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The prophecy of Samuel Sewall.

The prose version of this prophecy is to be found in Sewall's The New Heaven upon the New Earth, 1697, quoted in Joshua Coffin's History of Newbury. Judge Sewall's father, Henry Sewall, was one of the pioneers of Newbury.

up and down the village streets
Strange are the forms my fancy meets,
For the thoughts and things of to-day are hid,
And through the veil of a closed lid
The ancient worthies I see again:
I hear the tap of the elder's cane,
And his awful periwig I see,
And the silver buckles of shoe and knee.
Stately and slow, with thoughtful air,
His black cap hiding his swhitened hair,
Walks the Judge of the great Assize,
Samuel Sewall the good and wise.
His face with lines of firmness wrought,
He wears the look of a man unbought,
Who swears to his hurt and changes not;
Yet, touched and softened nevertheless
With the grace of Christian gentleness,
The face that a child would climb to kiss!
True and tender and brave and just,
That man might honor and woman trust.

Touching and sad, a tale is told,
Like a penitent hymn of the Psalmist old,
Of the fast which the good man lifelong kept1
With a haunting sorrow that never slept,
As the circling year brought round the time
Of an error that left the sting of crime,

1 It was the custom in Sewall's time for churches and individuals to hold fasts whenever any public or private need suggested the fitness; and as state and church were very closely connected, the General Court sometimes ordered a fast. Out of this custom sprang the annual fast in spring, now observed, but it is of comparatively recent date. Such a fast was ordered on the 14th of January, 1697, when Sewall made his special confession of guilt in condemning innocent persons under the supposition that they were witches. He is said to have observed the day privately on each annual return thereafter.

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