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Full Online Book HomePlaysGiles Corey Of The Salem Farms - ACT I - SCENE I
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Giles Corey Of The Salem Farms - ACT I - SCENE I Post by :geoall28 Category :Plays Author :Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Date :June 2011 Read :1345

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Giles Corey Of The Salem Farms - ACT I - SCENE I

ACT I: SCENE I


SCENE: The woods near Salem Village.

(Enter TITUBA, with a basket of herbs.)

TITUBA.
Here's monk's-hood, that breeds fever in the blood;
And deadly nightshade, that makes men see ghosts;
And henbane, that will shake them with convulsions;
And meadow-saffron and black hellebore,
That rack the nerves, and puff the skin with dropsy;
And bitter-sweet, and briony, and eye-bright,
That cause eruptions, nosebleed, rheumatisms;
I know them, and the places where they hide
In field and meadow; and I know their secrets,
And gather them because they give me power
Over all men and women. Armed with these,
I, Tituba, an Indian and a slave,
Am stronger than the captain with his sword,
Am richer than the merchant with his money,
Am wiser than the scholar with his books,
Mightier than Ministers and Magistrates,
With all the fear and reverence that attend them!
For I can fill their bones with aches and pains,
Can make them cough with asthma, shake with palsy,
Can make their daughters see and talk with ghosts,
Or fall into delirium and convulsions;
I have the Evil Eye, the Evil Hand;
A touch from me and they are weak with pain,
A look from me, and they consume and die.
The death of cattle and the blight of corn,
The shipwreck, the tornado, and the fire,--
These are my doings, and they know it not.
Thus I work vengeance on mine enemies
Who, while they call me slave, are slaves to me!

(Exit TITUBA. Enter MATHER, booted and spurred, with a
riding-whip in his hand.)

MATHER.
Methinks that I have come by paths unknown
Into the land and atmosphere of Witches;
For, meditating as I journeyed on,
Lo! I have lost my way! If I remember
Rightly, it is Scribonius the learned
That tells the story of a man who, praying
For one that was possessed by Evil Spirits,
Was struck by Evil Spirits in the face;
I, journeying to circumvent the Witches,
Surely by Witches have been led astray.
I am persuaded there are few affairs
In which the Devil doth not interfere.
We cannot undertake a journey even,
But Satan will be there to meddle with it
By hindering or by furthering. He hath led me
Into this thicket, struck me in the face
With branches of the trees, and so entangled
The fetlocks of my horse with vines and brambles,
That I must needs dismount, and search on foot
For the lost pathway leading to the village.

(Re-enter TITUBA.)

What shape is this? What monstrous apparition,
Exceeding fierce, that none may pass that way?
Tell me, good woman, if you are a woman--

TITUBA.
I am a woman, but I am not good,
I am a Witch!

MATHER.
Then tell me, Witch and woman,
For you must know the pathways through this wood,
Where lieth Salem Village?

TITUBA.
Reverend sir,
The village is near by. I'm going there
With these few herbs. I'll lead you. Follow me.

MATHER.
First say, who are you? I am loath to follow
A stranger in this wilderness, for fear
Of being misled, and left in some morass.
Who are you?

TITUBA.
I am Tituba the Witch,
Wife of John Indian.

MATHER.
You are Tituba?
I know you then. You have renounced the Devil,
And have become a penitent confessor,
The Lord be praised! Go on, I'll follow you.
Wait only till I fetch my horse, that stands
Tethered among the trees, not far from here.

TITUBA.
Let me get up behind you, reverend sir.

MATHER.
The Lord forbid! What would the people think,
If they should see the Reverend Cotton Mather
Ride into Salem with a Witch behind him?
The Lord forbid!

TITUBA.
I do not need a horse!
I can ride through the air upon a stick,
Above the tree-tops and above the houses,
And no one see me, no one overtake me.
(Exeunt.)

Content of ACT I SCENE I (Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's play/drama: Giles Corey of the Salem Farms)

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PROLOGUEDelusions of the days that once have been,Witchcraft and wonders of the world unseen,Phantoms of air, and necromantic artsThat crushed the weak and awed the stoutest hearts,--These are our theme to-night; and vaguely here,Through the dim mists that crowd the atmosphere,We draw the outlines of weird figures castIn shadow on the background of the Past,Who would believe that in the quiet townOf Salem, and, amid the woods that crownThe neighboring hillsides, and the sunny farmsThat fold it safe in their paternal arms,--Who would believe that in those peaceful streets,Where the great elms shut out the summer heats,Where quiet reigns, and breathes
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