Tumult. The Quakers are driven out with violence, EDITH following slowly. The congregation retires in confusion.
Thus freely do the Reprobates commit Such measure of iniquity as fits them For the intended measure of God's wrath And even in violating God's commands Are they fulfilling the divine decree! The will of man is but an instrument Disposed and predetermined to its action According unto the decree of God, Being as much subordinate thereto As is the axe unto the hewer's hand!
He descends from the pulpit, and joins GOVERNOR ENDICOTT, who comes forward to meet him.
The omens and the wonders of the time, Famine, and fire, and shipwreck, and disease, The blast of corn, the death of our young men, Our sufferings in all precious, pleasant things, Are manifestations of the wrath divine, Signs of God's controversy with New England. These emissaries of the Evil One, These servants and ambassadors of Satan, Are but commissioned executioners Of God's vindictive and deserved displeasure. We must receive them as the Roman Bishop Once received Attila, saying, I rejoice You have come safe, whom I esteem to be The scourge of God, sent to chastise his people. This very heresy, perchance, may serve The purposes of God to some good end. With you I leave it; but do not neglect The holy tactics of the civil sword.
ENDICOTT. And what more can be done?
NORTON. The hand that cut The Red Cross from the colors of the king Can cut the red heart from this heresy. Fear not. All blasphemies immediate And heresies turbulent must be suppressed By civil power.
ENDICOTT. But in what way suppressed?
NORTON. The Book of Deuteronomy declares That if thy son, thy daughter, or thy wife, Ay, or the friend which is as thine own soul, Entice thee secretly, and say to thee, Let us serve other gods, then shalt thine eye Not pity him, but thou shalt surely kill him, And thine own hand shall be the first upon him To slay him.
ENDICOTT. Four already have been slain; And others banished upon pain of death. But they come back again to meet their doom, Bringing the linen for their winding-sheets. We must not go too far. In truth, I shrink From shedding of more blood. The people murmur At our severity.
NORTON. Then let them murmur! Truth is relentless; justice never wavers; The greatest firmness is the greatest mercy; The noble order of the Magistracy Cometh immediately from God, and yet This noble order of the Magistracy Is by these Heretics despised and outraged.
ENDICOTT. To-night they sleep in prison. If they die, They cannot say that we have caused their death. We do but guard the passage, with the sword Pointed towards them; if they dash upon it, Their blood will be on their own heads, not ours.
NORTON. Enough. I ask no more. My predecessor Coped only with the milder heresies Of Antinomians and of Anabaptists. He was not born to wrestle with these fiends. Chrysostom in his pulpit; Augustine In disputation; Timothy in his house! The lantern of St. Botolph's ceased to burn When from the portals of that church he came To be a burning and a shining light Here in the wilderness. And, as he lay On his death-bed, he saw me in a vision Ride on a snow-white horse into this town. His vision was prophetic; thus I came, A terror to the impenitent, and Death On the pale horse of the Apocalypse To all the accursed race of Heretics! [Exeunt.
SCENE II. — A street. On one side, NICHOLAS UPSALL's house; on the other, WALTER MERRY's, with a flock of pigeons on the roof. UPSALL seated in the porch of his house.
UPSALL. O day of rest! How beautiful, how fair, How welcome to the weary and the old! Day of the Lord! and truce to earthly cares! Day of the Lord, as all our days should be! Ah, why will man by his austerities Shut out the blessed sunshine and the light, And make of thee a dungeon of despair!
WALTER MERRY (entering and looking round him). All silent as a graveyard! No one stirring; No footfall in the street, no sound of voices! By righteous punishment and perseverance, And perseverance in that punishment, At last I have brought this contumacious town To strict observance of the Sabbath day. Those wanton gospellers, the pigeons yonder, Are now the only Sabbath-breakers left. I cannot put them down. As if to taunt me, They gather every Sabbath afternoon In noisy congregation on my roof, Billing and cooing. Whir! take that, ye Quakers.
Throws a stone at the pigeons. Sees UPSALL.
Ah! Master Nicholas!
UPSALL. Good afternoon, Dear neighbor Walter.
MERRY. Master Nicholas, You have to-day withdrawn yourself from meeting.
UPSALL. Yea, I have chosen rather to worship God Sitting in silence here at my own door.
MERRY. Worship the Devil! You this day have broken Three of our strictest laws. First, by abstaining From public worship. Secondly, by walking Profanely on the Sabbath.
UPSALL. Not one step. I have been sitting still here, seeing the pigeons Feed in the street and fly about the roofs.
MERRY. You have been in the street with other intent Than going to and from the Meeting-house. And, thirdly, you are harboring Quakers here. I am amazed!
UPSALL. Men sometimes, it is said, Entertain angels unawares.
MERRY. Nice angels! Angels in broad-brimmed hats and russet cloaks, The color of the Devil's nutting-bag. They came Into the Meeting-house this afternoon More in the shape of devils than of angels. The women screamed and fainted; and the boys Made such an uproar in the gallery I could not keep them quiet.
UPSALL. Neighbor Walter, Your persecution is of no avail.
MERRY. 'T is prosecution, as the Governor says, Not persecution.
UPSALL. Well, your prosecution; Your hangings do no good.
MERRY. The reason is, We do not hang enough. But, mark my words, We'll scour them; yea, I warrant ye, we'll scour them! And now go in and entertain your angels, And don't be seen here in the street again Till after sundown! There they are again!
Exit UPSALL. MERRY throws another stone at the pigeons, and then goes into his house.
SCENE III. — A room in UPSALL'S house. Night. EDITH, WHARTON, and other Quakers seated at a table. UPSALL seated near them, Several books on the table.
WHARTON. William and Marmaduke, our martyred brothers, Sleep in untimely graves, if aught untimely Can find place in the providence of God, Where nothing comes too early or too late. I saw their noble death. They to the scaffold Walked hand in hand. Two hundred armed men And many horsemen guarded them, for fear Of rescue by the crowd, whose hearts were stirred.
EDITH. O holy martyrs!
WHARTON. When they tried to speak, Their voices by the roll of drums were drowned. When they were dead they still looked fresh and fair, The terror of death was not upon their faces. Our sister Mary, likewise, the meek woman, Has passed through martyrdom to her reward; Exclaiming, as they led her to her death, "These many days I've been in Paradise." And, when she died, Priest Wilson threw the hangman His handkerchief, to cover the pale face He dared not look upon.
EDITH. As persecuted, Yet not forsaken; as unknown, yet known; As dying, and behold we are alive; As sorrowful, and yet rejoicing always; As having nothing, yet possessing all!
WHARTON. And Leddra, too, is dead. But from his prison, The day before his death, he sent these words Unto the little flock of Christ: "What ever May come upon the followers of the Light,— Distress, affliction, famine, nakedness, Or perils in the city or the sea, Or persecution, or even death itself,— I am persuaded that God's armor of Light, As it is loved and lived in, will preserve you. Yea, death itself; through which you will find entrance Into the pleasant pastures of the fold, Where you shall feed forever as the herds That roam at large in the low valleys of Achor. And as the flowing of the ocean fills Each creek and branch thereof, and then retires, Leaving behind a sweet and wholesome savor; So doth the virtue and the life of God Flow evermore into the hearts of those Whom He hath made partakers of His nature; And, when it but withdraws itself a little, Leaves a sweet savor after it, that many Can say they are made clean by every word That He hath spoken to them in their silence."
EDITH (rising and breaking into a kind of chant). Truly we do but grope here in the dark, Near the partition-wall of Life and Death, At every moment dreading or desiring To lay our hands upon the unseen door! Let us, then, labor for an inward stillness,— An inward stillness and an inward healing; That perfect silence where the lips and heart Are still, and we no longer entertain Our own imperfect thoughts and vain opinions, But God alone speaks in us, and we wait In singleness of heart, that we may know His will, and in the silence of our spirits, That we may do His will, and do that only!
A long pause, interrupted by the sound of a drum approaching; then shouts in the street, and a loud knocking at the door.
MARSHAL. Within there! Open the door!
MERRY. Will no one answer?
MARSHAL. In the King's name! Within there!
MERRY. Open the door!
UPSALL (from the window). It is not barred. Come in. Nothing prevents you. The poor man's door is ever on the latch. He needs no bolt nor bar to shut out thieves; He fears no enemies, and has no friends Importunate enough to need a key.
Enter JOHN ENDICOTT, the MARSHAL, MERRY, and a crowd. Seeing the Quakers silent and unmoved, they pause, awe-struck. ENDICOTT opposite EDITH.
MARSHAL. In the King's name do I arrest you all! Away with them to prison. Master Upsall, You are again discovered harboring here These ranters and disturbers of the peace. You know the law.
UPSALL. I know it, and am ready To suffer yet again its penalties.
EDITH (to ENDICOTT). Why dost thou persecute me, Saul of Tarsus?
SCENE I. — JOHN ENDICOTT's room. Early morning.
JOHN ENDICOTT. "Why dost thou persecute me, Saul of Tarsus?" All night these words were ringing in mine ears! A sorrowful sweet face; a look that pierced me With meek reproach; a voice of resignation That had a life of suffering in its tone; And that was all! And yet I could not sleep, Or, when I slept, I dreamed that awful dream! I stood beneath the elm-tree on the Common, On which the Quakers have been hanged, and heard A voice, not hers, that cried amid the darkness, "This is Aceldama, the field of blood! I will have mercy, and not sacrifice!"
Opens the window and looks out.
The sun is up already; and my heart Sickens and sinks within me when I think How many tragedies will be enacted Before his setting. As the earth rolls round, It seems to me a huge Ixion's wheel, Upon whose whirling spokes we are bound fast, And must go with it! Ah, how bright the sun Strikes on the sea and on the masts of vessels, That are uplifted, in the morning air, Like crosses of some peaceable crusade! It makes me long to sail for lands unknown, No matter whither! Under me, in shadow, Gloomy and narrow, lies the little town, Still sleeping, but to wake and toil awhile, Then sleep again. How dismal looks the prison, How grim and sombre in the sunless street,— The prison where she sleeps, or wakes and waits For what I dare not think of,—death, perhaps! A word that has been said may be unsaid: It is but air. But when a deed is done It cannot be undone, nor can our thoughts Reach out to all the mischiefs that may follow. 'T is time for morning prayers. I will go down. My father, though severe, is kind and just; And when his heart is tender with devotion,— When from his lips have fallen the words, "Forgive us As we forgive,"—then will I intercede For these poor people, and perhaps may save them. [Exit.
SCENE II. — Dock Square. On one side, the tavern of the Three Mariners. In the background, a quaint building with gables; and, beyond it, wharves and shipping. CAPTAIN KEMPTHORN and others seated at a table before the door. SAMUEL COLE standing near them.
KEMPTHORN. Come, drink about! Remember Parson Melham, And bless the man who first invented flip!
