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About this Item

Title: Blood-Money

Creator: Walt Whitman

Date: March 22, 1850

Whitman Archive ID: per.00089

Source: New York Daily Tribune 22 March 1850: 1. Our transcription is based on a digital image of a microfilm copy of an original issue. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the periodical poems, see our statement of editorial policy.

Contributors to digital file: Elizabeth Lorang, April Lambert, and Susan Belasco

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"Guilty of the Body and Blood of Christ."

Of olden time, when it came to pass
That the Beautiful God, Jesus, should finish his work on
Then went Judas, and sold the Divine youth,
And took pay for his body.
Cursed was the deed, even before the sweat of the clutch-
ing hand grew dry;
And darkness frowned upon the seller of a Son of God,
Where, as though Earth lifted her breast to throw him
from her, and Heaven refused him,
He hung in the air, self-slaughtered.
The cycles with their long shadows have stalked silently
forward                                                         [while
Since those ancient days; many a pouch enwrapping mean-
Its fee, like that paid for the Son of Mary.
Again goes one, saying,
What will ye give me, and I will deliver this man unto you?
And they make the covenant and pay the pieces of silver.
Look forth, Deliverer,
Look forth, First Born of the Dead,
Over the tree-tops of Paradise.
See thyself in yet continued bonds:
Toilsome and poor thou bear'st man's form again:
Thou art reviled, scourged, put into prison;
Hunted from the arrogant equality of the rest:
With staves and swords throng the willing servants of
Again they surround thee, mad with devilish spite—
Toward thee stretch the hands of a multitude, like vultures'
talons;                                                     [palms;
The meanest spit in thy face—they smite thee with their
Bruised, bloody, and pinioned is thy body,
More sorrowful than death is thy soul.
Witness of Anguish—Brother of Slaves,
Not with thy price closed the price of thine image;
And still Iscariot plies his trade.


1. Reprinted in the New York Evening Post (30 April 1850) and in Specimen Days (1882). [back]


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