The Suspicion of Herod

Herod murdered a village of babies rather than submit to Christ. Poet Richard Crashaw, in 1646, sorrowed for all that this blind king failed to see.

Detail from “The Massacre of the Innocents” (1860-61) by Angelo Visconti
Click here to see the full painting

The Suspicion of Herod
by Richard Crashaw

Why art thou troubled, Herod? what vain fear
Thy blood-revolving breast to rage doth move?
Heaven’s King, who doffs Himself weak flesh to wear,
Comes not to rule in wrath, but serve in love;
Nor would He this thy feared crown from thee tear,
But give thee a better with Himself above.
Poor jealousy! why should He wish to prey
Upon thy crown, who gives His own away?

Make to thy reason, man, and mock thy doubts;
Look how below thy fears their causes are;
Thou art a soldier, Herod; send thy scouts,
See how He’s furnished for so feared a war.
What armour does He wear? a few thin clouts.
His trumpets? tender cries. His men to dare
So much? rude shepherds. What His steeds? alas,
Poor beasts! a slow ox and a simple ass.

excerpt from “SOSPETTO D’HERODE” in Steps to the temple (1646)

One thought on “The Suspicion of Herod

  1. The gospel in action: In what ways do your fears and doubts keep you from a fuller faith in Jesus? How do you “make to your reason” and “mock these doubts”?

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