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John Endicott, a play by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


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SCENE: Dock Square. On one side, the tavern of the Three
Mariners. In the background, a quaint building with gables; and,
beyond it, wharves and shipping. CAPTAIN KEMPTHORN and others
seated at a table before the door. SAMUEL COLE standing near

Come, drink about! Remember Parson Melham,
And bless the man who first invented flip!

[They drink.]

Pray, Master Kempthorn, where were you last night?

On board the Swallow, Simon Kempthorn, master,
Up for Barbadoes, and the Windward Islands.

The town was in a tumult.

And for what?

Your Quakers were arrested.

How my Quakers?

These you brought in your vessel from Barbadoes.
They made an uproar in the Meeting-house
Yesterday, and they're now in prison for it.
I owe you little thanks for bringing them
To the Three Mariners.

They have not harmed you.
I tell you, Goodman Cole, that Quaker girl
Is precious as a sea-bream's eye. I tell you
It was a lucky day when first she set
Her little foot upon the Swallow's deck,
Bringing good luck, fair winds, and pleasant weather.

I am a law-abiding citizen;
I have a seat in the new Meeting-house,
A cow-right on the Common; and, besides,
Am corporal in the Great Artillery.
I rid me of the vagabonds at once.

Why should you not have Quakers at your tavern
If you have fiddlers?

Never! never! never!
If you want fiddling you must go elsewhere,
To the Green Dragon and the Admiral Vernon,
And other such disreputable places.
But the Three Mariners is an orderly house,
Most orderly, quiet, and respectable.
Lord Leigh said he could be as quiet here
As at the Governor's. And have I not
King Charles's Twelve Good Rules, all framed and glazed,
Hanging in my best parlor?

Here's a health
To good King Charles. Will you not drink the King?
Then drink confusion to old Parson Palmer.

And who is Parson Palmer? I don't know him.

He had his cellar underneath his pulpit,
And so preached o'er his liquor, just as you do.

[A drum within.]

Here comes the Marshal.

MERRY (within).
Make room for the Marshal.

How pompous and imposing he appears!
His great buff doublet bellying like a mainsail,
And all his streamers fluttering in the wind.
What holds he in his hand?

A proclamation.

[Enter the MARSHAL, with a proclamation; and MERRY, with a
halberd. They are preceded by a drummer, and followed by the
hangman, with an armful of books, and a crowd of people, among
whom are UPSALL and JOHN ENDICOTT. A pile is made of the books.]

Silence, the drum! Good citizens, attend
To the new laws enacted by the Court.

MARSHAL (reads).
"Whereas a cursed sect of Heretics
Has lately risen, commonly called Quakers,
Who take upon themselves to be commissioned
Immediately of God, and furthermore
Infallibly assisted by the Spirit
To write and utter blasphemous opinions,
Despising Government and the order of God
In Church and Commonwealth, and speaking evil
Of Dignities, reproaching and reviling
The Magistrates and Ministers, and seeking
To turn the people from their faith, and thus
Gain proselytes to their pernicious ways;--
This Court, considering the premises,
And to prevent like mischief as is wrought
By their means in our land, doth hereby order,
That whatsoever master or commander
Of any ship, bark, pink, or catch shall bring
To any roadstead, harbor, creek, or cove
Within this Jurisdiction any Quakers,
Or other blasphemous Heretics, shall pay
Unto the Treasurer of the Commonwealth
One hundred pounds, and for default thereof
Be put in prison, and continue there
Till the said sum be satisfied and paid."

Now, Simon Kempthorn, what say you to that?

I pray you, Cole, lend me a hundred pounds!

MARSHAL (reads).
"If any one within this Jurisdiction
Shall henceforth entertain, or shall conceal
Quakers or other blasphemous Heretics,
Knowing them so to be, every such person
Shall forfeit to the country forty shillings
For each hour's entertainment or concealment,
And shall be sent to prison, as aforesaid,
Until the forfeiture be wholly paid!"

[Murmurs in the crowd.]

Now, Goodman Cole, I think your turn has come!

Knowing them so to be!

At forty shillings
The hour, your fine will be some forty pounds!

Knowing them so to be! That is the law.

MARSHAL (reads).
"And it is further ordered and enacted,
If any Quaker or Quakers shall presume
To come henceforth into this Jurisdiction,
Every male Quaker for the first offence
Shall have one ear cut off; and shall be kept
At labor in the Workhouse, till such time
As he be sent away at his own charge.
And for the repetition of the offence
Shall have his other ear cut off, and then
Be branded in the palm of his right hand.
And every woman Quaker shall be whipt
Severely in three towns; and every Quaker,
Or he or she, that shall for a third time
Herein again offend, shall have their tongues
Bored through with a hot iron, and shall be
Sentenced to Banishment on pain of Death."

