Page:Auerbach-Spinozanovel.djvu/463

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441
EPILOGUE.

hundred times has the sun fulfilled its course since the day when woe flowed over my head. I stood in my doorway and held my child in my arms. There they brought Jesus, son of Joseph and Mary of Nazareth, who called himself our Messiah. I hated him, for we loved the earth and he showed us the Heavens. We wished for a sword, and he taught us to love the foreign yoke. He was not our Messiah. When he would have rested on the threshold of my house, I spurned him with my foot and thrust him away. But he said, 'Come with me; thy foot which hath spurned me shall find no rest until the day when I return and found my kingdom upon earth.' The child fell from my arms. I followed him. I saw him die the death on the cross. I saw my house, I saw my children no more. They were scattered like chaff before the wind, or were devoured by the sword. Unstable and unsettled as Cain I wandered through forest and field, over stream and mountain. The flowers closed their petals before my eyes, the grass withered if my feet approached it, the birds became mute in the air, and the hungry lion, roaring as he came near, recoiled in fright when he saw me. But the wild animals were merciful and kind compared with those whom I regarded as of my race. I wandered through town and country. They drowned me with wormwood and choked me with gall, they poured poison in my wounds and made my bed on thorns,