Verse > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow > Complete Poetical Works
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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807–1882).  Complete Poetical Works.  1893.
 
Christus: A Mystery
Part II. The Golden Legend.
III. IV. The Nativity: A Miracle-Play.
Introitus.
I. Heaven
 
PRÆCO.
COME, good people, all and each,
Come and listen to our speech!
In your presence here I stand,
With a trumpet in my hand,
To announce the Easter Play,        5
Which we represent to-day!
First of all we shall rehearse,
In our action and our verse,
The Nativity of our Lord,
As written in the old record        10
Of the Protevangelion,
So that he who reads may run!
Blows his trumpet.
 
I. Heaven.

MERCY, at the feet of God.
Have pity, Lord! be not afraid
To save mankind, whom thou hast made
Nor let the souls that were betrayed        15
  Perish eternally!
 
JUSTICE.
It cannot be, it must not be!
When in the garden placed by thee,
The fruit of the forbidden tree
  He ate, and he must die!        20
 
MERCY.
Have pity, Lord! let penitence
Atone for disobedience,
Nor let the fruit of man’s offence
  Be endless misery!
 
JUSTICE.
What penitence proportionate
        25
Can e’er be felt for sin so great?
Of the forbidden fruit he ate,
  And damnèd must he be!
 
GOD.
He shall be saved, if that within
The bounds of earth one free from sin        30
Be found, who for his kith and kin
  Will suffer martyrdom.
 
THE FOUR VIRTUES.
Lord! we have searched the world around,
From centre to the utmost bound,
But no such mortal can be found;        35
  Despairing, back we come.
 
WISDOM.
No mortal, but a God made man,
Can ever carry out this plan,
Achieving what none other can,
  Salvation unto all!        40
 
GOD.
Go, then, O my beloved Son!
It can by thee alone be done;
By thee the victory shall be won
  O’er Satan and the Fall!
Here the ANGEL GABRIEL shall leave Paradise and fly towards the earth; the jaws of Hell open below, and the Devils walk about, making a great noise.
 
 
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