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Puritans affirmed, that, when a psalm was iron, gifted with life and thought, yet all pealing from their place of worship, the of one substance with his head-piece and echo which the forest sent them back seemed breast-plate. It was the Puritan of Purioften like the chorus of a jolly catch, closing tans; it was Endicott himself! with a roar of laughter. Who but the fiend, “Stand off, priest of Baal!” said he, with and his bond-slaves, the crew of Merry a grim frown, and laying no reverent hand Mount, had thus disturbed them? In due upon the surplice. "I know thee, Blacktime, a feud arose, stern and bitter on one stone!1 Thou art the man, who couldst not side, and as serious on the other as anything abide the rule even of thine own corrupted could be among such light spirits as had church, and hast come hither to preach sworn allegiance to the May-Pole. The iniquity, and to give example of it in thy future complexion of New England was in- life. But now shall it be seen that the volved in this important quarrel. Should the Lord hath sanctified this wilderness for grizzly saints establish their jurisdiction over his peculiar people. Woe unto them that the gay sinners, then would their spirits would defile it! And first, for this flowerdarken all the clime, and make it a land of decked abomination, the altar of thy worclouded visages, of hard toil, of sermon and ship!" psalm forever. But should the banner-staff And with his keen sword Endicott asof Merry Mount be fortunate, sunshine saulted the hallowed May-Pole. Nor long would break upon the hills, and flowers did it resist his arm. It groaned with a diswould beautify the forest, and late posterity mal sound; it showered leaves and rosebuds do homage to the May-Pole.
upon the remorseless enthusiast; and finally, After these authentic passages from his- with all its green boughs, and ribbons, and tory, we return to the nuptials of the Lord flowers, symbolic of departed pleasures, and Lady of the May. Alas! we have de- down fell the banner-staff of Merry Mount. layed too long, and must darken our tale too As it sank, tradition says, the evening sky suddenly. As we glance again at the May- grew darker, and the woods threw forth a Pole, a solitary sunbeam is fading from the more somber shadow. summit, and leaves only a faint, golden
“There," cried Endicott, looking tritinge, blended with the hues of the rainbow umphantly on his work,-"there lies the only banner. Even that dim light is now with- May-Pole in New England! The thought is drawn, relinquishing the whole domain of strong within me, that, by its fall, is shadMerry Mount to the evening gloom, which owed forth the fate of light and idle mirthhas rushed so instantaneously from the black makers, amongst us and our posterity. surrounding woods. But some of these Amen! saith John Endicott." black shadows have rushed forth in human “Amen!" echoed his followers. shape.
But the votaries of the May-Pole gave one Yes; with the setting sun, the last day of groan for their idol. At the sound, the mirth had passed from Merry Mount. The Puritan leader glanced at the crew of ring of gay masquers was disordered and Comus, each a figure of broad mirth, yet, at broken; the stag lowered his antlers in dis- this moment, strangely expressive of sorrow may; the wolf grew weaker than a lamb; and dismay. the bells of the morrice-dancers tinkled with "Valiant captain," quoth Peter Palfrey, tremulous affright. The Puritans had played the Ancient of the band, "what order shall a characteristic part in the May-Pole mum
be taken with the prisoners ?" meries. Their darksome figures were inter- “I thought not to repent me of cutting mixed with the wild shapes of their foes, down a May-Pole,” replied Endicott, “yet and made the scene a picture of the moment, now I could find in my heart to plant it when waking thoughts start up amid the again, and give each of these bestial pascattered fantasies of a dream. The leader gans one other dance round their idol. It of the hostile party stood in the center of the would have served rarely for a whippingcircle, while the rout of monsters cowered around him, like evil spirits in the presence of a dread magician. No fantastic foolery 1 Did Governor Endicott speak less positively, could look him in the face. So stern was
we should suspect a mistake here. The Rev. Mr.
Blackstone, though an eccentric, is not known to the energy of his aspect, that the whole man, have been an immoral man.
identity with the priest of Merry Mount.-[Auvisage, frame, and soul, seemed wrought of thor's Note.]
We rather doubt his
“But there are pine trees enow," suggested cares of life, personified by the dark Purithe lieutenant.
tans. But never had their youthful beauty "True, good Ancient,” said the leader. seemed so pure and high, as when its “Wherefore, bind the heathen crew, and glow was chastened by adversity. bestow on them a small matter of stripes “Youth,” said Endicott, “ye stand in an apiece, as earnest of our future justice. Set evil case, thou and thy maiden wife. Make some of the rogues in the stocks to rest ready presently; for I am minded that ye themselves, so soon as Providence shall bring shall both have a token to remember your us to one of our own well-ordered settle- wedding-day!" ments, where such accommodations may be “Stern man,” cried the May Lord, "how found. Further penalties, such as branding can I move thee? Were the means at hand, and cropping of ears, shall be thought of I would resist to the death. Being powerhereafter."
less, I entreat! Do with me as thou wilt, “How many stripes for the priest ?" in- but let Edith go untouched !" quired Ancient Palfrey.
