|SCENE I.JOHN ENDICOTTS room. Early morning.|
JOHN ENDICOTT.WHY dost thou persecute me, Saul of Tarsus?
|All night these words were ringing in mine ears!|
|A sorrowful sweet face; a look that pierced me|
|With meek reproach; a voice of resignation|
|That had a life of suffering in its tone;|| 5|
|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,|| 10|
|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 may tragedies will be enacted|| 15|
|Before his setting. As the earth rolls round,|
|It seems to me a huge Ixions 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,|| 20|
|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,|| 25|
|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!|| 30|
|A word that has been said may be unsaid:|
|It is but air. But when a deed is done|
|It cannot be undone, nor can our thoughts|
|Reach out to all the mischiefs that may follow.|
|T is time for morning prayers. I will go down.|| 35|
|My father, though severe, is kind and just;|
|And when his heart is tender with devotion,|
|When from his lips have fallen the words, Forgive us|
|As we forgive,then will I intercede|
|For these poor people, and perhaps may save them. [Exit.|| 40|
|SCENE II.Dock Square. On one side, the tavern of the Three Mariners. In the background, a quaint building with gables; and, beyond it, wharves and shipping. CAPTAIN KEMPTHORN and others seated at a table before the door. SAMUEL COLE standing near them.|
KEMPTHORN.Come, drink about! Remember Parson Melham,
|And bless the man who first invented flip!|
COLE.Pray, Master Kempthorn, where were you last night?
KEMPTHORN.On board the Swallow, Simon Kempthorn, master,
|Up for Barbadoes, and the Windward Islands.|| 45|
COLE.The town was in a tumult.
KEMPTHORN. And for what?
COLE.Your Quakers were arrested.
KEMPTHORN. How my Quakers?
COLE.Those you brought in your vessel from Barbadoes.
|They made an uproar in the Meeting-house|
|Yesterday, and they re now in prison for it.|| 50|
|I owe you little thanks for bringing them|
|To the Three Mariners.|
KEMPTHORN. They have not harmed you.
|I tell you, Goodman Cole, that Quaker girl|
|Is precious as a sea-breams eye. I tell you|
|It was a lucky day when first she set|| 55|
|Her little foot upon the Swallows deck,|
|Bringing good luck, fair winds, and pleasant weather.|
COLE.I am a law-abiding citizen;
|I have a seat in the new Meeting-house,|
|A cow-right on the Common; and, besides,|| 60|
|Am corporal in the Great Artillery.|
|I rid me of the vagabonds at once.|
KEMPTHORN.Why should you not have Quakers at your tavern
|If you have fiddlers?|
COLE. Never! never! never!
|If you want fiddling you must go elsewhere,|| 65|
|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|| 70|
|As at the Governors. And have I not|
|King Charless Twelve Good Rules, all framed and glazed,|
|Hanging in my best parlor?|
KEMPTHORN. Here s a health
|To good King Charles. Will you not drink the King?|
|Then drink confusion to old Parson Palmer.|| 75|
COLE.And who is Parson Palmer? I dont know him.
KEMPTHORN.He had his cellar underneath his pulpit,
|And so preached oer his liquor, just as you do.|
A drum within.
COLE.Here comes the Marshal.
MERRY (within). Make room for the Marshal.
KEMPTHORN.How pompous and imposing he appears!
|His great buff doublet bellying like a mainsail,|
|And all his streamers fluttering in the wind.|
|What holds he in his hand?|
COLE. A proclamation.
Enter the MARSHAL, with a proclamation; and MERRY, with a halberd. They are preceded by a drummer, and followed by the hangman, with an armful of books, and a crowd of people, among whom are UPSALL and JOHN ENDICOTT. A pile is made of the books.Silence, the drum! Good citizens, attend
|To the new laws enacted by the Court.|
MARSHAL (reads). Whereas a cursed sect of Heretics
|Has lately risen, commonly called Quakers,|
|Who take upon themselves to be commissioned|| 90|
|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|| 95|
|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,|| 100|
|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|| 105|
|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|| 110|
|Till the said sum be satisfied and paid.|
COLE.Now, Simon Kempthorn, what say you to that?
KEMPTHORN.I pray you, Cole, lend me a hundred pounds!
MARSHAL (reads). If any one within this Jurisdiction
|Shall henceforth entertain, or shall conceal|| 115|
|Quakers, or other blasphemous Heretics,|
|Knowing them so to be, every such person|
|Shall forfeit to the country forty shillings|
|For each hours entertainment or concealment,|
|And shall be sent to prison, as aforesaid,|| 120|
|Until the forfeiture be wholly paid.|
Murmurs in the crowd.
KEMPTHORN.Now, Goodman Cole, I think your turn has come!
COLE.Knowing them so to be!
KEMPTHORN. At forty shillings
|The hour, your fine will be some forty pounds!|
COLE.Knowing them so to be! That is the law.
