Part 24 out of 32
And in their place
Runs a white space!
Down goes the sun!
But the soul of one,
Who by repentance
hath escaped the dreadful sentence,
Shines bright below me as I look.
It is the end!
With closed Book
To God do I ascend.
Lo! over the mountain steeps
A dark, gigantic shadow sweeps
Beneath my feet;
A blackness inwardly brightening
With sullen heat,
As a storm-cloud lurid with lightning.
And a cry of lamentation,
Repeated and again repeated,
Deep and loud
As the reverberation
Of cloud answering unto cloud,
Swells and rolls away in the distance,
As if the sheeted
Baffled and thwarted by the wind's resistance.
It is Lucifer,
The son of mystery;
And since God suffers him to be,
He, too, is God's minister.
And labors for some good
By us not understood!
A CHAMBER IN THE WARTBURG. MORNING. MARTIN LUTHER WRITING.
Our God, a Tower of Strength is He,
A goodly wall and weapon;
From all our need He helps us free,
That now to us doth happen.
The old evil foe
Doth in earnest grow,
In grim armor dight,
Much guile and great might;
On earth there is none like him.
Oh yes; a tower of strength indeed,
A present help in all our need,
A sword and buckler is our God.
Innocent men have walked unshod
O'er burning ploughshares, and have trod
Unharmed on serpents in their path,
And laughed to scorn the Devil's wrath!
Safe in this Wartburg tower I stand
Where God hath led me by the hand,
And look down, with a heart at ease,
Over the pleasant neighborhoods,
Over the vast Thuringian Woods,
With flash of river, and gloom of trees,
With castles crowning the dizzy heights,
And farms and pastoral delights,
And the morning pouring everywhere
Its golden glory on the air.
Safe, yes, safe am I here at last,
Safe from the overwhelming blast
Of the mouths of Hell, that followed me fast,
And the howling demons of despair
That hunted me like a beast to his lair.
Of our own might we nothing can;
We soon are unprotected:
There fighteth for us the right Man,
Whom God himself elected.
Who is He; ye exclaim?
Christus is his name,
Lord of Sabaoth,
Very God in troth;
The field He holds forever.
Nothing can vex the Devil more
Than the name of him whom we adore.
Therefore doth it delight me best
To stand in the choir among the rest,
With the great organ trumpeting
Through its metallic tubes, and sing:
Et verbum caro factum est!
These words the devil cannot endure,
For he knoweth their meaning well!
Him they trouble and repel,
Us they comfort and allure,
And happy it were, if our delight
Were as great as his affright!
Yea, music is the Prophet's art;
Among the gifts that God hath sent,
One of the most magnificent!
It calms the agitated heart;
Temptations, evil thoughts, and all
The passions that disturb the soul,
Are quelled by its divine control,
As the evil spirit fled from Saul,
And his distemper was allayed,
When David took his harp and played.
This world may full of Devils be,
All ready to devour us;
Yet not so sore afraid are we,
They shall not overpower us.
This World's Prince, howe'er
Fierce he may appear,
He can harm us not,
He is doomed, God wot!
One little word can slay him!
Incredible it seems to some
And to myself a mystery,
That such weak flesh and blood as we,
Armed with no other shield or sword,
Or other weapon than the Word,
Should combat and should overcome
A spirit powerful as he!
He summons forth the Pope of Rome
With all his diabolic crew,
His shorn and shaven retinue
Of priests and children of the dark;
Kill! kill! they cry, the Heresiarch,
Who rouseth up all Christendom
Against us; and at one fell blow
Seeks the whole Church to overthrow!
Not yet; my hour is not yet come.
Yesterday in an idle mood,
Hunting with others in the wood,
I did not pass the hours in vain,
For in the very heart of all
The joyous tumult raised around,
Shouting of men, and baying of hound,
And the bugle's blithe and cheery call,
And echoes answering back again,
From crags of the distant mountain chain,--
In the very heart of this, I found
A mystery of grief and pain.
It was an image of the power
Of Satan, hunting the world about,
With his nets and traps and well-trained dogs,
His bishops and priests and theologues,
And all the rest of the rabble rout,
Seeking whom he may devour!
Enough I have had of hunting hares,
Enough of these hours of idle mirth,
Enough of nets and traps and gins!
The only hunting of any worth
Is where I can pierce with javelins
The cunning foxes and wolves and bears,
The whole iniquitous troop of beasts,
The Roman Pope and the Roman priests
That sorely infest and afflict the earth!
Ye nuns, ye singing birds of the air!
The fowler hath caught you in his snare,
And keeps you safe in his gilded cage,
Singing the song that never tires,
To lure down others from their nests;
How ye flutter and heat your breasts,
Warm and soft with young desires,
Against the cruel, pitiless wires,
Reclaiming your lost heritage!
Behold! a hand unbars the door,
Ye shall be captives held no more.
The Word they shall perforce let stand,
And little thanks they merit!
