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Nature opens wide her bosom,
Of the blessed rain.
3. Lo! the clouds are slowly parting,
Through the falling rain ;
'Mid the golden grain;
Of the blessed rain.
1. Descending, crystal, inspiration, oblation, distilling, purified, baptism.
2. Compare this poem with Lowell's "Summer Storm," on page 204. Would this meter be as well suited to that? What is “the lyre of earth”? What are “the springs of life”?
LXXXIV. COLONIAL DAYS IN NEW ENGLAND.
PART II. 1. The Puritan's house was as plain as its occupants. The kitchen was the general “living room,” and its chief feature was the huge fireplace, which occupied nearly all of one side of the room. The ceiling was low, with its large beams or rafters left conveniently uncovered to serve as a receptacle for pumpkins, ears of corn, herbs, and the thousand and one things which the thrifty housewife hung up for winter use.
2. The walls Werewhitewashed generally, as paper was scarce and dear. Iron
cranes with numerous hooks were fastened in the fireplace, and pots and kettles suspended from them served for boiling or stewing, while the roasting was often done in the ashes or on a spit before the fire.
3. The “ Dutch óven” was a large tin box, with the side toward the fire opened, so that the heat could bake the bread or cook anything else exposed on its shelves. Sometimes great ovens, like the baker's oven of to-day, were made in the chimneys, and used when pies and cake and bread were cooked. The best light was a tallow candle, which with its snuffers and candlestick seemed quite ornamental.
4. Nearly all the ware was made of wood, tin, or pewter. The spinning wheel and reel, with a table
or two, a few chairs, and sometimes a quaint, wooden clock nearly reaching the rafters, completed the furnishing of the kitchen.
5. The best room was seldom opened except on Sundays or on great occasions, but was used as
a general closet for the entire family. Clothing decorated the walls, chests of drawers contained the sheets, pillowcases, coverlets, and other household treasures, a cupboard proudly displayed the little china or silver, while the few books which made the family library stood on a convenient shelf.
6. In the sleeping rooms the high four-posted bed with its heavy drapery, its soft feather bed and huge pillows, was the main feature.
7. The chief articles of food were beans, fish,
fowl, pork, corn or brown bread, porridge, with beef or game, and plenty of pie, together with garden vegetables.
8. Money was for a long time unknown. Wampum, beaver skins, and even Indian corn were used as a medium of exchange, but generally trade was by barter. It was not until 1652 that Massachusetts began to coin shillings, sixpences, and threepences. Each piece had the date, 1652, on one side, with the letters “N. E.” On the other side were the figure of a pine tree and the word “Massachusetts.”
9. The colonists paid great attention to education, and gladly supported such schools as were within their means.
The schoolmaster“ boarded round" among the families and received, besides his board, a small compensation.
10. The people were strongly opposed to plays, balls, concerts, and such entertainments, and in many cases passed laws prohibiting them. The two public gatherings were the town meeting and the church service. All were expected to go to church every Sunday and to sit during the long service patiently and wakefully, for the constable or tithingman was always on hand to keep the children quiet and the men and women awake.
11. The men sat in one part of the church, the women in another, and the children together where
they could be easily watched. There were no means of heating the churches, but the women often carried “foot-warmers” of heated bricks or hot water. No musical instruments were used with the singing, and when stoves and violins were first introduced
refused to attend the church service. 12. The punishments were
as strange as the crimes. If a man swore, he was put in the stocks or was obliged to stand in a public place with a split stick on his tongue. In case of repeated and flagrant offences, his tongue was bored with a hot iron. If a man shot a fowl on Sunday, he was publicly whipped.
13. A scolding woman was put on the ducking stool and dipped into the water until she was supposed to be cured of her evil habit; or, in milder cases, was placed at her own door, with a gag tied in her mouth.
14. No word could be spoken against the church or the rulers. The offender was placed in the pillory or stocks, or was fined, and in some extreme cases lost his ears. No boy under twenty could use tobacco unless duly granted permission.
15. The minister was the great man of the village. He was looked up to and consulted about nearly everything, and generally settled what punishment should be inflicted on evil doers.