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a poem and pilgrimage in the Holy Land

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1. VOL. I.

1. PART I.


In chamber low and scored by time,
Masonry old, late washed with lime—
Much like a tomb new-cut in stone;
Elbow on knee, and brow sustained
All motionless on sidelong hand,
A student sits, and broods alone.
The small deep casement sheds a ray
Which tells that in the Holy Town
It is the passing of the day—
The Vigil of Epiphany.
Beside him in the narrow cell
His luggage lies unpacked; thereon
The dust lies, and on him as well—
The dust of travel. But anon
His face he lifts—in feature fine,
Yet pale, and all but feminine
But for the eye and serious brow—
Then rises, paces to and fro,
And pauses, saying, “Other cheer
Than that anticipated here,
By me the learner, now I find.
Theology, art thou so blind?
What means this naturalistic knell
In lieu of Siloh's oracle


Which here should murmur? Snatched from grace,
And waylaid in the holy place!
Not thus it was but yesterday
Off Jaffa on the clear blue sea;
Nor thus, my heart, it was with thee
Landing amid the shouts and spray;
Nor thus when mounted, full equipped,
Out through the vaulted gate we slipped
Beyond the walls where gardens bright
With bloom and blossom cheered the sight.
“The plain we crossed. In afternoon,
How like our early autumn bland—
So softly tempered for a boon—
The breath of Sharon's prairie land!
And was it, yes, her titled Rose,
That scarlet poppy oft at hand?
Then Ramleh gleamed, the sail-white town
At even. There I watched day close
From the fair tower, the suburb one:
Seaward and dazing set the sun:
Inland I turned me toward the wall
Of Ephraim, stretched in purple pall.
Romance of mountains! But in end
What change the near approach could lend.
“The start this morning—gun and lance
Against the quarter-moon's low tide:
The thieves' huts where we hushed the ride;
Chill day-break in the lorn advance;
In stony strait the scorch of noon.
Thrown off by crags, reminding one
Of those hot paynims whose fierce hands
Flung showers of Afric's fiery sands
In face of that crusader-king,
Louis, to wither so his wing;
And, at the last, aloft for goal,


Like the ice-bastions round the Pole.
Thy blank, blank towers, Jerusalem!”
Again he droops, with brow on hand.
But, starting up, “Why, well I knew
Salem to be no Samarcand;
'Twas scarce surprise; and yet first view
Brings this eclipse. Needs be my soul,
Purged by the desert's subtle air
From bookish vapors, now is heir
To nature's influx of control;
Comes likewise now to consciousness
Of the true import of that press
Of inklings which in travel late
Through Latin lands, did vex my state,
And somehow seemed clandestine. Ah!
These under-formings in the mind.
Banked corals which ascend from far,
But little heed men that they wind
Unseen, unheard—till lo, the reef—
The reef and breaker, wreck and grief.
But here unlearning, how to me
Opes the expanse of time's vast sea!
Yes, I am young, but Asia old.
The books, the books not all have told.
“And, for the rest, the facile chat
Of overweenings—what was that
The grave one said in Jaffa lane
Whom there I met, my countryman,
But new-returned from travel here;
Some word of mine provoked the strain;
His meaning now begins to clear:
Let me go over it again:—
“Our New World's worldly wit so shrewd
Lacks the Semitic revereat mood,
Unworldly—hardly may confer


Fitness for just interpreter
Of Palestine. Forego the state
Of local minds inveterate,
Tied to one poor and casual form.
To avoid the deep saves not from storm.
“Those things he said, and added more;
No clear authenticated lore
I deemed. But now, need now confess
My cultivated narrowness,
Though scarce indeed of sort he meant?
'Tis the uprooting of content!”
So he, the student. 'Twas a mind,
Earnest by nature, long confined
Apart like Vesta in a grove
Collegiate, but let to rove
At last abroad among mankind,
And here in end confronted so
By the true genius, friend or foe,
And actual visage of a place
Before but dreamed of in the glow
Of fancy's spiritual grace.
Further his meditations aim,
Reverting to his different frame
Bygone. And then: “Can faith remove
Her light, because of late no plea
I've lifted to her source above?”
Dropping thereat upon the knee,
His lips he parted; but the word
Against the utterance demurred
And failed him. With infirm intent
He sought the house-top. Set of sun:
His feet upon the yet warm stone,
He, Clarel, by the coping leant,
In silent gaze. The mountain town,
A walled and battlemented one,
With houseless suburbs front and rear,


And flanks built up from steeps severe,
Saddles and turrets the ascent—
Tower which rides the elephant.
Hence large the view. There where he stood,
Was Acra's upper neighborhood.
The circling hills he saw, with one
Excelling, ample in its crown,
Making the uplifted city low
By contrast—Olivet. The flow
Of eventide was at full brim;
Overlooked, the houses sloped from him—
Terraced or domed, unchimnied, gray,
All stone—a moor of roofs. No play
Of life; no smoke went up, no sound
Except low hum, and that half drowned.
The inn abutted on the pool
Named Hezekiah's, a sunken court
Where silence and seclusion rule,
Hemmed round by walls of nature's sort.
Base to stone structures seeming one
E'en with the steeps they stand upon.
As a three-decker's stern-lights peer
Down on the oily wake below,
Upon the sleek dark waters here
The inn's small lattices bestow
A rearward glance. And here and there
In flaws the languid evening air
Stirs the dull weeds adust, which trail
In festoons from the crag, and veil
The ancient fissures, overtopped
By the tall convent of the Copt,
Built like a light-house o'er the main.
Blind arches showed in walls of wane,
Sealed windows, portals masoned fast,
And terraces where nothing passed
By parapets all dumb. No tarn


Among the Kaatskills, high above
Farm-house and stack, last lichened barn
And log-bridge rotting in remove—
More lonesome looks than this dead pool
In town where living creatures rule.
Not here the spell might he undo;
The strangeness haunted him and grew.
But twilight closes. He descends
And toward the inner court he wends.


A lamp in archway hangs from key—
A lamp whose sidelong rays are shed
On a slim vial set in bed
Of door-post all of masonry.
That vial hath the Gentile vexed;
Within it holds Talmudie text.
Or charm. And there the Black Jew sits,
Abdon the host. The lamp-light flits
O'er reverend beard of saffron hue
Sweeping his robe of Indian blue.
Disturbed and troubled in estate,
Longing for solacement of mate.
Clarel in court there nearer drew,
As yet unnoted, for the host
In meditation seemed engrossed,
Perchance upon some line late scanned
In leathern scroll that drooped from hand.
Ere long, without surprise expressed,
The lone man marked his lonelier guest.
And welcomed him. Discourse was bred;
In end a turn it took, and led


To grave recital. Here was one
(If question of his word be none)
Descended from those dubious men,
The unreturning tribes, the Ten
Whom shout and halloo wide have sought,
Lost children in the wood of time.
Yes, he, the Black Jew, stinting naught,
Averred that ancient India's clime
Harbored the remnant of the Tribes,
A people settled with their scribes
In far Cochin. There was he born
And nurtured, and there yet his kin,
Never from true allegiance torn,
Kept Moses' law.
Cochin, Cochin
(Mused Clarel), I have heard indeed
Of those Black Jews, their ancient creed
And hoar tradition. Esdras saith
The Ten Tribes built in Arsareth—
Eastward, still eastward. That may be.
But look, the scroll of goat-skin, see
Wherein he reads, a wizard book;
It is the Indian Pentateuch
Whereof they tell. Whate'er the plea
(And scholars various notions hold
Touching these missing claus of old),
This seems a deeper mystery;
How Judah, Benjamin, live on—
Unmixed into time's swamping sea
So far can urge their Amazon.
He pondered. But again the host,
Narrating part his life-time tossed,
Told how, long since, with trade in view,
He sailed from India with a Jew
And merchant of the Portuguese
For Lisbon. More he roved the seas


And marts, till in the last event
He pitched in Amsterdam his tent.
“There had I lived my life,” he said.
“Among my kind, for good they were;
But loss came—loss, and I was led
To long for Judah—only her.
But see.” He rose, and took the light
And led within: “There ye espy
What prospect's left to such as I—
Yonder!”—a dark slab stood upright
Against the wall; a rude grave-stone
Sculptured, with Hebrew ciphers strown.
“Under Moriah it shall lie—
No distant date, for very soon,
Ere yet a little, and I die.
From Ind to Zion have I come,
But less to live, than end at home.
One other last remove!” he sighed,
And meditated on the stone,
Lamp held aloft. That magnified
The hush throughout the dim unknown
Of night—night in a land how dead!
Thro' Clarel's heart the old man's strain
Dusky meandered in a vein
One with the revery it bred;
His eyes still dwelling on the Jew
In added dream—so strange hif shade
Of swartness like a born Hindoo,
And wizened visage which betrayed
The Hebrew cast. And subtile yet
In ebon frame an amulet
Which on his robe the patriarch wore—
And scroll, and vial in the door,
These too contributed in kind.
They parted. Clarel sought his cell
Or tomb-like chamber, and—with mind


To break or intermit the spell,
At least perplex it and impede—
Lighted the lamp of olive oil,
And, brushing from a trunk the soil—
'Twas one late purchased at his need—
Opened, and strove to busy him
With small adjustments. Bootless cheer!
While wavering now, in chanceful skim
His eyes fell on the word Judæa
In paper lining of the tray,
For all was trimmed, in cheaper way,
With printed matter. Curious then
To know this faded denizen,
He read, and found a piece complete,
Briefly comprised in one poor sheet:
“The World accosts—
“Last one out of Holy Land,
What gift bring'st thou? Sychem grapes?
Tabor, which the Eden drapes,
Yieldeth garlands. I demand
Something cheery at thy hand.
Come, if Solomon's Song thou singest,
Haply Sharon's rose thou bringest.”
The Palmer replies:
“Nay, naught thou nam'st thy servant brings,
Only Judæa my feet did roam;
And mainly there the pilgrim clings
About the precincts of Christ's tomb.
These palms I bring—from dust not free,
Since dust and ashes both were trod by me.”
O'er true thy gift (thought Clarel). Well,
Scarce might the world accept, 'twould seem.
But I, shall I my feet impel
Through road like thine and naught redeem?


Rather thro' brakes, lone brakes. I wind:
As I advance they close behind.—
Thought's burden! on the couch he throws
Himself and it—rises, and goes
To peer from casement. 'Twas moonlight,
With stars, the Olive Hill in sight,
Distinct, yet dreamy in repose,
As of Katahdin in hot noon,
Lonely, with all his pines in swoon.
The nature and evangel clashed,
Rather, a double mystery flashed.
Olivet, Olivet do I see?
The ideal upland, trod by Thee?
Up or reclined, he felt the soul
Afflicted by that noiseless calm.
Till sleep, the good nurse, deftly stole
The bed beside, and for a charm
Took the pale hand within her own,
Nor left him till the night was gone.


In Crete they claimed the tomb of Jove
In glen over which his eagles soar;
But thro' a peopled town ye rove
To Christ's low urn, where, nigh the door.
Settles the dove. So much the more
The contrast stamps the human God
Who dwelt among us, made abode
With us, and was of woman born;
Partook our bread, and thought no scorn
To share the humblest, homeliest hearth,


Shared all of man except the sin and mirth.
Such, among thronging thoughts, may stir
In pilgrim pressing thro' the lane
That dusty wins the reverend fane,
Seat of the Holy Sepulchre,
And naturally named therefrom.
What altars old in cluster rare
And grotto-shrines engird the Tomb:
Caves and a crag; and more is there;
And halls monastic join their gloom.
To sum in comprehensive bounds
The Passion's drama with its grounds,
Immense the temple winds and strays
Finding each storied precinct out—
Absorbs the sites all roundabout—
Omnivorous, and a world of maze.
And yet time was when all here stood
Separate, and from rood to rood,
Chapel to shrine, or tent to tent,
Unsheltered still the pilgrim went
Where now enroofed the whole coheres—
Where now thro' influence of years
And spells by many a legend lent.
A sort of nature reappears—
Sombre or sad, and much in tone
Perhaps with that which here was known
Of yere, when from this Salem height.
Then sylvan in primeval plight,
Down came to Shaveh's Dale, with wine
And bread, after the four King's cheek,
The Druid priest Melehizedek,
Abram to bless with rites divine.
What rustlings here from shadowy spaces,
Deep vistas where the votary paces,
Will, strangely intermitting, creep
Like steps in Indian forest deep


How bird-like steals the singer's note
Down from some rail or arch remote:
While, glimmering where kneelers be,
Small lamps, dispersed, with glow-worm light
Mellow the vast nave's azure night,
And make a baze of mystery:
The blur is spread of thousand years,
And Calvary's seen as through one's tears.
In cloistral walks the dome detains
Hermits, which during public days
Seclude them where the shadow stays,
But issue when charmed midnight reigns,
Unshod, with tapers lit, and roam,
According as their hearts appoint,
The purlieus of the central Tomb
In round of altars; and anoint
With fragrant oils each marble shelf;
Or, all alone, strange solace find
And oratory to their mind
Lone locked within the Tomb itself.
Cells note ye as in bower a nest
Where some sedate rich devotee
Or grave guest-monk from over sea
Takes up through Lent his votive rest,
Adoring from his saintly perch
Golgotha and the guarded Urn,
And mysteries everywhere expressed;
Until his soul, in rapt sojourn,
Add one more chapel to the Church.
The friars in turn which tend the Fane,
Dress it and keep, a home make there,
Nor pass for weeks the gate. Again
Each morning they ascend the stair
Of Calvary, with cloth and broom,
For dust thereon will settle down,
And gather, too, upon the Tomb


And places of the Passion's moan.
Tradition, not device and fraud
Here rules—tradition old and broad.
Transfixed in sites the drama's shown—
Each given spot assigned; 'tis here
They scourged Him; soldiers yonder nailed
The Victim to the tree; in jeer
There stood the Jews; there Mary paled;
The vesture was divided here.
A miracle-play of haunted stone—
A miracle-play, a phantom one,
With power to give pause or subdue.
So that whatever comment be—
Serious, if to faith unknown—
Not possible seems levity
Or aught that may approach thereto.
And, sooth, to think what numbers here,
Age after age, have worn the stones
In suppliance or judgment fear;
What mourners—men and women's moans,
Ancestors of ourselves indeed;
What souls whose penance of remorse
Made poignant by the elder creed,
Found honest language in the force
Of chains entwined that ate the bone;
How here a'Becket's slayers clung
Taking the contrite anguish on,
And, in release from fast and thong,
Buried upon Moriah sleep;
With more, much more; such ties, so deep,
Endear the spot, or false or true
As an historic site. The wrong
Of carpings never may undo
The nerves that clasp about the plea
Tingling with kinship through and through—
Faith child-like and the tried humanity.


But little here moves hearts of some;
Rather repugnance grave, or scorn
Or cynicism, to mark the dome
Beset in court or yard forlorn
By pedlars versed in wonted tricks,
Venders of charm or crucifix;
Or, on saint-days, to hark the din
As during market day at inn,
And polyglot of Asian tongues
And island ones, in interchange
Buzzed out by crowds in costumes strange
Of nations divers. Are these throngs
Merchants? Is this Cairo's bazar
And concourse? Nay, thy strictures bar.
It is but simple nature, see;
None mean irreverence, though free.
Unvexed by Europe's grieving doubt
Which asks And can the Father be?
Those children of the climes devout,
On festival in fane installed,
Happily ignorant, make glee
Like orphans in the play-ground walled.
Others the duskiness may find
Imbued with more than nature's gloom;
These, loitering hard by the Tomb,
Alone, and when the day's declined—
So that the shadow from the stone
Whereon the angel sat is thrown
To distance more, and sigh or sound
Echoes from place of Mary's moan,
Or cavern where the cross was found;
Or mouse-stir steals upon the ear
From where the soldier reached the spear—
Shrink, much like Ludovico erst
Within the haunted chamber. Thou,
Less sensitive, yet haply versed


In everything above, below—
In all but thy deep human heart;
Thyself perchance mayst nervous start
At thine own fancy's final range
Who here wouldst mock: with mystic smart
The subtile Eld can slight avenge.
But gibe—gibe on, until there crawl
About thee in the scorners' seat,
Reactions; and pride's Smyrna shawl
Plague-strike the wearer. Ah, retreat!
But how of some which still deplore
Yet share the doubt? Here evermore
'Tis good for such to turn afar
From the Skull's place, even Golgotha
And view the cedarn dome in sun
Pierced like the marble Pantheon:
No blurring pane, but open sky:
In there day peeps, there stars go by,
And, in still hours which these illume,
Heaven's dews drop tears upon the Tomb.
Nor lack there dreams romance can thrill:
In hush when tides and towns are still,
Godfrey and Baldwin from their graves
(Made meetly near the rescued Stone)
Rise, and in arms. With beaming glaives
They watch and ward the urn they won.
So fancy deals, a light achiever:
Imagination, earnest ever,
Recalls the Friday far away,
Re-lives the crucifixion day—
The passion and its sequel proves
Sharing the three pale Marys' frame;
Thro' the eclipse with these she moves
Back to the house from which they came
To Golgotha. O empty room,
O leaden heaviness of doom—


O cowering hearts, which sore beset
Deem vain the promise now, and yet
Invoke him who returns no call;
And fears for more that may befall.
O terror linked with love which cried
“Art gone? is't o'er? and crucified?”
Who might foretell from such dismay
Of blank recoilings, all the blest
Lilies and anthems which attest
The floral Easter holiday?


When sighting first the towers afar
Which girt the object of the war
And votive march—the Saviour's Tomb,
What made the red-cross knights so shy?
And wherefore did they doff the plume
And baldrick, kneel in dust, and sigh?
Hardly it serves to quote Voltaire
And say they were freebooters—hence,
Incapable of awe or sense
Pathetic; no, for man is heir
To complex moods; and in that age
Belief devout and bandit rage
Frequent were joined; and e'en to-day
At shrines on the Calabrian steep—
Not insincere while feelings sway—
The brigand halts to adore, to weep.
Grant then the worst—is all romance


Which claims that the crusader's glance
Was blurred by tears?
But if that round
Of disillusions which accrue
In this our day, imply a ground
For more concern than Tancred knew,
Thinking, yet not as in despair,
Of Christ who suffered for him there
Upon the crag; then, own it true,
Cause graver much than his is ours
At least to check the hilarious heart
Before these memorable towers.
But wherefore this? such theme why start?
Because if here in many a place
The rhyme—much like the knight indeed—
Abjure brave ornament, 'twill plead
Just reason, and appeal for grace.


