Verse > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow > Complete Poetical Works
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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807–1882).  Complete Poetical Works.  1893.
 
Christus: A Mystery
Part II. The Golden Legend.
III. III. In the Cathedral
 
CHANT.
                Kyrie Eleison!
                Christe Eleison!
 
ELSIE.
I am at home here in my Father’s house?
These paintings of the Saints upon the walls
Have all familiar and benignant faces.        5
 
PRINCE HENRY.
The portraits of the family of God!
Thine own hereafter shall be placed among them.
 
ELSIE.
How very grand it is and wonderful!
Never have I beheld a church so splendid!
Such columns, and such arches, and such windows,        10
So many tombs and statues in the chapels,
And under them so many confessionals.
They must be for the rich. I should not like
To tell my sins in such a church as this.
Who built it?

PRINCE HENRY.
            A great master of his craft,
        15
Erwin von Steinbach; but not he alone,
For many generations labored with him.
Children that came to see these Saints in stone,
As day by day out of the blocks they rose,
Grew old and died, and still the work went on,        20
And on, and on, and is not yet completed.
The generation that succeeds our own
Perhaps may finish it. The architect
Built his great heart into these sculptured stones,
And with him toiled his children, and their lives        25
Were builded, with his own, into the walls,
As offerings unto God. You see that statue
Fixing its joyous, but deep-wrinkled eyes
Upon the Pillars of the Angels yonder.
That is the image of the master, carved        30
By the fair hand of his own child, Sabina.
 
ELSIE.
How beautiful is the column that he looks at!
 
PRINCE HENRY.
That, too, she sculptured. At the base of it
Stand the Evangelists; above their heads
Four Angels blowing upon marble trumpets,        35
And over them the blessed Christ, surrounded
By his attendant ministers, upholding
The instruments of his passion.

ELSIE.
                            O my Lord!
Would I could leave behind me upon earth
Some monument to thy glory, such as this!        40
 
PRINCE HENRY.
A greater monument than this thou leavest
In thine own life, all purity and love!
See, too, the Rose, above the western portal
Resplendent with a thousand gorgeous colors,
The perfect flower of Gothic loveliness!        45
 
ELSIE.
And, in the gallery, the long line of statues,
Christ with his twelve Apostles watching us!
A BISHOP in armor, booted and spurred, passes with his train.
 
PRINCE HENRY.
But come away; we have not time to look.
The crowd already fills the church, and yonder
Upon a stage, a herald with a trumpet,        50
Clad like the Angel Gabriel, proclaims
The Mystery that will now be represented.
 
 
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