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prevailing Puritan sentiment as given by trusive as it is massive and simple, is the Longfellow, but as the main articles in greatest testimony to Mr. Longfellow's the poet's own confession of faith : genius. To make us realize the force and
grandeur of conviction which alone could HATHORNE.
have sustained these men through the Some men there are, I have known such, who cruel persecutions of the Quakers — womthink
en as well as men— and to make us love That the two worlds the seen and the un- and revere the Quakers for their devotedThe world of matter and the world of spirit
ness, in spite of their occasional follies, Are like the hemispheres upon our maps,
while not lessening our regard for the And touch each other only at a point.
Puritans, shows the highest dramatic But these two worlds are not divided thus, power. It was comparatively easy for Save for the purposes of common speech. Nathaniel Hawthorne, in his sketch of They form one globe. in which the parted seas “ Endicott and the Red Cross,” to enlist All flow together and are intermingled, our sympathy for the hero. There the While the great continents remain distinct.
interest results simply from decisive ac
tion. There was in that case no inward MATHER.
conflict of the character which gives such I doubt it not. The spiritual world Lies all about us, and its avenues
tragic intensity to “Salem Farms.” The Are open to the unseen feet of phantoms
stern independence and patriotism of the That come and go, and we perceive them not
old Puritan governor alone appear there, Save by their influence, or when at times
and old and young alike must feel a sponA most mysterious Providence permits them taneous thrill of admiration for his brave To manifest themselves to mortal eyes. deed in cutting out from the flag what he
took for the sign and symbol of a great In the “ New England Tragedies we wrong done by England to the consciences have the complete expression of this side of the Puritans. But when the old man of Mr. Longfellow's genius. He desires is divided in mind, when bis will is no to make us understand the source of that longer at one with itself in carrying out iron strength of character and will which the behests of conscience, when natural so distinguished those remarkable men affection is set at war with religious zeal, who built up a grand polity in the West. then we realize the possibility of the deepWith this end in view he presents them est tragedy, of which Mr. Longfellow here precisely in the situations which most has made such admirable use. directly show the triumph of conviction This is the secret of the power of these and the religious principle over all con- tragedies. We are made to feel for Endiflicting motives, and yet which bring into cott as true a sympathy as we experience view their share in common human pas- for the persecuted Quakers. When his sion and weakness. To believe that the own favorite son separates from him, not New England Puritans were merely like only in sympathy but in declared act, and so many pieces of animated statuary, passes to the side of the young Quakeress without soul, without blood, without pas. who had been doomed to death, resolute sion, were totally to misconceive the men, to share her fate, if he may only be perand to lay down an utterly unintelligible mitted, the height of tragic interest is canon of judgment. To associate men of attained. And Mr. Longfellow efficiently such cold and frosty temperament with deals with it. We are as glad that death tragedy would, at all events, have been a comes when it does come to relieve the mistake. But under the coarse jerkins Puritan governor from the fatal conflict of there beat fiery hearts, under the steeple head and heart, as we are at the reprieve hats lay brains that were not always in that arrives from England for the Quakrepose, though self-restraint was the first ers. This is of the very essence of trag. of virtues. The tragedy arises from the edy, and scarcely is there to be found a complete submergence of strong passion more salient illustration of it outside of under a stern energy of will and lofty the works of dramatists of the first rank. sense of duty. The “natural man This indeed is “pity teaching by fear." mere inclination -- which stands for so We feel we can do justice to Longfelmuch in the lives of others is regarded by low and efficiently support the position the Puritan as the source of all tempta- we have taken only by quoting the closing tion, and must be ruthlessly gainsaid. scene of Endicott, wherein, after having Simple as it seems, the apprehension of done stern duty on the Quakers, he surthis and the efficient rendering of it, with. renders himself to the demands of natural out touch of didacticism, in art as unob- | affection:
As if the Seven Thunders uttered their voices, O lost, О loved! wilt thou return no more ?
And the dead bodies lay about the streets O loved and lost, and loved the more when Of the disconsolate city! Bellingham, lost !
I did not put those wretched men to death. How many men are dragged into their graves
I did but guard the passage with the sword By their rebellious children! I now feel
Pointed towards them, and they rushed upon The agony of a father's breaking heart
it! In David's cry, “O Absalom, my son.”
Yet now I would that I had taken no part
In all that bloody work.
The guilt of it That need attention.