For He is with us in the land,
With gifts of his own Spirit!
Though they take our life,
Goods, honors, child and wife,
Lot these pass away,
Little gain have they;
The Kingdom still remaineth!
Yea, it remaineth forevermore,
However Satan may rage and roar,
Though often be whispers in my ears:
What if thy doctrines false should be?
And wrings from me a bitter sweat.
Then I put him to flight with jeers,
Saying: Saint Satan! pray for me;
If thou thinkest I am not saved yet!
And my mortal foes that lie in wait
In every avenue and gate!
As to that odious monk John Tetzel,
Hawking about his hollow wares
Like a huckster at village fairs,
And those mischievous fellows, Wetzel,
Campanus, Carlstadt, Martin Cellarius,
And all the busy, multifarious
Heretics, and disciples of Arius,
Half-learned, dunce-bold, dry and hard,
They are not worthy of my regard,
Poor and humble as I am.
But ah! Erasmus of Rotterdam,
He is the vilest miscreant
That ever walked this world below
A Momus, making his mock and mow,
At Papist and at Protestant,
Sneering at St. John and St. Paul,
At God and Man, at one and all;
And yet as hollow and false and drear,
As a cracked pitcher to the ear,
And ever growing worse and worse!
Whenever I pray, I pray for a curse
On Erasmus, the Insincere!
Philip Melanethon! thou alone
Faithful among the faithless known,
Thee I hail, and only thee!
Behold the record of us three!
Res et verba Philippus,
Res sine verbis Lutherus;
Erasmus verba sine re!
My Philip, prayest thou for me?
Lifted above all earthly care,
From these high regions of the air,
Among the birds that day and night
Upon the branches of tall trees
Sing their lauds and litanies,
Praising God with all their might,
My Philip, unto thee I write,
My Philip! thou who knowest best
All that is passing in this breast;
The spiritual agonies,
The inward deaths, the inward hell,
And the divine new births as well,
That surely follow after these,
As after winter follows spring;
My Philip, in the night-time sing
This song of the Lord I send to thee;
And I will sing it for thy sake,
Until our answering voices make
A glorious antiphony,
And choral chant of victory!
THE NEW ENGLAND TRAGEDIES
JOHN ENDICOTT Governor.
JOHN ENDICOTT His son.
RICHARD BELLINGHAM Deputy Governor.
JOHN NORTON Minister of the Gospel.
EDWARD BUTTER Treasurer.
WALTER MERRY Tithing-man.
NICHOLAS UPSALL An old citizen.
SAMUEL COLE Landlord of the Three Mariners.
RALPH GOLDSMITH Sea-Captains.
EDITH, his daughter
EDWARD WHARTON Quakers
Assistants, Halberdiers, Marshal, etc.
The Scene is in Boston in the year 1665.
To-night we strive to read, as we may best,
This city, like an ancient palimpsest;
And bring to light, upon the blotted page,
The mournful record of an earlier age,
That, pale and half effaced, lies hidden away
Beneath the fresher writing of to-day.
Rise, then, O buried city that hast been;
Rise up, rebuilded in the painted scene,
And let our curious eyes behold once more
The pointed gable and the pent-house door,
The Meeting-house with leadenólatticed panes,
The narrow thoroughfares, the crooked lanes!
Rise, too, ye shapes and shadows of the Past,
Rise from your long-forgotten graves at last;
Let us behold your faces, let us hear
The words ye uttered in those days of fear
Revisit your familiar haunts again,--
The scenes of triumph, and the scenes of pain
And leave the footprints of your bleeding feet
Once more upon the pavement of the street!
Nor let the Historian blame the Poet here,
If he perchance misdate the day or year,
And group events together, by his art,
That in the Chronicles lie far apart;
For as the double stars, though sundered far,
Seem to the naked eye a single star,
So facts of history, at a distance seen,
Into one common point of light convene.
"Why touch upon such themes?" perhaps some friend
May ask, incredulous; "and to what good end?
Why drag again into the light of day
The errors of an age long passed away?"
I answer: "For the lessons that they teach:
The tolerance of opinion and of speech.
Hope, Faith, and Charity remain,--these three;
And greatest of them all is Charity."
Let us remember, if these words be true,
That unto all men Charity is due;
Give what we ask; and pity, while we blame,
Lest we become copartners in the shame,
Lest we condemn, and yet ourselves partake,
And persecute the dead for conscience' sake.
Therefore it is the author seeks and strives
To represent the dead as in their lives,
And lets at times his characters unfold
Their thoughts in their own language, strong and bold;
He only asks of you to do the like;
To hear hint first, and, if you will, then strike.
SCENE I. -- Sunday afternoon. The interior of the Meeting-house.
On the pulpit, an hour-glass; below, a box for contributions.
JOHN NORTON in the pulpit. GOVERNOR ENDICOTT in a canopied seat,
attended by four halberdiers. The congregation singing.
The Lord descended from above,
And bowed the heavens high;
And underneath his feet He cast
The darkness of the sky.
