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

Christus: A Mystery

Part I. The Divine Tragedy. The Third Passover. IX. Aceldama

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.