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We will not only see the light
Through painted windows cobwebbed o'er, Nor know the beauty of the night
Save by the moonbeam on the floor:
Or moon, or stars, our hearts shall glow;
And we shall love because we know.
6. The present needs us. Every age
But strenuous labor for the right;
And stretch the circle of its ken.
7. Time, nor Eternity, hath seen
In all its phases: ne'er hath been.
And that which is hath ceased to be
But Now is ever good and fair,
And we of it. So let us live
Light for the Now - from Now a joy
- CHARLES MACKAY.
VIII. ADVANTAGES OF ADVERSITY
I. From the dark portals of the Star-Chamber, and in the stern text of the Acts of Uniformity, the Pilgrims received a commission more efficient than any that ever bore the royal seal. Their banishment to Holland was fortunate; the decline of their little company in the strange land was fortunate; the difficulties which they experienced in getting the royal consent to banish themselves to this wilderness were fortunate; all the tears and heartbreakings of that evermemorable parting at Delfthaven had the happiest influence on the rising destinies of New England. All this purified the ranks of the settlers. These rough touches of fortune brushed off the light, uncertain, selfish spirits. They made it a grave, solemn, self-denying expedition, and required of those who engaged in it to be so too. They cast a broad shadow of thought and seriousness over the cause; and, if this sometimes deepened into melancholy and bitterness, can we find no apology for such a human weakness?
2. It is sad, indeed, to reflect on the disasters which the little band of Pilgrims encountered; sad to see a portion of them, the prey of unrelenting cupidity, treacherously embarked in an unsound, unseaworthy ship, which they are soon obliged to abandon, and crowd themselves into one vessel; one hundred persons, besides the ship's company, in a vessel of one hundred and sixty tons. One is touched at the story of the long, cold, and weary autumnal passage; of the landing on the inhospitable rocks at this dismal season; where they are deserted, before long, by the ship
which had brought them, and which seemed their only hold upon the world of fellow-men, a prey to the elements and to want, and fearfully ignorant of the numbers, the power, and the temper of the savage tribes that filled the unexplored continent upon whose verge they had ventured.
3. But all this wrought together for good. These trials of wandering and exile, of the ocean, the winter, the wilderness, and the savage foe, were the final assurances of success. It was these that put far away from our fathers' cause all patrician softness, all hereditary claims to preeminence. No effeminate nobility crowded into the dark and austere ranks of the Pilgrims. No Carr nor Villiers would lead on the ill-provided band of despised Puritans. No well-endowed clergy were on the alert to quit their cathedrals, and set up a pompous hierarchy in the frozen wilderness. No craving governors were anxious to be sent over to our cheerless El Dorados of ice and snow.
4. No; they could not say they had encouraged, patronized, or helped the Pilgrims: their own cares, their own labors, their own councils, their own blood, contrived all, achieved all, bore all, sealed all. They could not afterward fairly pretend to reap where they had not strewn ; and, as our fathers reared this broad and solid fabric with pains and watchfulness, unaided, barely tolerated, it did not fall when the favor, which had always been withholden, was changed into wrath; when the arm, which had never supported, was raised to destroy.
5. Methinks I see it now, that one solitary, adventurous vessel, the Mayflower of a forlorn hope, freighted with the prospects of a future State, and bound across the unknown sea. I behold it pursuing, with a thousand misgivings, the uncertain, the tedious voyage. Suns rise and set, and weeks and months pass, and winter surprises them on the
deep, but brings them not the sight of the wished-for shore.
6. I see them now scantily supplied with provisions; crowded almost to suffocation in their ill-stored prison; delayed by calms, pursuing a circuitous route- and now driven in fury before the raging tempest, on the high and giddy waves. The awful voice of the storm howls through the rigging. The laboring masts seem straining from their base; the dismal sound of the pumps is heard; the ship leaps, as it were, madly, from billow to billow; the ocean breaks, and settles with ingulfing floods over the floating deck, and beats, with deadening, shivering weight, against the staggered vessel.
7. I see them, escaped from these perils, pursuing their all but desperate undertaking, and landed at last, after a five months' passage, on the ice-clad rocks of Plymouth,weak and weary from the voyage, poorly armed, scantily provisioned, without shelter, without means, surrounded by hostile tribes.
8. Shut now the volume of history, and tell me, on any principle of human probability, what shall be the fate of this handful of adventurers. Tell me, man of military science, in how many months were they all swept off by the thirty savage tribes, enumerated within the early limits of New England? Tell me, politician, how long did this shadow of a colony, on which your conventions and treaties had not smiled, languish on the distant coast? Student of history, compare for me the baffled projects, the deserted settlements, the abandoned adventures of other times, and find the parallel of this.
9. Was it the winter's storm, beating upon the houseless heads of women and children; was it hard labor and spare meals; was it disease; was it the tomahawk; was it the deep
malady of a blighted hope, a ruined enterprise, and a broken heart, aching in its last moments at the recollection of the loved and left beyond the sea; was it some, or all of these united, that hurried this forsaken company to their melancholy fate? And is it possible that neither of these causes, that not all combined, were able to blast this bud of hope? Is it possible that, from a beginning so feeble, so frail, so worthy, not so much of admiration as of pity, there has gone forth a progress so steady, a growth so wonderful, an expansion so ample, a reality so important, a promise, yet to be fulfilled, so glorious?
- EDWARD EVERETT.
IX. THE PURITANS
1. The Puritans were men whose minds had derived a peculiar character from the daily contemplation of superior beings and eternal interests. Not content with acknowledging, in general terms, an overruling Providence, they habitually ascribed every event to the will of the Great Being, for whose power nothing was too vast, for whose inspection nothing was too minute. To know him, to serve him, to enjoy him, was with them the great end of existence.
2. They rejected with contempt the ceremonious homage which other sects substituted for the pure worship of the soul. Instead of catching occasional glimpses of the Deity through an obscuring veil, they aspired to gaze full on the intolerable brightness, and to commune with him face to face. Hence originated their contempt for terrestrial distinctions. The difference between the greatest and meanest of mankind seemed to vanish, when compared with the boundless interval which separated the whole race