Home  »  Complete Poetical Works by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow  »  Part I. The Divine Tragedy. The Second Passover. V. Blind Bartimeus

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

Christus: A Mystery

Part I. The Divine Tragedy. The Second Passover. V. Blind Bartimeus

BE not impatient, Chilion; it is pleasant

To sit here in the shadow of the walls

Under the palms, and hear the hum of bees,

And rumor of voices passing to and fro,

And drowsy bells of caravans on their way

To Sidon or Damascus. This is still

The City of Palms, and yet the walls thou seest

Are not the old walls, not the walls where Rahab

Hid the two spies, and let them down by cords

Out of the window, when the gates were shut,

And it was dark. Those walls were overthrown

When Joshua’s army shouted, and the priests

Blew with their seven trumpets.

When was that?

O my sweet rose of Jericho, I know not.

Hundreds of years ago. And over there

Beyond the river, the great prophet Elijah

Was taken by a whirlwind up to heaven

In chariot of fire, with fiery horses.

That is the plain of Moab; and beyond it

Rise the blue summits of Mount Abarim,

Nebo and Pisgah and Peor, where Moses

Died, whom the Lord knew face to face, and whom

He buried in a valley, and no man

Knows of his sepulchre unto this day.

Would thou couldst see these places, as I see them.

I have not seen a glimmer of the light

Since thou wast born. I never saw thy face,

And yet I seem to see it; and one day

Perhaps shall see it; for there is a Prophet

In Galilee, the Messiah, the Son of David,

Who heals the blind, if I could only find him.

I hear the sound of many feet approaching,

And voices, like the murmur of a crowd!

What seest thou?

A young man clad in white

Is coming through the gateway, and a crowd

Of people follow.

Can it be the Prophet!

O neighbors, tell me who it is that passes?

Jesus of Nazareth.

BARTIMEUS, crying.
O Son of David!

Have mercy on me!

Peace, Blind Bartimeus!

Do not disturb the Master.

BARTIMEUS, crying more vehemently.
Son of David,

Have mercy on me!

See, the Master stops.

Be of good comfort; rise, He calleth thee!

BARTIMEUS, casting away his cloak.
Chilion! good neighbors! lead me on.

What wilt thou

That I should do to thee?

Good Lord! my sight—

That I receive my sight!

Receive thy sight!

Thy faith hath made thee whole!

He sees again!

CHRISTUS passes on. The crowd gathers round BARTIMEUS.

I see again; but sight bewilders me!

Like a remembered dream, familiar things

Come back to me. I see the tender sky

Above me, see the trees, the city walls,

And the old gateway, through whose echoing arch

I groped so many years; and you, my neighbors;

But know you by your friendly voices only.

How beautiful the world is! and how wide!

Oh, I am miles away, if I but look!

Where art thou, Chilion?

Father, I am here.

Oh let me gaze upon thy face, dear child!

For I have only seen thee with my hands!

How beautiful thou art! I should have known thee;

Thou hast her eyes whom we shall see hereafter!

O God of Abraham! Elion! Adonai!

Who art thyself a Father, pardon me

If for a moment I have thee postponed

To the affections and the thoughts of earth,

Thee, and the adoration that I owe thee,

When by thy power alone these darkened eyes

Have been unsealed again to see thy light!