|SCENE I.GILES COREYS kitchen. Morning. COREY and MARTHA sitting at the breakfast-table.|
COREY (rising).WELL, now I ve told you all I saw and heard
|Of Bridget Bishop; and I must be gone.|
MARTHA.Dont go into the village, Giles, to-day.
|Last night you came back tired and out of humor.|
COREY.Say, angry; say, right angry. I was never
|In a more devilish temper in my life.|
|All things went wrong with me.|
MARTHA. You were much vexed;
|So dont go to the village.|
COREY (going). No, I wont.
|I wont go near it. We are going to mow|
|The Ipswich meadows for the aftermath,|| 10|
|The crop of sedge and rowens.|
MARTHA. Stay a moment.
|I want to tell you what I dreamed last night.|
|Do you believe in dreams?|
COREY. Why, yes and no.
|When they come true, then I believe in them;|
|When they come false, I dont believe in them.|| 15|
|But let me hear. What did you dream about?|
MARTHA.I dreamed that you and I were both in prison;
|That we had fetters on our hands and feet;|
|That we were taken before the Magistrates,|
|And tried for Witchcraft, and condemned to death!|| 20|
|I wished to pray; they would not let me pray;|
|You tried to comfort me, and they forbade it.|
|But the most dreadful thing in all my dream|
|Was that they made you testify against me!|
|And then there came a kind of mist between us;|| 25|
|I could not see you; and I woke in terror.|
|I never was more thankful in my life|
|Than when I found you sleeping at my side!|
COREY (with tenderness).It was our talk last night that made you dream.
|I m sorry for it. I ll control myself|| 30|
|Another time, and keep my temper down!|
|I do not like such dreams.Remember, Martha,|
|I m going to mow the Ipswich River meadows;|
|If Gardner comes, you ll tell him where to find me. [Exit.|
MARTHA.So this delusion grows from bad to worse.
|First, a forsaken and forlorn old woman,|
|Ragged and wretched, and without a friend;|
|Then something higher. Now it s Bridget Bishop;|
|God only knows whose turn it will be next!|
|The Magistrates are blind, the people mad!|| 40|
|If they would only seize the Afflicted Children,|
|And put them in the Workhouse, where they should be,|
|There d be an end of all this wickedness. [Exit.|
|SCENE II.A street in Salem Village. Enter MATHER and HATHORNE.|
MATHER.Yet one thing troubles me.
HATHORNE. And what is that?
MATHER.May not the Devil take the outward shape
|Of innocent persons? Are we not in danger,|
|Perhaps, of punishing some who are not guilty?|
HATHORNE.As I have said, we do not trust alone
|To spectral evidence.|
MATHER. And then again,
|If any shall be put to death for Witchcraft,|| 50|
|We do but kill the body, not the soul.|
|The Unclean Spirits that possessed them once|
|Live still, to enter into other bodies.|
|What have we gained? Surely, there s nothing gained.|
HATHORNE.Doth not the Scripture say, Thou shalt not suffer
|A Witch to live?|
MATHER. The Scripture sayeth it,
|But speaketh to the Jews; and we are Christians.|
|What say the laws of England?|
HATHORNE. They make Witchcraft
|Felony without the benefit of Clergy.|
|Witches are burned in England. You have read|| 60|
|For you read all things, not a book escapes you|
|The famous Demonology of King James?|
MATHER.A curious volume. I remember also
|The plot of the Two Hundred, with one Fian,|
|The Registrar of the Devil, at their head,|| 65|
|To drown his Majesty on his return|
|From Denmark; how they sailed in sieves or riddles|
|Unto North Berwick Kirk in Lothian,|
|And, landing there, danced hand in hand, and sang,|
|Goodwife, go ye before! goodwife, go ye!|| 70|
|If ye ll not go before, goodwife, let me!|
|While Geilis Duncan played the Witches Reel|
|Upon a jews-harp.|