On Cherubim and Seraphim
Right royally He rode,
And on the wings of mighty winds
Came flying all abroad.
NORTON (rising and turning the hourglass on the pulpit).
I heard a great voice from the temple saying
Unto the Seven Angels, Go your ways;
Pour out the vials of the wrath of God
Upon the earth. And the First Angel went
And poured his vial on the earth; and straight
There fell a noisome and a grievous sore
On them which had the birth-mark of the Beast,
And them which worshipped and adored his image.
On us hath fallen this grievous pestilence.
There is a sense of terror in the air;
And apparitions of things horrible
Are seen by many; from the sky above us
The stars fall; and beneath us the earth quakes!
The sound of drums at midnight from afar,
The sound of horsemen riding to and fro,
As if the gates of the invisible world
Were opened, and the dead came forth to warn us,--
All these are omens of some dire disaster
Impending over us, and soon to fall,
Moreover, in the language of the Prophet,
Death is again come up into our windows,
To cut off little children from without,
And young men from the streets. And in the midst
Of all these supernatural threats and warnings
Doth Heresy uplift its horrid head;
A vision of Sin more awful and appalling
Than any phantasm, ghost, or apparition,
As arguing and portending some enlargement
Of the mysterious Power of Darkness!
EDITH, barefooted, and clad in sackcloth, with her hair hanging
loose upon her shoulders, walks slowly up the aisle, followed by
WHARTON and other Quakers. The congregation starts up in
EDITH (to NORTON, raising her hand).
Anathema maranatha! The Lord cometh!
Yea, verily He cometh, and shall judge
The shepherds of Israel who do feed themselves,
And leave their flocks to eat what they have trodden
Beneath their feet.
Be silent, babbling woman!
St. Paul commands all women to keep silence
Within the churches.
Yet the women prayed
And prophesied at Corinth in his day;
And, among those on whom the fiery tongues
Of Pentecost descended, some were women!
The Elders of the Churches, by our law,
Alone have power to open the doors of speech
And silence in the Assembly. I command you!
The law of God is greater than your laws!
Ye build your church with blood, your town with crime;
The heads thereof give judgment for reward;
The priests thereof teach only for their hire;
Your laws condemn the innocent to death;
And against this I bear my testimony!
That of the Holy Spirit,
Which, as your Calvin says, surpasseth reason.
The laborer is worthy of his hire.
Yet our great Master did not teach for hire,
And the Apostles without purse or scrip
Went forth to do his work. Behold this box
Beneath thy pulpit. Is it for the poor?
Thou canst not answer. It is for the Priest
And against this I bear my testimony.
Away with all these Heretics and Quakers!
Quakers, forsooth! Because a quaking fell
On Daniel, at beholding of the Vision,
Must ye needs shake and quake? Because Isaiah
Went stripped and barefoot, must ye wail and howl?
Must ye go stripped and naked? must ye make
A wailing like the dragons, and a mourning
As of the owls? Ye verify the adage
That Satan is God's ape! Away with them!
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.
And what more can be done?
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.
But in what way suppressed?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
Dear neighbor Walter.
You have to-day withdrawn yourself from meeting.
Yea, I have chosen rather to worship God
Sitting in silence here at my own door.
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.
Not one step.
I have been sitting still here, seeing the pigeons
Feed in the street and fly about the roofs.
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!
Men sometimes, it is said,
Entertain angels unawares.
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.
Your persecution is of no avail.
'T is prosecution, as the Governor says,
Well, your prosecution;
Your hangings do no good.
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.
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.
O holy martyrs!
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.
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!
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.
Within there! Open the door!
Will no one answer?
In the King's name! Within there!
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
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.
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.
"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 he 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.
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
Come, drink about! Remember Parson Melham,
And bless the man who first invented flip!
Pray, Master Kempthorn, where were you last night?
On board the Swallow, Simon Kempthorn, master,
Up for Barbadoes, and the Windward Islands.
The town was in a tumult.
And for what?
Your Quakers were arrested.
How my Quakers?
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.
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.
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.
Why should you not have Quakers at your tavern
If you have fiddlers?
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?
Here's a health
To good King Charles. Will you not drink the King?
Then drink confusion to old Parson Palmer.
And who is Parson Palmer? I don't know him.
He had his cellar underneath his pulpit,
And so preached o'er his liquor, just as you do.
A drum within.
Here comes the Marshal.
Make room for the Marshal.
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?
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.
Silence, the drum! Good citizens, attend
To the new laws enacted by the Court.
"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."
Now, Simon Kempthorn, what say you to that?
I pray you, Cole, lend me a hundred pounds!
"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.
Now, Goodman Cole, I think your turn has come!
Knowing them so to be!
At forty shillings
The hour, your fine will be some forty pounds!
Knowing them so to be! That is the law.
"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?
Silence, there, silence! Do not break the peace!
"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.
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).
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 he 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 he 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 he 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;