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The Gray Champion
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The Gray Champion

In general, a Gray Champion can be recognized by the following characteristics:

  • He will have many enemies on both sides of the conflict, all of whom share a deep and abiding hatred of him.
  • He will be perceived as not truly belonging to either faction of the conflict, but to be above both.
  • His solutions to current difficulties will be both principled and original.
  • His manner will be fierce; his commitment unrelenting; his resolve unwavering; his approach uncompromising.
  • He will instill courage in the souls of those who are despairing of the grimness of the situation.
  • He will come across to his detractors as a pitiless, egomaniacal narcissist.
  • His enemies will revel in his setbacks, hurl invective at him at every opportunity, and wish for or even plot his overthrow or assassination.
  • He will break every rule, norm, and standard that gets in the way of his ultimate objective: ensuring that his nation is victorious.      — From America’s Road Ahead – Part 3

The Gray Champion, by Nathaniel Hawthorne, 1835, 1837

Suddenly, there was seen the figure of an ancient man, who seemed to have emerged from among the people, and was walking by himself along the center of the street, to confront the armed band. He wore the old Puritan dress, a dark cloak and a steeple-crowned hat, in the fashion of at least fifty years before, with a heavy sword upon his thigh, but a staff in his hand, to assist the tremulous gait of age.

When at some distance from the multitude, the old man turned slowly round, displaying a face of antique majesty, rendered doubly venerable by the hoary beard that descended on his breast. He made a gesture at once of encouragement and warning, then turned again, and resumed his way.

“Who is this gray patriarch?” asked the young men of their sires.

“Who is this venerable brother?” asked the old men among themselves.

But none could make reply. ..

“Whence did he come? What is his purpose? Who can this old man be?” whispered the wondering crowd.

Meanwhile, the venerable stranger, staff in hand, was pursuing his solitary walk along the centre of the street. As he drew near the advancing soldiers, and as the roll of their drum came full upon his ear, the old man raised himself to a loftier mien, while the decrepitude of age seemed to fall from his shoulders, leaving him in gray, but unbroken dignity. Now, he marched onward with a warrior’s step, keeping time to the military music. Thus the aged form advanced on one side, and the whole parade of soldiers and magistrates on the other, till, when scarcely twenty yards remained between, the old man grasped his staff by the middle, and held it before him like a leader’s truncheon.

“Stand!” cried he.

The eye, the face, and attitude of command; the solemn, yet warlike peal of that voice, fit either to rule a host in the battle-field or be raised to God in prayer, were irresistible. At the old man’s word and outstretched arm, the roll of the drum was hushed at once, and the advancing line stood still. A tremulous enthusiasm seized upon the multitude. That stately form, combining the leader and the saint, so gray, so dimly seen, in such an ancient garb, could only belong to some old champion of the righteous cause, whom the oppressor’s drum had summoned from his grave. They raised a shout of awe and exultation, and looked for the deliverance of New-England…

“Are you mad, old man?” demanded Sir Edmund Andros, in loud and harsh tones. “How dare you stay the march of King James’s Governor?”

“I have staid the march of a King himself, ere now,” replied the gray figure, with stern composure. “I am here, Sir Governor, because the cry of an oppressed people hath disturbed me in my secret place; and beseeching this favor earnestly of the Lord, it was vouchsafed me to appear once again on earth, in the good old cause of his Saints….With this night, thy power is ended–to-morrow, the prison!–back, lest I foretell the scaffold!”

The people had been drawing nearer and nearer, and drinking in the words of their champion, who spoke in accents long disused, like one unaccustomed to converse, except with the dead of many years ago. But his voice stirred their souls. They confronted the soldiers, not wholly without arms, and ready to convert the very stones of the street into deadly weapons. Sir Edmund Andros looked at the old man; then he cast his hard and cruel eye over the multitude, and beheld them burning with that lurid wrath, so difficult to kindle or to quench; and again he fixed his gaze on the aged form, which stood obscurely in an open space, where neither friend nor foe had thrust himself. What were his thoughts, he uttered no word which might discover. But whether the oppressor was overawed by the Gray Champion’s look, or perceived his peril in the threatening attitude of the people, it is certain that he gave back, and ordered his soldiers to commence a slow and guarded retreat. …

But where was the Gray Champion? Some reported, that when the troops had gone from King-street, and the people were thronging tumultuously in their rear, Bradstreet, the aged Governor, was seen to embrace a form more aged than his own. Others soberly affirmed, that while they marvelled at the venerable grandeur of his aspect, the old man had faded from their eyes, melting slowly into the hues of twilight, till, where he stood, there was an empty space.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Howard Nelson October 24, 2018, 7:49 PM

    Oh, you who are so trouble-prone, proud and loud in your laments, long ago I promised that I am always becoming what you have need of me to be.
    First, you need a boot in the behind for being for so
    long so blind. Second, look to your past for your guide and goad to your future, for your future to last.
    And as Truth, know, I am with you to the end of time and beyond.

  • Geoff C. The Saltine October 24, 2018, 7:52 PM

    ” melting slowly into the hues of twilight, till, where he stood, there was an empty space”.
    That space has been filled by “we” who will be silent no more.
    The die has been cast let us see where they land. Peace or a blood bath. It is up to them.

  • arcs October 25, 2018, 8:07 AM

    Prince of Orange. Odd and coincidental, that.

  • Haxo Angmark October 25, 2018, 3:10 PM

    Trump’s the storm, alright:

    President Tweetstorm. Otherwise, he’s Jew’d his voters

    on every single populist promise he made.

    OTOH, he really is a wizard con-artist.

  • Edd October 25, 2018, 5:44 PM

    Can you tell me where the storm pic at the top of the post is from? I have the same pic on my phone. I was told it was taken by a friend of mine.

  • Geoff C. The Saltine October 25, 2018, 7:09 PM

    Yes it is a storm,and a damn fine one at that. I hope some day you have a burning bush.