HATHORNE. Then you know full well
|The English law, and that in England Witches,|
|When lawfully convicted and attainted,|| 75|
|Are put to death.|
MATHER. When lawfully convicted;
|That is the point.|
HATHORNE. You heard the evidence
|Produced before us yesterday at the trial|
|Of Bridget Bishop.|
MATHER. One of the Afflicted,
|I know, bore witness to the apparition|| 80|
|Of ghosts unto the spectre of this Bishop,|
|Saying, You murdered us! of the truth whereof|
|There was in matter of fact too much suspicion.|
HATHORNE.And when she cast her eyes on the Afflicted,
|They were struck down; and this in such a manner|| 85|
|There could be no collusion in the business.|
|And when the accused but laid her hand upon them,|
|As they lay in their swoons, they straight revived,|
|Although they stirred not when the others touched them.|
MATHER.What most convinced me of the womans guilt
|Was finding hidden in her cellar wall|
|Those poppets made of rags, with headless pins|
|Stuck into them point outwards, and whereof|
|She could not give a reasonable account.|
HATHORNE.When you shall read the testimony given
|Before the Court in all the other cases,|
|I am persuaded you will find the proof|
|No less conclusive than it was in this.|
|Come, then, with me, and I will tax your patience|
|With reading of the documents so far|| 100|
|As may convince you that these sorcerers|
|Are lawfully convicted and attainted.|
|Like doubting Thomas, you shall lay your hand|
|Upon these wounds, and you will doubt no more. [Exeunt.|
|SCENE III.A room in COREYS house. MARTHA and two Deacons of the church.|
MARTHA.Be seated. I am glad to see you here.
|I know what you are come for. You are come|
|To question me, and learn from my own lips|
|If I have any dealings with the Devil;|
|In short, if I m a Witch.|
DEACON (sitting down). Such is our purpose.
|How could you know beforehand why we came?|| 110|
MARTHA.T was only a surmise.
DEACON. We came to ask you,
|You being with us in church covenant,|
|What part you have, if any, in these matters.|
MARTHA.And I make answer, No part whatsoever.
|I am a farmers wife, a working woman;|| 115|
|You see my spinning-wheel, you see my loom,|
|You know the duties of a farmers wife,|
|And are not ignorant that my life among you|
|Has been without reproach until this day.|
|Is it not true?|
DEACON. So much we re bound to own;
|And say it frankly, and without reserve.|
MARTHA.I ve heard the idle tales that are abroad;
|I ve heard it whispered that I am a Witch;|
|I cannot help it. I do not believe|
|In any Witchcraft. It is a delusion.|| 125|
DEACON.How can you say that it is a delusion,
|When all our learned and good men believe it?|
|Our Ministers and worshipful Magistrates?|
MARTHA.Their eyes are blinded, and see not the truth.
|Perhaps one day they will be open to it.|| 130|
DEACON.You answer boldly. The Afflicted Children
|Say you appeared to them.|
MARTHA. And did they say
|What clothes I came in?|
DEACON. No, they could not tell.
|They said that you foresaw our visit here,|
|And blinded them, so that they could not see|| 135|
|The clothes you wore.|
MARTHA. The cunning, crafty girls!
|I say to you, in all sincerity,|
|I never have appeared to any one|
|In my own person. If the Devil takes|
|My shape to hurt these children, or afflict them,|| 140|
|I am not guilty of it. And I say|
|It s all a mere delusion of the senses.|
DEACON.I greatly fear that you will find too late
|It is not so.|
MARTHA (rising). They do accuse me falsely.
|It is delusion, or it is deceit.|| 145|
|There is a story in the ancient Scriptures|
|Which much I wonder comes not to your minds.|
|Let me repeat it to you.|
DEACON. We will hear it.
