Felicia Hemans's poem:
The breaking waves dashed high,
On a stern and rockbound coast,
And the woods against a stormy sky,
Their giant branches tossed;
And the heavy night hung dark,
The hills and waters o'er,
When a band of exiles moored their bark
On the wild New England shore.
Not as the conqueror comes,
They the true hearted came;
Not with the roll of the stirring drums,
And the trumpet that sings of fame;
Not as the flying come,
In silence and in fear...
They shook the depths of the desert gloom
With their hymns of lofty cheer.
Amidst the storm they sang,
And the stars heard, and the sea;
And the sounding aisles of the dim woods rang
To the anthem of the free.
The ocean eagle soared
From his nest by the white wave's foam;
And the rocking pines of the forest roared...
This was their welcome home.
There were men with hoary hair
Amidst that pilgrim band:
Why had they come to wither there,
Away from their childhood's land?
There was a woman's fearless eye,
Lit by her deep love's truth;
There was manhood's brow serenely high,
And the fiery heart of youth.
What sought they thus afar?
Bright jewels of the mine?
The wealth of seas, the spoils of war?
They sought a faith's pure shrine!
Aye, call it holy ground,
The soil where first they trod;
They have left unstained what there they found...
Freedom to worship God.
In my children's book, there is a chapter about the pilgrims. It is a children's book of historical moments in a fantasy genre for young readers...published November 2008 called, THE IMAGINARY JOURNEYS OF BJ AND DOBBIN. It is a print-on-demand book available on line through major book stores or by asking the stores to order a copy. It is also available at Amazon.com.
To view this book go to my website http://web.me.com/dobbinsmommy
The book is about a little girl and her pony named Dobbin. Below is most of the second chapter... about the pilgrims.
THE JOURNEY TO PAWTUXET
Slowly, BJ and Dobbin approached a small village of huts, where many people were busy putting up buildings. With a smile on her face, a lady stepped away from the other people and came over to greet her.
"Hello, my name is BJ, and this is my pony Dobbin. Who are you?"
"I am one of the pilgrims who has journeyed here from England," the lady said.
"Why are you called pilgrims?"
"Because of our journey to the new world from Plymouth, England."
"What is the name of this village?"
"We are calling this village New Plymouth, after our home in England."
"Did this village have a name before you arrived?"
"The name of the coast area is Cape Cod. We found this place last year, on December 21, 1620."
"Did anyone live here before you arrived?"
"In March of this year,Chief Samoset of the Obenaki tribe came to us and told us about the geography of the coast to the north of New Plymouth. The Pawtuxet tribe had lived here two years before, and all died of an epidemic."
"Are the Indians friendly?"
"Most tribes are very friendly, but the Chief warned us about the Nauset tribe, who live to the northeast of New Plymouth."
"Why did he warn you?"
"They are hostile to Europeans because an English adventurer, named Thomas Hunt, had kidnapped several Nausets and Pawtuxets and took them off to be sold as slaves."
"I hope you don't have any problems with them. What are the people building here?" BJ turned to look at the buildings the other pilgrims were putting together.
"Let's rest awhile under this tree, and I will tell you more." The lady waited until BJ sat down in the shade of the trees next to her before she continued explaining.
"When we arrived we built our houses out of sticks that were woven into frames and plastered over with mud. We made the thatched roofs from grass and called them wattles."
"Yes, I saw those as we came into the village and wondered why you are building these new ones."
"These are made from wood and are more permanent."
"Does everyone work together?"
"Yes, as more pilgrims arrive each year, we will continue our house raising."
"Will the thatched houses be temporary for them, until they can build more?"
"Yes, and all the women work to prepare food and drink for the settlers who come to help".
"Why did you settle here in the New World?" BJ asked.
"We wanted the freedom to worship as we please. We also have found a land of plenty, where there is fish in the ocean and rivers, wild berries, many plants to eat, deer, ducks, geese, and shellfish, such as oysters and clams along the seashore."
"Tell me about your journey from Plymouth, England."
"All the colonists left on two boats called the Mayflower and Speedwell. We had 102 people on board. That Speedwell was leaking badly, and we had to go back to Plymouth, England."
"Did you have enough room on the Mayflower for everyone?"
"Just barely, because we each brought our own bedding, cooking equipment, tools, seeds, livestock and dogs."
"How long did it take?"
"We left together on September 16, 1620, and it took 64 days to sail from Plymouth, England across the Atlantic to the New World."
"Was it cold and rough?"
"Oh yes. we arrived in the middle of winter with many colonists who were ill, and half died of diseases after arriving. Some of the native Indians contracted diseases from our colonists, also."
"Where did you stay on arrival?"
"We stayed on the boat until we could build the temporary housing."
"Did everyone stay?" BJ asked.
"All the colonists stayed. Capt. Jones and his crew left after the first winter and returned back to Plymouth, England with the news for our friends and family that we had arrived safely."
"I'm sure they were happy to hear about your safe journey, but tell me how the Mayflower got close enough to shore to find this place?"
"We brought with us a small boat called a shallop. It took several days to put it together so we could explore the coastline for a permanent place to live. We were very lucky to find this safe harbor. It has fresh water streams and a field for planting."
"What did you plant in the field?"
"The Indians had found corn in an abandoned store the previous winter, and gave it to us."
"Did they help you plant the corn?"
"In the spring, they showed us how to put dead fish under the corn plant for a fertilizer that would make the corn grow stronger," the Pilgrim lady said.
"It sounds like they are very good and generous people."
"They have been very generous and have lived on the land for many centuries. They continue to give us advice on farming, fishing and cooking."
"Is there anything else they have taught you?"
"They taught us how to make the canoes from long strips of birch bark, so they would be my enough to carry on our heads around the rapids or waterfalls."
"Wow, they seem to know everything. But how do you keep the peace between the colonists?"
"When we arrived, the Mayflower Compact was drawn up, and 41 Pilgrim men signed it on November 20, 1620."
"Do you have a church?"
"We spent our first Christmas eve in prayer. We all got together and worshipped as a group."
"What did you do on Christmas day?"
"We worked cutting down trees and making logs for buildings."
"I have enjoyed hearing about your journey and your settlement. I hope you find what you journeyed here for. We must be going now." BJ stood up and reached for Dobbin's reins.
"Please come back in the fall, when we will harvest our corn crop, barley and peas, the lady said, smiling. We will invite Chief Grand Sachem Massasort and his tribe, the Wampanoag, who promised to bring back at least five deer for our first Thanksgiving feast, to celebrate our harvest."
"Thank you, I would love to come back........................"
I'll leave the rest for your imagination. I hope you have enjoyed Felicia Hemans beautiful poem, about the pilgrims and their journey to America...& my story about the pilgrims.