Anonymous Olde English
The Wandering Jew - Poem by Anonymous Olde English
When as in faire Jerusalem
Our Saviour Christ did live,
And for the sins of all the worlde
His own deare life did give,
The wicked Jewes with scoffes and scornes
Did dailye him molest,
That never till he left his life,
Our Saviour could not rest.
When they had crown'd his head with thornes,
And scourg'd him to disgrace,
In scornfull sort they led him forthe
Unto his dying place,
Where thousand thousands in the streete
Beheld him passe along,
Yet not one gentle heart was there,
That pityed this his wrong.
Both old and young reviled him,
As in the streete he wente,
And nought he found but churlish tauntes,
By every ones consente:
His owne deare cross he bore himselfe,
A burthen far too great,
Which made him in the streete to fainte,
With blood and water sweat.
Being weary thus, he sought for rest,
To ease his burdened soule,
Upon a stone; the which a wretch
Did churlishly controule;
And sayd, 'Awaye, thou King of Jewes,
Thou shalt not rest thee here;
Pass on; thy execution place
Thou seest nowe draweth neare.'
And thereupon he thrust him thence;
At which our Saviour sayd,
'I sure will rest, but thou shalt walke,
And have no journey stayed.'
With that this cursed shoemaker,
For offering Christ this wrong,
Left wife and children, house and all,
And went from thence along.
Where after he had seene the bloude
Of Jesus Christ thus shed,
And to the crosse his bodye nail'd,
Away with speed he fled,
Without returning backe againe
Unto his dwelling place,
And wandred up and downe the wordle,
A runnagate most base.
No resting could he fidne at all,
No ease, nor hearts content;
No house, nor home, nor biding place;
But wandring forth he went
From towne to towne in foreigne landes,
With grieved conscience still,
Repenting for the heinous guilt
Of his fore-passed ill.
Thus after some fewe ages past
In wandring up and downe,
He much again desired to see
But finding it all quite destroyd,
He wandred thence with woe,
Our Saviours wordes, which he had spoke,
To verifie and showe.
'I'll rest,' sayd hee, 'but thou shalt walke;'
So doth this wandring Jew,
From place to place, but cannot rest
For seeing countries newe;
Declaring still the power of him,
Whereas he comes or goes;
And of all things done in the east,
Since Christ his death, he showes.
The world he hath still compast round
And seene those nations strange,
That hearing of the name of Christ,
Their idol gods doe change:
To whom he hath told wondrous thinges
Of time forepast and gone,
And to the princes of the worlde
Declares his cause of moane:
Desiring still to be dissolv'd,
And yield his mortal breath;
But, if the Lord hath thus decreed,
He shall not yet see death.
For neither lookes he old nor young,
But as he did those times
When Christ did suffer on the crosse
For mortall sinners crimes.
He hath past through many a foreigne place,
Arabia, Egypt, Africa,
Grecia, Syria, and great Thrace,
And throughout all Hungaria:
Where Paul and Peter preached Christ,
Those blest apostles deare,
There he hath told our Saviours wordes,
In countries far and neare.
And lately in Bohemia,
With many a German towne,
And now in Flanders, as tis thought,
He wandreth up and downe:
Where learned men with him conferre
Of those his lingering dayes,
And wonder much to heare him tell
His journeyes and his wayes.
If people give this Jew an almes,
The most that he will take
Is not above a groat a time:
Which he, for Jesus' sake,
Will kindlye give unto the poore,
And thereof make no spare,
Affirming still that Jesus Christ
Of him hath dailye care.
He ne'er was seene to laugh nor smile,
But weepe and make great moane;
Lamenting still his miseries,
And dayes forepast and gone.
If he heare any one blaspheme,
Or take God's name in vaine,
He tells them that they crucifie
Their Saviour Christe againe.
'If you had seene his death,' saith he,
'As these mine eyes have done,
Ten thousand thousand times would yee
His torments think upon,
And suffer for his sake all paine
Of torments, and all woes:'
These are his wordes, and eke his life,
Whereas he comes or goes.
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