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the Sea swelled above the Clouds, and gave battle unto heaven. It could not be said to rain, the waters like whole Rivers did flood in the ayre.
What shall I say? Winds and Seas were as mad as fury and rage could make them. .
Once so huge a Sea brake upon the poop and quarter, upon us, as it covered our ship from stern to stem, like a garment or a vast cloud. It filled her brimful for a while within, from the hatches up to the spar deck. ..
During all this time the heavens looked so black upon us, that it was not possible the elevation of the Pole might be observed; not a star by night nor sunbeam by day was to be seen. Only upon the Thursday night, Sir George Summers being upon the watch, had an apparition of a little round light, like a faint star, trembling and streaming along with a sparkling blaze, half the height upon the mainmast, and shooting sometimes from shroud to shroud, tempting to settle as it were upon any of the four shrouds, and for three or four hours together, or rather more, half the night it kept with us, running sometimes along the mainyard to the very end, and then returning. At which Sir George Summers called divers about him and showed them the same, who observed it with much wonder and carefulness. But upon a sudden, towards the morning watch, they lost the sight of it and knew not what way it made.
Tuesday noon till Friday noon we bailed and pumped two thousand tun, and yet, do what we could, when our ship held least in her (after Tuesday night second watch) she bore ten foot deep, . . . and it being now Friday, the fourth morning, it wanted little but that there had been a general determination, to have shut up hatches and commending our sinful souls to God, committed the ship to the mercy of the sea. Surely that night we must have done it, and that night had we then perished; but see the goodness and sweet introduction of better hope by our merciful God given unto us. Sir George Summers, when no man dreamed of such happiness, had discovered and cried “Land!” Indeed the morning now three quarters
spent, had won a little clearness from the days before, and it being better surveyed, the very trees were seen to move with the wind upon the shore-side.
(Compare The Tempest, Act I, Scene I.)
3. The Bay Psalm Book, printed at Cambridge in 1640, was the first English book published in America. It was a metrical version of the Psalms of David, made by three divines of colonial fame-Richard Mather, Thomas Welde, and John Eliot. The verse is stilted and inartistic, “a sad mechanic exercise” indeed, as will be seen from the following.
TO THE CHIEFE MUSICIAN A PSALME OF DAVID
The heavens doe declare
the majesty of God:
his handy-work abroad.
2. Day speaks to day, knowledge
night hath to night declar'd.
where their voyce is not heard.
is gone forth, & unto
their speaches reach also:
in them pitcht for the Sun. 5. Who Bridegroom like from's chamber goes
glad Giants-race to run.
6. From heavens utmost end,
his course and compassing; to ends of it, & from the heat
thereof is hid nothing.
unto Jehovah, all the earth:
before his presence come with mirth.
who hath us formed it is hee,
& sheepe of his pasture are wee.
Enter into his gates with prayse,
& his name reverently blesse.
for evermore is his mercy:
continue doth his verity. (Compare the Psalms.)
4. Anne Bradstreet (1613–1672), extravagantly called the “Tenth Muse lately sprung up in America," was the daughter of a Puritan soldier and the wife of a Puritan gentleman who was at one time governor of Massachusetts. Her literary work shows the influence of contemporary English poets, especially of John Donne and George Herbert. Her verses are strained and artificial in style but breathe the true Puritan spirit of her surroundings.
(From Contemplations) Sometime now past in the Autumnal Tide,
When Phoebus wanted but one hour to bed,
Were gilded o'er by his rich golden head.
I wist not what to wish, yet sure, thought I,
If so much excellence abide below, How excellent is He that dwells on high !
Whose power and beauty by his works we know; Sure he is goodness, wisdom, glory, light, That hath this underworld so richly dight: More Heaven than Earth was here, no winter and no night.
Then on a stately oak I cast mine eye,
Whose ruffling top the clouds seem'd to aspire;
Thy strength, and stature, more thy years admire,
Then higher on the glistering Sun I gaz'd
Whose beams were shaded by the leafy tree;
And softly said, what glory's like to thee?
Art thou so full of glory, that no eye
Hath strength, thy shining rays once to behold? And is thy splendid throne erect so high,
As to approach it, can no earthly mould? How full of glory then must thy Creator be, Who gave this bright light lustre unto thee ! Admir'd, ador'd forever, be that Majesty.
When I behold the heavens as in their prime,
And then the earth (though old) still clad in green, The stones and trees, insensible of time,
Nor age nor wrinkle on their front are seen; If winter come, and greenness then do fade,
A Spring returns, and they more youthful made;
O Time, the fatal wrack of mortal things,
That draws oblivion's curtains over Kings,
Their names without a record are forgot.
But he whose name is grav'd in the white stone
The New England Primer was published between 1687 and 1690 by one Benjamin Harris at his coffee-house and bookstore in Boston “by the Town Pump near the Change.” It contained the alphabet, lists of words, and short prayers. An illustration is given below.
A In Adam's Fall
We sinned all.
B Heaven to find,
The Bible Mind.
C Christ crucify'd
For sinners dy'd.
D The Deluge drown'd
The Earth around.
E Elijah hid
By Ravens fed.
G As runs the Glass,
Our Life doth pass.
Must never part.