"Not so," replied the immitigable zealot. “None as yet,” answered Endicott, bend- “We are not wont to show an idle courtesy ing his iron frown upon the culprit. "It to that sex, which requireth the stricter dismust be for the Great and General Court to cipline. What sayest thou, maid? Shall thy determine whether stripes and long impris- silken bridegroom suffer thy share of the onment, and other grievous penalty, may penalty, besides his own ?” atone for his transgressions. Let him look "Be it death,” said Edith, "and lay it all to himself! For such as violate our civil
on me!” order, it may be permitted us to show mercy. Truly, as Endicott had said, the poor But woe to the wretch that troubleth our lovers stood in a woeful case. Their foes religion !"
were triumphant, their friends captive and “And this dancing bear,” resumed the abased, their home desolate, the benighted officer. "Must he share the stripes of his wilderness around them, and a rigorous fellows?"
destiny, in the shape of the Puritan leader, "Shoot him through the head!" said the their only guide. Yet the deepening twienergetic Puritan. “I suspect witchcraft in light could not altogether conceal that the the beast.”
iron man was softened; he smiled at the "Here be a couple of shining ones," con- fair spectacle of early love; he almost tinued Peter Palfrey, pointing his weapon sighed for the inevitable blight of early at the Lord and Lady of the May. “They hopes. seem to be of high station among these "The troubles of life have come hastily misdoers. Methinks their dignity will not on this young couple,” observed Endicott. be fitted with less than a double share of “We will see how they comport themselves stripes."
under their present trials, ere we burthen Endicott rested on his sword, and closely them with greater. If, among the spoil, surveyed the dress and aspect of the hapless there be any garments of a more decent pair. There they stood, pale, downcast, and fashion, let them be put upon this May Lord apprehensive. Yet there was
and his Lady, instead of their glistening mutual support, and of pure affection, seek- vanities. Look to it, some of you." ing aid and giving it, that showed them to “And shall not the youth's hair be cut ?" be man and wife, with the sanction of a asked Peter Palfrey, looking with abhorrence priest upon their love. The youth, in the at the love-lock and long glossy curls of the peril of the moment, had dropped his gilded young man. staff, and thrown his arm about the Lady of “Crop it forthwith, and that in the true the May, who leaned against his breast, too pumpkin-shell fashion," answered the caplightly to burden him, but with weight tain. "Then bring them along with us, but enough to express that their destinies were more gently than their fellows. There be linked together, for good or evil. They qualities in the youth, which may make him looked first at each other, and then into the valiant to fight, and sober to toil, and pious grim captain's face. There they stood, in to pray; and in the maiden, that may fit her the first hour of wedlock, while the idle to become a mother in our Israel, bringing pleasures of which their companions were up babes in better nurture than her own the emblems, had given place to the sternest hath been. Nor think ye, young ones, that IV. COMMONWEALTH AND RESTORATION
an air of
they are me happiest, even in our lifetime of a moment, who misspend it in dancing round a May-Pole!"
And Endicott, the severest Puritan of all who laid the rock-foundation of New England, lifted the wreath of roses from the ruin of the May-Pole, and threw it, with his own gauntleted hand, over the heads of the Lord and Lady of the May. It was a deed of prophecy. As the moral gloom of the world overpowers all systematic gaiety, even
was their home of wild mirth made desolate amid the sad forest. They returned to it no more. But, as their flowery garland was wreathed of the brightest roses that had grown there, so, in the tie that united them, were intertwined all the purest and best of their early joys. They went heavenward, supporting each other along the difficult path which it was their lot to tread, and never wasted one regretful thought on the vanities of Merry Mount.
The TRIUMPHS OF THE COMMONWEALTH
[From a Speech at the Opening of the Lit
tle Parliament, July 4, 1653] We have not thought it amiss a little to remind you of that series of providences wherein the Lord hath appeared, dispensing wonderful things to these nations from the beginning of our troubles to this very day.
