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The Complete Poetical Works of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Part 20 out of 31

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What are those torches,
That glimmer on Brook Kedron there below us?

It is some marriage feast; the joyful maidens
Go out to meet the bridegroom.

I am weary.
The struggles of this day have overcome me.

They sleep.

CHRISTUS, falling on his face.
Father! all things are possible to thee,--
Oh let this cup pass from me! Nevertheless
Not as I will, but as thou wilt, be done!

Returning to the Disciples.

What! could ye not watch with me for one hour?
Oh watch and pray, that ye may enter not
Into temptation. For the spirit indeed
Is willing, but the flesh is weak!

It is for sorrow that our eyes are heavy.--
I see again the glimmer of those torches
Among the olives; they are coming hither.

Outside the garden wall the path divides;
Surely they come not hither.

They sleep again.

CHRISTUS, as before.
O my Father!
If this cup may not pass away from me,
Except I drink of it, thy will be done.

Returning to the Disciples.

Sleep on; and take your rest!

Beloved Master,
Alas! we know not what to answer thee!
It is for sorrow that our eves are heavy.--
Behold, the torches now encompass us.

They do but go about the garden wall,
Seeking for some one, or for something lost.

They sleep again.

CHRISTUS, as before.
If this cup may not pass away from me,
Except I drink of it, thy will be done.

Returning to the Disciples.

It is enough! Behold, the Son of Man
Hath been betrayed into the hands of sinners!
The hour is come. Rise up, let us be going;
For he that shall betray me is at hand.

Ah me! See, from his forehead, in the torchlight,
Great drops of blood are falling to the ground!

What lights are these? What torches glare and glisten
Upon the swords and armor of these men?
And there among them Judas Iscariot!

He smites the servant of the High-Priest with his sword.

Put up thy sword into its sheath; for they
That take the sword shall perish with the sword.
The cup my Father hath given me to drink,
Shall I not drink it? Think'st thou that I cannot
Pray to my Father, and that he shall give me
More than twelve legions of angels presently!

JUDAS to CHRISTUS, kissing him.
Hail, Master! hail!

Friend, wherefore art thou come?
Whom seek ye?

Jesus of Nazareth.

I am he.
Are ye come hither as against a thief,
With swords and staves to take me? When I daily
Was with you in the Temple, ye stretched forth
No hands to take me! But this is your hour,
And this the power of darkness. If ye seek
Me only, let these others go their way.

The Disciples depart. CHRISTUS is bound and led away. A certain
young man follows him, having a linen cloth cast about his
body. They lay hold of him, and the young man flees from them



What do we? Clearly something must we do,
For this man worketh many miracles.

I am informed that he is a mechanic;
A carpenter's son; a Galilean peasant,
Keeping disreputable company.

The people say that here in Bethany
He hath raised up a certain Lazarus,
Who had been dead three days.

There is no resurrection of the dead;
This Lazarus should be taken, and put to death
As an impostor. If this Galilean
Would be content to stay in Galilee,
And preach in country towns, I should not heed him.
But when he comes up to Jerusalem
Riding in triumph, as I am informed,
And drives the money-changers from the Temple,
That is another matter.

If we thus
Let him alone, all will believe on him,
And then the Romans come and take away
Our place and nation.

Ye know nothing at all.
Simon Ben Camith, my great predecessor,
On whom be peace! would have dealt presently
With such a demagogue. I shall no less.
The man must die. Do ye consider not
It is expedient that one man should die,
Not the whole nation perish? What is death?
It differeth from sleep but in duration.
We sleep and wake again; an hour or two
Later or earlier, and it matters not,
And if we never wake it matters not;
When we are in our graves we are at peace,
Nothing can wake us or disturb us more.
There is no resurrection.

O most faithful
Disciple of Hircanus Maccabaeus,
Will nothing but complete annihilation
Comfort and satisfy thee?

While ye are talking
And plotting, and contriving how to take him,
Fearing the people, and so doing naught,
I, who fear not the people, have been acting;
Have taken this Prophet, this young Nazarene,
Who by Beelzebub the Prince of devils
Casteth out devils, and doth raise the dead,
That might as well be dead, and left in peace.
Annas my father-in-law hath sent him hither.
I hear the guard. Behold your Galilean!

CHRISTUS is brought in bound.

SERVANT, in the vestibule.
Why art thou up so late, my pretty damsel?

Why art thou up so early, pretty man?
It is not cock-crow yet, and art thou stirring?

What brings thee here?

What brings the rest of you?

Come here and warm thy hands.

Art thou not
One of this man's also disciples?

I am not.

Now surely thou art also one of them;
Thou art a Galilean, and thy speech
Betrayeth thee.

Woman, I know him not!

CAIAPHAS to CHRISTUS, in the Hall.
Who art thou? Tell us plainly of thyself
And of thy doctrines, and of thy disciples.

Lo, I have spoken openly to the world,
I have taught ever in the Synagogue,
And in the Temple, where the Jews resort
In secret have said nothing. Wherefore then
Askest thou me of this? Ask them that heard me
What I have said to them. Behold, they know
What I have said!

OFFICER, striking him,
What, fellow! answerest thou
The High-Priest so?

If I have spoken evil,
Bear witness of the evil; but if well,
Why smitest thou me?

Where are the witnesses?
Let them say what they know.

We heard him say:
I will destroy this Temple made with hands,
And will within three days build up another
Made without hands.

He is o'erwhelmed with shame
And cannot answer!

Dost thou answer nothing?
What is this thing they witness here against thee?

He holds his peace.

Tell us, art thou the Christ?
I do adjure thee by the living God,
Tell us, art thou indeed the Christ?

I am.
Hereafter shall ye see the Son of Man
Sit on the right hand of the power of God,
And come in clouds of heaven!

