From New England Magazine

Molly Webster.1

By Julia Taft Bayne.

Heard ye e'er of Molly Webster, Molly Webster ye Hadley witch?
Heavie her Curse hath layn vpon Hadley, feered on by Poore & Riche.
Sold is shee, bodie & Spirit to Sathan, & worketh hys Will;
For our God's hid Purpose, doubtless, is shee suffered to doe vs Il.
Shee hath caled ye Thunder from Heaven & fyre yt was lytt in Helle;
Burn'd ye homs & Barne of her neighbor, shee Laughed for it pleas'd her wel.
She hath cast a Spel on ye Cattel yt they sould not passe her Doore,
A great Load of Haye from ye Meddowe she turn'd wh a Finger o'er!
Ye bould Carter threat'd her with hys Whippe, "For surelie God is fayn
To holp mee before a witch," sayd he, & shee turn'd it vp agen.
By'r Word ye sleeping Infant hath binn Raysed from its Cradel Bedd,
Vntouch'd of mortall hands wee have seen it wafted in Ayer o'er head!
Shee hath noe feer of ye Salvage for they sarve ye same euil Lord;
Oft, in ye guyse of a Walleneag2 hee hath feasted att her Board.
A black Henn flewe down our chimnie, & scalded itself in ye Pott;
Come Morn, goodwife Webster is scalded; wheyr got shee ye Burne? God wot!
Ye Lawe of our God, yea of our Land allows not a Witch to live;
We send her to Boston, to Generall Court, yt they might a Judgment giue;
But they Deem'd ye Charge not Prooven, tho ye Truth was wh payns layd bare; -
(Pray God it was not for her bright black eyes & her long curling hayr!)
Shee hath cost ye Town full threescore Pounds & now shee is heer agayne,
To laye a Blite on ye Rie, shee sayth, & to staye ye needful Rayn;
Yet moyer, our neighbor Philip Smith, she hath layd on a paynful bedd,
Vext by an hideous Witchcraft, hee wishes, nay longs to bee Dead!
By tymes he hath rapturous Uision, & Cryeth inn feruant Prayr,
"Lord, staie Thy hand, for ys is moyer than Thy frayl Seruant mae bear!"
More oft with dyre Groanings and Tears, he wallows in myre of ye Ditch
Digged for hys soul by yt own daughter of Sathan, ye Hadley witch!
Ye healthful Potions ye Chirurgeon sends from ye gallipots Power out,
Ye bedd vpheaues, ye homs is shaken, & ye stooles are hvrl'd aboute.
Hee dy'd in ye Night, they say, prayse God, she may neuer vex him mower!
(Ye bodie bled, & ye black catt mewed, yt Morn when shee passt his Doore!)
Pray Christian peple who heere ys Tayl, whoever ye may bee,
Pray for ye Peece of Hadley, for sorely try'd are wee!
Pray yt our godly Ministers, wh Fast proclaymed & Prayer,
May from Sathan's the old Land lords'3 clutch thys fayre New England tear!
Yea thus hee kicks agaynst the pricks & hys Imps groe ouer Bold,
As he sees yt land passe from his Power wh hee hath ouned of ould!
God keep vs alle from Salvages, God keep vs alle from Worse;—
Ye Idyl Sport of wicked FRIENDS & Molly Webster's curse!


1 Mary Webster, of Hadley, "a notable witch," was examined in Boston gaol before the Governor and Assistants, eleven years before the excitement at Salem, accused of bewitching the cattle, blighting the crops, etc. She was acquitted and returned with threats of revenge. The mysterious death of Lieut. Smith, "a selectman for the Affayres of the Toun," was laid at her door. The story is told by cotton Mather in the "Magnalia."
2 The Walleneag was the fisher, or black cat of the woods. Fisher Cats can be pretty vicious and are still found in rural towns of Massachusetts, such as Wendell.
3 Dr. Increase Mather called Satan "The old landlord and owner of America."

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