MARTHA.It came to pass that Naboth had a vineyard
|Hard by the palace of the King called Ahab.|| 150|
|And Ahab, King of Israel, spake to Naboth,|
|And said to him, Give unto me thy vineyard,|
|That I may have it for a garden of herbs,|
|And I will give a better vineyard for it,|
|Or, if it seemeth good to thee, its worth|| 155|
|In money. And then Naboth said to Ahab,|
|The Lord forbid it me that I should give|
|The inheritance of my fathers unto thee.|
|And Ahab came into his house displeased|
|And heavy at the words which Naboth spake,|| 160|
|And laid him down upon his bed, and turned|
|His face away; and he would eat no bread.|
|And Jezebel, the wife of Ahab, came|
|And said to him, Why is thy spirit sad?|
|And he said unto her, Because I spake|| 165|
|To Naboth, to the Jezreelite, and said,|
|Give me thy vineyard; and he answered, saying,|
|I will not give my vineyard unto thee.|
|And Jezebel, the wife of Ahab, said,|
|Dost thou not rule the realm of Israel?|| 170|
|Arise, eat bread, and let thy heart be merry;|
|I will give Naboths vineyard unto thee.|
|So she wrote letters in King Ahabs name,|
|And sealed them with his seal, and sent the letters|
|Unto the elders that were in his city|| 175|
|Dwelling with Naboth, and unto the nobles;|
|And in the letters wrote, Proclaim a fast;|
|And set this Naboth high among the people,|
|And set two men, the sons of Belial,|
|Before him, to bear witness and to say,|| 180|
|Thou didst blaspheme against God and the King;|
|And carry him out and stone him, that he die!|
|And the elders and the nobles in the city|
|Did even as Jezebel, the wife of Ahab,|
|Had sent to them and written in the letters.|| 185|
|And then it came to pass, when Ahab heard|
|Naboth was dead, that Ahab rose to go|
|Down unto Naboths vineyard, and to take|
|Possession of it. And the word of God|
|Came to Elijah, saying to him, Arise,|| 190|
|Go down to meet the King of Israel|
|In Naboths vineyard, whither he hath gone|
|To take possession. Thou shalt speak to him,|
|Saying, Thus saith the Lord! What! hast thou killed|
|And also taken possession? In the place|| 195|
|Wherein the dogs have licked the blood of Naboth|
|Shall the dogs lick thy blood,ay, even thine!|
Both of the Deacons start from their seats.
|And Ahab then, the King of Israel,|
|Said, Hast thou found me, O mine enemy?|
|Elijah the Prophet answered, I have found thee!|| 200|
|So will it be with those who have stirred up|
|The Sons of Belial here to bear false witness|
|And swear away the lives of innocent people;|
|Their enemy will find them out at last,|
|The Prophets voice will thunder, I have found thee! [Exeunt.|| 205|
|SCENE IV.Meadows on Ipswich River. COREY and his men mowing; COREY in advance.|
COREY.Well done, my men. You see, I lead the field!
|I m an old man, but I can swing a scythe|
|Better than most of you, though you be younger.|
Hangs his scythe upon a tree.
GLOYD (aside to the others). How strong he is! It s supernatural.
|No man so old as he is has such strength.|| 210|
|The Devil helps him!|
COREY (wiping his forehead). Now we ll rest awhile,
|And take our nooning. What s the matter with you?|
|You are not angry with me,are you, Gloyd?|
|Come, come, we will not quarrel. Let s be friends.|
|It s an old story, that the Raven said,|| 215|
|Read the Third of Colossians and fifteenth.|
GLOYD.You re handier at the scythe, but I can beat you
COREY. Well, perhaps so. I dont know.
|I never wrestled with you. Why, you re vexed!|
|Come, come, dont bear a grudge.|
GLOYD. You are afraid.
COREY.What should I be afraid of? All bear witness
|The challenge comes from him. Now, then, my man.|
They wrestle, and GLOYD is thrown.
ONE OF THE MEN.That s a fair fall.
ANOTHER. T was nothing but a foil!
OTHERS.You ve hurt him!