COLE. Pray, Master Kempthorn, where were you last night?
KEMPTHORN. On board the Swallow, Simon Kempthorn, master, Up for Barbadoes, and the Windward Islands.
COLE. The town was in a tumult.
KEMPTHORN. And for what?
COLE. Your Quakers were arrested.
KEMPTHORN. How my Quakers?
COLE. These you brought in your vessel from Barbadoes. They made an uproar in the Meeting-house Yesterday, and they're now in prison for it. I owe you little thanks for bringing them To the Three Mariners.
KEMPTHORN. They have not harmed you. I tell you, Goodman Cole, that Quaker girl Is precious as a sea-bream's eye. I tell you It was a lucky day when first she set Her little foot upon the Swallow's deck, Bringing good luck, fair winds, and pleasant weather.
COLE. I am a law-abiding citizen; I have a seat in the new Meeting-house, A cow-right on the Common; and, besides, Am corporal in the Great Artillery. I rid me of the vagabonds at once.
KEMPTHORN. Why should you not have Quakers at your tavern If you have fiddlers?
COLE. Never! never! never! If you want fiddling you must go elsewhere, To the Green Dragon and the Admiral Vernon, And other such disreputable places. But the Three Mariners is an orderly house, Most orderly, quiet, and respectable. Lord Leigh said he could be as quiet here As at the Governor's. And have I not King Charles's Twelve Good Rules, all framed and glazed, Hanging in my best parlor?
KEMPTHORN. Here's a health To good King Charles. Will you not drink the King? Then drink confusion to old Parson Palmer.
COLE. And who is Parson Palmer? I don't know him.
KEMPTHORN. He had his cellar underneath his pulpit, And so preached o'er his liquor, just as you do.
A drum within.
COLE. Here comes the Marshal.
MERRY (within). Make room for the Marshal.
KEMPTHORN. How pompous and imposing he appears! His great buff doublet bellying like a mainsail, And all his streamers fluttering in the wind. What holds he in his hand?
COLE. A proclamation.
Enter the MARSHAL, with a proclamation; and MERRY, with a halberd. They are preceded by a drummer, and followed by the hangman, with an armful of books, and a crowd of people, among whom are UPSALL and JOHN ENDICOTT. A pile is made of the books.
MERRY. Silence, the drum! Good citizens, attend To the new laws enacted by the Court.
MARSHAL (reads). "Whereas a cursed sect of Heretics Has lately risen, commonly called Quakers, Who take upon themselves to be commissioned Immediately of God, and furthermore Infallibly assisted by the Spirit To write and utter blasphemous opinions, Despising Government and the order of God In Church and Commonwealth, and speaking evil Of Dignities, reproaching and reviling The Magistrates and Ministers, and seeking To turn the people from their faith, and thus Gain proselytes to their pernicious ways;— This Court, considering the premises, And to prevent like mischief as is wrought By their means in our land, doth hereby order, That whatsoever master or commander Of any ship, bark, pink, or catch shall bring To any roadstead, harbor, creek, or cove Within this Jurisdiction any Quakers, Or other blasphemous Heretics, shall pay Unto the Treasurer of the Commonwealth One hundred pounds, and for default thereof Be put in prison, and continue there Till the said sum be satisfied and paid."
COLE. Now, Simon Kempthorn, what say you to that?
KEMPTHORN. I pray you, Cole, lend me a hundred pounds!
MARSHAL (reads). "If any one within this Jurisdiction Shall henceforth entertain, or shall conceal Quakers or other blasphemous Heretics, Knowing them so to be, every such person Shall forfeit to the country forty shillings For each hour's entertainment or concealment, And shall be sent to prison, as aforesaid, Until the forfeiture be wholly paid!"
Murmurs in the crowd.
KEMPTHORN. Now, Goodman Cole, I think your turn has come!
COLE. Knowing them so to be!
KEMPTHORN. At forty shillings The hour, your fine will be some forty pounds!
COLE. Knowing them so to be! That is the law.
MARSHAL (reads). "And it is further ordered and enacted, If any Quaker or Quakers shall presume To come henceforth into this Jurisdiction, Every male Quaker for the first offence Shall have one ear cut off; and shall be kept At labor in the Workhouse, till such time As he be sent away at his own charge. And for the repetition of the offence Shall have his other ear cut off, and then Be branded in the palm of his right hand. And every woman Quaker shall be whipt Severely in three towns; and every Quaker, Or he or she, that shall for a third time Herein again offend, shall have their tongues Bored through with a hot iron, and shall be Sentenced to Banishment on pain of Death."
Loud murmurs. The voice of CHRISTISON in the crowd.
O patience of the Lord! How long, how long, Ere thou avenge the blood of Thine Elect?
MERRY. Silence, there, silence! Do not break the peace!
MARSHAL (reads). "Every inhabitant of this Jurisdiction Who shall defend the horrible opinions Of Quakers, by denying due respect To equals and superiors, and withdrawing From Church Assemblies, and thereby approving The abusive and destructive practices Of this accursed sect, in opposition To all the orthodox received opinions Of godly men shall be forthwith commit ted Unto close prison for one month; and then Refusing to retract and to reform The opinions as aforesaid, he shall be Sentenced to Banishment on pain of Death. By the Court. Edward Rawson, Secretary." Now, hangman, do your duty. Burn those books.
Loud murmurs in the crowd. The pile of books is lighted.
UPSALL. I testify against these cruel laws! Forerunners are they of some judgment on us; And, in the love and tenderness I bear Unto this town and people, I beseech you, O Magistrates, take heed, lest ye be found As fighters against God!
JOHN ENDICOTT (taking UPSALL'S hand). Upsall, I thank you For speaking words such as some younger man, I, or another, should have said before you. Such laws as these are cruel and oppressive; A blot on this fair town, and a disgrace To any Christian people.
MERRY (aside, listening behind them). Here's sedition! I never thought that any good would come Of this young popinjay, with his long hair And his great boots, fit only for the Russians Or barbarous Indians, as his father says!
THE VOICE. Woe to the bloody town! And rightfully Men call it the Lost Town! The blood of Abel Cries from the ground, and at the final judgment The Lord will say, "Cain, Cain! Where is thy brother?"
MERRY. Silence there in the crowd!
UPSALL (aside). 'T is Christison!
THE VOICE. O foolish people, ye that think to burn And to consume the truth of God, I tell you That every flame is a loud tongue of fire To publish it abroad to all the world Louder than tongues of men!
KEMPTHORN (springing to his feet). Well said, my hearty! There's a brave fellow! There's a man of pluck! A man who's not afraid to say his say, Though a whole town's against him. Rain, rain, rain, Bones of St. Botolph, and put out this fire!
The drum beats. Exeunt all but MERRY, KEMPTHORN, and COLE.
MERRY. And now that matter's ended, Goodman Cole, Fetch me a mug of ale, your strongest ale.
KEMPTHORN (sitting down). And me another mug of flip; and put Two gills of brandy in it. [Exit COLE.
MERRY. No; no more. Not a drop more, I say. You've had enough.
KEMPTHORN. And who are you, sir?
MERRY. I'm a Tithing-man, And Merry is my name.
KEMPTHORN. A merry name! I like it; and I'll drink your merry health Till all is blue.
MERRY. And then you will be clapped Into the stocks, with the red letter D Hung round about your neck for drunkenness. You're a free-drinker,—yes, and a free-thinker!
KEMPTHORN. And you are Andrew Merry, or Merry Andrew.
MERRY. My name is Walter Merry, and not Andrew.
KEMPTHORN. Andrew or Walter, you're a merry fellow; I'll swear to that.
MERRY. No swearing, let me tell you. The other day one Shorthose had his tongue Put into a cleft stick for profane swearing.
COLE brings the ale.
KEMPTHORN. Well, where's my flip? As sure as my name's Kempthorn—
MERRY. Is your name Kempthorn?
KEMPTHORN. That's the name I go by.
MERRY. What, Captain Simon Kempthorn of the Swallow?
KEMPTHORN. No other.
MERRY (touching him on the shoulder). Then you're wanted. I arrest you In the King's name.
KEMPTHORN. And where's your warrant?
MERRY (unfolding a paper, and reading). Here. Listen to me. "Hereby you are required, In the King's name, to apprehend the body Of Simon Kempthorn, mariner, and him Safely to bring before me, there to answer All such objections as are laid to him, Touching the Quakers." Signed, John Endicott.
KEMPTHORN. Has it the Governor's seal?
MERRY. Ay, here it is.
KEMPTHORN. Death's head and cross-bones. That's a pirate's flag!
MERRY. Beware how you revile the Magistrates; You may be whipped for that.
KEMPTHORN. Then mum's the word.
Exeunt MERRY and KEMPTHORN.
COLE. There's mischief brewing! Sure, there's mischief brewing. I feel like Master Josselyn when he found The hornet's nest, and thought it some strange fruit, Until the seeds came out, and then he dropped it. [Exit.
Scene III. — A room in the Governor's house, Enter GOVERNOR ENDICOTT and MERRY.
ENDICOTT. My son, you say?
MERRY. Your Worship's eldest son.
ENDICOTT. Speaking against the laws?
MERRY. Ay, worshipful sir.
ENDICOTT. And in the public market-place?
MERRY. I saw him With my own eyes, heard him with my own ears.
MERRY. He stood there in the crowd With Nicholas Upsall, when the laws were read To-day against the Quakers, and I heard him Denounce and vilipend them as unjust, And cruel, wicked, and abominable.
ENDICOTT. Ungrateful son! O God! thou layest upon me A burden heavier than I can bear! Surely the power of Satan must be great Upon the earth, if even the elect Are thus deceived and fall away from grace!
MERRY. Worshipful sir! I meant no harm—
ENDICOTT. 'T is well. You've done your duty, though you've done it roughly, And every word you've uttered since you came Has stabbed me to the heart!
MERRY. I do beseech Your Worship's pardon!
ENDICOTT. He whom I have nurtured And brought up in the reverence of the Lord! The child of all my hopes and my affections! He upon whom I leaned as a sure staff For my old age! It is God's chastisement For leaning upon any arm but His!
MERRY. Your Worship!—
ENDICOTT. And this comes from holding parley With the delusions and deceits of Satan. At once, forever, must they be crushed out, Or all the land will reek with heresy! Pray, have you any children?
MERRY. No, not any.
ENDICOTT. Thank God for that. He has delivered you From a great care. Enough; my private griefs Too long have kept me from the public service.
Exit MERRY, ENDICOTT seats himself at the table and arranges his papers.
The hour has come; and I am eager now To sit in judgment on these Heretics.
Come in. Who is it? (Not looking up).
JOHN ENDICOTT. It is I.
ENDICOTT (restraining himself). Sit down!
JOHN ENDICOTT (sitting down). I come to intercede for these poor people Who are in prison, and await their trial.