CAIAPHAS, rending his clothes.
It is enough.
He hath spoken blasphemy! What further need
Have we of witnesses? Now ye have heard
His blasphemy. What think ye? Is he guilty?

Guilty of death!

KINSMAN OF MALCHUS to PETER in the vestibule.
Surely I know thy face,
Did I not see thee in the garden with him?

How couldst thou see me? I swear unto thee
I do not know this man of whom ye speak!

The cock crows.

Hark! the cock crows! That sorrowful, pale face
Seeks for me in the crowd, and looks at me,
As if He would remind me of those words:
Ere the cock crow thou shalt deny me thrice!

Goes out weeping. CHRISTUS is blindfolded and buffeted.

AN OFFICER, striking him with his palm.
Prophesy unto us, thou Christ, thou Prophet!
Who is it smote thee?

Lead him unto Pilate!



Wholly incomprehensible to me,
Vainglorious, obstinate, and given up
To unintelligible old traditions,
And proud, and self-conceited are these Jews!
Not long ago, I marched the legions
Down from Caesarea to their winter-quarters
Here in Jerusalem, with the effigies
Of Caesar on their ensigns, and a tumult
Arose among these Jews, because their Law
Forbids the making of all images!
They threw themselves upon the ground with wild
Expostulations, bared their necks, and cried
That they would sooner die than have their Law
Infringed in any manner; as if Numa
Were not as great as Moses, and the Laws
Of the Twelve Tables as their Pentateuch!

And then, again, when I desired to span
Their valley with an aqueduct, and bring
A rushing river in to wash the city
And its inhabitants,--they all rebelled
As if they had been herds of unwashed swine!
Thousands and thousands of them got together
And raised so great a clamor round my doors,
That, fearing violent outbreak, I desisted,
And left them to their wallowing in the mire.

And now here comes the reverend Sanhedrim
Of lawyers, priests, and Scribes and Pharisees,
Like old and toothless mastiffs, that can bark
But cannot bite, howling their accusations
Against a mild enthusiast, who hath preached
I know not what new doctrine, being King
Of some vague kingdom in the other world,
That hath no more to do with Rome and Caesar
Than I have with the patriarch Abraham!
Finding this man to be a Galilean
I sent him straight to Herod, and I hope
That is the last of it; but if it be not,
I still have power to pardon and release him,
As is the custom at the Passover,
And so accommodate the matter smoothly,
Seeming to yield to them, yet saving him,
A prudent and sagacious policy
For Roman Governors in the Provinces.

Incomprehensible, fanatic people!
Ye have a God, who seemeth like yourselves
Incomprehensible, dwelling apart,
Majestic, cloud-encompassed, clothed in darkness!
One whom ye fear, but love not; yet ye have
No Goddesses to soften your stern lives,
And make you tender unto human weakness,
While we of Rome have everywhere around us
Our amiable divinities, that haunt
The woodlands, and the waters, and frequent
Our households, with their sweet and gracious presence!
I will go in, and, while these Jews are wrangling,
Read my Ovidius on the Art of Love.



BARABBAS, to his fellow-prisoners
Barabbas is my name,
Barabbas, the Son of Shame,
Is the meaning, I suppose;
I'm no better than the best,
And whether worse than the rest
Of my fellow-men, who knows?

I was once, to say it in brief,
A highwayman, a robber-chief,
In the open light of day.
So much I am free to confess;
But all men, more or less,
Are robbers in their way.

From my cavern in the crags,
From my lair of leaves and flags,
I could see, like ants, below,
The camels with their load
Of merchandise, on the road
That leadeth to Jericho.

And I struck them unaware,
As an eagle from the air
Drops down upon bird or beast;
And I had my heart's desire
Of the merchants of Sidon and Tyre,
And Damascus and the East.

But it is not for that I fear;
It is not for that I am here
In these iron fetters bound;
Sedition! that is the word
That Pontius Pilate heard,
And he liketh not the sound.

What think ye, would he care
For a Jew slain here or there,
Or a plundered caravan?
But Caesar!--ah, that is a crime,
To the uttermost end of time
Shall not be forgiven to man.

Therefore was Herod wroth
With Matthias Margaloth,
And burned him for a show!
Therefore his wrath did smite
Judas the Gaulonite,
And his followers, as ye know.

For that cause and no more,
Am I here, as I said before;
For one unlucky night,
Jucundus, the captain of horse,
Was upon us with all his force,
And I was caught in the flight,

I might have fled with the rest,
But my dagger was in the breast
Of a Roman equerry,
As we rolled there in the street,
They bound me, hands and feet
And this is the end of me.

Who cares for death? Not I!
A thousand times I would die,
Rather than suffer wrong!
Already those women of mine
Are mixing the myrrh and the wine;
I shall not be with you long.



PILATE, on the tessellated pavement in front of his palace.
Ye have brought unto me this man, as one
Who doth pervert the people; and behold!
I have examined him, and found no fault
Touching the things whereof ye do accuse him.
No, nor yet Herod; for I sent you to him,
And nothing worthy of death he findeth in him.
Ye have a custom at the Passover;
That one condemned to death shall be released.
Whom will ye, then, that I release to you?
Jesus Barabbas, called the Son of Shame,
Or Jesus, Son of Joseph, called the Christ?

THE PEOPLE, shouting.
Not this man, but Barabbas!

What then will ye
That I should do with him that is called Christ?

Crucify him!

Why, what evil hath he done?
Lo, I have found no cause of death in him;
I will chastise him, and then let him go.

THE PEOPLE, more vehemently.
Crucify him! crucify him!

Thy wife sends
This message to thee,--Have thou naught to do
With that just man; for I this day in dreams
Have suffered many things because of him.

