University of Virginia Library


Southward they file. 'Tis Pluto's park
Beslimed as after baleful flood:
A nitrous, filmed and pallid mud,
With shrubs to match. Salt specks they mark
Or mildewed stunted twigs unclean
Brushed by the stirrup, Stygean green,
With shrivelled nut or apple small.
The Jew plucked one. Like a fuzz-ball
It brake, discharging fetid dust.
“Pippins of Sodom? they've declined!”
Cried Derwent: “where's the ruddy rind?”
Said Rolfe: “If Circe tempt one thus,
A fig for vice—I'm virtuous.
Who but poor Margoth now would lust
After such fruitage. See, but see


What makes our Nehemiah to be
So strange. That look returns to him
Which late he wore by Achor's rim.”
Over pale hollows foully smeared
The saint hung with an aspect weird:
“Yea, here it was the kings were tripped,
These, these the slime-pits where they slipped—
Gomorrah's lord and Sodom's, lo!”
What's that?” asked Derwent.
“You should know,”
Said Rolfe: “your Scripture lore revive:
The four kings strove against the five
In Siddim here.”
But turn; upon this other hand
See here another not remiss.”
'Twas Margoth raking there the land.
Some minerals of noisome kind
He found and straight to pouch consigned.
“The chiffonier!” cried Rolfe; “e'en grin
Milcom and Chemosh scowl at him—
Here nosing underneath their lee
Of pagod hights.”
In deeper dale
What canker may their palms assail?
Spotted they show, all limp they be.
Is it thy bitter mist, Bad Sea,
That, sudden driving, northward comes
Involving them, that each man roams
Half seen or lost?
But in the dark
Thick scud, the chanting saint they hark:
“Though through the valley of the shade
I pass, no evil do I fear;


His candle shineth on my head:
Lo, he is with me, even here.”
The rack drove by: and Derwent said—
“How apt he is!” then pause he made:
“This palm has grown a sorry sight;
A palm 'tis not, if named aright:
I'll drop it.—Look, the lake ahead!”