Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Asia: Vols. XXI–XXIII. 1876–79.

Syria: Calvary, the Mount


By Giles Fletcher (1586?–1623)

(From Christ’s Triumph over Death)

SEE where the Author of all life is dying:

O fearful day! he dead, what hope of living?

See where the hopes of all our lives are buying.

O cheerful day! they bought, what fear of grieving?

Love, love for hate, and death for life is giving:

Lo, how his arms are stretched abroad to grace thee,

And, as they open stand, call to embrace thee:

Why stay’st thou then, my soul! O, fly, fly, thither haste thee.

His radious head with shameful thorns they tear,

His tender back with bloody whips they rent,

His side and heart they furrow with a spear,

His hands and feet with riving nails they tent,

And, as to disentrail his soul they meant,

They jolly at his grief, and make their game,

His naked body to expose to shame,

That all might come to see, and all might see that came.

Whereat the Heaven put out his guilty eye

That durst behold so execrable sight,

And sabled all in black the shady sky,

And the pale stars, struck with unwonted fright,

Quenched their everlasting lamps in night:

And at his birth, as all the stars Heaven had

Were not enow, but a new star was made;

So now, both new, and old, and all away did fade.