PILATE, aside.
The Gods speak to us in our dreams! I tremble
At what I have to do! O Claudia,
How shall I save him? Yet one effort more,
Or he must perish!

Washes his hands before them.

I am innocent
Of the blood of this just person; see ye to it!

Let his blood be on us and on our children!

VOICES, within the palace.
Put on thy royal robes; put on thy crown,
And take thy sceptre! Hail, thou King of the Jews!

I bring him forth to you, that ye may know
I find no fault in him. Behold the man!

CHRISTUS is led in with the purple robe and crown of thorns.

Crucify him! crucify him!

Take ye him;
I find no fault in him.

We have a Law,
And by our Law he ought to die; because
He made himself to be the Son of God.

PILATE, aside.
Ah! there are Sons of God, and demigods
More than ye know, ye ignorant High-Priests!

Whence art thou?

Crucify him! crucify him!

Dost thou not answer me? Dost thou not know
That I have power enough to crucify thee?
That I have also power to set thee free?

Thou couldst have no power at all against me
Except that it were given thee from above;
Therefore hath he that sent me unto thee
The greater sin.

If thou let this man go,
Thou art not Caesar's friend. For whosoever
Maketh himself a King, speaks against Caesar.

Ye Jews, behold your King!

Away with him!
Crucify him!

Shall I crucify your King?

We have no King but Caesar!

Take him, then,
Take him, ye cruel and bloodthirsty priests,
More merciless than the plebeian mob,
Who pity and spare the fainting gladiator
Blood-stained in Roman amphitheatres,--
Take him, and crucify him if ye will;
But if the immortal Gods do ever mingle
With the affairs of mortals, which I doubt not,
And hold the attribute of justice dear,
They will commission the Eumenides
To scatter you to the four winds of heaven,
Exacting tear for tear, and blood for blood.
Here, take ye this inscription, Priests, and nail it
Upon the cross, above your victim's head:
Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews.

Nay, we entreat! write not, the King of the Jews!
But that he said: I am the King of the Jews!

Enough. What I have written, I have written.



Lost! Lost! Forever lost! I have betrayed
The innocent blood! O God! if thou art love,
Why didst thou leave me naked to the tempter?
Why didst thou not commission thy swift lightning
To strike me dead? or why did I not perish
With those by Herod slain, the innocent children,
Who went with playthings in their little hands
Into the darkness of the other world,
As if to bed? Or wherefore was I born,
If thou in thy foreknowledge didst perceive
All that I am, and all that I must be?
I know I am not generous, am not gentle,
Like other men; but I have tried to be,
And I have failed. I thought by following him
I should grow like him; but the unclean spirit
That from my childhood up hath tortured me
Hath been too cunning and too strong for me,
Am I to blame for this? Am I to blame
Because I cannot love, and ne'er have known
The love of woman or the love of children?
It is a curse and a fatality,
A mark that hath been set upon my forehead,
That none shall slay me, for it were a mercy
That I were dead, or never had been born.

Too late! too late! I shall not see Him more
Among the living. That sweet, patient face
Will never more rebuke me, nor those lips
Repeat the words: One of you shall betray me!
It stung me into madness. How I loved,
Yet hated Him: But in the other world!
I will be there before Him, and will wait
Until he comes, and fall down on my knees
And kiss his feet, imploring pardon, pardon!

I heard Him say: All sins shall be forgiven,
Except the sin against the Holy Ghost.
That shall not be forgiven in this world,
Nor in the world to come. Is that my sin?
Have I offended so there is no hope
Here nor hereafter? That I soon shall know.
O God, have mercy! Christ have mercy on me!

Throws himself headlong from the cliff.



Three crosses in this noonday night uplifted,
Three human figures that in mortal pain
Gleam white against the supernatural darkness;
Two thieves, that writhe in torture, and between them
The Suffering Messiah, the Son of Joseph,
Ay, the Messiah Triumphant, Son of David!
A crown of thorns on that dishonored head!
Those hands that healed the sick now pierced with nails,
Those feet that wandered homeless through the world
Now crossed and bleeding, and at rest forever!
And the three faithful Maries, overwhelmed
By this great sorrow, kneeling, praying weeping!
O Joseph Caiaphas, thou great High-Priest
How wilt thou answer for this deed of blood?

Thou that destroyest the Temple, and dost build it
In three days, save thyself; and if thou be
The Son of God, come down now from the cross.

Others he saved, himself he cannot save!
Let Christ the King of Israel descend
That we may see and believe!

In God he trusted;
Let Him deliver him, if He will have him,
And we will then believe.

Father! forgive them;
They know not what they do.

If thou be Christ,
Oh save thyself and us!

Remember me,
Lord, when thou comest into thine own kingdom.

This day shalt thou be with me in Paradise.

Golgotha! Golgotha! Oh the pain and darkness!
Oh the uplifted cross, that shall forever
Shine through the darkness, and shall conquer pain
By the triumphant memory of this hour!

O Nazarene! I find thee here at last!
Thou art no more a phantom unto me!
This is the end of one who called himself
The Son of God! Such is the fate of those
Who preach new doctrines. 'T is not what he did,
But what he said, hath brought him unto this.
I will speak evil of no dignitaries.
This is my hour of triumph, Nazarene!

This is the end of him who said to me:
Sell that thou hast, and give unto the poor!
This is the treasure in heaven he promised me!

Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani!

A SOLDIER, preparing the hyssop.
He calleth for Elias!

Nay, let be!
See if Elias will now come to save him!

I thirst.

Give him the wormwood!

CHRISTUS, with a loud cry, bowing his head.
It is finished!



We have risen early, yet the sun
O'ertakes us ere we reach the sepulchre,
To wrap the body of our blessed Lord
With our sweet spices.