If I should look much backward, we might remind you of the state of affairs as they were before the Short, that is the last, Parliament, in what posture the things of this nation then stood: but they do so well, 1
presume, occur to all your memories and knowledge, that I shall not need to look so far backward. Nor yet to those hostile occasions which arose between the King that was and the Parliament that then followed. And indeed, should I begin much later, the things that would fall very necessarily before you, would rather be for a history than for a verbal discourse at this present.
But thus far we may look back. You Very well know it pleased God much about the midst of this War, to win now the forces of this nation; and to put them into the hands of other men of other principles than those that did engage at the first. By what ways and means that was brought about, would ask more time than is allotted me to mind you of it. Indeed, there are stories that do recite those transactions and give you narratives of matters of fact; but those things wherein the life and power of them lay; those strange windings and turnings of Providence; those very great appearances of God, in crossing and thwarting the purposes of men, that He might raise up a poor and contemptible company of men, neither versed in military affairs,
nor having much natural propensity to them, into wonderful success—! Simply by their owning a principle of godliness and religion ; which so soon as it came to be owned, and the state of affairs put upon the foot of that account, how God blessed them, furthering all undertakings, yet using the most improbable and the most contemptible and despicable means, is very well known to you.
Why the several successes and issues have been, is not fit to mention at this time neither :—though I confess I thought to have enlarged myself upon that subject; forasmuch as considering the works of God, and the operations of His hands, is a principal part of our duty; and a great encour-, agement to the strengthening of our hands and of our faith, for that which is behind. And among other ends which those marvelous dispensations have been given us for, that's a principal end which ought to be minded by us.
Certainly in this revolution of affairs, as the issue of those successes which God was pleased to give to the army, and to the authority that then stood, there were very great things brought about;-besides those dints that came upon the nations and places where the war itself was, very great things in civil matters, too. As first, the bringing of offenders to justice,-and the greatest of them. Bringing of the state of this government to the name of a Commonwealth. Searching and sifting of all persons and places. The King removed, and brought to justice; and many great ones with him. The House of Peers laid aside. The House of Commons itself, the representative of the People of England, winnowed, sifted, and brought to a handful; as you very well remember.
And truly God would not rest there:
for, by the way, although it's fit for us to ascribe our failings and miscarriages to ourselves, yet the gloriousness of the work may well be attributed to God Himself, and may be called His strange work. You remember well that at the change of the government there was not an end of our troubles, although in that year were such high things transacted as indeed made it to be the most memorable year that this nation ever saw. So many insurrections, invasions, secret designs, open and public attempts, all quashed in so short a time, and this by the very signal appearance of God Himself; which I hope, we shall never forget !-You know also, as I said before, that, as the first effect of that memorable year of 1648 was to lay a foundation, by bringing offenders to punishment, so it brought us likewise to the change of government:although it were worth the time, perhaps, if one had time, to speak of the carriage of some in places of trust, in most eminent places of trust, which was such as would have frustrated us of the hopes of all our undertakings. I mean by the closure of the treaty that was endeavored with the King; whereby they would have put into his hands all that we had engaged for, and all our security should have been a little piece of paper! That thing going off, you very well know how it kept this nation still in broils by sea and land. And yet what God wrought in Ireland and Scotland you likewise know; until He had finished those troubles, upon the matter, by His marvelous salvation wrought at Worcester.
I confess to you that I am very much troubled in my own spirit that the necessity of affairs requires I should be so short in those things: because, as I told you, this is the leanest part of the transactions, this mere historical narrative of them; there being in every particular; in the King's first going from the Parliament, in the pulling down of the Bishops, the House of Peers, in every step towards that change of the government,-1 say there is not any one of these things, thus removed and reformed, but hath an evident print of Providence set upon it, so that he who runs may read it. I am sorry I have not an opportunity to be more particular on these points, which I principally designed, this day; thereby to stir up your hearts and mine to gratitude and confidence.
Indeed I have but one more word to say to you; though in that perhaps I shall show
my weakness: it's by way of encouragement to go in this work. And give me leave to begin thus. I confess I never looked to see such a day as this, it may be nor you neither, when Jesus Christ should be so owned as He is, this day, in this work. Jesus Christ is owned this day by the call of you; and you own Him by your willingness to appear for Him. And you manifest this, as far as poor creatures may do, to be a day of the power of Christ. I know you well remember that Scripture, “He makes His people willing in the day of His power.” God manifests this to be the day of the power of Christ; having, through so much blood, and so much trial as hath been upon these nations, made this to be one of the great issues thereof: To have His people called to the supreme Authority. He makes this to be the greatest mercy, next to His own Son. God hath owned His Son; and He hath owned you, and made you own Him. I confess I never looked to have seen such a day; I did not.Perhaps you are not known by face to one another; indeed I am confident you are strangers, coming from all parts of the nation as you do: but we shall tell you that indeed we have not allowed ourselves the choice of one person in whom we had not this good hope. That there was in him faith in Jesus Christ, and love to all His people and saints.