ENDICOTT. It is of them I wished to speak with you. I have been angry with you, but 't is passed. For when I hear your footsteps come or go, See in your features your dead mother's face, And in your voice detect some tone of hers, All anger vanishes, and I remember The days that are no more, and come no more, When as a child you sat upon my knee, And prattled of your playthings, and the games You played among the pear trees in the orchard!
JOHN ENDICOTT. Oh, let the memory of my noble mother Plead with you to be mild and merciful! For mercy more becomes a Magistrate Than the vindictive wrath which men call justice!
ENDICOTT. The sin of heresy is a deadly sin. 'T is like the falling of the snow, whose crystals The traveller plays with, thoughtless of his danger, Until he sees the air so full of light That it is dark; and blindly staggering onward, Lost and bewildered, he sits down to rest; There falls a pleasant drowsiness upon him, And what he thinks is sleep, alas! is death.
JOHN ENDICOTT. And yet who is there that has never doubted? And doubting and believing, has not said, "Lord, I believe; help thou my unbelief"?
ENDICOTT. In the same way we trifle with our doubts, Whose shining shapes are like the stars descending; Until at last, bewildered and dismayed, Blinded by that which seemed to give us light, We sink to sleep, and find that it is death,
Death to the soul through all eternity! Alas that I should see you growing up To man's estate, and in the admonition And nurture of the law, to find you now Pleading for Heretics!
JOHN ENDICOTT (rising). In the sight of God, Perhaps all men are Heretics. Who dares To say that he alone has found the truth? We cannot always feel and think and act As those who go before us. Had you done so, You would not now be here.
ENDICOTT. Have you forgotten The doom of Heretics, and the fate of those Who aid and comfort them? Have you forgotten That in the market-place this very day You trampled on the laws? What right have you, An inexperienced and untravelled youth, To sit in judgment here upon the acts Of older men and wiser than yourself, Thus stirring up sedition in the streets, And making me a byword and a jest?
JOHN ENDICOTT. Words of an inexperienced youth like me Were powerless if the acts of older men Were not before them. 'T is these laws themselves Stir up sedition, not my judgment of them.
ENDICOTT. Take heed, lest I be called, as Brutus was, To be the judge of my own son. Begone! When you are tired of feeding upon husks, Return again to duty and submission, But not till then.
JOHN ENDICOTT. I hear and I obey! [Exit. ENDICOTT. Oh happy, happy they who have no children! He's gone! I hear the hall door shut behind him. It sends a dismal echo through my heart, As if forever it had closed between us, And I should look upon his face no more! Oh, this will drag me down into my grave,— To that eternal resting-place wherein Man lieth down, and riseth not again! Till the heavens be no more, he shall not wake, Nor be roused from his sleep; for Thou dost change His countenance and sendest him away! [Exit.
SCENE I. — The Court of Assistants, ENDICOTT, BELLINGHAM, ATHERTON, and other magistrates. KEMPTHORN, MERRY, and constables. Afterwards WHARTON, EDITH, and CHRISTISON.
ENDICOTT. Call Captain Simon Kempthorn.
MERRY. Simon Kempthorn, Come to the bar!
KEMPTHORN comes forward.
ENDICOTT. You are accused of bringing Into this Jurisdiction, from Barbadoes, Some persons of that sort and sect of people Known by the name of Quakers, and maintaining Most dangerous and heretical opinions, Purposely coming here to propagate Their heresies and errors; bringing with them And spreading sundry books here, which contain Their doctrines most corrupt and blasphemous, And contrary to the truth professed among us. What say you to this charge?
I do acknowledge, Among the passengers on board the Swallow Were certain persons saying Thee and Thou. They seemed a harmless people, mostways silent, Particularly when they said their prayers.
ENDICOTT. Harmless and silent as the pestilence! You'd better have brought the fever or the plague Among us in your ship! Therefore, this Court, For preservation of the Peace and Truth, Hereby commands you speedily to transport, Or cause to be transported speedily, The aforesaid persons hence unto Barbadoes, From whence they came; you paying all the charges Of their imprisonment.
KEMPTHORN. Worshipful sir, No ship e'er prospered that has carried Quakers Against their will! I knew a vessel once—
ENDICOTT. And for the more effectual performance Hereof you are to give security In bonds amounting to one hundred pounds. On your refusal, you will be committed To prison till you do it.
KEMPTHORN. But you see I cannot do it. The law, sir, of Barbadoes Forbids the landing Quakers on the island.
ENDICOTT. Then you will be committed. Who comes next?
MERRY. There is another charge against the Captain.
ENDICOTT. What is it?
MERRY. Profane swearing, please your Worship. He cursed and swore from Dock Square to the Court-house,
ENDICOTT. Then let him stand in the pillory for one hour.
[Exit KEMPTHORN with constable.
MERRY. The Quakers.
ENDICOTT. Call them.
MERRY. Edward Wharton, Come to the bar!
WHARTON. Yea, even to the bench.
ENDICOTT. Take off your hat.
WHARTON. My hat offendeth not. If it offendeth any, let him take it; For I shall not resist.
ENDICOTT. Take off his hat. Let him be fined ten shillings for contempt.
MERRY takes off WHARTON'S hat.
WHARTON. What evil have I done?
ENDICOTT. Your hair's too long; And in not putting off your hat to us You've disobeyed and broken that commandment Which sayeth "Honor thy father and thy mother."
WHARTON. John Endicott, thou art become too proud; And loved him who putteth off the hat, And honoreth thee by bowing of the body, And sayeth "Worshipful sir!" 'T is time for thee To give such follies over, for thou mayest Be drawing very near unto thy grave.
ENDICOTT. Now, sirrah, leave your canting. Take the oath.
WHARTON. Nay, sirrah me no sirrahs!
ENDICOTT. Will you swear?
WHARTON. Nay, I will not.
ENDICOTT. You made a great disturbance And uproar yesterday in the Meeting-house, Having your hat on.
WHARTON. I made no disturbance; For peacefully I stood, like other people. I spake no words; moved against none my hand; But by the hair they haled me out, and dashed Their hooks into my face.
ENDICOTT. You, Edward Wharton, On pain of death, depart this Jurisdiction Within ten days. Such is your sentence. Go.
WHARTON. John Endicott, it had been well for thee If this day's doings thou hadst left undone But, banish me as far as thou hast power, Beyond the guard and presence of my God Thou canst not banish me.
ENDICOTT. Depart the Court; We have no time to listen to your babble. Who's next? [Exit WHARTON.
MERRY. This woman, for the same offence.
EDITH comes forward.
ENDICOTT. What is your name?
EDITH. 'T is to the world unknown, But written in the Book of Life.
ENDICOTT. Take heed It be not written in the Book of Death! What is it?
EDITH. Edith Christison.
ENDICOTT (with eagerness). The daughter Of Wenlock Christison?
EDITH. I am his daughter.
ENDICOTT. Your father hath given us trouble many times. A bold man and a violent, who sets At naught the authority of our Church and State, And is in banishment on pain of death. Where are you living?
EDITH. In the Lord.
ENDICOTT. Make answer Without evasion. Where?
EDITH. My outward being Is in Barbadoes.
ENDICOTT. Then why come you here?
EDITH. I come upon an errand of the Lord.
ENDICOTT. 'Tis not the business of the Lord you're doing; It is the Devil's. Will you take the oath? Give her the Book.
MERRY offers the Book.
EDITH. You offer me this Book To swear on; and it saith, "Swear not at all, Neither by heaven, because it is God's Throne, Nor by the earth, because it is his footstool!" I dare not swear.
ENDICOTT. You dare not? Yet you Quakers Deny this book of Holy Writ, the Bible, To be the Word of God.
EDITH (reverentially). Christ is the Word, The everlasting oath of God. I dare not.
ENDICOTT. You own yourself a Quaker,—do you not?
EDITH. I own that in derision and reproach I am so called.
ENDICOTT. Then you deny the Scripture To be the rule of life.
EDITH. Yea, I believe The Inner Light, and not the Written Word, To be the rule of life.
ENDICOTT. And you deny That the Lord's Day is holy.
EDITH. Every day Is the Lords Day. It runs through all our lives, As through the pages of the Holy Bible, "Thus saith the Lord."
ENDICOTT. You are accused of making An horrible disturbance, and affrighting The people in the Meeting-house on Sunday. What answer make you?
EDITH. I do not deny That I was present in your Steeple-house On the First Day; but I made no disturbance.
ENDICOTT. Why came you there?
EDITH. Because the Lord commanded. His word was in my heart, a burning fire Shut up within me and consuming me, And I was very weary with forbearing; I could not stay.
ENDICOTT. 'T was not the Lord that sent you; As an incarnate devil did you come!
EDITH. On the First Day, when, seated in my chamber, I heard the bells toll, calling you together, The sound struck at my life, as once at his, The holy man, our Founder, when he heard The far-off bells toll in the Vale of Beavor. It sounded like a market bell to call The folk together, that the Priest might set His wares to sale. And the Lord said within me, "Thou must go cry aloud against that Idol, And all the worshippers thereof." I went Barefooted, clad in sackcloth, and I stood And listened at the threshold; and I heard The praying and the singing and the preaching, Which were but outward forms, and without power. Then rose a cry within me, and my heart Was filled with admonitions and reproofs. Remembering how the Prophets and Apostles Denounced the covetous hirelings and diviners, I entered in, and spake the words the Lord Commanded me to speak. I could no less.
ENDICOTT. Are you a Prophetess?
EDITH. Is it not written, "Upon my handmaidens will I pour out My spirit, and they shall prophesy"?
ENDICOTT. Enough; For out of your own mouth are you condemned! Need we hear further?
THE JUDGES. We are satisfied.
ENDICOTT. It is sufficient. Edith Christison, The sentence of the Court is, that you be Scourged in three towns, with forty stripes save one, Then banished upon pain of death!
EDITH. Your sentence Is truly no more terrible to me Than had you blown a feather into the the air, And, as it fell upon me, you had said, Take heed it hurt thee not! God's will he done!
WENLOCK CHRISTISON (unseen in the crowd). Woe to the city of blood! The stone shall cry Out of the wall; the beam from out the timber Shall answer it! Woe unto him that buildeth A town with blood, and stablisheth a city By his iniquity!
ENDICOTT. Who is it makes Such outcry here?
CHRISTISON (coming forward). I, Wenlock Christison!
ENDICOTT. Banished on pain of death, why come you here?
CHRISTISON. I come to warn you that you shed no more The blood of innocent men! It cries aloud For vengeance to the Lord!
ENDICOTT. Your life is forfeit Unto the law; and you shall surely die, And shall not live.
CHRISTISON. Like unto Eleazer, Maintaining the excellence of ancient years And the honor of his gray head, I stand before you; Like him disdaining all hypocrisy, Lest, through desire to live a little longer, I get a stain to my old age and name!
