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With dove on wrist, he, robed, stood hushed,
Mused on the bird, and softly brushed.
Scarce reassured by air so mute,
Anxiously Clarel urged his suit.
The celibate let go the dove;
Cooing, it won the shoulder—lit
Even at his ear, as whispering it.
But he one pace made in remove,
And from a little alcove took


A silver-clasped and vellum book;
And turned a leaf, and gave that page
For answer.—
Rhyme, old hermit-rhyme
Composed in Decius' cruel age
By Christian of Thebæan clime:
'Twas David's son, and he of Dan,
With him misloved that fled the bride,
And Job whose wife but mocked his ban;
Then rose, or in redemption ran—
The rib restored to Adam's side,
And man made whole, as man began.
And lustral hymns and prayers were here:
Renouncings, yearnings, charges dread
Against our human nature dear:
Worship and wail, which, if misled,
Not less might fervor high instill
In hearts which, striving in their fear
Of clay, to bridle, curb or kill;
In the pure desert of the will
Chastised, live the vowed life austere.