A Celebration of Women Writers

"The Landing of the Pilgrim Fathers in New England" by Felicia Hemans (1793-1835) Records of Woman: With Other Poems. Edinburgh: William Blackwood, & London: T. Cadell, 1828, second edition. pp. 264-266.

Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom

[Page 264] 


Look now abroad–another race has fill'd
  Those populous borders–wide the wood recedes,
And towns shoot up, and fertile realms are till'd;
  The land is full of harvests and green meads.

THE breaking waves dash'd high
  On a stern and rock-bound coast,
And the woods against a stormy sky
  Their giant branches toss'd;

And the heavy night hung dark,
  The hills and waters o'er,
When a band of exiles moor'd their bark
  On the wild New-England shore.

[Page 265] 

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 soar'd
  From his nest by the white wave's foam;
And the rocking pines of the forest roar'd–
  This was their welcome home!

[Page 266] 

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 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!

Ay, call it holy ground,
  The soil where first they trod!
They have left unstain'd what there they found–
  Freedom to worship God.


Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom