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a poem and pilgrimage in the Holy Land

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Rolfe in his reaching heart did win
Prelude remote, yet gathering in;
“Moist, moist with sobs and balsam shed—


Warm tears, cold odors from the urn—
They hearsed in heathen Rome their dead
All hopeless of the soul's return.
Embracing them, in marble set,
The mimic gates of Orcus met—
The Pluto-bolt, the fatal one
Wreathed over by the hung festoon.
How fare we now? But were it clear
In nature or in lore devout
That parted souls live on in cheer,
Gladness would be—shut pathos out.
His poor thin life: the end? no more?
The end here by the Dead Sea shore?”
He turned him, as awaiting nod
Or answer from earth, air, or skies;
But be it ether or the clod,
The elements yield no replies.
Cross-legged on a cindery hight,
Belex, the fatalist, smoked on.
Slow whiffs; and then, “It needs be done:
Come, beach the loins there, Bethlehemite.”—