Part 24 out of 31
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).
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!
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?"
Silence there in the crowd!
'T is Christison!
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.
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.
No; no more.
Not a drop more, I say. You've had enough.
And who are you, sir?
I'm a Tithing-man,
And Merry is my name.
A merry name!
I like it; and I'll drink your merry health
Till all is blue.
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!
And you are Andrew Merry, or Merry Andrew.
My name is Walter Merry, and not Andrew.
Andrew or Walter, you're a merry fellow;
I'll swear to that.
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.
Well, where's my flip? As sure as my name's Kempthorn--
Is your name Kempthorn?
That's the name I go by.
What, Captain Simon Kempthorn of the Swallow?
MERRY (touching him on the shoulder).
Then you're wanted. I arrest you
In the King's name.
And where's your warrant?
MERRY (unfolding a paper, and reading).
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.
Has it the Governor's seal?
Ay, here it is.
Death's head and cross-bones. That's a pirate's flag!
Beware how you revile the Magistrates;
You may be whipped for that.
Then mum's the word.
Exeunt MERRY and KEMPTHORN.
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.
Scene III. -- A room in the Governor's house, Enter GOVERNOR
ENDICOTT and MERRY.
My son, you say?
Your Worship's eldest son.
Speaking against the laws?
Ay, worshipful sir.
And in the public market-place?
I saw him
With my own eyes, heard him with my own ears.
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.
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!
Worshipful sir! I meant no harm--
'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!
I do beseech
Your Worship's pardon!
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!
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?
No, not any.
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
The hour has come; and I am eager now
To sit in judgment on these Heretics.
Come in. Who is it? (Not looking up).
It is I.
ENDICOTT (restraining himself).
JOHN ENDICOTT (sitting down).
I come to intercede for these poor people
Who are in prison, and await their trial.
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!
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!
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.
And yet who is there that has never doubted?
And doubting and believing, has not said,
"Lord, I believe; help thou my unbelief"?
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.
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?
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.
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.
I hear and I obey!
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!
SCENE I. -- The Court of Assistants, ENDICOTT, BELLINGHAM,
ATHERTON, and other magistrates. KEMPTHORN, MERRY, and
constables. Afterwards WHARTON, EDITH, and CHRISTISON.
Call Captain Simon Kempthorn.
Come to the bar!
KEMPTHORN comes forward.
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.
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.
No ship e'er prospered that has carried Quakers
Against their will! I knew a vessel once--
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.
But you see
I cannot do it. The law, sir, of Barbadoes
Forbids the landing Quakers on the island.
Then you will be committed. Who comes next?
There is another charge against the Captain.
What is it?
Profane swearing, please your Worship.
He cursed and swore from Dock Square to the Court-house,
Then let him stand in the pillory for one hour.
[Exit KEMPTHORN with constable.
Come to the bar!
Yea, even to the bench.
Take off your hat.
My hat offendeth not.
If it offendeth any, let him take it;
For I shall not resist.
Take off his hat.
Let him be fined ten shillings for contempt.
MERRY takes off WHARTON'S hat.
What evil have I done?
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."
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.
Now, sirrah, leave your canting. Take the oath.
Nay, sirrah me no sirrahs!
Will you swear?
Nay, I will not.
You made a great disturbance
And uproar yesterday in the Meeting-house,
Having your hat on.
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.
You, Edward Wharton,
On pain of death, depart this Jurisdiction
Within ten days. Such is your sentence. Go.
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.
Depart the Court;
We have no time to listen to your babble.
Who's next? [Exit WHARTON.
This woman, for the same offence.
EDITH comes forward.
What is your name?
'T is to the world unknown,
But written in the Book of Life.
It be not written in the Book of Death!
What is it?
ENDICOTT (with eagerness).
Of Wenlock Christison?
I am his daughter.
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?
In the Lord.
Without evasion. Where?
My outward being
Is in Barbadoes.
Then why come you here?
I come upon an errand of the Lord.
'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.
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.
You dare not? Yet you Quakers
Deny this book of Holy Writ, the Bible,
To be the Word of God.
Christ is the Word,
The everlasting oath of God. I dare not.
You own yourself a Quaker,--do you not?
I own that in derision and reproach
I am so called.
Then you deny the Scripture
To be the rule of life.
Yea, I believe
The Inner Light, and not the Written Word,
To be the rule of life.
