The error of jollity and gloom in the maypole of merry mount by nathaniel hawthorne

But now shall it be seen that the Lord hath sanctified this wilderness for his peculiar people.

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It groaned with a dismal sound, it showered leaves and rosebuds upon the remorseless enthusiast, and finally, with all its green boughs and ribbons and flowers, symbolic of departed pleasures, down fell the banner-staff of Merry Mount.

Some youths and maidens were of soberer garb, yet well maintained their places in the irregular throng by the expression of wild revelry upon their features.

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As Nathaniel knew then, these matters of choice, such as whether ' strong watter ' leads, by necessity, to debauchery or not, are perpetual issues readdressed with each generation. The most charming part of this story is that it ends with a compassionate, gentle John Endicott welcoming the couple into the Puritan community.

No sooner had their hearts glowed with real passion than they were sensible of something vague and unsubstantial in their former pleasures, and felt a dreary presentiment of inevitable change. On the other hand, the Puritans affirmed that when a psalm was pealing from their place of worship the echo which the forest sent them back seemed often like the chorus of a jolly catch, closing with a roar of laughter. To protect the anonymity of contributors, we've removed their names and personal information from the essays. Thus this tale becomes an account of an expulsion from the Garden in which the Puritans are the snakes bringing knowledge of good and evil but also the Lord's angels, the bearers of flaming swords. Make ready presently, for I am minded that ye shall both have a token to remember your wedding-day. The leader of the hostile party stood in the centre of the circle, while the rout of monsters cowered around him, like evil spirits in the presence of a dread magician. Spring decked the hallowed emblem with young blossoms and fresh green boughs; Summer brought roses of the deepest blush, and the perfected foliage of the forest; Autumn enriched it with that red and yellow gorgeousness which converts each wildwood leaf into a painted flower; and Winter silvered it with sleet, and hung it round with icicles, till it flashed in the cold sunshine, itself a frozen sunbeam. It could not be that the fauns and nymphs, when driven from their classic groves and homes of ancient fable, had sought refuge, as all the persecuted did, in the fresh woods of the West. On the Eve of St. Lo, here stand the Lord and Lady of the May, whom I, a clerk of Oxford, and high priest of Merry Mount, am presently to join in holy matrimony. His inferior nature rose halfway to meet his companions as they stooped.

Amen, saith John Endicott! The men of whom we speak, after losing the heart's fresh gayety, imagined a wild philosophy of pleasure, and came hither to act out their latest day-dream.

Once, it is said, they were seen following a flower-decked corpse with merriment and festive music to his grave.

The Lord and Lady of the May, though their titles must be laid down at sunset, were really and truly to be partners for the dance of life, beginning the measure that same bright eve. Hawthorne, a student of how American character and culture evolved, wanted to understand himself and his times in terms of that evolution; he knew that "the future complexion of New England was involved in this important quarrel.

Shall thy silken bridegroom suffer thy share of the penalty, besides his own?

It groaned with a dismal sound, it showered leaves and rosebuds upon the remorseless enthusiast, and finally, with all its green boughs and ribbons and flowers, symbolic of departed pleasures, down fell the banner-staff of Merry Mount. Look to it, some of you. Hawthorne leaves out some interesting history in the pursuit of his allegory, parti Appearing first in The Token and Atlantic Souvenir , this tale based on colonial history tells of the Puritan destruction of the nearby settlement of Merry Mount, together with the felling of its great maypole, the closest thing to a center of worship the rebel community possessed. It was the Puritan of Puritans: it was Endicott himself. O, people of the Golden Age, the chief of your husbandry was to raise flowers! But what chiefly characterized the colonists of Merry Mount was their veneration for the Maypole. In their train were minstrels, not unknown in London streets: wandering players, whose theatres had been the halls of noblemen; mummers, rope-dancers, and mountebanks, who would long be missed at wakes, church ales, and fairs; in a word, mirth makers of every sort, such as abounded in that age, but now began to be discountenanced by the rapid growth of Puritanism. Its votaries danced round it, once, at least, in every month; sometimes they called it their religion, or their altar; but always, it was the banner staff of Merry Mount.

All ye that love the Maypole, lend your voices to the nuptial song of the Lord and Lady of the May!

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