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In the old days (a custom laid aside
With breeches and cocked hats) the people sent
Their wisest men to make the public laws.
And so, from a brown homestead, where the Sound
Drinks the small tribute of the Mianas,
Waved over by the woods of Rippowams,
And hallowed by pure lives and tranquil deaths,
Stamford sent up to the councils of the State
Wisdom and grace in Abraham Davenport.

'Twas on a May-day of the far old year
Seventeen hundred eighty that there fell
Over the bloom and sweet life of the Spring,
Over the fresh earth and the heaven of noon,
A horror of great darkness, like the night
In day of which the Norland sagas tell, —
The Twilight of the Gods. The low-hung sky
Was black with ominous clouds, save where its rim
Was fringed with a dull glow, like that which climbs
The crater's sides from the red hell below.
Birds ceased to sing, and all the barnyard fowls
Roosted; the cattle at the pasture-bars
Lowed, and looked homeward; bats on leathern wings
Flitted abroad ; the sounds of labour died ;
Men prayed, and women wept; all ears grew sharp
To hear the doom-blast of the trumpet shatter
The black sky, that the dreadful face of Christ
Might look from the rent clouds, not as he looked
A loving guest at Bethany, but stern
As Justice and inexorable Law.

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Meanwhile in the old State-House, dim as ghosts,
Sat the lawgivers of Connecticut,
Trembling beneath their legislative robes.
“ It is the Lord's Great Day! Let us adjourn,"
Some said; and then, as if with one accord,
All eyes were turned to Abraham Davenport.
He rose, slow cleaving with his steady voice

The intolerable hush. “ This well may

be The Day of Judgment which the world awaits; But, be it so or not, I only know My present duty, and my Lord's command "To occupy till he come. So, at the post Where he hath set me in his providence, I choose, for one, to meet him face to face, No faithless servant frightened from my task, But ready when the Lord of the harvest calls ; And therefore, with all reverence, I would say, Let God do his work, we will see to ours. Bring in the candles.” And they brought them in.

Then by the flaring lights the Speaker read,
Albeit with husky voice and shaking hands,
An act to amend an act to regulate
The shad and alewive fisheries. Whereupon
Wisely and well spake Abraham Davenport,
Straight to the question, with no figures of speech
Save the ten Arab signs, yet not without
The shrewd dry humour natural to the man :
His awe-struck colleagues listening all the while,
Between the pauses of his argument,
To hear the thunder of the wrath of God
Break from the hollow trumpet of the cloud.

And there he stands in memory to this day,
Erect, self-poised, a rugged face, half seen
Against the background of unnatural dark,
A witness to the ages as they pass
That simple duty hath no place for fear.

Robert Rawlin !—Frosts were falling
When the ranger's horn was calling

Through the woods to Canada.
Gone the winter's sleet and snowing,
Gone the spring-time's bud and blowing,
Gone the summer's harvest-mowing,

And again the fields are grey.

Yet away, he's away!
Faint and fainter hope is growing

In the hearts that mourn his stay.


Where the lion, crouching high on
Abraham's rock with teeth of iron,

Glares o'er wood and wave away,
Faintly thence, as pines far sighing,
Or as thunder spent and dying,
Come the challenge and replying,

Come the sounds of flight and fray.

Well-a-day! Hope and pray !
Some are living, some are lying

In their red graves far away.
Straggling rangers, worn with dangers,

Homeward faring weary strangers,
Pass the farm-gate on their way;
Tidings of the dead and living,
Forest march and ambush, giving,
Till the maidens leave their weaving,

And the lads forget their play.

“Still away, still away!"
Sighs a sad one, sick with grieving,

“Why does Robert still delay?"
Nowhere fairer, sweeter, rarer,
Does the golden-locked fruit-bearer

Through his painted woodlands stray,
Than where hillside oaks and beeches
Overlook the long, blue reaches,
Silver coves and pebbled beaches,
And green isles of Casco Bay;

Nowhere day for delay
With a tenderer look beseeches,

“Let me with my charmed earth stay." On the grain-lands of the mainlands Stands the serried corn like train-bands,

Plume and pennon rustling gay;

Out at sea, the islands wooded,
Silver birches, golden-hooded,
Set with maples, crimson-blooded,

White sea-foam and sand-hills grey,


away, Dim and dreamy, over-brooded

By the hazy autumn day.

Gayly chattering to the clattering
Of the brown nuts downward pattering,

Leap the squirrels, red and grey.
On the grass-land, on the fallow,
Drop the apples, red and yellow;
Drop the russet pears and mellow,

Drop the red leaves all the day.

Sun and cloud, o'er hill and hollow

Chasing, weave their web of play.

“Martha Mason, Martha Mason Prithee tell us of the reason

Why you mope at home w-ciay! Surely smiling is not sinning; Leave your quilling, leave your spinning; What is all your store of linen, If your

heart is never gay? Come away, come away! Never yet did sad beginning

Make the task of life a play.”

Overbending, till she's blending
With the flaxen skein she's tending

Pale brown tresses smoothed away
From her face of patient sorrow,
Sits she, seeking but to borrow,
From the trembling hope of morrow,

Solace for the weary day.

“Go your way, laugh and play; Unto Him who heeds the sparrow

And the lily let me pray."

“With our rally rings the valley,Join us!” cried the blue-eyed Nelly.

"Join us!" cried the laughing May: To the beach we all are going, And, to save the task of rowing, West by north the wind is blowing,

Blowing briskly down the bay!

Come away, come away!
Time and tide are swiftly flowing,

Let us take them while we may!

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'Never tell us that you'll fail us, Where the purple beach-plum mellows

On the bluffs so wild and grey.
Hasten, for the oars are falling;
Hark, our merry mates are calling :
Time it is that we were all in,
Singing tideward down the bay!”

Nay, nay, let me stay;
Sore and sad for Robert Rawlin

Is my heart," she said, "to-day."

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Vain your calling for Rob Rawlin!
Some red squaw his moose-meat's broiling,

Or some French lass, singing gay ;
Just forget as he's forgetting;
What avails a life of fretting?
If some stars must needs be setting,

Others rise as good as they."

“Cease, I pray; go your way!" Martha cries, her eyelids wetting;

“Foul and false the words you say?"

“ Martha Mason, hear to reason! Prithee, put a kinder face on!”

“ Cease to vex me," did she say. -Better at his side be lying, With the mournful pine-trees sighing, And the wild birds o'er us crying,

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