Reference > Anthologies > Warner, et al., eds. > The Library > Verse

C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
Easter Day—Naples, 1849
By Arthur Hugh Clough (1819–1861)
THROUGH the great sinful streets of Naples as I past,
  With fiercer heat than flamed above my head,
My heart was hot within me; till at last
  My brain was lightened when my tongue had said—
    Christ is not risen!        5
          Christ is not risen, no—
          He lies and molders low;
            Christ is not risen!
What though the stone were rolled away, and though
        The grave found empty there?—        10
        If not there, then elsewhere;
If not where Joseph laid him first, why then
            Where other men
Translaid him after, in some humbler clay.
            Long ere to-day        15
Corruption that sad perfect work hath done,
Which here she scarcely, lightly, had begun:
        The foul engendered worm
Feeds on the flesh of the life-giving form
Of our most Holy and Anointed One.        20
        He is not risen, no—
        He lies and molders low;
          Christ is not risen!
What if the women, ere the dawn was gray,
Saw one or more great angels, as they say        25
(Angels, or Him himself)? Yet neither there, nor then,
Nor afterwards, nor elsewhere, nor at all,
  Hath he appeared to Peter or the Ten;
Nor, save in thunderous terror, to blind Saul;
Save in an after-Gospel and late Creed,        30
        He is not risen, indeed,—
          Christ is not risen!
Or what if e’en, as runs a tale, the Ten
Saw, heard, and touched, again and yet again?
What if at Emmaüs’s inn, and by Capernaum’s Lake,        35
    Came One, the bread that brake—
Came One that spake as never mortal spake,
And with them ate, and drank, and stood, and walked about?
    Ah! “some” did well to “doubt”!
Ah! the true Christ, while these things came to pass,        40
Nor heard, nor spake, nor walked, nor lived, alas!
        He was not risen, no—
        He lay and moldered low;
          Christ was not risen!
As circulates in some great city crowd        45
A rumor changeful, vague, importunate, and loud,
From no determined centre, or of fact
        Or authorship exact,
        Which no man can deny
            Nor verify;        50
        So spread the wondrous fame;
          He all the same
        Lay senseless, moldering low;
        He was not risen, no—
          Christ was not risen!        55
Ashes to ashes, dust to dust;
As of the unjust, also of the just—
        Yea, of that Just One, too!
This is the one sad Gospel that is true—
          Christ is not risen!        60
Is he not risen, and shall we not rise?
            Oh, we unwise!
What did we dream, what wake we to discover?
Ye hills, fall on us, and ye mountains, cover!
      In darkness and great gloom        65
Come ere we thought it is our day of doom;
From the cursed world, which is one tomb,
          Christ is not risen!
Eat, drink, and play, and think that this is bliss:
          There is no heaven but this;        70
              There is no hell,
Save earth, which serves the purpose doubly well,
            Seeing it visits still
        With equalest apportionment of ill
Both good and bad alike, and brings to one same dust        75
            The unjust and the just
          With Christ, who is not risen.
Eat, drink, and die, for we are souls bereaved:
  Of all the creatures under heaven’s wide cope
  We are most hopeless, who had once most hope,        80
And most beliefless, that had most believed.
    Ashes to ashes, dust to dust;
    As of the unjust, also of the just—
          Yea, of that Just One, too!
    It is the one sad Gospel that is true—        85
            Christ is not risen!
          Weep not beside the tomb,
          Ye women, unto whom
  He was great solace while ye tended him;
        Ye who with napkin o’er the head        90
  And folds of linen round each wounded limb
        Laid out the Sacred Dead;
  And thou that bar’st him in thy wondering womb;
        Yea, Daughters of Jerusalem, depart,
Bind up as best you may your own sad bleeding heart:        95
    Go to your homes, your living children tend,
            Your earthly spouses love;
    Set your affections not on things above,
Which moth and rust corrupt, which quickliest come to end:
Or pray, if pray ye must, and pray, if pray ye can,        100
For death; since dead is he whom ye deemed more than man,
            Who is not risen: no—
            But lies and molders low—
              Who is not risen!
              Ye men of Galilee!        105
Why stand ye looking up to heaven, where Him ye ne’er may see,
  Neither ascending hence, nor returning hither again?
          Ye ignorant and idle fishermen!
  Hence to your huts, and boats, and inland native shore,
          And catch not men, but fish;        110
          Whate’er things ye might wish,
  Him neither here nor there ye e’er shall meet with more.
          Ye poor deluded youths, go home,
          Mend the old nets ye left to roam,
          Tie the split oar, patch the torn sail:        115
          It was indeed an “idle tale”—
              He was not risen!
    And oh, good men of ages yet to be,
    Who shall believe because ye did not see—
      Oh, be ye warned, be wise!        120
      No more with pleading eyes,
      And sobs of strong desire,
      Unto the empty vacant void aspire,
  Seeking another and impossible birth
That is not of your own, and only mother earth.        125
  But if there is no other life for you,
Sit down and be content, since this must even do;
              He is not risen!
          One look and then depart,
      Ye humble and ye holy men of heart;        130
And ye! ye ministers and stewards of a Word
Which ye would preach, because another heard—
      Ye worshipers of that ye do not know,
      Take these things hence and go:—
              He is not risen!        135
            Here, on our Easter Day
  We rise, we come, and lo! we find Him not,
  Gardener nor other, on the sacred spot:
  Where they have laid Him there is none to say;
      No sound, nor in, nor out—no word        140
Of where to seek the dead or meet the living Lord.
  There is no glistering of an angel’s wings,
There is no voice of heavenly clear behest:
  Let us go hence, and think upon these things
            In silence, which is best.        145
            Is He not risen? No—
            But lies and molders low?
              Christ is not risen?

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