Upon the morrow's early morn
Clarel is up, and seeks the Urn.
Advancing towards the fane's old arch
Of entrance—curved in sculptured stone,
Dim and defaced, he saw thereon
From rural Bethany the march
Of Christ into another gate—
The golden and triumphal one,
Upon Palm Morn. For porch to shrine
On such a site, how fortunate


That adaptation of design.
Well might it please.
He entered then.
Strangers were there, of each degree,
From Asian shores, with island men,
Mild guests of the Epiphany.
As when to win the Paschal joy
And Nisan's festal month renew,
The Nazarenes to temple drew,
Even Joseph, Mary, and the BOY.
Whose hand the mother's held; so here
To later rites and altars dear,
Domestic in devotion's flame
Husbands with wives and children came.
But he, the student, under dome
Pauses; he stands before the Tomb.
Through open door he sees the wicks
Alight within, where six and six
For Christ's apostles, night and day,
Lamps, olden lamps do burn. In smoke
Befogged they shed no vivid ray,
But heat the cell and seem to choke.
He marked, and revery took flight:
“These burn not like those aspects bright
Of starry watchers when they kept
Vigil at napkined feet and head
Of Him their Lord.—Nay, is He fled?
Or tranced lies, tranced nor unbewept
With Dorian gods? or, fresh and clear,
A charm diffused throughout the sphere,
Streams in the ray through yonder dome?
Not hearsed He is. But hath ghost home
Dispersed in soil, in sea, in air?
False Pantheism, false though fair!”
So he; and slack and aimless went,
Nor might untwine the ravelment


Of doubts perplexed. For easement there
Halting awhile in pillared shade,
A friar he marked, in robe of blue
And round Greek cap of sable hue:
Poor men he led; much haste he made,
Nor sequence kept, but dragged them so
Hither and thither, to and fro,
To random places. Might it be
That Clarel, who recoil did here,
Shared but that shock of novelty
Which makes some Protestants unglad
First viewing the mysterious cheer
In Peter's fane? Beheld he had,
In Rome beneath the Lateran wall,
The Scala Santa—watched the knees
Of those ascending devotees,
Who, absolution so to reap,
Breathe a low prayer at every step:
Nay, 'twas no novelty at all.
Nor was it that his nature shrunk
But from the curtness of the monk:
Another influence made swerve
And touched him in profounder nerve.
He turned, and passing on enthralled,
Won a still chapel; and one spake
The name. Brief Scripture, here recalled,
The context less obscure may make:
'Tis writ that in a garden's bound
Our Lord was urned. On that green ground
He reappeared, by Mary claimed.
The place, or place alleged, is shown—
Arbors congealed to vaults of stone—
The Apparition's chapel named.
This was the spot where now, in frame
Hard to depict, the student came—
The spot where in the dawning gray,


His pallor with night's tears bedewed,
Restored the Second Adam stood—
Not as in Eden stood the First
All ruddy. Yet, in leaves immersed
And twilight of imperfect day,
Christ seemed the gardener unto her
Misjudging, who in womanhood
Had sought him late in sepulchre
Embowered, nor found.
Here, votive here—
Here by the shrine that Clarel won—
A wreath shed odors. Scarce that cheer
Warmed some poor-Greeks recumbent thrown,
Sore from late journeying far and near,
To hallowed haunts without the town;
So wearied, that no more they kneeled,
But over night here laid them down,
Matrons and children, yet unhealed
Of ache. And each face was a book
Of disappointment. “Why weep'st thou?
Whom seekest?”—words, which chanceful now
Recalled by Clarel, he applied
To these before him; and he took,
In way but little modified,
Part to himself; then stood in dream
Of all which yet might hap to them.
He saw them spent, provided ill—
Pale, huddled in the pilgrim fleet,
Back voyaging now to homes afar.
Midnight, and rising tempests beat—
Such as St. Paul knew—furious war,
To meet which, slender is the skill.
The lamp that burnt upon the prow
In wonted shrine, extinct is now—
Drowned out with Heaven's last feeble star.
Panic ensues; their course is turned;


Toward Tyre they drive—Tyre undiscerned:
A coast of wrecks which warping bleach
On wrecks of piers where eagles screech.
How hopeful from their isles serene
They sailed, and on such tender quest;
Then, after toils that came between,
They re-embarked; and, tho' distressed,
Grieved not, for Zion had been seen;
Each wearing next the heart for charm
Some priestly scrip in leaf of palm.
But these, ah, these in Dawn's pale reign
Asleep upon beach Tyrian!
Or is it sleep? no, rest—that rest
Which naught shall ruffle or molest.
In gliding turn of dreams which mate
He saw from forth Damascus' gate
Tall Islam in her Mahmal go—
Elected camel, king of all,
In mystic housings draped in flow,
Silk-fringed, with many a silver ball,
Worked ciphers on the Koran's car
And Sultan's cloth. He hears the jar
Of janizaries armed, a throng
Which drum barbaric, shout and gong
Invest. And camels—robe and shawl
Of riders which they bear along—
Each sheik a pagod on his tower,
Cross-legged and dusky. Therewithal,
In affluence of the opal hour,
Curveting troops of Moslem peers
And flash of scimeters and spears
In groves of grass-green pennons fair,
(Like Feiran's palms in fanning air,)
Wherefrom the crescent silvery soars.
Then crowds pell-mell, a concourse wild,
Convergings from Levantine shores;


On foot, on donkeys; litters rare—
Whole families; twin panniers piled;
Rich men and beggars—all beguiled
To cheerful trust in Allah's care;
Allah, toward whose prophet's urn
And Holy City, fond they turn
As forth in pilgrimage they fare.
But long the way. And when they note,
Ere yet they pass wide suburbs green,
Some camp in field, nor far remote,
Inviting, pastoral in scene;
Some child shall leap, and trill in glee
“Mecca, 'tis Mecca, mother—see!”
Then first she thinks upon the waste
Whither the Simoom maketh haste;
Where baskets of the white-ribbed dead
Sift the fine sand, while dim ahead
In long, long line, their way to tell,
The bones of camels bleaching dwell,
With skeletons but part interred—
Relics of men which friendless fell;
Whose own hands, in last office, scooped
Over their limbs the sand, but drooped:
Worse than the desert of the Word,
El Tih, the great, the terrible.
Ere town and tomb shall greet the eye
Many shall fall, nor few shall die
Which, punctual at set of sun,
Spread the worn prayer-cloth on the sand.
Turning them toward the Mecca stone,
Their shadows ominously thrown
Oblique against the mummy land.
These pass; they fade. What next comes near?
The tawny peasants—human wave


Which rolls over India year by year,
India, the spawning place and grave.
The turbaned billow floods the plains,
Rolling toward Brahma's rarer fanes—
His Compostel or brown Loret
Where sin absolved, may grief forget.
But numbers, plague-struck, faint and sore,
Drop livid on the flowery shore—
Arrested, with the locusts sleep,
Or pass to muster where no man may peep.
That vision waned. And, far afloat,
From eras gone he caught the sound
Of hordes from China's furthest moat,
Crossing the Himalayan mound,
To kneel at shrine or relic so
Of Buddha, the Mongolian Fo
Or Indian Saviour. What profound
Impulsion makes these tribes to range?
Stable in time's incessant change
Now first he marks, now awed he heeds
The intersympathy of creeds,
Alien or hostile tho' they seem—
Exalted thought or groveling dream.
The worn Greek matrons mark him there:
Ah, young, our lassitude dost share?
Home do thy pilgrim reveries stray?
Art thou too, weary of the way?—
Yes, sympathies of Eve awake;
Yet do but err. For how might break
Upon those simple natures true,
The complex passion? might they view
The apprehension tempest tossed—
The spirit in gulf of dizzying fable lost?



He turned to go; he turned, but stood
In many notes of varying keys,
From shrines like coves in Jordan's wood
Hark to the rival liturgies,
Which, rolling underneath the dome,
Resound about the patient Tomb
And penetrate the aisles. The rite
Of Georgian and Maronite,
Armenian and fervid Greek,
The Latin organ, and wild clash
Of cymbals smitten cheek to cheek
Which the dark Abyssinian sways;
These like to tides together dash
And question of their purport raise.
If little of the words he knew,
Might Clarel's fancy forge a clue?
A malediction seemed each strain—
Himself the mark: O heart profane,
O pilgrim-infidel, begone!
Nor here the sites of Faith pollute,
Thou who misgivest we enthrone
A God untrue, in myth absurd
As monstrous figments blabbed of Jove,
Or, worse, rank lies of Islam's herd:
We know thee, thou there standing mute.
Out, out—begone! try Nature's reign
Who deem'st the super-nature vain:
To Lot's Wave by black Kedron rove;
On, by Mount Seir, through Edom move;
There crouch thee with the jackall down—
Crave solace of the scorpion!
'Twas fancy, troubled fancy weaved


Those imputations half believed.
The porch he neared; the chorus swelled;
He went forth like a thing expelled.
Yet, going, he could but recall
The wrangles here which oft befall:
Contentions for each holy place,
And jealousies how far from grace:
O, bickering family bereft,
Was feud the heritage He left?


In street at hand a silence reigns
Which Nature's hush of loneness feigns
Few casements, few, and latticed deep,
High raised above the head below,
That none might listen, pry, or peep,
Or any hint or inkling know
Of that strange innocence or sin
Which locked itself so close within.
The doors, recessed in massy walls,
And far apart, as dingy were
As Bastile gates. No shape astir
Except at whiles a shadow falls
Athwart the way, and key in hand
Noiseless applies it, enters so
And vanishes. By dry airs fanned
The languid hyssop waveth slow,
Dusty, on stones by ruin rent.
'Twould seem indeed the accomplishment
Whereof the greater prophet tells


In truth's forecasting canticles
Where voice of bridegroom, groom and bride
Is hushed.
Each silent wall and lane—
The city's towers in barren pride
Which still a stifling air detain,
So irked him, with his burden fraught,
Timely the Jaffa Gate he sought,
Thence issued, and at venture went
Along a vague and houseless road
Save narrow houses where abode
The Turk in man's last tenement
Inearthed. But them he heeded not,
Such trance his reveries begot:
“Christ lived a Jew: and in Judæa
May linger any breath of Him?
If nay, yet surely it is here
One best may learn if all be dim.”
Sudden it came in random play
“Here to Emmans is the way;”
And Luke's narration straight recurred.
How the two falterers' hearts were stirred
Meeting the Arisen (then unknown)
And listening to his lucid word
As here in place they traveled on.
That scene, in Clarel's temper, bred
A novel sympathy, which said—
I too, I too; could I but meet
Some stranger of a lore replete,
Who, marking how my looks betray
The dumb thoughts clogging here my feet
Would question me, expound and prove,
And make my heart to burn with love—
Emmaus were no dream to-day!
He lifts his eyes, and, outlined there,
Saw, as in answer to the prayer,


A man who silent came and slow
Just over the intervening brow
Of a nigh slope. Nearer he drew
Revealed against clear skies of blue;
And—in that Syrian air of charm—
He seemed, illusion such was given,
Emerging from the level heaven,
And vested with its liquid calm.
Scarce aged like time's wrinkled sons,
But touched by chastenings of Eld,
Which halloweth life's simpler ones;
In wasted strength he seemed upheld
Invisibly by faith serene—
Paul's evidence of things not seen.
No staff he carried; but one hand
A solitary Book retained.
Meeting the student's, his mild eyes
Fair greeting gave, in faint surprise.
But, noting that untranquil face,
Concern and anxiousness found place
Beyond the occasion and surmise:
“Young friend in Christ, what thoughts molest
That here ye droop so? Wanderest
Without a guide where guide should be?
Receive one, friend: the book—take ye.”
From man to book in startled way
The youth his eyes bent. Book how gray
And weather-stained in woeful plight—
Much like that scroll left bare to blight,
Which poet pale, when hope was low,
Bade one who into Libya went,
Fling to the wasteful element,
Yes, leave it there, let wither so.
Ere Clarel ventured on reply
Anew the stranger proffered it,


And in such mode he might espy
It was the page of—Holy Writ.
Then unto him drew Clarel nigher:
“Thou art?” “The sinner Nehemiah.”


Sinner?—So spake the saint, a man
Long tarrying in Jewry's court.
With him the faith so well could sort
His home he'd left, nor turned again,
His home by Narraganset's marge,
Giving those years on death which verge
Fondly to that enthusiast part
Oft coming of a stricken heart
Unselfish, which finds solace so.
Though none in sooth might hope to know,
And few surmise his forepast bane,
Such needs have been; since seldom yet
Lone liver was, or wanderer met,
Except he closeted some pain
Or memory thereof. But thence
May be, was given him deeper sense
Of all that travail life can lend,
Which man may scarce articulate
Better than herds which share. What end?
How hope? turn whither? where was gate
For expectation, save the one
Of beryl, pointed by St. John?
That gate would open, yea, and Christ
Thence issue, come unto His own,
And earth be re-imparadised.


Passages, presages he knew:
Zion restore, convert the Jew,
Reseat him here, the waste bedew;
Then Christ returneth: so it ran.
No founded mission chartered him;
Single in person as in plan,
Absorbed he ranged, in method dim,
A flitting tract-dispensing man:
Tracts in each text scribe ever proved
In East which he of Tarsus roved.
Though well such heart might sainthood claim,
Unjust alloy to reverence came.
In Smyrna's mart (sojourning there
Waiting a ship for Joppa's stair)
Pestered he passed thro' Gentile throngs
Teased by an eddying urchin host,
His tracts all fluttering like tongues
The fire-flakes of the Pentecost.
Deep read he was in seers devout,
The which forecast Christ's second prime,
And on his slate would cipher out
The mystic days and dates sublime,
And “Time and times and half a time
Expound he could; and more reveal;
Yet frequent would he feebly steal
Close to one's side, asking, in way
Of weary age—the hour of day.
But how he lived, and what his fare,
Ravens and angels, few beside,
Dreamed or divined. His garments spare
True marvel seemed, nor unallied
To clothes worn by that wandering band
Which ranged and ranged the desert sand
With Moses; and for forty years,
Which two-score times re-clad the spheres


In green, and plumed the birds anew,
One vesture wore. From home he brought
The garb which still met sun and dew,
Ashen in shade, by rustics wrought.
Latin, Armenian, Greek, and Jew
Full well the harmless vagrant kenned,
The small meek face, the habit gray:
In him they owned our human clay.
The Turk went further: let him wend;
Him Allah cares for, holy one:
A Santon held him; and was none
Bigot enough scorn's shaft to send.
For, say what cynic will or can,
Man sinless is revered by man
Thro' all the forms which creeds may lend.
And so, secure, nor pointed at,
Among brave Turbans freely roamed the Hai.


Nay, take it, friend in Christ,” and held
The book in proffer new; the while
His absent eyes of dreamy Eld
Some floating vision did beguile
(Of heaven perchance the wafted hem),
As if in place of earthly wight
A haze of spirits met his sight,
And Clarel were but one of them.
“Consult it, heart; wayfarer you,
And this a friendly guide, the best;
No ground there is that faith would view
But here 'tis rendered with the rest;


The way to fields of Beulah dear
And New Jerusalem is here.”
“I know that guide,” said Clarel “yes;”
And mused awhile in bitterness;
Then turned and studied him again,
Doubting and marveling. A strain
Of trouble seamed the elder brow:
“A pilgrim art thou? pilgrim thou?”
Words simple, which in Clarel bred
More than the simple saint divined;
And, thinking of vocation fled,
Himself he asked: or do I rave,
Or have I left now far behind
The student of the sacred lore?
Direct he then this answer gave:
“I am a traveler—no more.”
“Come then with me, in peace we'll go;
These ways of Salem well I know;
Me let be guide whose guide is this,”
And held the Book in witness so,
As 'twere a guide that could not miss:
“Heart, come with me; all times I roam,
Yea, everywhere my work I ply,
In Salem's lanes, or down in gloom
Of narrow glens which outer lie:
Ever I find some passer-by.
But thee I'm sent to; share and rove,
With me divide the scrip of love.”
Despite the old man's shattered ray,
Won by his mystic saintly way,
Revering too his primal faith,
And grateful for the human claim;
And deeming he must know each path,
And help him so in languid frame—
The student gave assent, and caught
Dim solacement to previous thought.