Lo, this is the garden,
And yonder is the sepulchre. But who
Shall roll away the stone for us to enter?

It hath been rolled away! The sepulchre
Is open! Ah, who hath been here before us,
When we rose early, wishing to be first?

I am affrighted!

Hush! I will stoop down
And look within. There is a young man sitting
On the right side, clothed in a long white garment!
It is an angel!

Fear not; ye are seeking
Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified.
Why do ye seek the living among the dead?
He is no longer here; He is arisen!
Come see the place where the Lord lay! Remember
How He spake unto you in Galilee,
Saying: The Son of Man must be delivered
Into the hands of sinful men; by them
Be crucified, and the third day rise again!
But go your way, and say to his disciples,
He goeth before you into Galilee;
There shall ye see Him as He said to you.

I will go swiftly for them.

MARY MAGDALENE, alone, weeping.
They have taken
My Lord away from me, and now I know not
Where they have laid Him! Who is there to tell me?
This is the gardener. Surely he must know.

Woman, why weepest thou? Whom seekest thou?

They have taken my Lord away; I cannot find Him.
O sir, if thou have borne Him hence, I pray thee
Tell me where thou hast laid Him.





NATHANIEL, in the ship.
All is now ended.

Nay, He is arisen,
I ran unto the tomb, and stooping down
Looked in, and saw the linen grave-clothes lying,
Yet dared not enter.

I went in, and saw
The napkin that had been about his head,
Not lying with the other linen clothes,
But wrapped together in a separate place.

And I have seen Him. I have seen the print
Of nails upon his hands, and thrust my hands
Into his side. I know He is arisen;
But where are now the kingdom and the glory
He promised unto us? We have all dreamed
That we were princes, and we wake to find
We are but fishermen.

Who should have been
Fishers of men!

We have come back again
To the old life, the peaceful life, among
The white towns of the Galilean lake.

They seem to me like silent sepulchres
In the gray light of morning! The old life,
Yea, the old life! for we have toiled all night
And have caught nothing.

Do ye see a man
Standing upon the beach and beckoning?
'T is like an apparition. He hath kindled
A fire of coals, and seems to wait for us.
He calleth.

CHRISTUS, from the shore.
Children, have ye any meat?

Alas! We have caught nothing.

Cast the net
On the right side of the ship, and ye shall find.

How that reminds me of the days gone by,
And one who said: Launch out into the deep,
And cast your nets!

We have but let them down
And they are filled, so that we cannot draw them!

It is the Lord!

PETER, girding his fisher's coat about him.
He said: When I am risen
I will go before you into Galilee!

He casts himself into the lake.

There is no fear in love; for perfect love
Casteth out fear. Now then, if ye are men,
Put forth your strength; we are not far from shore;
The net is heavy, but breaks not. All is safe.

PETER, on the shore.
Dear Lord! I heard thy voice and could not wait.
Let me behold thy face, and kiss thy feet!
Thou art not dead, thou livest! Again I see thee.
Pardon, dear Lord! I am a sinful man;
I have denied thee thrice. Have mercy on me!

THE OTHERS, coming to land.
Dear Lord! stay with us! cheer us! comfort us!
Lo! we again have found thee! Leave us not!

Bring hither of the fish that ye have caught,
And come and eat!

Behold! He breaketh bread
As He was wont. From his own blessed hands
Again we take it.

Simon, son of Jonas,
Lovest thou me, more than these others?

More, Lord, than all men, even more than these.
Thou knowest that I love thee.

Feed my lambs.

THOMAS, aside.
How more than we do? He remaineth ever
Self-confident and boastful as before.
Nothing will cure him.

Simon, son of Jonas,
Lovest thou me?

Yea, dearest Lord, I love thee.
Thou knowest that I love thee.

Feed my sheep.

THOMAS, aside.
Again, the selfsame question, and the answer
Repeated with more vehemence. Can the Master
Doubt if we love Him?

Simon, son of Jonas,
Lovest thou me?

PETER, grieved.
Dear Lord, thou knowest all things.
Thou knowest that I love thee.

Feed my sheep.
When thou wast young thou girdedst thyself, and walkedst
Whither thou wouldst; but when thou shalt be old,
Thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and other men
Shall gird and carry thee whither thou wouldst not.
Follow thou me!

JOHN, aside.
It is a prophecy
Of what death he shall die.

PETER, pointing to JOHN.
Tell me, O Lord,
And what shall this man do?

And if I will
He tarry till I come, what is it to thee?
Follow thou me!

Yea, I will follow thee, dear Lord and Master!
Will follow thee through fasting and temptation,
Through all thine agony and bloody sweat,
Thy cross and passion, even unto death!



I believe in God the Father Almighty;

Maker of heaven and Earth;

And in Jesus Christ his only Son, our Lord;

Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary;

Suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried;

And the third day He rose again from the dead;

He ascended into Heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God,
the Father Almighty;

From thence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Ghost; the holy Catholic Church;

The communion of Saints; the forgiveness of sins;

The resurrection of the body;

And the Life Everlasting.




The wind is rising; it seizes and shakes
The doors and window-blinds and makes
Mysterious moanings in the halls;
The convent-chimneys seem almost
The trumpets of some heavenly host,
Setting its watch upon our walls!
Where it listeth, there it bloweth;
We hear the sound, but no man knoweth
Whence it cometh or whither it goeth,
And thus it is with the Holy Ghost.
O breath of God! O my delight
In many a vigil of the night,
Like the great voice in Patmos heard
By John, the Evangelist of the Word,
I hear thee behind me saying: Write
In a book the things that thou hast seen,
The things that are, and that have been,
And the things that shall hereafter be!

