3. A Street in Strasburg -

Night . PRINCE HENRYwandering alone, wrapped in a cloak .


Still is the night. The sound of feet
Has died away from the empty street,
And like an artisan, bending down
His head on his anvil, the dark town
Sleeps, with a slumber deep and sweet.
Sleepless and restless, I alone,
In the dusk and damp of these walls of stone,
Wander and weep in my remorse!

CRIER OF THE DEAD, ringing a bell .

Wake! wake!
All ye that sleep!
Pray for the Dead!
Pray for the Dead!


Hark! with what accents loud and hoarse
This warder on the walls of death
Sends forth the challenge of his breath!
I see the dead that sleep in the grave!
They rise up and their garments wave,
Dimly and spectral, as they rise,
With the light of another world in their eyes!


Wake! wake!
All ye that sleep!
Pray for the Dead!
Pray for the Dead!


Why for the dead, who are at rest?
Pray for the living, in whose breast
The struggle between right and wrong
Is raging terrible and strong,
As when good angels war with devils!
This is the Master of the Revels,
Who, as Life's flowing feast, proposes
The health of absent friends, and pledges,
Not in bright goblets crowned with roses,
And tinkling as we touch their edges,
But with his dismal, tinkling bell,
That mocks and mimics their funeral knell!


Wake! wake!
All ye that sleep!
Pray for the Dead!
Pray for the Dead!


Wake not, beloved! be thy sleep
Silent as night is, and as deep!
There walks a sentinel at thy gate
Whose heart is heavy and desolate,
And the heavings of whose bosom number,
The respirations of thy slumber,
As if some strange, mysterious fate
Had linked two hearts in one, and mine
Went madly wheeling about thine,
Only with wider and wilder sweep!


Wake! wake!
All ye that sleep!
Pray for the Dead!
Pray for the Dead!


Lo! with what depth of blackness thrown
Against the clouds, far up the skies
The walls of the cathedral rise,
Like a mysterious grove of stone,
With fitful lights and shadows blending,
As from behind, the moon, ascending,
Lights its dim aisles and paths unknown!
The wind is rising; but the boughs
Rise not and fall not with the wind,
That through their foliage sobs and soughs:
Only the cloudy rack behind,
Drifting onward, wild and ragged,
Gives to each spire and buttress jagged
A seeming motion undefined.
Below on the square, an armed knight,
Still as a statue and as white,
Sits on his steed, and the moonbeams quiver.
Upon the points of his armor bright
As on the ripples of a river.
He lifts the visor from his cheek,
And beckons, and makes as he would speak


Friend! can you tell me where alight
Thuringia's horsemen for the night?
For I have lingered in the rear,
And wander vainly up and down.


I am a stranger in the town,
As thou art; but the voice I hear
Is not a stranger to mine ear.
Thou art Walter of the Vogelweid!


Thou hast guessed rightly; and thy name
Is Henry of Hoheneck!


Ay, the same


Come closer, closer to my side!
What brings thee hither? What potent charm
Has drawn thee from thy German farm
Into the old Alsatian city?


A tale of wonder and of pity!
A wretched man, almost by stealth
Dragging my body to Salern,
In the vain hope and search for health,
And destined never to return.
Already thou hast heard the rest.
But what brings thee, thus armed and dight
In the equipments of a knight?


Dost thou not see upon my breast
The cross of the Crusaders shine?
My pathway leads to Palestine


Ah, would that way were also mine!
O noble poet! thou whose heart
Is like a nest of singing-birds
Rocked on the topmost bough of life,
Wilt thou, too, from our sky depart
And in the clangor of the strife
Mingle the music of thy words?


My hopes are high, my heart is proud,
And like a trumpet long and loud,
Thither my thoughts all clang and ring!
My life is in my hand, and lo!
I grasp and bend it as a bow,
And shoot forth from its trembling string
An arrow, that shall be, perchance,
Like the arrow of the Israelite king
Shot from the window toward the east,
That of the Lord's deliverance!


My life, alas! is what thou seest!
O enviable fate! to be
Strong, beautiful, and armed like thee
With lyre and sword, with song and steel;
A hand to smite, a heart to feel!
Thy heart, thy hand, thy lyre, thy sword,
Thou givest all unto thy Lord;
While I, so mean and abject grown,
Am thinking of myself alone.