Days fleet. They rove the storied ground—
Tread many a site that rues the ban
Where serial wrecks on wrecks confound
Era and monument and man;
Or rather, in stratifying way
Bed and impact and overlay.
The Hospitalers' cloisters shamed
Crumble in ruin unreclaimed
On shivered Fatamite palaces
Reared upon crash of Herod's sway—
In turn built on the Maccabees,
And on King David's glory, they;
And David on antiquities
Of Jebusites and Ornan's floor,
And hunters' camps of ages long before.
So Glenroy's tiers of beaches be—
Abandoned margins of the Glacial Sea.
Amid that waste from joy debarred,
How few the islets fresh and green;
Yet on Moriah, tree and sward
In Allah's courts park-like were seen
From roof near by; below, fierce ward
Being kept by Mauritanian guard
Of bigot blacks. But of the reign
Of Christ did no memento live
Save soil and ruin? Negative
Seemed yielded in that crumbling sane,
Erst gem to Baldwin's sacred fief,
The chapel of our Dame of Grief.
But hard by Ophel's winding base,
Well watered by the runnel led,
A spot they found, not lacking grace,


Named Garden of King Solomon,
Tho' now a cauliflower-bed
To serve the kitchens of the town.
One day as here they came from far,
The saint repeated with low breath,
“Adonijah, Adonijah—
The stumbling-stone of Zoheleth.”
He wanders, Clarel thought—but no,
For text and chapter did he show
Narrating how the prince in glade,
This very one, the banquet made,
The plotters' banquet, long ago,
Even by the stone named Zoheleth;
But startled by the trump that blew,
Proclaiming Solomon, pale grew
With all his guests.
From lower glen
They slanted up the steep, and there
Attained a higher terraced den,
Or small and silent field, quite bare.
The mentor breathed: “Come early here
A sign thou'lt see.”—Clarel drew near;
“What sign?” he asked. Whereto with sighs:
“Abashed by morning's holy eyes
This field will crimson, and for shame.”
Struck by his fantasy and frame,
Clarel regarded him for time,
Then noted that dull reddish soil,
And caught sight of a thing of grime
Whose aspect made him to recoil—
A rotting charnel-house forlorn
Midway incarthed, caved in and torn.
And Clarel knew—one scarce might err—
The field of blood, the bad Aceldama.
By Olivet in waning day
The saint in fond illusion went,


Dream mixed with legend and event;
And as with reminiscence fraught,
Narrated in his rambling way
How here at eve was Christ's resort,
The last low sheep-bell tinkling lone—
Christ and the dear disciple—John.
Oft by the Golden Gate that looks
On Shaveh down, and far across
Toward Bethany's secluded nooks—
That gate which sculptures rare emboss
In arches twin; the same where rode
Christ entering with secret load—
Same gate, or on or near the site—
When palms were spread to left and right
Before him, and with sweet acclaim
Were waved by damsels under sway
Of trees wherefrom those branches came—
Over and under palms He went
Unto that crown how different!
The port walled up by Moslem hands
In dread of that predicted day
When pealing hymns, armed Christian bands—
So Islam seers despondent vouch—
Shall storm it, wreathed in Mary's May:
By that sealed gate, in languor's slouch,
How listless in the golden day,
Clarel the mentor frequent heard
The time for Christ's return allot:
A dream, and like a dream it blurred
The sense—faded, and was forgot.
Moved by some mystic impulse, far
From motive known or regular,
The saint would thus his lore unfold,
Though inconclusive; yes, half told
The theme he'd leave, then nod, droop, doze—
Start up and prattle—sigh, and close.



Well for the student, might it last,
This dreamful frame which Lethe bred:
Events obtruded, and it passed.
For on a time the twain were led
From Gihon's upper pool and glade
Down to the deeper gulf. They strayed
Along by many silent cells
Cut in the rock, void citadels
Of death. In porch of one was seen
A mat of tender turf, faint green;
And quiet standing on that sward
A stranger whom they overheard.
Low murmuring—“Equivocal!
Woo'st thou the weary to thee—tell,
Thou tomb, so winsome in thy grace?
To me no reassuring place.”
He saw them not; and they, to shun
Disturbing him, passed, and anon
Met three demoniacs, sad three
Ranging those wasteful limits o'er
As in old time. That look they wore
Which in the moody mad bids flee:
'Tis—What have I to do with thee?
Two shunned approach. But one did sit
Lost in some reminiscence sore
Of private wrong outrageous. He,
As at the larger orb of it,
Looming through mists of mind, would bound,
Or cease to pore upon the ground
As late; and so be inly riven
By arrows of indignant pain:
Convulsed in face, he glared at heaven


Then lapsed in sullenness again.
Dire thoughts the pilgrim's mind beset:
“And did Christ come? in such a scene
Encounter the poor Gadarene
Long centuries ago? and yet—
But here came in review—
Though of their nearness unaware—
The stranger, downward wending there,
Who marking Clarel, instant knew—
At least so might his start declare—
A brother that he well might own
In tie of spirit. Young he was,
With crescent forehead—but alas,
Of frame mis-shaped. Word spake he none,
But vaguely hovered, as may one
Not first who would accost, but deep
Under reserve the wish may keep.
Ere Clarel, here embarrassed grown,
Made recognition, the Unknown
Compressed his lips, turned and was gone.
Mutely for moment, face met face:
But more perchance between the two
Was interchanged than e'en may pass
In many a worded interview.
The student in his heart confessed
A novel sympathy impressed;
And late remissness to retrieve
Fain the encounter would renew.
And yet—if oft one's resolution
Be overruled by constitution—
Herein his heart he might deceive.
Ere long, retracing higher road,
Clarel with Nehemiah stood
By David's Tower, without the wall,


Where black the embattled shadows fall
At morn over Hinnom. Groups were there
Come out to take the evening air,
Watching a young lord Turk in pride,
With fez and sash as red as coral,
And on a steed whose well-groomed hide
Was all one burnished burning sorrel,
Scale the lit slope; then veering wide,
Rush down into the gloomful gorge,
The steel hoof showering sparks as from a forge.
Even Nehemiah, in senile tone
Of dreamy interest, was won
That shooting star to gaze upon.
But rallying, he bent his glance
Toward the opposing eminence;
And turning, “Seest thou not,” he said,
“As sinks the sun beyond this glen
Of Moloch, how clouds intervene
And hood the brightness that was shed?
But yet few hours and he will rise
In better place, and beauty get;
Yea, friend in Christ, in morning skies
Return he will over Olivet:
And we shall greet him. Say ye so?
Betimes then will we up and go.
Farewell. At early dawn await
Christ's bondman old at Stephen's Gate.”



But ere they meet in place assigned,
It needs—to make the sequel clear—
A crossing thread be first entwined.
Within the Terra-Santa's wall
(A prefix dropped, the Latins here
So the Franciscan Convent call),
Commended to the warden's care,
The mitred father-warden there,
By missives from a cardinal,
It chanced an uncompanioned youth,
By birth a Roman, shelter found.
In casual contact, daily round,
Mixed interest the stranger won.
Each friar, the humblest, could but own
His punctual courtesy, in sooth,
Though this still guarded a reserve
Which, not offending, part estranged.
Sites, sites and places all he ranged
Unwearied, but would ever swerve
From escort such as here finds place,
Or cord-girt guide, or chamberlain
Martial in Oriental town,
By gilt-globed staff of office known
Sword by his side, in golden lace,
Tall herald making clear the van.
But what most irked each tonsured man,
Distrust begat, concern of heart
Was this: though the young man took part
In chapel service, 'twas as guest
Who but conformed; he showed no zest
Of faith within, faith personal.
Ere long the warden, kindly all,


Said inly with himself: Poor boy,
Enough hast thou of life-annoy;
Let be reproach. Tied up in knot
Of body by the fleshly withes,
Needs must it be the spirit writhes
And takes a warp. But Christ will blot
Some records in the end.
And own,
So far as in by out is shown,
Not idle was the monk's conceit.
Fair head was set on crook and lump,
Absalom's locks but Æsop's hump.
Deep in the grave eyes' last retreat,
One read thro' guarding feint of pride,
Quick sense of all the ills that gride
In one contorted so. But here,
More to disclose in bearing chief,
More than to monks might well appear,
There needs some running mention brief.
Fain had his brethren have him grace
Some civic honorable place;
And interest was theirs to win
Ample preferment; he as kin
Was loved, if but ill understood:
At heart they had his worldly good;
But he postponed, and went his way
Unpledged, unhampered. So that still
Leading a studious life at will,
And prompted by an earnest mind,
Scarce might he shun the fevered sway
Of focused question in our day.
Overmuch he shared, but in that kind
Which marks the Italian turn of thought,
When, counting Rome's tradition naught,
The mind is coy to own the rule
Of sect replacing, sect or school.


At sea, in brig which swings no boat,
To founder is to sink.
On day
When from St. Peter's balcony,
The raised pontific fingers bless
The city and the world; the stress
He knew of fate: Blessest thou me,
One wave here in this heaving sea
Of heads? how may a blessing be?
Luckless, from action's thrill removed,
And all that yields our nature room;
In courts a jest; and, harder doom,
Never the hunchback may be loved.
Never! for Beatrice—Bice—O,
Diminutive once sweet, made now
All otherwise!—didst thou but fool?
Arch practice in precocious school?
Nay, rather 'twas ere thou didst bud
Into thy riper womanhood.
Since love, arms, courts, abjure—why then
Remaineth to me what? the pen?
Dead feather of ethereal life!
Nor efficacious much, save when
It makes some fallacy more rife.
My kin—I blame them not at heart—
Would have me act some routine part,
Subserving family, and dreams
Alien to me—illusive schemes.
This world clean fails me: still I yearn.
Me then it surely does concern
Some other world to find. But where?
In creed? I do not find it there.
That said, and is the emprise o'er?
Negation, is there nothing more?
This side the dark and hollow bound
Lies there no unexplored rich ground?


Some other world: well, there's the New
Ah, joyless and ironic too!
They vouch that virgin sphere's assigned
Seat for man's re-created kind:
Last hope and proffer, they protest.
Brave things! sun rising in the west;
And bearded centuries but gone
For ushers to the beardless one.
Nay, nay; your future's too sublime:
The Past, the Past is half of time,
The proven half.—Thou Pantheon old
Two thousand years have round thee rolled
Yet thou, in Rome, thou bid'st me seek
Wisdom in something more antique
Than thou thyself. Turn then: what seer,
The senior of this Latian one,
Speaks from the ground, transported here
In Eastern soil? Far buried down—
For consecration and a grace
Enlocking Santa Croce's base—
Lies earth of Jewry, which of yore
The homeward bound Crusaders bore
In fleet from Jaffa.—Trajan's hall,
That huge ellipse imperial,
Was built by Jews. And Titus' Arch
Transmits their conqueror in march
Of trophies which those piers adorn.
There yet, for an historic plea,
In heathen triumph's harlotry
The Seven-Branched Candlestick is borne.
What then? Tho' all be whim of mine,
Yet by these monuments I'm schooled,
Arrested, strangely overruled;
Methinks I catch a beckoning sign,
A summons as from Palestine.
Yea, let me view that pontiff-land


Whose sway occult can so command;
Make even Papal Rome to be
Her appanage or colony.
Is Judah's mummy quite unrolled?
To pluck the talisman from fold!
But who may well indeed forecast
The novel influence of scenes
Remote from his habitual Past?
The unexpected supervenes;
Which Celio proved. 'Neath Zion's lee
His nature, with that nature blent,
Evoked an upstart element,
As do the acid and the alkali.


Blue-lights sent up by ship forlorn
Are answered oft but by the glare
Of rockets from another, torn
In the same gale's inclusive snare.
'Twas then when Celio was lanced
By novel doubt, the encounter chanced
In Gihon, as recited late,
And at a time when Clarel too,
On his part, felt the grievous weight
Of those demoniacs in view;
So that when Celio advanced
No wonder that the meeting eyes
Betrayed reciprocal surmise
And interest. 'Twas thereupon
The Italian, as the eve drew on,
Regained the gate, and hurried in
As he would passionately win


Surcease to thought by rapid pace.
Eastward he bent, across the town,
Till in the Via Crucis lone
An object there arrested him.
With gallery which years deface,
Its bulk athwart the alley grim,
The arch named Ecce Homo threw;
The same, if child-like faith be true,
From which the Lamb of God was shown
By Pilate to the wolfish crew.
And Celio—in frame how prone
To kindle at that scene recalled—
Perturbed he stood, and heart-enthralled.
No raptures which with saints prevail,
Nor trouble of compunction born
He felt, as there he seemed to scan
Aloft in spectral guise, the pale
Still face, the purple robe, and thorn;
And inly cried—Behold the Man!
Yon Man it is this burden lays:
Even he who in the pastoral hours,
Abroad in fields, and cheered by flowers,
Announced a heaven's unclouded days;
And, ah, with such persuasive lips—
Those lips now sealed while doom delays—
Won men to look for solace there;
But, crying out in death's eclipse,
When rainbow none his eyes might see,
Enlarged the margin for despair—
My God, my God, forsakest me?
Upbraider! we upbraid again;
Thee we upbraid; our pangs constrain
Pathos itself to cruelty.
Ere yet thy day no pledge was given
Of homes and mansions in the heaven—
Paternal homes reserved for us;


Heart hoped it not, but lived content—
Content with life's own discontent,
Nor deemed that fate ere swerved for us:
The natural law men let prevail;
Then reason disallowed the state
Of instinct's variance with fate.
But thou—ah, see, in rack how pale
Who did the world with throes convulse;
Behold him—yea—behold the Man
Who warranted if not began
The dream that drags out its repulse.
Nor less some cannot break from thee;
Thy love so locked is with thy lore,
They may not rend them and go free:
The head rejects; so much the more
The heart embraces—what? the love?
If true what priests avouch of thee,
The shark thou mad'st, yet claim'st the dove.
Nature and thee in vain we search:
Well urged the Jews within the porch—
“How long wilt make us still to doubt?
How long?—'Tis eighteen cycles now—
Enigma and evasion grow;
And shall we never find thee out?
What isolation lones thy state
That all we else know cannot mate
With what thou teachest? Nearing thee
All footing fails us; history
Shows there a gulf where bridge is none!
In lapse of unrecorded time,
Just after the apostles' prime,
What chance or craft might break it down?
Served this a purpose? By what art
Of conjuration might the heart
Of heavenly love, so sweet, so good,
Corrupt into the creeds malign,


Begetting strife's pernicious brood,
Which claimed for patron thee divine?
Anew, anew,
For this thou bleedest, Anguished Face;
Yea, thou through ages to accrue,
Shalt the Medusa shield replace:
In beauty and in terror too
Shalt paralyze the nobler race—
Smite or suspend, perplex, deter—
Tortured, shalt prove a torturer.
Whatever ribald Future be,
Thee shall these heed, amaze their hearts with thee—
Thy white, thy red, thy fairness and thy tragedy.
He turned, uptorn in inmost frame,
Nor weened he went the way he came,
Till meeting two there, nor in calm—
A monk and layman, one in creed,
The last with novice-ardor warm,
New-comer, and devout indeed,
To whom the other was the guide,
And showed the Places. “Here,” he cried,
At pause before a wayside stone,
“Thou mark'st the spot where that bad Jew
His churlish taunt at Jesus threw
Bowed under cross with stifled moan:
Caitiff, which for that cruel wrong
Thenceforth till Doomsday drives along.”
Starting, as here he made review,
Celio winced—Am I the Jew?
Without delay, afresh he turns
Descending by the Way of Thorns,
Winning the Proto-Martyr's gate,
And goes out down Jehoshaphat.
Beside him slid the shadows flung


By evening from the tomb-stones tall
Upon the bank far sloping from the wall.
Scarce did he heed, or did but slight
The admonishment the warder rung
That with the setting of the sun,
Now getting low and all but run,
The gate would close, and for the night.


If Savonarola's zeal devout
But with the fagot's flame died out;
If Leopardi, stoned by Grief,
A young St. Stephen of the Doubt,
Might merit well the martyr's leaf;
In these if passion held her claim,
Let Celio pass, of breed the same,
Nor ask from him—not found in them—
The Attic calm, or Saxon phlegm.
Night glooming now in valley dead,
The Italian turned, regained the gate,
But found it closed, the warder fled,
And strange hush of an Eastern town
Where life retreats with set of sun.
Before the riveted clamped wood
Alone in outer dark he stood.
A symbol is it? be it so:
Harbor remains, I'll thither go.
A point there is where Kedron's shore
Narrowing, deepening, steepening more,
Shrinks to an adamantine pass
Flanked by three tombs, from base to head
Hewn from the cliff in cubic mass,
One quite cut off and islanded,


And one presents in Petra row
Pillars in hanging portico
Or balcony, here looking down
Vacantly on the vacant glen:
A place how dead, hard by a town.
'Twas here that Celio made his den
Where erst, as by tradition held,
St. James from hunters lay concealed,
Levites and bigots of the thong.
Hour after hour slow dragged along.
The glen's wall with night roundabout
Blended as cloud with cloud-rack may.
But lo—as when off Tamura
The splash of north-lights on the sea
Crimsons the bergs—so here start out.
Some crags aloft how vividly.
Apace he won less narrow bound.
From the high gate, behold, a stream
Of torches. Lava-like it wound
Out from the city locked in dream,
And red adown the valley flowed.
Was it his friends the friars? from height
Meet rescue bringing in that light
To one benighted? Yes, they showed
A file of monks. But—how? their wicks
Invest a shrouded crucifix;
And each with flambeau held in hand,
Craped laymen mingle with the band
Of cord-girt gowns. He looks again:
Yes, 'tis the Terra Santa's train.
Nearer they come. The warden goes,
And other faces Celio knows.
Upon an office these are bound
Consolatory, which may stem
The affliction, or relieve the wound
Of those which mute accompany them


In mourners' garb.
Aside he shrunk
Until had passed the rearmost monk;
Then, cloaked, he followed them in glade
Where fell the shadow deeper made.
Kedron they cross. Much so might move—
If legend hold, which none may prove,—
The remnant of the Twelve which bore
Down thro' this glen in funeral plight
The Mother of our Lord by night
To sepulcher. Nay, just before
Her tomb alleged, the monks and they
Which mourn, pause and uplift a lay;
Then rise, pass on, and bow the knee
In dust beside Gethsemane.
One named the Bitter Cup, and said:
“Saviour, thou knowest: it was here
The angels ministered, thy head
Supported, kissed thy lidded eyes
And pale swooned cheek till thou didst rise;
Help these then, unto these come near!”
Out sobbed the mourners, and the tear
From Celio trickled; but he mused—
Weak am I, by a myth abused.
Up Olivet the torch-light train
Filed slowly, yielding tribute-strain
At every sacred place they won;
Nor tarried long, but journeyed on
To Bethany—thro' stony lane
Went down into the narrow house
Or void cave named from Lazarus.
The flambeaux redden the dark wall,
Their shadows on that redness fall.
To make the attestation rife,
The resurrection and the life
Through Him the lord of miracle—


The warden from the page doth bruit
The story of the man that died
And lived again—bound hand and foot
With grave-clothes, rose—electrified;
Whom then they loosed, let go; even he
Whom many people came to see,
The village hinds and farm-house maids,
Afterward, at the supper given
To Jesus in the balmy even,
Who raised him vital from the shades.
The lesson over, well they sang
“O death, where is thy sting? O grave,
Where is thy victory?” It rang,
And ceased. And from the outward cave
These tones were heard: “But died he twice?
He comes not back from Paradise
Or Hades now. A vacant tomb
By Golgotha they show—a cell,
A void cell here. And is it well?
Raiser and raised divide one doom;
Both vanished now.”
No thrills forewarn
Of fish that leaps from midnight tarn;
The very wave from which it springs
Is startled and recoils in rings.
So here with Celio and the word
Which from his own rash lips he heard.
He, hastening forth now all unseen,
Recrossed the mountain and ravine,
Nor paused till on a mound he sate
Biding St. Stephen's opening gate.
Ere long in gently fanning flaws
An odoriferous balmy air
Foreruns the morning, then withdraws,
Or—westward heralding—roves there.
The startled East a tremor knows—


Flushes—anon superb appears
In state of housings, shawls and spears.
Such as the Sultan's vanguard shows.
Preceded thus, in pomp the sun
August from Persia draweth on,
Waited by groups upon the wall
Of Judah's upland capital.


