« AnteriorContinuar »
“ New occasions teach new duties; Time makes an
cient good uncouth; They must upward still and onward who would keep
abreast of Truth: Lo, before us gleam her camp-fires! we ourselves
must Pilgrims be, Launch our Mayflower, and steer boldly through the
desperate winter sea. Charles Sumner, Works (Boston, 1875), III. 270-275 passim.
6. The Pilgrim Fathers (1620)
By John BOYLE O'REILLY
An Irish immigrant living in Boston who appreciated the service of all the races to their common country.
ONE righteous word for Law—the common will;
One living truth of Faith-God regnant still;
One primal test of Freedom—all combined;
One sacred Revolution—change of mind;
One trust unfailing for the night and need-
The tyrant-flower shall cast the freedom-seed.
So held they firm, the Fathers aye to be,
From home to Holland, Holland to the sea;
Pilgrims for manhood, in their little ship,
Hope in each heart and prayer on every lip.
They could not live by king-made codes and
They chose the path where every footstep
bleeds. Protesting, not rebelling; scorned and banned; Through pains and prisons harried from the
Through double exile,—till at last they stand
Apart from all,-unique, unworldly, true,
Selected grain to sow the earth anew;
A winnowed part, a saving remnant they;
Dreamers who work, adventurers who pray!
What vision led them? Can we test their
prayers? Who knows they saw no empire in the West? The later Puritans sought land and gold, And all the treasures that the Spaniard told; What line divides the Pilgrims from the rest?
We know them by the exile that was theirs;
Their justice, faith, and fortitude attest.
And then the preparation—the heart-beat
Of wayfarers who may not rest their feet;
Their pastor's blessing — the farewells of
some Who stayed in Leyden. Then the sea's wide
blue ! “They sailed," writ one, "and as they sailed they
knew That they were Pilgrims !"
On the wintry main God flings their lives as farmers scatter grain. Mis breath propels the wingéd seed afloat; His tempests swerve to spare the fragile boat; Before his prompting terrors disappear; He points the way while patient seamen steer; Till port is reached, nor North, nor South, but
Here, where the shore was rugged as the waves,
Where frozen nature dumb and leafless lay,
And no rich meadows bade the Pilgrims stay,
Was spread the symbol of the life that saves :
To conquer first the outer things; to make
Their own advantage, unallied, unbound;
Their blood the mortar, building from the
Their cares the statutes, making all anew;
To learn to trust the many, not the few;
To bend the mind to discipline; to break
The bonds of old convention, and forget
The claims and barriers of class; to face
A desert land, a strange and hostile race,
And conquer both to friendship by the debt
That Nature pays to justice, love, and toil.
Here, on this rock, and on this sterile soil,
Began the kingdom not of kings, but men:
Began the making of the world again.
Here centuries sank, and from the hither brink
A new world reached and raised an old-world
link, When English hands, by wider vision taught, Threw down the feudal bars the Normans
brought, And here revived, in spite of sword and stake, Their ancient freedom of the Wapentake! Here struck the seed-the Pilgrims' roofless town, Where equal rights and equal bonds were set, Where all the people equal-franchised met; Where doom was writ of privilege and crown; Where human breath blew all the idols down; Where crests were nought, where vulture flags
were furled, And common men began to own the world!
Give praise to others, early-come or late,
For love and labor on our ship of state;
But this must stand above all fame and zeal:
The Pilgrim Fathers laid the ribs and keel.
On their strong lines we base our social health,
The man—the home—the town—the common-
The faith was theirs: the time had other needs.
The salt they bore must sweeten worldly deeds.
There was a meaning in the very wind
That blew them here, so few, so poor, so strong,
To grapple concrete work, not abstract wrong.
When waves of ages have their motive spent
Thy sermon preaches in this Monument,
Where Virtue, Courage, Law, and Learning sit;
Calm Faith above them, grasping Holy Writ;
White hand upraised o'er beauteous, trusting eyes,
And pleading finger pointing to the skies !
The past is theirs, the future ours; and we
Must learn and teach. Oh, may our record be
Like theirs, a glory, symbolled in a stone,
To speak as this speaks, of our labors done.
They had no model; but they left us one.
In every land wherever might holds sway
The Pilgrims' leaven is at work to-day.
The Mayflower's cabin was the chosen womb
Of light predestined for the nations' gloom.
God grant that those who tend the sacred flame
May worthy prove of their Forefathers' name.
More light has come,-more dangers, too,
New prides, new greeds, our high condition vex.
The Fathers fled from feudal lords, and made
A freehold state ; may we not retrograde
To lucre-lords and hierarchs of trade.
May we, as they did, teach in court and school,
There must be classes, but no class shall rule:
The sea is sweet, and rots not like the pool.
Though vast the token of our future glory,
Though tongue of man hath told not such a