Be patient: Time will reinstate
Thy health and fortunes.


'Tis too late!
I cannot strive against my fate!


Come with me; for my steed is weary;
Our journey has been long and dreary,
And, dreaming of his stall, he dints
With his impatient hoofs the flints.


I am ashamed in my disgrace,
To look into that noble face!
To-morrow, Walter, let it be


To-morrow, at the dawn of day,
I shall again be on my way.
Come with me to the hostelry,
For I have many things to say
Our journey into Italy
Perchance together we may make;
Wilt thou not do it for my sake?


A sick man's pace would but impede
Thine eager and impatient speed.
Besides, my pathway leads me round
To Hirschau, in the forest's bound,
Where I assemble man and steed,
And all things for my journey's need
They go out.


Sleep, sleep, O city! till the light
Wake you to sin and crime again,
Whilst on your dreams, like dismal rain,
I scatter downward through the night
My maledictions dark and deep.
I have more martyrs in your walls
Than God has; and they cannot sleep;
They are my bondsmen and my thralls;
Their wretched lives are full of pain,
Wild agonies of nerve and brain;
And every heart-beat, every breath,
Is a convulsion worse than death!
Sleep, sleep, O city! though within
The circuit of your walls there be
No habitation free from sin,
And all its nameless misery;
The aching heart, the aching head,
Grief for the living and the dead,
And foul corruption of the time,
Disease, distress, and want, and woe,
And crimes, and passions that may grow
Until they ripen into crime!

Square in Front of the Cathedral


This is the day, when from the dead
Our Lord arose; and everywhere
Out of their darkness and despair,
Triumphant over fears and foes,
The hearts of his disciples rose
When to the women, standing near,
The Angel in shining vesture said,
" The Lord is risen; he is not here! "
And, mindful that the day is come,
On all the hearths in Christendom
The fires are quenched, to be again
Rekindled from the sun, that high
Is dancing in the cloudless sky.
The churches are all decked with flowers,
The salutations among men
Are but the Angel's words divine,
" Christ is arisen! " and the bells
Catch the glad murmur, as it swells,
And chant together in their towers.
All hearts are glad; and free from care
The faces of the people shine.
See what a crowd is in the square,
Gayly and gallantly arrayed!


Let us go back; I am afraid!


Nay, let us mount the church-steps here,
Under the doorway's sacred shadow;
We can see all things, and be freer
From the crowd that madly heaves and presses!


What a gay pageant! what bright dresses!
It looks like a flower - besprinkled meadow.
What is that yonder on the square?


A pulpit in the open air,
And a Friar, who is preaching to the crowd
In a voice so deep and clear and loud,
That, if we listen, and give heed,
His lowest words will reach the ear.


What ho! good people! do you not hear?
Dashing along at the top of his speed,
Booted and spurred, on his jaded steed,
A courier comes with words of cheer.
Courier! what is the news, I pray?
" Christ is arisen! " Whence come you? " From court. "
Then I do not believe it; you say it in sport.

Cracks his whip again.

Ah, here comes another, riding this way;
We soon shall know what he has to say.
Courier! what are the tidings to-day?
" Christ is arisen! " Whence come you? " From town. "
Then I do not believe it; away with you, clown.
Cracks his whip more violently
And here comes a third, who is spurring amain;
What news do you bring, with your loose-hanging rein,
Your spurs wet with blood, and your bridle with foam?
" Christ is arisen! " Whence come you? " From Rome. "
Ah, now I believe. He is risen, indeed.
Ride on with the news, at the top of your speed!

Great applause among the crowd.

To come back to my text! When the news was first spread
That Christ was arisen indeed from the dead,
Very great was the joy of the angels in heaven;
And as great the dispute as to who should carry
The tidings thereof to the Virgin Mary,
Pierced to the heart with sorrows seven.
Old Father Adam was first to propose,
As being the author of all our woes;
But he was refused, for fear, said they,
He would stop to eat apples on the way!
Abel came next, but petitioned in vain,
Because he might meet with his brother Cain!
Noah, too, was refused, lest his weakness for wine
Should delay him at every tavern-sign;
And John the Baptist could not get a vote,
On account of his old-fashioned camel's hair coat;
And the Penitent Thief, who died on the cross,
Was reminded that all his bones were broken!
Till at last, when each in turn had spoken,
The company being still at loss,
The Angel, who rolled away the stone,
Was sent to the sepulchre, all alone.
And filled with glory that gloomy prison,
And said to the Virgin, " The Lord is arisen! "

The Cathedral bells ring.