Lo, shoot the spikes above the hill:
Now expectation grows and grows;
Yet vain the pageant, idle still:
When one would get at Nature's will—
To be put off by purfled shows!
He breaks. Behold, thou orb supreme,
'Tis Olivet which thou ascendest—
The hill and legendary chapel;
Yet how indifferent thy beam!
Awe nor reverence pretendest:
Dome and summit dost but dapple
With gliding touch, a tinging gleam:
Knowest thou the Christ? believest in the dream?”
'Twas Celio—seated there, as late,
Upon the mound. But now the gate
Flung open, welcomes in the day,
And lets out Clarel with the guide;
These from the wall had hailed the ray;
And Celio heard them there aside,
And turning, rose. Was it to greet?
But ere they might accost or meet,


From minaret in grounds hard by
Of Omar, the muezzin's cry—
Tardy, for Mustapha was old,
And age a laggard is—was rolled,
Announcing Islam's early hour
Of orison. Along the walls
And that deep gulf over which these tower—
Far down toward Rogel, hark, it calls!
Can Siloa hear it, yet her wave
So listless lap the hollow cave?
Is Zion deaf? But, promptly still,
Each turban at that summons shrill,
Which should have called ere perfect light,
Bowed—hands on chest, or arms upright;
While over all those fields of loss
Where now the Crescent rides the Cross,
Sole at the marble mast-head stands
The Islam herald, his two hands
Upon the rail, and sightless eyes
Turned upward reverent toward the skies.
And none who share not this defect
The rules to function here elect;
Since, raised upon the lifted perch
What leave for prying eyes to search
Into the privacies that lurk
In courts domestic of the Turk,
Whose tenements in every town
Guard well against the street alone.
But what's evoked in Clarel's mien—
What look, responsive look is seen
In Celio, as together there
They pause? Can these a climax share?
Mutual in approach may glide
Minds which from poles adverse have come,
Belief and unbelief? may doom
Of doubt make such to coincide—


Upon one frontier brought to dwell
Arrested by the Ezan high
In summons as from out the sky
To matins of the infidel?
The God alleged, here in abode
Ignored with such impunity,
Scarce true is writ a jealous God.
Think ye such thoughts? If so it be,
Yet these may eyes transmit and give?
Mere eyes? so quick, so sensitive?
Howbeit Celio knew his mate:
Again, as down in Gibon late,
He hovered with his overture—
An overture that scorned debate.
But inexperienced, shy, unsure—
Challenged abrupt, or yea or nay,
Again did Clarel hesitate;
When quick the proud one with a look
Which might recoil of heart betray,
And which the other scarce might brook
In recollection, turned away.
Ah, student, ill thy sort have sped:
The instant proffer—it is fled!
When, some days after, for redress
Repentant Clarel sought access,
He learned the name, with this alone—
From convent Celio was gone,
Nor knew they whither.
Here in press
To Clarel came a dreamy token:
What speck is that so far away
That wanes and wanes in waxing day?
Is it the sail ye fain had spoken
Last night when surges parted ye?
But on, it is a boundless sea.



Beneath the toppled ruins old
In series from Moriah rolled
Slips Kedron furtive? underground
Peasants avouch they hear the sound.
In aisled lagunes and watery halls
Under the temple, silent sleep
What memories elder? Far and deep
What ducts and chambered wells and walls.
And many deep substructions be
Which so with doubt and gloom agree,
To question one is borne along—
Based these the Right? subserved the Wrong?
'Twas by an all-forgotten way.
Whose mouth in outer glen forbid
By heaps of rubbish long lay hid,
Cloaca of remotest day;
'Twas by that unsuspected vault
With outlet in mid city lone,
A spot with ruin all bestrown—
The peasants in sedition late
Captured Jerusalem in strait,
Took it by underground assault.
Go wander, and within the walls,
Among the glades of cactus trees
Where no life harbors, peers or calls—
Wild solitudes like shoals in seas
Unsailed; or list at still sundown,
List to the hand-mills as they drone,
Domestic hand-mills in the court,
And groups there in the dear resort,
Mild matron pensive by her son,
The little prattler at her knee:


Under such scenes abysses be—
Dark quarries where few care to pry,
Whence came those many cities high—
Great capitals successive reared,
And which successive disappeared
On this same site. To powder ground,
Dispersed their dust blows round and round.
No shallow gloss may much avail
When these or kindred thoughts assail:
Which Clarel proved, the more he went
A rover in their element.
For—trusting still that in some place
Where pilgrims linger he anew
The missing stranger yet would face
And speak with—never he withdrew
His wandering feet.
In aimless sort
Passing across the town amort,
They came where camped in corner waste,
Some Edomites were at repast—
Sojourners mere, and of a day—
Dark-hued, nor unlike birds of prey
Which on the stones of Tyre alight.
While Clarel fed upon that sight—
The saint repeating in his ear
Meet text applying to the scene—
As liberated from ravine,
Voices in choral note they hear;
And, strange as lilies in morass,
At the same moment, lo, appear
Emerging from a stony pass,
A lane low-vaulted and unclean,
Damsels in linen robes, heads bare,
Enlinked with matrons pacing there,
And elders gray; the maids with book:
Companions would one page o'erlook;


And vocal thus they wound along,
No glad procession, spite the song.
For truth to own, so downcast they—
At least the men, in sordid dress
And double file—the slim array,
But for the maidens' gentleness
And voices which so bird-like sang,
Had seemed much like a coffle gang.
But Nehemiah a key supplied:
“Alas, poor misled Jews,” he sighed,
“Ye do but dirge among your dead.—
The Hebrew quarter here we tread;
And this is Friday; Wailing Day
These to the temple wend their way.
And shall we follow?” Doing so
They came upon a sunken yard
Obscure, where dust and rubbish blow.
Felonious place, and quite debarred
From common travel. On one side
A blind wall rose, stable and great—
Massed up immense, an Ararat
Founded on beveled blocks how wide,
Reputed each a stone august
Of Solomon's fane (else fallen to dust)
But now adopted for the wall
To Islam's courts. There, lord of all,
The Turk permits the tribes to creep
Abject in rear of those dumb stones,
To lean or kneel, lament and weep;
Sad mendicants shut out from gate
Inexorable. Sighs and groans:
To be restored! we wait, long wait!
They call to count their pristine state
On this same ground: the lifted rows
Of peristyles; the porticoes
Crown upon crown, where Levite trains


In chimes of many a silver bell
(Daintily small as pearls in chain)
Hemming their mantles musical—
Passed in procession up and down,
Viewing the belt of guarding heights,
And march of shadows there, and slights
Of pigeon-pets, and palm leaves blown;
Or heard the silver trumpets call—
The priestly trumps, to festival.
So happy they; such Judah's prime.
But we, the remnant, lo, we pale;
Cast from the Temple, here we wail—
Yea, perish ere come Shiloh's time.
Hard by that joyless crew which leant
With brows against the adamant—
Sad buttresses thereto—hard by—
The student marks the Black Jew bowed;
His voice he hears amid the crowd
Which supplicate stern Shaddei.
And earnest, too, he seeth there
One scarcely Hebrew in his dress
Rural, and hard cheek's swarthiness,
With nothing of an Eastern air.
His eyes met Clarel's unremoved—
In end a countryman he proved,
A strange apostate. On the twain
Contrasted so—the white, the black—
Man's earliest breed and latest strain—
Behind the master Moslem's back
Skulking, and in great Moses' track—
Gazed Clarel with the wonderment
Of wight who feels the earth upheave
Beneath him, and learns, ill-content
That terra firma can deceive.
When now those Friday wails were done,
Nehemiah, sidling with his book


Unto a lorn decrepit one,
Proffered a tract: “'Tis Hebrew, look,”
Zealous he urged; “it points the way,
Sole way, dear heart, whereby ye may
Rebuild the Temple.” Answer none
Gat he from Isaac's pauper son,
Who, turning, part as in disdain,
Crept toward his squalid home. Again
Enrapt stood Clarel, lost awhile:
“Yon Jew has faith; can faith be vain?
But is it faith? ay, faith's the word—
What else? Faith then can thus beguile
Her faithfulest. Hard, that is hard!”
So doubts invaded, found him out.
He strove with them; but they proved stout,
Nor would they down.
But turn regard.
Among the maids those rites detained,
One he perceived, as it befell,
Whose air expressed such truth unfeigned,
And harmonies inlinked which dwell
In pledges born of record pure—
She looked a legate to insure
That Paradise is possible
Now as hereafter. 'Twas the grace
Of Nature's dawn: an Eve-like face
And Nereid eyes with virgin spell
Candid as day, yet baffling quite
Like day, through unreserve of light.
A dove she seemed, a temple dove,
Born in the temple or its grove,
And nurtured there. But deeper viewed,
What was it that looked part amiss?
A bit impaired? what lack of peace?
Enforced suppression of a mood,
Regret with yearning intertwined,


And secret protest of a virgin mind.
Hebrew the profile, every line;
But as in haven fringed with palm,
Which Indian reefs embay from harm,
Belulled as in the vase the wine—
Red budded corals in remove,
Peep coy through quietudes above;
So through clear olive of the skin,
And features finely Hagarene;
Its way a tell-tale flush did win—
A tint which unto Israel's sand
Blabbed of the June in some far clover land.
Anon by chance the damsel's eye
Fell on Nehemiah, and the look
A friendly recognition spoke,
Returned in kind. When by-and-by
The groups brake up and homeward bent;
Then, nor unnoted by the youth,
That maiden with the apostate went,
Whose voice paternal called her—“Ruth!”
“Tell, friend,” said Clarel eagerly,
As from the wall of wail they passed;
“Father and daughter? Who may be
That strange pervert?” No willing haste
The mentor showed; awhile he fed
On anxious thoughts; then grievingly
The story gave—a tangled thread,
Which, cleared from snarl and ordered so,
Follows transferred, with interflow
Of much Nehemiah scarce might add.



Nathan had sprung from worthy stock—
Austere, ascetical, but free,
Which hewed their way from sea-beat rock
Wherever woods and winter be.
The pilgrim-keel in storm and stress
Had erred, and on a wilderness.
But shall the children all be schooled
By hap which their forefathers ruled?
Those primal settlers put in train
New emigrants which inland bore;
From these too, emigrants again
Westward pressed further; more bred more;
At each remove a goodlier wain,
A heart more large, an ampler shore,
With legacies of farms behind;
Until in years the wagons wind
Through parks and pastures of the sun,
Warm plains as of Esdraleon:
'Tis nature in her best benign.
Wild, wild in symmetry of mould,
With freckles on her tawny gold,
The lily alone looks pantherine—
The libbard-lily. Never broods
The gloom here of grim hemlock woods
Breeding the witchcraft-spell malign;
But groves like isles in Grecian seas,
Those dotting isles, the Sporades.
But who the gracious charm may tell—
Long rollings of the vast serene—
The prairie in her swimming swell
Of undulation.
Such glad scene


Was won by venturers from far
Born under that severer star
The landing patriarchs knew. In fine,
To Illinois—a turf divine
Of promise, how auspicious spread,
Ere yet the cities rose thereon—
From Saco's mountain wilds were led
The sire of Nathan, wife and son;
Life's lot to temper so, and shun
Mountains whose camp withdrawn was set
Above one vale he would forget.
After some years their tale had told,
He rested; lay forever stilled
With sachems and mound-builders old.
The son was grown; the farm he tilled;
A stripling, but of manful ways,
Hardy and frugal, oft he filled
The widow's eyes with tears of praise.
An only child, with her he kept
For her sake part, the Christian way,
Though frequent in his bosom crept
Precocious doubt unbid. The sway
He felt of his grave life, and power
Of vast space, from the log-house door
Daily beheld. Three Indian mounds
Against the horizon's level bounds
Dim showed across the prairie green
Like dwarfed and blunted mimic shapes
Of Pyramids at distance seen
From the broad Delta's planted capes
Of vernal grain. In nearer view
With trees he saw them crowned, which drew
From the red sagamores of eld
Entombed within, the vital gum
Which green kept each mausoleum.
Hard by, as chanced, he once beheld


Bones like sea corals; one bleached skull
A vase vined round and beautiful
With flowers; felt, with bated breath
The floral revelry over death.
And other sights his heart had thrilled;
Lambs had he known by thunder killed,
Innocents—and the type of Christ
Betrayed. Had not such things sufficed
To touch the young pure heart with awe,
Memory's mint could move him more.
In prairie twilight, summer's own,
The last cow milked, and he alone
In barn-yard dreamy by the fence,
Contrasted, came a scene immense:
The great White Hills, mount flanked by mount,
The Saco and Ammonoosuc's fount;
Where, in September's equinox
Nature hath put such terror on
That from his mother man would run—
Our mother, Earth: the founded rocks
Unstable prove: the Slide! the Slide!
Again he saw the mountain side
Sliced open; yet again he stood
Under its shadow, on the spot—
Now waste, but once a cultured plot,
Though far from village neighborhood—
Where, nor by sexton hearsed at even.
Somewhere his uncle slept; no mound,
Since not a trace of him was found,
So whelmed the havoc from the heaven.
This reminiscence of dismay,
These thoughts unhinged him. On a day
Waiting for monthly grist at mill
In settlement some miles away,
It chanced, upon the window-sill


A dusty book he spied, whose coat,
Like the Scotch miller's powdered twill,
The mealy owner might denote.
Called off from reading, unaware
The miller e'en had left it there.
A book all but forsaken now
For more advanced ones not so frank,
Nor less in vogue and taking rank;
And yet it never shall outgrow
That infamy it first incurred,
Though—viewed in light which moderns know—
Capricious infamy absurd.
The blunt straightforward Saxon tone,
Work-a-day language, even his own,
The sturdy thought, not deep but clear,
The hearty unbelief sincere,
Arrested him much like a hand
Clapped on the shoulder. Here he found
Body to doubt, rough standing-ground.
After some pages brief were scanned,
“Wilt loan me this?” he anxious said.
The shrewd Scot turned his square, strong head—
The book he saw, in troubled trim,
Fearing for Nathan, even him
So young, and for the mill, may be,
Should his unspoken heresy
Get bruited so. The lad but part
Might penetrate that senior heart.
Vainly the miller would dissuade;
Pledge gave he, and the loan was made.
Reclined that night by candle dim
He read, then slept, and woke afraid:
The White Hill's slide! the Indian skull!
But this wore off; and unto him
Came acquiescence, which tho' dull


Was hardly peace. An altered earth
Sullen he tilled, in Adam's frame
When thrust from Eden out to dearth
And blest no more, and wise in shame.
The fall! nor aught availed at need
To Nathan, not each filial deed
Done for his mother, to allay
This ill. But tho' the Deist's sway,
Broad as the prairie fire, consumed
Some pansies which before had bloomed
Within his heart; it did but feed
To clear the soil for upstart weed.
Yes, ere long came replacing mood.
The god, expelled from given form,
Went out into the calm and storm.
Now, ploughing near the isles of wood
In dream he felt the loneness come,
In dream regarded there the loam
Turned first by him. Such mental food
Need quicken, and in natural way,
Each germ of Pantheistic sway,
Whose influence, nor always drear,
Tenants our maiden hemisphere;
As if, dislodged long since from cells
Of Thracian woodlands, hither stole—
Hither, to renew their old control—
Pan and the pagan oracles.
How frequent when Favonius low
Breathed from the copse which mild did wave
Over his father's sylvan grave,
And stirred the corn, he stayed the hoe,
And leaning, listening, felt a thrill
Which heathenized against the will.
Years sped. But years attain not truth,
Nor length of life avails at all;


But time instead contributes ruth:
His mother—her the garners call:
When sicklemen with sickles go,
The churl of nature reaps her low.
Let now the breasts of Ceres swell—
In shooks, with golden tassels gay,
The Indian corn its trophies ray
About the log-house; is it well
With death's ripe harvest?—To believe,
Belief to win nor more to grieve!
But how? a sect about him stood
In thin and scattered neighborhood;
Uncanny, and in rupture new;
Nor were all lives of members true
And good. For them who hate and heave
Contempt on rite and creed sublime,
Yet to their own rank fable cleave—
Abject, the latest shame of time;
These quite repelled, for still his mind
Erring, was of no vulgar kind.
Alone, and at Doubt's freezing pole
He wrestled with the pristine forms
Like the first man. By inner storms
Held in solution, so his soul
Ripened for hour of such control
As shapes, concretes. The influence came,
And from a source that well might claim
'Twas in a lake-port new,
A mart for grain, by chance he met
A Jewess who about him threw
Else than Nerea's amorous net
And dubious wile. 'Twas Miriam's race:
A sibyl breathed in Agar's grace—
A sibyl, but a woman too;
He felt her grateful as the rains


To Rephaim and the Rama plains
In drought. Ere won, herself did woo:
“Wilt join my people?” Love is power;
Came the strange plea in yielding hour.
Nay, and turn Hebrew? But why not?
If backward still the inquirer goes
To get behind man's present lot
Of crumbling faith; for rear-wall shows
Far behind Rome and Luther—what?
The crag of Sinai. Here then plant
Thyself secure: 'tis adamant.
Still as she dwelt on Zion's story
He felt the glamour, caught the gleam;
All things but these seemed transitory—
Love, and his love's Jerusalem.
And interest in a mitred race,
With awe which to the fame belongs,
These in receptive heart found place
When Agar chanted David's songs.
'Twas passion. But the Puritan—
Mixed latent in his blood—a strain
How evident, of Hebrew source;
'Twas that, diverted here in force,
Which biased—hardly might do less.
Hereto append, how earnestness,
Which disbelief for first-fruits bore,
Now, in recoil, by natural stress
Constrained to faith—to faith in more
Than prior disbelief had spurned;
As if, when he toward credence turned,
Distance therefrom but gave career
For impetus that shot him sheer
Beyond. Agar rejoiced; nor knew
How such a nature, charged with zeal,
Might yet overpass that limit due
Observed by her. For woe or weal


They wedded, one in heart and creed.
Transferring fields with title-deed,
From rustic life he quite withdrew—
Traded, and throve. Two children came:
Sedate his heart, nor sad the dame.
But years subvert; or he outgrew
(While yet confirmed in all the myth)
The mind infertile of the Jew.
His northern nature, full of pith,
Vigor and enterprise and will,
Having taken thus the Hebrew bent,
Might not abide inactive so
And but the empty forms fulfill:
Needs utilize the mystic glow—
For nervous energies find vent.
The Hebrew seers announce in time
The return of Judah to her prime;
Some Christians deemed it then at hand.
Here was an object: Up and do!
With seed and tillage help renew—
Help reinstate the Holy Land.
Some zealous Jews on alien soil
Who still from Gentile ways recoil,
And loyally maintain the dream,
Salute upon the Paschal day
With Next year in Jerusalem!
Now Nathan turning unto her,
Greeting his wife at morning ray,
Those words breathed on the Passover;
But she, who mutely startled lay,
In the old phrase found import new,
In the blithe tone a bitter cheer
That did the very speech subdue.
She kenned her husband's mind austere,
Had watched his reveries grave; he meant
No flourish mere of sentiment.


