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Full Online Book HomePlaysJudas Maccabaeus - ACT III. The Battle-field of Beth-horon - SCENE III - JUDAS MACCABAEUS; NICANOR
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Judas Maccabaeus - ACT III. The Battle-field of Beth-horon - SCENE III - JUDAS MACCABAEUS; NICANOR Post by :Noel_Springer Category :Plays Author :Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Date :June 2011 Read :1714

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Judas Maccabaeus - ACT III. The Battle-field of Beth-horon - SCENE III - JUDAS MACCABAEUS; NICANOR

ACT III. The Battle-field of Beth-horon: SCENE III - JUDAS MACCABAEUS; NICANOR


NICANOR.
Hail, Judas Maccabaeus!

JUDAS.
Hail!--Who art thou
That comest here in this mysterious guise
Into our camp unheralded?

NICANOR.
A herald
Sent from Nicanor.

JUDAS.
Heralds come not thus.
Armed with thy shirt of mail from head to heel,
Thou glidest like a serpent silently
Into my presence. Wherefore dost thou turn
Thy face from me? A herald speaks his errand
With forehead unabashed. Thou art a spy sent by Nicanor.

NICANOR.
No disguise avails!
Behold my face; I am Nicanor's self.

JUDAS.
Thou art indeed Nicanor. I salute thee.
What brings thee hither to this hostile camp
Thus unattended?

NICANOR.
Confidence in thee.
Thou hast the nobler virtues of thy race,
Without the failings that attend those virtues.
Thou canst be strong, and yet not tyrannous,
Canst righteous be and not intolerant.
Let there be peace between us.

JUDAS.
What is peace?
Is it to bow in silence to our victors?
Is it to see our cities sacked and pillaged,
Our people slain, or sold as slaves, or fleeing
At night-time by the blaze of burning towns;
Jerusalem laid waste; the Holy Temple
Polluted with strange gods? Are these things peace?

NICANOR.
These are the dire necessities that wait
On war, whose loud and bloody enginery
I seek to stay. Let there be peace between
Antiochus and thee.

JUDAS.
Antiochus?
What is Antiochus, that he should prate
Of peace to me, who am a fugitive?
To-day he shall be lifted up; to-morrow
Shall not be found, because he is returned
Unto his dust; his thought has come to nothing.
There is no peace between us, nor can be,
Until this banner floats upon the walls
Of our Jerusalem.

NICANOR.
Between that city
And thee there lies a waving wall of tents,
Held by a host of forty thousand foot,
And horsemen seven thousand. What hast thou
To bring against all these?

JUDAS.
The power of God,
Whose breath shall scatter your white tents abroad,
As flakes of snow.

NICANOR.
Your Mighty One in heaven
Will not do battle on the Seventh Day;
It is his day of rest.

JUDAS.
Silence, blasphemer.
Go to thy tents.

NICANOR.
Shall it be war or peace?

JUDAS.
War, war, and only war. Go to thy tents
That shall be scattered, as by you were scattered
The torn and trampled pages of the Law,
Blown through the windy streets.

NICANOR.
Farewell, brave foe!

JUDAS.
Ho, there, my captains! Have safe-conduct given
Unto Nicanor's herald through the camp,
And come yourselves to me.--Farewell, Nicanor!

Content of ACT III. The Battle-field of Beth-horon SCENE III - JUDAS MACCABAEUS; NICANOR (Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's play/drama: Judas Maccabaeus)

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