This convent, on the rocky crest
Of the Calabrian hills, to me
A Patmos is wherein I rest;
While round about me like a sea
The white mists roll, and overflow
The world that lies unseen below
In darkness and in mystery.
Here in the Spirit, in the vast
Embrace of God's encircling arm,
Am I uplifted from all harm
The world seems something far away,
Something belonging to the Past,
A hostelry, a peasant's farm,
That lodged me for a night or day,
In which I care not to remain,
Nor, having left, to see again.

Thus, in the hollow of Gods hand
I dwelt on sacred Tabor's height,
When as a simple acolyte
I journeyed to the Holy Land,
A pilgrim for my master's sake,
And saw the Galilean Lake,
And walked through many a village street
That once had echoed to his feet.
There first I heard the great command,
The voice behind me saying: Write!
And suddenly my soul became
Illumined by a flash of flame,
That left imprinted on my thought
The image I in vain had sought,
And which forever shall remain;
As sometimes from these windows high,
Gazing at midnight on the sky
Black with a storm of wind and rain,
I have beheld a sudden glare
Of lightning lay the landscape bare,
With tower and town and hill and plain
Distinct and burnt into my brain,
Never to be effaced again!

And I have written. These volumes three,
The Apocalypse, the Harmony
Of the Sacred Scriptures, new and old,
And the Psalter with Ten Strings, enfold
Within their pages, all and each,
The Eternal Gospel that I teach.
Well I remember the Kingdom of Heaven
Hath been likened to a little leaven
Hidden in two measures of meal,
Until it leavened the whole mass;
So likewise will it come to pass
With the doctrines that I here conceal.

Open and manifest to me
The truth appears, and must be told;
All sacred mysteries are threefold;
Three Persons in the Trinity,
Three ages of Humanity,
And holy Scriptures likewise three,
Of Fear, of Wisdom, and of Love;
For Wisdom that begins in Fear
Endeth in Love; the atmosphere
In which the soul delights to be
And finds that perfect liberty
Which cometh only from above.

In the first Age, the early prime
And dawn of all historic time,
The Father reigned; and face to face
He spake with the primeval race.
Bright Angels, on his errands sent,
Sat with the patriarch in his tent;
His prophets thundered in the street;
His lightnings flashed, his hailstorms beat;
In earthquake and in flood and flame,
In tempest and in cloud He came!
The fear of God is in his Book;
The pages of the Pentateuch
Are full of the terror of his name.

Then reigned the Son; his Covenant
Was peace on earth, good-will to man;
With Him the reign of Law began.
He was the Wisdom and the Word,
And sent his Angels Ministrant,
Unterrified and undeterred,
To rescue souls forlorn and lost,
The troubled, tempted, tempest-tost
To heal, to comfort, and to teach.
The fiery tongues of Pentecost
His symbols were, that they should preach
In every form of human speech
From continent to continent.
He is the Light Divine, whose rays
Across the thousand years unspent
Shine through the darkness of our days,
And touch with their celestial fires
Our churches and our convent spires.
His Book is the New Testament.

These Ages now are of the Past;
And the Third Age begins at last.
The coming of the Holy Ghost,
The reign of Grace, the reign of Love
Brightens the mountain-tops above,
And the dark outline of the coast.
Already the whole land is white
With Convent walls, as if by night
A snow had fallen on hill and height!
Already from the streets and marts
Of town and traffic, and low cares,
Men climb the consecrated stairs
With weary feet, and bleeding hearts;
And leave the world and its delights,
Its passions, struggles, and despairs,
For contemplation and for prayers
In cloister-cells of coenobites.

Eternal benedictions rest
Upon thy name, Saint Benedict!
Founder of convents in the West,
Who built on Mount Cassino's crest
In the Land of Labor, thine eagle's nest!
May I be found not derelict
In aught of faith or godly fear,
If I have written, in many a page,
The Gospel of the coming age,
The Eternal Gospel men shall hear.
Oh may I live resembling thee,
And die at last as thou hast died;
So that hereafter men may see,
Within the choir, a form of air,
Standing with arms outstretched in prayer,
As one that hath been crucified!
My work is finished; I am strong
In faith and hope and charity;
For I have written the things I see,
The things that have been and shall be,
Conscious of right, nor fearing wrong;
Because I am in love with Love,
And the sole thing I hate is Hate;
For Hate is death; and Love is life,
A peace, a splendor from above;
And Hate, a never-ending strife,
A smoke, a blackness from the abyss
Where unclean serpents coil and hiss!
Love is the Holy Ghost within
Hate the unpardonable sin!
Who preaches otherwise than this
Betrays his Master with a kiss!





Night and storm. LUCIFER, with the Powers of the Air, trying to
tear down the Cross.

Hasten! hasten!
O ye spirits!
From its station drag the ponderous
Cross of iron, that to mock us
Is uplifted high in air!

Oh, we cannot!
For around it
All the Saints and Guardian Angels
Throng in legions to protect it;
They defeat us everywhere!

Laudo Deum verum!
Plebem voco!
Congrego clerum!

Lower! lower!
Hover downward!
Seize the loud, vociferous bells, and
Clashing, clanging to the pavement,
Hurl them from their windy tower.

All thy thunders
Here are harmless!
For these bells have been anointed,
And baptized with holy water!
They defy our utmost power.

Defunctos ploro!
Pestem fugo!
Festa decoro!

Shake the casements!
Break the painted
Panes, that flame with gold and crimson;
Scatter them like leaves of Autumn,
Swept away before the blast!

Oh, we cannot!
The Archangel
Michael flames from every window,
With the sword of fire that drove us
Headlong, out of heaven, aghast!

Funera plango!
Fulgura frango!
Sabbata pango!

Aim your lightnings
At the oaken,
Massive, iron-studded portals!
Sack the house of God, and scatter
Wide the ashes of the dead!