ENDICOTT. Being in banishment, on pain of death, You come now in among us in rebellion.
CHRISTISON. I come not in among you in rebellion, But in obedience to the Lord of heaven. Not in contempt to any Magistrate, But only in the love I bear your souls, As ye shall know hereafter, when all men Give an account of deeds done in the body! God's righteous judgments ye cannot escape.
ONE OF THE JUDGES. Those who have gone before you said the same, And yet no judgment of the Lord hath fallen Upon us.
CHRISTISON. He but waiteth till the measure Of your iniquities shall be filled up, And ye have run your race. Then will his wrath Descend upon you to the uttermost! For thy part, Humphrey Atherton, it hangs Over thy head already. It shall come Suddenly, as a thief doth in the night, And in the hour when least thou thinkest of it!
ENDICOTT. We have a law, and by that law you die.
CHRISTISON. I, a free man of England and freeborn, Appeal unto the laws of mine own nation!
ENDICOTT. There's no appeal to England from this Court! What! do you think our statutes are but paper? Are but dead leaves that rustle in the wind? Or litter to be trampled under foot? What say ye, Judges of the Court,—what say ye? Shall this man suffer death? Speak your opinions.
ONE OF THE JUDGES. I am a mortal man, and die I must, And that erelong; and I must then appear Before the awful judgment-seat of Christ, To give account of deeds done in the body. My greatest glory on that day will be, That I have given my vote against this man.
CHRISTISON. If, Thomas Danforth, thou hast nothing more To glory in upon that dreadful day Than blood of innocent people, then thy glory Will be turned into shame! The Lord hath said it!
ANOTHER JUDGE. I cannot give consent, while other men Who have been banished upon pain of death Are now in their own houses here among us.
ENDICOTT. Ye that will not consent, make record of it. I thank my God that I am not afraid To give my judgment. Wenlock Christison, You must be taken back from hence to prison, Thence to the place of public execution, There to be hanged till you be dead—dead,—dead.
CHRISTISON. If ye have power to take my life from me,— Which I do question,—God hath power to raise The principle of life in other men, And send them here among you. There shall be No peace unto the wicked, saith my God. Listen, ye Magistrates, for the Lord hath said it! The day ye put his servitors to death, That day the Day of your own Visitation, The Day of Wrath shall pass above your heads, And ye shall be accursed forevermore!
To EDITH, embracing her.
Cheer up, dear heart! they have not power to harm us.
[Exeunt CHRISTISON and EDITH guarded. The Scene closes.
SCENE II. — A street. Enter JOHN ENDICOTT and UPSALL.
JOHN ENDICOTT. Scourged in three towns! and yet the busy people Go up and down the streets on their affairs Of business or of pleasure, as if nothing Had happened to disturb them or their thoughts! When bloody tragedies like this are acted, The pulses of a nation should stand still The town should be in mourning, and the people Speak only in low whispers to each other.
UPSALL. I know this people; and that underneath A cold outside there burns a secret fire That will find vent and will not be put out, Till every remnant of these barbarous laws Shall be to ashes burned, and blown away.
JOHN ENDICOTT. Scourged in three towns! It is incredible Such things can be! I feel the blood within me Fast mounting in rebellion, since in vain Have I implored compassion of my father!
UPSALL. You know your father only as a father; I know him better as a Magistrate. He is a man both loving and severe; A tender heart; a will inflexible. None ever loved him more than I have loved him. He is an upright man and a just man In all things save the treatment of the Quakers.
JOHN ENDICOTT. Yet I have found him cruel and unjust Even as a father. He has driven me forth Into the street; has shut his door upon me, With words of bitterness. I am as homeless As these poor Quakers are.
UPSALL. Then come with me. You shall be welcome for your father's sake, And the old friendship that has been between us. He will relent erelong. A father's anger Is like a sword without a handle, piercing Both ways alike, and wounding him that wields it No less than him that it is pointed at. [Exeunt.
SCENE III. — The prison. Night. EDITH reading the Bible by a lamp.
EDITH. "Blessed are ye when men shall persecute you, And shall revile you, and shall say against you All manner of evil falsely for my sake! Rejoice, and be exceeding glad, for great Is your reward in heaven. For so the prophets, Which were before you, have been persecuted."
Enter JOHN ENDICOTT.
JOHN ENDICOTT. Edith!
EDITH. Who is it that speaketh?
JOHN ENDICOTT. Saul of Tarsus: As thou didst call me once.
EDITH (coming forward). Yea, I remember. Thou art the Governor's son.
JOHN ENDICOTT. I am ashamed Thou shouldst remember me.
EDITH. Why comest thou Into this dark guest-chamber in the night? What seekest thou?
JOHN ENDICOTT. Forgiveness!
EDITH. I forgive All who have injured me. What hast thou done?
JOHN ENDICOTT. I have betrayed thee, thinking that in this I did God service. Now, in deep contrition, I come to rescue thee.
EDITH. From what?
JOHN ENDICOTT. From prison. EDITH. I am safe here within these gloomy walls.
JOHN ENDICOTT. From scourging in the streets, and in three towns!
EDITH. Remembering who was scourged for me, I shrink not Nor shudder at the forty stripes save one.
JOHN ENDICOTT. Perhaps from death itself!
EDITH. I fear not death, Knowing who died for me.
JOHN ENDICOTT (aside). Surely some divine Ambassador is speaking through those lips And looking through those eyes! I cannot answer!
EDITH. If all these prison doors stood opened wide I would not cross the threshold,—not one step. There are invisible bars I cannot break; There are invisible doors that shut me in, And keep me ever steadfast to my purpose.
JOHN ENDICOTT. Thou hast the patience and the faith of Saints!
EDITH. Thy Priest hath been with me this day to save me, Not only from the death that comes to all, But from the second death!
JOHN ENDICOTT. The Pharisee! My heart revolts against him and his creed! Alas! the coat that was without a seam Is rent asunder by contending sects; Each bears away a portion of the garment, Blindly believing that he has the whole!
EDITH. When Death, the Healer, shall have touched our eyes With moist clay of the grave, then shall we see The truth as we have never yet beheld it. But he that overcometh shall not be Hurt of the second death. Has he forgotten The many mansions in our father's house?
JOHN ENDICOTT. There is no pity in his iron heart! The hands that now bear stamped upon their palms The burning sign of Heresy, hereafter Shall be uplifted against such accusers, And then the imprinted letter and its meaning Will not be Heresy, but Holiness!
EDITH. Remember, thou condemnest thine own father!
JOHN ENDICOTT. I have no father! He has cast me off. I am as homeless as the wind that moans And wanders through the streets. Oh, come with me! Do not delay. Thy God shall be my God, And where thou goest I will go.
EDITH. I cannot. Yet will I not deny it, nor conceal it; From the first moment I beheld thy face I felt a tenderness in my soul towards thee. My mind has since been inward to the Lord, Waiting his word. It has not yet been spoken.
JOHN ENDICOTT. I cannot wait. Trust me. Oh, come with me!
EDITH. In the next room, my father, an old man, Sitteth imprisoned and condemned to death, Willing to prove his faith by martyrdom; And thinkest thou his daughter would do less?
JOHN ENDICOTT. Oh, life is sweet, and death is terrible!
EDITH. I have too long walked hand in hand with death To shudder at that pale familiar face. But leave me now. I wish to be alone.
JOHN ENDICOTT. Not yet. Oh, let me stay.
EDITH. Urge me no more.
JOHN ENDICOTT. Alas! good-night. I will not say good-by!
EDITH. Put this temptation underneath thy feet. To him that overcometh shall be given The white stone with the new name written on it, That no man knows save him that doth receive it, And I will give thee a new name, and call thee Paul of Damascus, and not Saul of Tarsus.
[Exit ENDICOTT. EDITH sits down again to read the Bible.
SCENE I. — King Street, in front of the town-house. KEMPTHORN in the pillory. MERRY and a crowd of lookers-on.
KEMPTHORN (sings). The world is full of care, Much like unto a bubble; Women and care, and care and women, And women and care and trouble.
Good Master Merry, may I say confound?
MERRY. Ay, that you may.
KEMPTHORN. Well, then, with your permission, Confound the Pillory!
MERRY. That's the very thing The joiner said who made the Shrewsbury stocks. He said, Confound the stocks, because they put him Into his own. He was the first man in them.
KEMPTHORN. For swearing, was it?
MERRY. No, it was for charging; He charged the town too much; and so the town, To make things square, set him in his own stocks, And fined him five pounds sterling,—just enough To settle his own bill.
KEMPTHORN. And served him right; But, Master Merry, is it not eight bells?
MERRY. Not quite.
KEMPTHORN. For, do you see? I'm getting tired Of being perched aloft here in this cro' nest Like the first mate of a whaler, or a Middy Mast-headed, looking out for land! Sail ho! Here comes a heavy-laden merchant-man With the lee clews eased off and running free Before the wind. A solid man of Boston. A comfortable man, with dividends, And the first salmon, and the first green peas.
A gentleman passes.
He does not even turn his head to look. He's gone without a word. Here comes another, A different kind of craft on a taut bow-line,— Deacon Giles Firmin the apothecary, A pious and a ponderous citizen, Looking as rubicund and round and splendid As the great bottle in his own shop window!
DEACON FIRMIN passes.
And here's my host of the Three Mariners, My creditor and trusty taverner, My corporal in the Great Artillery! He's not a man to pass me without speaking.
COLE looks away and passes.
Don't yaw so; keep your luff, old hypocrite! Respectable, ah yes, respectable, You, with your seat in the new Meeting-house, Your cow-right on the Common! But who's this? I did not know the Mary Ann was in! And yet this is my old friend, Captain Goldsmith, As sure as I stand in the bilboes here. Why, Ralph, my boy!
Enter RALPH GOLDSMITH.
GOLDSMITH. Why, Simon, is it you? Set in the bilboes?
KEMPTHORN. Chock-a-block, you see, And without chafing-gear.
GOLDSMITH. And what's it for?
KEMPTHORN. Ask that starbowline with the boat-hook there, That handsome man.
MERRY (bowing). For swearing.
In this town They put sea-captains in the stocks for swearing, And Quakers for not swearing. So look out.
GOLDSMITH. I pray you set him free; he meant no harm; 'T is an old habit he picked up afloat.
MERRY. Well, as your time is out, you may come down, The law allows you now to go at large Like Elder Oliver's horse upon the Common.
KEMPTHORN. Now, hearties, bear a hand! Let go and haul.
KEMPTHORN is set free, and comes forward, shaking GOLDSMITH'S hand.
KEMPTHORN. Give me your hand, Ralph. Ah, how good it feels! The hand of an old friend.
GOLDSMITH. God bless you, Simon!
KEMPTHORN. Now let us make a straight wake for the tavern Of the Three Mariners, Samuel Cole commander; Where we can take our ease, and see the shipping, And talk about old times.
