For the Great Friday – A Greek Carol

Notice the specific mention of a gypsy. Such things made them the regular stuff of persecution all over.

The Panaghia sits alone, alone she sits and lonely ;
She prays, and all her prayers are for her only Son beloved.
A noise she hears, and tumult loud, and very great confusion ;
And forth she comes outside her door, and from her street she sallies.
She sees the Heavens darkened o’er, and sees the Stars all tearful ;
She sees the bright Moon in the sky, in tears the dear Moon swimming ;
St. John she sees, who comes to her, he weeps, his breast he’s beating.
And in one hand he holds the hair torn from his head in anguish,
The other holds a handkerchief that with his tears is dripping.
‘Now tell me, tell me, my St. John, O my St. John, now tell me,
Hast thou not seen mine only Son, hast thou not seen thy Teacher?’
‘I have no mouth to tell of it, nor lips have I to speak it !
Nor can my breaking heart endure to share with thee the tidings ;
But, as thou askest me of this, so let me even tell thee.
See’st thou that hill, see’st thou that hill, that hill both broad and lofty ?
There have the Hebrews thrust Him forth, thrust Him all bound and pinioned ;
Laid hands on Him as on a thief, and as a murderer led Him.’
And when our Lady heard these words she swooned away and fainted.
They jars of water poured on her, three jars of musk they emptied,
And afterwards rose-water sweet, until she was recovered.
And when our Lady spake again, these were the words she uttered :
‘Let Martha come, and Mary come, Elizabeth come with them,
Let them come where He may be found before they crucify Him,
Before they thrust the nails in Him, before they yet have slain Him !’
As they were journeying on the road, and on the road were passing,
Long time our Lady wept, she wept, long time was she lamenting.
And by a Gipsy smith they passed, a smith who nails was making.
‘Thou dog, thou Gipsy dog,’ 1 said she, ‘ what is it thou art doing ?’
‘They’re going to crucify a man, and I the nails am making.
They only ordered three of me, but five I mean to make them ;
Two for his two knees I design, two for his hands I fashion,
The fifth, the sharpest of the five, within his heart shall enter.’
‘Thou dog, thou Gipsy dog,’ said she, ‘ henceforth make thou no ashes.
If thou henceforth shalt ashes make, the wind shall whirl them from thee.’
And then her way she took again unto the Door of Robbers.
The doors were fast shut every one, they fastened were with boulders ;
But from their fear they opened wide, all of themselves they opened,
And entered there our Lady in, with tears and lamentation.
There stood the Hebrews all around, they all around were standing,
One spat on Him, one water threw, and mocked at Him another.
She saw her Son upon the Cross, upon the Cross beheld Him:
‘Is there no knife to kill me with, no cord that I may hang me ?’
And from her Son the answer came, and from the Cross He answered :
‘My Mother, shouldst thou slay thyself, then all the world would slay them.
Have patience, Mana ; then, like thee, will all the world have patience.’
‘Tell me, my Son, O tell to me, say when may I expect Thee ?’
‘On Easter Day, on Easter Day, the Lord’s Day and the Sabbath.
Go, Mana, go now, to our door, return among our neighbours,
Spread in the midst a table low, within our dwelling spread it,
With mothers let the children eat, and children with their mothers,
And there let all the goodwives eat, they with their worthy husbands ;
Let all who love us there sit down, all who for us feel sorrow.’

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