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Sitting one day by the fireside (wet 'twas: fifteenth of October!)
Said I, "tis no use to work, nor to walk: I will read this Miles Standish;
Though it be told in Hexameters, shambling and tedious, long-winded,
Writ by America's Longfellow, Henry, more quaintly-styled Wadsworth.
Two nights already I've tried to get through it, and found it a poser.
Here goes again, for 'there's luck in odd numbers,' bold Rory O'More

Sad is the fate of Reviewers! What pamphlets and books they must
read through;

Sapless and dreary; to own when they've ended "All's barren." Poor

Histories, lying, cribbed wholesale; Biographies crude and ill-chosen;
Dramas and Novels, where absent are characters, plot, art, and nature;
Essays, discursive, or leaden-weight; Sermons from stones and not in

Magazines, not worth their powder and shot; Blue-books crammed with

Charges, Replies, and Apologies, Statements, Proposals, Memorials;
Bulky Compendiums, and Politics done into Faction's sharp practice;
Libellous Satires and Pasquinades, aping the Dunciad's strictures;
Medical Journals, and Science made easy, with New Rights of Wo-


Tough are all these for digestion, alas! but far worse to experience
Are the gay volumes of Poems by nobodies, ev'ry year published.
Epics and Lyrics and Ballads and what not, ill scribbled, and printed
To ornament inside of trunks and envelope stray half-pounds of butter.
Now and then-rarely, indeed, but atoning for weariesome failures-
Come some delightfullest volumes, which we to our hearts lay and
shrine there.

Not such exactly is this of "Miles Standish, his Courtship," but truly
One that some faults has with beauties-neat, novel: so let us discuss it;
Hopeful to get something fresh from across the Atlantic, whose Cable
Betwixt the Old World and the New very speedily cut the connection;-
Wedding-ring bondage soon broken, the partners divorced and upbraiding.

We that are Giants, behoves us, to use not our strength like to Giants.
Reader, thou art in our power;-we might in Hexameters criticize,
But we have mercy and slay not, subsiding to prose, as our wont is.
List, now, opinion of Macphail, delivered by KARL, on Miles Standish,

Longfellow's poem, which is strictly narrative, plunges at once into its subject, showing us the Puritan Captain, Miles Standish, "Clad in doublet and hose, and boots of Cordovan leather," striding to and fro with a martial air in his simple and primitive dwelling at Plymouth, across the Atlantic. His secretary, John Alden, who is considerably of the milksop order, is writing letters, to be sent home by the May

*The Courtship of Miles Standish, and other Poems. Longfellow. Author's Protective Edition. Kent & Co.


By Henry Wadsworth London. Pp. 135.

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flower, the vessel which had brought the Pilgrims to the colony. These letters, fortunately, we are not called to read; they are full of praises of the heroine, Priscilla.

"Letters written by Alden, and full of the name of Priscilla,

Full of the name and the fame of the Puritan maiden Priscilla."-P. 7.

We have nothing to say against her fame, but we object to her name -Priscilla Mullins. [See Preface, page v, for this fact.] She naturally inclines to change it, does prim Priscilla. Alden is prettier, she thinks; even Standish could not be uglier than Mullins. Folks call her "Siller," for brevity: much loved in America. Miles Standish continues pacing the room, he is perturbed in spirit; perhaps he is fidgetted by what Longfellow thrice mentions, "the hurrying pen of the stripling;" and if so he is excusable, for we are told that

Every sentence began or closed with the name of Priscilla,

Till the treacherous pen to which he confided the secret

Strove to betray it by singing and shouting the name of Priscilla."—P. 9.

Let the reader try and realize the annoyance, but, indeed, the poet assists him to do so. Miles cannot stand it any longer. He has been trying divers interruptions of the scribe, praising the old weapons with which he fought in the Flemish Morasses, and particularly rejoicing in their conservation, inasmuch as he polishes them himself, saying, very truly

"That is because I have done it myself, and not left it to others; Serve yourself, would you be well served, is an excellent adage."

Then too he praises his howitzer, mounted on the church-roof, which makes him a little vane, though considered to be a great bore. He defies the Indians, and declares in two of those richly-musical lines wherein this poet of late excels :

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"Let them come if they like, be it Sagamore, Sachem, or Pow-wow, Aspinet, Samoset, Corbitant, Squanto, or Tokamahamon!'"-P. 4.

