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The Witch Of Wenham
by [?]

The house is still standing in Danvers, Mass., where, it is said, a suspected witch was confined overnight in the attic, which was bolted fast. In the morning when the constable came to take her to Salem for trial she was missing, although the door was still bolted. Her escape was doubtless aided by her friends, but at the time it was attributed to Satanic interference.


ALONG Crane River’s sunny slopes
Blew warm the winds of May,
And over Naumkeag’s ancient oaks
The green outgrew the gray.

The grass was green on Rial-side,
The early birds at will
Waked up the violet in its dell,
The wind-flower on its hill.

“Where go you, in your Sunday coat,
Son Andrew, tell me, pray.”
For striped perch in Wenham Lake
I go to fish to-day.”

“Unharmed of thee in Wenham Lake
The mottled perch shall be
A blue-eyed witch sits on the bank
And weaves her net for thee.

“She weaves her golden hair; she sings
Her spell-song low and faint;
The wickedest witch in Salem jail
Is to that girl a saint.”

“Nay, mother, hold thy cruel tongue;
God knows,” the young man cried,
“He never made a whiter soul
Than hers by Wenham side.

“She tends her mother sick and blind,
And every want supplies;
To her above the blessed Book
She lends her soft blue eyes.

“Her voice is glad with holy songs,
Her lips are sweet with prayer;
Go where you will, in ten miles round
Is none more good and fair.”

“Son Andrew, for the love of God
And of thy mother, stay!”
She clasped her hands, she wept aloud,
But Andrew rode away.

“O reverend sir, my Andrew’s soul
The Wenham witch has caught;
She holds him with the curled gold
Whereof her snare is wrought.

“She charms him with her great blue eyes,
She binds him with her hair;
Oh, break the spell with holy words,
Unbind him with a prayer!”

“Take heart,” the painful preacher said,
“This mischief shall not be;
The witch shall perish in her sins
And Andrew shall go free.

“Our poor Ann Putnam testifies
She saw her weave a spell,
Bare-armed, loose-haired, at full of moon,
Around a dried-up well.

“‘Spring up, O well!’ she softly sang
The Hebrew’s old refrain
(For Satan uses Bible words),
Till water flowed a-main.

“And many a goodwife heard her speak
By Wenham water words
That made the buttercups take wings
And turn to yellow birds.

“They say that swarming wild bees seek
The hive at her command;
And fishes swim to take their food
From out her dainty hand.

“Meek as she sits in meeting-time,
The godly minister
Notes well the spell that doth compel
The young men’s eyes to her.

“The mole upon her dimpled chin
Is Satan’s seal and sign;
Her lips are red with evil bread
And stain of unblest wine.

“For Tituba, my Indian, saith
At Quasycung she took
The Black Man’s godless sacrament
And signed his dreadful book.

“Last night my sore-afflicted child
Against the young witch cried.
To take her Marshal Herrick rides
Even now to Wenham side.”

The marshal in his saddle sat,
His daughter at his knee;
“I go to fetch that arrant witch,
Thy fair playmate,” quoth he.

“Her spectre walks the parsonage,
And haunts both hall and stair;
They know her by the great blue eyes
And floating gold of hair.”

“They lie, they lie, my father dear!
No foul old witch is she,
But sweet and good and crystal-pure
As Wenham waters be.”