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were both pioneers in New England, and the fam ily home was in Newbury, Massachusetts. Here Sewall spent his boyhood, but after graduating at Harvard he first essayed preaching, and then entered upon secular pursuits, becoming a member of the government and finally chief justice. He presided at the sad trial of witches, and afterward made public confession of his error in a noble paper which was read in church before the congregation, and assented to by the judge, who stood alone as it was read and bowed at its conclusion. The paper is preserved in the first volume of the Diary of Samuel Sewall, published by the Massachusetts Historical Society. He was an upright man, of tender conscience and reverent mind. His charac ter is well drawn by the poet in lines 13- 20.]

Up and down the village streets
Strange are the forms my fancy meets,
For the thoughts and things of to-day are hid,
And through the veil of a closed lid

5 The ancient worthies I see again:
I hear the tap of the elder's cane,
And his awful periwig I see,

And the silver buckles of shoe and knee.
Stately and slow, with thoughtful air,
to His black cap hiding his whitened hair,
Walks the Judge of the great Assize,
Samuel Sewall the good and wise.
His face with lines of firmness wrought,
He wears the look of a man unbought,

15 Who swears to his hurt and changes not;
Yet, touched and softened nevertheless,
With the grace of Christian gentleness,
The face that a child would climb to kiss!
True and tender and brave and just,
20 That man might honor and woman trust.

Touching and sad, a tale is told,
Like a penitent hymn of the Psalmist old,
Of the fast which the good man lifelong kept
With a haunting sorrow that never slept,
25 As the circling year brought round the time
Of an error that left the sting of crime,

When he sat on the bench of the witchcraft


With the laws of Moses and Hale's Reports,

And spake, in the name of both, the word 30 That gave the witch's neck to the cord,

And piled the oaken planks that pressed
The feeble life from the warlock's breast!
All the day long, from dawn to dawn,

His door was bolted, his curtain drawn;

15. See Psalm xv. 4.

23. It was the custom in Sewall's time for churches and individuals to hold fasts whenever any public or private need suggested the fitness; and as state and church were very closely connected, the General Court sometimes ordered a fast; out of this custom sprang the annual fast in spring, now observed, but it is of comparatively recent date. Such a fast was ordered on the 14th of January, 1697, when Sewall made his special onfession. He is said to have observed the day privately on sach annual return thereafter. The custom still holds for

churche to appoint their own fasts.

28. Sir Matthew Hale, the great English judge, was a devout believer in the existence of witchcraft, and in 1645 a great number of trials were held before him. The reports of those trials furnished precedents for Sewall and his court, not unas. sisted by the records in the Old Testament.

35 No foot on his silent threshold trod,

No eye looked on him save that of God, As he baffled the ghosts of the dead with charms Of penitent tears, and prayers, and psalms, And, with precious proofs from the sacred word 40 Of the boundless pity and love of the Lord, His faith confirmed and his trust renewed That the sin of his ignorance, sorely rued, Might be washed away in the mingled flood Of his human sorrow and Christ's dear blood!


Green forever the memory be
Of the Judge of the old Theocracy,
Whom even his errors glorified,

Like a far-seen, sunlit mountain-side

By the cloudy shadows which o'er it glide!

50 Honor and praise to the Puritan

Who the halting step of his age outran,
And, seeing the infinite worth of man
In the priceless gift the Father gave,

In the infinite love that stooped to save,

55 Dared not brand his brother a slave!


"Who doth such wrong," he was wont to say,
In his own quaint, picture-loving way,

"Flings up to Heaven a hand-grenade
Which God shall cast down upon his head !"

Widely as heaven and hell, contrast

That brave old jurist of the past

55. In 1700 Sewall wrote a little tract of three pages on The Selling of Joseph, which has been characterized as an acute, tompact, powerful statement of the case against American slavary, leaving, indeed, almost nothing new to be said a century and a half afterward, when the sad thing came up for final adJustment." Reprinted n Mass. Hist. Society's Proceedings for 1863-1864, pp. 161-165.

And the cunning trickster and knave of courts Who the holy features of Truth distorts, Ruling as right the will of the strong, 65 Poverty, crime, and weakness wrong; Wide-eared to power, to the wronged and weak Deaf as Egypt's gods of leek; Scoffing aside at party's nod

Order of nature and law of God;

70 For whose dabbled ermine respect were waste, Reverence folly, and awe misplaced;

Justice of whom 't were vain to seek

As from Koordish robber or Syrian Sheik! Oh, leave the wretch to his bribes and sins; 75 Let him rot in the web of lies he spins! To the saintly soul of the early day, To the Christian judge, let us turn and say: "Praise and thanks for an honest man! Glory to God for the Puritan !"


I see, far southward, this quiet day,
The hills of Newbury rolling away,
With the many tints of the season gay,
Dreamily blending in autumn mist
Crimson, and gold, and amethyst.

85 Long and low, with dwarf trees crowned,
Plum Island lies, like a whale aground,

A stone's toss over the narrow sound.
Inland, as far as the eye can go,

The hills curve round like a bended bow;

90 A silver arrow from out them sprung,

I see the shine of the Quasycung;

67. There was an early belief that the Egyptians worshipped gods of leek, but it has been shown that the belief rose from tertain restrictions in the use of onions laid upon the priests, and from the offering of them as a part of sacrifice.

And, round and round, over valley and hill,
Old roads winding, as old roads will,

Here to a ferry, and there to a mill;

95 And glimpses of chimneys and gabled eaves,
Through green elm arches and maple leaves, --
Old homesteads sacred to all that can
Gladden or sadden the heart of man,

Over whose threshold of oak and stone
100 Life and Death have come and gone!
There pictured tiles in the fireplace show,
Great beams sag from the ceiling low,

The dresser glitters with polished wares,
The long clock ticks on the foot-worn stairs,
105 And the low, broad chimney shows the crack
By the earthquake made a century back.
Up from their midst springs the village spire
With the crest of its cock in the sun afire;
Beyond are orchards and planting lands,
110 And great salt marshes and glimmering sands,
And, where north and south the coastlines run
The blink of the sea in breeze and sun!

I see it all like a chart unrolled,

But my thoughts are full of the past and old,

115 I hear the tales of my boyhood told;

And the shadows and shapes of early days
Flit dimly by in the veiling haze,

With measured movement and rhythmic chime
Weaving like shuttles my web of rhyme.

120 I think of the old man wise and good
Who once on yon misty hillsides stood,.
(A poet who never measured rhyme,
A seer unknown to his dull-eared time,)

And, propped on his staff of age, looked down,

124. As a matter of fact Sewall was forty-five years old when be uttered his prophecy.

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