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i£nk? English fllksstra 

General Editor 


Professor of English in Brown University 

ADDISON — .Sir Roger de Coverley Papers — Abbott 

ADDISON AND STEEt.E~-Seleclions from The Taller and The Spec- 
tator — Abbott 


AUSTEN — Pride and Prejudice 

BROWNING — Selected Poems — Reynolds 


BUNYAN — The Pilgrim's Progress — Latham 

BURKE — Speech on Conciliation with Collateral Readings — Wabd 

BURNS — Selected Poems and CARLYLE- Essay on Burns — Marsh 

CHAUCER — Selections — Greenlaw 

COLERIDGE — The Ancient Mariner \ 

LOWELL— Vision of Sir Launfal } ] vol -Moody 

COOPER — The Last of the Mohicans — Lewis 

COOPER — The Spy — Damon 

DANA — Two Years Before the Mast — Westcptt 

DEFOE — Robinson Crusoe — Hastings 

Democracy Today — Gauss 

DE QUINCEY — Joan of Arc and Selections — Moody 

DE QUINCEY — The Flight of a Tartar Tribe — French 

DICKENS — A Christmas Carol, etc. — Broadus 

DICKENS — A Tale of Two Cities — Baldwin 

DICKENS — David Copperfield — Baldwin 

DRYDEN — Palamon and Arcite — Cook 

EMERSON — Essays and Addresses — Heydrick 

English Poems — From Pope, Gray, Goldsmith, Coleridge, Byron 
Macatjlay, Arnold, and others — Scudder 

English Popular Ballads — Hart 

Essays — English and American — Alden 

Familiar Letters — Greenlaw 

FRANKLIN — Autobiograph y— Griffin . 

French Short Stories — Schweikert. 

GASKELL (Mrs.) — Cranford— Hancock 

GEORGE ELIOT — Silas Marner — Hancock 

GEORGE ELIOT — The Mill on the Floss — Ward 

GOLDSMITH — The Vicar of Wakefield — Morton 

HAWTHORNE — The House of the Seven Gables — Herrick 

HAWTHORNE — Twice-Told Tales — Herrick and Bruere 

HUGHES — Tom Brown's School Days — de Mille. 

IRVING— Life of Goldsmith— Krapp 

IRVING— The Sketch Book— Krapp 

IRVING — Tales of a Traveller — and parts of The Sketch Book — Krapp 

Wqt Sake iEnrjltfilj (UlaBBUB-tantwntb 

LAMB — Essays of Elia — Benedict 

LONGFELLOW — Narrative Poems — Powell 

LOWELL — Vision of S:r Launfal — See Coleridge 

MACAULAY — Essays on Addison and Johnson — Newcomer 

MACAULAY — Essays on Clue and Hastings — Newcomer 

MACAULAY — Goldsmith. Frederic the Great, Madame D'Arblay — New- 

MACAULAY — Essays on Milton and Addison — Newcomer 

MILTON — U Allegro, II Penseroso, Comus, and Lycidas — Neilson 

MILTON — Paradise Lost, Books I and II — Farley ♦ 

Old Testament Narratives — Rhodes 

One Hundred Narrative Poems — TETER 

PALGRAVE — Golden Treasury— .Newcomer 

PARKMAN — The Oregon Trail — Macdonald 

POE — Poems and Tales, Selected — Newcomer 

POPE — Homer's Iliad, Books I, VI, XXII, XXIV — CRESSY and Moody 

READE — The Cloister and The Hearth— de Mille 

RUSKIN — Sesame and Lilies — Linn 

Russian Short Stories — SCHWEIKERT 

SCOTT — Ivanfioe — Simonds 

SCOTT — Quentin Duruard — Simonds 

SCOTT — Lady of the Lake— Moody 

SCOTT — Lay of the Last Minstrel — Moody and Willard 

SCOTT — Marmion — Moody and Willard 

SHAKSPERB — The Neilson Edition — Edited by W. A. Neilson, 

As You Like It Macbeth 

Hamlet Midsummer-Night's Dream 

Henry V Romeo and Juliet 

Julius Caesar The Tempest 

Twelfth Night 

SHAKSPERE — Merchant of Venice — Lovett 

SOUTHEY — Life of Nelson — Westcott 

STEVENSON — Inland Voyage and Travels with a Donkey — Leonard 

STEVENSON — Kidnapped — Leonard 

STEVENSON — Treasure Island — Broadtts 

TENNYSON — Selected Poems — Reynolds 

TENNYSON — The Princess — Copeland 

THOREAU — Walden — Bowman 

THACKERAY — Henry Esmond — .Phelps 

THACKERAY — English Hvmorists — Ctjnliffe an-d Watt 

Three American Poems — The Raven, Snow-Bound, Miles Standish — 

Types of the Short Story — Heydrick 
Washington, Webster, Lincoln — Denney 


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Cfce lafee Cngltsi) Classics 
















Copyright 1910, 1920 

By Scott, Foresman and company • 







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 


6 Preface 

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, 
March, 1910. 



