Verse > Anthologies > Edward Farr, comp. > Elizabethan Poetry
Edward Farr, ed.  Select Poetry of the Reign of Queen Elizabeth.  1845.
The Betrayal of Christ
LVI. John Markham
JUDAS, 1 that treason harbored in his brest,
Knew well that here our Lord did oft resort
Vnto this place: knowledge had wrought thy rest,
If all in time thou wouldst haue found comfort:
  But, murtherous wretch, this onely did thee good;        5
  Thou thirstie wert after the innocent blood.
O monstrous change, that from a friend of trust
Thou art a fox, and wilt thy friend betray!
Companion once, and now ’mongst thieues to thrust,
As chiefest guide, the spotlesse Lambe to fray.        10
  Cannot great fauours cause thee to returne,
  Thou wofull wretch, at goodnes that dost spurne?
How many speeches tending to our health!
What feruent vowes he sent beyond the sky!
All wayes were sought, still to procure our wealth;        15
His grace to none that would he did deny.
  Might not his grace from treason thee reclaime,
  But at his life thou, traytour, now wilt aime?
Ye couetous carles, that for a little gaine
Set soule to sale, as though there were no hell,        20
Looke on this Iudas, thinke vpon his paine;
His endlesse pangs all torments far excell.
  The very fire the forged fire doth passe,
  And like hell-fire no torment euer was.
Consider yet, while here we haue a space,        25
What griefe it is to be exilde from God;
What ioy it is to view his pleasant face;
What paine it is to feele his heauie rod.
  Thrise happie they that cleaue vnto thy grace!
  Thrise cursed they that will not life imbrace!        30
O wretched man, bereft of inward peace,
Commest thou arm’d with weapons and with lights?
A cut-throate crew serue for thy shame’s increase:
Are these thy mates? belike feare thee affrights.
  A guiltie conscience brings a restlesse griefe,        35
  Easlesse in ease, finding no sound reliefe.
Thou stately citie of the hightest King,
Fitting thy name that hadst the Prince of Peace,
Whilom whose praise the virgins faire did sing,
What time thy glory the chiefest did increace:        40
  Thy famous temple, deuotion that relieues,
  Is now become a den for lothsome thieues.
And must thy rulers now their forces bend
To send their seruants forth in all the haste,
To bind this Lambe, and then his blood to spend?        45
What, do ye long to see your land lye waste?
  All this was done the Scripture to fulfil:
  Who can dissolve what God alone doth will?
In these we see that brings such weapons’ stoare,
How foes with might God’s children doe oppresse:        50
They haue no truth, and as for iustice’ loare
They likewise want, which causes should redresse:
  Trusting to flesh, this stay, as it is wurst,
  So for this fault they are of God accurst.
Forward they march, bringing along their light,        55
Their lanterns that a little light containe,
With other helpes to guide them in the night;
Vsing the lesse, and from the great refraine:
  To dim that light each one doth now prepare;
  For Light of world no whit at all they care.        60
Christ, knowing well the secrets of mankind,
This instant somewhat should to him betyde,
Forward he goeth against the crue vnkind,
From whom he could haue parted cleane vnspyde:
  “Whom do ye seeke?” said he; “to me now tell.”        65
  “Jesus of Nazareth,” said they, and down they fell.
This hath the taste of his most soueraigne might,
Who with a word could strike them to the ground:
Weake is man’s power, if God begin to fight;
His only breath can all his foes confound.        70
  If slender touch huge mountaines maketh smoke,
  How dares then man his maiestie prouoke?
Note 1. LVI. John Markham.—In 1600 a work was published entitled “The Teares of the Beloued: or, The Lamentation of Saint John concerning the Death and Passion of Christ Jesus our Saviour. By J. M.,” that is, John Markham. [back]

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