Imágenes de páginas

Whispered ronnd the sultry wigwam,
With a sonnd of sleep the w^p--
Mftjf tVe grasshopper, Pah-puk-keena;
And the gnests of Hiawatha,
Weary with the heat of Summer,
Slumbered in the sultry wigwam.
Slowly o'er the simmering landscape
Fell the evening's dusk and cooiness,
And the long and level suubeams
Shot their spears into the forest.
Breaking throngh its shields of shadow,
Rushed into each secret ambush,
Searehed each thicket, dingle, hollow,
Still the gnests of Hiawatha
Slumbered in the silent wigwam.

From his place rose Hiawatha,
Bade farewell to old Nokomls,
Spake in whispers, spake in this wise.
Did not wake the gnests that slumbered:

"I am going, O Nokomls,
On a long and distant jonrney,
To the portals of the Suuset,
To the regious of the home-wind,
Of the Northwest wind, Keewaydin:
Bnt these gnests I leave behind me.
In yonr watch and ward I leave them;
See that never harm comes near them,
See that never fear molests them,
Never danger nor sucplcion,
Never want of food or shelter,
In the lodge of Hiawatha!"

Forth into the village went he.
Bade farewell to all the warriors,
Jade farewell to all the yonng men.
Spake, persuading, spake in this wise:

"1 am going, O my people.
On a long and distant jonrney;
Many moous and many winters
Will have come, and will have vanished,
Ere I come again to see yon.
Bnt my gnests I leave behind me:
Listen to their words of wisdom.
Listen to the trnth they tell yon,
For the Muster of Life has sent them

r ium the land of light and morning!"

On the shore stood Hiawatha,
Turned and waved his hand at parting;
On the clear and luminons water
Launched his bireh-canoe for sailing,
From the pebbles of the margin
Shoved it forth into the water;
Whispered to it, "Westward! Westward!"
And with speed it darted forward.

And the evening sun descending
Set the clonds on fire with reduess,
Burned the broad sky, like a prairie,
Left upon the level water
One long track and trail of splendonr,
Down whose stream, as down a river.
Westward, westward Hiawatha *

Sailed into the fiery suuset,
Sailed into the purple vaponrs.
Sailed into the dusk of evening.

And the people from the margin
Watched him floating, rising, sinking,
Till the bireh-canoe seemed lifted
High into that sea of splendonr,
Till it sank into the vaponrs
Like the new moon slowly, slowly
Sinking in the purple distance.

And they said, "Farewell forever!"
Said "Farewell, O Hiawatha!"
And the forests, dark and lonely.
Moved throngh all their depths'of darkness.
Sighed, "Farewell, O Hiawatha!"
And the waves upon the margin
Rising, rippling on the pebbles.
Sobbed, "Farewell, O Hiawatha!"
And the heron, the Shuh-shuh-gnh,
From her haunts among the fen-lands,
Screamed, " Farewell, O Hiawatha!"

Thus departed Hiawatha,
Hiawatha the Beloved,
In the glory of the suuset,
In the purple mists of evening,
To the regious of the home-wind.
Of the Northwest wind Keewaydin,
To the Islands of the Blessed,
To the kingdom of Ponemah,
To the land of the Hereafter 1

[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]



IH the Old Colony days, in Plymonth the land of the Pilgrims,

To and fro in a room of his simple and primitive dwelling,

Clad in doublet and hose, and boots of Cordovan leather,

Strode, with a martial air, Miles Standish the Puritan Captain.

Buried in thonght lie seemed, with his hands behind him, and pansliiff

£ver and anon to behold his glittering weapous of warfare.

Hanging in shining array along the walls of the chamber,—

Cntlass and corslet of steel, and his trusty sword of Damascus,

Curved at the point and iuscribed with its mystical Arabic sentence.

While underneath, in a coiner, were fowlingpiece, umsket, and matchiock.

Short of stature he was, bnt strongly built and athietic.

Broad in the shonlders, deep-chested, with umscles and sinews of iron:

Brown as a nnt was his lace, bnt his russet beard was aiready

Flaked with patches of suow, as hedges sometimes in November.

