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Poetry of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Christus: A Mystery

IX

ACELDAMA

JUDAS ISCARIOT.
Lost! Lost!  Forever lost!  I have betrayed
The innocent blood!  O God! if thou art love,
Why didst thou leave me naked to the tempter?
Why didst thou not commission thy swift lightning
To strike me dead? or why did I not perish
With those by Herod slain, the innocent children,
Who went with playthings in their little hands
Into the darkness of the other world,
As if to bed?  Or wherefore was I born,
If thou in thy foreknowledge didst perceive
All that I am, and all that I must be?
I know I am not generous, am not gentle,
Like other men; but I have tried to be,
And I have failed.  I thought by following him
I should grow like him; but the unclean spirit
That from my childhood up hath tortured me
Hath been too cunning and too strong for me,
Am I to blame for this?  Am I to blame
Because I cannot love, and ne'er have known
The love of woman or the love of children?
It is a curse and a fatality,
A mark that hath been set upon my forehead,
That none shall slay me, for it were a mercy
That I were dead, or never had been born.

Too late! too late!  I shall not see Him more
Among the living.  That sweet, patient face
Will never more rebuke me, nor those lips
Repeat the words: One of you shall betray me!
It stung me into madness.  How I loved,
Yet hated Him: But in the other world!
I will be there before Him, and will wait
Until he comes, and fall down on my knees
And kiss his feet, imploring pardon, pardon!

I heard Him say: All sins shall be forgiven,
Except the sin against the Holy Ghost.
That shall not be forgiven in this world,
Nor in the world to come.  Is that my sin?
Have I offended so there is no hope
Here nor hereafter?  That I soon shall know.
O God, have mercy!  Christ have mercy on me!

Throws himself headlong from the cliff.