But hark! the bells are beginning to chime;
And I feel that I am growing hoarse
I will put an end to my discourse,
And leave the rest for some other time.
For the bells themselves are the best of preachers;
Their brazen lips are learned teachers,
From their pulpits of stone, in the upper air,
Sounding aloft, without crack or flaw,
Shriller than trumpets under the Law,
Now a sermon, and now a prayer.
The clangorous hammer is the tongue,
This way, that way, beaten and swung,
That from mouth of brass, as from Mouth of Gold,
May be taught the Testaments, New and Old.
And above it the great cross-beam of wood
Representeth the Holy Rood,
Upon which, like the bell, our hopes are hung.
And the wheel wherewith it is swayed and rung
Is the mind of man, that round and round
Sways, and maketh the tongue to sound!
And the rope, with its twisted cordage three,
Denoteth the Scriptural Trinity
Of Morals, and Symbols, and History;
And the upward and downward motion show
That we touch upon matters high and low;
And the constant change and transmutation
Of action and of contemplation,
Downward, the Scripture brought from on high,
Upward, exalted again to the sky;
Downward, the literal interpretation,
Upward, the Vision and Mystery!

And now, my hearers, to make an end,
I have only one word more to say;
In the church, in honor of Easter day
Will be presented a Miracle Play;
And I hope you will all have the grace to attend.
Christ bring us at last to his felicity!
Pax vobiscum! et Benedicite!

In the Cathedral


Kyrie Eleison!
Christe Eleison!


I am at home here in my Father's house!
These paintings of the Saints upon the walls
Have all familiar and benignant faces.


The portraits of the family of God!
Thine own hereafter shall be placed among them.


How very grand it is and wonderfull
Never have I beheld a church so splendid!
Such columns, and such arches, and such windows,
So many tombs and statues in the chapels,
And under them so many confessionals.
They must be for the rich. I should not like
To tell my sins in such a church as this
Who built it?


A great master of his craft
Erwin von Steinbach; but not he alone,
For many generations labored with him.
Children that came to see these Saints in stone,
As day by day out of the blocks they rose,
Grew old and died, and still the work went on,
And on, and on, and is not yet completed.
The generation that succeeds our own
Perhaps may finish it. The architect
Built his great heart into these sculptured stones,
And with him toiled his children, and their lives
Were builded, with his own, into the walls,
As offerings unto God. You see that statue
Fixing its joyous, but deep-wrinkled eyes
Upon the Pillars of the Angels yonder
That is the image of the master, carved
By the fair hand of his own child, Sabina


How beautiful is the column that he looks at!


That, too, she sculptured. At the base of it
Stand the Evangelists; above their heads
Four Angels blowing upon marble trumpets,
And over them the blessed Christ surrounded
By his attendant ministers, upholding
The instruments of his passion.


O my Lord!
Would I could leave behind me upon earth
Some monument to thy glory, such as this!


A greater monument than this thou leavest
In thine own life, all purity and love!
See, too, the Rose, above the western portal
Resplendent with a thousand gorgeous colors,
The perfect flower of Gothic loveliness!


And, in the gallery, the long line of statues,
Christ with his twelve Apostles watching us!

A BISHOPin armor, booted and spurred, passes with his train .


But come away; we have not time to look.
The crowd already fills the church, and yonder
Upon a stage, a herald with a trumpet,
Clad like the Angel Gabriel, proclaims
The Mystery that will now be represented.

The Nativity




Come, good people, all and each,
Come and listen to our speech!
In your presence here I stand,
With a trumpet in my hand,
To announce the Easter Play,
Which we represent to-day!
First of all we shall rehearse,
In our action and our verse,
The Nativity of our Lord,
As written in the old record
Of the Protevangelion,
So that he who reads may run!

Blows his trumpet.


MERCY, at the feet of God .

