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Full Online Book HomePlaysJudas Maccabaeus - ACT IV. The outer Courts of the Temple at Jerusalem - SCENE II - JUDAS MACCABAEUS; JASON; JEWS
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Judas Maccabaeus - ACT IV. The outer Courts of the Temple at Jerusalem - SCENE II - JUDAS MACCABAEUS; JASON; JEWS Post by :TomDe Category :Plays Author :Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Date :June 2011 Read :2503

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Judas Maccabaeus - ACT IV. The outer Courts of the Temple at Jerusalem - SCENE II - JUDAS MACCABAEUS; JASON; JEWS

ACT IV. The outer Courts of the Temple at Jerusalem: SCENE II - JUDAS MACCABAEUS; JASON; JEWS

 

JEWS.
Lurking among the ruins of the Temple,
Deep in its inner courts, we found this man,
Clad as High-Priest.

JUDAS.
I ask not who thou art.
I know thy face, writ over with deceit
As are these tattered volumes of the Law
With heathen images. A priest of God
Wast thou in other days, but thou art now
A priest of Satan. Traitor, thou art Jason.

JASON.
I am thy prisoner, Judas Maccabaeus,
And it would ill become me to conceal
My name or office.

JUDAS.
Over yonder gate
There hangs the head of one who was a Greek.
What should prevent me now, thou man of sin,
From hanging at its side the head of one
Who born a Jew hath made himself a Greek?

JASON.
Justice prevents thee.

JUDAS.
Justice? Thou art stained
With every crime against which the Decalogue
Thunders with all its thunder.

JASON.
If not Justice,
Then Mercy, her handmaiden.

JUDAS.
When hast thou
At any time, to any man or woman,
Or even to any little child, shown mercy?

JASON.
I have but done what King Antiochus
Commanded me.

JUDAS.
True, thou hast been the weapon
With which he struck; but hast been such a weapon,
So flexible, so fitted to his hand,
It tempted him to strike. So thou hast urged him
To double wickedness, thine own and his.
Where is this King? Is he in Antioch
Among his women still, and from his windows
Throwing down gold by handfuls, for the rabble
To scramble for?

JASON.
Nay, he is gone from there,
Gone with an army into the far East.

JUDAS.
And wherefore gone?

JASON.
I know not. For the space
Of forty days almost were horsemen seen
Running in air, in cloth of gold, and armed
With lances, like a band of soldiery;
It was a sign of triumph.

JUDAS.
Or of death.
Wherefore art thou not with him?

JASON.
I was left
For service in the Temple.

JUDAS.
To pollute it,
And to corrupt the Jews; for there are men
Whose presence is corruption; to be with them
Degrades us and deforms the things we do.

JASON.
I never made a boast, as some men do,
Of my superior virtue, nor denied
The weakness of my nature, that hath made me
Subservient to the will of other men.

JUDAS.
Upon this day, the five and twentieth day
Of the month Caslan, was the Temple here
Profaned by strangers,--by Antiochus
And thee, his instrument. Upon this day
Shall it be cleansed. Thou, who didst lend thyself
Unto this profanation, canst not be
A witness of these solemn services.
There can be nothing clean where thou art present.
The people put to death Callisthenes,
Who burned the Temple gates; and if they find thee
Will surely slay thee. I will spare thy life
To punish thee the longer. Thou shalt wander
Among strange nations. Thou, that hast cast out
So many from their native land, shalt perish
In a strange land. Thou, that hast left so many
Unburied, shalt have none to mourn for thee,
Nor any solemn funerals at all,
Nor sepulchre with thy fathers.--Get thee hence!

(Music. Procession of Priests and people,
with citherns, harps, and cymbals. JUDAS
MACCABAEUS puts himself at their
head, and they go into the inner courts.)

Content of ACT IV. The outer Courts of the Temple at Jerusalem SCENE II - JUDAS MACCABAEUS; JASON; JEWS (Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's play/drama: Judas Maccabaeus)

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