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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Germany: Vols. XVII–XVIII. 1876–79.


The Testament of St. Arbogast

By Thomas D’Arcy McGee (1825–1868)

ST. ARBOGAST, the bishop, lay

On his bed of death in Strasburg Palace,

And, just at the dawn of his dying day,

Into his own hands took the chalice;

And, praying devoutly, he received

The blesséd Host, and thus addressed

His Chapter, who around him grieved,

And, sobbing, heard his last request.

Quoth he, “The sinful man you see

Was born beyond the Western sea,

In Ireland, whence, ordained, he came,

In Alsace, to preach, in Jesus’ name.

There, in my cell at Hagueneau,

Many unto the One I drew;

There fared King Dagobert one day,

With all his forestrie array,

Chasing out wolves and beasts unclean,

As I did errors from God’s demesne;

The king approached our cell, and he

Esteemed our assiduity;

And, when the blessed St. Amand died,

He called us to his seat, and sighed,

And charged us watch and ward to keep

In Strasburg o’er our Master’s sheep.

“Mitre of gold we never sought,

Cope of silver to us was naught,

Jewelled crook and painted book

We disregarded, but, perforce, took.

Ah! oft in Strasburg’s cathedral

We sighed for one rude cell so small,

And often from the bishop’s throne

To the forest’s depths we would have flown,

But that our duty to Him who made us

His shepherd in this see forbade us.

“And now”—St. Arbogast spoke slow,

But his words were firm, though his voice was low,—

“God doth require his servant hence,

And our hope is his omnipotence.

But bury me not, dear brethren, with

The pomp of torches or music, sith

Such idle and unholy state

Should ne’er on a Christian bishop wait;

Leave cope of silver and painted book,

Mitre of gold, and jewelled crook,

Apart in the vestry’s darkest nook;

But in Mount Michael bury me,

Beneath the felon’s penal tree,—

So Christ our Lord lay at Calvary.

This do, as ye my blessing prize,

And God keep you pure and wise!”

These were the words—they were the last—

Of the blesséd Bishop Arbogast.