Romeo and Juliet Fate and Free Will

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I. The English in Virginia.
II. Pilgrims and Puritans in New England.
III. The New England Clergy.
IV. Puritan Poetry in New England.
I. THE ENGLISH IN VIRGINIA: CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH, WILLIAM STRACHEY, GEORGE SANDYS. THE story of a nation's literature ordinarily has its beginning far back in the remoter history of that nation, obscured by the uncertainties of an age of which no trustworthy records have been preserved. The earliest writings of a people are usually the first efforts at literary production of a race in its childhood; and as these compositions develop they record the intellectual and artistic growth of the race. The conditions which attended the development of literature in America, therefore, are peculiar. At the very time when Sir Walter Raleigh -- a type of the great and splendid men of action who made such glorious history for England in the days of Elizabeth -- was organizing the first futile efforts to colonize the new world, English Literature, which is the joint possession of the whole English-speaking race, was rapidly developing. Sir Philip Sidney had written his Arcadia, first of the great prose romances, and enriched English poetry with his sonnets; Edmund Spenser had composed The Shepherd's Calendar; Christopher Marlowe had established the drama upon heroic lines; and Shakespeare had just entered on the first flights of his fancy. When, in 1606, King James granted to a company of London merchants the first charter of Virginia, Sidney and Spenser and Marlowe were dead, Shakespeare had produced some of his greatest plays, the name of Ben Jonson, along with other notable names, had been added to the list of our great dramatists, and the philosopher, Francis Bacon, had published the first of his essays. These are the familiar names which represent the climax of literary achievement in the Elizabethan age; and this brilliant epoch had reached its full height when the first permanent English settlement in America was made at Jamestown in 1607. On New Year's day, the little fleet commanded by Captain Newport sailed forth on its venturesome and romantic enterprise, the significance of which was not altogether unsuspected by those who saw it depart. Michael Drayton, one of the most popular poets of his day, later poet laureate of the kingdom, sang in quaint, prophetic verses a cheery farewell: -- "You brave heroic minds,

Worthy your country's name,
   That honor still pursue,
   Go and subdue,
Whilst loitering hinds
Lurk here at home with shame.
"And in regions farre,
Such heroes bring ye forth
   As those from whom we came;
   And plant our name
Under that star
Not known unto our north.
"And as there plenty grows
Of laurel everywhere,
   Apollo's sacred tree,
   You it may see ffb ,
A poet's brows
To crown, that may sing there."
The Virginia Colony.
This little band of adventurers "in regions farre" disembarked from the ships Discovery, Good Speed, and Susan Constant upon the site of a town yet to be built, fifty miles inland, on the shore of a stream as yet unexplored, in the heart of a vast green wilderness the home of savage tribes who were none too friendly. It was hardly to be expected that the ripe seeds of literary culture should be found in such a company, or should germinate under such conditions in any notable luxuriance. The surprising fact, however, is that in this group of gentlemen adventurers there was one man of some literary craft, who, while leading the most strenuous life of all, efficiently protecting and heartening his less courageous comrades in all manner of perilous experiences, compiled and wrote with much literary skill the picturesque chronicles of the settlement. John Smith, 1580-1631.

Captain John Smith, the mainstay of the Jamestown colony in the critical period of its early existence, was a true soldier of fortune, venturesome, resolute, self-reliant,...
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