Preface .'.....-. 5 

Edgar Allan Poe 9 



the raven 

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 



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 
of Poe. 

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 
of art. 

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 
moral soundness. 

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 
chamber door. 

" '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- 
ple curtain 
Thrilled me — filled me with fantastic tennis never 
felt before ; 
15 So that now, to still the beating of my heart, T 
stood repeating 
" ? Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my 

chamber door. 
Some late visitor entreating entrance at my cham- 
ber door: 

This it is and nothing more/' 

Presently my sonl grew stronger; hesitating then 

no longer, 
20 "Sir," said ], "or Madam, truly your forgiveness 

I implore; 
But the fact is I was napping, and so gently yon 

came rapping, 
And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my 

chamber door, 
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 
me burning, 

Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder 
than before. 

Purely," said I, "surely that is something at my 
window lattice: 

Let me see, then, what thereat is. and this mys- 
tery explore: 
35 Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery 
explore : 

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 

chamber door, 
Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my 

chamber door: 

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 
bore ; 

For we cannot help agreeing that no living human 

Ever yet was blessed with seeing bird above his- 
chamber door, 

Bird or beast upon the sculptured bust above his 
chamber door, 

With such name as "'Nevermore/' 

55 But the Raven, sitting lonely on the placid bust, 

spoke only 
That one word, as if his sonl in that one word he 

did outpour, 
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- 
ciful Disaster 

Followed fast and followed faster till his songs 
one burden bore: 
5 Till the dirges of his Hope that melancholy bur- 
den bore 

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 

to linking 
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 
bosom's core; 
75 This and more I sat divining, with my head at 
ease reclining 
On the cushion's velvet lining that the lamp-light 

gloated o'er, 
But whose velvet violet lining with the lamplight 
gloating o'er 

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 

tufted floor. 
"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 

enchanted — 
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- 
tant Aidenn, 

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 
is sitting 

28 Edgar Allan Poe 

On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my cham- 
ber door; 
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 ! 



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 
literary life. 

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 
unusually sure. 

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 



In the Old Colony days, in Plymouth the land of 

the- Pilgrims, 
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 

Puritan Captain.. 
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 

chamber, — 
Cutlass and corselet of steel, and his trusty sword 

of Damascus. 
Curved at the point and inscribed with its mystical 

Arabic sentence, 
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 

was already 


Henry Wadsworth Longfellow 

Flaked with patches of snow, as hedges sometimes 
in November. 
15 Near him was seated John Alden, his friend and 
household companion. 

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 
the Mayflower. 

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 

skirmish : 
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- 
vincible army, 
40 Twelve men, all equipped, having each his rest 

and his matchlock. 
Eighteen shillings a month, together with diet 

and pillage, 
And. like Caesar, I know the name of each of my 

soldiers !" 
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 

continued : 
"Look! you can see from this window my brazen 

howitzer planted 
High on the roof of the church, a preacher who 

speaks to the purpose. 
Steady, straightforward, and strong, with irre- 
sistible logic, 
Orthodox, flashing conviction right into the hearts 

of the heathen. 
50 Xow we are ready. I think, for any assault of the 

Indians : 
Let them come, if they like, and the sooner they 

try it the better, — 
Let them come if they like, he it sagamore, sachem, 

or pew-wow, 
Aspinet, Samoset, Corbitant, Squanto, or Toka- 

mahamon !" 

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 

and sunshine. 
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- 
ceeded : 

"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 

Mayflower ! 
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 

for binding; 
70 BarrifrVs Artillery Guide, and tin 1 Commentaries 

of Caesar, 
Out of the Latin translated by Arthur Goldinge 

of London, 
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- 
derous Roman, 

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 
terrible winter, 
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? 