GOLDSMITH. First I must pay My duty to the Governor, and take him His letters and despatches. Come with me.
KEMPTHORN. I'd rather not. I saw him yesterday.
GOLDSMITH. Then wait for me at the Three Nuns and Comb.
KEMPTHORN. I thank you. That's too near to the town pump. I will go with you to the Governor's, And wait outside there, sailing off and on; If I am wanted, you can hoist a signal.
MERRY. Shall I go with you and point out the way?
GOLDSMITH. Oh no, I thank you. I am not a stranger Here in your crooked little town.
MERRY. How now, sir? Do you abuse our town? [Exit.
GOLDSMITH. Oh, no offence.
KEMPTHORN. Ralph, I am under bonds for a hundred pound.
GOLDSMITH. Hard lines. What for?
KEMPTHORN. To take some Quakers back I brought here from Barbadoes in the Swallow. And how to do it I don't clearly see, For one of them is banished, and another Is sentenced to be hanged! What shall I do?
GOLDSMITH. Just slip your hawser on some cloudy night; Sheer off, and pay it with the topsail, Simon! [Exeunt.
SCENE II. — Street in front of the prison. In the background a gateway and several flights of steps leading up terraces to the Governor's house. A pump on one side of the street. JOHN ENDICOTT, MERRY, UPSALL, and others. A drum beats.
JOHN ENDICOTT. Oh shame, shame, shame!
MERRY. Yes, it would be a shame But for the damnable sin of Heresy!
JOHN ENDICOTT. A woman scourged and dragged about our streets!
MERRY. Well, Roxbury and Dorchester must take Their share of shame. She will be whipped in each! Three towns, and Forty Stripes save one; that makes Thirteen in each.
JOHN ENDICOTT. And are we Jews or Christians? See where she comes, amid a gaping crowd! And she a child. Oh, pitiful! pitiful! There's blood upon her clothes, her hands, her feet!
Enter MARSHAL and a drummer. EDITH, stripped to the waist, followed by the hangman with a scourge, and a noisy crowd.
EDITH. Here let me rest one moment. I am tired. Will some one give me water?
MERRY. At his peril.
UPSALL. Alas! that I should live to see this day!
A WOMAN. Did I forsake my father and my mother And come here to New England to see this?
EDITH. I am athirst. Will no one give me water?
JOHN ENDICOTT (making his way through the crowd with water). In the Lord's name!
In his name I receive it! Sweet as the water of Samaria's well This water tastes. I thank thee. Is it thou? I was afraid thou hadst deserted me.
JOHN ENDICOTT. Never will I desert thee, nor deny thee. Be comforted.
MERRY. O Master Endicott, Be careful what you say.
JOHN ENDICOTT. Peace, idle babbler!
MERRY. You'll rue these words!
JOHN ENDICOTT. Art thou not better now?
EDITH. They've struck me as with roses.
JOHN ENDICOTT. Ah, these wounds! These bloody garments!
EDITH. It is granted me To seal my testimony with my blood.
JOHN ENDICOTT. O blood-red seal of man's vindictive wrath! O roses in the garden of the Lord! I, of the household of Iscariot, I have betrayed in thee my Lord and Master.
WENLOCK CHRISTISON appears above, at the window of the prison, stretching out his hands through the bars.
CHRISTISON. Be of good courage, O my child! my child! Blessed art thou when men shall persecute thee! Fear not their faces, saith the Lord, fear not, For I am with thee to deliver thee.
A CITIZEN. Who is it crying from the prison yonder.
MERRY. It is old Wenlock Christison.
CHRISTISON. Remember Him who was scourged, and mocked, and crucified! I see his messengers attending thee. Be steadfast, oh, be steadfast to the end!
EDITH (with exultation). I cannot reach thee with these arms, O father! But closely in my soul do I embrace thee And hold thee. In thy dungeon and thy death I will be with thee, and will comfort thee.
MARSHAL. Come, put an end to this. Let the drum beat.
The drum beats. Exeunt all but JOHN ENDICOTT, UPSALL, and MERRY.
CHRISTISON. Dear child, farewell! Never shall I behold Thy face again with these bleared eyes of flesh; And never wast thou fairer, lovelier, dearer Than now, when scourged and bleeding, and insulted For the truth's sake. O pitiless, pitiless town! The wrath of God hangs over thee; and the day Is near at hand when thou shalt be abandoned To desolation and the breeding of nettles. The bittern and the cormorant shall lodge Upon thine upper lintels, and their voice Sing in thy windows. Yea, thus saith the Lord!
JOHN ENDICOTT. Awake! awake! ye sleepers, ere too late, And wipe these bloody statutes from your books! [Exit.
MERRY. Take heed; the walls have ears!
UPSALL. At last, the heart Of every honest man must speak or break!
Enter GOVERNOR ENDICOTT with his halberdiers.
ENDICOTT. What is this stir and tumult in the street?
MERRY. Worshipful sir, the whipping of a girl, And her old father howling from the prison.
ENDICOTT (to his halberdiers). Go on.
CHRISTISON. Antiochus! Antiochus! O thou that slayest the Maccabees! The Lord Shall smite thee with incurable disease, And no man shall endure to carry thee!
MERRY. Peace, old blasphemer!
CHRISTISON. I both feel and see The presence and the waft of death go forth Against thee, and already thou dost look Like one that's dead!
MERRY (pointing). And there is your own son, Worshipful sir, abetting the sedition.
ENDICOTT. Arrest him. Do not spare him.
MERRY (aside). His own child! There is some special providence takes care That none shall be too happy in this world! His own first-born.
ENDICOTT. O Absalom, my son!
[Exeunt; the Governor with his halberdiers ascending the steps of his house.
SCENE III. — The Governor's private room. Papers upon the table.
ENDICOTT and BELLINGHAM
ENDICOTT. There is a ship from England has come in, Bringing despatches and much news from home, His majesty was at the Abbey crowned; And when the coronation was complete There passed a mighty tempest o'er the city, Portentous with great thunderings and lightnings.
BELLINGHAM. After his father's, if I well remember, There was an earthquake, that foreboded evil.
ENDICOTT. Ten of the Regicides have been put to death! The bodies of Cromwell, Ireton, and Bradshaw Have been dragged from their graves, and publicly Hanged in their shrouds at Tyburn.
ENDICOTT. Thus the old tyranny revives again. Its arm is long enough to reach us here, As you will see. For, more insulting still Than flaunting in our faces dead men's shrouds, Here is the King's Mandamus, taking from us, From this day forth, all power to punish Quakers.
BELLINGHAM. That takes from us all power; we are but puppets, And can no longer execute our laws.
ENDICOTT. His Majesty begins with pleasant words, "Trusty and well-beloved, we greet you well;" Then with a ruthless hand he strips from me All that which makes me what I am; as if From some old general in the field, grown gray In service, scarred with many wounds, Just at the hour of victory, he should strip His badge of office and his well-gained honors, And thrust him back into the ranks again.
Opens the Mandamus and hands it to BELLINGHAM; and, while he is reading, ENDICOTT walks up and down the room.
Here, read it for yourself; you see his words Are pleasant words—considerate—not reproachful— Nothing could be more gentle—or more royal; But then the meaning underneath the words, Mark that. He says all people known as Quakers Among us, now condemned to suffer death Or any corporal punishment whatever, Who are imprisoned, or may be obnoxious To the like condemnation, shall be sent Forthwith to England, to be dealt with there In such wise as shall be agreeable Unto the English law and their demerits. Is it not so?
BELLINGHAM (returning the paper). Ay, so the paper says.
ENDICOTT. It means we shall no longer rule the Province; It means farewell to law and liberty, Authority, respect for Magistrates, The peace and welfare of the Commonwealth. If all the knaves upon this continent Can make appeal to England, and so thwart The ends of truth and justice by delay, Our power is gone forever. We are nothing But ciphers, valueless save when we follow Some unit; and our unit is the King! 'T is he that gives us value.
BELLINGHAM. I confess Such seems to be the meaning of this paper, But being the King's Mandamus, signed and sealed, We must obey, or we are in rebellion.
ENDICOTT. I tell you, Richard Bellingham,—I tell you, That this is the beginning of a struggle Of which no mortal can foresee the end. I shall not live to fight the battle for you, I am a man disgraced in every way; This order takes from me my self-respect And the respect of others. 'T is my doom, Yes, my death-warrant, but must be obeyed! Take it, and see that it is executed So far as this, that all be set at large; But see that none of them be sent to England To bear false witness, and to spread reports That might be prejudicial to ourselves. [Exit BELLINGHAM.
There's a dull pain keeps knocking at my heart, Dolefully saying, "Set thy house in order, For thou shalt surely die, and shalt not live! For me the shadow on the dial-plate Goeth not back, but on into the dark! [Exit.
SCENE IV. — The street. A crowd, reading a placard on the door of the Meeting-house. NICHOLAS UPSALL among them. Enter John Norton.
NORTON. What is this gathering here?
UPSALL. One William Brand, An old man like ourselves, and weak in body, Has been so cruelly tortured in his prison, The people are excited, and they threaten To tear the prison down.
NORTON. What has been done?
UPSALL. He has been put in irons, with his neck And heels tied close together, and so left From five in the morning until nine at night.
NORTON. What more was done?
UPSALL. He has been kept five days In prison without food, and cruelly beaten, So that his limbs were cold, his senses stopped.
NORTON. What more?
UPSALL. And is this not enough?
NORTON. Now hear me. This William Brand of yours has tried to beat Our Gospel Ordinances black and blue; And, if he has been beaten in like manner, It is but justice, and I will appear In his behalf that did so. I suppose That he refused to work.
UPSALL. He was too weak. How could an old man work, when he was starving?
NORTON. And what is this placard?
UPSALL. The Magistrates, To appease the people and prevent a tumult, Have put up these placards throughout the town, Declaring that the jailer shall be dealt with Impartially and sternly by the Court.
NORTON (tearing down the placard). Down with this weak and cowardly concession, This flag of truce with Satan and with Sin! I fling it in his face! I trample it Under my feet! It is his cunning craft, The masterpiece of his diplomacy, To cry and plead for boundless toleration. But toleration is the first-born child Of all abominations and deceits. There is no room in Christ's triumphant army For tolerationists. And if an Angel Preach any other gospel unto you Than that ye have received, God's malediction Descend upon him! Let him be accursed! [Exit.
UPSALL. Now, go thy ways, John Norton, go thy ways, Thou Orthodox Evangelist, as men call thee! But even now there cometh out of England, Like an o'ertaking and accusing conscience, An outraged man, to call thee to account For the unrighteous murder of his son! [Exit.
SCENE V. — The Wilderness. Enter EDITH.