Have pity, Lord! be not afraid
To save mankind, whom thou hast made,
Nor let the souls that were betrayed
Perish eternally!


It cannot be, it must not be!
When in the garden placed by thee,
The fruit of the forbidden tree
He ate, and he must die!


Have pity, Lord! let penitence
Atone for disobedience,
Nor let the fruit of man's offence
Be endless misery!


What penitence proportionate
Can e'er be felt for sin so great?
Of the forbidden fruit he ate,
And damned must he be!


He shall be saved, if that within
The bounds of earth one free from sin
Be found, who for his kith and kin
Will suffer martyrdom.


Lord! we have searched the world around,
From centre to the utmost bound,
But no such mortal can be found;
Despairing, back we come.


No mortal, but a God made man,
Can ever carry out this plan,
Achieving what none other can,
Salvation into all!


Go, then, O my beloved Son!
It can by thee alone be done;
By thee the victory shall be won
O'er Satan and the Fall!

Here the ANGEL GABRIELshall leave Paradise and fly towards the earth; the jaws of Hell open below, and the Devils walk about, making a great noise



Along the garden walk, and thence
Through the wicket in the garden fence,
I steal with quiet pace,
My pitcher at the well to fill,
That lies so deep and cool and still
In this sequestered place.

These sycamores keep guard around;
I see no face, I hear no sound,
Save bubblings of the spring,
And my companions, who, within,
The threads of gold and scarlet spin,
And at their labor sing.


Hail, Virgin Mary, full of grace!

Here MARYlooketh around her, trembling, and then saith:


Who is it speaketh in this place,
With such a gentle voice?


The Lord of heaven is with thee now!
Blessed among all women thou,
Who art his holy choice!

MARY, setting down the pitcher .

What can this mean? No one is near,
And yet, such sacred words I hear,
I almost fear to stay.

Here the ANGEL, appearing to her, shall say:


Fear not, O Mary! but believe!
For thou, a Virgin, shalt conceive
A child this very day.
Fear not, O Mary! from the sky
The majesty of the Most High
Shall overshadow thee!


Behold the handmaid of the Lord!
According to thy holy word,
So be it unto me!

Here the Devils shall again, make a great noise, under the stage.



The Angels of the Planets Seven,
Across the shining fields of heaven,
The natal star we bring!
Dropping our sevenfold virtues down
As priceless jewels in the crown
Of Christ, our new-born King.


I am the Angel of the Sun,
Whose flaming wheels began to run
When God's almighty breath
Said to the darkness and the Night,
Let there be light! and there was light!
I bring the gift of Faith.


I am the Angel of the Moon,
Darkened to be rekindled soon
Beneath the azure cope!
Nearest to earth, it is my ray
That best illumes the midnight way
I bring the gift of Hope!


The Angel of the Star of Love,
The Evening Star, that shines above
The place where lovers be,
Above all happy hearths and homes,
On roofs of thatch, or golden domes,
I give him Charity!


The Planet Jupiter is mine!
The mightiest star of all that shine,
Except the sun alone!
He is the High Priest of the Dove,
And sends, from his great throne above,
Justice, that shall atone!


The Planet Mercury, whose place
Is nearest to the sun in space,
Is my allotted sphere!
And with celestial ardor swift
I bear upon my hands the gift
Of heavenly Prudence here!


I am the Minister of Mars,
The strongest star among the stars!
My songs of power prelude
The march and battle of man's life,
And for the suffering and the strife,
I give him Fortitude!


The Angel of the uttermost
Of all the shining, heavenly host,
From the far off expanse
Of the Saturnian, endless space
I bring the last, the crowning grace,
The gift of Temperance!

A sudden light shines from the windows of the stable in the village below.


The stable of the Inn. The VIRGINand CHILD. Three Gypsy Kings , GASPAR, MELCHIOR, and BELSHAZZARshall come in .


Hail to thee, Jesus of Nazareth!
Though in a manger thou draw breath,
Thou art greater than Life and Death,
Greater than Joy or Woe!
This cross upon the line of life
Portendeth struggle, toil, and strife,
And through a region with peril rife
In darkness shalt thou go!


