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The Virgin. And now these clothes, that wrapped him,
And keep them precious, for his sake,
Our benediction thus we make,
Naught else have we to give.
(She gives them swaddling-clothes, and they depart.
V. THE FLIGHT INTO EGYPT.
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
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 !
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,
He is 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 robbed and beaten sore!
(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!
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.
Mary. May God be merciful to thee
Upon the Judgment Day!
Jesus. When thirty years shall have gone by,
I at Jerusalem shall die,
By Jewish hands exalted high
On the accursed 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.)
VI. THE SLAUGHTER OF THE INNOCENTS.
King Herod. 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,
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,
As red as blood, as hot as fire,
And fit for any king!
(He qua f's great goblets of wine.)
Now at the window will I stand,
While in the street the armed band
The little children slay :
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.)
Rachel. O wicked king! O cruel speed!
To do this most unrighteous deed !
My children all are slain !
Herod. Ho, seneschal! another cup!
With wine of Sorek fill it up!
I would a bumper drain!
Rahab. May maledictions fall and blast
Thyself and lineage, to the last
Of all thy kith and kin!
Herod. Another goblet! quick ! and stir
Pomegranate juice and drops of myrrh
And calamus therein !
Soldiers (in the street). Give up thy child into our hands!
It is King Herod who commands
That he should thus be slain!
The Nurse Medusa. O monstrous men! What have ye
It is King Herod's only son
That ye have cleft in twain!
Herod. 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 !
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 ASTAROTA
come forth and drag him doron.]
VII. JESUS AT PLAY WITH HIS SCHOOLMATES
Jesus. The shower is over. Let us play,
And make some sparrows out of clay,
Down by the river's side.
Judas. See, how the stream has overflowed
Its banks, and o'er the meadow road
Is spreading far and wide ! [They draw water out of the river by channels, and from little pools. JESUS makes twelve
sparrows of clay, and the other boys do the same.]
Jesus. Look! look! how prettily I make
These little sparrows by the lake
Bend down their necks and drink!
Now will I make them sing and soar
So far, they shall return no more
Unto this river's brink.
Judas. That canst thou not! They are but clay,
They cannot sing, nor fly away
Above the meadow lands!
Jesus. Fly, fly! you sparrows! ye are free!
And while you live, remember me,
Who made you with my hands.
(Here JESUS shall clap his hands, and the sparrows shall Ay away, chirruping.)
Judas. Thou art a sorcerer, I know;
Oft has my mother told me so,
I will not play with thee!
(He strikes Jesus on the right side.)
Jesus. Ah, Judas! thou hast smote my side,
And when I shall be crucified,
There shall I pierced be!
(Here Josepu shall come in and say.]
Joseph. Ye wicked boys! Why do ye play,
And break the holy Sabbath day?
What, think ye, will your mothers say
To see you in such plight!
In such a sweat and such a heat,
With all that mud upon your feet!
There's not a beggar in the street
Makes such a sorry sight!
VIII. THE VILLAGE SCHOOL.
[The RABBI BEN ISRAEL, with a long beard, sitting on a high stool, with a rod in his hand.]
Rabbi. I am the Rabbi Ben Israel,
Throughout this village known full well,
And, as my scholars all will tell,
Learned in things divine;
The Cabala and Talmud hoar
Than all the prophets prize I more,
For water is all Bible lore,
But Mishna is strong wine.
My fame extends from West to East,
And always, at the Purim feast,
I am as drunk as any beast
That wallows in his sty;
The wine it so elateth me,
That I no difference can see
Between “ Accursed Haman be!”
And “Blessed be Mordecai !"
Come hither, Judas Iscariot.
Say, if thy lesson thou hast got
From the Rabbinical Book or not.
Why howl the dogs at night?
Judas. In the Rabbinical Book, it saith
The dogs howl, when, with icy breath,
Great Sammaël, the Angel of Death,
Takes through the town his flight!
Rabbi. Well, boy ! now say, if thou art wise,
When the Angel of Death, who is full of eyes,
Comes where a sick man dying lies,
What doth he to the wight?
Judas. He stands beside him, dark and tall,
Holding a sword from which doth fall
Into his mouth a drop of gall,
And so he turneth white.
Rabbi. And now, my Judas, say to me.
What the great Voices Four may be,
That quite across the world do fee,
And are not heard by men P
Judas. The Voice of the Sun in heaven's dome,
The Voice of the Murmuring of Rome,
The Voice of a Soul that goeth home,
And the Angel of the Rain!
Rabbi. Right are thine answers every one!
Now, little Jesus, the carpenter's son,
Let us see how thy task is done.
Canst thou thy letters say ?
Rabbi. What next? Do not stop yet!
Go on with all the alphabet.
Come, Aleph, Beth ; dost thou forget ?
Cock's soul! thou’dst rather play!
Jesus. What Aleph means I fain would know,
Before I any farther go!
Rabbi. O, by St. Peter! wouldst thou so ?
Come hither, boy, to me.
As surely as the letter Jod
Once cried aloud, and spake to God,
So surely shalt thou feel this rod,
. And punished shalt thou be ! (Here RABBI BEN ISRAEL shall lift up his rod to strike JESUS, and his right arm shall be
IX. CROWNED WITH FLOWERS.
JESUS sitting among his playmates, crowned with flowers as their King.
Boys. We spread our garments on the ground !
With fragrant flowers thy head is crowned,
While like a guard we stand around,
And hail thee as our King!
Thou art the new King of the Jews !
Nor let the passers-by refuse
To bring that homage which men use
To majesty to bring. (Her e a traveller shall go by, and the boys shall lay hold of his garments, and say.]
Boys. Come hither! and all reverence pay
Unto our monarch crowned to-day !
Then go rejoicing on your way,
In all prosperity!
Traveller. Hail to the King of Bethlehem,
Who weareth in his diadem
The yellow crocus for the gem
Of his authority!