Be on their heads, not ours.
Are all set free?
All are at large.
And none have been sent back it,
To England to malign us with the king ?
The ship that brought them sails this very
But carries no one back. And gone to his reward. It was no dream.
[A distant cannon. ENDICOTT.
ENDICOTT. Then it was very sudden; for I saw him
What is that gun?
Her parting signal. Through the window
there, A faintness and a giddiness came o'er him; And, leaning on the chimney-piece, he cried,
Look, you can see her sails, above the roofs, “ The hand of God is on me!” and fell dead.
Dropping below the Castle, outward bound. ENDICOTT.
ENDICOTT. And did not some one say, or have I dreamed O white, white, white ! Would that my soul
had wings it, That Humphrey Atherton is dead?
As spotless as those shining sails to fly with!
Now lay this cushion straight. I thank you. BELLINGHAM.
Alas! I thought I heard the hall-door open and shut ! He too is gone, and by a death as sudden. I thought I heard the footsteps of my boy! Returning home one evening, at the place Where usually the Quakers have been scourged,
BELLINGHAM. His horse took fright, and threw him on the It was the wind. There's no one in the pasground,
sage. So that his brains were dashed about the
O Absalom, my son ! I feel the world
Sinking beneath me, sinking, sinking, sinking! I am not superstitious, Bellingham,
Death knocks ! I go to meet him ! Wel. And yet I tremble lest it may have been
come, Death! A judgment on him.
[Rises and sinks back dead ; his head falling BELLINGHAM.
aside upon his shoulder. So the people think.
BELLINGHAM. They say his horse saw standing in the way The ghost of William Leddra, and was fright. O ghastly sight! Like one who has been ened.
Endicott! Endicott! He makes no answer. And furthermore, brave Richard Davenport, The captain of the Castle, in the storm
[Raises ENDICOTT's head. Has been struck dead by lightning.
He breathes no more! how bright this signet
Glitters upon his hand, where he has worn it
Speak no more. Through such long years of trouble, as if For as I listen to your voice it seems
Had given him this memento of affection, When in all lands, that lie within the sound And whispered in his ear, “Remember me !" Of Sabbath bells, a witch was burned or How placid and how quiet is his face,
drowned. Now that the struggle and the strife are ended ! Only the acrid spirit of the times
The peculiar interest of “Giles Corey" Corroded this true steel. O, rest in peace, lies in the view of fatality or prevision Courageous heart ! Forever rest in peace ! that runs through it. Martha Corey, as
yet unsuspect, has dreadful dreams of The reaction to a tender mood of mind being accused along with her husband – through these thoughts about his son her forecasts are only too faithful fore. his Absalom prepares him for so much runners of her fate. She says to her else - to see for one thing the possibility husband : that it might have been better for him had much of the work he did been left by him That we had fetters on our hands and feet;
I dreamt that you and I were both in prison; undone. Here the pathos of profound That we were taken before the Magistrates, regret comes to add a softening grace to And tried for witchcraft and condemned to the unattractive rigor of the old man's death! character as at first presented to us. I wished to pray, they would not let me pray;
In the drama of “ Giles Corey," the You tried to comfort me, and they forbade it. first aim is to show us that the individual But the most dreadful thing in all my dream Puritans in their fierce outbreak against Was that they made you testify against me! witchcraft were not actuated by malicious and then there came a kind of mist between motives merely — that they were so far the victims of their own limes, as Bel. I could not see you; and I woke in terror. Jingham says at the close of Endicott, Than when I found you sleeping at my side !
I never was more thankful in my life which laid upon them the sad task of healing, as far as they could, what was The portraits of Hathorne - the witchthen, as they held, the “open sore of the judge and progenitor of Nathaniel Hawworld.” For the dread of witchcraft and thorne — in his grin, unbending severity, the hatred of it was not confined to the and of Gardner and Mather, are done Puritans; it was then universal, only the with a few severe but decisive touches. intense religious convictions of the Puri. There is no attempt at rhetorical adorntans, which Jaid it upon them actively to ment; but the fateful air of a consciencedeal with and defeat all evident machina- supported superstition pervades it all, and tions of the devil, impelled them, for con- only the sense of a stern integrity that science' sake, to exercise all means to could sacrifice itself for conscience sake put it down. Mr. Longfellow admirably on the part of the persecutors makes it expresses the thought, which is, indeed, at all tolerable. the master thought of the drama, in his Considering that Mr. Longfellow has prologue:
kept so close to the facts as found in the
most authoritative records of the period, The only men of dignity and state
it is astonishing how he has maintained Were then the Minister and the Magistrate, unity of effect. Now and then the bald Who ruled their little realm with iron rod,
and almost prosaic introduction of actual Less in the love than in the fear of God.