Oh, we cannot!
The Apostles
And the Martyrs, wrapped in mantles,
Stand as warders at the entrance,
Stand as sentinels o'erhead!

Excito lentos!
Dissipo ventos!
Paco cruentos!

Baffled! baffled!
Craven spirits! leave this labor
Unto time, the great Destroyer!
Come away, ere night is gone!

Onward! onward!
With the night-wind,
Over field and farm and forest,
Lonely homestead, darksome hamlet,
Blighting all we breathe upon!

They sweep away. Organ and Gregorian Chant.

Nocte surgentes
Vigilemus omnes!



A chamber in a tower. PRINCE HENRY sitting alone, ill and

I cannot sleep! my fervid brain
Calls up the vanished Past again,
And throws its misty splendors deep
Into the pallid realms of sleep!
A breath from that far-distant shore
Comes freshening ever more and more,
And wafts o'er intervening seas
Sweet odors from the Hesperides!
A wind, that through the corridor
Just stirs the curtain, and no more,
And, touching the aolian strings,
Faints with the burden that it brings!
Come back! ye friendships long departed!
That like o'erflowing streamlets started,
And now are dwindled, one by one,
To stony channels in the sun!
Come back! ye friends, whose lives are ended,
Come back, with all that light attended,
Which seemed to darken and decay
When ye arose and went away!

They come, the shapes of joy and woe,
The airy crowds of long ago,
The dreams and fancies known of yore,
That have been, and shall be no more.
They change the cloisters of the night
Into a garden of delight;
They make the dark and dreary hours
Open and blossom into flowers!
I would not sleep! I love to be
Again in their fair company;
But ere my lips can bid them stay,
They pass and vanish quite away!
Alas! our memories may retrace
Each circumstance of time and place,
Season and scene come back again,
And outward things unchanged remain;
The rest we cannot reinstate;
Ourselves we can not re-create;
Nor set our souls to the same key
Of the remembered harmony!

Rest! rest! Oh, give me rest and peace!
The thought of life that ne'er shall cease
Has something in it like despair,
A weight I am too weak to bear!
Sweeter to this afflicted breast
The thought of never-ending rest!
Sweeter the undisturbed and deep
Tranquillity of endless sleep!

A flash of lightning, out of which LUCIFER appears, in the garb
of a travelling Physician.

All hail, Prince Henry!

PRINCE HENRY, starting.
Who is it speaks?
Who and what are you?

One who seeks
A moment's audience with the Prince.

When came you in?

A moment since.
I found your study door unlocked,
And thought you answered when I knocked.

I did not hear you.

You heard the thunder;
It was loud enough to waken the dead.
And it is not a matter of special wonder
That, when God is walking overhead,
You should not hear my feeble tread.

What may your wish or purpose be?

Nothing or everything, as it pleases
Your Highness. You behold in me
Only a travelling Physician;
One of the few who have a mission
To cure incurable diseases,
Or those that are called so.

Can you bring
The dead to life?

Yes; very nearly.
And, what is a wiser and better thing,
Can keep the living from ever needing
Such an unnatural, strange proceeding,
By showing conclusively and clearly
That death is a stupid blunder merely,
And not a necessity of our lives.
My being here is accidental;
The storm, that against your casement drives,
In the little village below waylaid me.
And there I heard, with a secret delight,
Of your maladies physical and mental,
Which neither astonished nor dismayed me.
And I hastened hither, though late in the night,
To proffer my aid!

PRINCE HENRY, ironically.
For this you came!
Ah, how can I ever hope to requite
This honor from one so erudite?

The honor is mine, or will be when
I have cured your disease.

But not till then.

What is your illness?

It has no name.
A smouldering, dull, perpetual flame,
As in a kiln, burns in my veins,
Sending up vapors to the head;
My heart has become a dull lagoon,
Which a kind of leprosy drinks and drains;
I am accounted as one who is dead,
And, indeed, I think that I shall be soon.

And has Gordonius the Divine,
In his famous Lily of Medicine,--
I see the book lies open before you,--
No remedy potent enough to restore you?

None whatever!

The dead are dead,
And their oracles dumb, when questioned
Of the new diseases that human life
Evolves in its progress, rank and rife.
Consult the dead upon things that were,
But the living only on things that are.
Have you done this, by the appliance
And aid of doctors?

Ay, whole schools
Of doctors, with their learned rules;
But the case is quite beyond their science.
Even the doctors of Salern
Send me back word they can discern
No cure for a malady like this,
Save one which in its nature is
Impossible and cannot be!

That sounds oracular!


What is their remedy?

You shall see;
Writ in this scroll is the mystery.

LUCIFER, reading.
"Not to be cured, yet not incurable!
The only remedy that remains
Is the blood that flows from a maiden's veins,
Who of her own free will shall die,
And give her life as the price of yours!"

That is the strangest of all cures,
And one, I think, you will never try;
The prescription you may well put by,
As something impossible to find
Before the world itself shall end!
And yet who knows? One cannot say
That into some maiden's brain that kind
Of madness will not find its way.
Meanwhile permit me to recommend,
As the matter admits of no delay,
My wonderful Catholicon,
Of very subtile and magical powers!

Purge with your nostrums and drugs infernal
The spouts and gargoyles of these towers,
Not me! My faith is utterly gone
In every power but the Power Supernal!
Pray tell ne, of what school are you?

