Stephen Vincent Benet

Cotton Mather


Grim Cotton Mather 
Was always seeing witches, 
Daylight, moonlight, 
They buzzed about his head, 
Pinching him and plaguing him 
With aches and pains and stitches, 
Witches in his pulpit, 
Witches by his bed. 

Nowadays, nowadays, 
We'd say that he was crazy, 
But everyone believed him 
In old Salem town 
And nineteen people 
Were hanged for Salem witches 
Because of Cotton Mather 
And his long, black gown. 

Old Cotton Mather 
Didn't die happy. 
He could preach and thunder, 
He could fast and pray, 
But men began to wonder 
If there had been witches--- 
When he walked in the streets 
Men looked the other way.