|SCENE I.GILES COREYS farm. Morning. Enter COREY, with a horseshoe and a hammer.|
COREY.THE LORD hath prospered me. The rising sun
|Shines on my Hundred Acres and my woods|
|As if he loved them. On a morn like this|
|I can forgive mine enemies, and thank God|
|For all his goodness unto me and mine.|| 5|
|My orchard groans with russets and pearmains;|
|My ripening corn shines golden in the sun;|
|My barns are crammed with hay, my cattle thrive;|
|The birds sing blithely on the trees around me!|
|And blither than the birds my heart within me.|| 10|
|But Satan still goes up and down the earth;|
|And to protect this house from his assaults,|
|And keep the powers of darkness from my door,|
|This horseshoe will I nail upon the threshold.|
Nails down the horseshoe.
|There, ye night-hags and witches that torment|| 15|
|The neighborhood, ye shall not enter here!|
|What is the matter in the field?John Gloyd!|
|The cattle are all running to the woods!|
|John Gloyd! Where is the man?|
Enter JOHN GLOYD. Look there!
|What ails the cattle? Are they all bewitched?|| 20|
|They run like mad.|
GLOYD. They have been overlooked.
COREY.The Evil Eye is on them sure enough.
|Call all the men. Be quick. Go after them!|
Exit GLOYD and enter MARTHA.
MARTHA.What is amiss?
COREY. The cattle are bewitched.
|They are broken loose and making for the woods.|| 25|
MARTHA.Why will you harbor such delusions, Giles?
|Bewitched? Well, then it was John Gloyd bewitched them;|
|I saw him even now take down the bars|
|And turn them loose! They re only frolic-some.|
MARTHA. I was standing in the road,
|Talking with Goodwife Proctor, and I saw him.|
COREY.With Proctors wife? And what says Goodwife Proctor?
MARTHA.Sad things indeed; the saddest you can hear
|Of Bridget Bishop. She s cried out upon!|
COREY.Poor soul! I ve known her forty year or more.
|She was the widow Wasselby; and then|
|She married Oliver, and Bishop next.|
|She s had three husbands. I remember well|
|My games of shovel-board at Bishops tavern|
|In the old merry days, and she so gay|| 40|
|With her red paragon bodice and her ribbons!|
|Ah, Bridget Bishop always was a Witch!|
MARTHA.They ll little help her now,her caps and ribbons,
|And her red paragon bodice, and her plumes,|
|With which she flaunted in the Meeting-house!|| 45|
|When next she goes there, it will be for trial.|
COREY.When will that be?
MARTHA. This very day at ten.
COREY.Then get you ready. We will go and see it.
|Come; you shall ride behind me on the pillion.|
MARTHA.Not I. You know I do not like such things.
|I wonder you should. I do not believe|
|In Witches nor in Witchcraft.|
COREY. Well, I do.
|There s a strange fascination in it all,|
|That draws me on and on, I know not why.|
MARTHA.What do we know of spirits good or ill,
|Or of their power to help us or to harm us?|
COREY.Surely what s in the Bible must be true.
|Did not an Evil Spirit come on Saul?|
|Did not the Witch of Endor bring the ghost|
|Of Samuel from his grave? The Bible says so.|| 60|
MARTHA.That happened very long ago.
COREY. With God
|There is no long ago.|
MARTHA. There is with us.
COREY.And Mary Magdalene had seven devils,
|And he who dwelt among the tombs a legion!|
MARTHA.Gods power is infinite. I do not doubt it.
|If in His providence He once permitted|
|Such things to be among the Israelites,|
|It does not follow He permits them now,|
|And among us who are not Israelites.|
|But we will not dispute about it, Giles.|| 70|
|Go to the village, if you think it best,|
|And leave me here; I ll go about my work.|
[Exit into the house.
COREY.And I will go and saddle the gray mare.
|The last word always. That is womans nature.|
|If an old man will marry a young wife,|| 75|
|He must make up his mind to many things.|
|It s putting new cloth into an old garment,|
|When the strain comes, it is the old gives way.|
Goes to the door.
|Oh Martha! I forgot to tell you something.|
|I ve had a letter from a friend of mine,|| 80|
|A certain Richard Gardner of Nantucket,|
|Master and owner of a whaling-vessel;|
|He writes that he is coming down to see us.|
|I hope you ll like him.|
MARTHA. I will do my best.
COREY.That s a good woman. Now I will be gone.
|I ve not seen Gardner for this twenty year;|
|But there is something of the sea about him,|
|Something so open, generous, large, and strong,|
|It makes me love him better than a brother. [Exit.|
MARTHA comes to the door.
MARTHA.Oh these old friends and cronies of my husband,
|These captains from Nantucket and the Cape,|
|That come and turn my house into a tavern|
|With their carousing! Still, there s something frank|
|In these seafaring men that makes me like them.|
|Why, here s a horseshoe nailed upon the doorstep!|| 95|
|Giles has done this to keep away the Witches.|
|I hope this Richard Gardner will bring with him|
|A gale of good sound common-sense to blow|
|The fog of these delusions from his brain!|
COREY (within).Ho! Martha! Martha!