EDITH. How beautiful are these autumnal woods! The wilderness doth blossom like the rose, And change into a garden of the Lord! How silent everywhere! Alone and lost Here in the forest, there comes over me An inward awfulness. I recall the words Of the Apostle Paul: "In journeyings often, Often in perils in the wilderness, In weariness, in painfulness, in watchings, In hunger and thirst, in cold and nakedness;" And I forget my weariness and pain, My watchings, and my hunger and my thirst. The Lord hath said that He will seek his flock In cloudy and dark days, and they shall dwell Securely in the wilderness, and sleep Safe in the woods! Whichever way I turn, I come back with my face towards the town. Dimly I see it, and the sea beyond it. O cruel town! I know what waits me there, And yet I must go back; for ever louder I hear the inward calling of the Spirit, And must obey the voice. O woods that wear Your golden crown of martyrdom, blood-stained, From you I learn a lesson of submission, And am obedient even unto death, If God so wills it. [Exit.
JOHN ENDICOTT (within). Edith! Edith! Edith!
It is in vain! I call, she answers not; I follow, but I find no trace of her! Blood! blood! The leaves above me and around me Are red with blood! The pathways of the forest, The clouds that canopy the setting sun And even the little river in the meadows Are stained with it! Where'er I look, I see it! Away, thou horrible vision! Leave me! leave me! Alas! you winding stream, that gropes its way Through mist and shadow, doubling on itself, At length will find, by the unerring law Of nature, what it seeks. O soul of man, Groping through mist and shadow, and recoiling Back on thyself, are, too, thy devious ways Subject to law? and when thou seemest to wander The farthest from thy goal, art thou still drawing Nearer and nearer to it, till at length Thou findest, like the river, what thou seekest? [Exit.
SCENE I. — Daybreak. Street in front of UPSALL's house. A light in the window. Enter JOHN ENDICOTT.
JOHN ENDICOTT. O silent, sombre, and deserted streets, To me ye 're peopled with a sad procession, And echo only to the voice of sorrow! O houses full of peacefulness and sleep, Far better were it to awake no more Than wake to look upon such scenes again! There is a light in Master Upsall's window. The good man is already risen, for sleep Deserts the couches of the old.
Knocks at UPSALL's door.
UPSALL (at the window). Who's there?
JOHN ENDICOTT. Am I so changed you do not know my voice?
UPSALL. I know you. Have you heard what things have happened?
JOHN ENDICOTT. I have heard nothing.
UPSALL. Stay; I will come down.
JOHN ENDICOTT. I am afraid some dreadful news awaits me! I do not dare to ask, yet am impatient To know the worst. Oh, I am very weary With waiting and with watching and pursuing!
UPSALL. Thank God, you have come back! I've much to tell you. Where have you been?
JOHN ENDICOTT. You know that I was seized, Fined, and released again. You know that Edith, After her scourging in three towns, was banished Into the wilderness, into the land That is not sown; and there I followed her, But found her not. Where is she?
UPSALL. She is here.
JOHN ENDICOTT. Oh, do not speak that word, for it means death!
UPSALL. No, it means life. She sleeps in yonder chamber. Listen to me. When news of Leddra's death Reached England, Edward Burroughs, having boldly Got access to the presence of the King, Told him there was a vein of innocent blood Opened in his dominions here, which threatened To overrun them all. The King replied. "But I will stop that vein!" and he forthwith Sent his Mandamus to our Magistrates, That they proceed no further in this business. So all are pardoned, and all set at large.
JOHN ENDICOTT. Thank God! This is a victory for truth! Our thoughts are free. They cannot be shut up In prison wall, nor put to death on scaffolds!
UPSALL. Come in; the morning air blows sharp and cold Through the damp streets.
JOHN ENDICOTT. It is the dawn of day That chases the old darkness from our sky, And tills the land with liberty and light. [Exeunt.
SCENE II. — The parlor of the Three Mariners. Enter KEMPTHORN.
KEMPTHORN. A dull life this,—a dull life anyway! Ready for sea; the cargo all aboard, Cleared for Barbadoes, and a fair wind blowing From nor'-nor'-west; and I, an idle lubber, Laid neck and heels by that confounded bond! I said to Ralph, says I, "What's to be done?" Says he: "Just slip your hawser in the night; Sheer off, and pay it with the topsail, Simon." But that won't do; because, you see, the owners Somehow or other are mixed up with it. Here are King Charles's Twelve Good Rules, that Cole Thinks as important as the Rule of Three.
"Make no comparisons; make no long meals." Those are good rules and golden for a landlord To hang in his best parlor, framed and glazed! "Maintain no ill opinions; urge no healths." I drink to the King's, whatever he may say And, as to ill opinions, that depends. Now of Ralph Goldsmith I've a good opinion, And of the bilboes I've an ill opinion; And both of these opinions I'll maintain As long as there's a shot left in the locker.
Enter EDWARD BUTTER, with an ear-trumpet.
BUTTER. Good morning, Captain Kempthorn.
KEMPTHORN. Sir, to you. You've the advantage of me. I don't know you. What may I call your name?
BUTTER. That's not your name?
KEMPTHORN. Yes, that's my name. What's yours?
BUTTER. My name is Butter. I am the treasurer of the Commonwealth.
KEMPTHORN. Will you be seated?
BUTTER. What say? Who's conceited?
Will you sit down?
BUTTER. Oh, thank you.
KEMPTHORN. Spread yourself Upon this chair, sweet Butter.
BUTTER (sitting down). A fine morning.
KEMPTHORN. Nothing's the matter with it that I know of. I have seen better, and I have seen worse. The wind's nor'west. That's fair for them that sail.
BUTTER. You need not speak so loud; I understand you. You sail to-day.
KEMPTHORN. No, I don't sail to-day. So, be it fair or foul, it matters not. Say, will you smoke? There's choice tobacco here.
BUTTER. No, thank you. It's against the law to smoke.
KEMPTHORN. Then, will you drink? There's good ale at this inn.
BUTTER. No, thank you. It's against the law to drink.
KEMPTHORN. Well, almost everything's against the law In this good town. Give a wide berth to one thing, You're sure to fetch up soon on something else.
BUTTER. And so you sail to-day for dear Old England. I am not one of those who think a sup Of this New England air is better worth Than a whole draught of our Old England's ale.
KEMPTHORN. Nor I. Give me the ale and keep the air. But, as I said, I do not sail to-day.
BUTTER. Ah yes; you sail today.
KEMPTHORN. I'm under bonds To take some Quakers back to the Barbadoes; And one of them is banished, and another Is sentenced to be hanged.
BUTTER. No, all are pardoned, All are set free by order of the Court; But some of them would fain return to England. You must not take them. Upon that condition Your bond is cancelled.
KEMPTHORN. Ah, the wind has shifted! I pray you, do you speak officially?
BUTTER. I always speak officially. To prove it, Here is the bond.
Rising and giving a paper.
KEMPTHORN. And here's my hand upon it, And look you, when I say I'll do a thing The thing is done. Am I now free to go?
BUTTER. What say?
KEMPTHORN. I say, confound the tedious man With his strange speaking-trumpet! Can I go?
BUTTER. You're free to go, by order of the Court. Your servant, sir. [Exit.
KEMPTHORN (shouting from the window). Swallow, ahoy! Hallo! If ever a man was happy to leave Boston, That man is Simon Kempthorn of the Swallow!
BUTTER. Pray, did you call?
KEMPTHORN. Call! Yes, I hailed the Swallow.
BUTTER. That's not my name. My name is Edward Butter. You need not speak so loud.
KEMPTHORN (shaking hands). Good-by! Good-by!
BUTTER. Your servant, sir.
KEMPTHORN. And yours a thousand times! [Exeunt.
SCENE III. — GOVERNOR ENDICOTT'S private room. An open window.
ENDICOTT seated in an arm-chair. BELLINGHAM standing near.
ENDICOTT. O lost, O loved! wilt thou return no more? O loved and lost, and loved the more when lost! How many men are dragged into their graves By their rebellious children! I now feel The agony of a father's breaking heart In David's cry, "O Absalom, my son!"
BELLINGHAM. Can you not turn your thoughts a little while To public matters? There are papers here That need attention.
ENDICOTT. Trouble me no more! My business now is with another world, Ah, Richard Bellingham! I greatly fear That in my righteous zeal I have been led To doing many things which, left undone, My mind would now be easier. Did I dream it, Or has some person told me, that John Norton Is dead?
BELLINGHAM. You have not dreamed it. He is dead, And gone to his reward. It was no dream.
ENDICOTT. Then it was very sudden; for I saw him Standing where you now stand, not long ago.
BELLINGHAM. By his own fireside, in the afternoon, A faintness and a giddiness came o'er him; And, leaning on the chimney-piece, he cried, "The hand of God is on me!" and fell dead.
ENDICOTT. And did not some one say, or have I dreamed it, That Humphrey Atherton is dead?
BELLINGHAM. Alas! He too is gone, and by a death as sudden. Returning home one evening, at the place Where usually the Quakers have been scourged, His horse took fright, and threw him to the ground, So that his brains were dashed about the street.
ENDICOTT. I am not superstitions, Bellingham, And yet I tremble lest it may have been A judgment on him.
BELLINGHAM. So the people think. They say his horse saw standing in the way The ghost of William Leddra, and was frightened. And furthermore, brave Richard Davenport, The captain of the Castle, in the storm Has been struck dead by lightning.
ENDICOTT. Speak no more. For as I listen to your voice it seems As if the Seven Thunders uttered their voices, And the dead bodies lay about the streets Of the disconsolate city! Bellingham, I did not put those wretched men to death. I did but guard the passage with the sword Pointed towards them, and they rushed upon it! Yet now I would that I had taken no part In all that bloody work.
BELLINGHAM. The guilt of it Be on their heads, not ours.
ENDICOTT. Are all set free?
BELLINGHAM. All are at large.
ENDICOTT. And none have been sent back To England to malign us with the King?
BELLINGHAM. The ship that brought them sails this very hour, But carries no one back.
A distant cannon.
ENDICOTT. What is that gun?
BELLINGHAM. Her parting signal. Through the window there, Look, you can see her sails, above the roofs, Dropping below the Castle, outward bound.
ENDICOTT. O white, white, white! Would that my soul had wings As spotless as those shining sails to fly with! Now lay this cushion straight. I thank you. Hark! I thought I heard the hall door open and shut! I thought I beard the footsteps of my boy!
BELLINGHAM. It was the wind. There's no one in the passage.
ENDICOTT. O Absalom, my son! I feel the world Sinking beneath me, sinking, sinking, sinking! Death knocks! I go to meet him! Welcome, Death!
Rises, and sinks back dead; his head failing aside upon his shoulder.
BELLINGHAM. O ghastly sight! Like one who has been hanged! Endicott! Endicott! He makes no answer!
Raises Endicott's head.
