Then down came the priests from Jerusalem,
To John went the Levites, asking of him:
"Who are you, O preacher, we want to know--
Are you Messiah?" John answered them, "No."
"Then are you Elijah, having come down
From fiery ascent to the heavenly throne?"
"No," answered John, so they kept asking him:
"Then are you a prophet, come back again?"
Again he said, "No," but they pressed him still more:
"We need an answer; it's what we came for!
You speak like a prophet, but there have been none
For four hundred years! So who are you, John?"
"I am the voice, the voice crying out,
As Isaiah the prophet once spoke about,
And here in the desert I raise up my cry:
'Prepare the way of the Lord; He is nigh!"