MARSHAL (reads). And it is further ordered and enacted,
|If any Quaker or Quakers shall presume|
|To come henceforth into this Jurisdiction,|
|Every male Quaker for the first offence|
|Shall have one ear cut off; and shall be kept|| 130|
|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.|| 135|
|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|| 140|
|Sentenced to Banishment on pain of Death.|
Loud murmurs. The voice of CHRISTISON in the crowd.
|O patience of the Lord! How long, how long,|
|Ere thou avenge the blood of Thine Elect?|
MERRY.Silence, there, silence! Do not break the peace!
MARSHAL (reads).Every inhabitant of this Jurisdiction
|Who shall defend the horrible opinions|
|Of Quakers, by denying due respect|
|To equals and superiors, and withdrawing|
|From Church Assemblies, and thereby approving|
|The abusive and destructive practices|| 150|
|Of this accursed sect, in opposition|
|To all the orthodox received opinions|
|Of godly men, shall be forthwith committed|
|Unto close prison for one month; and then|
|Refusing to retract and to reform|| 155|
|The opinions as aforesaid, he shall be|
|Sentenced to Banishment on pain of Death.|
|By the Court. Edward Rawson, Secretary.|
|Now, hangman, do your duty. Burn those books.|
Loud murmurs in the crowd. The pile of books is lighted.
UPSALL.I testify against these cruel laws!
|Forerunners are they of some judgment on us;|
|And, in the love and tenderness I bear|
|Unto this town and people, I beseech you,|
|O Magistrates, take heed, lest ye be found|
|As fighters against God!|
JOHN ENDICOTT (taking UPSALLS hand). Upsall, I thank you
|For speaking words such as some younger man,|
|I, or another, should have said before you.|
|Such laws as these are cruel and oppressive;|
|A blot on this fair town, and a disgrace|
|To any Christian people.|
MERRY (aside, listening behind them). Here s sedition!
|I never thought that any good would come|
|Of this young popinjay, with his long hair|
|And his great boots, fit only for the Russians|
|Or barbarous Indians, as his father says!|
THE VOICE.Woe to the bloody town! And rightfully
|Men call it the Lost Town! The blood of Abel|
|Cries from the ground, and at the final judgment|
|The Lord will say, Cain, Cain! where is thy brother?|
MERRY.Silence there in the crowd!
UPSALL (aside). T is Christison!
THE VOICE.O foolish people, ye that think to burn
|And to consume the truth of God, I tell you|
|That every flame is a loud tongue of fire|
|To publish it abroad to all the world|
|Louder than tongues of men!|
KEMPTHORN (springing to his feet.) Well said, my hearty!
|There s a brave fellow! There s a man of pluck!|| 185|
|A man who s not afraid to say his say,|
|Though a whole town s against him. Rain, rain, rain,|
|Bones of St. Botolph, and put out this fire!|
The drum beats. Exeunt all but MERRY, KEMPTHORN, and COLE.
MERRY.And now that matter s ended, Goodman Cole,
|Fetch me a mug of ale, your strongest ale.|| 190|
KEMPTHORN (sitting down).And me another mug of flip; and put
|Two gills of brandy in it. [Exit COLE.|
MERRY. No; no more.
|Not a drop more, I say. You ve had enough.|
KEMPTHORN.And who are you, sir?
MERRY. I m a Tithing-man,
|And Merry is my name.|
KEMPTHORN. A merry name!
|I like it; and I ll drink your merry health|
|Till all is blue.|
MERRY. And then you will be clapped
|Into the stocks, with the red letter D|
|Hung round about your neck for drunkenness.|
|You re a free-drinker,yes, and a freethinker!|| 200|
KEMPTHORN.And you are Andrew Merry, or Merry Andrew.
MERRY.My name is Walter Merry, and not Andrew.
KEMPTHORN.Andrew or Walter, you re a merry fellow;
|I ll swear to that.|
MERRY. No swearing, let me tell you.
|The other day one Shorthose had his tongue|| 205|
|Put into a cleft stick for profane swearing.|
COLE brings the ale.
KEMPTHORN.Well, where s my flip? As sure as my name s Kempthorn
MERRY.Is your name Kempthorn?
KEMPTHORN. That s the name I go by.
MERRY.What, Captain Simon Kempthorn of the Swallow?
MERRY (touching him on the shoulder). Then you re wanted. I arrest you
|In the Kings name.|
KEMPTHORN. And where s your warrant?
MERRY (unfolding a paper, and reading). Here.
|Listen to me. Hereby you are required,|
|In the Kings name, to apprehend the body|
|Of Simon Kempthorn, mariner, and him|
|Safely to bring before me, there to answer|| 215|
|All such objections as are laid to him,|
|Touching the Quakers. Signed, John Endicott.|
KEMPTHORN.Has it the Governors seal?