He breathes no more! How bright this signet-ring Glitters upon his hand, where he has worn it Through such long years of trouble, as if Death Had given him this memento of affection, And whispered in his ear, "Remember me!" How placid and how quiet is his face, Now that the struggle and the strife are ended Only the acrid spirit of the times Corroded this true steel. Oh, rest in peace, Courageous heart! Forever rest in peace!
GILES COREY OF THE SALEM FARMS
GILES COREY Farmer. JOHN HATHORNE Magistrate. COTTON MATHER Minister of the Gospel. JONATHAN WALCOT A youth. RICHARD GARDNER Sea-Captain. JOHN GLOYD Corey's hired man. MARTHA Wife of Giles Corey. TITUBA An Indian woman. MARY WALCOT One of the Afflicted.
The Scene is in Salem in the year 1692.
Delusions of the days that once have been, Witchcraft and wonders of the world unseen, Phantoms of air, and necromantic arts That crushed the weak and awed the stoutest hearts,— These are our theme to-night; and vaguely here, Through the dim mists that crowd the atmosphere, We draw the outlines of weird figures cast In shadow on the background of the Past,
Who would believe that in the quiet town Of Salem, and, amid the woods that crown The neighboring hillsides, and the sunny farms That fold it safe in their paternal arms,— Who would believe that in those peaceful streets, Where the great elms shut out the summer heats, Where quiet reigns, and breathes through brain and breast The benediction of unbroken rest,— Who would believe such deeds could find a place As these whose tragic history we retrace?
'T was but a village then; the goodman ploughed His ample acres under sun or cloud; The goodwife at her doorstep sat and spun, And gossiped with her neighbors in the sun; The only men of dignity and state Were then the Minister and the Magistrate, Who ruled their little realm with iron rod, Less in the love than in the fear of God; And who believed devoutly in the Powers Of Darkness, working in this world of ours, In spells of Witchcraft, incantations dread, And shrouded apparitions of the dead.
Upon this simple folk "with fire and flame," Saith the old chronicle, "the Devil came; Scattering his firebrands and his poisonous darts, To set on fire of Hell all tongues and hearts! And 't is no wonder; for, with all his host, There most he rages where he hateth most, And is most hated; so on us he brings All these stupendous and portentous things!"
Something of this our scene to-night will show; And ye who listen to the Tale of Woe, Be not too swift in casting the first stone, Nor think New England bears the guilt alone, This sudden burst of wickedness and crime Was but the common madness of the time, When in all lands, that lie within the sound Of Sabbath bells, a Witch was burned or drowned.
SCENE I. — The woods near Salem Village. Enter TITUBA, with a basket of herbs.
TITUBA. Here's monk's-hood, that breeds fever in the blood; And deadly nightshade, that makes men see ghosts; And henbane, that will shake them with convulsions; And meadow-saffron and black hellebore, That rack the nerves, and puff the skin with dropsy; And bitter-sweet, and briony, and eye-bright, That cause eruptions, nosebleed, rheumatisms; I know them, and the places where they hide In field and meadow; and I know their secrets, And gather them because they give me power Over all men and women. Armed with these, I, Tituba, an Indian and a slave, Am stronger than the captain with his sword, Am richer than the merchant with his money, Am wiser than the scholar with his books, Mightier than Ministers and Magistrates, With all the fear and reverence that attend them! For I can fill their bones with aches and pains, Can make them cough with asthma, shake with palsy, Can make their daughters see and talk with ghosts, Or fall into delirium and convulsions; I have the Evil Eye, the Evil Hand; A touch from me and they are weak with pain, A look from me, and they consume and die. The death of cattle and the blight of corn, The shipwreck, the tornado, and the fire,— These are my doings, and they know it not. Thus I work vengeance on mine enemies Who, while they call me slave, are slaves to me!
Exit TITUBA. Enter MATHER, booted and spurred, with a riding-whip in his hand.
MATHER. Methinks that I have come by paths unknown Into the land and atmosphere of Witches; For, meditating as I journeyed on, Lo! I have lost my way! If I remember Rightly, it is Scribonius the learned That tells the story of a man who, praying For one that was possessed by Evil Spirits, Was struck by Evil Spirits in the face; I, journeying to circumvent the Witches, Surely by Witches have been led astray. I am persuaded there are few affairs In which the Devil doth not interfere. We cannot undertake a journey even, But Satan will be there to meddle with it By hindering or by furthering. He hath led me Into this thicket, struck me in the face With branches of the trees, and so entangled The fetlocks of my horse with vines and brambles, That I must needs dismount, and search on foot For the lost pathway leading to the village.
What shape is this? What monstrous apparition, Exceeding fierce, that none may pass that way? Tell me, good woman, if you are a woman—
TITUBA. I am a woman, but I am not good, I am a Witch!
MATHER. Then tell me, Witch and woman, For you must know the pathways through this wood, Where lieth Salem Village?
TITUBA. Reverend sir, The village is near by. I'm going there With these few herbs. I'll lead you. Follow me.
MATHER. First say, who are you? I am loath to follow A stranger in this wilderness, for fear Of being misled, and left in some morass. Who are you?
TITUBA. I am Tituba the Witch, Wife of John Indian.
MATHER. You are Tituba? I know you then. You have renounced the Devil, And have become a penitent confessor, The Lord be praised! Go on, I'll follow you. Wait only till I fetch my horse, that stands Tethered among the trees, not far from here.
TITUBA. Let me get up behind you, reverend sir.
MATHER. The Lord forbid! What would the people think, If they should see the Reverend Cotton Mather Ride into Salem with a Witch behind him? The Lord forbid!
TITUBA. I do not need a horse! I can ride through the air upon a stick, Above the tree-tops and above the houses, And no one see me, no one overtake me. [Exeunt.
SCENE II. — A room at JUSTICE HATHORNE'S. A clock in the corner. Enter HATHORNE and MATHER.
HATHORNE. You are welcome, reverend sir, thrice welcome here Beneath my humble roof.
MATHER. I thank your Worship.
HATHORNE. Pray you be seated. You must be fatigued With your long ride through unfrequented woods.
They sit down.
MATHER. You know the purport of my visit here,— To be advised by you, and counsel with you, And with the Reverend Clergy of the village, Touching these witchcrafts that so much afflict you; And see with mine own eyes the wonders told Of spectres and the shadows of the dead, That come back from their graves to speak with men.
HATHORNE. Some men there are, I have known such, who think That the two worlds—the seen and the unseen, The world of matter and the world of spirit— Are like the hemispheres upon our maps, And touch each other only at a point. But these two worlds are not divided thus, Save for the purposes of common speech, They form one globe, in which the parted seas All flow together and are intermingled, While the great continents remain distinct.
MATHER. I doubt it not. The spiritual world Lies all about us, and its avenues Are open to the unseen feet of phantoms That come and go, and we perceive them not, Save by their influence, or when at times A most mysterious Providence permits them To manifest themselves to mortal eyes.
HATHORNE. You, who are always welcome here among us, Are doubly welcome now. We need your wisdom, Your learning in these things to be our guide. The Devil hath come down in wrath upon us, And ravages the land with all his hosts.
MATHER. The Unclean Spirit said, "My name is Legion!" Multitudes in the Valley of Destruction! But when our fervent, well-directed prayers, Which are the great artillery of Heaven, Are brought into the field, I see them scattered And driven like autumn leaves before the wind.
HATHORNE. You as a Minister of God, can meet them With spiritual weapons: but, alas! I, as a Magistrate, must combat them With weapons from the armory of the flesh.
MATHER. These wonders of the world invisible,— These spectral shapes that haunt our habitations,— The multiplied and manifold afflictions With which the aged and the dying saints Have their death prefaced and their age imbittered,— Are but prophetic trumpets that proclaim The Second Coming of our Lord on earth. The evening wolves will be much more abroad, When we are near the evening of the world.
HATHORNE. When you shall see, as I have hourly seen, The sorceries and the witchcrafts that torment us, See children tortured by invisible spirits, And wasted and consumed by powers unseen, You will confess the half has not been told you.
MATHER. It must be so. The death-pangs of the Devil Will make him more a Devil than before; And Nebuchadnezzar's furnace will be heated Seven times more hot before its putting out.
HATHORNE. Advise me, reverend sir. I look to you For counsel and for guidance in this matter. What further shall we do?
MATHER. Remember this, That as a sparrow falls not to the ground Without the will of God, so not a Devil Can come down from the air without his leave. We must inquire.
HATHORNE. Dear sir, we have inquired; Sifted the matter thoroughly through and through, And then resifted it.
MATHER. If God permits These Evil Spirits from the unseen regions To visit us with surprising informations, We must inquire what cause there is for this, But not receive the testimony borne By spectres as conclusive proof of guilt In the accused.
HATHORNE. Upon such evidence We do not rest our case. The ways are many In which the guilty do betray themselves.
MATHER. Be careful. Carry the knife with such exactness, That on one side no innocent blood be shed By too excessive zeal, and on the other No shelter given to any work of darkness.
HATHORNE. For one, I do not fear excess of zeal. What do we gain by parleying with the Devil? You reason, but you hesitate to act! Ah, reverend sir! believe me, in such cases The only safety is in acting promptly. 'T is not the part of wisdom to delay In things where not to do is still to do A deed more fatal than the deed we shrink from. You are a man of books and meditation, But I am one who acts.
MATHER. God give us wisdom In the directing of this thorny business, And guide us, lest New England should become Of an unsavory and sulphurous odor In the opinion of the world abroad!
The clock strikes.
I never hear the striking of a clock Without a warning and an admonition That time is on the wing, and we must quicken Our tardy pace in journeying Heavenward, As Israel did in journeying Canaan-ward!
HATHORNE. Then let us make all haste; and I will show you In what disguises and what fearful shapes The Unclean Spirits haunt this neighborhood, And you will pardon my excess of zeal.
MATHER. Ah, poor New England! He who hurricanoed The house of Job is making now on thee One last assault, more deadly and more snarled With unintelligible circumstances Than any thou hast hitherto encountered! [Exeunt.
SCENE III. — A room in WALCOT'S House. MARY WALCOT seated in an arm-chair. TITUBA with a mirror.
MARY. Tell me another story, Tituba. A drowsiness is stealing over me Which is not sleep; for, though I close mine eyes, I am awake, and in another world. Dim faces of the dead and of the absent Come floating up before me,—floating, fading, And disappearing.
TITUBA. Look into this glass. What see you?
MARY. Nothing but a golden vapor. Yes, something more. An island, with the sea Breaking all round it, like a blooming hedge. What land is this?
TITUBA. It is San Salvador, Where Tituba was born. What see you now?
MARY. A man all black and fierce.
TITUBA. That is my father. He was an Obi man, and taught me magic,— Taught me the use of herbs and images. What is he doing?
MARY. Holding in his hand A waxen figure. He is melting it Slowly before a fire.
TITUBA. And now what see you?
MARY. A woman lying on a bed of leaves, Wasted and worn away. Ah, she is dying!
