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like the bosses of an ancient shield, that challenges encroaching autumn tides.
Winter drains the scene of color, but salt winds cheat the lower temperatures of their rigor, and it is a hard season when snow lies in the meadows through consecutive weeks. Then there are days of brave sunlight when whitecaps feather over the surface of the bay, and ice-cakes churn in with the tide and pile up like opals on the beach: days when the air is wineclear, and the land is dressed in its best of warm russet brown, and hoofs strike the frozen roads with the resonance of Piccadilly pavements. Then sunset jewels woodland interstices with mellow cathedral light; high on a bluff above the crystal plane of a lake regiments of militant pines salute the dying day; and up in the south, when night hangs the stars low, Orion will be calling his dogs for the hunting. But more beautiful are the gray days in winter when earth meets heaven with the justly modulated values of a Japanese print, and the hills, clothed in the soft fur of leafless woods, crouch under a pale sky; when in swamps the lances of dead reeds clash, and by a stagnant pool stands a cluster of brown cat-tails like candles that have lighted some past banquet of the year.
In spring, long before the tardy oaks unsheathe their foliage, the sudden scarlet of swamp maple flames in a hollow, and we are off to the woods to hunt the stout fresh leaves which betray hiding-places of the arbutus, the mayflower, under the waste of a dead year. Near by, wintergreen in sturdy companies shoulders the red berries that have eluded hungry winter birds, and graceful runnels of wild cranberry flow through the open spaces. Here pretty colonies of windflowers will soon be swinging their bells, ladies'slipper and Jack-in-the-pulpit dispute the season's clemency; and when summer brings red lilies to surprise the eye in some green chamber of the wood, our journey should end at the beach of an inland lake where spicy sabbatia sways delicately in the warm air and genesta grows on the bank.
From spring around to winter, the months are packed with flowers — roadside beauties, shy little creatures of the fields, waxen Indian-pipes in the pine groves; even on the dunes are flowering mosses, the yellow lace of the poverty-grass, the pretty gray velvet leaf of “dusty-miller," pink lupin, wild grapes and roses crowding a secret hollow where the soil is enriched, perhaps, by an ancient shell-heap of the Indians. And among the depressions of the hills are swamps where a lovely progression, exquisitely disposed as if by conscious art, walks through the year. Color dies hard in these sheltered nooks, and hardly is dun winter lord of all, with stripped bushes huddling like sheep in the hollow, than spring breaks his rule and
“Along an edge of marshy ground
The shad-bush enters like a bride." Again the march begins: huckleberry, Clethra, honeysuckle, the dull smear of Joe Pyeweed, the white web of elderberry blossoms turning to fruity umbels that promise homely brews, swinging goldenrod and feather-grass, the decorative intent of cat-tails that, with certain engaging brown velvet buttons nodding on their stems in a swamp and the firm coral of alderberries, brings us around to winter again. · And there are choristers a-plenty: the remote sweet piping of hylas piercing the velvet darkness of a night in spring, the melodious booming of bull-frogs, the challenge of Bob White; and all the dear homely New England birds, twittering, chirping, chattering, pouring out their hearts in song as they swing with the trees that the wind sweeps into endless motion. And in summer and winter, from north, south, east, or west, the wind brings us news from the sea: the savor of salt, gray billows of cloud and fog, clear stark bright days following one another through a season. The southwest gales of summer beat down ripe grasses in the field and feather willow and poplar with silver; the great autumn gales go trumpeting through the land; the nor'easter sends surf thundering on the outer shore; and there are the soft moist winds that relax the high-wrought tension of humans, and melt the rigors of winter.
The free winds, — and contour, sound, color: with nothing superfluous, yet satisfying and ever present. And from flowers and fruit and woodland and the sharp tang of the sea there is distilled a draught corrective of morbid humors and the wandering will, — a stanch pledge of sobriety.
I It is a welcoming country, and easily enough some of the Pilgrims, after they had established their settlement at Plymouth, returned to the sandy shores, the woods and meadows that had first offered them the possibility of home. They must have had a peculiar sentiment for the place: for here began their adventure in the great free country of the wilderness, and the chronicles of Bradford and Winslow show an ingenuous pleasure in the recital of it. They were for the most part yeomen and farmers, exiles from the pretty valley of the Trent, who for some eleven years had lived restricted in small Dutch cities; and for sixtyseven days all of them, yeomen and artisans, men, women, and children, many more than the Mayflower could well accommodate, had been buffetted about the Atlantic by autumn gales. Driven out of their calculated course to the southward, they made their landfall at Cape Cod, "the which being certainly known to be it,” no wonder that they were “not a little joyful.” “Being thus arrived in a good harbor and brought safe to land," writes William Bradford, “they fell upon their knees and blessed ye God of Heaven, who had brought them over ye vast and furious ocean, and delivered them from all ye periles and miseries thereof, againe to set their feete on ye firme and stable earth, their proper elemente.”
Nor was it a country unknown to them. Since Cabot's voyage of discovery more than a hundred years earlier, the whole coast from Cape Breton to the Hudson had been increasingly visited by French and English seamen who were attracted chiefly by the rich fishing-grounds. It is even said that the great Drake was the first Englishman to set foot in New England, and that it was upon Cape Cod he landed. There are stories of ancient adventurers voyaging, as it might be, to the rhythm of Masefield's GalleyRowers:
“... bound sunset-wards, not knowing,
Over the whale's way miles and miles,
To the Bright Beach of the Blessed Isles.
“In the wind's teeth and the spray's stinging
Westward and outward forth we go,
An old old oar-song as we row — "
Madoc of Wales, Saint Brendan the Irishman, Icelanders, Phænicians even; and, more certainly, a company of Norsemen who set up a wrecked boat on the Cape Cod bluffs, the Long Beaches, to guide the landfall of later visitors to their Keel Cape.
French, Dutch, Spanish, English, all had their names for the.Cape, but in 1602, Bartholomew Gosnold, examining the coast of New England with a view to colonization, was to give it the predestined and