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Excerpt from "The May-Pole of Merrymount"

Excerpt from "The May-Pole of Merrymount"

Hawthorne mitigates his unflattering portrait of Endicott by having that stern Puritan recognize the genuine virtue in Edgar and Edith's affection. He also suggests that their ascent to heaven is a consequence of their mutual support, a variant of their mutual willingness to accept the other's punishment.

 

And Endicott, the severest Puritan of all who laid the rock foundation of New England, lifted the wreath of roses from the ruin of the Maypole, and threw it, with his own gauntleted hand, over the heads of the Lord and Lady of the May. It was a deed of prophecy. As the moral gloom of the world overpowers all systematic gayety, even so was their home of wild mirth made desolate amid the sad forest. They returned to it no more. But as their flowery garland was wreathed of the brightest roses that had grown there, so, in the tie that united them, were intertwined all the purest and best of their early joys. They went heavenward, supporting each other along the difficult path which it was their lot to tread, and never wasted one regretful thought on the vanities of Merry Mount.



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