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How peered at him that timoneer,
With what a changed, still, merman-cheer,
As much he could, but would not say:
So murmuring naught, he moved away.
“Old, old,” the Lesbian dropped; “old—dry:
Remainder biscuit; and alas,
But recent 'scaped from luckless pass.”
“Indeed? relate.”—“O, by-and-by.”
But Rolfe would have it then. And so
The incident narrated was
Re-cast, it thus may flow:
The shipmen of the Cyclades
Being Greeks even of St. Saba's creed,
Are frequent pilgrims. From the seas
Greek convents welcome them, and feed.
Agath, with hardy messmates ten,
To Saba, and on foot, had fared
From Joppa. Duly in the Glen
His prayers he said; but rashly dared
Afar to range without the wall.
Upon him fell a robber-brood,
Some Ammonites. Choking his call,
They beat and stripped him, drawing blood,
And left him prone. His mates made search
With friars, and ere night found him so,
And bore him moaning back to porch
Of Saba's refuge. Cure proved slow;
The end his messmates might not wait;
Therefore they left him unto love
And charity—within that gate
Not lacking. Mended now in main,
Or convalescent, he would fain
Back unto Joppa make remove
With the first charitable train.


His story told, the teller turned
And seemed like one who instant yearned
To rid him of intrusive sigh:
“You happier pilgrim, by-the-by—
I like him: his vocation, pray?
Purveyor he? like me, purvey?”
“Ay—for the conscience: he's our priest.”
“Priest? he's a grape, judicious one—
Keeps on the right side of the sun.
But here's a song I heard at feast.”