Lithograph of the Salem Witch Trials


Susannah Martin was a witch who dwelt in Amesbury
With brilliant eye and salty tongue she worked her sorcery
And when unto the bishop’s gate the sheriffs brought her hither
The lilacs drooped as she passed by, and men were seen to shiver

A witch she was though trim and neat with comely head held high
It did not seem that such as she with Satan so would vie
And when in court the afflicted ones proclaimed her evil ways
She laughed aloud, and boldly mocked, at Cotton Mather’s gaze

“Who hath bewitched these maids?” he asked, and strong was her reply
“If they be dealing in black arts, ye know as well as I!”
And then the stricken ones made moan, as she approached near
They saw her shape upon the beam, so none could doubt twas there

Her neighbors vowed as to the truth of her satanic powers
That she could fly o’er land and stream, and come dry shod through showers
At night, they said, she had appeared a cat of fearsome mien
“Avoid, she devil!” they had cried, to keep their spirits clean

The spectral evidence was weighed, then stern the parson spoke
“Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live, tis written in the book!”
Susannah Martin, so accused, spoke with flaming eye
“I scorn these things, for they are nought but filthy gossips’ lies!”

Now those bewitched, they cried aloud, and round their voice did ring
They saw a bird above her head, an evil yellow thing
And so beneath the summer sky, Susannah Martin died -
but still in scorn she faced the rope; her comely head held high

–Traditional, learnt from Clishmaclaver; thanks, Brooke and Jen! Best served with lashings of banjo.

Those poor men in that litho! The wicked witch seems to have stolen both their manhood and their sense of balance.

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