University of Virginia Library



Over uplands now toward eve they pass
By higher uplands tinged with grass.
Lower it crept as they went on—
Grew in advance, and rugged the ground;
Yea, seemed before these pilgrims thrown
To carpet them to royal bound.
Each rider here in saddle-seat
Lounges relaxed, and glads his sight;
Solomon whinnies; those small feet
Of Zar tread lightly and more light:
Even Agath's ass the awakened head
Turns for a nibble. So they sped,
Till now Djalea turns short aside,
Ascends, and by a happy brink
Makes halt, and beckons them to ride
And there with him at pleasure drink
A prospect good.
Below, serene
In oliveyards and vineyards fair,
They view a theater pale green
Of terraces, which stair by stair
Rise toward most venerable walls
On summits twin, and one squared heap
Of buttressed masonry based deep
Adown the crag on lasting pedestals.
Though on that mount but towers convene,
And hamlet none nor cot they see,
They cannot choose but know the scene;
And Derwent's eyes show humidly:
“What other hill? We view it here:
Blessed in story, and heart-cheer,
Hail to thee, Bethlehem of Judæa!


Oh, look: as if with conscious sense
Here nature shows meet reverence:
See, at the sacred mountain's feet
How kneels she with her fragrance sweet,
And swathes them with her grasses fair:
So Mary with the spikenard shed
A lowly love, and bowed her head
And made a napkin of her trailing hair.”
He turned, but met no answering eyes;
The animation of surprise
Had vanished; strange, but they were dumb:
What wayward afterthought had come?
Those dim recurrings in the mind,
Sad visitations ill defined,
Which led the trio erst that met
Upon the crown of Olivet
Nehemiah's proffer to decline
When he invited them away
To Bethany—might such things sway
Even these by Bethlehem? The sign
Derwent respected, and he said
No more. And so, with spirits shrunk
Over the placid hills they tread
And win the stronghold of the monk.