matters of fact only helps him here. The And who believed devoutly in the Powers Of darkness, working in this world of ours
severe and bare style of the verse is thus
Rhetorical In spells of witchcraft, incantations, dread
found to have a good reason. And shrouded apparitions of the dead;
effect wouid have spoiled the whole. In Upon this simple folk “with fire and flame,”
no portion of the volume is this more no. Saith the old Chronicle, "the Devil came,”
ticeable than in the passage which repreScattering his firebrands and his poisonous sents Giles Corey called to give evidence darts,
against his wife Martha To set on fire of hell all tongues and hearts. And 'tis no wonder ; for, with all his host,
MARTHA. There most he rages where he hateth most,
Give me leave to speak. And is most hated ; so on us he brings Will you condemn me on such evidence, All those stupendous and portentous things !
You wbo have known me for so many years ? Something of this our scene to-night will Will you condemn me in this house of God, show;
Where I so long have worshipped with you all ? And ye who listen to the Tale of Woe,
Where I have eaten the bread and drunk the Be not too swift in casting the first stone,
wine Nor think New England bears the guilt alone. So many times at our Lord's Table with you? This sudden burst of wickedness and crime Bear witness, you that hear me ; you all know Was but the common madness of the time,
That I have led a blameless life among you;
That never any whisper of suspicion
As otherwise than patient, brave, and true, Was breathed against me till this accusation. Faithful, forgiving, full of charity, And shall this count for nothing? Will you A faithful and industrious goodwife. take
HATHORNE. My life away from me because this girl, Who is distraught, and not in her right mind, Tut, tut, man ! do not rant so in your speech. Accuses me of things I blush to name?
You are a witness, not an advocate.
Here, Sheriff, take this woman back to prison ! HATHORNE
Martha. What! is it not enough? Would you
O Giles, this day you've sworn away my life ! more? Giles Corey !
The dream ! the dream ! the dream!
What does he say?
Giles Corey, go not hence! You are yourself
Accused of witchcraft and of sorcery
By many witnesses. Say, are you guilty ? [COREY ascends a platform.] Is it not true, that on a certain night
COREY. You were impeded strangely in your prayers ? I know my death is foreordained by you That something hindered you?' and that you Mine and my wife's. Therefore I will not an
left This woman here, your wife, kneeling alone Upon the hearth?
And then evidence is adduced, that of
Gloyd and others, and Giles is condemned Corey.
also. Yes; I cannot deny it. But Mr. Longfellow would have been HATHORNE.
unjust to the earlier Puritan life of Mas. Did you not say the devil hindered you?
sachusetts if he had dealt only with the
fatality and terror of it. The poet is preCorey.
eminently the man of vision, who must I think I said some words to that effect.
deal with the light and joy of life as well HATHORNE.
as with its sombre gloom and shadow.
He relieved the shadow for us, as if under Is it not true, that fourteen head of cattle, To you belonging, broke from their enclosure dramatic necessity, even
while dealing And leaped into the river, and were drowned? with the most tragic elements, by showing
faithfully the conflict of inner motives; he Corey.
must also, to be faithful, reflect indepenIt is most true.
dently the brightness and gladness of it, HATHORNE.
so as to maintain his hold on the univer. And did you not then say
sal, and find the balance without which all That they were overlooked ?
nature, as'well as human nature, were but
a problem and a terror. This result is Corey.
due to the refined spirituality of the poet's
So much I said. nature working in harmony with true if I see ; they're drawing round me closer, closer, not very robust imaginative health. There A net I cannot break, cannot escape from.
is hardly a more hopeless position than
that of the poet who dwells only on the HATHORNE.
painful and repulsive, who gloats on the Who did these things?
horrors, the disorciers, the defeated aims Corey.
and aspirations, the blank disappoint
ments, the hopeless efforts of men. Mr. I do not know who did them. Longfellow did something to reflect the HATHORNE.
light and tenderness of Puritanism before Then I will tell you. It is some one near you; he touched its more tragic side, and this, You see her now; this woman, your own wife. too, is quite consistent with his character COREY.
and genius. This showed not only his
insight, but his art. I call the heavens to witness; it is false !
