W. Garrett Horder, comp. The Poets’ Bible: New Testament. 1895.
The Marriage in CanaHenry Wadsworth Longfellow (18071882)
Rise up, and come away,
For lo! the winter is past,
The rain is over and gone,
The flowers appear on the earth,
The time of the singing of birds is come,
And the voice of the turtle is heard in our land.
My heart runs forward with it, and I say:
Oh, set me as a seal upon thine heart,
And set me as a seal upon thine arm;
For love is strong as life, and strong as death,
And cruel as the grave is jealousy!
’Tis the voice of my beloved
Who knocketh, saying: Open to me,
My sister, my love, my dove,
For my head is filled with dew,
My locks with the drops of the night!
It is the voice of my beloved who knocks.
O beautiful as Ruth among the sheaves!
O fairest among women! O undefiled!
Thou art all fair, my love, there’s no spot in thee!
The chiefest among ten thousand;
His locks are black as a raven,
His eyes are the eyes of doves,
Of doves by the rivers of water,
His lips are like unto lilies,
Dropping sweet-smelling myrrh.
And hair, in colour like unto the wine,
Parted upon his forehead, and behind
Falling in flowing locks?
Who preacheth to the poor in field and village
The coming of God’s Kingdom.
His aspect is! manly yet womanly.
Oft known to weep, but never known to laugh.
And skin as fair as wheat, and pale brown hair,
The woman at his side?
Paranymphus.—His mother, Mary.
Clad all in white, with face and beard like ashes
As if he were Elias, the White Witness,
Come from his cave on Carmel to foretell
The end of all things?
Paranymphus.—That is Manahem,
The Essenian, he who dwells among the palms
Near the Dead Sea.
He should one day be king?
Doth he come here to sadden with his presence
Our marriage feast, belonging to a sect
Haters of women, and that taste not wine?
The only one of her mother,
The choice of her that bare her;
The daughters saw her and blessed her;
The queens and the concubines praised her,
Saying: Lo! who is this
That looketh forth as the morning?
As if He asked, why is that old man here
Among the revellers? And thou, the Anointed!
Why art thou here? I see as in a vision
A figure clothed in purple, crowned with thorns;
I see a cross uplifted in the darkness,
And hear a cry of agony, that shall echo
Forever and forever through the world!
Christus.—O woman, what have I
To do with thee? Mine hour is not yet come.
Let us go forth into the field,
Let us lodge in the villages;
Let us get up early to the vineyards,
Let us see if the vine flourish,
Whether the tender grape appear,
And the pomegranates bud forth.
Christus.—Draw out now,
And bear unto the Ruler of the Feast.
Nurtured in abstinence, taste not the wine!
It is the poison of dragons from the vineyards
Of Sodom, and the taste of death is in it.
And when men have well drunk, that which is worse;
But thou hast kept the good wine until now.
The things that are, and that hereafter shall be,
The things that might have been, and yet were not,
The fading twilight of great joys departed,
The daybreak of great truths as yet unrisen,
The intuition and the expectation
Of something, which, when come, is not the same,
But only like its forecast in men’s dreams,
The longing, the delay, and the delight,
Sweeter for the delay; youth, hope, love, death,
And disappointment which is also death,
All these make up the sum of human life;
A dream within a dream, a wind at night
Howling across the desert in despair,
Seeking for something lost, it cannot find.
Fate or foreseeing, or whatever name
Men call it, matters not; what is to be
Hath been fore-written in the thought divine
From the beginning. None can hide from it,
But it will find him out; nor run from it,
But it o’ertaketh him! The Lord had said it.
The land was all illumined with her beauty;
But thou dost make the very night itself
Brighter than day! Behold, in glad procession,
Crowding the threshold of the sky above us,
The stars come forth to meet thee with their lamps;
And the soft winds, the ambassadors of flowers,
From neighbouring gardens and from fields unseen
Come laden with odours unto thee, my Queen!
And come, thou wind of the South,
Blow, blow upon my garden,
That the spices thereof may flow out.