Nothing was heard in the room but the hurrying' 

pen of the stripling, 
Or an occasional sigh from the laboring heart of 

the Captain, 
Reading the marvellous words and achievements 
of Julius Caesar. 
90 After a while he exclaimed, as lie smote with his 
hand, palm downwards, 
Heavily on the page: "A wonderful man was this 

Csesar ! 
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 

could dictate 
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 

recorded ; 
105 Finally he was stabbed by his friend,, the orator 

Brutus ! 
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 

closely together 
'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 

ensigns : 
Then to widen the ranks, and give more room for 

their weapons; 
So he won the day, the battle of something-or- 

That's what I always say: if you wish a thing to 

be well" done, 
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- 
derous cover, 

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 
attention : 
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 

maiden Priscilla. 
She is alone in the world; her father and mother 

and brother 
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 

in heaven, 
Two have I seen and known; and the angel whose 

name is Priscilla 
145 Holds in my desolate life the place which the 

other abandoned. 

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- 
gant language, 
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 
with lightness. 

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 
by lightning, 

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 

to surrender, 
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 

elegant scholar, 

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 
his errand. 



185 So the strong will prevailed, and Alden went on 

his errand. 
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 

of verdure, 

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 
and dashing, 

As in a foundering ship, with every roll of the 

Washes the bitter sea, the merciless surge of the 
ocean ! 
195 "Must I relinquish it all/' he cried with a wild 
lamentation, — 

"Must I relinquish it all, the joy, the hope, the 
illusion ? 

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 
the shadow 

Over the wintry sea, to the desolate shores of New 
' England ? 
200 Truly the heart is deceitful, and out of its depths 
of corruption 

Rise, like an exhalation, the misty phantoms of 
passion ; 

Angels of light they seem, but are only delusions 
of Satan. 

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 
in anger, 

The Courtship of Miles Siandisli 55 

205 For I have followed too much the heart's desire? 

and devices. 
Worshipping Astaroth blindly, and impious idols 

of Baal. 
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- 
derful sweetness. 

Children lost in the woods, and covered with leaves 
in their slumber. 

"Puritan flowers," he said, "and the type of Puri- 
tan maidens. 

Modest and simple and sweet, the very type of 
Priscilla ! 
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- 
tan anthem, 
225 Music that Luther sang to the sacred words of the 

Full of the breath of the Lord, consoling and com- 
forting many. 

Then, as he opened the door, he beheld the foiun 
of the maiden 

Seated beside her wheel, and the carded wool like 
a snow-drift 

Piled at her knee, her white hands feeding tin 1 
ravenous spindle, 
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 

of homespun 
Beautiful with her beaut)', and rich with the 

wealth of her being-! 
Over him rushed, like a wind that is keen and cold 

and relentless, 
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 

forever !" 

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 

and spinning." 
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 

vanished ! 

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 

Puritan maiden, 
"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 

and wretched." 

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 

beautiful phrases, 
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 

Puritan maiden 
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 

ominous silence: 
"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 
the matter, 

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 

the asking. 
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 
of Priscilla, 

Urging the suit of his friend, explaining, persuad- 
ing, expanding: 

Spoke of his courage and skill, and of all his bat- 
tles in Flanders, 

How with the people of God he had chosen to 
suffer affliction, 

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 

nature ; 
Though he was rough, he was kindly; *\w knew 

how during the winter 
He had attended the sick, with a hand as gentle 

as woman's: 
Somewhat hasty and hot. he could not deny it, 
and headstrong. 
330 Stern as a soldier might lie. hut hearty, and pla- 
cable always, 
Not to be laughed at and scorned, because he was 

little of stature : 
For he was great of heart, magnanimous, courtly, 

courageous ; 
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 
his rival, 

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 
within him. 

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 
passions contending; 

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 

at anchor, 
Rocked on the rising tide, and ready to sail on 

the morrow; 
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 

beckoning shadow. 
''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 

will abandon. 
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 

that glimmers 
Bright on the hand that is dust, in the chambers 

of silence and darkness, — 
Yes, as the marriage ring of the great espousal 

hereafter !" 

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 

and sombre, 
Till he beheld the lights in the seven houses of 

Shining like seven stars in the dusk and mist of 

the evening. 
Soon he entered his door, and found the redoubt- 
able Captain 
395 Sitting alone, and absorbed in the martial pages 

of Caesar, 
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 
between us; 
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- 
drous adventure 

From beginning to end, minutely, just as it hap- 
pened 5 
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 
had spoken, 

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 

around it. 
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, 

but henceforward 
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 
the doorway, 

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 

fiercely, departed. 
Alden was left alone. He heard the clank of the 

Growing fainter and fainter, and dying away in 

the distance. 
Then he arose from his seat, and looked forth into 

the darkness. 
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 
to heaven, 

The Courtship of Miles Standish 71 

Covered with snow, bui erect, the excellent Elder 

of Plymouth. 
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 

and menace. 
455 Talking- of this and of that, contriving, suggesting, 

objecting ; 
One voice only for peace, and that the voice of 

the Elder. 

