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I heard its sweet tones like an echo sounding,
But when the morning broke, and the green woods
II. NOTES TO THE POEMS IN THIS VOLUME.
Page 17. And bishop's-caps have golden rings.
[The bishop's cap is the mitella, a New England wild flower, named from its resemblance to a mitre.]
Page 19. Look, then, into thine heart and write.
“ Fool ! said my muse to me, look in thy heart and write.” Astrophel and Stella, by Sir Philip Sidney.]
Page 22. The Reaper and the Flowers.
Es ist ein Schnitter, der heisst Tod, which may be found in Clemens Brentano's Wunderhorn, I. 55. There is a slight resemblance in the fifth stanza to the last of the erman,
Werd ich nur verletzet
Further than this there is no resemblance between the two poems.]
Page 25. Footsteps of Angels.
[The first form of this poem under another title is as follows. See further the head-note to the poem.]
When the hours of day are numbered,
And the soul-like voice of night
To a holy calm delight;
Ere the evening lamps are lighted,
And, like spectres grim and tall,
Dance upon the parlor wall,
Then the forms of the departed
Enter the open door ;
Come to sit with me once more.
And with them the being beauteous
Who unto my youth was given,
And is now a saint in heaven.
With a slow and noiseless footstep
Comes she, like a shape divine,
Lays her gentle hand in mine.
And she sits and gazes at me,
With her deep and tender eyes,
Looking downward from the skies.
Page 27. Spake full well, in language quaint and olden.
[The reference in the first stanza is to Carové, who, in the Story without an End, speaks of “ Flowerets, that like blue stars gleam friendly in the green firmament of the earth.”]
Page 29. Tell us of the ancient Games of Flowers.
[The Floral Games of the Middle Ages, wherein a Golden Violet was the prize awarded to the victor in the “ ence
of Song.] Page 30. The wind Euroclydon.
[“ Have you seen the last Knickerbocker ?” Mr. Longfellow asks in a letter to his father, December 5, 1839. They
are raising a slight breeze in it against the wind Euroclydon.' But I am right notwithstanding. It means a stormwind or a north-easter, coming over the sea ; and is no more confined to the Mediterranean than rude Boreas. Look into Robinson's Lexicon, and you will find the whole explained. The November number of the Knickerbocker contained an objection by a correspondent to Mr. Longfellow's use of the term Euroclydon. • What in the name of Boreas does it on the coast of Labrador ! ... the Euroclydon is a bilious Nor’Easter, and bloweth only in the Mediterranean." In the December number of the same magazine, a Southern correspondent comes to the defence, and quotes Robinson, sub voce.]
Page 39. Hymn of the Moravian Nuns of Bethlehem.
[The historic facts in regard to the banner appear to be that Pulaski ordered it of the Moravian sisters at Bethlehem, who helped to support their house by needlework. This banner is preserved in the cabinet of the Maryland Historical Society at Baltimore ; it is twenty inches square and made to be carried on a lance. It is of double silk, now so much faded and discolored by time as to make it impossible to determine its original color. On both sides designs are embroidered with what was yellow silk, shaded with green, and deep silk fringe bordering. On one side are the letters “U. S.," and in a circle around them the words, “ Unitas Virtus Fortior” ; on the other side, in the centre, is embroidered an all-seeing eye and the words “ Non Alius Regit.” Pulaski received a mortal wound at the siege of Savannah, and dying on one of the vessels of the fleet when he was on his way north, was buried at sea. It is said that Lafayette lay sick at Bethlehem, and that it was on a visit to his brother officer that Pulaski ordered the flag. Its size, in any event, would have precluded its use as a shroud.]
Page 55. The Skeleton in Armor.
[The historic groundwork upon which Mr. Longfellow built his legend is in two parts, the Newport tower and the Fall River skeleton. The passage from Rafn, to which Mr. Longfellow refers as affording a poet sufficient basis upon which to build, is as follows :
“There is no mistaking in this instance the style in which the more ancient stone edifices of the North were constructed, — the style which belongs to the Roman or AnteGothic architecture, and which, especially after the time of Charlemagne, diffused itself from Italy over the whole of the West and North of Europe, where it continued to predominate until the close of the twelfth century,
- that style which some authors have, from one of its most striking characteristics, called the round arch style, the same which in England is denominated Saxon and sometimes Norman architecture.
“On the ancient structure in Newport there are no ornaments remaining, which might possibly have served to guide us in assigning the probable date of its erection. That no vestige whatever is found of the pointed arch, nor any approximation to it, is indicative of an earlier rather than of a later period. From such characteristics as remain, however, we can scarcely form any other inference than one, in which I am persuaded that all who are familiar with OldNorthern architecture will concur, THAT THIS BUILDING WAS ERECTED AT A PERIOD DECIDEDLY NOT LATER THAN THE
This remark applies, of course, to the original building only, and not to the alterations that it subsequently received ; for there are several such alterations in the upper part of the building which cannot be mistaken, and which were most likely occasioned by its being adapted in modern times to various uses ; for example, as the substructure of a windmill, and latterly as a hay magazine. To the same times may be referred the windows, the fireplace, and the apertures made above the columns. That this building could not have been erected for a windmill, is what an architect will easily discern.”
Dr. Palfrey, in his History of New England, so cogently presented the reasons for believing this tower to have been constructed by Governor Arnold, that most students have since been disposed to accept this explanation ; but there have not been wanting those who maintained other views, as witness an article by R. G. Hatfield in Scribner's Monthly for March, 1879, in which the author maintains that the old
mill at Newport ought to be called the Vinland Baptistery ; and also an article by Mr. S. Edward Forbes who maintains that the structure had nothing in common with the Chesterton mill in Warwickshire, with which it is commonly compared.
With regard to the Fall River skeleton, which with its appurtenances was unfortunately burned before it could be satisfactorily examined by experts, the following description taken from The American Monthly Magazine for January, 1836, will give the reader as full an account as is now possible :
“In digging down a hill near the village, a large mass of earth slid off, leaving in the bank and partially uncovered a human skull, which on examination was found to belong to a body buried in a sitting posture ; the head being about one foot below what had been for many years the surface of the ground. The surrounding earth was carefully removed, and the body found to be enveloped in a covering of coarse bark of a dark color. Within this envelope were found the remains of another of coarse cloth, made of fine bark, and about the texture of a Manilla coffee bag. On the breast was a plate of brass, thirteen inches long, six broad at the upper end, and five in the lower. This plate appears to have been cast, and is from one-eighth to three-thirty-seconds of an inch in thickness. It is so much corroded that whether or not anything was engraved upon it has not yet been ascertained. It is oval in form, the edges being irregular, apparently made so by corrosion. Below the breastplate, and entirely encircling the body, was a belt composed of brass tubes, each four and a half inches in length, and three-sixteenths of an inch in diameter, arranged longitudinally and close together, the length of a tube being the width of the belt. The tubes are of thin brass, cast upon hollow reeds, and were fastened together by pieces of sinew. Near the right knee was a quiver of arrows. The arrows are of brass, thin, flat, and triangular in shape, with a round hole cut through near the base. The shaft was fastened to the head by inserting the latter in an opening at the end of the wood and then tying with a sinew through the round hole, a