Page images
[merged small][graphic]


Still stands the forest primeval; but far away

from its shadow, Side by side, in their nameless graves, the lovers

are sleeping. Under the humble walls of the little Catholic

churchyard, In the heart of the city, they lie, unknown and

unnoticed. 1385 Daily the tides of life go ebbing and flowing be.

side them, Thousands of throbbing hearts, where theirs are

at rest and forever, Thousands of aching brains, where theirs no

longer are busy, Thousands of toiling hands, where theirs have

ceased from their labors, Thousands of weary feet, where theirs have com

pleted their journey!

1390 Still stands the forest primeval; but under the

shade of its branches Dwells another race, with other customs and lan

Only along the shore of the mournful and misty

Linger a few Acadian peasants, whose fathers

from exile
Wandered back to their native land to die in its

bosom. 1395 In the fisherman's cot the wheel and the loom are

still busy ; Maidens still wear their Norman caps and their

kirtles of homespun, And by the evening fire repeat Evangeline's While from its rocky caverns the deep-voiced,


neighboring ocean Speaks, and in accents disconsolate answers the

wail of the forest.



[This poem, also written in hexameters, has yet a lighter, quicker movement, due to the more playful character of the narrative. A slight change of accent in the first line prepares one for this livelier pace, and the reader will find that the lights and shades of the story use whatever elasticity there is in the hexameter, crisp, varying lines alternating with the steady pulse of the dactyl. The poet has built upon a slight tradition which has come down to us from the days of the Plymouth settlement, a story which depicts in a succession of scenes the life of the Old Colony. In doing this he has not cared to follow explicitly the succession of events, but has been true to the general history of the time and has in each picture copied faithfully the essential characteristics of the original. He has taken the somewhat dry and unimag. inative chronicles of the time and touched them

1399. Observe the recurrence of the phrases with which the poem began. The effect is to impress upon the mind the minor tone of the story, leaving last upon the ear the key-note first struck.

with a poetic light and warmth, and the reader of this poem who resumes such a book as Dr. Young's “ Chronicles of the Pilgrims,” will find the simple story of the early settlers to have gained in beauty. The poem was published in 1858.]



Is the Old Colony days, in Plymouth 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. 5 Buried in thought he seemed, with his hands be

hind him, and pausing Ever and anon to behold his glittering weapons of

warfare, Hanging in shining array along the walls of the

chamber, 1. The Old Colony is the name which has long been applied to that part of Massachusetts which was occupied by the Plymouth colonists whose first setilement was in 1620. Massachusetts Bay was the name by which was known the later collection of settlements made about Boston and Salem.

2. The first houses of the P:lgrims were of logs filled in with nortar and covered with thatch.

3. Cordova in Spain was celebrated for a preparation of goatskin which took the name of Cordovan. Hence came cord wain, or Spanish tanned goat-skin, and in England shoemakers are still often called cordwainers. In France, too, the same word rave cordonnier.

« PreviousContinue »