Verse > Anthologies > Samuel Kettell, ed. > Specimens of American Poetry
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Samuel Kettell, ed.  Specimens of American Poetry.  1829.
 
The Pilgrim Fathers
By John Pierpont (1785–1866)
 
THE PILGRIM fathers—where are they?
  The waves that brought them o’er
Still roll in the bay, and throw their spray
  As they break along the shore:
Still roll in the bay, as they roll’d that day,        5
  When the May-Flower moor’d below,
When the sea around was black with storms,
  And white the shore with snow.
 
The mists, that wrapp’d the pilgrim’s sleep,
  Still brood upon the tide;        10
And his rocks yet keep their watch by the deep,
  To stay its waves of pride.
But the snow-white sail, that he gave to the gale,
  When the heavens look’d dark, is gone;—
As an angel’s wing, through an opening cloud,        15
  Is seen, and then withdrawn.
 
The pilgrim exile—sainted name!—
  The hill, whose icy brow
Rejoiced, when he came, in the morning’s flame,
  In the morning’s flame burns now.        20
And the moon’s cold light, as it lay that night
  On the hill-side and the sea,
Still lies where he laid his houseless head;—
  But the pilgrim—where is he?
 
The pilgrim fathers are at rest:        25
  When Summer ’s throned on high,
And the world’s warm breast is in verdure dress’d,
  Go, stand on the hill where they lie.
The earliest ray of the golden day
  On that hallowed spot is cast;        30
And the evening sun, as he leaves the world,
  Looks kindly on that spot last.
 
The pilgrim spirit has not fled:
  It walks in noon’s broad light;
And it watches the bed of the glorious dead,        35
  With the holy stars, by night.
It watches the bed of the brave who have bled,
  And shall guard this ice-bound shore,
Till the waves of the bay, where the May-Flower lay,
  Shall foam and freeze no more.        40
 
 
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