William Bradford's Thanksgiving proclamation:
Inasmuch as the great Father has given us this year an abundant harvest of Indian corn, wheat, peas, beans, squashes, and garden vegetables, and has made the forests to abound with game and the sea with fish and clams, and inasmuch as he has protected us from the ravages of the savages, has spared us from pestilence and disease, has granted us freedom to worship God according to the dictates of our own conscience.
Now I, your magistrate, do proclaim that all ye Pilgrims, with your wives and ye little ones, do gather at ye meeting house, on ye hill, between the hours of 9 and 12 in the day time, on Thursday, November 29th, of the year of our Lord one thousand six hundred and twenty-three and the third year since ye Pilgrims landed on ye Pilgrim Rock, there to listen to ye pastor and render thanksgiving to ye Almighty God for all His blessings.
Ye Governor of Ye Colony
Poem by William Bradford:
From my years young in days of youth,
God did make known to me his truth,
And call'd me from my native place
For to enjoy the means of grace.
In wilderness he did me guide,
And in strange lands for me provide.
In fears and wants, through weal and woe,
A pilgrim, passed I to and fro :
Oft left of them whom I did trust;
How vain it is to rest on dust!
A man of sorrows I have been,
And many changes have I seen.
Wars, wants, peace, plenty, have I known;
And some advanc'd, others thrown down.
The humble poor, cheerful and glad;
Rich, discontent, sower and sad :
When fears and sorrow have been mixt,
Consolations came betwixt.
Faint not, poor soul, in God still trust,
Fear not the things thou suffer must;
For, whom he loves he doth chastise,
And then all tears wipes from their eyes.
Farewell, dear children, whom I love,
Your better Father is above:
When I am gone, he can supply;
To him I leave you when I die.
Fear him in truth, walk in his ways,
And he will bless you all your days.
My days are spent, old age is come,
My strength it fails, my glass near run.
Now I will wait, when work is done,
Until my happy change shall come,
When from my labors I shall rest,
With Christ above for to be blest.