Author: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


Who and what are ye, that with furtive steps
Steal in among our tents?

O Maccabaeus,
Outcasts are we, and fugitives as thou art,
Jews of Jerusalem, that have escaped
From the polluted city, and from death.

None can escape from death. Say that ye come
To die for Israel, and ye are welcome.
What tidings bring ye?

Tidings of despair.
The Temple is laid waste; the precious vessels,
Censers of gold, vials and veils and crowns,
And golden ornaments, and hidden treasures,
Have all been taken from it, and the Gentiles
With revelling and with riot fill its courts,
And dally with harlots in the holy places.

All this I knew before.

Upon the altar
Are things profane, things by the law forbidden;
Nor can we keep our Sabbaths or our Feasts,
But on the festivals of Dionysus
Must walk in their processions, bearing ivy
To crown a drunken god.

This too I know.
But tell me of the Jews. How fare the Jews?

The coming of this mischief hath been sore
And grievous to the people. All the land
Is full of lamentation and of mourning.
The Princes and the Elders weep and wail;
The young men and the maidens are made feeble;
The beauty of the women hath been changed.

And are there none to die for Israel?
’T is not enough to mourn. Breastplate and harness
Are better things than sackcloth. Let the women
Lament for Israel; the men should die.

Both men and women die; old men and young:
Old Eleazer died: and Mahala
With all her Seven Sons.

At every step thou takest there is left
A bloody footprint in the street, by which
The avenging wrath of God will track thee out!
It is enough. Go to the sutler’s tents;
Those of you who are men, put on such armor
As ye may find; those of you who are women,
Buckle that armor on; and for a watchword
Whisper, or cry aloud, "The Help of God."


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Chicago: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, "Scene II Judas Maccabaeus; Jewish Fugitives.," Fragments, ed. Callaway, Morgan, Jr., 1962- in The Complete Poetical Works of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (New York: George E. Wood, 1850), Original Sources, accessed January 31, 2023,

MLA: Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth. "Scene II Judas Maccabaeus; Jewish Fugitives." Fragments, edited by Callaway, Morgan, Jr., 1962-, in The Complete Poetical Works of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, New York, George E. Wood, 1850, Original Sources. 31 Jan. 2023.

Harvard: Longfellow, HW, 'Scene II Judas Maccabaeus; Jewish Fugitives.' in Fragments, ed. . cited in 1850, The Complete Poetical Works of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, George E. Wood, New York. Original Sources, retrieved 31 January 2023, from