Then what to do? or how to stay?
Decry it? that would faith unsay.
Withstand him? but she gently loved.
And so with Agar here it proved,
As oft it may, the hardy will
Overpowered the deep monition still.
Enough; fair fields and household charms
They quit, sell all, and cross the main
With Ruth and a young child in arms.
A tract secured on Sharon's plain,
Some sheds he built, and ground walled in
Defensive; toil severe but vain.
The wandering Arabs, wonted long
(Nor crime they deemed it, crime nor sin)
To scale the desert convents strong—
In sly foray leaped Nathan's fence
And robbed him; and no recompense
Attainable where law was none
Or perjured. Resolute hereon,
Agar, with Ruth and the young child,
He lodged within the stronghold town
Of Zion, and his heart exiled
To abide the worst on Sharon's lea.
Himself and honest servants three
Armed husbandmen became, as erst
His sires in Pequod wilds immersed.
Hittites—foes pestilent to God
His fathers old those Indians deemed:
Nathan the Arabs here esteemed
The same—slaves meriting the rod;
And out he spake it; which bred hate
The more imperiling his state.
With muskets now his servants slept;
Alternate watch and ward they kept
In grounds beleaguered. Not the less


Visits at stated times he made
To them in Zion's walled recess.
Agar with sobs of suppliance prayed
That he would fix there: “Ah, for good
Tarry! abide with us, thine own;
Put not these blanks between us; should
Such space be for a shadow thrown?
Quit Sharon, husband; leave to brood;
Serve God by cleaving to thy wife,
Thy children. If come fatal strife—
Which I forebode—nay!” and she flung
Her arms about him there, and clung.
She plead. But tho' his heart could feel,
'Twas mastered by inveterate zeal.
Even the nursling's death ere long
Balked not his purpose tho' it wrung.
But Time the cruel, whose smooth way
Is feline, patient for the prey
That to this twig of being clings;
And Fate, which from her ambush springs
And drags the loiterer soon or late
Unto a sequel unforeseen;
These doomed him and cut short his date;
But first was modified the lien
The husband had on Agar's heart;
And next a prudence slid athwart—
After distrust. But be unsaid
That steep toward which the current led.
Events shall speak.
And now the guide,
Who did in sketch this tale begin,
Parted with Clarel at the inn;
And ere long came the eventide.



Like sails convened when calms delay
Off the twin forelands on fair day,
So, on Damascus' plain behold
Mid groves and gardens, girdling ones,
White fleets of sprinkled villas, rolled
In the green ocean of her environs.
There when no minaret receives
The sun that gilds yet St. Sophia,
Which loath and later it bereaves,
The peace fulfills the heart's desire.
In orchards mellowed by eve's ray
The prophet's son in turban green,
Mild, with a patriarchal mien,
Gathers his fruity spoil. In play
Of hide-and-seek where alleys be,
The branching Eden brooks ye see
Peeping, and fresh as on the day
When haply Abram's steward went—
Mild Eliezer, musing, say—
By those same banks, to join the tent
In Canaan pitched. From Hermon stray
Cool airs that in a dream of snows
Temper the ardor of the rose;
While yet to moderate and reach
A tone beyond our human speech,
How steals from cloisters of the groves
The ave of the vesper-doves.
Such notes, translated into hues,
Thy wall, Angelico, suffuse,
Whose tender pigments melt from view—
Die down, die out, as sunsets do.
But rustling trees aloft entice


To many a house-top, old and young:
Aerial people! see them throng;
And the moon comes up from Paradise.
But in Jerusalem—not there
Loungers at eve to roof repair
So frequent. Haply two or three
Small quiet groups far off you see,
Or some all uncompanioned one
(Like ship-boy at mast-head alone)
Watching the star-rise. Silently
So Clarel stands, his vaulted room
Opening upon a terrace free,
Lifted above each minor dome
On grade beneath. Glides, glides away
The twilight of the Wailing Day.
The apostate's story fresh in mind,
Fain Clarel here had mused thereon,
But more upon Ruth's lot, so twined
With clinging ill. But every thought
Of Ruth was strangely underrun
By Celio's image. Celio—sought
Vainly in body—now appeared
As in the spiritual part,
Haunting the air, and in the heart.
Back to his chamber Clarel veered,
Seeking that alms which unrest craves
Of slumber: alms withheld from him;
For midnight, rending all her graves,
Showed in a vision far and dim
Still Celio—and in pallid stress
Fainting amid contending press
Of shadowy fiends and cherubim.
Later, anew he sought the roof;
And started, for not far aloof,
He caught some dubious object dark,


Huddled and hooded, bowed, and set
Under the breast-high parapet,
And glimmering with a dusky spark.
It moved, it murmured. In deep prayer
'Twas Abdon under talith. Rare
That scarf of supplication—old,
Of India stuff, with braid of gold
In cipher. Did the Black Jew keep
The saying—Prayer is more than sleep?
Islam says that. The Hebrew rose,
And, kindled by the starry sky,
In broidered text that mystic flows
The talith gleams. Divested then
He turned, not knowing Clarel nigh,
And would have passed him all unseen.
But Clarel spake. It roused annoy—
An Eastern Jew in rapt employ
Spied by the Gentile. But a word
Dispelled distrust, good-will restored.
“Stay with me,” Clarel said; “go not.
A shadow, but I scarce know what—
It haunts me. Is it presage?—Hark!
That piercing cry from out the dark!”
“'Tis for some parted spirit—gone,
Just gone. The custom of the town
That cry is; yea, the watcher's breath
Instant upon the stroke of death.”
“Anew! 'Tis like a tongue of flame
Shot from the fissure;” and stood still:
“Can fate the boding thus fulfill?
First ever I, first to disclaim
Such premonitions.—Thrillest yet
'Tis over, but we might have met?—
Hark, hark; again the cry is sped;
For him it is—found now—nay, fled!”



Such passion!—But have hearts forgot
That ties may form where words be not?
The spiritual sympathy
Transcends the social. Which appears
In that presentiment, may be,
Of Clarel's inquietude of fears
Proved just.
Yes, some retreat to win
Even more secluded than the court
The Terra Santa locks within:
Celio had found withdrawn resort
And lodging in the deeper town.
There, by a gasping ill distressed—
Such as attacks the hump-bowed one—
After three days the malady pressed:
He knew it, knew his course was run,
And, turning toward the wall, found rest.
'Twas Syrians watched the parting hour—
And Syrian women shrilled the cry
That wailed it. This, with added store,
Learned Clarel, putting all else by
To get at items of the dead.
Nor, in the throb that casts out fear,
Aught recked he of a scruple here;
But, finding leaves that might bestead,
The jotted journaled thoughts he read.
A second self therein he found,
But stronger—with the heart to brave
All questions on that primal ground
Laid bare by faith's receding wave.
But lo, arrested in event—
Hurried down Hades' steep descent;


Cut off while in progressive stage
Perchance, ere years might more unfold:
Who young dies, leaves life's tale half told.
How then? Is death the book's fly-page?
Is no hereafter? If there be,
Death foots what record? how forestalls
Acquittance in eternity?
Advance too, and through age on age?
Here the tree lies not as it falls;
For howsoe'er in words of man
The word and will of God be feigned,
No incompletion's heaven ordained.
Clarel, through him these reveries ran.


Beyond the city's thin resort
And northward from the Ephraim port
The Vale of Ashes keepeth place.
If stream it have which showeth face,
Thence Kedron issues when in flood:
A pathless dell men seldom trace;
The same which after many a rood
Down deepens by the city wall
Into a glen, where—if we deem
Joel's wild text no Runic dream—
An archangelic trump shall call
The nations of the dead from wreck,
Convene them in one judgment-hall
The hollow of Melchizedek.
That upper glade by quarries old


Reserves for weary ones a seat—
Porches of caves, stone benches cold,
Grateful in sultry clime to meet.
To this secluded spot austere,
Priests bore—Talmudic records treat—
The ashes from the altar; here
They laid them, hallowed in release,
Shielded from winds in glade of peace.
From following the bier to end
Hitherward now see Clarel tend;
A dell remote from Celio's mound,
As he for time would shun the ground
So freshly opened for the dead,
Nor linger there while aliens stray
And ceremonious gloom is shed.
Withdrawing to this quiet bay
He felt a natural influence glide
In lenitive through every vein,
And reach the heart, lull heart and brain.
The comrade old was by his side,
And solace shared. But this would pass,
Or dim eclipse would steal thereon,
As over autumn's hill-side grass
The cloud. Howbeit, in freak anon
His Bible he would muttering con,
Then turn, and brighten with a start—
“I hear them, hear them in my heart;
Yea, friend in Christ, I hear them swell—
The trumpets of Immanuel!”
Illusion. But in other hour
When oft he would foretell the flower
And sweets that time should yet bring in,
A happy world, with peace for dower—
This more of interest could win;
For he, the solitary man


Who such a social dream could fan,
What had he known himself of bliss?
And—nearing now his earthly end—
Even that he pledged he needs must miss.
To Clarel now, such musings lend
A vague disturbance, as they wend
Returning thro' the noiseless glade.
But in the gate Nehemiah said,
“My room in court is pleasant, see;
Not yet you've been there—come with me.”


On Salem's surface undermined,
Lo, present alley, lane or wynd
Obscure, which pilgrims seldom gain
Or tread, who wonted guides retain.
Humble the pilots native there:
Following humbly need ye fare:
Afoot; for never camels pass—
Camels, which elsewhere in the town,
Stalk through the street and brush the gown;
Nor steed, nor mule, nor smaller ass.
Some by-paths, flanked by wall and wall,
Affect like glens. Dismantled, torn,
Disastrous houses, ripe for fall—
Haggard as Horeb, or the rock
Named Hermit, antler of Cape Horn—
Shelter, in chamber grimed, or hall,
The bearded goat-herd's bearded flock;
Or quite abandoned, sold to fear,
Yawn, and like plundered tombs appear.


Here, if alone, strive all ye can,
Needs must ye start at meeting man.
Yet man here harbors, even he—
Harbors like lizard in dry well,
Or stowaway in hull at sea
Down by the keelson; criminal,
Or penitent, or wretch undone,
Or anchorite, or kinless one,
Or wight cast off by kin; or soul
Which anguished from the hunter stole—
Like Emim Bey the Mamaluke.
He—armed, and, happily, mounted well—
Leaped the inhuman citadel
In Cairo; fled—yea, bleeding, broke
Through shouting lanes his breathless way
Into the desert; nor at bay
Even there might stand; but, fox-like, on,
And ran to earth in Zion's town;
Here maimed, disfigured, crouched in den,
And crouching died—securest then.
With these be hearts in each degree
Of craze, whereto some creed is key;
Which, mastered by the awful myth,
Find here, on native soil, the pith;
And leaving a shrewd world behind—
To trances open-eyed resigned—
As visionaries of the Word
Walk like somnambulists abroad.



Through such retreats of dubious end
Behold the saint and student wend,
Stirring the dust that here may keep
Like that on mummies long asleep
In Theban tomb. Those alleys passed,
A little square they win—a waste
Shut in by towers so hushed, so blind,
So tenantless and left forlorn
As seemed—an ill surmise was born
Of something prowling there behind.
An arch, with key-stone slipped half down
Like a dropped jaw—they enter that;
Repulse nor welcome in the gate:
Climbed, and an upper chamber won.
It looked out through low window small
On other courts of bale shut in,
Whose languishment of crumbling wall
Breathed that despair alleged of sin.
Prediction and fulfillment met
In faint appealings from the rod:
Wherefore forever dost forget—
For so long time forsake, O God?
But Clarel turned him, heedful more
To note the place within. The floor
Rudely was tiled; and little there
A human harbor might express
Save a poor chest, a couch, a chair;
A hermitage how comfortless.
The beams of the low ceiling bare
Were wreck-stuff from the Joppa strand:
Scant the live timber in that land.


Upon the cot the host sat down,
Short breathing, with late travel spent;
And wiping beads from brow and crown,
Essayed a smile, in kindness meant.
But now a little foot was heard
Light coming. On the hush it fell
Like tinkling of the camel-bell
In Uz. “Hark! yea, she comes—my bird!”
Cried Nehemiah who hailed the hap;
“Yea, friend in Christ, quick now ye'll see
God's messenger which feedeth me;”
And rising to the expected tap,
He oped the door. Alone was seen
Ruth with a napkin coarse yet clean,
Folding a loaf. Therewith she bore
A water-pitcher, nothing more.
These alms, the snowy robe and free,
The veil which hid each tress from sight,
Might indicate a vestal white
Or priestess of sweet charity.
The voice was on the lip; but eyes
Arrested in their frank accost,
Checked speech, and looked in opening skies
Upon the stranger. Said the host,
Easing her hands, “Bird, bird, come in:
Well-doing never was a sin—
God bless thee!” In suffusion dim
His eyes filled. She eluding him,
Retreated. “What, and flown?” breathed he:
“Daily this raven comes to me;
But what should make it now so shy?”
The hermit motioned here to share
The loaf with Clarel; who put by
The proffer. So, with Crusoe air
Of castaway on isle in sea
Withdrawn, he broke the unshared bread—


But not before a blessing said:
Loaf in left hand, the right hand raised
Higher, and eyes which heavenward gazed.
Ere long—refection done—the youth
Lured him to talk of things, in range
Linking themselves at last with Ruth.
Her sire he spake of. Here 'twas strange
How o'er the enthusiast stole a change—
A meek superior look in sooth:
“Poor Nathan, did man ever stray
As thou? to Judaize to-day!
To deem the crook of Christ shall yield
To Aaron's staff! to till thy field
In hope that harvest time shall see
Solomon's hook in golden glee
Reaping the ears. Well, well! meseems—
Heaven help him; dreams, but dreams—dreams, dreams!”
“But thou, thou too, with faith sincere
Surely believ'st in Jew restored.”
“Yea, as forerunner of our Lord.—
Poor man, he's weak; 'tis even here”
Touching his forehead—“he's amiss.”
Clarel scarce found reply to this,
Conjecturing that Nathan too
Must needs hold Nehemiah in view
The same; the which an after-day
Confirmed by proof. But now from sway
Of thoughts he would not have recur,
He slid, and into dream of her
Who late within that cell shed light
Like the angel succorer by night
Of Peter dungeoned. But apace
He turned him, for he heard the breath,
The old man's breath, in sleep. The face
Though tranced, struck not like trance of death


All rigid; not a masque like that,
Iced o'er, which none may penetrate,
Conjecturing of aught below.
Death freezes, but sleep thaws. And so
The inmate lay, some lines revealed—
Effaced, when life from sleep comes back.
And what their import? Be it sealed.
But Clarel felt as in affright
Did Eliphaz the Temanite
When passed the vision ere it spake.
He stole forth, striving with his thought,
Leaving Nehemiah in slumber caught—
Alone, and in an unlocked room,
Safe as a stone in vacant tomb,
Stone none molest, for it is naught.


