The Witch Of Wenham Poem Rhyme Scheme and Analysis


Along Crane River's sunny slopesB
Blew warm the winds of MayC
And over Naumkeag's ancient oaksD
The green outgrew the grayC
The grass was green on Rial sideE
The early birds at willF
Waked up the violet in its dellG
The wind flower on its hillF
'Where go you in your Sunday coatH
Son Andrew tell me pray '-
For striped perch in Wenham LakeI
I go to fish to day '-
'Unharmed of thee in Wenham LakeI
The mottled perch shall beJ
A blue eyed witch sits on the bankK
And weaves her net for theeJ
'She weaves her golden hair she singsL
Her spell song low and faintM
The wickedest witch in Salem jailN
Is to that girl a saint '-
'Nay mother hold thy cruel tongueO
God knows ' the young man criedE
'He never made a whiter soulP
Than hers by Wenham sideE
'She tends her mother sick and blindQ
And every want suppliesR
To her above the blessed BookS
She lends her soft blue eyesR
'Her voice is glad with holy songsT
Her lips are sweet with prayerU
Go where you will in ten miles roundV
Is none more good and fair '-
'Son Andrew for the love of GodW
And of thy mother stay '-
She clasped her hands she wept aloudX
But Andrew rode awayC
'O reverend sir my Andrew's soulP
The Wenham witch has caughtY
She holds him with the curled goldZ
Whereof her snare is wroughtA2
'She charms him with her great blue eyesR
She binds him with her hairU
Oh break the spell with holy wordsB2
Unbind him with a prayer '-
'Take heart ' the painful preacher saidC2
'This mischief shall not beJ
The witch shall perish in her sinsD2
And Andrew shall go freeJ
'Our poor Ann Putnam testifiesR
She saw her weave a spellG
Bare armed loose haired at full of moonE2
Around a dried up wellG
''Spring up O well ' she softly sangF2
The Hebrew's old refrainG2
For Satan uses Bible wordsB2
Till water flowed a mainG2
'And many a goodwife heard her speakH2
By Wenham water wordsB2
That made the buttercups take wingsL
And turn to yellow birdsB2
'They say that swarming wild bees seekH2
The hive at her commandI2
And fishes swim to take their foodJ2
From out her dainty handI2
'Meek as she sits in meeting timeK2
The godly ministerL2
Notes well the spell that doth compelG
The young men's eyes to herL2
'The mole upon her dimpled chinM2
Is Satan's seal and signN2
Her lips are red with evil breadC2
And stain of unblest wineN2
'For Tituba my Indian saithJ
At Quasycung she tookS
The Black Man's godless sacramentO2
And signed his dreadful bookS
'Last night my sore afflicted childP2
Against the young witch criedE
To take her Marshal Herrick ridesQ2
Even now to Wenham side '-
The marshal in his saddle satR2
His daughter at his kneeJ
'I go to fetch that arrant witchS2
Thy fair playmate ' quoth heJ
'Her spectre walks the parsonageT2
And haunts both hall and stairU
They know her by the great blue eyesR
And floating gold of hair '-
'They lie they lie my father dearU2
No foul old witch is sheJ
But sweet and good and crystal pureV2
As Wenham waters be '-
'I tell thee child the Lord hath setW2
Before us good and illF
And woe to all whose carnal lovesX2
Oppose His righteous willF
'Between Him and the powers of hellG
Choose thou my child to dayC
No sparing hand no pitying eyeA
When God commands to slay '-
He went his way the old wives shookS
With fear as he drew nighA
The children in the dooryards heldY2
Their breath as he passed byA
Too well they knew the gaunt gray horseZ2
The grim witch hunter rodeA3
The pale Apocalyptic beastB3
By grisly Death bestrodeA3
Oh fair the face of Wenham LakeI
Upon the young girl's shoneC3
Her tender mouth her dreaming eyesR
Her yellow hair outblownC3
By happy youth and love attunedD3
To natural harmoniesE3
The singing birds the whispering windQ
She sat beneath the treesE3
Sat shaping for her bridal dressF3
Her mother's wedding gownC3
When lo the marshal writ in handI2
From Alford hill rode downC3
