University of Virginia Library



The twilight and the starlight pass,
And breaks the morn of Candlemas.
The pilgrims muster; and they win
A common terrace of the inn,
Which, lifted on Mount Acra's cope,
Looks off upon the town aslope
In gray of dawn. They hear the din
Of mongrel Arabs—the loud coil
And uproar of high words they wage
Harnessing for the pilgrimage.
'Tis special—marks the Orient life,
Which, roused from indolence to toil,
Indignant starts, enkindling strife.
Tho' spite the fray no harm they share,
How fired they seem by burning wrong;
And small the need for strenuous care,
And languor yet shall laze it long.
Wonted to man and used to fate
A pearl-gray ass there stands sedate
While being saddled by a clown
And buffeted. Of her anon.
Clarel regards; then turns his eye
Away from all, beyond the town,
Where pale against the tremulous sky
Olivet shows in morning shy;
Then on the court again looks down.
The mountain mild, the wrangling crew—
In contrast, why should these indue
With vague unrest, and swell the sigh?
Add to the burden? tease the sense
With unconfirmed significance?


To horse. And, passing one by one
Their host the Black Jew by the gate,
His grave salute they take, nor shun
His formal God-speed. One, elate
In air Auroral, June of life,
With quick and gay response is rife.
But he, the Israelite alone,
'Tis he reflects Jehovah's town;
Experienced he, the vain elation gone;
While flit athwart his furrowed face
Glimpses of that ambiguous thought
Which in some aged men ye trace
When Venture, Youth and Bloom go by;
Scarce cynicism, though 'tis wrought
Not all of pity, since it scants the sigh.
They part. Farewell to Zion's seat.
Ere yet anew her place they greet,
In heart what hap may Clarel prove?
Brief term of days, but a profound remove.