And you deny
That the Lord's Day is holy.
Is the Lords Day. It runs through all our lives,
As through the pages of the Holy Bible,
"Thus saith the Lord."
You are accused of making
An horrible disturbance, and affrighting
The people in the Meeting-house on Sunday.
What answer make you?
I do not deny
That I was present in your Steeple-house
On the First Day; but I made no disturbance.
Why came you there?
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.
'T was not the Lord that sent you;
As an incarnate devil did you come!
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.
Are you a Prophetess?
Is it not written,
"Upon my handmaidens will I pour out
My spirit, and they shall prophesy"?
For out of your own mouth are you condemned!
Need we hear further?
We are satisfied.
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!
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!
Who is it makes
Such outcry here?
CHRISTISON (coming forward).
I, Wenlock Christison!
Banished on pain of death, why come you here?
I come to warn you that you shed no more
The blood of innocent men! It cries aloud
For vengeance to the Lord!
Your life is forfeit
Unto the law; and you shall surely die,
And shall not live.
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!
Being in banishment, on pain of death,
You come now in among us in rebellion.
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
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!
We have a law, and by that law you die.
I, a free man of England and freeborn,
Appeal unto the laws of mine own nation!
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.
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!
I cannot give consent, while other men
Who have been banished upon pain of death
Are now in their own houses here among us.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
SCENE III. -- The prison. Night. EDITH reading the Bible by a
"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.
Who is it that speaketh?
Saul of Tarsus:
As thou didst call me once.
EDITH (coming forward).
Yea, I remember.
Thou art the Governor's son.
I am ashamed
Thou shouldst remember me.
Why comest thou
Into this dark guest-chamber in the night?
What seekest thou?
All who have injured me. What hast thou done?
I have betrayed thee, thinking that in this
I did God service. Now, in deep contrition,
I come to rescue thee.
I am safe here within these gloomy walls.
From scourging in the streets, and in three towns!
Remembering who was scourged for me, I shrink not
Nor shudder at the forty stripes save one.
Perhaps from death itself!
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!
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.
Thou hast the patience and the faith of Saints!
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!
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!
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?
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!
Remember, thou condemnest thine own father!
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.
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.
I cannot wait. Trust me. Oh, come with me!
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?
Oh, life is sweet, and death is terrible!
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.
Not yet. Oh, let me stay.
Urge me no more.
Alas! good-night. I will not say good-by!
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.
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?
Ay, that you may.
Well, then, with your permission,
Confound the Pillory!
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.
For swearing, was it?
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.
And served him right;
But, Master Merry, is it not eight bells?
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.
Why, Simon, is it you?
Set in the bilboes?
Chock-a-block, you see,
And without chafing-gear.
And what's it for?
Ask that starbowline with the boat-hook there,
That handsome man.
In this town
They put sea-captains in the stocks for swearing,
And Quakers for not swearing. So look out.
I pray you set him free; he meant no harm;
'T is an old habit he picked up afloat.
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.
Now, hearties, bear a hand! Let go and haul.
KEMPTHORN is set free, and comes forward, shaking GOLDSMITH'S
Give me your hand, Ralph. Ah, how good it feels!
The hand of an old friend.
God bless you, Simon!
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.
First I must pay
My duty to the Governor, and take him
His letters and despatches. Come with me.
I'd rather not. I saw him yesterday.
Then wait for me at the Three Nuns and Comb.
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.
Shall I go with you and point out the way?
Oh no, I thank you. I am not a stranger
Here in your crooked little town.
How now, sir?
Do you abuse our town? [Exit.
Oh, no offence.
Ralph, I am under bonds for a hundred pound.
Hard lines. What for?
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?
Just slip your hawser on some cloudy night;
Sheer off, and pay it with the topsail, Simon!
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.
Oh shame, shame, shame!
Yes, it would be a shame
But for the damnable sin of Heresy!
A woman scourged and dragged about our streets!
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.
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.
Here let me rest one moment. I am tired.
Will some one give me water?
At his peril.
Alas! that I should live to see this day!
Did I forsake my father and my mother
And come here to New England to see this?
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.
Never will I desert thee, nor deny thee.
O Master Endicott,
Be careful what you say.
Peace, idle babbler!
You'll rue these words!
Art thou not better now?
They've struck me as with roses.
Ah, these wounds!
These bloody garments!