[Loud murmurs. The voice of CHRISTISON in the crowd.]

O patience of the Lord! How long, how long,
Ere thou avenge the blood of Thine Elect?

Silence, there, silence! Do not break the peace!

MARSHAL (reads).
"Every inhabitant of this Jurisdiction
Who shall defend the horrible opinions
Of Quakers, by denying due respect
To equals and superiors, and withdrawing
From Church Assemblies, and thereby approving
The abusive and destructive practices
Of this accursed sect, in opposition
To all the orthodox received opinions
Of godly men shall be forthwith commit ted
Unto close prison for one month; and then
Refusing to retract and to reform
The opinions as aforesaid, he shall be
Sentenced to Banishment on pain of Death.
By the Court. Edward Rawson, Secretary."
Now, hangman, do your duty. Burn those books.

[Loud murmurs in the crowd. The pile of books is lighted.]

I testify against these cruel laws!
Forerunners are they of some judgment on us;
And, in the love and tenderness I bear
Unto this town and people, I beseech you,
O Magistrates, take heed, lest ye be found
As fighters against God!

Upsall, I thank you
For speaking words such as some younger man,
I, or another, should have said before you.
Such laws as these are cruel and oppressive;
A blot on this fair town, and a disgrace
To any Christian people.

MERRY (aside, listening behind them).
Here's sedition!
I never thought that any good would come
Of this young popinjay, with his long hair
And his great boots, fit only for the Russians
Or barbarous Indians, as his father says!

Woe to the bloody town! And rightfully
Men call it the Lost Town! The blood of Abel
Cries from the ground, and at the final judgment
The Lord will say, "Cain, Cain! Where is thy brother?"

Silence there in the crowd!

UPSALL (aside).
'T is Christison!

O foolish people, ye that think to burn
And to consume the truth of God, I tell you
That every flame is a loud tongue of fire
To publish it abroad to all the world
Louder than tongues of men!

KEMPTHORN (springing to his feet).
Well said, my hearty!
There's a brave fellow! There's a man of pluck!
A man who's not afraid to say his say,
Though a whole town's against him. Rain, rain, rain,
Bones of St. Botolph, and put out this fire!

[The drum beats. Exeunt all but MERRY, KEMPTHORN, and COLE.]

And now that matter's ended, Goodman Cole,
Fetch me a mug of ale, your strongest ale.

KEMPTHORN (sitting down).
And me another mug of flip; and put
Two gills of brandy in it.
[Exit COLE.]

No; no more.
Not a drop more, I say. You've had enough.

And who are you, sir?

I'm a Tithing-man,
And Merry is my name.

A merry name!
I like it; and I'll drink your merry health
Till all is blue.

And then you will be clapped
Into the stocks, with the red letter D
Hung round about your neck for drunkenness.
You're a free-drinker,--yes, and a free-thinker!

And you are Andrew Merry, or Merry Andrew.

My name is Walter Merry, and not Andrew.

Andrew or Walter, you're a merry fellow;
I'll swear to that.

No swearing, let me tell you.
The other day one Shorthose had his tongue
Put into a cleft stick for profane swearing.

[COLE brings the ale.]

Well, where's my flip? As sure as my name's Kempthorn--

Is your name Kempthorn?

That's the name I go by.

What, Captain Simon Kempthorn of the Swallow?

No other.

MERRY (touching him on the shoulder).
Then you're wanted. I arrest you
In the King's name.

And where's your warrant?

MERRY (unfolding a paper, and reading).
Listen to me. "Hereby you are required,
In the King's name, to apprehend the body
Of Simon Kempthorn, mariner, and him
Safely to bring before me, there to answer
All such objections as are laid to him,
Touching the Quakers." Signed, John Endicott.

Has it the Governor's seal?

Ay, here it is.

Death's head and cross-bones. That's a pirate's flag!

Beware how you revile the Magistrates;
You may be whipped for that.

Then mum's the word.


There's mischief brewing! Sure, there's mischief brewing.
I feel like Master Josselyn when he found
The hornet's nest, and thought it some strange fruit,
Until the seeds came out, and then he dropped it.

Content of ACT II SCENE II [Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's play/drama: John Endicott]


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Read previous: ACT II: SCENE I

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