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Into his narrow brain, till at last he was wholly be

wildered. 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, 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 beheld the form

of Priscilla 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, imploring,

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. Strange is the heart of man, with its quick, myste

rious instincts ! Strange is the life of man, and fatal or fated are

moments, Whereupon turn, as on hinges, the gates of the wall

adamantine! " Here remain !” he exclaimed, as he looked at

the heavens above him, Thanking the Lord whose breath had scattered the

mist and the madness, Wherein, blind and lost, to death he was staggering

headlong. 56 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

ghost-like, Holding me, drawing me back, and clasping mine

for protection. Float, o 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

wholesome, As is the air she breathes, and the soil that is pressed

by her footsteps. Here for her sake will I stay, and like an invisible

presence Hover around her for ever, 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, Scanning with watchful eye 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 careful

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, Glad in his heart to get rid of all this worry and



and sorrow,

Glad to be gone from a land of sand and sickness Short allowance of victual, and plenty of nothing

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

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

the May Flower! 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 pon

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

west-wind, Blowing steady and strong; and the May Flower

sailed from the harbor, 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, 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

Plymouth Said, “ Let us pray!” and they prayed, and thanked

the Lord and took courage. Mournfully sobbed the waves at the base of the rock,

and above them


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 for ever all hope of escaping. 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 saying,

" 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 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 Pris

cilla; And as if thought had the power to draw to itself,

like the loadstone, Whatsoever it touches, by subtile laws of its nature, Lo! as he turned to depart, Priscilla was standing

beside him.

“ Are you so much offended, you will not speak

to me?” said she. “ Am I so much to blame, that yesterday, when you

were pleading Warmly the cause of another, my heart, impulsive

and wayward, Pleaded your own, and spake out, forgetful perhaps

of decorum ? Certainly you can forgive me for speaking so frankly,

for saying What I ought not to have said, yet now I 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 der ths

like a pebble Drops some careless word, it overflows, and its

secret, Spilt on the ground like water, can never be gath

ered together. Yesterday I was shocked, when I heard you speak

of Miles Standish,

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