It is granted me
To seal my testimony with my blood.
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.
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.
Who is it crying from the prison yonder.
It is old Wenlock Christison.
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.
Come, put an end to this. Let the drum beat.
The drum beats. Exeunt all but JOHN ENDICOTT, UPSALL, and MERRY.
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!
Awake! awake! ye sleepers, ere too late,
And wipe these bloody statutes from your books!
Take heed; the walls have ears!
At last, the heart
Of every honest man must speak or break!
Enter GOVERNOR ENDICOTT with his halberdiers.
What is this stir and tumult in the street?
Worshipful sir, the whipping of a girl,
And her old father howling from the prison.
ENDICOTT (to his halberdiers).
O thou that slayest the Maccabees! The Lord
Shall smite thee with incurable disease,
And no man shall endure to carry thee!
Peace, old blasphemer!
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!
And there is your own son,
Worshipful sir, abetting the sedition.
Arrest him. Do not spare him.
His own child!
There is some special providence takes care
That none shall be too happy in this world!
His own first-born.
O Absalom, my son!
[Exeunt; the Governor with his halberdiers ascending the steps of
SCENE III. -- The Governor's private room. Papers upon the
ENDICOTT and BELLINGHAM
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.
After his father's, if I well remember,
There was an earthquake, that foreboded evil.
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.
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.
That takes from us all power; we are but puppets,
And can no longer execute our laws.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
SCENE IV. -- The street. A crowd, reading a placard on the door
of the Meeting-house. NICHOLAS UPSALL among them. Enter John
What is this gathering here?
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.
What has been done?
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.
What more was done?
He has been kept five days
In prison without food, and cruelly beaten,
So that his limbs were cold, his senses stopped.
And is this not enough?
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.
He was too weak.
How could an old man work, when he was starving?
And what is this placard?
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!
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!
SCENE V. -- The Wilderness. Enter 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?
SCENE I. -- Daybreak. Street in front of UPSALL's house. A light
in the window. Enter 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).
Am I so changed you do not know my voice?
I know you. Have you heard what things have happened?
I have heard nothing.
Stay; I will come down.
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!
Thank God, you have come back! I've much to tell you.
Where have you been?
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?
She is here.
Oh, do not speak that word, for it means death!
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.
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!
Come in; the morning air blows sharp and cold
Through the damp streets.
It is the dawn of day
That chases the old darkness from our sky,
And tills the land with liberty and light.
SCENE II. -- The parlor of the Three Mariners. Enter 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.
Good morning, Captain Kempthorn.
Sir, to you.
You've the advantage of me. I don't know you.
What may I call your name?
That's not your name?
Yes, that's my name. What's yours?
My name is Butter.
I am the treasurer of the Commonwealth.
Will you be seated?
What say? Who's conceited?
Will you sit down?
Oh, thank you.
Upon this chair, sweet Butter.
BUTTER (sitting down).
A fine morning.
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.
You need not speak so loud; I understand you.
You sail to-day.
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.
No, thank you. It's against the law to smoke.
Then, will you drink? There's good ale at this inn.
No, thank you. It's against the law to drink.
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.
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.
Nor I. Give me the ale and keep the air.
But, as I said, I do not sail to-day.
Ah yes; you sail today.
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.
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.
Ah, the wind has shifted!
I pray you, do you speak officially?
I always speak officially. To prove it,
Here is the bond.
Rising and giving a paper.
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?
I say, confound the tedious man
With his strange speaking-trumpet! Can I go?
You're free to go, by order of the Court.
Your servant, sir.
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!
Pray, did you call?
Call! Yes, I hailed the Swallow.
That's not my name. My name is Edward Butter.
You need not speak so loud.
KEMPTHORN (shaking hands).
Your servant, sir.
And yours a thousand times!
SCENE III. -- GOVERNOR ENDICOTT'S private room. An open window.
ENDICOTT seated in an arm-chair. BELLINGHAM standing near.
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!"
Can you not turn your thoughts a little while
To public matters? There are papers here
That need attention.
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
You have not dreamed it. He is dead,
And gone to his reward. It was no dream.
Then it was very sudden; for I saw him
Standing where you now stand, not long ago.
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.
And did not some one say, or have I dreamed it,
That Humphrey Atherton is dead?
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.
I am not superstitions, Bellingham,
And yet I tremble lest it may have been
A judgment on him.
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,