Verse > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow > Complete Poetical Works
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807–1882).  Complete Poetical Works.  1893.
Christus: A Mystery
Part II. The Golden Legend.
III. IV. The Nativity: A Miracle-Play.
VI. The Slaughter of the Innocents
POTZ-TAUSEND! Himmel-sacrament!
Filled am I with great wonderment
  At this unwelcome news!
Am I not Herod? Who shall dare
My crown to take, my sceptre bear,        5
  As king among the Jews?
Here he shall stride up and down and flourish his sword.
What ho! I fain would drink a can
Of the strong wine of Canaan!
  The wine of Helbon bring
I purchased at the Fair of Tyre,        10
As red as blood, as hot as fire,
  And fit for any king!
He quaffs great goblets of wine.
Now at the window will I stand,
While in the street the armèd band
  The little children slay;        15
The babe just born in Bethlehem
Will surely slaughtered be with them,
  Nor live another day!
Here a voice of lamentation shall be heard in the street.
O wicked king! O cruel speed!
To do this most unrighteous deed!        20
  My children all are slain!
Ho seneschal! another cup!
With wine of Sorek fill it up!
  I would a bumper drain!
May maledictions fall and blast
Thyself and lineage, to the last
  Of all thy kith and kin!
Another goblet! quick! and stir
Pomegranate juice and drops of myrrh
  And calamus therein!        30
SOLDIERS, in the street.
Give up thy child into our hands!
It is King Herod who commands
  That he should thus be slain!
O monstrous men! What have ye done!
It is King Herod’s only son        35
  That ye have cleft in twain!
Ah, luckless day! What words of fear
Are these that smite upon my ear
  With such a doleful sound!
What torments rack my heart and head!        40
Would I were dead! would I were dead,
  And buried in the ground!
He falls down and writhes as though eaten by worms. Hell opens, and SATAN and ASTAROTH come forth, and drag him down.

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