Verse > Anthologies > Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. > An American Anthology, 1787–1900
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Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908).  An American Anthology, 1787–1900.  1900.
 
317. The Star of Calvary
 
By Nathaniel Hawthorne
 
 
IT is the same infrequent star,—
  The all-mysterious light,
That like a watcher, gazing on
  The changes of the night,
Toward the hill of Bethlehem took        5
  Its solitary flight.
 
It is the same infrequent star;
  Its sameness startleth me,
Although the disk is red as blood,
  And downward silently        10
It looketh on another hill,—
  The hill of Calvary!
 
Nor noon, nor night; for to the west
  The heavy sun doth glow;
And, like a ship, the lazy mist        15
  Is sailing on below,—
Between the broad sun and the earth
  It tacketh to and fro.
 
There is no living wind astir;
  The bat’s unholy wing        20
Threads through the noiseless olive trees,
  Like some unquiet thing
Which playeth in the darkness, when
  The leaves are whispering.
 
Mount Calvary! Mount Calvary!        25
  All sorrowfully still,
That mournful tread, it rends the heart
  With an unwelcome thrill,—
The mournful tread of them that crowd
  Thy melancholy hill!        30
 
There is a cross,—not one alone:
  ’T is even three I count,
Like columns on the mossy marge
  Of some old Grecian fount,—
So pale they stand, so drearily,        35
  On that mysterious Mount.
 
Behold, O Israel! behold,
  It is no human One
That ye have dared to crucify.
  What evil hath he done?        40
It is your King, O Israel!
  The God-begotten Son!
 
A wreath of thorns, a wreath of thorns!
  Why have ye crowned him so?
That brow is bathed in agony,—        45
  ’T is veiled in every woe:
Ye saw not the immortal trace
  Of Deity below.
 
It is the foremost of the Three!
  Resignedly they fall,        50
Those deathlike drooping features,
  Unbending, blighted all:
The Man of Sorrows,—how he bears
  The agonizing thrall!
 
’T is fixed on thee, O Israel!        55
  His gaze!—how strange to brook;
But that there ’s mercy blended deep
  In each reproachful look,
’T would search thee, till the very heart
  Its withered home forsook.        60
 
To God! to God! how eloquent
  The cry, as if it grew,
By those cold lips unuttered, yet
  All heartfelt rising through,—
“Father in heaven! forgive them, for        65
  They know not what they do!“
 

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