by Aemilia Lanyer
published in 1611 about the Passion of Christ
. It is written in ottava rima
and is 1840 lines long. The poem was dedicated to "the Ladie Margaret Countess
of Cumberland". The structure of the poem is similar to that of a Russian nesting doll
, in that it starts out with a tribute to the duchess, then begins the passion narrative, then details a speach by pilate
's wife, then back to the passion, then back to the Countess.
Here is a sample, taken from lines 729-744, in which she describes Judas' suicide and adds a little comment of her own:
Which, when that wicked Caytife did percieve,
By whose lewd meanes he came to the disresse;
He brought the price of blood he did receive,
Thinking thereby to make his fault seeme lesse,
And with these Preists and Elders did it leave,
Confest his fault, wherein he did trangresse:
But when he saw Repentance unrespected,
He hanged himselfe; of God and Man rejected.
By this Example, what can be expected
From wicked Man, which on the Earth doth live?
But faithlesse dealing, feare of God neglected;
Who for their private gaine cares not to sell
The Innocent Blood of Gods most deere elected,
As did that caytife wretch, now damn'd in Hell:
If in Christs Schoole, he tooke so greate a fall,
What will they doe, that come not there at all.