Tear hhu was seated Johu Alden, his friend and honsehold companion,

Writing with diligent speed at a table of pine by the window;

Fair-haired, azure-eyed, with delicate Saxon complexion.

Having the dew of bis yonth, and the beanty thereof, as the captives

Whom Saint Gregory saw, and exclaimed, "Not Angles bnt Angels"

Yonngest of all was he oi the men who came in the May-Flower.

Snddeuly 'breaking the silence, the diligent

scribe interrupting, Spake, in the pride of his heart. Miles Stondtsh

the Captain of Plymonth. "Look at these arms/' he said, "the warlike

weapous that hang here. Burnished and bright and clean, as If for parade

or iuspeetion! This is the sword of Damascus 1 fonght with in

Flanders; this breastplate, Weli 1 remember the day! once saved my life in

a skirmish; Here in front yon can see the very dint ol the

bullet Flred point-blank at my heart by a Spanish area bncero. Had it not been of sheer-steel, the forgotten

bones of Miles Stundish Wonld at this moment be mould, in their grave

in the Flemish morasses." Thereupon auswered Johu Alden, bnt looked

not up from his writing: . "Truly the breath of the Lord hath slackened

the speed of the bullet; He in his merey preserved yon, to be our shield

and onr weapon!"

Still the captain continned, unheeding the words

of the stripling: 'See, how bright they are burnished, as if in an

arsenal hanging; That is because I have done it myself, and not

left it toothers. Serve yonrself, wonld yon be well served, is an

excellent adage; So I take care of my arms, as yon of yonr peus

and yonr inkhorn. Then, too, there are my soldiers, my great invincible army. Twelve men, all equipped, having each his rest

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

and pillage, And, like Csesar, 1 know the name of each of my

soldiers!" This he said with a smile, that danced in his

eyes as the suubeams Dance on the waves of the sea, and vanish again

in a moment. Alden laughed as he wrote, and still the Captain

continued: •' Look! yon can see from this window my

brazen howitzer planted, High on the roof of the chureh, a preacher who

speaks to the purpose, Steady, straight-forward, and strong, with irresistible logie, Orthodox, flashing convietion right into the

hearts of the heathen. Now we are ready, I think, for any assault of

the Indiaus; Let them come, if they like, and the sooner they

try it the better.— Let them come, if they like, be it sagamore,

sachem, or pow-wow. Aspinet, Samoser, Corbitant, Squanto, or Toka


Long at the window he stood, and wistfully

gazed on she landscape, Washed with a cold gray mist, the vaponry

breath of the east wind, Forest and meadow and hill, and the steel-blua

vim of the ocean, Lying silent and sad, in the afternoon shadows

and suushine. Over his conntenance flitted a shadow like those

on the landscape. Gloom intermingled with light; and his voice

was subdned with emotion. Tenderness, pity, regret, as after a pause he

proceeded: "Yonder there, on the hill by the sea, lies burled

ItoseStandish; Beantiful rose of love, that bloomed for me by

the wayside; She was the" first to die of all who came in the

May-Flower! Green above her is growing the field of wheat

we have sown there. Better to bide from the Indian sconts the graves

of onr people, Lest they shonld connt them and see how many

aiready have perished!" Sadly his face he averted, and strode up and

down, and was thonghtful.

tiiiJ contTsiiiP Of

fixed to the opposite wail was a shelf of books, ami among thom

Prominent three, distinguished alike for hulk and for binding

Bariffe'a Artillery Guide, and the Commentaries of Caesar,

Ont of the Latin trauslated by Arthur Goldmge of London,

And. as if guarded hv these, between them was standing the Bible,

Musing a moment before them. Miles Standish paused, as if donbtful

Which of the three lie shonld choose for his consolation and comfort,

Whether the wars of the Hebrews, the famons campaigus of the Romaus,

Or the Artillery praetice, desigued for belligerent Christiaus.

Flnally down from its shelf he dragged the ponderons Roman,

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

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

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

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

Busy writing epistles important, to go by the May-Flower,

Beady to saii on the morrow, or next day at latest. God willing!

Homeward bonnd with the tidings of nil that terrible winter.

