Home  »  Complete Poetical Works by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow  »  Part I. The Divine Tragedy. The First Passover. X. The House of Simon the Pharisee

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

Christus: A Mystery

Part I. The Divine Tragedy. The First Passover. X. The House of Simon the Pharisee

A GUEST at table.
ARE ye deceived? Have any of the Rulers

Believed on him? or do they know indeed

This man to be the very Christ? Howbeit

We know whence this man is, but when the Christ

Shall come, none knoweth whence he is.

Whereunto shall I liken, then, the men

Of this generation? and what are they like?

They are like children sitting in the markets,

And calling unto one another, saying:

We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced;

We have mourned unto you, and ye have not wept!

This say I unto you, for John the Baptist

Came neither eating bread nor drinking wine;

Ye say he hath a devil. The Son of Man

Eating and drinking cometh, and ye say:

Behold a gluttonous man, and a wine-bibber;

Behold a friend of publicans and sinners!

A GUEST aside to SIMON.
Who is that woman yonder, gliding in

So silently behind him?

It is Mary,

Who dwelleth in the Tower of Magdala.

See, how she kneels there weeping, and her tears

Fall on his feet; and her long, golden hair

Waves to and fro and wipes them dry again.

And now she kisses them, and from a box

Of alabaster is anointing them

With precious ointment, filling all the house

With its sweet odor!

SIMON, aside.
Oh, this man, forsooth,

Were he indeed a Prophet, would have known

Who and what manner of woman this may be

That toucheth him! would know she is a sinner!

Simon, somewhat have I to say to thee.

Master, say on.

A certain creditor

Had once two debtors; and the one of them

Owed him five hundred pence; the other, fifty.

They having naught to pay withal, he frankly

Forgave them both. Now tell me which of them

Will love him most?

He, I suppose, to whom

He most forgave.

Yea, thou hast rightly judged.

Seest thou this woman? When thine house I entered,

Thou gavest me no water for my feet,

But she hath washed them with her tears, and wiped them

With her own hair. Thou gavest me no kiss;

This woman hath not ceased, since I came in,

To kiss my feet. My head with oil didst thou

Anoint not; but this woman hath anointed

My feet with ointment. Hence I say to thee,

Her sins, which have been many, are forgiven,

For she loved much.

Oh, who, then, is this man

That pardoneth also sins without atonement?

Woman, thy faith hath saved thee! Go in peace!