MERRY. Ay, here it is.
KEMPTHORN.Deaths head and cross-bones. That s a pirates flag!
MERRY.Beware how you revile the Magistrates;
|You may be whipped for that.|
KEMPTHORN. 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 hornets nest, and thought it some strange fruit,|
|Until the seeds came out, and then he dropped it. [Exit.|| 225|
|SCENE III.A room in the Governors house. Enter GOVERNOR ENDICOTT and MERRY.|
ENDICOTT.My son, you say?
MERRY. Your Worships eldest son.
ENDICOTT.Speaking against the laws?
MERRY. Ay, worshipful sir.
ENDICOTT.And in the public market-place?
MERRY. I saw him
|With my own eyes, heard him with my own ears.|
MERRY. He stood there in the crowd
|With Nicholas Upsall, when the laws were read|
|To-day against the Quakers, and I heard him|
|Denounce and vilipend them as unjust,|
|And cruel, wicked, and abominable.|
ENDICOTT.Ungrateful son! O God! thou layest upon me
|A burden heavier than I can bear!|
|Surely the power of Satan must be great|
|Upon the earth, if even the elect|
|Are thus deceived and fall away from grace!|
MERRY.Worshipful sir! I meant no harm
ENDICOTT. T is well.
|You ve done your duty, though you ve done it roughly,|
|And every word you ve uttered since you came|
|Has stabbed me to the heart!|
MERRY. I do beseech
|Your Worships pardon!|
ENDICOTT. He whom I have nurtured
|And brought up in the reverence of the Lord!|| 245|
|The child of all my hopes and my affections!|
|He upon whom I leaned as a sure staff|
|For my old age! It is Gods chastisement|
|For leaning upon any arm but His!|
ENDICOTT. And this comes from holding parley
|With the delusions and deceits of Satan.|
|At once, forever, must they be crushed out,|
|Or all the land will reek with heresy!|
|Pray, have you any children?|
MERRY. No, not any.
ENDICOTT.Thank God for that. He has delivered you
|From a great care. Enough; my private griefs|
|Too long have kept me from the public service.|
Exit MERRY. ENDICOTT seats himself at the table and arranges his papers.
|The hour has come; and I am eager now|
|To sit in judgment on these Heretics.|
|Come in. Who is it? (Not looking up).|
JOHN ENDICOTT. It is I.
ENDICOTT (restraining himself). Sit down!
JOHN ENDICOTT (sitting down). I come to intercede for these poor people
|Who are in prison, and await their trial.|
ENDICOTT.It is of them I wish to speak with you.
|I have been angry with you, but t is passed.|
|For when I hear your footsteps come or go,|| 265|
|See in your features your dead mothers 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,|| 270|
|And prattled of your playthings, and the games|
|You played among the pear trees in the orchard!|
JOHN ENDICOTT.Oh, let the memory of my noble mother
|Plead with you to be mild and merciful!|
|For mercy more becomes a Magistrate|| 275|
|Than the vindictive wrath which men call justice!|
ENDICOTT.The sin of heresy is a deadly sin.
|T is like the falling of the snow, whose crystals|
|The traveller plays with, thoughtless of his danger,|
|Until he sees the air so full of light|| 280|
|That it is dark; and blindly staggering onward,|
|Lost and bewildered, he sits down to rest;|
|There falls a pleasant drowsiness upon him,|
|And what he thinks is sleep, alas! is death.|
JOHN ENDICOTT.And yet who is there that has never doubted?
|And doubting and believing, has not said,|
|Lord, I believe; help thou my unbelief?|
ENDICOTT.In the same way we trifle with our doubts,
|Whose shining shapes are like the stars descending;|
|Until at last, bewildered and dismayed,|| 290|
|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 mans estate, and in the admonition|| 295|
|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|| 300|
|As those who go before us. Had you done so,|
|You would not now be here.|
ENDICOTT. Have you forgotten
|The doom of Heretics, and the fate of those|
|Who aid and comfort them? Have you forgotten|
|That in the market-place this very day|| 305|
|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,|| 310|
|And making me a byword and a jest?|
JOHN ENDICOTT.Words of an inexperienced youth like me
|Were powerless if the acts of older men|
|Went not before them. T is these laws themselves|
|Stir up sedition, not my judgment of them.|| 315|
ENDICOTT.Take heed, lest I be called, as Brutus was,
|To be the judge of my own son! Begone!|
|When you are tired of feeding upon husks,|
|Return again to duty and submission,|
|But not till then.|
JOHN ENDICOTT. I hear and I obey! [Exit.
ENDICOTT.Oh happy, happy they who have no children!
|He s gone! I hear the hall door shut behind him.|
|It sends a dismal echo through my heart,|
|As if forever it had closed between us,|
|And I should look upon his face no more!|| 325|
|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|| 330|
|His countenance, and sendest him away! [Exit.|