We spoke of Mr. Longfellow's genius She never harmed me, never hindered me In anything but what I should not do.
as having, in its mingled strain of sombreAnd I bear witness in the sight of heaven,
ness and brightness, something suggestive And in God's house here, that I never knew of the primeval forests of his own coun. her
try. This we regard as a more efficient
criticism than might at first appear. Mr. Just in the gray of the dawn, as the mists upLongfellow's love for the primeval wil- rose from the meadows, derness, whose shadowy and romantic There was a stir and a sound in the slumberpast he has done so much to restore for
ing village of Plymouth; us, with a simple sylvan freedom and Clanging and clicking of arms, and the order grace, is dominant and distinguishing. It Given in tone suppressed, a tramp of feet, and
imperative “ Forward !” forms one of the chief features of “ Evan
then silence; geline,” as it does of “ Hiawatha,”. of Figures ten, in the mist, marched slowly out * Elizabeth,” in the " Tales of a Wayside of the village. Inn,” as well as of “ The Courtship of Standish the stalwart it was, with eight of his Miles Standish;” and even in “ Kava
valorous army, nagh” the forest is the background of the Led by their Indian guide, by Hobomok, village. In truth, with Mr. Longfellow
friend of the white men, the forest is always conceived as a back- Northward marching to quell the wild revolt
of the savage. ground for human figures, who softly Giants they seemed in the mist, or the mighty harmonize with it; and this, notwithstand
men of King David; ing that they are invariably animated by Giants in heart they were, who believed in soine passion lying close to a sentiment God and the Bible :: or conviction which is, as we have said, Ay, who believed in the smiting of Midianites intimately allied with religion, if it is not and Philistines. religious. This is well seen in “Eliza. Over them gleamed far off the crimson banbeth,” “ Evangeline,” and“ The Courtship ners of morning ; of Miles Standish." He never seeks to Under them loud on the sands, the serried bil.
lows, advancing, gain effect by forcible and weird contrast of the quiet and calm of nature with the Fired along the line, and in regular order re
treated. searching, fiery pang, the sudden, stinging beat of the heart, as Nathaniel Hawthorne
Many a mile had they marched, when at often does, and very strikingly in that
length the village of Plymouth passage in “ The Scarlet Letter” where woke from its sleep, and arose, intent on its little Pearl runs and catches the fatal em.
manifold labors. blem which Hester had cast into the Sweet was the air and soft; and slowly the forest stream, and insists in replacing on smoke from the chimneys her mother's breast. This weird and in Rose over roofs of thatch, and pointed stead. sistent artistic casuistry would disturb ily eastward; his sense of harmony. "He delights not Men came forth from the doors, an dpaused
and talked of the weather, in such painful surprises, but would rather indulge in the touches that reconcile and Said that the wind had changed, and was speak for the good side of those he would Talked of their Captain's departure, and all
blowing fair for the May Flower ; paint for us. He would fain show that
the dangers that menaced, these severe Puritans had more of heart He being gone, the town, and what should be and affection than their outward conduct done in his absence. often showed, just as he aims at subduing Merrily sang the birds, and the tender voices the more repulsive features in the Red
of women Indians. The fiendishness of Chilling. Consecrated with hymns the common cares of worth in “ The Scarlet Letter" would
the household. have paralyzed his artistic powers. Froin Out of the sea rose the sun, and the billows this point of view, the poems representing Beautiful were his feet as the purple tops of
rejoiced at his coming ; the more attractive elements of Puritan.
the mountains; ism and the “Tragedy of the Salem Beautiful on the sails of the May Flower riding Farms" have one and the same aim
at anchor, point which might be illustrated by exten- Battered and blackened and worn by all the sive citations.
storms of the winter. We shall not further refer to “ Evange. Loosely against her masts was hanging and line” here, as it is familiar to every ordi.
flapping her canvas, narily well-read person, nor to any of the Rent by so many gales, and patched by the
hands of the sailors. others further than to present the following picture from “ Miles Standish,” in Suddenly from her side, as the sun rose over which, as we may say, are gathered up all Darted a puff of smoke, and floated seaward; the character and sentiment of Puritan
anon rang life in early New England in its more Loud over field and forest the cannon's roar, attractive aspects :
and the echoes