The Master


Poems in Prose: The Master is Wilde's poem about Joseph of Arimathea, who wonders why he isn't crucified for performing the same miracles as Christ. It was published as a collection of six prose poems in 1894 in The Fortnightly Review.
The Master
William Blake, Joseph of Arimathea, 1809

Now when the darkness came over the earth Joseph of Arimathea, having lighted a torch of pinewood, passed down from the hill into the valley. For he had business in his own home.

And kneeling on the flint stones of the Valley of Desolation he saw a young man who was naked and weeping. His hair was the colour of honey, and his body was as a white flower, but he had wounded his body with thorns and on his hair had he set ashes as a crown.

And he who had great possessions said to the young man who was naked and weeping, `I do not wonder that your sorrow is so great, for surely He was a just man.'

And the young man answered, `It is not for Him that I am weeping, but for myself. I too have changed water into wine, and I have healed the leper and given sight to the blind. I have walked upon the waters, and from the dwellers in the tombs I have cast out devils. I have fed the hungry in the desert where there was no food, and I have raised the dead from their narrow houses, and at my bidding, and before a great multitude of people, a barren fig-tree withered away. All things that this man has done I have done also. And yet they have not crucified me.'

If you enjoyed Wilde's prose poem, you may also like The Teacher of Wisdom.


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