Enter COREY. Have you seen my saddle?
MARTHA.I saw it yesterday.
COREY. Where did you see it?
MARTHA.On a gray mare, that somebody was riding
|Along the village road.|
COREY. Who was it? Tell me.
MARTHA.Some one who should have stayed at home.
COREY (restraining himself). I see!
|Dont vex me, Martha. Tell me where it is.|| 105|
MARTHA.I ve hidden it away.
COREY. Go fetch it me.
MARTHA.Go find it.
COREY. No. I ll ride down to the village
|Bare-back; and when the people stare and say,|
|Giles Corey, where s your saddle? I will answer,|
|A Witch has stolen it. How shall you like that?|| 110|
MARTHA.I shall not like it.
COREY. Then go fetch the saddle.
|If an old man will marry a young wife,|
|Why thenwhy thenwhy thenhe must spell Baker!|
Enter MARTHA with the saddle, which she throws down.
MARTHA.There! There s the saddle.
COREY. Take it up.
MARTHA. I wont!
COREY.Then let it lie there. I ll ride to the village,
|And say you are a Witch.|MARTHA.
No, not that, Giles.
She takes up the saddle.
COREY.Now come with me, and saddle the gray mare
|With your own hands; and you shall see me ride|
|Along the village road as is becoming|
|Giles Corey of the Salem Farms, your husband! [Exeunt.|| 120|
|SCENE II.The Green in front of the Meeting-house in Salem Village. People coming and going. Enter GILES COREY.|
COREY.A melancholy end! Who would have thought
|That Bridget Bishop eer would come to this?|
|Accused, convicted, and condemned to death|
|For Witchcraft! And so good a woman too!|
A FARMER.Good morrow, neighbor Corey.
COREY (not hearing him). Who is safe?
|How do I know but under my own roof|
|I too may harbor Witches, and some Devil|
|Be plotting and contriving against me?|
FARMER.He does not hear. Good morrow, neighbor Corey!
FARMER. Have you seen John Proctor lately?
COREY.No, I have not.
FARMER. Then do not see him, Corey.
COREY.Why should I not?
FARMER. Because he s angry with you.
|So keep out of his way. Avoid a quarrel.|
COREY.Why does he seek to fix a quarrel on me?
FARMER.He says you burned his house.
COREY. I burn his house?
|If he says that, John Proctor is a liar!|
|The night his house was burned I was in bed,|
|And I can prove it! Why, we are old friends!|
|He could not say that of me.|
FARMER. He did say it.
|I heard him say it.|
COREY. Then he shall unsay it.
FARMER.He said you did it out of spite to him
|For taking part against you in the quarrel|
|You had with your John Gloyd about his wages.|
|He says you murdered Goodell; that you trampled|
|Upon his body till he breathed no more.|| 145|
|And so beware of him; that s my advice! [Exit.|
COREY.By Heaven! this is too much! I ll seek him out,
|And make him eat his words, or strangle him.|
|I ll not be slandered at a time like this,|
|When every word is made an accusation,|| 150|
|When every whisper kills, and every man|
|Walks with a halter round his neck!|
Enter GLOYD in haste. What now?
GLOYD.I came to look for you. The cattle
|What of them? Have you found them?|
GLOYD. They are dead.
|I followed them through the woods, across the meadows;|| 155|
|Then they all leaped into the Ipswich River,|
|And swam across, but could not climb the bank,|
|And so were drowned.|
COREY. You are to blame for this;
|For you took down the bars, and let them loose.|
GLOYD.That I deny. They broke the fences down.
|You know they were bewitched.|
COREY. Ah, my poor cattle!
|The Evil Eye was on them; that is true.|
|Day of disaster! Most unlucky day!|
|Why did I leave my ploughing and my reaping|
|To plough and reap this Sodom and Gomorrah?|| 165|
|Oh, I could drown myself for sheer vexation! [Exit.|
GLOYD.He s going for his cattle. He wont find them.
|By this time they have drifted out to sea.|
|They will not break his fences any more,|
|Though they may break his heart. And what care I? [Exit.|| 170|
|SCENE III.COREYS kitchen. A table with supper. MARTHA knitting.|
MARTHA.He s come at last. I hear him in the passage.
|Something has gone amiss with him to-day;|
|I know it by his step, and by the sound|
|The door made as he shut it. He is angry.|
Enter COREY with his riding-whip. As he speaks he takes off his hat and gloves, and throws them down violently.
COREY.I say if Satan ever entered man
|He s in John Proctor!|
MARTHA. Giles, what is the matter?
|You frighten me.|
COREY. I say if any man
|Can have a Devil in him, then that man|
|Is Proctor,is John Proctor, and no other!|
MARTHA.Why, what has he been doing?
|What do you think I heard there in the village?|
MARTHA.I m sure I cannot guess. What did you hear?
