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Philberts, dry figs, with rugged dates, ripe plummes,
Astonish't at the miracle ; with feare
Their trembling hands in prayer : and pardon craue,
Who long their slowe persuit deluding, flies
These neighbour trees, that from two bodies grow.
CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH, PRESIDENT OF THE
1579-1632 John Smith was so closely connected with our country, and wrote of it with such enthusiasm, that by right of sentiment, if not of fact, he can hardly be omitted from the list of American authors.
From “The Generall Historie of Virginia, New England, & the Summer
Isles.” Liber III, Chapter 2, edition of 1624.
The Story of Pocohontas At last they brought him to Meronocomoco, where was Powhatan their Emperor. Here more than two hundred of those grim Courtiers stood wondering at him, as he had beene a monster; till Powhatan and his trayne had put themselues in their greatest braveries. Before a fire vpon a seat like a bedsted, he sat covered with a great robe, made of Rarowcun skinnes, and all the tayles hanging by. On either hand did sit a young wench of 16 or 18 .yeares, and along on each side the house, two rowes of men, and behind them as many women, with all their heads and shoulders painted red; many of their heads bedecked with the white downe of Birds; but every one with something; and a great chayne of white beads about their necks. At his entrance before the King, all the people gaue a great shout. The Queene of Appamatuck was appointed to bring him water to wash his hands, and another brought him a bunch of feathers, in stead of a Towell to dry them : having feasted him after their best barbarous manner they could, a long consultation was held, but the conclusion was, two great stones were brought before Powhatan: then as many as could layd
hands on him, dragged him to them, and thereon laid his head, and being ready with their clubs, to beate out his braines, Pocahontas the Kings dearest daughter, when no intreaty could prevaile, got his head in her armes, and laid her owne vpon his to saue him from death: whereat the Emperour w contented
he should liue to make him hatchets, and her bells, beads, and copper; for they thought him aswell of all occupations as themselues. For the King himselfe will make his owne robes, shooes, bowes, arrowes, pots; plant, hunt, or doe any thing so well as the rest.
They say he bore a pleasant shew,
From “A Description of New England,” edition of 1616.
The “Content" of the Colonists Who can desire more content, that hath small meanes; or but only his merit to aduance his fortune, then to tread, and plant that ground hee hath purchased by the hazard of his life? If he haue but the taste of virtue, and magnanimitie, what to such a minde can bee more pleasant, then planting and building a foundation for his Posteritie, gotte from the rude earth, by Gods blessing & his owne industrie, without prejudice to any? If hee haue any graine of faith or zeale in Religion, what can hee doe lesse hurtfull to any; or more agreeable to God, then to seeke to conuert those poore Saluages to know Christ, and humanitie, whose labors with discretion will triple requite thy charge and paines? What so truely sutes with honour and honestie, as the discouering things vnknowne? erecting Townes, peopling Countries, informing the ignorant, reforming things vniust, teaching virtue; & gaine to our Natiue mother-countrie a kingdom to attend her; finde imployment for those that are idle, because they know not what to doe: so farre from wronging any, as to cause Posteritie to remember thee; and remembring thee, euer honour that remembrance with praise?
Then seeing we are not borne for our selues, but each to helpe other, and our abilities are much alike at the houre of our birth, and the minute of our death: Seeing our good deedes, or our badde, by faith in Christs merits, is all we haue to carrie our soules to heauen, or hell : Seeing honour is our liues ambition; and our ambition after death, to haue an honorable
memorie of our life: and seeing by noe