Godfrey de Bouillon, Duke of Lorrain, refused a throne in Jerusalem, saying, "I will never wear a crown of gold in the city where my Saviour wore a crown of thorns."
Forth from the holy city to the sky
Went pealing up a glad, victorious shout,
When from the jasper battlements on high
Fair morning flung her golden banner out.
As spirits of the darkness, fleeing fast
Before the bright battalions of the sun,
Before the cross of Christ had fled at last
The pagan hordes,--Jerusalem was won!
'Mid his triumphant band Duke Godfrey stood,
And grateful praises trembled on his lips
To see the Moslem crescent, stained with blood,
Grow pale, and vanish in a bright eclipse.
For, while the early dew was gleaming still,
Like tears of joy, on Mount Moriah's crest,
Some Christian knight had climbed that holy hill
And planted there a standard of the blest.
Above the shattered walls, and o'er the tomb
By which of late the mocking Moslem trod,
The banner of the cross was seen to loom
Triumphant there,--the panoply of God!
And the fair garden of Gethsemane,
Where blossoms tessellate the tufted moss,--
Scene of Christ's agony,--appeared to be
Illumined by the standard of the cross.
Then to the conqueror of Jerusalem,
Who grieved to see her beauty stained with gore,
The glorious offer of a diadem
With one consent his grateful soldiers bore.
But Godfrey pointed where soft clouds now rolled
Round Calvary and said, "My soul yet mourns
Christ's death,--and shall I wear a crown of gold
Where He so meekly bore a coronal of thorns?
"Shall I in wild, barbaric splendor reign,
And rest at night upon a kingly bed,
Where Jesus, ofttimes worn by grief or pain,
Found not a spot to rest his weary head?
A jewelled sceptre shall I proudly dare
In idle pomp of indolence to sway
Where the rough cross my Saviour sadly bare,
And fainted 'neath its burden by the way?
"Shall serfs and vassals my proud will abide
Where Jesus, when a vile and wicked crew
Fiercely reviled him, to his Father cried,
'Forgive them, for they know not what they do'?
Shall slaves for me the richest viands dress,
Here shall my board with useless splendor blaze,
From whence He wandered to the wilderness
And fasted there for forty weary days?
"I'd rather seek 'neath Sodom's inky flood
A throne within the cities of the plain
Than wade through heaps of slain and pools of blood
Over Christ's ransomed sepulchre to reign.
No! let me rather these red stains remove
Where Jordan's holy waters softly glide,
And where the shadow of a snow-white dove
Is hovering still to consecrate the tide.
"A pilgrim to the sepulchre, 'tis meet
That I should serve my God as humbly there
As she who washed with tears his blessed feet,
And wiped them gently with her shining hair.
I've knelt beside the tomb which--pale and cold--
With Christ's fair image Memory adorns,
And I will never wear a crown of gold
Where he died bleeding 'neath a crown of thorns."