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Of thy fine tricks. What hast thou done? let's
Saw. Ho, ho, my dainty,
Dog. The maid has been churning butter nine hours, but it shall not come.
Saw. Let 'em eat cheese and choke.
Dog. I had rare sport
Saw. I could dance
cliffe, Who for a little soap lick'd by my sow, Struck, and almost had lamed it;—did not I charge
thee To pinch that scold to th' heart?
Dog. Bow, wow, wow! look here else.
Enter Ann RATCLIFFE mad.
Ann. See, see, see! the man i' th' moon has built a new windmill, and what running there is from all quarters of the city to learn the art of grinding ! Saw. Ho, ho, ho! I thank thee, my sweet mon
grel. Ann. Hoyda! out on the devil's false hopper ! all the golden meal runs into the rich knaves'
purses, and the poor have nothing but bran. Hey derry down! are not you mother Sawyer ?
Saw. No, I am a lawyer.
Ann. Art thou ? I prithee let me scratch thy face ; for thy pen has flay'd off a great many men's skins. You'll have brave doings in the vacation ; for knaves and fools are at variance in every village. I'll sue mother Sawyer, and her own sow shall give in evidence against
her. San. Touch her. [To the Dog, who rubs against
her. Ann. Oh! my ribs are made of a paned hose, and they break.* There's a Lancashire hornpipe in my throat; hark, how it tickles it with doodle, doodle, doodle, doodle! welcome, serjeants! welcome, devil! hands, hands! hold hands, and dance a-round, a-round, a-round.
Re-enter Old BANKS, CUDDY, RATCLIFFE, and
Rat. She's here; alas! my poor wife is here.
Banks. Catch her fast, and have her into sorne close chamber, do ; for she's as many wives are, stark mad.
Cud. The witch! mother Sawyer, the witch, the devil ! Rat. Oh, my dear wife! help, sirs !
[She is carried off
*Oh! my ribs are made of a paned hose, and they break.] Paned hose were composed of stripes (panels) of different coloured stuff stitched together, and therefore liable to break, or be seam-rent.-GIFFORD.
Banks. You see your work, mother Bumby.*
run mad, Is the work mine?
Cud. No, on my conscience, she would not hurt a devil of two years old.
How now? what's become of her ?
Rat. Nothing; she's become nothing, but the miserable trunk of a wretched woman. in her hands as reeds in a mighty tempest: spite of our strengths, away she brake; and nothing in her mouth being heard, but “the devil, the witch, the witch, the devil !" she beat out her own brains, and so diedt.
* You see your work, mother Bumby.] Farmer Banks is very familiar with the names of our old plays.
Mother Bombie is the title of one of Lyly's comedies, of which she is the heroine; as is Gammer Gurton (as he calls the witch just below) of the farcical drama which takes its name from her and her needle. --GIFFORD.
+ If high ecclesiastical authority may be believed, the wits of much higher persons than Nan Radcliffe had been put in jeopardy by the practices of the Mother Sawyers of the day. In a sermon preached before Queen Elizabeth in 1558, by Bishop Jewel, her Majesty was told,“ it may please your grace to understand that witches and sorcerers, within these four last years, are marvellously increased within your grace's realm. Your subjects pine away even unto death their colour fadeth, their speech is benumbed, their senses are bereft; I
pray God they never practise farther than upon the subject.' That such language could have proceeded from such a man as Bishop Jewel will be incredible only to those, who know not the terror which witchcraft had excited in England for whole centuries, or who are unacquainted with the numerous works
Cud. It's any man's case, be he never so wise, to die when his brains go a wool-gathering.
Banks. Masters, be ruled by me; let's all to a Justice. Hag, thou hast done this, and thou shalt answer it.
Saw. Banks, I defy thee.
Banks. Get a warrant first to examine her, then ship her to Newgate ; here's enough, if all her other villanies were pardon'd, to burn her for a witch. You have a spirit, they say, comes to you in the on sorcery and witchcraft which came from the press during the reigns of Elizabeth and James, many of them drawn up by profound and elaborate scholars. To whichever of these two reigns the disgrace of theorising on this subject may most fairly be ascribed, the infamy of its practical consequences pre-eminently belongs to the Puritans and fanatics of the succeeding age.
It was then that the notorious Hopkins, that monster of stupidity and blood, as the late editor of Ford justly terms him, was let loose upon the public, and the land deluged with the blood of harmless creatures, whose greatest crimes were their age, their poverty, or their infirmity. Zachary Grey affirms, that he had seen a list of those who suffered for witchcraft during the Presbyterian domination of the Long Parliament, amounting to more than three thousand names !" and from the manner in which the transactions of the day are recorded by Whitelocke, the parliamentary commissioner, where the burning of a dozen or a score of witches is mentioned as an ordinary occurrence, exciting less emotion apparently in the writer's mind, than the destruction of so many weasels, the statement of Grey would seem to be little, if any thing, exaggerated..... Since this note was written, the subject has passed into the hands of a writer, of whom it is difficult to say whether power or fecundity is the most remarkable property of his pen. To that volume the reader is referred for
any further knowledge which may be required for ascertaining the opinions of our ancestors on the subject of witchcraft and demonology, and of seeing how far those opinions were checked or encouraged by the writers for the stage.
likeness of a dog ; we shall see your cur at one time or other: if we do, unless it be the devil himself, he shall go howling to the gaol in one chain, and thou in another.
Dog. Bow, wow, wow, wow !
Cud. The voice of a dog ? so am I a dog: bow, wow, wow! It was I that bark'd so, father, to make coxcombs of these clowns.
Banks. However, we'll be coxcomb'd no longer : away, therefore, to the justice for a warrant; and then, Gammer Gurton, have at your needle of witchcraft. San. And prick thine own eyes out. Go, peevish fools ! [Exeunt Banks, Rat. and
Countrymen. Cud. Ningle, you had like to have spoil'd all with your bow-ings. I was glad to put them off with one of my dog-tricks, on a sudden ; I am bewitched, little Cost-me-nought, to love thee,-out on't,—that morrice makes me spit in thy mouth.I dare not stay; farewell, ningle ; farewell witch !
[Exit. Dog. Bow, wow, wow,
Saw. Mind him not, he's not worth thy worrying; Run at a fairer game : that foul-mouth'd knight, Scurvy Sir Arthur, fly at him, my Tommy, And pluck out's throat. Dog. No, there's a dog already biting,—his
conscience. Saw. That's a sure blood-hound. Come let's
home and play ; Our black work ended, we'll make holiday.