Home  »  Complete Poetical Works by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow  »  Part II. The Golden Legend. III. IV. The Nativity: A Miracle-Play. V. The Flight into Egypt

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

Christus: A Mystery

Part II. The Golden Legend. III. IV. The Nativity: A Miracle-Play. V. The Flight into Egypt

Here JOSEPH shall come in, leading an ass, on which are seated MARY and the CHILD.

HERE will we rest us, under these

O’erhanging branches of the trees,

Where robins chant their Litanies

And canticles of joy.

My saddle-girths have given way

With trudging through the heat to-day;

To you I think it is but play

To ride and hold the boy.

Hark! how the robins shout and sing,

As if to hail their infant King!

I will alight at yonder spring

To wash his little coat.

And I will hobble well the ass,

Lest, being loose upon the grass,

He should escape; for, by the mass,

He ’s nimble as a goat.

Here MARY shall alight and go to the spring.

O Joseph! I am much afraid,

For men are sleeping in the shade;

I fear that we shall be waylaid,

And robbed and beaten sore!

Here a band of robbers shall be seen sleeping, two of whom shall rise and come forward.

Cock’s soul! deliver up your gold!

I pray you, Sirs, let go your hold!

You see that I am weak and old,

Of wealth I have no store.

Give up your money!

Prithee cease.

Let these people go in peace.

First let them pay for their release,

And then go on their way.

These forty groats I give in fee,

If thou wilt only silent be.

May God be merciful to thee

Upon the Judgment Day!

When thirty years shall have gone by,

I at Jerusalem shall die,

By Jewish hands exalted high

On the accursed tree,

Then on my right and my left side,

These thieves shall both be crucified,

And Titus thenceforth shall abide

In paradise with me.

Here a great rumor of trumpets and horses, like the noise of a king with his army, and the robbers shall take flight.