form of Snow-Bound?
Pick out especially striking passages (e. g., bottom p.
124, top p. 125) and discuss the sources of their effective-
Is the verse paragraph on pages 127, 128, a digression?
Objectionable in any way? Are there other similar pas-
sages in the poem? If *so, point them out specifically.
What may we assume as to the environment and expe-
riences of Whittier's father and mother in their early
days (pp. 129 ff.) ?
Make a list of all the books mentioned in the poem.
Do you find any general characteristics prominent?
How many students have ever had experiences such as
Whittier presents in Snow-Bound? Let them test the
naturalness and accuracy of the details.
1. Poe's life (pp. 9-12).
2. Character sketch of Poe. (This may be based
largely on the works read; or sides may be taken and
criticisms and defenses prepared.)
3. A story of the poet and ' ' the lost Lenore. ' '
4. Discussion of Poe's account of his writing of The
Baven (pp. 19, 20).
5. Parodies of The Baven — why has the poem been
so much parodied?
6. A metrical study of The Baven.
7. Sketch of Longfellow's life (pp. 29-33).
8. Imaginary conversation between Longfellow and
Hawthorne during their college days on what they hoped
to accomplish in life.
9. Character sketch of Longfellow (pp. 34-37, and
various hints in the poem read).
10. Character sketches of Miles Standish, John Alden,
11. Dramatizations of important scenes in The Court-
ship of Miles Standish; for example, the following:
Standish 's request (pp. 41-53).
John Alden at Priscilla 's house (pp. 57-63).
His report to Standish (pp. 67-70).
The scene on the beach (pp. 76 ff.).
And so on through the poem.
12. Inconsistencies with history in The Courtship of
Miles Standish (pp. 37-39).
13. Hexameter verse in English (pp. 39, 40; see also
some book on English meters; note what other poets have
used this form).
14. The life of Whittier (pp. 111-15).
15. Whittier 's relation to the anti-slavery cause.
16. An imaginary conversation between Whittier and
Daniel Webster, in relation to "Ichabod" (see p. 116).
17. The Whittier household as revealed in Snow-
Bound (pp. 118 ft.).
18. A description of a snowstorm experienced by the
19. The books mentioned in Snow-Bound (indicate the
nature of the principal ones, and draw conclusions as to
Whittier 's literary likings).
20. Poetical qualities (both merits and defects) in
Snow -Bound (pp. 115-20).
SELECTIONS FOR CLASS READING
1. The Raven (pp. 21-28).
2. John Alden on his errand (pp. 57-63).
3. Miles Standish at the council (pp. 70-73).
4. The departure of the Mayflower (pp. 78-83).
5. The wedding (pp. 103-106).
6. The snow-storm (pp. 121-26).
7. The poet's faith (pp. 127, 128).
S. A nature lover (pp. 131-33).
9. Whittier ? s youngest sister (pp. 134-36).
10. A country school-master (pp. 136-38).
11. "Another guest" (pp. 138-41).
12. The conclusion (pp. 145, 146).
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