|SCENE I.COREYS farm as in Act II., Scene I. Enter RICHARD GARDNER, looking round him.|
GARDNER.HERE stands the house as I remember it,
|The four tall poplar-trees before the door;|
|The house, the barn, the orchard, and the well,|
|With its moss-covered bucket and its trough;|
|The garden, with its hedge of currant-bushes;|| 5|
|The woods, the harvest-fields; and, far beyond,|
|The pleasant landscape stretching to the sea.|
|But everything is silent and deserted!|
|No bleat of flocks, no bellowing of herds,|
|No sound of flails, that should be beating now;|| 10|
|Nor man nor beast astir. What can this mean?|
Knocks at the door.
|What ho! Giles Corey! Hillo-ho! Giles Corey!|
|No answer but the echo from the barn,|
|And the ill-omened cawing of the crow,|
|That yonder wings his flight across the fields,|| 15|
|As if he scented carrion in the air.|
Enter TITUBA with a basket.
|What woman s this, that, like an apparition,|
|Haunts this deserted homestead in broad day?|
|Woman, who are you?|
TITUBA. I m Tituba.
|I am John Indians wife. I am a Witch.|| 20|
GARDNER.What are you doing here?
TITUBA. I am gathering herbs,
|Cinquefoil, and saxifrage, and pennyroyal.|
GARDNER (looking at the herbs). This is not cinquefoil, it is deadly night-shade!
|This is not saxifrage, but hellebore!|
|This is not pennyroyal, it is henbane!|| 25|
|Do you come here to poison these good people?|
TITUBA.I get these for the Doctor in the Village.
|Beware of Tituba. I pinch the children;|
|Make little poppets and stick pins in them,|
|And then the children cry out they are pricked.|| 30|
|The Black Dog came to me, and said, Serve me!|
|I was afraid. He made me hurt the children.|
GARDNER.Poor soul! She s crazed, with all these Devils doings.
TITUBA.Will you, sir, sign the Book?
GARDNER. No, I ll not sign it.
|Where is Giles Corey? Do you know Giles Corey?|| 35|
TITUBA.He s safe enough. He s down there in the prison.
GARDNER.Corey in prison? What is he accused of?
TITUBA.Giles Corey and Martha Corey are in prison
|Down there in Salem Village. Both are Witches.|
|She came to me and whispered, Kill the children!|| 40|
|Both signed the Book!|
GARDNER. Begone, you imp of darkness!
|You Devils dam!|
TITUBA. Beware of Tituba! [Exit.
GARDNER.How often out at sea on stormy nights,
|When the waves thundered round me, and the wind|
|Bellowed, and beat the canvas, and my ship|| 45|
|Clove through the solid darkness, like a wedge,|
|I ve thought of him, upon his pleasant farm,|
|Living in quiet with his thrifty housewife,|
|And envied him, and wished his fate were mine!|
|And now I find him shipwrecked utterly,|| 50|
|Drifting upon this sea of sorceries,|
|And lost, perhaps, beyond all aid of man! [Exit.|
|SCENE II.The prison. GILES COREY at a table on which are some papers.|
COREY.Now I have done with earth and all its cares;
|I give my worldly goods to my dear children;|
|My body I bequeath to my tormentors,|| 55|
|And my immortal soul to Him who made it.|
|O God! who in thy wisdom dost afflict me|
|With an affliction greater than most men|
|Have ever yet endured or shall endure,|
|Suffer me not in this last bitter hour|| 60|
|For any pains of death to fall from thee!|
MARTHA is heard singing. Arise, O righteous Lord!
| And disappoint my foes;|
| They are but thine avenging sword,|
| Whose wounds are swift to close.|| 65|
COREY.Hark, hark! it is her voice! She is not dead!
|She lives! I am not utterly forsaken!|
MARTHA, singing. By thine abounding grace,
| And mercies multiplied,|
| I shall awake, and see thy face;|| 70|
| I shall be satisfied.|
COREY hides his face in his hands. Enter the JAILER, followed by RICHARD GARDNER.
JAILER.Here s a seafaring man, one Richard Gardner,
|A friend of yours, who asks to speak with you.|
COREY rises. They embrace.
COREY.I m glad to see you, ay, right glad to see you.