TITUBA. That is the way the Obi men destroy The people they dislike! That is the way Some one is wasting and consuming you.
MARY. You terrify me, Tituba! Oh, save me From those who make me pine and waste away! Who are they? Tell me.
TITUBA. That I do not know, But you will see them. They will come to you.
MARY. No, do not let them come! I cannot bear it! I am too weak to bear it! I am dying.
Fails into a trance.
TITUBA. Hark! there is some one coming!
Enter HATHORNE, MATHER, and WALCOT.
WALCOT. There she lies, Wasted and worn by devilish incantations! O my poor sister!
MATHER. Is she always thus?
WALCOT. Nay, she is sometimes tortured by convulsions.
MATHER. Poor child! How thin she is! How wan and wasted!
HATHORNE. Observe her. She is troubled in her sleep.
MATHER. Some fearful vision haunts her.
HATHORNE. You now see With your own eyes, and touch with your own hands, The mysteries of this Witchcraft.
MATHER. One would need The hands of Briareus and the eyes of Argus To see and touch them all.
HATHORNE. You now have entered The realm of ghosts and phantoms,—the vast realm Of the unknown and the invisible, Through whose wide-open gates there blows a wind From the dark valley of the shadow of Death, That freezes us with horror.
MARY (starting). Take her hence! Take her away from me. I see her there! She's coming to torment me!
WALCOT (taking her hand. O my sister! What frightens you? She neither hears nor sees me. She's in a trance.
MARY. Do you not see her there?
TITUBA. My child, who is it?
MARY. Ah, I do not know, I cannot see her face.
TITUBA. How is she clad?
MARY. She wears a crimson bodice. In her hand She holds an image, and is pinching it Between her fingers. Ah, she tortures me! I see her face now. It is Goodwife Bishop! Why does she torture me? I never harmed her! And now she strikes me with an iron rod! Oh, I am beaten!
MATHER. This is wonderful!. I can see nothing! Is this apparition Visibly there, and yet we cannot see it?
HATHORNE. It is. The spectre is invisible Unto our grosser senses, but she sees it.
MARY. Look! look! there is another clad in gray! She holds a spindle in her hand, and threatens To stab me with it! It is Goodwife Corey! Keep her away! Now she is coming at me! Oh, mercy! mercy!
WALCOT (thrusting with his sword. There is nothing there!
MATHER to HATHORNE. Do you see anything?
HATHORNE. The laws that govern The spiritual world prevent our seeing Things palpable and visible to her. These spectres are to us as if they were not. Mark her; she wakes.
TITUBA touches her, and she awakes.
MARY. Who are these gentlemen?
WALCOT. They are our friends. Dear Mary, are you better?
MARY. Weak, very weak.
Taking a spindle from her lap, and holding it up.
How came this spindle here?
TITUBA. You wrenched it from the hand of Goodwife Corey When she rushed at you.
HATHORNE. Mark that, reverend sir!
MATHER. It is most marvellous, most inexplicable!
TITUBA. (picking up a bit of gray cloth from the floor). And here, too, is a bit of her gray dress, That the sword cut away.
MATHER. Beholding this, It were indeed by far more credulous To be incredulous than to believe. None but a Sadducee, who doubts of all Pertaining to the spiritual world, Could doubt such manifest and damning proofs!
HATHORNE. Are you convinced?
MATHER to MARY. Dear child, be comforted! Only by prayer and fasting can you drive These Unclean Spirits from you. An old man Gives you his blessing. God be with you, Mary!
SCENE I. — GILES COREY's farm. Morning. Enter COREY, with a horseshoe and a hammer.
COREY. The Lord hath prospered me. The rising sun Shines on my Hundred Acres and my woods As if he loved them. On a morn like this I can forgive mine enemies, and thank God For all his goodness unto me and mine. My orchard groans with russets and pearmains; My ripening corn shines golden in the sun; My barns are crammed with hay, my cattle thrive The birds sing blithely on the trees around me! And blither than the birds my heart within me. But Satan still goes up and down the earth; And to protect this house from his assaults, And keep the powers of darkness from my door, This horseshoe will I nail upon the threshold.
Nails down the horseshoe.
There, ye night-hags and witches that torment The neighborhood, ye shall not enter here!— What is the matter in the field?—John Gloyd! The cattle are all running to the woods!— John Gloyd! Where is the man?
Enter JOHN GLOYD. Look there! What ails the cattle? Are they all bewitched? They run like mad.
GLOYD. They have been overlooked.
COREY. The Evil Eye is on them sure enough. Call all the men. Be quick. Go after them!
Exit GLOYD and enter MARTHA.
MARTHA. What is amiss?
COREY. The cattle are bewitched. They are broken loose and making for the woods.
MARTHA. Why will you harbor such delusions, Giles? Bewitched? Well, then it was John Gloyd bewitched them; I saw him even now take down the bars And turn them loose! They're only frolicsome.
COREY. The rascal!
MARTHA. I was standing in the road, Talking with Goodwife Proctor, and I saw him.
COREY. With Proctor's wife? And what says Goodwife Proctor?
MARTHA. Sad things indeed; the saddest you can hear Of Bridget Bishop. She's cried out upon!
COREY. Poor soul! I've known her forty year or more. She was the widow Wasselby, and then She married Oliver, and Bishop next. She's had three husbands. I remember well My games of shovel-board at Bishop's tavern In the old merry days, and she so gay With her red paragon bodice and her ribbons! Ah, Bridget Bishop always was a Witch!
MARTHA. They'll little help her now,—her caps and ribbons, And her red paragon bodice and her plumes, With which she flaunted in the Meeting-house! When next she goes there, it will be for trial.
COREY. When will that be?
MARTHA. This very day at ten.
COREY. Then get you ready. We'll go and see it. Come; you shall ride behind me on the pillion.
MARTHA. Not I. You know I do not like such things. I wonder you should. I do not believe In Witches nor in Witchcraft.
COREY. Well, I do. There's a strange fascination in it all. That draws me on and on. I know not why.
MARTHA. What do we know of spirits good or ill, Or of their power to help us or to harm us?
COREY. Surely what's in the Bible must be true. Did not an Evil Spirit come on Saul? Did not the Witch of Endor bring the ghost Of Samuel from his grave? The Bible says so.
MARTHA. That happened very long ago.
COREY. With God There is no long ago.
MARTHA. There is with us.
COREY. And Mary Magdalene had seven devils, And he who dwelt among the tombs a legion!
MARTHA. God's power is infinite. I do not doubt it. If in His providence He once permitted Such things to be among the Israelites, It does not follow He permits them now, And among us who are not Israelites. But we will not dispute about it, Giles. Go to the village if you think it best, And leave me here; I'll go about my work. [Exit into the house.
COREY. And I will go and saddle the gray mare. The last word always. That is woman's nature. If an old man will marry a young wife, He must make up his mind to many things. It's putting new cloth into an old garment, When the strain comes, it is the old gives way.
Goes to the door.
Oh, Martha! I forgot to tell you something. I've had a letter from a friend of mine, A certain Richard Gardner of Nantucket, Master and owner of a whaling-vessel; He writes that he is coming down to see us. I hope you'll like him.
MARTHA. I will do my best.
COREY. That's a good woman. Now I will be gone. I've not seen Gardner for this twenty year; But there is something of the sea about him,— Something so open, generous, large; and strong, It makes me love him better than a brother. [Exit.
MARTHA comes to the door.
MARTHA. Oh these old friends and cronies of my husband, These captains from Nantucket and the Cape, That come and turn my house into a tavern With their carousing! Still, there's something frank In these seafaring men that makes me like them. Why, here's a horseshoe nailed upon the doorstep! Giles has done this to keep away the Witches. I hope this Richard Gardner will bring him A gale of good sound common-sense to blow The fog of these delusions from his brain!
COREY (within). Ho! Martha! Martha!
Enter COREY. Have you seen my saddle?
MARTHA. I saw it yesterday.
COREY. Where did you see it?
MARTHA. On a gray mare, that somebody was riding Along the village road.
COREY. Who was it? Tell me.
MARTHA. Some one who should have stayed at home.
COREY (restraining himself). I see! Don't vex me, Martha. Tell me where it is.
MARTHA. I've hidden it away.
COREY. Go fetch it me.
MARTHA. Go find it.
COREY. No. I'll ride down to the village Bareback; and when the people stare and say, "Giles Corey, where's your saddle?" I will answer, "A Witch has stolen it." How shall you like that!
MARTHA. I shall not like it.
COREY. Then go fetch the saddle. [Exit MARTHA.
If an old man will marry a young wife, Why then—why then—why then—he must spell Baker!
Enter MARTHA with the saddle, which she throws down.
MARTHA. There! There's the saddle.
COREY. Take it up.
MARTHA. I won't!
COREY. Then let it lie there. I'll ride to the village, And say you are a Witch.
MARTHA. No, not that, Giles.
She takes up the saddle.
COREY. Now come with me, and saddle the gray mare With your own hands; and you shall see me ride Along the village road as is becoming Giles Corey of the Salem Farms, your husband! [Exeunt.
SCENE II. — The Green in front of the Meeting-house in Salem village. People coming and going. Enter GILES COREY.
COREY. A melancholy end! Who would have thought That Bridget Bishop e'er would come to this? Accused, convicted, and condemned to death For Witchcraft! And so good a woman too!
A FARMER. Good morrow, neighbor Corey.
COREY (not hearing him). Who is safe? How do I know but under my own roof I too may harbor Witches, and some Devil Be plotting and contriving against me?
FARMER. He does not hear. Good morrow, neighbor Corey!
COREY Good morrow.
FARMER. Have you seen John Proctor lately?
COREY. No, I have not.
FARMER. Then do not see him, Corey.
COREY. Why should I not?
FARMER. Because he's angry with you. So keep out of his way. Avoid a quarrel.
COREY. Why does he seek to fix a quarrel on me?
FARMER. He says you burned his house.
COREY. I burn his house? If he says that, John Proctor is a liar! The night his house was burned I was in bed, And I can prove it! Why, we are old friends! He could not say that of me.
FARMER. He did say it. I heard him say it.
COREY. Then he shall unsay it.
FARMER. He said you did it out of spite to him For taking part against you in the quarrel You had with your John Gloyd about his wages. He says you murdered Goodell; that you trampled Upon his body till he breathed no more. And so beware of him; that's my advice! [Exit.
COREY. By heaven! this is too much! I'll seek him out, And make him eat his words, or strangle him. I'll not be slandered at a time like this, When every word is made an accusation, When every whisper kills, and every man Walks with a halter round his neck!
Enter GLOYD in haste.
What now? GLOYD. I came to look for you. The cattle—
COREY. Well, What of them? Have you found them?
GLOYD. They are dead. I followed them through the woods, across the meadows; Then they all leaped into the Ipswich River, And swam across, but could not climb the bank, And so were drowned.