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.
V. THE FLIGHT INTO EGYPT
Here JOSEPH shall come in, leading an ass, on which
MARY and 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 MARY shall 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 come forward.
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!
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 crucified,
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.
VI. THE SLAUGHTER OF THE INNOCENTS
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!