The Witchfinder General


She’s a witch, she’s a witch,
the Witch-finder General is told.
But who is the snitch?
Why, the woman’s daughter.
She’s a witch, you can tell.
Bold as brass, she had sex
with the devil, here in Essex;
the Witch-finder General is told.
Matthew Hopkins is his name
and he doesn’t feel shame
in accusing women of sorcery
and unnatural practices.
Throws suspects in a pond,
finds them guilty if they float.
If they drown, too bad;
he will not feel sad.
To the gallows, to the gallows,
he belligerently bellows
but he put his head on the block
and now they say he’s a warlock.
Will they apply the same test
to him as he did to those wretches?
No, for him there’s no sink or swim
but death from TB will be equally grim.
© Luigi Pagano 2017


© ionicus 2020
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Ha Like it Luigi, glad the old TB got him in the end.


I seem to remember this chap being talked about on a BBC programme recently Luigi? His stately or Royal title was one he gave himself, but no one bothered about that because they thought he was doing a useful job, and also the civil war was keeping everybody distracted and less in control, or aware even, of such weird practices? Anyway, he helped revive the dwindling crow, frog, lizard, and toad populations by reducing the cauldron-kill (pre-runner of road-kill)! Hahaha!
Clever mix of rhyme and another factual story well and concisely told.


Good to read your work again, Luigi. I like this historical poem very much and like the illustration. ? omit the ‘just’ in stanza 4, penultimate line, as extraneous and doesn’t affect your rhythm (I don’t think), in fact without it the emphasis and point is more effective.

Just thoughts – enjoyed your poem as history fascinates me and these medieval tortures, often towards poor women, were beyond ghastly and unfair.

Kim x


Good to see. :^)

Adverbs can often be swept under the carpet, especially in poetry, but I know that posting here is what helps to flush out things editorially that we can’t see as authors.

Kim x

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