Next day the wanderer drawing near
Saluting with his humble cheer,
Made Clarel start. Where now the look
That face but late in slumber took?
Had he but dreamed it? It was gone.
But other thoughts were stirring soon,
To such good purpose, that the saint
Through promptings scarce by him divined,
Anew led Clarel thro' constraint
Of inner bye-ways, yet inclined
Away from his peculiar haunt,
And came upon a little close,
One wall whereof a creeper won.
On casement sills, small pots in rows


Showed herb and flower, the shade and sun—
Surprise how blest in town but sere.
Low breathed the guide, “They harbor here—
Agar, and my young raven, Ruth.
And, see, there's Nathan, nothing loath,
Just in from Sharon, 'tis his day;
And, yes—the Rabbi in delay.”—
The group showed just within the door
Swung open where the creeper led.
In lap the petting mother bore
The half reclining maiden's head—
The stool drawn neighboring the chair;
In front, erect, the father there,
Hollow in cheek, but rugged, brown—
Sharon's red soil upon his shoon—
With zealot gesture urged some plea
Which brought small joy to Agar's eyes,
Whereto turned Ruth's. In scrutiny
Impassive, wrinkled, and how wise
(If wisdom be but craft profound)
Sat the hoar Rabbi. This his guise:
In plaits a head-dress agate-bound,
A sable robe with mystic hem—
Clasps silver, locked in monogram.
An unextinguished lamp they view
Whose flame scarce visibly did sway,
Which having burned till morning dew
Might not be quenched on Saturday
The unaltered sabbath of the Jew.
Struck by the attitudes, the scene,
And loath, a stranger, to advance
Obtrusive, coming so between;
While, in emotion new and strange,
Ruth thrilled him with life's first romance;


Clarel abashed and faltering stood,
With cheek that knew a novel change.
But Nehemiah with air subdued
Made known their presence; and Ruth turned,
And Agar also, and discerned
The stranger, and a settle placed:
Matron and maid with welcome graced
Both visitors, and seemed to find
In travel-talk which here ensued
Relief to burdens of the mind.
But by the sage was Clarel viewed
With stony and unfriendly look—
Fixed inquisition, hard to brook.
And that embarrassment he raised
The Rabbi marked, and colder gazed.
But in redemption from his glance—
For a benign deliverance—
On Clarel fell the virgin's eyes,
Pure home of all we seek and prize,
And crossing with their humid ray
The Levite's arid eyes of gray—
But skill is none to word the rest:
To Clarel's heart there came a swell
Like the first tide that ever pressed
Inland, and of a deep did tell.
Thereafter, little speech was had
Save syllables which do but skim;
Even in these, the zealot—made
A slave to one tyrannic whim—
Was scant; while still the sage unkind
Sat a torpedo-fish, with mind
Intent to paralyze, and so
Perchance, make Clarel straight forego
Acquaintance with his flock, at least
With two, whose yearnings—he the priest


More than conjectured—oft did flow
Averse from Salem. None the less
A talismanic gentleness
Maternal welled from Agar faint;
Thro' the sad circle's ill constraint
Her woman's way could yet instill
Her prepossession, her good will;
And when at last they bade good-bye—
The visitors—another eye
Spake at the least of amity.


In the south wall, where low it creeps
Crossing the hollow down between
Moriah and Zion, by dust-heaps
Of rubbish in a lonely scene,
A little door there is, and mean—
Such as a stable may befit;
'Tis locked, nor do they open it
Except when days of drought begin,
To let the water-donkeys in
From Rogel. 'Tis in site the gate
Of Scripture named the dung-gate—that
Also (the legends this instill)
Through which from over Kedron's rill—
In fear of rescue should they try
The way less roundabout and shy—
By torch the tipstaves Jesus led,
And so thro' back-street hustling sped
To Pilate. Odor bad it has
This gate in story, and alas,
In fact as well, and is in fine


Like ancient Rome's port Esquiline
Wherefrom the scum was cast.—
Next day
Ascending Zion's rear, without
The wall, the saint and Clarel stay
Their feet, being hailed, and by a shout
From one who nigh the small gate stood:
“Ho, ho there, worthy pilgrims, ho!
Acquainted in this neighborhood?
What city's this? town beautiful
Of David? I'm a stranger, know.
'Tis heavy prices here must rule;
Choice house-lot now, what were it worth?
How goes the market?” and more mirth.
Down there into the place unclean
They peer, they see the man therein,
An iron-gray, short, rugged one,
Round shouldered, and of knotty bone;
A hammer swinging in his hand,
And pouch at side, by the ill door.
Him had they chanced upon before
Or rather at a distance seen
Upon the hills, with curious mien
And eyes that—scarce in pious dream
Or sad humility, 'twould seem—
Still earthward bent, would pry and pore.
Perceiving that he shocked the twain,
His head he wagged, and called again,
“What city's this? town beautiful—”
No more they heard; but to annul
The cry, here Clarel quick as thought
Turned with the saint and refuge sought
Passing an angle of the wall.
When now at slower pace they went
Clarel observed the sinless one
Turning his Bible-leaves content;


And presently he paused: “Dear son,
The Scripture is fulfilled this day;
Note what these Lamentations say;
The doom the prophet doth rehearse
In chapter second, fourteenth verse:
‘All that pass by clap their hands
At thee; they hiss, and wag the head,
Saying, Is this the city’—read,
Thyself here read it where it stands.”
Inquisitive he quick obeyed,
Then dull relapsed, and nothing said,
Tho' more he mused, still laboring there
Upward, by arid gullies bare:—
What object sensible to touch
Or quoted fact may faith rely on,
If faith confideth overmuch
That here's a monument in Zion:
Its substance ebbs—see, day and night
The sands subsiding from the height;
In time, absorbed, these grains may help
To form new sea-bed, slug and kelp.
“The gate,” cried Nehemiah, “the gate
Of David!” Wending thro' the strait,
And marking that, in common drought,
'Twas yellow waste within as out,
The student mused: The desert, see,
It parts not here, but silently,
Even like a leopard by our side,
It seems to enter in with us—
At home amid men's homes would glide.
But hark! that wail how dolorous:
So grieve the souls in endless dearth;
Yet sounds it human—of the earth!



The stone huts face the stony wall
Inside—the city's towering screen—
Leaving a reptile lane between;
And streetward not a window small,
Cranny nor loophole least is seen:
Through excess of biting sympathies
So hateful to the people's eyes
Those lepers and their evil nook,
No outlook from it will they brook:
None enter; condolence is none.
That lava glen in Luna's sphere,
More lone than any earthly one—
Whereto they Tycho's name have given—
Not more from visitant is riven
Then this stone lane.
But who crouch here?
Have these been men? these did men greet
As fellows once? It is a scene—
Illusion of time's mirage fleet:
On dry shard-heaps, and things which rot—
Scarce into weeds, for weeds are green—
Backs turned upon their den, they squat,
Some gossips of that tribe unclean.
Time was when Holy Church did take,
Over lands then held by Baldwin's crown,
True care for such for Jesu's sake,
Who (so they read in ages gone)
Even as a leper was foreshown;
And, tho' apart their lot she set,
It was with solemn service yet,
And forms judicial lent their tone:
The sick-mass offered, next was shed
Upon the afflicted human one


The holy water. He was led
Unto the house aloof, his home
Thenceforth. And here, for type of doom,
Some cemetery dust was thrown
Over his head: “Die to the world:
Her wings of hope and fear be furled:
Brother, live now to God alone.”
And from the people came the chant:
“My soul is troubled, joy is curbed,
All my bones they are disturbed;
God, thy strength and mercy grant!”
And next, in order due, the priest
Each habit and utensil blessed—
Hair-cloth and barrel, clapper, glove;
And one by one as these were given,
With law's dread charge pronounced in love,
So, link by link, life's chain was riven—
The leper faded in remove.
The dell of isolation here
To match, console, and (could man prove
More than a man) in part endear,
How well had come that smothered text
Which Julian's pagan mind hath vexed—
And ah, for soul that finds it clear:
“He lives forbid;
From him our faces have we hid;
No heart desires him, none redress,
He hath nor form nor comeliness;
For a transgressor he's suspected,
Behold, he is a thing infected,
Smitten of God, by men rejected.”
But otherwise the ordinance flows.
For, moving toward the allotted cell,
Beside the priest the leper goes:
“I've chosen it, here will I dwell.”
He's left. At gate the priest puts up


A cross, a can; therein doth drop
The first small alms, which laymen swell.
To aisles returned, the people kneel;
Heart-piercing suppliance—appeal.
But not the austere maternal care
When closed the ritual, ended there
With benediction. Yet to heal,
Rome did not falter, could not faint;
She prompted many a tender saint,
Widow or virgin ministrant.
But chiefly may Sybella here
In chance citation fitly show,
Countess who under Zion's brow
In house of St. John Almoner
Tended the cripples many a year.
Tho' long from Europe's clime be gone
That pest which in the perished age
Could tendance such in love engage,
Still in the East the rot eats on.
Natheless the Syrian leper goes
Unfriended, save that man bestows
(His eye averting) chanceful pence
Then turns, and shares disgust of sense.
Bonds sympathetic bind these three—
Faith, Reverence, and Charity.
If Faith once fail, the faltering mood
Affects—need must—the sisterhood.



As Clarel entered with the guide,
Beset they were by that sad crew—
With inarticulate clamor plied;
And faces, yet defacements too,
Appealed to them; but could not give
Expression. There, still sensitive,
Our human nature, deep inurned
In voiceless visagelessness, yearned.
Behold, proud worm (if such can be),
What yet may come, yea, even to thee.
Who knoweth? canst forecast the fate
In infinite ages? Probe thy state:
Sinless art thou? Then these sinned not.
These, these are men; and thou art—what?
For Clarel, turning in affright,
Fain would his eyes renounce the light.
But Nehemiah held on his path
Mild and unmoved—scarce seemed to heed
The suitors, or deplore the scath—
His soul pre-occupied and freed
From actual objects thro' the sway
Of visionary scenes intense—
The wonders of a mystic day
And Zion's old magnificence.
Nor hither had he come to show
The leper-huts, but only so
To visit once again the hill
And gate Davidic.
In ascent
They win the port's high battlement,
And thence in sweep they view at will
That theatre of heights which hold


As in a Coliseum's fold
The guarded Zion. They command
The Mount of Solomon's Offense,
The Crag of Evil Council, and
Iscariot's gallows-eminence.
Pit too they mark where long ago
Dull fires of refuse, shot below,
The city's litter, smouldering burned,
Clouding the glen with smoke impure,
And griming the foul shapes obscure
Of dismal chain-gangs in their shame
Raking the garbage thither spurned:
Tophet the place—transferred, in name,
To penal Hell.
But shows there naught
To win here a redeeming thought?
Yes: welcome in its nearer seat
The white Cœnaculum they greet,
Where still an upper room is shown—
In dream avouched the very one
Wherein the Supper first was made
And Christ those words of parting said,
Those words of love by loved St. John
So tenderly recorded. Ah,
They be above us like a star,
Those Paschal words.
But they descend;
And as within the wall they wend,
A Horror hobbling on low crutch
Draws near, but still refrains from touch.
Before the saint in low estate
He fawns, who with considerate
Mild glance regards him. Clarel shrank:
And he, is he of human rank?—
“Knowest thou him?” he asked.—“Yea, yea,”
And beamed on that disfeatured clay:


“Toulib, to me? to Him are due
These thanks—the God of me and you
And all; to whom His own shall go
In Paradise and be re-clad,
Transfigured like the morning glad.—
Yea, friend in Christ, this man I know,
This fellow-man.”—And afterward
The student from true sources heard
How Nehemiah had proved his friend,
Sole friend even of that trunk of woe,
When sisters failed him in the end.


Days fleet. No vain enticements lure
Clarel to Agar's roof. Her tact
Prevailed: the Rabbi might not act
His will austere. And more and more
A prey to one devouring whim,
Nathan yet more absented him.
Welcome the matron ever had
For Clarel. Was the youth not one
New from the clime she doated on?
And if indeed an exile sad
By daisy in a letter laid
Reminded be of home-delight,
Tho' there first greeted by the sight
Of that transmitted flower—how then
Not feel a kin emotion bred
At glimpse of face of countryman
Tho' stranger? Yes, a Jewess—born
In Gentile land where nature's wreath


Exhales the first creation's breath—
The waste of Judah made her lorn.
The student, sharing not her blood,
Nearer in tie of spirit stood
Than he she called Rabboni. So
In Agar's liking did he grow—
Deeper in heart of Ruth; and learned
The more how both for freedom yearned;
And much surmised, too, left unsaid
By the tried mother and the maid.
Howe'er dull natures read the signs
Where untold grief a hermit pines—
The anxious, strained, weak, nervous air
Of trouble, which like shame may wear
Her gaberdine; though soul in feint
May look pathetic self-restraint,
For ends pernicious; real care,
Sorrow made dumb where duties move,
Never eluded love, true love,
A deep diviner.
Here, for space
The past of wife and daughter trace.
Of Agar's kin for many an age
Not one had seen the heritage
Of Judah; Gentile lands detained.
So, while they clung to Moses' lore
Far from the land his guidance gained,
'Twas Eld's romance, a treasured store
Like plate inherited. In fine
It graced, in seemly way benign,
That family feeling of the Jew,
Which hallowed by each priestly rite,
Makes home a temple—sheds delight
Naomi ere her trial knew.
Happy was Agar ere the seas
She crossed for Zion. Pride she took—


Pride, if in small felicities—
Pride in her little court, a nook
Where morning-glories starred the door:
So sweet without, so snug within.
At sunny matin meal serene
Her damask cloth she'd note. It bore
In Hebrew text about the hem,
Mid broidered cipher and device,
“If I forget thee, O Jerusalem!”
And swam before her humid eyes,
In rainbowed distance, Paradise.
Faith, ravished, followed Fancy's path
In more of bliss than nature hath.
But ah, the dream to test by deed,
To seek to handle the ideal
And make a sentiment serve need:
To try to realize the unreal!
'Twas not that Agar reasoned—nay,
She did but feel, true woman's way.
What solace from the desert win
Far from known friends, familiar kin?
How nearer God? The chanted Zion
Showed graves, but graves to gasp and die on.
Nathan, her convert, for his sake
Grief had she stifled long; but now,
The nursling one lay pale and low.
Oft of that waxen face she'd think
Beneath the stones; her heart would sink
And in hard bitterness repine,
“Slim grass, poor babe, to grave of thine!”
Ruth, too, when here a child she came,
Would blurt in reckless childhood's way,
“'Tis a bad place.” But the sad dame
Would check; and, as the maiden grew,
Counsel she kept—too much she knew.


But how to give her feelings play?
With cherished pots of herbs and flowers
She strove to appease the hungry hours;
Each leaf bedewed with many a tear
For Gentile land, how green and dear!
What tho' the dame and daughter both
In synagogue, behind the grate
Dividing sexes, oftimes sat?
It was with hearts but chill and loath;
Never was heaven served by that
Cold form.—With Clarel seemed to come
A wastage from the fields of home,
Crossing the wind from Judah's sand,
Reviving Agar, and of power
To make the bud in Ruth expand
With promise of unfolding hour.


Clarel and Ruth—might it but be
That range they could green uplands free
By gala orchards, when they fling
Their bridal favors, buds of Spring;
And, dreamy in her morning swoon,
The lady of the night, the moon,
Looks pearly as the blossoming;
And youth and nature's fond accord
Wins Eden back, that tales abstruse
Of Christ, the crucified, Pain's Lord,
Seem foreign—forged—incongruous.
Restrictions of that Eastern code
Immured the maiden. From abode


Frequent nor distant she withdrew
Except with Jewess, scarce with Jew.
So none the less in former mode,
Nehemiah still with Clarel went,
Who grew in liking and content
In company of one whose word
Babbled of Ruth—“My bird—God's bird.”
The twain were one mild morning led
Out to a waste where beauty clings.
Vining a grot how doubly dead:
The rifled Sepulcher of Kings.
Hewn from the rock a sunken space
Conducts to garlands—fit for vase—
In sculptured frieze above a tomb:
Palm leaves, pine apples, grapes. These bloom,
Involved in dearth—to puzzle us—
As 'twere thy line, Theocritus,
Dark Joel's text of terror threading:
Yes, strange that Pocahontas-wedding
Of contraries in old belief—
Hellenic cheer, Hebraic grief.
The homicide Herods, men aver,
Inurned behind that wreathage were.
But who is he uncovered seen,
Profound in shadow of the tomb
Reclined, with meditative mien
Intent upon the tracery?
A low wind waves his Lydian hair:
A funeral man, yet richly fair—
Fair as the sabled violets be.
The frieze and this secluded one,
Retaining each a separate tone,
Beauty yet harmonized in grace
And contrast to the barren place.


But noting that he was discerned,
Salute the stranger made, then turned
And shy passed forth in obvious state
Of one who would keep separate.
Those cells explored, thro' dale they paced
Downward, and won Moriah's walls
And seated them. Clarel recalls
The colonnades that Herod traced—
Herod, magnific Idumæan—
In marble along the mountain flank:
Column on column, rank on rank
Above the valley Tyropœon.
Eastward, in altitude they view
Across Jehoshaphat, a crag
Of sepulchers and huts. Thereto
They journey. But awhile they lag
Beneath, to mark the tombs in row
Pierced square along the gloomy steep
In beetling broadside, and with show
Of port-holes in black battle-ship.
They climb; and Clarel turning saw
Their late resort, the hill of law—
Moriah, above the Kedron's bed;
And, turreting his aged head,
The angle of King David's wall—
Acute seen here, here too best scanned,
As 'twere that cliff, tho' not so tall,
Nor tempest-sculptured therewithal,
Envisaged in Franconian land,
The marvel of the Pass.
A call he hears behind, in note
Familiar, being man's; remote
No less, and strange in hollowed tone
As 'twere a voice from out the tomb.


A tomb it is; and he in gloom
Of porch there biddeth them begone.
Clings to his knee a toddling one
Bewildered poising in wee hand
A pictured page—Nehemiah's boon—
He passive in the sun at stand.
Morosely then the Arab turns,
Snatches the gift, and drops and spurns.
As down now from the crag they wend
Reverted glance see Clarel lend:
Thou guest of Death, which in his house
Sleep'st nightly, mayst thou not espouse
His daughter, Peace?
Aslant they come
Where, hid in shadow of the rocks,
Stone steps descend unto Siloam.
Proof to the fervid noon-day tide
Reflected from the glen's steep side,
Moist ledge with ledge here interlocks,
Vaulting a sunken grotto deep.
Down there, as quiet as in sleep,
Anew the stranger they descried
Sitting upon a step full low,
Watching the fountain's troubled tide
Which after ebb began to flow,
Gurgling from viewless caves. The lull
Broke by the flood is wonderful.
Science explains it. Bides no less
The true, innate mysteriousness.
Through him there might the vision flit
Of angel in Bethesda's pool
With porches five, so troubling it
That whoso bathed then was made whole?
Or, by an equal dream beguiled,
Did he but list the fountain moan


Like Ammon's in the Libyan wild.
For muse and oracle both gone?
By chance a jostled pebble there
Slipped from the surface down the stair.
It jarred—it broke the brittle spell:
Siloam was but a rural well.
Clarel who could again but shun
To obtrude on the secluded one,
Turned to depart.—“Ere yet we go,”
Said Nehemiah, “I will below:
Dim be mine eyes, more dim they grow:
I'll wash them in these waters cool,
As did the blind the Master sent,
And who came seeing from this pool;”
And down the grotto-stairs he went.
The stranger, just ascending, stood;
And, as the votary laved his eyes,
He marked, looked up, and Clarel viewed,
And they exchanged quick sympathies
Though but in glance, moved by that act
Of one whose faith transfigured fact.
A bond seemed made between them there;
And presently the trio fare
Over Kedron, and in one accord
Of quietude and chastened tone
Approach the spot, tradition's own,
For ages held the garden of Our Lord.