Both of the Old and of the New!
The school of Hermes Trismegistus,
Who uttered his oracles sublime
Before the Olympiads, in the dew
Of the early dusk and dawn of time,
The reign of dateless old Hephaestus!
As northward, from its Nubian springs,
The Nile, forever new and old,
Among the living and the dead,
Its mighty mystic stream has rolled;
So, starting from its fountain-head
Under the lotus-leaves of Isis,
From the dead demigods of eld,
Through long unbroken lines of kings
Its course the sacred art has held,
Unchecked, unchanged by man's devices.
This art the Arabian Geber taught,
And in alembics, finely wrought,
Distilling herbs and flowers, discovered
The secret that so long had hovered
Upon the misty verge of Truth,
The Elixir of Perpetual Youth,
Called Alcohol, in the Arab speech!
Like him, this wondrous lore I teach!

What! an adept?

Nor less, nor more!

I am a reader of your books,
A lover of that mystic lore!
With such a piercing glance it looks
Into great Nature's open eye,
And sees within it trembling lie
The portrait of the Deity!
And yet, alas! with all my pains,
The secret and the mystery
Have baffled and eluded me,
Unseen the grand result remains!

LUCIFER, showing a flask.
Behold it here! this little flask
Contains the wonderful quintessence,
The perfect flower and efflorescence,
Of all the knowledge man can ask!
Hold it up thus against the light!

How limpid, pure, and crystalline,
How quick, and tremulous, and bright
The little wavelets dance and shine,
As were it the Water of Life in sooth!

It is! It assuages every pain,
Cures all disease, and gives again
To age the swift delights of youth.
Inhale its fragrance.

It is sweet.
A thousand different odors meet
And mingle in its rare perfume,
Such as the winds of summer waft
At open windows through a room!

Will you not taste it?

Will one draught

If not, you can drink more.

Into this crystal goblet pour
So much as safely I may drink,

LUCIFER, pouring.
Let not the quantity alarm you;
You may drink all; it will not harm you.

I am as one who on the brink
Of a dark river stands and sees
The waters flow, the landscape dim
Around him waver, wheel, and swim,
And, ere he plunges, stops to think
Into what whirlpools he may sink;
One moment pauses, and no more,
Then madly plunges from the shore!
Headlong into the mysteries
Of life and death I boldly leap,
Nor fear the fateful current's sweep,
Nor what in ambush lurks below!
For death is better than disease!

An ANGEL with an aeolian harp hovers in the air.

Woe! woe! eternal woe!
Not only the whispered prayer
Of love,
But the imprecations of hate,
For ever and ever through the air
This fearful curse
Shakes the great universe!

LUCIFER, disappearing.
Drink! drink!
And thy soul shall sink
Down into the dark abyss,
Into the infinite abyss,
From which no plummet nor rope
Ever drew up the silver sand of hope!

PRINCE HENRY, drinking.
It is like a draught of fire!
Through every vein
I feel again
The fever of youth, the soft desire;
A rapture that is almost pain
Throbs in my heart and fills my brain
O joy! O joy! I feel
The band of steel
That so long and heavily has pressed
Upon my breast
Uplifted, and the malediction
Of my affliction
Is taken from me, and my weary breast
At length finds rest.

It is but the rest of the fire, from which the air has been
It is but the rest of the sand, when the hour-glass is not
It is but the rest of the tide between the ebb and the flow!
It is but the rest of the wind between the flaws that blow!
With fiendish laughter,
This false physician
Will mock thee in thy perdition.

Speak! speak!
Who says that I am ill?
I am not ill! I am not weak!
The trance, the swoon, the dream, is o'er!
I feel the chill of death no more!
At length,
I stand renewed in all my strength
Beneath me I can feel
The great earth stagger and reel,
As if the feet of a descending God
Upon its surface trod,
And like a pebble it rolled beneath his heel!
This, O brave physician! this
Is thy great Palingenesis!

Drinks again.

Touch the goblet no more!
It will make thy heart sore
To its very core!
Its perfume is the breath
Of the Angel of Death,
And the light that within it lies
Is the flash of his evil eyes.
Beware! Oh, beware!
For sickness, sorrow, and care
All are there!

PRINCE HENRY, sinking back.
O thou voice within my breast!
Why entreat me, why upbraid me,
When the steadfast tongues of truth
And the flattering hopes of youth
Have all deceived me and betrayed me?
Give me, give me rest, oh rest!
Golden visions wave and hover,
Golden vapors, waters streaming,
Landscapes moving, changing, gleaming!
I am like a happy lover,
Who illumines life with dreaming!
Brave physician! Rare physician!
Well hast thou fulfilled thy mission!

His head falls on his book.

THE ANGEL, receding.
Alas! alas!
Like a vapor the golden vision
Shall fade and pass,
And thou wilt find in thy heart again
Only the blight of pain,
And bitter, bitter, bitter contrition!


HUBERT standing by the gateway.

How sad the grand old castle looks!
O'erhead, the unmolested rooks
Upon the turret's windy top
Sit, talking of the farmer's crop
Here in the court-yard springs the grass,
So few are now the feet that pass;
The stately peacocks, bolder grown,
Come hopping down the steps of stone,
As if the castle were their own;
And I, the poor old seneschal,
Haunt, like a ghost, the banquet-hall.
Alas! the merry guests no more
Crowd through the hospitable door;
No eyes with youth and passion shine,
No cheeks glow redder than the wine;
No song, no laugh, no jovial din
Of drinking wassail to the pin;
But all is silent, sad, and drear,
And now the only sounds I hear
Are the hoarse rooks upon the walls,
And horses stamping in their stalls!

A horn sounds.

What ho! that merry, sudden blast
Reminds me of the days long past!
And, as of old resounding, grate
The heavy hinges of the gate,
And, clattering loud, with iron clank,
Down goes the sounding bridge of plank,
As if it were in haste to greet
The pressure of a traveller's feet!

Enter WALTER the Minnesinger.

How now, my friend! This looks quite lonely!
No banner flying from the walls,
No pages and no seneschals,
No warders, and one porter only!
Is it you, Hubert?

Ah! Master Walter!