His face was hard with cruel fearU2
He grasped the maiden's handsG3
'Come with me unto Salem townC3
For so the law commands '-
'Oh let me to my mother sayC
Farewell before I go '-
He closer tied her little handsG3
Unto his saddle bowH3
'Unhand me ' cried she piteouslyG
'For thy sweet daughter's sake '-
'I'll keep my daughter safe ' he saidC2
'From the witch of Wenham Lake '-
'Oh leave me for my mother's sakeI
She needs my eyes to see '-
'Those eyes young witch the crows shall peckI3
From off the gallows tree '-
He bore her to a farm house oldZ
And up its stairway longJ3
And closed on her the garret doorK3
With iron bolted strongJ3
The day died out the night came downC3
Her evening prayer she saidC2
While through the dark strange faces seemedL3
To mock her as she prayedM3
The present horror deepened allG
The fears her childhood knewC3
The awe wherewith the air was filledN3
With every breath she drewC3
And could it be she trembling askedO3
Some secret thought or sinC3
Had shut good angels from her heartP3
And let the bad ones inC3
Had she in some forgotten dreamQ3
Let go her hold on HeavenC3
And sold herself unwittinglyG
To spirits unforgivenC3
Oh weird and still the dark hours passedR3
No human sound she heardS3
But up and down the chimney stackT3
The swallows moaned and stirredS3
And o'er her with a dread surmiseR
Of evil sight and soundV
The blind bats on their leathern wingsL
Went wheeling round and roundV
Low hanging in the midnight skyA
Looked in a half faced moonC3
Was it a dream or did she hearU3
Her lover's whistled tuneC3
She forced the oaken scuttle backT3
A whisper reached her earU3
'Slide down the roof to me ' it saidC2
'So softly none may hear '-
She slid along the sloping roofV3
Till from its eaves she hungO
And felt the loosened shingles yieldW3
To which her fingers clungO
Below her lover stretched his handsG3
And touched her feet so smallG
'Drop down to me dear heart ' he saidC2
'My arms shall break the fall '-
He set her on his pillion softX3
Her arms about him twinedQ
And noiseless as if velvet shodW
They left the house behindQ
But when they reached the open wayC
Full free the rein he castR3
Oh never through the mirk midnightY3
Rode man and maid more fastR3
Along the wild wood paths they spedC2
The bridgeless streams they swamZ3
At set of moon they passed the BassA4
At sunrise AgawamB4
At high noon on the MerrimacT3
The ancient ferrymanC3
Forgot at times his idle oarsC4
So fair a freight to scanC3
And when from off his grounded boatH
He saw them mount and rideE
'God keep her from the evil eyeA
And harm of witch ' he criedE
The maiden laughed as youth will laughD4
At all its fears gone byA
'He does not know ' she whispered lowG
'A little witch am I '-
All day he urged his weary horseZ2
And in the red sundownC3
Drew rein before a friendly doorK3
In distant Berwick townC3
A fellow feeling for the wrongedE4
The Quaker people feltF4
And safe beside their kindly hearthsG4
The hunted maiden dweltF4
Until from off its breast the landI2
The haunting horror threwC3
And hatred born of ghastly dreamsH4
To shame and pity grewC3
Sad were the year's spring morns and sadI4
Its golden summer dayC
But blithe and glad its withered fieldsJ4
And skies of ashen grayC
For spell and charm had power no moreK3
The spectres ceased to roamK4
And scattered households knelt againC3
Around the hearths of homeK4
And when once more by Beaver DamZ3
The meadow lark outsangT3
And once again on all the hillsL4
The early violets sprangT3
And all the windy pasture slopesB
Lay green within the armsM4
Of creeks that bore the salted seaG
To pleasant inland farmsM4
The smith filed off the chains he forgedN4
The jail bolts backward fellG
And youth and hoary age came forthJ
Like souls escaped from hellG

John Greenleaf Whittier


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