Ere yet they win that verge and line,
Reveal the stranger. Name him—Vine.
His home to tell—kin, tribe, estate—
Would naught avail. Alighting grow,
As on the tree the mistletoe,
All gifts unique. In seeds of fate
Borne on the winds these emigrate
And graft the stock.
Vine's manner shy
A clog, a hindrance might imply;
A lack of parlor-wont. But grace
Which is in substance deep and grain
May, peradventure, well pass by
The polish of veneer. No trace
Of passion's soil or lucre's stain,
Though life was now half ferried o'er.
If use he served not, but forbore—
Such indolence might still but pine
In dearth of rich incentive high:
Apollo slave in Mammon's mine?
Better Admetus' shepherd lie.
A charm of subtle virtue shed
A personal influence coveted,
Whose source was difficult to tell
As ever was that perfumed spell
Of Paradise-flowers invisible
Which angels round Cecilia bred.
A saint then do we here unfold?
Nay, the ripe flush, Venetian mould
Evinced no nature saintly fine,
But blood like swart Vesuvian wine.
What cooled the current? Under cheer


Of opulent softness, reigned austere
Control of self. Flesh, but scarce pride,
Was curbed: desire was mortified;
But less indeed by moral sway
Than doubt if happiness thro' clay
Be reachable. No sackclothed man;
Howbeit, in sort Carthusian
Tho' born a Sybarite. And yet
Not beauty might he all forget,
The beauty of the world, and charm:
He prized it tho' it scarce might warm.
Like to the nunnery's denizen
His virgin soul communed with men
But thro' the wicket. Was it clear
This coyness bordered not on fear—
Fear or an apprehensive sense?
Not wholly seemed it diffidence
Recluse. Nor less did strangely wind
Ambiguous elfishness behind
All that: an Ariel unknown.
It seemed his very speech in tone
Betrayed disuse. Thronged streets astir
To Vine but ampler cloisters were.
Cloisters? No monk he was, allow;
But gleamed the richer for the shade
About him, as in sombre glade
Of Virgil's wood the Sibyl's Golden Bough.



And wherefore by the convents be
Gardens? Ascetics roses twine?
Nay, but there is a memory.
Within a garden walking see
The angered God. And where the vine
And olive in the darkling hours
Inweave green sepulchers of bowers—
Who, to defend us from despair,
Pale undergoes the passion there
In solitude? Yes, memory
Links Eden and Gethsemane;
So that not meaningless in sway
Gardens adjoin the convents gray.
On Salem's hill in Solomon's years
Of gala, O the happy town!
In groups the people sauntered down,
And, Kedron crossing, lightly wound
Where now the tragic grove appears,
Then palmy, and a pleasure-ground.
The student and companions win
The wicket—pause, and enter in.
By roots strapped down in fold on fold—
Gnarled into wens and knobs and knees—
In olives, monumental trees,
The Pang's survivors they behold.
A wizened blue fruit drops from them,
Nipped harvest of Jerusalem.
Wistful here Clarel turned toward Vine,
And would have spoken; but as well


Hail Dathan swallowed in the mine—
Tradition, legend, lent such spell
And rapt him in remoteness so.
Meanwhile, in shade the olives throw,
Nehemiah pensive sat him down
And turned the chapter in St John.
What frame of mind may Clarel woo?
He the night-scene in picture drew—
The band which came for sinless blood
With swords and staves, a multitude.
They brush the twigs, small birds take wing,
The dead boughs crackle, lanterns swing,
Till lo, they spy them thro' the wood.
“Master!”—'Tis Judas. Then the kiss.
And He, He falters not at this—
Speechless, unspeakably submiss:
The fulsome serpent on the cheek
Sliming: endurance more than meek—
Endurance of the fraud foreknown,
And fiend-heart in the human one.
Ah, now the pard on Clarel springs:
The Passion's narrative plants stings.
To break away, he turns and views
The white-haired under olive bowed
Immersed in Scripture; and he woos—
“Whate'er the chapter, read aloud.”
The saint looked up, but with a stare
Absent and wildered, vacant there.
As part to kill time, part for task
Some shepherd old pores over book—
Shelved farm-book of his life forepast
When he bestirred him and amassed;
If chance one interrupt, and ask—
What read you? he will turn a look
Which shows he knows not what he reads,
Or knowing, he but weary heeds,


Or scarce remembers; here much so
With Nehemiah, dazed out and low.
And presently—to intercept—
Over Clarel, too, strange numbness crept.
A monk, custodian of the ground,
Drew nigh, and showed him by the steep
The rock or legendary mound
Where James and Peter fell asleep.
Dully the pilgrim scanned the spot,
Nor spake.—“Signor, and think'st thou not
'Twas sorrow brought their slumber on?
St. Luke avers no sluggard rest:
Nay, but excess of feeling pressed
Till ache to apathy was won.”
To Clarel 'twas no hollow word.
Experience did proof afford.
For Vine, aloof he loitered—shrunk
In privity and shunned the monk.
Clarel awaited him. He came—
The shadow of his previous air
Merged in a settled neutral frame—
Assumed, may be. Would Vine disclaim
All sympathy the youth might share?
About to leave, they turn to look
For him but late estranged in book:
Asleep he lay; the face bent down
Viewless between the crossing arms,
One slack hand on the good book thrown
In peace that every care becharms.
Then died the shadow off from Vine:
A spirit seemed he not unblest
As here he made a quiet sign
Unto the monk: Spare to molest;
Let this poor dreamer take his rest,
His fill of rest.


But now at stand
Who there alertly glances up
By grotto of the Bitter Cup—
Spruce, and with volume light in hand
Bound smartly, late in reference scanned?
Inquisitive Philistine: lo,
Tourists replace the pilgrims so.
At peep of that brisk dapper man
Over Vine's face a ripple ran
Of freakish mockery, elfin light;
Whereby what thing may Clarel see?
O angels, rescue from the sight!
Paul Pry? and in Gethsemane?
He shrunk the thought of it to fan;
Nor liked the freak in Vine that threw
Such a suggestion into view;
Nor less it hit that fearful man.


The hill above the garden here
They rove; and chance ere long to meet
A second stranger, keeping cheer
Apart. Trapper or pioneer
He looked, astray in Judah's seat—
Or one who might his business ply
On waters under tropic sky.
Perceiving them as they drew near,
He rose, removed his hat to greet,
Disclosing so in shapely sphere
A marble brow over face embrowned:
So Sunium by her fane is crowned.


One read his superscription clear—
A genial heart, a brain austere—
And further, deemed that such a man
Though given to study, as might seem,
Was no scholastic partisan
Or euphonist of Academe,
But supplemented Plato's theme
With dædal life in boats and tents,
A messmate of the elements;
And yet, more bronzed in face than mind,
Sensitive still and frankly kind—
Too frank, too unreserved, may be,
And indiscreet in honesty.
But what implies the tinge of soil—
Like tarnish on Pizarro's spoil,
Precious in substance rudely wrought,
Peruvian plate—which here is caught?
What means this touch of the untoward
In aspect hinting nothing froward?
From Baalbec, for a new sojourn,
To Jewry Rolfe had made return;
To Jewry's inexhausted shore
Of barrenness, where evermore
Some lurking thing he hoped to gain—
Slip quite behind the parrot-lore
Conventional, and—what attain?
Struck by each clear or latent sign
Expressive in the stranger's air,
The student glanced from him to Vine:
Peers, peers—yes, needs that these must pair.
Clarel was young. In promise fine,
To him here first were brought together
Exceptional natures, of a weather
Strange as the tropics with strange trees,
Strange birds, strange fishes, skies and seas,


To one who in some meager land
His bread wins by the horny hand.
What now may hap? what outcome new
Elicited by contact true—
Frank, cordial contact of the twain?
Crude wonderment, and proved but vain.
If average mortals social be,
And yet but seldom truly meet,
Closing like halves of apple sweet—
How with the rarer in degree?
The informal salutation done,
Vine into his dumb castle went—
Not as all parley he would shun,
But looking down from battlement,
Ready, if need were, to accord
Reception to the other's word,—
Nay, far from wishing to decline,
And neutral not without design,
May be.—
“Look, by Christ's belfry set,
Appears the Moslem minaret!”
So—to fill trying pause alone—
Cried Rolfe; and o'er the deep defile
Of Kedron, pointed toward the Town,
Where, thronged about by many a pile
Monastic, but no vernal bower,
The Saracen shaft and Norman tower
In truce stand guard beside that Dome
Which canopies the Holy's home:
“The tower looks lopped; it shows forlorn—
A stunted oak whose crown is shorn;
But see, palm-like the minaret stands
Superior, and the tower commands.”
“Yon shaft,” said Clarel, “seems ill-placed.”
“Ay, seems; but 'tis for memory based.
The story's known: how Omar there


After the town's surrender meek—
Hallowed to him, as dear to Greek—
Clad in his clouts of camel's hair,
And with the Patriarch robed and fine
Walking beneath the dome divine,
When came the Islam hour for prayer
Declined to use the carpet good
Spread for him in the church, but stood
Without, even yonder where is set
The monumental minaret;
And, earnest in true suppliance cried,
Smiting his chest: “Me overrule!
Allah, to me be merciful!”
'Twas little shared he victor-pride
Though victor. So the church he saved
Of purpose from that law engraved
Which prompt transferred to Allah sole
Each fane where once his rite might roll.
Long afterward, the town being stormed
By Christian knights, how ill conformed
The butchery then to Omar's prayer
And heart magnanimous. But spare.”
Response they looked; and thence he warmed:
—Yon gray Cathedral of the Tomb,
Who reared it first? a woman weak,
A second Mary, first to seek
In pagan darkness which had come,
The place where they had laid the Lord:
Queen Helena, she traced the site,
And cleared the ground, and made it bright
With all that zeal could then afford.
But Constantine—there falls the blight!
The mother's warm emotional heart,
Subserved it still the son's cold part?


Even he who, timing well the tide,
Laced not the Cross upon Rome's flag
Supreme, till Jove began to lag
Behind the new religion's stride.
And Helena—ah, may it be
The saint herself not quite was free
From that which in the years bygone,
Made certain stately dames of France,
Such as the fair De Maintenon,
To string their rosaries of pearl,
And found brave chapels—sweet romance:
Coquetry of the borrowed curl?—
You let me prate.”
“Nay, nay—go on,”
Cried Clarel, yet in such a tone
It showed disturbance.—
“Land the dame:
Her church, admit, no doom it fears.
Unquelled by force of battering years—
Years, years and sieges, sword and flame;
Fallen—rebuilt, to fall anew;
By armies shaken, earthquake too;
Lo, it abides—if not the same,
In self-same spot. Last time 'twas burnt
The Rationalist a lesson learnt.
But you know all.”—
“Nay, not the end,”
Said Vine. And Clarel, “We attend.”
“Well, on the morrow never shrunk
From wonted rite the steadfast monk,
Though hurt and even maimed were some
By crash of the ignited dome.
Staunch stood the walls. As friars profess
(And not in fraud) the central cell—
Christ's tomb and faith's last citadel—
The flames did tenderly caress,


Nor harm; while smoking, smouldering beams,
Fallen across, lent livid gleams
To Golgotha. But none the less
In robed procession of his God
The mitred one the cinders trod;
Before the calcined altar there
The host he raised; and hymn and prayer
Went up from ashes. These, ere chill
Away were brushed; and trowel shrill
And hod and hammer came in place.
'Tis now some three score years ago.
In Lima's first convulsion so,
When shock on shock had left slim trace
Of hundred temples; and—in mood
Of malice dwelling on the face
Itself has tortured and subdued
To uncomplaint—the cloud pitch-black
Lowered o'er the rubbish; and the land
Not less than sea, did countermand
Her buried corses—heave them back;
And flocks and men fled on the track
Which wins the Andes; then went forth
The prelate with intrepid train
Rolling the anthem 'mid the rain
Of ashes white. In rocking plain
New boundaries staked they, south and north
For ampler piles. These stand. In cheer
The priest reclaimed the quaking sphere.
Hold it he shall, so long as spins
This star of tragedies, this orb of sins.”
“That,” Clarel said, “is not my mind.
Rome's priest forever rule the world?”
“The priest, I said. Though some be hurled
From anchor, nor a haven find;
Not less religion's ancient port,


Till the crack of doom, shall be resort
In stress of weather for mankind.
Yea, long as children feel affright
In darkness, men shall fear a God;
And long as daisies yield delight
Shall see His footprints in the sod.
Is't ignorance? This ignorant state
Science doth but elucidate—
Deepen, enlarge. But though 'twere made
Demonstrable that God is not—
What then? it would not change this lot:
The ghost would haunt, nor could be laid.”
Intense he spake, his eyes of blue
Altering, and to eerie hue,
Like Tyrrhene seas when overcast;
The which Vine noted, nor in joy,
Inferring thence an ocean-waste
Of earnestness without a buoy:
An influence which afterward
Acquaintance led him to discard
Or modify, or not employ.
Clarel ill-relished.
Rolfe, in tone
Half elegiac, thus went on:
“Phylæ, upon thy sacred ground
Osiris' broken tomb is found:
A god how good, whose good proved vain—
In strife with bullying Python slain.
For long the ritual chant or moan
Of pilgrims by that mystic stone
Went up, even much as now ascend
The liturgies of yearning prayer
To one who met a kindred end—
Christ, tombed in turn, and worshiped there,”
And pointed.—“Hint you,” here asked Vine,
“In Christ Osiris met decline


Anew?”—“Nay, nay; and yet, past doubt,
Strange is that text St. Matthew won
From gray Hosea in sentence: Out
Of Egypt have I called my son.”
Here Clarel spake, and with a stir
Not all assured in eager plight:
“But does not Matthew there refer
Only to the return from flight,
Flight into Egypt?”—“May be so,”
Said Rolfe; “but then Hosea?—Nay,
We'll let it pass.”—And fell delay
Of talk; they mused.—
“To Cicero,”
Rolfe sudden said, “is a long way
From Matthew; yet somehow he comes
To mind here—he and his fine tomes,
Which (change the gods) would serve to read
For modern essays. And indeed
His age was much like ours: doubt ran,
Faith flagged; negations which sufficed
Lawyer, priest, statesman, gentleman,
Not yet being popularly prized,
The augurs hence retained some state—
Which served for the illiterate.
Still, the decline so swiftly ran
From stage to stage, that To Believe,
Except for slave or artisan,
Seemed heresy. Even doubts which met
Horror at first, grew obsolete,
And in a decade. To bereave
Of founded trust in Sire Supreme,
Was a vocation. Sophists throve—
Each weaving his thin thread of dream
Into the shroud for Numa's Jove.
Cæsar his atheism avowed
Before the Senate. But why crowd


Examples here: the gods were gone.
Tully scarce dreamed they could be won
Back into credence; less that earth
Ever could know yet mightier birth
Of deity. He died. Christ came.
And, in due hour, that impious Rome,
Emerging from vast wreck and shame,
Held the fore front of Christendom.
The inference? the lesson?—come:
Let fools count on faith's closing knell—
Time, God, are inexhaustible.—
But what? so earnest? ay, again.”
“Hard for a fountain to refrain,”
Breathed Vine. Was that but irony?
At least no envy in the strain.
Rolfe scarce remarked, or let go by.
For Clarel—when ye, meeting, scan
In waste the Bagdad caravan,
And solitude puts on the stir,
Clamor, dust, din of Nineveh,
As horsemen, camels, footmen all,
Soldier and merchant, free and thrall,
Pour by in tide processional;
So to the novice streamed along
Rolfe's filing thoughts, a wildering throng.
Their sway he owned. And yet how Vine—
Who breathed few words, or gave dumb sign—
Him more allured, suggestive more
Of choicer treasure, rarer store
Reserved, like Kidd's doubloons long sought
Without the wand.
The ball of thought
And chain yet dragging, on they strained
Oblique along the upland—slow
And mute, until a point they gained
Where devotees will pause, and know


A tenderness, may be. Here then,
While tarry now these pilgrim men,
The interval let be assigned
A niche for image of a novel mind.


That Rama whom the Indian sung—
A god he was, but knew it not;
Hence vainly puzzled at the wrong
Misplacing him in human lot.
Curtailment of his right he bare
Rather than wrangle; but no less
Was taunted for his tameness there.
A fugitive without redress,
He never the Holy Spirit grieved,
Nor the divine in him bereaved,
Though what that was he might not guess.
Live they who, like to Rama, led
Unspotted from the world aside,
Like Rama are discredited—
Like him, in outlawry abide?
May life and fable so agree?—
The innocent if lawless elf,
Etherial in virginity,
Retains the consciousness of self.
Though black frost nip, though white frost chill,
Nor white frost nor the black may kill
The patient root, the vernal sense
Surviving hard experience
As grass the winter. Even that curse


Which is the wormwood mixed with gall—
Better dependent on the worse—
Divine upon the animal—
That can not make such natures fall.
Though yielding easy rein, indeed,
To impulse which the fibers breed,
Nor quarreling with indolence;
Shall these the cup of grief dispense
Deliberate to any heart?
Not craft they know, nor envy's smart.
Theirs be the thoughts that dive and skim,
Theirs the spiced tears that overbrim,
And theirs the dimple and the lightsome whim.
Such natures, and but such, have got
Familiar with strange things that dwell
Repressed in mortals; and they tell
Of riddles in the prosiest lot.
Mince ye some matter for faith's sake
And heaven's good name? 'Tis these shall make
Revolt there, and the gloss disclaim.
They con the page kept down with those
Which Adam's secret frame disclose,
And Eve's; nor dare dissent from truth
Although disreputable, sooth.
The riches in them be a store
Unmerchantable in the ore.
No matter: “'Tis an open mine:
Dig; find ye gold, why, make it thine.
The shrewder knack hast thou, the gift:
Smelt then, and mold, and good go with thy thrift.”
Was ever earth-born wight like this?
Ay—in the verse, may be, he is.