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 
red devils? 

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 
of Plymouth, 

Somewhat amazed and alarmed at this irreverent 
language : 

"Not so thought Saint Paul, nor yet the other 
Apostles ; 

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- 
tinued discoursing: 

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 
and bullets 

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- 
ing savage, 
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. 



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 

then silence. 
Figures ten, in the mist, marched slowly out of 

the village. 
Standish the stalwart it was. with eight of his 

valorous army, 
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 

morning ; 
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 
manifold labors. 

Sweet was the air and soft ; and slowly the smoke 
from the chimneys 

Eose over roofs of thatch, and pointed steadily- 
eastward ; 

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 

mountains ; 
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 

the echoes 

76 Henry Wadsworth Longfellow 

515 Heard and repeated the sound, the signal-gun of 

departure ! 
Ah ! but with louder echoes replied the hearts of 

the people! 
Meekly, in voices subdued, the chapter was read 

from the Bible, 
Meekly the prayer was begun, but ended in fervent 

entreaty ! 
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 
and murmur, 
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 

beheld him 
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 

pardon ; 
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 

spake not, 

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 

of Scripture. 
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 

nation ! 

There with his boat was the Master, already a 

little impatient 
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 

for starting. 
He too was eager to go. and thus put an end to 

his anguish, 
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 

of Priscilla 
5C5 Standing dejected among them, unconscious of all 

that was passing. 
Fixed were her eyes upon his, as if she divined 

his intention, 
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 

is destruction. 
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- 
ing headlong. 
"Yonder snow-white cloud, that floats in the ether 

above me, 
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 

for protection. 
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 

evil ! 
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 

her weakness; 
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- 
ful remembrance. 
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 

and sorrow, 
Short allowance of victual, and plenty of nothing 

but Gospel ! 
Lost in the sound of the oars was the last farewell 

of the Pilgrims. 
strong hearts and true ! not one went back in 

the Mayflower! 
600 No, not one looked back, who had set his hand to 

this ploughing! 

Soon were heard on board the shouts and songs 

of the sailors 
Heaving the windlass round, and hoisting the 

ponderous anchor. . 
Then the yards were braced, and all sails set to the 

west- wind. 
Blowing steady and strong: and the Mayflower 

sailed from the harbor, 

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 

First Encounter, 
Took the wind on her quarter, and stood for the 

open Atlantic, 
Borne on the send of the sea, and the swelling 

hearts of the Pilgrims. 

Long in silence they watched the receding sail 

of the vessel, 
610 Much endeared to them all, as something living 

and human : 
Then, as if filled with the spirit, and wrapt in a 

vision prophetic, 
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 

the ocean 
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 

Priscilla ; 
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 
beside him. 

"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 
and wayward, 
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 
/ secret, 

Spilt on the ground like water, can never be 
gathered together. 

Yesterday I was shocked, when I heard you speak 
of Miles Standish, 

Praising his virtues, transforming his very 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 

broken !" 
650 Thereupon answered John Alden, the scholar, the 

friend of Miles Standish : 
"I was not angry with you, with myself alone I 

was angry, 
Seeing how badly I managed the matter I had in 

my keeping." 
"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 

its silence. 
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 

profitless murmurs." 
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 

Havilah flowing, 
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 

and kindness, 
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 

among' many, 
If you make use of those common and compli- 
mentary phrases 
Most men think so line, in dealing and speaking 

with women, 

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 

of another, 
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 

declare it: 
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, 
indefinite feeling, 

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 
archly : 

"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 

moment !" 
But as he gently rebuked her, and told her how he 

had suffered, — 
715 How he had even determined to sail that day in 

the Mayflower, 
And had remained for her sake, on hearing the 

dangers that threatened, — 
All her manner was changed, and she said with a 

faltering accent, 
"Truly I thank you for this: how good you have 

been to me always !" 

Thus, as a pilgrim devout, who toward Jerusa- 
lem journeys, 
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- 
morseful misgivings. 

90 Henry Wadsworth Longfellow 



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- 
yond them. 

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 
with war-paint, 

Seated about a fire, and smoking and talking to- 
gether ; 

"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 
and musket. 

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 

of Bashan; 
One was Pecksuot named, and the other was 

called Wattawamat. 
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 

and crafty. 
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 

the Captain, 
Angry is he in his heart: but the heart of the 

brave Wattawamat 
Is not afraid at the sight. He was not born of 

a woman, 
But on a mountain, at night, from an oak-tree 
riven by lightning. 
775 Forth he sprang at a bound, with all his weapons 
about him, 
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 
meaning : 
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 

women !" 

