The historical incident related in this poem is recorded in Cheever's "JOURNAL OF THE PILGRIMS."
'T was early morn, the low night-wind
Had fled the sun's fierce ray,
And sluggishly the leaden waves
Rolled over Plymouth Bay.
No mist was on the mountain-top,
No dew-drop in the vale;
The thirsting Summer flowers had died
Ere chilled by Autumn's wail.
The giant woods with yellow leaves
The blighted turf had paved,
And o'er the brown and arid fields
No golden harvest waved;
But calm and blue the cloudless sky
Arched over earth and sea,
As in their humble house of prayer,
The Pilgrims bowed the knee.
There gray-haired ministers of God
In supplication bent,
And artless words from childhood's lips
Sought the Omnipotent.
There woman's lip and cheek grew pale
As on the broad day stole;
And manhood's polished brow was damp
With fervency of soul.
The sultry noon-tide came and went
With steady, fervid glare;
"O God, our God, be merciful!"
Was still the Pilgrims' prayer.
They prayed as erst Elijah prayed
Before the sons of Baal,
When on the waiting sacrifice
He called the fiery hail:
They prayed as once the prophet prayed
On Carmel's summit high,
When the little cloud rose from the sea
And blackened all the sky.
And when around that spireless church
The shades of evening fell,
The customary song went up
With clear and rapturous swell:
And while each heart was thrilling with
The chant of Faith sublime,
The rude, brown rafters of the roof
Rang with a joyous chime.
The rain! the rain! the blessed rain!
It watered field and height,
And filled the fevered atmosphere,
With vapor soft and white.
Oh! when that Pilgrim band came forth
And pressed the humid sod,
Shone not each face as Moses' shone
When "face to face" with God?