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Sons of brutish Force and Darkness, who

have drenched the earth with blood, Famished in his self-made desert, blinded

by our purer day, Gropes in yet unblasted regions for his miserable

prey; Shall we guide his gory fingers where our

helpless children play?

Of a legendary virtue carved upon our

father's graves, Worshippers of light ancestral make the

present light a crime; Was the Mayflower launched by cowards,

steered by men behind their time ? Turn those tracks toward Past or Future,

that make Plymouth Rock sublime ?

Then to side with Truth is noble when we

share her wretched crust, Ere her cause bring fame and profit, and

't is prosperous to be just; Then it is the brave man chooses, while the

coward stands aside, Doubting in his abject spirit, till his Lord

is crucified, And the multitude make virtue of the faith

they had denied.

They were men of present valor, stalwart

old iconoclasts, Unconvinced by axe or gibbet that all vir

tue was the Past's; But we make their truth our falsehood,

thinking that hath made us free, Hoarding it in mouldy parchments, while

our tender spirits flee The rude grasp of that great Impulse which

drove them across the sea.

They have rights who dare maintain them;

we are traitors to our sires, Smothering in their holy ashes Freedom's

new-lit altar-fires; Shall we make their creed our jailer ?

Shall we, in our haste to slay, From the tombs of the old prophets steal

the funeral lamps away To light up the martyr-fagots round the

prophets of to-day?

Count me o’er earth's chosen heroes,

they were souls that stood alone, While the men they agonized for hurled

the contumelious stone, Stood serene, and down the future saw the

golden beam incline To the side of perfect justice, mastered by

their faith divine, By one man's plain truth to manhood and

to God's supreme design. By the light of burning heretics Christ's

bleeding feet I track, Toiling up new Calvaries ever with the

cross that turns not back, And these mounts of anguish number how

each generation learned One new word of that grand Credo which

in prophet-hearts hath burned Since the first man stood God-conquered

with his face to heaven upturned. For Humanity sweeps onward: where to

day the martyr stands, On the morrow crouches Judas with the

silver in his hands; Far in front the cross stands ready and the

crackling fagots burn, While the hooting mob of yesterday in

silent awe return To glean

the scattered ashes into History's golden urn.

New occasions teach new duties; Time

makes ancient 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, Nor attempt the Future's portal with the

Past's blood-rusted key.



The reader familiar with Lowell's life will readily recognize the local references which occur in this poem. To others it may be worth while to point out that the village smithy is the same as that commemorated by Longfellow, that Allston lived in the section of Cambridge known as Cambridgeport, that some of the old willows at the causey's end still stand, and that the group is the one which gave the name to Under the Willows.

'T is as easy to be heroes as to sit the idle


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the eye,

Erect and stern, in his own memories Whose loose blocks topple 'neath the lapt,

ploughboy's foot, With distant eye broods over other Who, with each sense shut fast except

sights, Sees the hushed wood the city's flare Creeps close and scares the jay he hoped replace,

to shoot, The wounded turf heal o'er the rail- The woodbine up the elm's straight way's trace,

stem aspires, And roams the savage Past of his un- Coiling it, harmless, with autumnal dwindled rights.


In the ivy's paler blaze the martyr oak The red-oak, softer-grained, yields all

stands mute. for lost, And, with his crumpled foliage stiff and Below, the Charles, a stripe of nether dry,

sky, After the first betrayal of the frost, Now hid by rounded apple-trees between, Rebuffs the kiss of the relenting sky; Whose gaps the misplaced sail sweeps The chestnuts, lavish of their long-hid bellying by, gold,

Now flickering golden through a woodTo the faint Summer, beggared now

land screen, and old,

Then spreading out, at his next turn Pour back the sunshine hoarded 'neath her

beyond, favoring eye.

A silver circle like an inland pond –

Slips seaward silently through marshes The ash her purple drops forgivingly

purple and green. And sadly, breaking not the general hush;

Dear marshes ! vain to him the gift of The maple-swamps glow like a sunset sight sea,

Who cannot in their various incomes share, Each leaf a ripple with its separate From every season drawn, of shade flush;

and light, All round the wood's edge creeps the Who sees in them but levels brown and skirting blaze

bare; Of bushes low, as when, on cloudy Each change of storm or sunshine days,

scatters free Ere the rain fall, the cautious farmer burns On them its largess of variety, his brush.