COREY.He says I burned his house!
MARTHA. Does he say that?
COREY.He says I burned his house. I was in bed
|And fast asleep that night; and I can prove it.|| 185|
MARTHA.If he says that, I think the Father of Lies
|Is surely in the man.|
COREY. He does say that,
|And that I did it to wreak vengeance on him|
|For taking sides against me in the quarrel|
|I had with that John Gloyd about his wages.|| 190|
|And God knows that I never bore him malice|
|For that, as I have told him twenty times!|
MARTHA.It is John Gloyd has stirred him up to this.
|I do not like that Gloyd. I think him crafty,|
|Not to be trusted, sullen, and untruthful.|| 195|
|Come, have your supper. You are tired and hungry.|
COREY.I m angry, and not hungry.
MARTHA. Do eat something.
|You ll be the better for it.|
COREY (sitting down). I m not hungry.
MARTHA.Let not the sun go down upon your wrath.
COREY.It has gone down upon it, and will rise
|To-morrow, and go down again upon it.|
|They have trumped up against me the old story|
|Of causing Goodells death by trampling on him.|
MARTHA.Oh, that is false. I know it to be false.
COREY.He has been dead these fourteen years or more.
|Why cant they let him rest? Why must they drag him|
|Out of his grave to give me a bad name?|
|I did not kill him. In his bed he died.|
|As most men die, because his hour had come.|
|I have wronged no man. Why should Proctor say|| 210|
|Such things about me? I will not forgive him|
|Till he confesses he has slandered me.|
|Then, I ve more trouble. All my cattle gone.|
MARTHA.They will come back again.
COREY. Not in this world.
|Did I not tell you they were overlooked?|| 215|
|They ran down through the woods, into the meadows,|
|And tried to swim the river, and were drowned.|
|It is a heavy loss.|
MARTHA. I m sorry for it.
COREY.All my dear oxen dead. I loved them, Martha,
|Next to yourself. I liked to look at them,|| 220|
|And watch the breath come out of their wide nostrils,|
|And see their patient eyes. Somehow I thought|
|It gave me strength only to look at them.|
|And how they strained their necks against the yoke|
|If I but spoke, or touched them with the goad!|| 225|
|They were my friends; and when Gloyd came and told me|
|They were all drowned, I could have drowned myself|
|From sheer vexation; and I said as much|
|To Gloyd and others.|
MARTHA. Do not trust John Gloyd
|With anything you would not have repeated.|| 230|
COREY.As I came through the woods this afternoon,
|Impatient at my loss, and much perplexed|
|With all that I had heard there in the village,|
|The yellow leaves lit up the trees about me|
|Like an enchanted palace, and I wished|| 235|
|I knew enough of magic or of Witchcraft|
|To change them into gold. Then suddenly|
|A tree shook down some crimson leaves upon me,|
|Like drops of blood, and in the path before me|
|Stood Tituba the Indian, the old crone.|| 240|
MARTHA.Were you not frightened?
COREY. No, I do not think
|I know the meaning of that word. Why frightened?|
|I am not one of those who think the Lord|
|Is waiting till He catches them some day|
|In the back yard alone! What should I fear?|| 245|
|She started from the bushes by the path,|
|And had a basket full of herbs and roots|
|For some witch-broth or other,the old hag!|
MARTHA.She has been here to-day.
COREY. With hand outstretched
|She said: Giles Corey, will you sign the Book?|| 250|
|Avaunt! I cried: Get thee behind me, Satan!|
|At which she laughed and left me. But a voice|
|Was whispering in my ear continually:|
|Self-murder is no crime. The life of man|
|Is his, to keep it or to throw away!|| 255|
MARTHA.T was a temptation of the Evil One!
|Giles, Giles! why will you harbor these dark thoughts?|
COREY (rising). I am too tired to talk. I ll go to bed.
MARTHA.First tell me something about Bridget Bishop.
|How did she look? You saw her? You were there?|| 260|
COREY.I ll tell you that to-morrow, not to-night.
|I ll go to bed.|
MARTHA. First let us pray together.
COREY.I cannot pray to-night.
MARTHA. Say the Lords Prayer,
|And that will comfort you.|
COREY. I cannot say,
|As we forgive those that have sinned against us,|| 265|
|When I do not forgive them.|
MARTHA (kneeling on the hearth). God forgive you!
COREY.I will not make believe! I say, to-night
|There s something thwarts me when I wish to pray,|
|And thrusts into my mind, instead of prayers,|
|Hate and revenge, and things that are not prayers.|| 270|
|Something of my old self,my old, bad life,|
|And the old Adam in me, rises up,|
|And will not let me pray. I am afraid|
|The Devil hinders me. You know I say|
|Just what I think, and nothing more nor less,|| 275|
|And, when I pray, my heart is in my prayer.|
|I cannot say one thing and mean another.|
|If I cant pray, I will not make believe!|
[Exit COREY. MARTHA continues kneeling.