Letters written by Alden, and full of (he name of Priscilla,

Full of the name and fame of the Puritan n.aM.n Priscilla!


Nothino was heard in the room bnt the huriy

ing pen of the stripling. Or an oecasional sigh from the labonring heart

of the Captain, Reading the marvellons words and achievements

of Julins Caesar. After awhile he exclaimed, as he smote with his

hand, paim downwards, Heavily on the page: "A wonderful man was

this Caesar! Yon are a writer, and I am a fighter, bnt here is

a fellow Who can both write and fight, and in both was

equally skilful!" Straightway auswered and spake Johu Alden,

the comely, the yonthful: "Yes, he was equally skilled, as yon say, with

his pen and his weapous. Somewhere have I read, bnt where I forget, he

could dietate Seven letters at once. at the same time writing

his memoirs." "Truly," continned the Captain, not heeding or

hearing the other, "TriUy a wonderful man was Caius Jultas

Ca?sar! Better be first, he said, in a little Iberian village. Than be second in Rome, and I think he was

right when he said it. Twice was he married before lie was twenty,

and many times after; Battles five hundred he fonght, and a thonsand

cities lie conqnered; He. too, fonght in Flanders, as he himself has

recorded; Flnally he was stabbed by his friend, the orator

Brntus! Now, do yon know what he did on a certain occasion in Flanders,


When the rear-guard of his army retreated, the

front giving wav too. And the Immortal Twelfth Legion was crowded

so closely together Their was no room for their swords? Why In'

seized a shield from a soldier. Pnt himself straight at tiie head of the troops

nndeotamand'-d tin- captaius. Calling on each by his name, to order forward

the eusigus; Thru to widen the ranks, andgivemore room for

their weapous; So ho won the day, the battle of soinething-or

oiher. That's what I always say ; if yon wish a thingto

be well done. You umst do it yonrself, yon must not leave it to


All was sitent again; the Captain continued

Iiis reading. Nothing was heard in the room bnt the hurrying

pen of the stripling Writing epistles Important to go next day by the

May-Flower, Fllled with the name and the fame of the Puritan

maiden Priscilla; Every sentence began or closed with the name

of Priscilla, Till the treacherons pen, to which he confided

the secret. Strove to betray it by singing and shonting the

name of Priseilla! Finally closing his book, with a bang of the ponderons cover. Sndden and lond as the sonnd of a soldier

gronnding his umsket, Tims to theyoung man spake Miles Standish the

Captain of Plymonth; -When yon have finished your work. I have

something important to" tell yon. Be not however in haste; I can wait; I shall not

be impatient!" Straightway Alden replied, as he folded the last

of his letters, Pushing his papers aside, and giving resp?etful

attention: "Speak; for whenever yon speak, I am always

ready to listen, Always ready to hear whatever pertaius to

Miles Standish." Thereupon auswered the Captain, embarrassed,

and culling his phrases: "'Tis not good for a man to be alone say the

Scriptures. This I have said before, and again and again I

repeat it; Every honr in the day I think it, and feel it, and

say it. Since Rose Standish died, my life has been

weary and dreary; Sick at heart have I been, beyond the healing of

friendship. Oft in my lonely hours have I thonght of the

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

and brother Died in the winter together; I saw her going

and coming, Now to the grave of the dead, and now to the

bed of the dying. Patient, conrageons, and strong, and said to mv

self, that if over There were angels un earth as there are angels

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

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

other abandoned. Long have I cherished the thonght, bnt never

have dared to reveal it. Being a coward in this, thongh valiant enongh

for the most part.

Go to the damsel Priscilla, the loveliest maiden

of Plymonth, Say that a blunt old Captain, a man not of words

bnt of aetious, Offers his hand and his heart, the hand and

heart of a soldier. Not in these words , yon know, bnt this hi short

is my meaning: I am a maker of war, and not a maker of

phrases. Yon, who are bred as a scholar, can say it in

elegant language. Snch as yon read in yonr books of the pleadings

and wooings of lovers. Snch as yon think best adapted to win the heart

of a maiden."

When he had spoken, Johu Alden, the fairhaired taciturn stripling,

All aghast at his words, surprised, embarrassed, bewildered.