GARDNER.And I am most sorely grieved to see you thus.
COREY.Of all the friends I had in happier days,
|You are the first, ay, and the only one,|
|That comes to seek me out in my disgrace!|
|And you but come in time to say farewell.|
|They ve dug my grave already in the field.|| 80|
|I thank you. There is something in your presence,|
|I know not what it is, that gives me strength.|
|Perhaps it is the bearing of a man|
|Familiar with all dangers of the deep,|
|Familiar with the cries of drowning men,|| 85|
|With fire, and wreck, and foundering ships at sea!|
GARDNER.Ah, I have never known a wreck like yours!
|Would I could save you!|
COREY. Do not speak of that.
|It is too late. I am resolved to die.|
GARDNER.Why would you die who have so much to live for?
|Your daughters, and|
COREY. You cannot say the word.
|My daughters have gone from me. They are married;|
|They have their homes, their thoughts, apart from me;|
|I will not say their hearts,that were too cruel.|
|What would you have me do?|
GARDNER. Confess and live.
COREY.That s what they said who came here yesterday
|To lay a heavy weight upon my conscience|
|By telling me that I was driven forth|
|As an unworthy member of their church.|
GARDNER.It is an awful death.
COREY. T is but to drown,
|And have the weight of all the seas upon you.|
GARDNER.Say something; say enough to fend off death
|Till this tornado of fanaticism|
|Blows itself out. Let me come in between you|
|And your severer self, with my plain sense;|| 105|
|Do not be obstinate.|
COREY. I will not plead.
|If I deny, I am condemned already,|
|In courts where ghosts appear as witnesses,|
|And swear mens lives away. If I confess,|
|Then I confess a lie, to buy a life|| 110|
|Which is not life, but only death in life.|
|I will not bear false witness against any,|
|Not even against myself, whom I count least.|
GARDNER (aside).Ah, what a noble character is this!
COREY.I pray you, do not urge me to do that
|You would not do yourself. I have already|
|The bitter taste of death upon my lips;|
|I feel the pressure of the heavy weight|
|That will crush out my life within this hour;|
|But if a word could save me, and that word|| 120|
|Were not the Truth; nay, if it did but swerve|
|A hairs-breadth from the Truth, I would not say it!|
GARDNER (aside).How mean I seem beside a man like this!
COREY.As for my wife, my Martha and my Martyr,
|Whose virtues, like the stars, unseen by day,|| 125|
|Though numberless, do but await the dark|
|To manifest themselves unto all eyes,|
|She who first won me from my evil ways,|
|And taught me how to live by her example,|
|By her example teaches me to die,|| 130|
|And leads me onward to the better life!|
SHERIFF (without).Giles Corey! Come! The hour has struck!
COREY. I come!
|Here is my body; ye may torture it,|
|But the immortal soul ye cannot crush! [Exeunt.|
|SCENE III.A street in the Village. Enter GLOYD and others.|
GLOYD.Quick, or we shall be late!
A MAN. That s not the way.
|Come here; come up this lane.|
GLOYD. I wonder now
|If the old man will die, and will not speak?|
|He s obstinate enough and tough enough|
|For anything on earth.|
A bell tolls. Hark! What is that?
A MAN.The passing bell. He s dead!
GLOYD. We are too late. [Exeunt in haste.
|SCENE IV.A field near the graveyard. GILES COREY lying dead, with a great stone on his breast. The Sheriff at his head, RICHARD GARDNER at his feet. A crowd behind. The bell tolling. Enter HATHORNE and MATHER.|
HATHORNE.This is the Potters Field. Behold the fate
|Of those who deal in Witchcrafts, and, when questioned,|
|Refuse to plead their guilt or innocence,|
|And stubbornly drag death upon themselves.|
MATHER.O sight most horrible! In a land like this,
|Spangled with Churches Evangelical,|
|Inwrapped in our salvations, must we seek|
|In mouldering statute-books of English Courts|
|Some old forgotten Law, to do such deeds?|
|Those who lie buried in the Potters Field|| 150|
|Will rise again, as surely as ourselves|
|That sleep in honored graves with epitaphs;|
|And this poor man, whom we have made a victim,|
|Hereafter will be counted as a martyr!|