It was about the deep of night, And still was earth and sky, When 'neath the moonlight dazzling bright, Three ghosts came riding by. Beyond the sea, beyond the sea, Lie kingdoms for them all: I wot their steeds trod wearily -- The journey was not small. By rock and desert, sand and stream, They footsore late did go: Now like a sweet and blessed dream Their path was deep with snow. Shining like hor-frost, rode they on, Three ghosts in earth's array: It was about the hour when wan Night turns at hint of day. O, but their hearts with woe distraught Hailed not the wane of night, Only for Jesu still they sought To wash them clean and white. For bloody was each hand, and dark With death each orbless eye -- It was three Traitors mute and stark Came riding silent by. Silver their raiment and their spurs, And silver-shod their feet, And silver-pale each face that stares Into the moonlight sweet. And he upon the left that rode Was Pilate, Prince of Rome, Whose journey once lay far abroad, And now was nearing home. And he upon the right that rode Herod of Salem sate, Whose mantle dipped in children's blood Shone clear as Heaven's gate. And he these twain betwixt that rode Was clad as white as wool, Dyed in the Mercy of his God White was he crown to sole. Throned amid a myriad Saints in bliss Rise shall the Babe of Heaven To shine on these three ghosts, I wis, Smit through with sorrows seven. Babe of the Blessed Trinity Shall smile their steeds to see: Herod and Pilate riding by, And Judas one of three.
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- by Walter De la Mare (1873 - 1956), no title, appears in A Ballad of Christmas, first published 1924 [author's text checked 1 time against a primary source]
Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)
- by Martin Edward Fallas Shaw (1875 - 1958), "The Three Traitors", published 1928 [ chorus and piano ], carol in the collection The Oxford Book of Carols [sung text not yet checked]
Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]
This text was added to the website: 2008-01-13
Line count: 48
Word count: 281