A letter, 1624
We were much gratified on arriving in this country. Here we found beautiful rivers, bubbling fountains flowing down into the valleys, basins of running waters in the flatlands, agreeable fruits in the woods such as strawberries, pigeon berries, walnuts, and also voor labrusten, or wild grapes. The woods abound with acorns for feeding hogs and with venison. There is considerable fish in the rivers, good tillage land; here is, especially, free coming and going, without fear of the naked natives of the country. Had we cows, hogs, and other cattle fit for food (which we daily expect in the first ships) we would not wish to return to Holland, for whatever we desire in the paradise of Holland is here to be found. If you will come hither with your family, you will not regret it.
F. SCOTT FITZGERALD
The Great Gatsby, 1925
As the moon rose higher the inessential houses began to melt away until gradually I became aware of the old island here that flowered once for Dutch sailors’ eyes—a fresh, green breast of the new world. Its vanished trees, the trees that had made way for Gatsby’s house, had once pandered in whispers to the last and greatest of all human dreams; for a transitory enchanted moment, man must have held his breath in the presence of this continent, compelled into an aesthetic contemplation he neither understood nor desired, face to face for the last time in history with something commensurate to his capacity for wonder.
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