We are not personally acquainted with these euphoniously-named gentlemen; but have no doubt they were pleasant companions in the back-woods. There is a good heart in the brave old captain of the twelve soldiers, and he is worth a multitude of the sleek John Aldens. There is quiet beauty in the following:

'Long at the window he stood, and wistfully gazed on the landscape,
Washed with a cold grey mist, the vapoury breath of the east wind,
Forest and meadow and hill, and the steel-blue rim of the ocean,
Lying silent and sad, in the afternoon shadows and sunshine.
Over his countenance flitted a shadow like those on the landscape,
Gloom intermingled with light; and his voice was subdued with emotion,
Tenderness, pity, regret, as after a pause he proceeded :
'Yonder there, on the hill by the sea, lies buried Rose Standish;
Beautiful rose of love, that bloomed for me by the wayside!
She was the first to die of all who came in the May Flower!
Green above her is growing the field of wheat we have sown there

Better to hide from the Indian scouts the graves of our people,
Lest they should count them and see how many already have perished!'
Sadly his face he averted, and strode up and down, and was thoughtful."

John Alden never heeds him, absorbed in the occupation of ringing changes on the name of Priscilla Mullins. Miles Standish takes down Cæsar's Commentaries, giving it, with deliberation, the preference over the Hebrew Wars and Bariffe's Artillery Guide, and, after attempting to read, despite the scurry of the quill-driver, indulges in warm praise of the Roman Julius for his ambition, frequent marriages, and ability to do things for himself, when wishing them to be well done, instead of leaving them for others. John Alden lets him talk, and keeps up the Mullin's melody. Then, at last, Miles Standish closes his book with a bang-and no wonder! saying, "When you have finished your work, I have something important to tell you." Sleek John Alden replies that he is "always ready to listen,—always ready to hear whatever pertains to Miles Standish." We are told that the Captain's answers are "embarrassed, and culling his phrases;" we think, considering what a transparent falsehood John Alden has told, this is only natural. But "they who will to Cupar, maun to Cupar," and the often warned Captain declares his own affection for Priscilla Mullins, and asks his hearer to go and plead for him in elegant phrases:

"You, who are bred as a scholar, can say it in elegant language.

Such as you read in your books of the pleadings and wooings of lovers,
Such as you think best adapted to win the heart of a maiden.'"

The critical taste and friendly confidence of brave old Miles have played him false; it would have been better if he had held to his favourite maxim, that if a thing is desired to be well done, it must be done by himself and not left to others. It is an awkward matter when men like Miles Standish pay undeserved compliments, and leave an Alden to propose for them to the heiress of the Mullins. John's puritanism is not much deeper than a few scriptural forms of speech; even his joining the Pilgrim Fathers appears to have been for one of the Pilgrim's daughters, as we learn in his disappointment,

"Was it for this I have followed the flying feet and the shadow Over the wintry sea, to the desolate shores of New England?'"'

And Priscilla is not much better, for she tells him that she was thinking of him as she sat singing and spinning, whilst

"Open wide on her lap lay the well-worn Psalm-book of Ainsworth, Printed in Amsterdam;"

And he is, as might be expected in him,

"Awkward and dumb with delight, that a thought of him had been mingled Thus in the sacred Psalm."

Oh, Priscilla! And yet we must not be harsh with her when she speaks, as they

"Talked of the birds and the beautiful Springtime,

Talked of their friends at home and the May-Flower that sailed on the

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'I have been thinking all day,' said gently the Puritan maiden,

Dreaming all night, and thinking all day, of the hedgerows of Eng-

They are in blossom now, and the country is all like a garden;
Thinking of lanes and fields, and the song of the lark and the linnet,
Seeing the Village street, and familiar faces of neighbours

Going about as of old, and stopping to gossip together,

And, at the end of the street, the village Church with the ivy
Climbing the old gray tower, and the quiet graves in the churchyard.'"

Sleek ambassador Alden blurts out the

"Proffer of marriage,

Made by a good man and true, Miles Standish, the Captain of Plymouth."

And the inevitable result is that P. M. is offended, and the Captain's chance imperiled, she asking why Standish does not come to woo her himself?