COREY (helping GLOYD rise). No; this meadow-land is soft.
|You re not hurt,are you, Gloyd?|
GLOYD (rising). No, not much hurt.
COREY.Well, then, shake hands; and there s an end of it.
|How do you like that Cornish hug, my lad?|
|And now we ll see what s in our basket here.|
GLOYD (aside).The Devil and all his imps are in that man!
|The clutch of his ten fingers burns like fire!|| 230|
COREY (reverentially taking off his hat).God bless the food He hath provided for us,
|And make us thankful for it, for Christs sake!|
He lifts up a keg of cider, and drinks from it.
GLOYD.Do you see that? Dont tell me it s not Witchcraft.
|Two of us could not lift that cask as he does!|
COREY puts down the keg, and opens a basket. A voice is heard calling.
VOICE.Ho! Corey, Corey!
COREY. What is that? I surely
|Heard some one calling me by name!|
VOICE. Giles Corey!
Enter a boy, running, and out of breath.
BOY.Is Master Corey here?
COREY. Yes, here I am.
BOY.O Master Corey!
BOY. Your wifeyour wife
COREY.What s happened to my wife?
BOY. She s sent to prison!
COREY.The dream! the dream! O God, be merciful!
BOY.She sent me here to tell you.
COREY (putting on his jacket). Where s my horse?
|Dont stand there staring, fellow. Where s my horse? [Exit COREY.|
GLOYD.Under the trees there. Run, old man, run, run!
|You ve got some one to wrestle with you now|
|Who ll trip your heels up, with your Cornish hug.|| 245|
|If there s a Devil, he has got you now.|
|Ah, there he goes! His horse is snorting fire!|
ONE OF THE MEN.John Gloyd, dont talk so! It s a shame to talk so!
|He s a good master, though you quarrel with him.|
GLOYD.If hard work and low wages make good masters,
|Then he is one. But I think otherwise.|
|Come, let us have our dinner and be merry,|
|And talk about the old man and the Witches.|
|I know some stories that will make you laugh.|
They sit down on the grass, and eat.
|Now there are Goody Cloyse and Goody Good,|| 255|
|Who have not got a decent tooth between them,|
|And yet these childrenthe Afflicted Children|
|Say that they bite them, and show marks of teeth|
|Upon their arms!|
ONE OF THE MEN. That makes the wonder greater.
|That s Witchcraft. Why, if they had teeth like yours,|| 260|
|T would be no wonder if the girls were bitten!|
GLOYD.And then those ghosts that come out of their graves
|And cry, You murdered us! you murdered us!|
ONE OF THE MEN.And all those Apparitions that stick pins
|Into the flesh of the Afflicted Children!|| 265|
GLOYD.Oh those Afflicted Children! They know well
|Where the pins come from. I can tell you that.|
|And there s old Corey, he has got a horseshoe|
|Nailed on his doorstep to keep off the Witches,|
|And all the same his wife has gone to prison.|| 270|
ONE OF THE MEN.Oh, she s no Witch. I ll swear that Good-wife Corey
|Never did harm to any living creature.|
|She s a good woman, if there ever was one.|
GLOYD.Well, we shall see. As for that Bridget Bishop,
|She has been tried before; some years ago|| 275|
|A negro testified he saw her shape|
|Sitting upon the rafters in a barn,|
|And holding in its hand an egg; and while|
|He went to fetch his pitchfork, she had vanished.|
|And now be quiet, will you? I am tired,|| 280|
|And want to sleep here on the grass a little.|
They stretch themselves on the grass.
ONE OF THE MEN.There may be Witches riding through the air
|Over our heads on broomsticks at this moment,|
|Bound for some Satans Sabbath in the woods|
|To be baptized.|
GLOYD. I wish they d take you with them,
|And hold you under water, head and ears,|
|Till you were drowned; and that would stop your talking,|
|If nothing else will. Let me sleep, I say.|