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a poem and pilgrimage in the Holy Land

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In silence now they pensive win
A slope of upland over hill
Eastward, where heaven and earth be twin
In quiet, and earth seems heaven's sill.
About a hamlet there full low,
Nor cedar, palm, nor olive show—
Three trees by ancient legend claimed
As those whereof the cross was framed.
Nor dairy white, nor well-curb green,
Nor cheerful husbandry was seen,
Though flinty tillage might be named:
Nor less if all showed strange and lone
The peace of God seemed settled down:
Mary and Martha's mountain-town.
To Rolfe the priest said, breathing low:
“How placid! Carmel's beauty here,
If added, could not more endear.”—
Rolfe spake not, but he bent his brow.
Aside glanced Clarel on the face
Of meekness; and he mused: In thee
Methinks similitude I trace
To Nature's look in Bethany.


But, ah, and can one dream the dream
That hither thro' the shepherds' gate,
Even by the road we traveled late,
Came Jesus from Jerusalem,
Who pleased him so in fields and bowers,
Yes, crowned with thorns, still loved the flowers?
Poor gardeners here that turned the sod
Friends were they to the Son of God?
And shared He e'en their humble lot?
The sisters here in pastoral plot
Green to the door—did they yield rest,
And bathe the feet, and spread the board
For Him, their own and brother's guest,
The kindly Christ, even man's fraternal Lord?
But see: how with a wandering hand,
In absent-mindedness afloat,
And dreaming of his fairy-land,
Nehemiah smooths the ass's coat.