Trying to mask his dismay by treating the subjeet with lightness,

Trying to smile, and yet feeling his heart stand still in his bosom,

Just as a time-piece stops in a honse that is stricken by lightning.

Thus made auswer and spake, or rather stammered than auswered:

"Snch a message as that, I am sure I shonld mangle and mar It;

If yon wonld have it well done,—I am ouly repeating yonr maxim,—

Yon umst do it yonrself, yon umst not leave it to others!"

Bnt with the air of a man whom nothing can turn from his purpose,

Gravely shaking his head, made auswer the Captain of Plymonth:

"Truly the maxim is good, and I do not mean to gaiusay it;

lint we umst use it discreetly, and not waste powder for nothing.

Now, as I said before, I was never a maker of phrases.

I can inareh up to a fortress and suminon the place to surrender,

Bnt mareh up to a woman with snch a proposal, I dare not.

I'm not afraid of bullets, nor shot from the month of a caunon,

Bnt of a thundering •No!' point-blank from the month of a woman.

That I confess I'm afraid of, nor am I ashamed to confess it;

So yon umst grant my requast, for yon are an elegant scholar,

Having the graces of speech, and skill in the turmng of phrases.

Taking the hand of his friend, who still was reluetant and donbtful.

Holding it long in his own, and pressing it kindly, he added: *

'. Thongh 1 have spoken thus lightly, yet deep is the feeling that prompts ine;

Surely yon caunot refuse what I ask in the name ot onr friendship!"

Then made auswer Johu Alden: "The name of

friendship is sacred; What yon demand in that name, I have not the

power to deny yon 1" So the strong will prevailed, subduing and

moulding the gentler. Friendship prevailed over love, and Alden went on his errand.


So the strong will prevailed, and Alden went on

his errand, Ont of the street of the village, and into the

paths of the forest,

Into the tranquil woods, where bine-birds and robius were building

Towus in the populons trees, with hanging gardeus of verdure,

Peaceful, aerial cities of joy and affeetion and freedom.

All aronnd him was caim, bnt within him commotion and confiiet,

Love contending with friendship, and self with each generons impulse.

To and fro in his breast his thonghts were heaving and dashing.

As in a fonndering ship, with every roll of the vessel,

Washes the bitter sea, the mereiless surge of the ocean!

"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 worshipped in silence!

Was it fortius I have followed the flying feet

and the shadowOver the wintry sea, to the desolate shores of New England?

Truly the heart is deceitful, and ont of its depths of corruption

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

Angels of light they seem, bnt are ouly delusious of Satan.

All is clear to me now; I feel it, I see it distinetly!

This is the hand of the Lord; it is laid upon me in anger.

For I have followed too mnch the heart's desires and devices,

Worshipping Astaroth blindly, and impions idiols of Baal.

This is the cross I must bear; the sin and the swift retribntion."

So throngh the Plymonth woods Johu Alden

went on his errand, Crossing the brook at the ford, where it brawled

over pebble and shallow Gathering still, as he went, the May-flowers

blooming around him, Fragrant, filling the air with astrange and wonderful sweetness, Children lost in the woods, and covered with

leaves in their slumber. 'Puritan flowers," he said, "and the type of

I uritan maideus, Modest and simple and sweet, as a parting gift

will 1 take them; Breathing their silent farewells, as they fado

and wither and perish. Soon to be thrown away as is the heart of a

giver. So throngh the Plymonth woods Johu Alden

went on his errand; Came to an open space, and saw the dirsk of the

ocean, Sailless, sombre and cold with the comfortless

breath of the east-wind; Saw the new-built honse, and people at work in

a meadow: Heard, as he drew near the door, the umsical

voice of Priscilla Soiging the hundredth Psaim, the grand old

Puritan anthem, Music that Lnther sang to the sacred words of

the Psaimist, Full of the breath of the Lord, cousoling and

comforting many. Then, as he opened tlie door, he beheld the form

of tlie maiden Seated beside her wheel, and the carded wool

like a suow-drift Piled at her knee, her white hands feeding the

ravenons spindle,

« AnteriorContinuar »