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Seacoast Poems of John Albee


(New Castle, N. H., 1683
see author’s note below)

How thick the devils are around us!
Good Lord, deliver us and save !
Our sins, our guilt, and shame have found us ;
Good Lord, must Satan dig our grave?
Thou knowest, Lord, our pinfold ever
Owned none but saints in the first flock;
But now the wicked come and sever
The sweetest pasture and best stock.
So, Lord, Thou hast sent us trials sore,
Yea, stone-throwing imps! And we fear
Of Thy wrath to see some vials more,
And that Thy grace be never near.


Let Goodman Walton sin no farther,
In whose house, preachers, Thy chosen ones,
Oft warm their hearts with Old Jamaica—
' T was there the Devil threw the stones !
Plunge Walt Barefoot in his own ditches !
Send pious captains to our Fort;
Thou know'st how he saved those three witches,
And haled Thy servant to his court.
Let not our Governor work more evils,
Vaporing that our Church has come
Of sand, so rocks are sent by devils—
In mercy, Lord, send Cranfield home!
Pull down all scoffers in high places,
And let Jehovah rule this Town;
Be no long hair nor women's graces,
But let them dress in homespun gown.

And as Thou never canst take pleasure
In costly temple's idol ware,
Let all our Churches plainness measure,
And nothing help, or hinder prayer.
Keep in the Church's fold the chosen—
But sinners must pay tithes and dues
And that our faith be never frozen,
Seat all the righteous in front pews.
So goats from sheep be always sundered,
And chaff from wheat be always blown;
And when Thy fold is called and numbered,
Give Thou the Devil all his own.
But do with us as Thine own choice is ;
Yet here we 'd see Thy vengeance fall
On some we know !—in their offices
The brethren and their friends install.

Build Thou here the New Jerusalem!
Thy will be done on friend and foe!
But Thy saints, with comfort pay them;
Let come Thy reign—and Cranfield's g'

Notes to the previous two poems by the author

—About the close of the iyth century the people of New Castle, N. H., were sorely troubled by what they called a stonethrowing devil. The house of one George Walton, a few bricks of which the plough sometimes discovers, was the shining mark of the tormentor. Some said it was the work of boys ; others, a threatening, and punishment of the sins of the people. They who stood for the latter cause, did not mean, by the people, themselves, but the adherents of the Church of England, and in especial Gov. Cranfield and Walter Barefoot, Captain of the Fort. The former was strenuous for canonical sacraments ; and Capt. Walter Barefoot, the most interesting figure in N. H. provincial history, was a merry man, a disbeliever in witchcraft, and had rescued three accused witches from the hands of Puritan persecutors. Parson Moody led the assault against the devil and his doings, with which he confused, in the most approved manner, the actions of Cranfield and Barefoot, until it was far from plain which was which. The contest was hot on both sides ; the stone-throwing mischief grew bolder and bolder, until it continued through the day as well as night. Goodman Walton and his family were almost distracted . so was Parson Moody. Everybody prayed with unction, but it was more than hinted that it was all in vain so long as Barefoot had charge of the six brass pieces at the Fort, and Cranfield kept hung up in the Council Chamber the ritual of the English Church. These effectually barred the passage of all devout petitions. The excitement was great and extended through this and the neighboring province of Massachusetts. It is noticed by the writers of the time ; and Richard Chamberlain, Secretary of this province, after his return to England, wrote and printed in London, a very curious and detailed account of the " StoneThrowing Devil of New Castle," or, " Lithobolia" This little pamphlet is now very rare; only two copies of it are known of in this country—one, imperfect, in Harv. Coll. Library, the other in possession of Chas. Deane, Esq., of Cambridge.]



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