Verse > Anthologies > > Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. > The Oxford Book of Victorian Verse
Arthur Quiller-Couch, comp.  The Oxford Book of Victorian Verse.  1922.
The Flight into Egypt
By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807–1882)
(From A Miracle Play)

(Here shall JOSEPH come in, leading an ass, on which are seated MARY and the CHILD.)

MARY.  Here will we rest us, under these
O’erhanging branches of the trees,
Where robins chant their litanies
    And canticles of joy.
  Joseph.  My saddle-girths have given way        5
With trudging through the heat to-day;
To you I think it is but play
    To ride and hold the boy.
  Mary.  Hark! how the robins shout and sing,
As if to hail their infant King!        10
I will alight at yonder spring
    To wash his little coat.
  Joseph.  And I will hobble well the ass,
Lest, being loose upon the grass,
He should escape; for, by the mass,        15
    He ’s nimble as a goat.
(Here MARY shall alight and go to the spring.)
  Mary.  O Joseph! I am much afraid,
For men are sleeping in the shade;
I fear that we shall be waylaid,
    And robb’d and beaten sore!        20
(Here a band of robbers shall be seen sleeping, two of whom shall rise and come forward.)
  Dumachus.  Cock’s soul! deliver up your gold!
  Joseph.  I pray you, Sirs, let go your hold!
You see that I am weak and old,
    Of wealth I have no store.
  Dumachus.  Give up your money!
  Titus.                            Prithee cease.
Let these good people go in peace.
  Dumachus.  First let them pay for their release,
    And then go on their way.
  Titus.  These forty groats I give in fee,
If thou wilt only silent be.        30
  Mary.  May God be merciful to thee,
    Upon the Judgement Day!
  Jesus.  When thirty years shall have gone by,
I at Jerusalem shall die,
By Jewish hands exalted high        35
    On the accursèd tree.
Then on my right and my left side,
These thieves shall both be crucified,
And Titus thenceforth shall abide
    In paradise with me.
(Here a great rumour of trumpets and horses, like the noise of a king with his army, and the robbers shall take flight.)

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