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

Christus: A Mystery

Part I. The Divine Tragedy. The First Passover. V. Nazareth

CHRISTUS, reading in the Synagogue.
THE SPIRIT of the Lord God is upon me.

He hath anointed me to preach good tidings

Unto the poor; to heal the broken-hearted;

To comfort those that mourn, and to throw open

The prison doors of captives, and proclaim

The Year Acceptable of the Lord, our God!

He closes the book and sits down.

Who is this youth? He hath taken the Teacher’s seat!

Will he instruct the Elders?

Fifty years

Have I been Priest here in the Synagogue,

And never have I seen so young a man

Sit in the Teacher’s seat!

Behold, to-day

This scripture is fulfilled. One is appointed

And hath been sent to them that mourn in Zion,

To give them beauty for ashes, and the oil

Of joy for mourning! They shall build again

The old waste-places; and again raise up

The former desolations, and repair

The cities that are wasted! As a bride-groom

Decketh himself with ornaments; as a bride

Adorneth herself with jewels, so the Lord

Hath clothed me with the robe of righteousness!

He speaks the Prophet’s words; but with an air

As if himself had been foreshadowed in them!

For Zion’s sake I will not hold my peace,

And for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest

Until its righteousness be as a brightness,

And its salvation as a lamp that burneth!

Thou Shalt be called no longer the Forsaken,

Nor any more thy land the Desolate.

The Lord hath sworn, by his right hand hath sworn,

And by his arm of strength: I will no more

Give to thine enemies thy corn as meat;

The sons of strangers shall not drink thy wine.

Go through, go through the gates! Prepare a way

Unto the people! Gather out the stones!

Lift up a standard for the people!


These are seditious words!

And they shall call them

The holy people; the redeemed of God!

And thou, Jerusalem, shalt be called Sought out,

A city not forsaken!

Is not this

The carpenter Joseph’s son? Is not his mother

Called Mary? and his brethren and his sisters

Are they not with us? Doth he make himself

To be a Prophet?

No man is a Prophet

In his own country, and among his kin.

In his own house no Prophet is accepted.

I say to you, in the land of Israel

Were many widows in Elijah’s day,

When for three years and more the heavens were shut,

And a great famine was throughout the land;

But unto no one was Elijah sent

Save to Sarepta, to a city of Sidon,

And to a woman there that was a widow.

And many lepers were there in the land

Of Israel, in the time of Eliseus

The Prophet, and yet none of them was cleansed,

Save Naaman the Syrian!

Say no more!

Thou comest here into our Synagogue

And speakest to the Elders and the Priests,

As if the very mantle of Elijah

Had fallen upon thee! Art thou not ashamed?

We want no Prophets here! Let him be driven

From Synagogue and city! Let him go

And prophesy to the Samaritans!

The world is changed. We Elders are as nothing!

We are but yesterdays, that have no part

Or portion in to-day! Dry leaves that rustle,

That make a little sound, and then are dust!

A carpenter’s apprentice! a mechanic,

Whom we have seen at work here in the town

Day after day; a stripling without learning,

Shall he pretend to unfold the Word of God

To men grown old in study of the Law?

CHRISTUS is thrust out.