Meanwhile Standish had noted the faces and 

figures of Indians 
Peeping and creeping about from bush to tree in 

the forest, 
■»90 Feigning to look for game, with arrows set on 

their bow-strings, 
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, 

the savage 
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 

of December, 
Swift and sudden and keen came a flight of 

feathery arrows. 
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 

brave Wattawamat, 
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 
of terror, 

Thanking God in her heart that she had not mar- 
ried Miles Standish; 

Shrinking, fearing almost, lest, coming home from 
his battles, 

He should lay claim to her hand, as the prize and 
reward of his valor. 



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 

of danger. 
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 

and brackish. 

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 

were excluded. 
*4o There too he dug a well, and around it planted an 

orchard : 
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 

Alden's allotment 
In the division of cattle, might ruminate in the 

850 Over the pastures he cropped, made fragrant by 

sweet pennyroyal. 

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 

of fancy, 
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 

on Sunday 
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 

her household, 
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 
dexterous fingers, 

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 
of others, 

100 Henry Wadsworth Longfellow 

Suddenly you are transformed, are visibly changed 

in a moment : 
You are no longer Priscilla, but Bertha the Beau- 
tiful Spinner." 
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 

of Southampton, 
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 

Puritan maiden, 

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 

for housewives, 
-S93 Show yourself equally worthy of being the model 

of husbands. 
- 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 

his bodv. 

102 Henry Wadsworth Longfellow 

Lo ! in the midst of this scene, a breathless 

messenger entered, 
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 

looking backward 
Still at the face of the speaker, her arms uplifted 

in horror; 
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 

of Priscilla, 

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- 
rate sources, 
Seeing each other afar, as they leap from the 

rocks, and pursuing 
920 Each one its devious path, but drawing nearer 

and 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 

flowing asunder, 
Parted by barriers strong, but drawing nearer and 

925 Rushed together at last, and one was lost in the 




Forth from the curtain of clouds, from the tent 

of purple and scarlet, 
Issued the sun, the great High- Priest, in his 

garments resplendent. 
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 

beneath him 
Gleamed like a grate of brass, and the sea at his 

feet was a laver ! 

This was the wedding mora of Priscilla the 

Puritan maiden. 
Friends were assembled together; the Elder and 

Magistrate also 
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 

Magistrate's presence, 
After the Puritan way, and the laudable custom 

of Holland. 
■940 Fervently then and devoutly, the excellent Elder 

of Plymouth 
Prayed for the hearth and the home, that were 

founded that day in affection, 
Speaking of life and of death, and imploring 

Divine benedictions. 

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 

figure ! 
945 Why does the bridegroom start and stare at the 

strange apparition? 
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, 

unwelcomed ; 
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 

rain cloud 
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 

with amazement 
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 
for error. 

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 
country, commingled, 
.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 
their Captain, 

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 

beautiful morning. 
Touched with autumnal tints, but lonely and sad 

in the sunshine, 
985 Lay extended before them the land of toil and 

privation ; 
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 

of wonder, 
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 - 

azure ab}^sses. 
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 

of lovers. 
So through the Plymouth woods passed onward 

the bridal procession. 


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 
the world." 


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 
delightful passages. 

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. 



'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 

Snow-Bound 123 

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 

Snow-Bound 125 

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!" 

Snow-Bound 129 

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, 

Snow-Bound 133 

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: — 

Snow-Bound 135 

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. 

Snow-Bound 137 

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; 

Snow-Bound 139 

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, 

Snow-Bound 141 

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, 

Snow-Bound 143 

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 ; 

Snow-Bound 145 

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. 


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 
horrible experience." 

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 
the underworld. 

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 

148 Notes 

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? 


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 

Notes 149 

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 

150 Notes 

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 
the Indians. 

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 
Shakepeare's Hamlet. 

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 

Xotes 151 

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 
their women. 

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. 


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. 

152 Notes 

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 : 

Notes 153 

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, 
in Greece. 

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 

154 Notes 

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 
Choir Invisible. 


(Adapted, and enlarged, from the Manual for the Study 
of English Classics, by George L. Marsh) 

Poe's Life 

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 
(p. 10)? 

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 
why ? 

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. 

Longfellow's Career 

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 
he die? 


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. 

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 
English ? 

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 
for this? 

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 
movement ? 

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. 
117, 118)? 

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). 


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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