7. Barabbas in Prison


Barabbas is my name,
Barabbas, the Son of Shame,
Is the meaning I suppose;
I'm no better than the best,
And whether worse than the rest
Of my fellow-men, who knows?

I was once, to say it in brief,
A highwayman, a robber-chief,
In the open light of day.
So much I am free to confess;
But all men, more or less,
Are robbers in their way.

From my cavern in the crags,
From my lair of leaves and flags,
I could see, like ants, below,
The camels with their load
Of merchandise, on the road
That leadeth to Jericho.

And I struck them unaware,
As an eagle from the air
Drops down upon bird or beast;
And I had my hearts desire
Of the merchants of Sidon and Tyre
And Damascus and the East.

But it is not for that I fear;
It is not for that I am here
In these iron fetters bound;
Sedition! that is the word
That Pontius Pilate heard,
And he liketh not the sound.

What think ye, would he care
For a Jew slain here or there,
Or a plundered caravan?
But Caesar! — ah, that is a crime,
To the uttermost end of time
Shall not be forgiven to man.

Therefore was Herod wroth
With Matthias Margaloth,
And burned him for a show!
Therefore his wrath did smite
Judas the Gaulonite,
And his followers, as ye know.

For that cause and no more,
Am I here, as I said before;
For one unlucky night,
Jucundus, the captain of horse,
Was upon us with all his force,
And I was caught in the fight.

I might have fled with the rest,
But my dagger was in the breast
Of a Roman equerry;
As we rolled there in the street,
They bound me, hands and feet;
And this is the end of me.

Who cares for death? Not I!
A thousand times I would die,
Rather than suffer wrong!
Already those women of mine
Are mixing the myrrh and the wine;
I shall not be with you long.
Rate this poem: 


No reviews yet.