Here JOSEPH shall come in, leading an ass, on which are seated MARY and the CHILD.
Here will we rest us, under these
O’erhanging branches of the trees,
Where robins chant their Litanies
And canticles of joy.
My saddle-girths have given way
With trudging through the heat to-day;
To you I think it is but play
To ride and hold the boy.
Hark! how the robins shout and sing,
As if to hail their infant King!
I will alight at yonder spring
To wash his little coat.
And I will hobble well the ass,
Lest, being loose upon the grass,
He should escape; for, by the mass,
He’s nimble as a goat.
Here MARY shall alight and go to the spring.
O Joseph! I am much afraid,
For men are sleeping in the shade;
I fear that we shall be waylaid,
And robbed and beaten sore!
Here a band of robbers shall be seen sleeping, two of whom shall rise and come forward.
Cock’s soul! deliver up your gold!
I pray you, sirs, let go your hold!
You see that I am weak and old,
Of wealth I have no store.
Give up your money!
Let these people go in peace.
First let them pay for their release,
And then go on their way.
These forty groats I give in fee,
If thou wilt only silent be.
May God he merciful to thee
Upon the Judgment Day!
– Henry Wadsworth Longfellow,
from The Nativity: A Miracle Play
Relief Society Magazine, December 1958
“The Rest on the Flight into Egypt,” by Gerard David