Hail to thee, King of Jerusalem!
Though humbly born in Bethlehem,
A sceptre and a diadem
A wait thy brow and hand!
The sceptre is a simple reed,
The crown will make thy temples bleed,
And in thine hour of greatest need,
Abashed thy subjects stand!


Hail to thee, Christ of Christendom!
O'er all the earth thy kingdom come!
From distant Trebizond to Rome
Thy name shall men adore!
Peace and good-will among all men,
The Virgin has returned again,
Returned the old Saturnian reign
And Golden Age once more.


Jesus, the Son of God, am I,
Born here to suffer and to die
According to the prophecy,
That other men may live!


And now these clothes, that wrapped Him, take
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.


Here JOSEPHshall come in, leading an ass, on which are seated MARYand the CHILD.


Here will we rest us, under these
O'erhanging branches of the trees,
Where robins chant their Litanies
And canticles of joy.


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.


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.


And I will hobble well the ass,
Lest, being loose upon the grass,
He should escape; for, by the mass,
He's nimble as a goat.

Here MARYshall alight and go to the spring .


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 comeforward.


Cock's soul! deliver up your gold!


I pray you, Sirs, let go your hold!
You see that I am weak and old,
Of wealth I have no store.


Give up your money!


Prithee cease
Let these people go in peace.


First let them pay for their release,
And then go on their way


These forty groats I give in fee,
If thou wilt only silent be


May God be merciful to thee
Upon the Judgment Day!


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 crucifled,
And Titus thenceforth shall abide
In paradise with me.

Here a great rumor of trumpets and horses, like the noise of a king with his army, and the robbers shall take flight



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 quaffs 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.


O wicked king! O cruel speed!
To do this most unrighteous deed!
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 myrrb
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!


O monstrous men! What have ye done!
It is King Herod's only son
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!
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 SATANand ASTAROTHcome forth, and drag him down .



The shower is over. Let us play,
And make some sparrows out of clay,
Down by the river's side.


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 form little pools . JESUSmakes twelve sparrows of clay, and the other boys do the same .


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


That canst thou not! They are but clay,
They cannot sing, nor fly away
Above the meadow lands!


Fly, fly! ye sparrows! you are free!
And while you live, remember me,
Who made you with my hands.

Here JESUSshall clap his hands, and the sparrows shall fly away, chirruping .


Thou art a sorcerer, I know;
Oft has my mother told me so,
I will not play with thee!

He strikes JESUSin the right side .


Ah, Judas! thou hast smote my side,
And when I shall be crucified,
There shall I pierced be!

Here JOSEPHshall come in and say:


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!


The RABBI BEN ISRAEL, sitting on a high stool, with a long beard, and a rod in his hand .


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?


In the Rabbinical Book, it saith
The dogs howl, when with icy breath
Great Sammael, the Angel of Death,
Takes through the town his flight!


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?


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


And now, my Judas, say to me
What the great Voices Four may be,
That quite across the world do flee
And are not heard by men?


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!


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?




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!


What Aleph means I fain would know,
Before I any farther go!


Oh, by Saint 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 ISRAELshall lift up his rod to strike JESUS, and his right arm shall be paralyzed


JESUSsitting among his playmates crowned with flowers as their King


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.

Here a traveller shall go by, and the boys shall lay hold of his garments and say:


Come hither! and all reverence pay
Unto our monarch, crowned to-day!
Then go rejoicing on your way,
In all prosperity!


Hail to the King of Bethlehem,
Who weareth in his diadem
The yellow crocus for the gem
Of his authority!

He passes by: and others come in, bearing on a litter a sick child.


Set down the litter and draw near!
The King of Bethlehem is here!
What ails the child, who seems to fear
That we shall do him harm?


He climbed up to the robin's nest,
And out there darted, from his rest,
A serpent with a crimson crest,
And stung him in the arm


Bring him to me, and let me feel
The wounded place; my touch can heal
The sting of serpents, and can steal
The poison from the bite!

He touches the wound, and the boy begins to cry

Cease to lament! I can foresee
That thou hereafter known shalt be,
Among the men who follow me,
As Simon the Canaanite!


In the after part of the day
Will be represented another play,
Of the Passion of our Blessed Lord,
Beginning directly after Nones!
At the close of which we shall accord,
By way of benison and reward,
The sight of a holy Martyr's bones!
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