The Environment In the pre-civilized New World, Puritans, not yet adjusted to the new freedoms after fleeing from the religious tyranny of European civilization, chastised any wrongdoer to their faith.
Merry Mount, a small coastal settlement on the edge of the Massachusetts wilderness. A group of young revelers, Englishmen and Indians together, dance around a lofty maypole.
There is food and drink aplenty; jollity reigns. Caught in the spirit of the moment, the revelers do not sense an alien presence in the forest nearby.
Then a band of Pilgrim foot soldiers bursts onto the scene. The maypole comes down. Merry Mount will be merry no more. Thus, the scenario above is a familiar set piece from the lore of early American history. But the script can be shaded in various ways.
In one version this is a story of God-fearing pioneers clearing out a nest of wickedness. In another it is a tale of bigots and busybodies aroused to action against the innocent pleasures of simple country people. In still others, the elements are blended in more complicated ways.
Like all such set pieces, this one has its cast of stick-figure characters. Standish, of course, is a folklore perennial, known to generations of schoolchildren from his own time to ours.
But who was Morton? In fact there is a real historical personage buried somewhere in these contradictions—a man whose life can still speak to us across the centuries. Almost nothing is known of his origins.
Certainly he practiced law in the environs of London. His first definite appearance in any records still extant came with a series of legal proceedings that began about ; he was representing a certain widow Miller in a struggle with her eldest son for control of family properties.
He belonged now to a shipload of would-be colonists led by a trader and sea captain named Wollaston. A landing was made near the site of the present-day town of Quincy, Massachusetts, and before long the group had erected a modest settlement there.
The following spring, however, Captain Wollaston decamped to Virginia, taking most of the erstwhile settlers with him. Perhaps no more than a dozen remained—among whom Morton became de facto leader.
This settlement was the germ of the place that Morton would soon christen Ma-re Mount—and that others would know as Merry Mount.
It was, in fact, less a full-fledged community than a simple trading station, one of several such scattered around the perimeter of Massachusetts Bay.
The goal was a share in the fur trade with local Indians, and there are reasons to think it was rapidly achieved. Entitled New English Canaanthis work mixes propaganda, self-promotion, travel notes, and literary effect in roughly equal proportions. Morton conjures up visions of trade with far-off partners: Indeed, the special charm of New English Canaan lies in its warm sensitivity to nature as such.
The book abounds with small, sharp descriptions of animal biology and behavior: They daunce by the doore so well. They are honest, direct, generous to a fault. They especially discountenance lying and thievery. They share with one another the necessities of life: Another was wont to join Morton in deer hunting.
In these other places trade was secondary to agriculture and artisanship.
In a sense these communities looked in on themselves, while Merry Mount faced out toward the wilderness. It is no accident, therefore, that Thomas Morton has more to tell us of New England and its original inhabitants than William Bradford, John Winthrop, and other resident-authors of the time.
But for all that, it was Plymouth and Boston that controlled the future; and it was Plymouth and Boston that would snuff out Merry Mount within a few years. The events that led to this are still not fully clear, but the notorious maypole surely played its part. Indians arrived to watch—and, no doubt, to participate.
The party continued for days.
Drinke and be merry, merry, merry boyes, Let all your delight be in Hymens joyes, Io! Make greene garions, bring bottles out; And fill sweet Nectar, freely about, Uncover thy head, and feare no harme, For hers good liquor to keepe it warme.Nathaniel Hawthorne “The May-Pole of Merry Mount” I.
About the Author II. Summary III. Thinking about the Text IV. Thinking with the Text Nathaniel Hawthorne (–64), novelist and short story writer. The Maypole of Merry Mount by Hawthorne. 8 Pages Words April Saved essays Save your essays here so you can locate them quickly!
The collection contained the following short stories: My Kinsman, Major Moulineux, Young Goodman Brown, The Maypole of Merry Mount, The Gray Champion, Legends of the Province House, Howe's Masquerade and Lady Elinore's Mantle. 3/5(3). More Essay Examples on. THE MAY-POLE AT MERRY MOUNTA MOST confusing thing in American History, as read it, is the about cosmopolitan deficiency of graduated table - The MayPole At Merry Mount Research EssayThe MayPole At Merry Mount Research Essay.
The May-Pole At Merry Mount Essay, Research Paper THE MAY-POLE AT MERRY MOUNTA MOST confusing thing in American History, as read it, is the about cosmopolitan deficiency of graduated table.
This parochialism is helped by such balanced statement as A. C. Adams & # ; foreword to Thomas Morton & # ; s [ ]. Thomas Morton of Merry Mount Intellectual "heathen" remains an inspiration And upon Mayday they brought the Maypole to the place appointed, with drums, guns, pistols, and other fitting instruments, for that purpose; and there erected it with the help of Savages, that came thither of purpose to see the manner of our Revels.