Alas! how forms and faces alter!
I did not know you. You look older!
Your hair has grown much grayer and thinner,
And you stoop a little in the shoulder!

Alack! I am a poor old sinner,
And, like these towers, begin to moulder;
And you have been absent many a year!

How is the Prince?

He is not here;
He has been ill: and now has fled.

Speak it out frankly: say he's dead!
Is it not so?

No; if you please,
A strange, mysterious disease
Fell on him with a sudden blight.
Whole hours together he would stand
Upon the terrace in a dream,
Resting his head upon his hand,
Best pleased when he was most alone,
Like Saint John Nepomuck in stone,
Looking down into a stream.
In the Round Tower, night after night,
He sat and bleared his eyes with books;
Until one morning we found him there
Stretched on the floor, as if in a swoon
He had fallen from his chair.
We hardly recognized his sweet looks!

Poor Prince!

I think he might have mended;
And he did mend; but very soon
The priests came flocking in, like rooks,
With all their crosiers and their crooks,
And so at last the matter ended.

How did it end?

Why, in Saint Rochus
They made him stand and wait his doom;
And, as if he were condemned to the tomb,
Began to mutter their hocus-pocus.
First, the Mass for the Dead they chanted,
Then three times laid upon his head
A shovelful of churchyard clay,
Saying to him, as he stood undaunted,
"This is a sign that thou art dead,
So in thy heart be penitent!"
And forth from the chapel door he went
Into disgrace and banishment,
Clothed in a cloak of hodden gray,
And hearing a wallet, and a bell,
Whose sound should be a perpetual knell
To keep all travellers away.

Oh, horrible fate! Outcast, rejected,
As one with pestilence infected!

Then was the family tomb unsealed,
And broken helmet, sword, and shield
Buried together, in common wreck,
As is the custom when the last
Of any princely house has passed,
And thrice, as with a trumpet-blast,
A herald shouted down the stair
The words of warning and despair,--
"O Hoheneck! O Hoheneck!"

Still in my soul that cry goes on,--
Forever gone! forever gone!
Ah, what a cruel sense of loss,
Like a black shadow, would fall across
The hearts of all, if he should die!
His gracious presence upon earth
Was as a fire upon a hearth;
As pleasant songs, at morning sung,
The words that dropped from his sweet tongue
Strengthened our hearts; or heard at night
Made all our slumbers soft and light.
Where is he?

In the Odenwald.
Some of his tenants, unappalled
By fear of death, or priestly word,--
A holy family, that make
Each meal a Supper of the Lord,--
Have him beneath their watch and ward,
For love of him, and Jesus' sake!
Pray you come in. For why should I
With out-door hospitality
My prince's friend thus entertain?

I would a moment here remain.
But you, good Hubert, go before,
Fill me a goblet of May-drink,
As aromatic as the May
From which it steals the breath away,
And which he loved so well of yore;
It is of him that I would think.
You shall attend me, when I call,
In the ancestral banquet-hall.
Unseen companions, guests of air,
You cannot wait on, will be there;
They taste not food, they drink not wine,
But their soft eyes look into mine,
And their lips speak to me, and all
The vast and shadowy banquet-hall
Is full of looks and words divine!

Leaning over the parapet.

The day is done; and slowly from the scene
The stooping sun up-gathers his spent shafts,
And puts them back into his golden quiver!
Below me in the valley, deep and green
As goblets are, from which in thirsty draughts
We drink its wine, the swift and mantling river
Flows on triumphant through these lovely regions,
Etched with the shadows of its sombre margent,
And soft, reflected clouds of gold and argent!
Yes, there it flows, forever, broad and still
As when the vanguard of the Roman legions
First saw it from the top of yonder hill!
How beautiful it is! Fresh fields of wheat,
Vineyard and town, and tower with fluttering flag,
The consecrated chapel on the crag,
And the white hamlet gathered round its base,
Like Mary sitting at her Saviour's feet,
And looking up at his beloved face!
O friend! O best of friends! Thy absence more
Than the impending night darkens the landscape o'er!



A garden; morning; PRINCE HENRY seated, with a book.
ELSIE at a distance gathering flowers.

PRINCE HENRY, reading.
One morning, all alone,
Out of his convent of gray stone,
Into the forest older, darker, grayer,
His lips moving, as if in prayer,
His head sunken upon his breast
As in a dream of rest,
Walked the Monk Felix. All about
The broad, sweet sunshine lay without,
Filling the summer air;
And within the woodlands as he trod,
The dusk was like the truce of God
With worldly woe and care;
Under him lay the golden moss;
And above him the boughs of hoary trees
Waved, and made the sign of the cross,
And whispered their Benedicites;
And from the ground
Rose an odor sweet and fragrant
Of the wild-flowers and the vagrant
Vines that wandered,
Seeking the sunshine, round and round.

These he heeded not, but pondered
On the volume in his hand,
Wherein amazed he read:
"A thousand years in thy sight
Are but as yesterday when it is past,
And as a watch in the night!"
And with his eyes downcast
In humility he said:
"I believe, O Lord,
What is written in thy Word,
But alas! I do not understand!"

And lo! he heard
The sudden singing of a bird,
A snow-white bird, that from a cloud
Dropped down,
And among the branches brown
Sat singing,
So sweet, and clear, and loud,
It seemed a thousand harp-strings ringing.
And the Monk Felix closed his book,
And long, long,
With rapturous look,
He listened to the song,
And hardly breathed or stirred,
Until he saw, as in a vision,
The land Elysian,
And in the heavenly city heard
Angelic feet
Fall on the golden flagging of the street
And he would fain
Have caught the wondrous bird,
But strove in vain;
For it flew away, away,
Far over hill and dell,
And instead of its sweet singing
He heard the convent bell

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