Christ betrayed

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Christ betrayed by Anne Lynch Botta
from Poems (1848)

            Eighteen hundred years agone
        Was that deed of darkness done --
        Was that sacred, thorn-crowned head
        To a shameful death betrayed,
        And Iscariot's traitor name
        Blazoned in eternal shame.
        Thou, disciple of our time,
        Follower of the faith sublime,
        Who with high and holy scorn
        Of that traitrous deed dost burn,
        Though the years may never more
        To our earth that form restore
        The Christ-Spirit ever lives --
        Ever in thy heart he strives.
        When pale Misery mutely calls;
        When thy tempted brother falls;
        When thy gentle words may chain
        Hate, and Anger, and Disdain,
        Or thy loving smile impart
        Courage to some sinking heart;
        When within thy troubled breast
        Good and evil thoughts contest;
        Though unconscious thou may'st be,
        The Christ-Spirit strives with thee.
            When he trod the Holy Land,
        With his small disciple band,
        And the fated hour had come
        For that august martyrdom --
        When the man, the human love,
        And the God within him strove --
        As in Gethsemane he wept,
        They, the faithless watchers, slept:
        While for them he wept and prayed,
        One denied and one betrayed!
            If to-day thou turn'st aside
        In thy luxury and pride,
        Wrapped within thyself and blind
        To the sorrows of thy kind,
        Thou a faithless watch dost keep --
        Thou art one of those who sleep:
        Or, if waking thou dost see
        Nothing of Divinity
        In our fallen, struggling race;
        If in them thou seest no trace
        Of a glory dimmed, not gone,
        Of a Future to be won --
        Of a Future, hopeful, high --
        Thou, like Peter, dost deny:
        But if, seeing, thou believest,
        If the Evangel thou receivest,
        Yet, if thou art bound to Sin,
        False to the Ideal within,
        Slave of Ease or slave of Gold,
        Thou the Son of God hast sold!
 

This work published before January 1, 1923 is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.