Home  »  Complete Poetical Works by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow  »  Part I. The Divine Tragedy. The Third Passover. XII. The Sea of Galilee

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

Christus: A Mystery

Part I. The Divine Tragedy. The Third Passover. XII. The Sea of Galilee

NATHANAEL, in the ship.
All is now ended.

Nay, He is arisen,

I ran unto the tomb, and stooping down

Looked in, and saw the linen grave-clothes lying,

Yet dared not enter.

I went in, and saw

The napkin that had been about his head,

Not lying with the other linen clothes,

But wrapped together in a separate place.

And I have seen Him. I have seen the print

Of nails upon his hands, and thrust my hands

Into his side. I know He is arisen;

But where are now the kingdom and the glory

He promised unto us? We have all dreamed

That we were princes, and we wake to find

We are but fishermen.

Who should have been

Fishers of men!

We have come back again

To the old life, the peaceful life, among

The white towns of the Galilean lake.

They seem to me like silent sepulchres

In the gray light of morning! The old life,

Yea, the old life! for we have toiled all night

And have caught nothing.

Do ye see a man

Standing upon the beach and beckoning?

’T is like an apparition. He hath kindled

A fire of coals, and seems to wait for us.

He calleth.

CHRISTUS, from the shore.
Children, have ye any meat?

Alas! We have caught nothing.

Cast the net

On the right side of the ship, and ye shall find.

How that reminds me of the days gone by,

And one who said: Launch out into the deep,

And cast your nets!

We have but let them down

And they are filled, so that we cannot draw them!

It is the Lord!

PETER, girding his fisher’s coat about him.
He said: When I am risen

I will go before you into Galilee!

He casts himself into the lake.

There is no fear in love; for perfect love

Casteth out fear. Now then, if ye are men,

Put forth your strength; we are not far from shore;

The net is heavy, but breaks not. All is safe.

PETER, on the shore.
Dear Lord! I heard thy voice and could not wait.

Let me behold thy face, and kiss thy feet!

Thou art not dead, thou livest! Again I see thee.

Pardon, dear Lord! I am a sinful man;

I have denied thee thrice. Have mercy on me!

THE OTHERS, coming to land.
Dear Lord! stay with us! cheer us! comfort us!

Lo! we again have found thee! Leave us not!

Bring hither of the fish that ye have caught,

And come and eat!

Behold! He breaketh bread

As He was wont. From his own blessed hands

Again we take it.

Simon, son of Jonas,

Lovest thou me, more than these others?


More, Lord, than all men; even more than these.

Thou knowest that I love thee.

Feed my lambs.

THOMAS, aside.
How more than we do? He remaineth ever

Self-confident and boastful as before.

Nothing will cure him.

Simon, son of Jonas,

Lovest thou me?

Yea, dearest Lord, I love thee.

Thou knowest that I love thee.

Feed my sheep.

THOMAS, aside.
Again, the selfsame question, and the answer

Repeated with more vehemence. Can the Master

Doubt if we love Him?

Simon, son of Jonas,

Lovest thou me?

PETER, grieved.
Dear Lord! thou knowest all things.

Thou knowest that I love thee.

Feed my sheep.

When thou wast young thou girdedst thyself, and walkedst

Whither thou wouldst; but when thou shalt be old,

Thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and other men

Shall gird and carry thee whither thou wouldst not.

Follow thou me!

JOHN, aside.
It is a prophecy

Of what death he shall die.

PETER, pointing to JOHN.
Tell me, O Lord,

And what shall this man do?

And if I will

He tarry till I come, what is it to thee?

Follow thou me!

Yea, I will follow thee, dear Lord and Master!

Will follow thee through fasting and temptation,

Through all thine agony and bloody sweat,

Thy cross and passion, even unto death!