Thus God hath owned you in the eyes of the world, and thus, by coming hither, you own Him: and, as it is in Isaiah, xliii. 21, --it's an high expression; and look to your own hearts whether, now or hereafter, God shall apply it to you: “This People, saith God, I have formed for myself, that they may show forth my praise.” I say, it's a memorable passage; and, I hope, not unfitly applied: the Lord apply it to each of your hearts! I shall not descant upon the words; they are plain: indeed you are as like the forming of God as ever people were. If a man should tender a book to you to swear you upon, I dare appeal to all your consciences, neither directly nor indirectly did you seek for your coming hither. You have been passive in coming hither; being called,-and indeed that's an active work,—though not on your part! “This people have I formed”: consider the circumstances by which you are called hither; through what strivings, through what blood you are come hither,—where neither you nor I, nor no man living, three months ago,
had any thought to have seen such a com- cess we have had-yea, we that are here, pany taking upon them, or rather being we are an astonishment to the world! And called to take, the supreme authority of take us in that temper we are in, or rather this nation! Therefore, own your call! in that distemper, it is the greatest miracle Indeed, I think it may be truly said that that ever befell the sons of men, that we are there never was a supreme authority con- got again to peace. And whoever shall seek sisting of such a body, above one-hundred- to break it, God Almighty root that man and-forty, I believe; never such a body, out of this nation! And he will do it, let that came into the supreme authority be- the pretences be what they may! fore, under such a notion as this, in such Peace-breakers, do they consider what a way of owning God, and being owned by it is they are driving towards? They should Him. And therefore I may also say, never
do it! He that considereth not the woman such a people so formed, for such a pur- with child,—the sucking children of this napose, were thus called before.
tion that know not the right hand from the
left, of whom, for ought I know, it may PEACE Hath Irs VICTORIES
be said this city is as full as Nineveh was said to be:-he that considereth not these,
and the fruit that is like to come of the I
bodies of those now living added to these;
he that considereth not these, must have the [From a Speech Delivered at the Opening of Parliament, January 20, 1657-8]
heart of a Cain; who was marked, and
made to be an enemy of all men, and all If this be the condition of your affairs men enemies to him! For the wrath and abroad, I pray a little consider what is the justice of God will prosecute such a man estate of your affairs at home. And if to his grave, if not to Hell! I say, look on both these considerations, of home affairs this nation; look on it! Consider what are and foreign, have but this effect, to get a the varieties of interest in this nation,consideration among you, a due and just if they be worthy the name of interests. If consideration,-let God move your hearts God did not hinder, it would all but make for the answering of anything that shall be up one confusion. We should find there due unto the nation, as He shall please! would be but one Cain in England, if God And I hope I shall not be solicitous; I did not restrain! We should have another shall look up to Him who hath been my more bloody Civil War than ever we had in God and my guide hitherto.
England. For, I beseech you, what is the I say, I beseech you looking to your own general spirit of this nation ? Is it not affairs at home, how they stand! I am per- that each sect of people,--if I may call suaded you are all, I apprehend you are them sects, whether sects upon a religious all, honest and worthy good men; and that account or upon a civil account-is not this there is not a man of you but would desire nation miserable in that respect ? What to be found a good patriot. I know you is that which possesseth every sect? What would! We are apt to boast sometimes that is it? That every sect may be uppermost ! we are Englishmen: and truly it is no That every sort of men may get the power shame for us that we are Englishmen; into their hands, and they would use it well; but it is a motive to us to do like English
--that every sect may get the power into men, and seek the real good of this nation, their hands! and the interest of it. But, I beseech you, It were a happy thing if the nation would what is our case at home? I profess I do be content with rule. Content with rule, not well know where to begin on this head, if it were but in civil things, and with those or where to end, I do not. But I must that would rule worst;-because misrule is needs say, let a man begin where he will, better than no rule; and an ill government, he shall hardly be out of that drift I am a bad government, is better than none!speaking to you upon. We are as full of Neither is this all: but we have an appetite calamities, and of divisions among us in to variety; to be not only making wounds, respect of the spirits of men, as we could but widening those already made. As if well be,-though, through a wonderful, ad- you should see one making wounds in a mirable, and never to be sufficiently ad- man's side, and eager only to be groping mired providence of God, still in peace! and groveling with his fingers in those And the fighting we have had, and the suc- wounds! This is what such men would be