Nay, more, what is it but a shame to us, if, while our forefathers were good heathens, we are bad Christians?
But in the meanwhile, why were our forefathers--heathens though they were, and sinners in many things, being truly children of wrath, fierce, bloodthirsty, revengeful, without the grace of Christ, which is Love and Charity--nevertheless a people prepared for the Lord?
It was God's will, that whenever they tried they were beaten back with shame and slaughter; and our forefathers, almost alone of all, remained free men, even as we are at this day.
A firm tradition is current among the fishermen, most of whom gain a livelihood in the summer by boat hire, that their forefathers were Spaniards shipwrecked in the Cove just after Beer had been depopulated by the plague, and that they settled in the empty houses, intermarrying with the maids of Devon left in the village.
At Rushay Farm, near the lonely hamlet of Pentridge, William Barnes, the Dorset poet, was born, and a forefather of Robert Browning was once footman and butler to the Banks family who lived at Woodyates.
For our forefathers were mystics for generations; they were mystics in the forests of Germany and in the dales of Norway; they were mystics in the convents and the universities of the Middle Ages; they were mystics, all the deepest and noblest minds of them, during the Elizabethan era.
For he is a Bhundaree, or Toddy-drawer, and his forefathers have been Bhundarees since the time, I suppose, when Manu made his immortal laws.
Coming generations would know their forefathers had been a good and wise folk and they would remember them with reverence and gratitude.
God was worshipped here between the sea and the greenwood when our South Saxon forefathers were not only the merest pagans, but so barbarous that they knew not even how to fish, when they were so wretched that in companies they would cast themselves into the sea because there was no light in their hearts and nothing else to do.
The Boy jumped up on his stool and cracked his head against the roof; but he only ducked, rubbed his wild, long hair till it stood out wilder than ever, and went on: "Nicholas's forefathers were kings before Caesar; they were here before the Pyramids--" The Colonel came round and hauled the Boy down.