PILATE, on the tessellated pavement in front of his palace.YE have brought unto me this man, as one
|Who doth pervert the people; and behold!|
|I have examined him, and found no fault|
|Touching the things whereof ye do accuse him.|
|No, nor yet Herod; for I sent you to him,|| 5|
|And nothing worthy of death he findeth in him.|
|Ye have a custom at the Passover,|
|That one condemned to death shall be released.|
|Whom will ye, then, that I release to you?|
|Jesus Barabbas, called the Son of Shame,|| 10|
|Or Jesus, Son of Joseph, called the Christ?|
THE PEOPLE, shouting.Not this man, but Barabbas!
PILATE. What then will ye
|That I should do with him that is called Christ?|
THE PEOPLE.Crucify him!
PILATE. Why, what evil hath he done?
|Lo, I have found no cause of death in him;|| 15|
|I will chastise him, and then let him go.|
THE PEOPLE, more vehemently.Crucify him! crucify him!
A MESSENGER, to PILATE. Thy wife sends
|This message to thee,Have thou naught to do|
|With that just man; for I this day in dreams|
|Have suffered many things because of him.|| 20|
PILATE, aside.The Gods speak to us in our dreams! I tremble
|At what I have to do! O Claudia,|
|How shall I save him? Yet one effort more,|
|Or he must perish!|
Washes his hands before them. I am innocent
|Of the blood of this just person; see ye to it!|| 25|
THE PEOPLE.Let his blood be on us and on our children
VOICES, within the palace.Put on thy royal robes; put on thy crown,
|And take thy sceptre! Hail, thou King of the Jews!|
PILATE.I bring him forth to you, that ye may know
|I find no fault in him. Behold the man!|
CHRISTUS is led in with the purple robe and crown of thorns.
CHIEF PRIESTS and OFFICERS.Crucify him! crucify him!
PILATE. Take ye him;
|I find no fault in him.|
CHIEF PRIESTS. We have a Law,
|And by our Law he ought to die; because|
|He made himself to be the Son of God.|
PILATE, aside.Ah! there are Sons of God, and demi-gods
|More than ye know, ye ignorant High-Priests!|
To CHRISTUS.Whence art thou?
CHIEF PRIESTS. Crucify him! crucify him
PILATE, to CHRISTUS.Dost thou not answer me? Dost thou not know
|That I have power enough to crucify thee?|
|That I have also power to set thee free?|| 40|
CHRISTUS.Thou couldest have no power at all against me
|Except that it were given thee from above;|
|Therefore hath he that sent me unto thee|
|The greater sin.|
CHIEF PRIESTS. If thou let this man go,
|Thou art not Cæsars friend. For whosoever|| 45|
|Maketh himself a King, speaks against Cæsar.|
PILATE.Ye Jews, behold your King!
CHIEF PRIESTS. Away with him!
PILATE. Shall I crucify your King?
CHIEF PRIESTS.We have no King but Cæsar!
PILATE Take him, then,
|Take him, ye cruel and bloodthirsty Priests,|| 50|
|More merciless than the plebeian mob,|
|Who pity and spare the fainting gladiator|
|Blood-stained in Roman amphitheatres,|
|Take him, and crucify him if ye will;|
|But if the immortal Gods do ever mingle|| 55|
|With the affairs of mortals, which I doubt not,|
|And hold the attribute of justice dear,|
|They will commission the Eumenides|
|To scatter you to the four winds of heaven,|
|Exacting tear for tear, and blood for blood.|| 60|
|Here, take ye this inscription, Priests, and nail it|
|Upon the cross, above your victims head:|
|Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews.|
CHIEF PRIESTS.Nay, we entreat! write not, the King of the Jews;
|But that he said: I am the King of the Jews!|| 65|
PILATE.Enough. What I have written, I have written.