Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Feb. 27, 1807 - Mar. 24, 1882


The Legend Of The Crossbill

by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

From Julius Mosen.
(Translations from the German.)

On the cross the dying Saviour
Heavenward lifts his eyelids calm,
Feels, but scarcely feels, a trembling
In his pierced and bleeding palm.

And by all the world forsaken,
Sees he how with zealous care
At the ruthless nail of iron
A little bird is striving there.

Stained with blood and never tiring,
With its beak it doth not cease,
From the cross 'twould free the Saviour,
Its Creator's Son release.

And the Saviour speaks in mildness;
Blest be thou of all the good!
Bear, as token of this moment,
Marks of blood and holy rood!

And that bird is called the crossbill;
Covered all with blood so clear.
In the groves of pine it singeth
Songs, like legends, strange to hear.


Longfellow's Poetical Works
Copyright 1893
Henry Frowde, London