"Then John Alden began explaining and smoothing the matter,
Making it worse as he went, by saying the Captain was busy,—
Had no time for such things;-such things! the words grating harshly
Fell on the ear of Priscilla; and swift as a flash she made answer:"-

Well, never mind her answer, it is too lengthy to quote entire, but she proves herself to be a Very Strong Minded Woman, powerfully entrenched in Bloomerism and other Transatlanticisms. She is somewhat vinegary and peppery, is Priscilla. Poor Standish, he would have had a bargain of her. But John Alden waxes eloquent in the prosecution of the Courtship of Miles: tells how the Captain was

"A gentleman born, could trace his pedigree plainly
Back to Hugh Standish of Duxbury Hall in Lancashire, England,
Who was the son of Ralph, and the grandson of Thurston de Standish; .
Still bore the family arms, and had for his crest a cock argent,
Combed and wattled gules, and all the rest of the blazon.”—P. 23.

This, with friendly allusions to the hasty temper, obstinacy, sternness, pigmy stature and other amiable weaknesses of Standish, settles the prospects of his rival Miles. "Call you this backing your friend? A plague upon such backing," said the honester John, Jack Falstaff. And what is the result? What might be expected :— "Archly the maiden smiled, and, with eyes over-running with laughter (!!) Said, in a tremulous voice, 'Why don't you speak for yourself, John?'"

This is tolerably plain, and Alden thinks so, for he quits her instantly, and being really uncomfortable, actually apostrophises the East wind. When it comes to doing this, matters begin to look serious. It does not agree with him, however, and he exclaims,— concerning Priscilla's leap-year proposal on his own affection for her, "It is a temptation of Satan," which she, luckily, does not overhear.

So he
goes back and tells Miles Standish how prettily he has settled
his business, and the Captain is indignant and utters some home
truths that are not to be found in Chesterfield. John Alden, so ready
with remarks in his absence, says not another word in the presence
of the Captain, who is speedily summoned to the council-room where
the elders are deliberating on a hostile message that has been sent
by the Indians, Aspinet, Samoset, Corbitant, and Co. On the excel-
lent school-boy principle, that "if I cannot kick Will, I'll thrash
Tom," Captain Standish determines to give battle to the Indians.
Sam Weller says, "I don't know who it is, but it's my opinion that
somebody ought to be whopped for this!" Miles acquiesces, and
flings the hatchet. The brief scene of defiances being exchanged is
excellently given, likewise the march of the Captain's soldiers and
the guide Hobomok, in the gray of the dawn; with the gradual
uprising of the little village, and preparations for the sailing home-
wards of the May Flower. She rides at anchor,—

"Battered and blackened and worn by all the storms of the winter,
Loosely against her masts was hanging and flapping her canvass,
Rent by so many gales, and patched by the hands of the sailors.
Suddenly from her side, as the sun rose over the ocean,
Darted a puff of smoke, and floated seaward, anon rang
Loud over field and forest the cannon's roar, and the echoes
Heard and repeated the sound, the signal gun of departure!
Ah! but with louder echoes replied the hearts of the people!
Meekly in voices subdued, the chapter was read from the Bible,
Meekly the prayer was begun, but ended in fervent entreaty!
When from their houses in haste came forth the Pilgrims of Plymouth,
Men, and women, and children, all hurrying down to the sea-shore,
Eager with tearful eyes to say farewell to the May Flower,
Homeward bound o'er the sea, and leaving them here in the desert."

P. 37. Alden continues uncomfortable in mind, with remembrances of Standish stalking about his room after returning from Council, with mutterings and murmurs :

"Sometimes it seemed a prayer, and sometimes it sounded like swearing.
Once he had come to the bed, and stood there a moment in silence;
Then he had turned away, and said: 'I will not awake him;
Let him sleep on, it is best; for what is the use of more talking?'"

What, indeed? Brave old Miles Standish.

"Then he extinguished the light, and threw himself down on his pallet, Dressed as he was, and ready to start at the break of the morning, Covered himself with the cloak he had worn in his campaign in Flanders;

Slept as a soldier sleeps in his bivouac ready for action.

But with the dawn he arose; in the twilight Alden beheld him

Put on his corslet of steel, and all the rest of his armour,

Buckle about his waist his trusty blade of Damascus,

Take from the corner his musket, and so stride out of the chamber."

Thus had the old warrior gone forth to battle, it might be to death. Of secretary Alden we are farther told :

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