For Nature with cheap means still works

her wonders rare. O’er yon low wall, which guards one unkempt zone,

In Spring they lie one broad expanse Where vines and weeds and scrub-oaks intertwine

O'er which the light winds run with Safe from the plough, whose rough, glimmering feet: discordant stone

Here, yellower stripes track out the Is massed to one soft gray by lichens

creek unseen, fine,

There, darker growths o'er hidden The tangled blackberry, crossed and

ditches meet; recrossed, weaves

And purpler stains show where the A prickly network of ensanguined blossoms crowd, leaves;

As if the silent shadow of a cloud Hard by, with coral beads, the prim black- Hung there becalmed, with the next breath alders shine.

to fleet.

of green,

Pillaring with flame this crumbling


All round, upon the river's slippery


the sun,


they pass,

Witching to deeper calm the drowsy tide, Or come when sunset gives its freshWhispers and leans the breeze-entan

ened zest, gling sedge;

Lean o'er the bridge and let the ruddy Through emerald glooms the lingering

thrill, waters slide,

While the shorn sun swells down the Or, sometimes wavering, throw back hazy west,

Glow opposite ; the marshes drink And the stiff banks in eddies melt and

their fill

And swoon with purple veins, then Of dimpling light, and with the current slowly fade seem to glide.

Through pink to brown, as eastward

moves the shade, In Summer 't is a blithesome sight to Lengthening with stealthy creep, of Sisee,

mond's darkening hill. As, step by step, with measured swing,

Later, and yet ere Winter wholly The wide-ranked mowers wading to

shuts, the knee,

Ere through the first dry snow the runTheir sharp scythes panting through the

ner grates, wiry grass;

And the loath cart-wheel screams in Then, stretched beneath a rick's shade

slippery ruts, in a ring,

While firmer ice the eager boy awaits, Their nooning take, while one begins Trying each buckle and strap beside to sing

the fire, A stave that droops and dies 'neath the And until bedtime plays with his declose sky of brass.


Twenty times putting on and off his newMeanwhile that devil-may-care, the bought skates;

bobolink, Remembering duty, in mid-quaver stops Then, every morn, the river's banks Just ere he sweeps o'er rapture's shine bright tremulous brink,

With smooth plate - armor, treacherous And 'twixt the winrows most demurely

and frail, drops,

By the frost's clinking hammers forged A decorous bird of business, who pro- at night, vides

'Gainst which the lances of the sun preFor his brown mate and fledglings six

vail, besides,

Giving a pretty emblem of the day And looks from right to left, a farmer mid When guiltier arms in light shall melt


And states shall move free-limbed, loosed Another change subdues them in the from war's cramping mail.

Fall, But saddens not; they still show merrier And now those waterfalls the ebbing tints,

river Though sober russet seems to cover Twice every day creates on either side all;

Tinkle, as through their fresh-sparred When the first sunshine through their

grots they shiver dew-drops glints,

In grass-arched channels to the sun deLook how the yellow clearness,

nied; streamed across,

High flaps in sparkling blue the farRedeems with rarer hues the season's

heard crow, loss,

The silvered flats gleam frostily below, As Dawn's feet there had touched and left | Suddenly drops the gull and breaks the

their rosy prints.

his crops.

glassy tide.

But let me turn from fancy-pictured


But crowned in turn by vying seasons

three, Their winter halo hath a fuller ring;

This glory seems to rest immovably, The others were too fleet and vanish

ing; When the hid tide is at its highest

flow, O'er marsh and stream one breathless

trance of snow With brooding fulness awes and bushes

everything The sunshine seems blown off by the

bleak wind, As pale as formal candles lit by day; Gropes to the sea the river dumb and

blind; The brown ricks, snow-thatched by the

storm in play, Show pearly breakers combing o'er

their lee, White crests as of some just enchanted

sea, Checked in their maddest leap and hanging

poised midway.

To that whose pastoral calm before me

lies: Here nothing harsh or rugged inter

venes; The early evening with her misty dyes Smooths off the ravelled edges of the


Relieves the distant with her cooler sky, And tones the landscape down, and soothes

the wearied eyes. There gleams my native village, dear Though higher change's waves each day

are seen, Whelming fields famed in boyhood's

history, Sanding with houses the diminished

green; There, in red brick, which softening

time defies, Stand square and stiff the Muses'

factories; How with my life knit up is every well

known scene !

to me,

But when the eastern blow, with rain

aslant, From mid-sea's prairies green and rolling

plains Drives in his wallowing herds of bil

lows gaunt, And the roused Charles remembers in

his veins Old Ocean's blood and snaps his

gyves of frost, That tyrannous silence on the shores is

tost In dreary wreck, and crumbling desolation


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Edgewise or flat, in Druid-like device, With leaden pools between or gullies

bare, The blocks lie strewn, a bleak Stone

henge of ice; No life, no sound, to break the grim

despair, Save sullen plunge, as through the

sedges stiff Down crackles riverward some thaw

sapped cliff, Or when the close-wedged fields of ice

crunch here and there.

Beyond the hillock's house-bespotted

swell, Where Gothic chapels house the horse

and chaise, Where quiet cits in Grecian temples

dwell, Where Coptic tombs resound with prayer

and praise, Where dust and mud the equal year

divide, There gentle Allston lived, and

wrought, and died, Transfigniring street and shop with his

illumined gaze.

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