Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807–1882). Complete Poetical Works. 1893.

Ballads and Other Poems

Blind Bartimeus

  • Written November 3, 1841. Mr. Longfellow writes under that date to Mr. Ward: “I was reading this morning, just after breakfast, the tenth chapter of Mark, in Greek, the last seven verses of which contain the story of blind Bartimeus, and always seemed to me remarkable for their beauty. At once the whole scene presented itself to my mind in lively colors,—the walls of Jericho, the cold wind through the gateway, the ragged, blind beggar, his shrill cry, the tumultuous crowd, the serene Christ, the miracle; and these things took the form I have given them above, where, perforce, I have retained the striking Greek expressions of entreaty, comfort, and healing; though I am well aware that Greek was not spoken at Jericho.… I think I shall add to the title, ‘supposed to be written by a monk of the Middle Ages,’ as it is in the legend style.”

  • BLIND Bartimeus at the gates

    Of Jericho in darkness waits;

    He hears the crowd;—he hears a breath

    Say, “It is Christ of Nazareth!”

    And calls, in tones of agony,


    The thronging multitudes increase;

    Blind Bartimeus, hold thy peace!

    But still, above the noisy crowd,

    The beggar’s cry is shrill and loud;

    Until they say, “He calleth thee!”


    Then saith the Christ, as silent stands

    The crowd, “What wilt thou at my hands?”

    And he replies, “Oh, give me light!

    Rabbi, restore the blind man’s sight.”

    And Jesus answers, [Greek]


    Ye that have eyes, yet cannot see,

    In darkness and in misery,

    Recall those mighty Voices Three,