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THE FIRST PROCLAMATION OF MILES STANDISH [NOVEMBER 23, 1620], by                     Poet's Biography
First Line: Ho, rose!' quoth the stout miles standish
Last Line: And order a washing-day!
Subject(s): Pilgrim Fathers; Standish, Miles (1584-1656)

"Ho, Rose!" quoth the stout Miles Standish,
As he stood on the Mayflower's deck,
And gazed on the sandy coast-line
That loomed as a misty speck

On the edge of the distant offing, --
"See! yonder we have in view
Bartholomew Gosnold's 'headlands.'
'T was in sixteen hundred and two

"That the Concord of Dartmouth anchored
Just there where the beach is broad,
And the merry old captain named it
(Half swamped by the fish) -- Cape Cod.

"And so as his mighty 'headlands'
Are scarcely a league away,
What say you to landing, sweetheart,
And having a washing-day?

"For did not the mighty Leader
Who guided the chosen band
Pause under the peaks of Sinai,
And issue his strict command --

"(For even the least assoilment
Of Egypt the spirit loathes) --
Or ever they entered Canaan,
The people should wash their clothes?

"The land we have left is noisome, --
And rank with the smirch of sin;
The land that we seek should find us
Clean-vestured without and within."

"Dear heart" -- and the sweet Rose Standish
Looked up with a tear in her eye;
She was back in the flag-stoned kitchen
Where she watched, in the days gone by,

Her mother among her maidens
(She should watch them no more, alas!),
And saw as they stretched the linen
To bleach on the Suffolk grass.

In a moment her brow was cloudless,
As she leaned on the vessel's rail,
And thought of the sea-stained garments,
Of coif and of farthingale;

And the doublets of fine Welsh flannel,
The tuckers and homespun gowns,
And the piles of the hosen knitted
From the wool of the Devon downs.

So the matrons aboard the Mayflower
Made ready with eager hand
To drop from the deck their baskets
As soon as the prow touched land.

And there did the Pilgrim Mothers,
"On a Monday," the record says,
Ordain for their new-found England
The first of her washing-days.

And there did the Pilgrim Fathers,
With matchlock and axe well slung,
Keep guard o'er the smoking kettles
That propt on the crotches hung.

For the trail of the startled savage
Was over the marshy grass,
And the glint of his eyes kept peering
Through cedar and sassafras.

And the children were mad with pleasure
As they gathered the twigs in sheaves,
And piled on the fire the fagots,
And heaped up the autumn leaves.

"Do the thing that is next," saith the proverb,
And a nobler shall yet succeed: --
'T is the motive exalts the action;
'T is the doing, and not the deed;

For the earliest act of the heroes
Whose fame has a world-wide sway
Was -- to fashion a crane for a kettle,
And order a washing-day!

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