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And do the clear sands pure and cold
At last each virgin elf enfold?
Under what drift of silvery spar
Sleeps now thy servant, Holy Rood,
Which in the age of brotherhood
Approaching here Bethabara
By wilds the verse depicted late,
Of Jordan caught a fortunate
Fair twinkle starry under trees;
And, with his crossed palms heartward pressed,
Bowed him, or dropped on reverent knees,
Warbling that hymn of beauty blest—
The Ave maris stella?—Lo,
The mound of him do field-mice know?
Nor less the rite, a rule serene,
Appropriate in tender grace,
Became the custom of the place
With each devouter Frank.
A truce
Here following the din profuse
Of Moab's swimming robbers keen,
Rolfe, late enamored of the spell
Of rituals olden, thought it well
To observe the Latin usage: “Look,”
Showing a small convenient book
In vellum bound; embossed thereon,
'Tween angels with a rosy crown,
Viols, Cecilia on a throne:
“Thanks, friar Benignus Muscatel;
Thy gift I prize, given me in cell
Of St. John's convent.—Comrades, come!
If heaven delight in spirits glad,


And men were all for brothers made,
Grudge not, beseech, to joy with Rome;”
And launched the hymn. Quick to rejoice,
The liberal priest lent tenor voice;
And marking them in cheery bloom
On turf inviting, even Vine,
Ravished from his reserve supine,
Drew near and overlooked the page—
All self-surprised he overlooked,
Joining his note impulsively;
Yet, flushing, seemed as scarce he brooked
This joy. Was joy a novelty?
Fraternal thus, the group engage—
While now the sun, obscured before,
Illumed for time the wooded shore—
In tribute to the beach and tide.
The triple voices blending glide,
Assimilating more and more,
Till in the last ascriptive line
Which thrones the Father, lauds the Son,
Came concord full, completion fine—
Rapport of souls in harmony of tone.
Meantime Nehemiah, eager bent,
Instinctive caught the sentiment;
But checked himself; and, in mixed mood,
Uncertain or relapsing stood,
Till ere the singers cease to thrill,
His joy is stayed. How cometh this?
True feeling, steadfast faith are his,
While they at best do but fulfill
A transient, an esthetic glow;
Knew he at last—could he but know—
The rite was alien? that no form
Approved was his, which here might warm
Meet channel for emotion's tide?


Apart he went, scarce satisfied;
But presently slipped down to where
The river ran, and tasting spare,
Not quaffing, sighed, “As sugar sweet!”
Though unsweet was it from the flow
Of turbid, troubled waters fleet.
Now Margoth—who had paced the strand
Gauging the level of the land,
Computing part the Jordan's fall
From Merom's spring, and therewithal
Had ended with a river-sip,
Which straight he spewed—here curled the lip
At hearing Nehemiah: The fool!
Fool meek and fulsome like to this—
Too old again to go to school—
Was never! wonder who he is:
I'll ask himself.—“Who art thou, say?”
“The chief of sinners.”—“Lack-a-day,
I think so too;” and moved away,
Low muttering in his ill content
At that so Christian bafflement;
And hunted up his sumpter mule
Intent on lunch. A pair hard by
He found. The third some person sly
In deeper shade had hitched—more cool.
This was that mule whose rarer wine,
In pannier slung and blushing shy,
The Thessalonian did decline
Away with him in flight to take,
And friendly gave them when farewell he spake,