Over against the Temple here
A monastery unrestored—
Named from Prediction of Our Lord—
Crumbled long since. Outlying near,
Some stones remain, which seats afford:
And one, the fond traditions state,
Is that whereon the Saviour sate
And prophesied, and sad became
To think, what, under sword and flame,
The proud Jerusalem should be,
Then spread before him sunnily—
Pillars and palms—the white, the green—
Marble enfoliaged, a fair scene;
But now—a vision here conferred
Pale as Pompeii disinterred.
Long Rolfe, on knees his elbows resting
And head enlocked in hands upright,
Sat facing it in steadfast plight
And brooded on that town slow wasting.
“And here,” he said, “here did He sit—
In leafy covert, say—Beheld
The city, and wept over it:
Luke's words, and hard to be excelled,
So just the brief expression there:
Truth's rendering.”—With earnest air,
More he threw out, in kind the same,
The which did Clarel ponder still;
For though the words might frankness claim,
With reverence for site and name;
No further went they, nor could fill
Faith's measure—scarce her dwindled gill


Now standard. On the plain of Troy
(Mused Clarel) as one might look down
From Gargarus with quiet joy
In verifying Homer's sites,
Yet scarce believe in Venus' crown
And rescues in those Trojan fights
Whereby she saved her supple son;
So Rolfe regards from these wan heights
Yon walls and slopes to Christians dear.
Much it annoyed him and perplexed:
Than free concession so sincere—
Concession due both site and text—
Dissent itself would less appear
To imply negation.
But anon
They mark in groups, hard by the gate
Which overlooks Jehoshaphat,
Some Hebrew people of the town.
“Who marvels that outside they come
Since few within have seemly home,”
Said Rolfe; “they chat there on the seats,
But seldom gossip in their streets.
Who here may see a busy one?
Where's naught to do not much is done.
How live they then? what bread can be?
In almost every country known
Rich Israelites these kinsmen own:
The hat goes round the world. But see!”
Moved by his words, their eyes more reach
Toward that dull group. Dwarfed in the dream
Of distance sad, penguins they seem
Drawn up on Patagonian beach.
“O city,” Rolfe cried; “house on moor,
With shutters burst and blackened door—
Like that thou showest; and the gales


Still round thee blow the Banshee-wails:
Well might the priest in temple start,
Hearing the voice—‘Woe, we depart!’”
Clarel gave ear, albeit his glance
Diffident skimmed Vine's countenance,
As mainly here he interest took
In all the fervid speaker said,
Reflected in the mute one's look:
A face indeed quite overlaid
With tremulous meanings, which evade
Or shun regard, nay, hardly brook
Fraternal scanning.
Rolfe went on:
“The very natives of the town
Methinks would turn from it and flee
But for that curse which is its crown—
That curse which clogs so, poverty.
See them, but see yon cowering men:
The brood—the brood without the hen!”—
“City, that dost the prophets stone,
How oft against the judgment dread,
How often would I fain have spread
My wings to cover thee, mine own;
And ye would not! Had'st thou but known
The things which to thy peace belong!”
Nehemiah it was, rejoining them—
Gray as the old Jerusalem
Over which how earnestly he hung.
But him the seated audience scan
As he were sole surviving man
Of tribe extinct or world. The ray
Which lit his features, died away;
He flagged; and, as some trouble moved,
Apart and aimlessly he roved.



How solitary on the hill
Sitteth the city; and how still—
How still!” From Vine the murmur came—
A cadence, as it were compelled
Even by the picture's silent claim.
That said, again his peace he held,
Biding, as in a misty rain
Some motionless lone fisherman
By mountain brook. But Rolfe: “Thy word
Is Jeremiah's, and here well heard.
Ay, seer of Anathoth, behold,
Yon object tallies with thy text.
How then? Stays reason quite unvexed?
Fulfillment here but falleth cold.
That stable proof which man would fold,
How may it be derived from things
Subject to change and vanishings?
But let that pass. All now's revised:
Zion, like Rome, is Niebuhrized.
Yes, doubt attends. Doubt's heavy hand
Is set against us; and his brand
Still warreth for his natural lord—
King Common-Place—whose rule abhorred
Yearly extends in vulgar sway,
Absorbs Atlantis and Cathay;
Ay, reaches toward Diana's moon,
Affirming it a clinkered blot,
Deriding pale Endymion.
Since thus he aims to level all,
The Milky Way he'll yet allot
For Appian to his Capital.
Then tell, tell then, what charm may save


Thy marvel, Palestine, from grave
Whereto winds many a bier and pall
Of old Illusion? What for earth?
Ah, change irreverent,—at odds
With goodly customs, gracious gods;
New things elate so thrust their birth
Up through dejection of the old,
As through dead sheaths; is here foretold
The consummation of the past,
And gairish dawning of a day
Whose noon not saints desire to stay—
And hardly I? Who brake love's fast
With Christ—with what strange lords may sup?
The reserves of time seem marching up.
But, nay: what novel thing may be,
No germ being new? By Fate's decree
Have not earth's vitals heaved in change
Repeated? some wild element
Or action been evolved? the range
Of surface split? the deeps unpent?
Continents in God's caldrons cast?
And this without effecting so
The neutralizing of the past,
Whose rudiments persistent flow,
From age to age transmitting, own,
The evil with the good—the taint
Deplored in Solomon's complaint.
Fate's pot of ointment! Wilt have done,
Lord of the fly, god of the grub?
Need'st foul all sweets, thou Beelzebub?”
He ended.—To evade or lay
Deductions hard for tender clay,
Clarel recalled each prior word
Of Rolfe which scarcely kept accord,
As seemed, with much dropped latterly.


For Vine, he twitched from ground a weed,
Apart then picked it, seed by seed.
Ere long they rise, and climbing greet
A thing preëminent in seat,
Whose legend still can touch the heart:
It prompted one there to impart
A chapter of the Middle Age—
Which next to give. But let the page
The narrator's rambling way forget,
And make to run in even flow
His interrupted tale. And let
Description brief the site foreshow.


In spot revered by myriad men,
Whence, as alleged, Immanuel rose
Into the heaven—receptive then—
A little plastered tower is set,
Pale in the light that Syria knows,
Upon the peak of Olivet.
'Tis modern—a replacement, note,
For ample pile of years remote,
Nor yet ill suits in dwindled bound,
Man's faith retrenched. 'Twas Hakeem's deed,
Mad Caliph (founder still of creed
Long held by tribes not unrenowned)
Who erst the pastoral hight discrowned
Of Helena's church. Woe for the dome,
And many a goodly temple more,
Which hither lured from Christendom
The child-like pilgrim throngs of yore.


'Twas of that church, so brave erewhile—
Blest land-mark on the Olive Hight—
Which Arculf told of in the isle
Iona. Shipwrecked there in sight,
The palmer dragged they from the foam,
The Culdees of the abbey fair—
Him shelter yielding and a home.
In guerdon for which love and care
Received in Saint Columba's pile,
With travel-talk he did beguile
Their eve of Yule.
The tempest beat;
It shook the abbey's founded seat,
Rattling the crucifix on wall;
And thrice was heard the clattering fall
Of gable-tiles. But host and guest,
Abbot and palmer, took their rest
Inside monastic ingle tall.
What unto them were those lashed seas?
Or Patmos or the Hebrides,
The isles were God's.
It was the time
The church in Jewry dwelt at ease
Tho' under Arabs—Omar's prime—
Penultimate of pristine zeal,
While yet throughout faith's commonweal
The tidings had not died away—
Not yet had died into dismay
Of dead, dead echoes that recede:
Glad tidings of great joy indeed,
Thrilled to the shepherds on the sward—
“Behold, to you is born this day
A Saviour, which is Christ the Lord;”
While yet in chapel, altar, shrine,
The mica in the marble new
Glistened like spangles of the dew.


One minster then was Palestine,
All monumental.
Arculf first
The wonders of the tomb rehearsed,
And Golgotha; then told of trees,
Olives, which in the twilight breeze
Sighed plaintive by the convent's lee—
The convent in Gethsemane—
Perished long since. Then: “On the hill—
In site revealed thro' Jesu's grace”—
(Hereat both cross themselves apace)
“A great round church with goodly skill
Is nobly built; and fragrant blows
Morning thro' triple porticoes.
But over that blest place where meet
The last prints of the Wounded Feet,
The roof is open to the sky;
'Tis there the sparrows love to fly.
Upon Ascension Day—at end
Of mass—winds, vocal winds descend
Among the worshipers.” Amain
The abbot signs the cross again;
And Arculf on: “And all that night
The mountain temple's western flank—
The same which fronts Moriah's hight—
In memory of the Apostles' light
Shows twelve dyed fires in oriels twelve.
Thither, from towers on Kedron's bank
And where the slope and terrace shelve,
The gathered townsfolk gaze afar;
And those twelve flowers of flame suffuse
Their faces with reflected hues
Of violet, gold, and cinnabar.
Much so from Naples (in our sail
We touched there, shipping jar and bale)
I saw Vesuvius' plume of fire


Redden the bay, tinge mast and spire.
But on Ascension Eve, 'tis then
A light shows—kindled not by men.
Look,” pointing to the hearth; “dost see
How these dun embers here by me,
Lambent are licked by flaky flame?
Olivet gleams then much the same—
Caressed, curled over, yea, encurled
By fleecy fires which typic be:
O lamb of God, O light o' the world!”
In fear, and yet a fear divine,
Once more the Culdee made the sign;
Then fervid snatched the palmer's hand—
Clung to it like a very child
Thrilled by some wondrous story wild
Of elf or fay, nor could command
His eyes to quit their gaze at him—
Him who had seen it. But how grim
The Pictish storm-king sang refrain,
Scoffing about those gables high
Over Arculf and good Adamnan.
The abbot and the palmer rest:
The legends follow them and die—
Those legends which, be it confessed,
Did nearer bring to them the sky—
Did nearer woo it to their hope
Of all that seers and saints avow—
Than Galileo's telescope
Can bid it unto prosing Science now.



The tower they win. Some Greeks at hand,
Pilgrims, in silence view the land.
One family group in listless tone
Are just in act of faring down.
All leave at last. And these remain
As by a hearthstone on the plain
When roof is gone. But can they shame
To tell the evasive thought within?
Does intellect assert a claim
Against the heart, her yielding kin?
But he, the wanderer, the while—
See him; and what may so beguile?
Images he the ascending Lord
Pale as the moon which dawn may meet,
Convoyed by a serene accord
And swoon of faces young and sweet—
Mid chaplets, stars, and halcyon wings,
And many ministering things?
As him they mark enkindled so,
What inklings, negatives, they know!
But leaving him in silence due,
They enter there, the print to view—
Affirmed of Christ—the parting foot:
They mark it, nor a question moot;
Next climb the stair and win the roof;
Thence on Jerusalem look down,
And Kedron cringing by the town,
Whose stony lanes map-like were shown.
“Is yon the city Dis aloof?”
Said Rolfe; “nay, liker 'tis some print,
Old blurred, bewrinkled mezzotint.
And distant, look, what lifeless hills!


Dead long for them the hymn of rills
And birds. Nor trees, nor ferns they know;
Nor lichen there hath leave to grow
In baleful glens which blacked the blood
O' the son of Kish.”
Far peep they gain
Of waters which in caldron brood,
Sunk mid the mounts of leaden bane:
The Sodom Wave, or Putrid Sea,
Or Sea of Salt, or Cities Five,
Or Lot's, or Death's, Asphaltite,
Or Asafœtida; all these
Being names indeed with which they gyve
That site of foul iniquities
With wordless look intent,
As if the scene confirmed some thought
Which in heart's lonelier hour was lent,
Vine stood at gaze. The rest were wrought
According unto kind. The Mount
Of Olives, and, in distance there
The charnel wave—who may recount?
Hope's hill descries the pit Despair:
Flitted the thought; they nothing said;
And down they drew. As ground they tread,
Nehemiah met them: “Pleaseth ye,
Fair stroll awaits; if all agree,
Over the hill let us go on—
Bethany is a pleasant town.
I'll lead, for well the way I know.”
He gazed expectant: Would they go?
Before that simpleness so true
Vine showed embarrassed (Clarel too)
Yet thanked him with a grateful look
Benign; and Rolfe the import took,
And whispered him in softened key,


“Some other day.”
And might it be
Such influence their spirits knew
From all the tower had given to view,
Untuned they felt for Bethany?


Not knowing them in very heart,
Nor why to join him they were loth,
He, disappointed, moved apart,
With sad pace creeping, dull, as doth
Along the bough the nerveless sloth.
For ease upon the ground they sit;
And Rolfe, with eye still following
Where Nehemiah slow footed it,
Asked Clarel: “Know you anything
Of this man's prior life at all?”
“Nothing,” said Clarel.—“I recall,”
Said Rolfe, “a mariner like him.”
“A mariner?”—“Yes; one whom grim
Disaster made as meek as he
There plodding.” Vine here showed the zest
Of a deep human interest:
“We crave of you his history:”
And Rolfe began: “Scarce would I tell
Of what this mariner befell—
So much is it with cloud o'ercast—
Were he not now gone home at last
Into the green land of the dead,
Where he encamps and peace is shed.


Hardy he was, sanguine and bold,
The master of a ship. His mind
In night-watch frequent he unrolled—
As seamen sometimes are inclined—
On serious topics, to his mate,
A man to creed austere resigned.
The master ever spurned at fate,
Calvin's or Zeno's. Always still
Man-like he stood by man's free will
And power to effect each thing he would,
Did reason but pronounce it good.
The subaltern held in humble way
That still heaven's over-rulings sway
Will and event.
“On waters far,
Where map-man never made survey,
Gliding along in easy plight,
The strong one brake the lull of night
Emphatic in his willful war—
But staggered, for there came a jar
With fell arrest to keel and speech:
A hidden rock. The pound—the grind—
Collapsing sails o'er deck declined—
Sleek billows curling in the breach,
And nature with her neutral mind.
A wreck. 'Twas in the former days,
Those waters then obscure; a maze;
The isles were dreaded—every chain;
Better to brave the immense of sea,
And venture for the Spanish Main,
Beating and rowing against the trades,
Than float to valleys 'neath the lee,
Nor far removed, and palmy shades.
So deemed he, strongly erring there.
To boats they take; the weather fair—
Never the sky a cloudlet knew;


A temperate wind unvarying blew
Week after week; yet came despair;
The bread tho' doled, and water stored,
Ran low and lower—ceased. They burn—
They agonize till crime abhorred
Lawful might be. O trade-wind, turn!
“Well may some items sleep unrolled—
Never by the one survivor told.
Him they picked up, where, cuddled down,
They saw the jacketed skeleton,
Lone in the only boat that lived—
His signal frittered to a shred.
“‘Strong need'st thou be,’ the rescuers said,
‘Who hast such trial sole survived.’
‘I willed it,’ gasped he. And the man,
Renewed ashore, pushed off again.
How bravely sailed the pennoned ship
Bound outward on her sealing trip
Antarctic. Yes; but who returns
Too soon, regaining port by land
Who left it by the bay? What spurns
Were his that so could countermand?
Nor mutineer, nor rock, nor gale
Nor leak had foiled him. No; a whale
Of purpose aiming, stove the bow:
They foundered. To the master now
Owners and neighbors all impute
An inauspiciousness. His wife—
Gentle, but unheroic—she,
Poor thing, at heart knew bitter strife
Between her love and her simplicity:
A Jonah is he?—And men bruit
The story. None will give him place
In a third venture. Came the day
Dire need constrained the man to pace
A night patrolman on the quay


Watching the bales till morning hour
Through fair and foul. Never he smiled;
Call him, and he would come; not sour
In spirit, but meek and reconciled;
Patient he was, he none withstood;
Oft on some secret thing would brood.
He ate what came, though but a crust;
In Calvin's creed he put his trust,
Praised heaven, and said that God was good,
And his calamity but just.
So Sylvio Pellico from cell-door
Forth tottering, after dungeoned years,
Crippled and bleached, and dead his peers:
‘Grateful, I thank the Emperor.’”
There ceasing, after pause Rolfe drew
Regard to Nehemiah in view:
“Look, the changed master, roams he there?
I mean, is such the guise, the air?”
The speaker sat between mute Vine
And Clarel. From the mystic sea
Laocoon's serpent, sleek and fine,
In loop on loop seemed here to twine
His clammy coils about the three.
Then unto them the wannish man
Draws nigh; but absently they scan;
A phantom seems he, and from zone
Where naught is real tho' the winds aye moan.



After the hint by Rolfe bestowed,
Redoubled import, one may ween,
Had Nehemiah's submissive mien
For Clarel. Nay, his poor abode—
And thither now the twain repair—
A new significance might bear.
Thin grasses, such as sprout in sand,
Clarel observes in crannies old
Along the cornice. Not his hand
The mower fills with such, nor arms
Of him that binds the sheaf, enfold.
Now mid the quiet which becharms
That mural wilderness remote,
Querulous came the little note
Of bird familiar—one of them
So numerous in Jerusalem,
Still snared for market, it is told,
And two were for a farthing sold—
The sparrow. But this single one
Plaining upon a terrace nigh,
Was like the Psalmist's making moan
For loss of mate—forsaken quite,
Which on the house-top doth alight
And watches, and her lonely cry
No answer gets.—In sunny hight
Like dotting bees against the sky
What twitterers o'er the temple fly!
But now the arch and stair they gain,
And in the chamber sit the twain.
Clarel in previous time secure,
From Nehemiah had sought to lure
Some mention of his life, but failed.


Rolfe's hintful story so prevailed,
Anew he thought to venture it.
But while in so much else aside
Subject to senile lapse of tide,
In this hid matter of his past
The saint evinced a guardful wit;
His waning energies seemed massed
Here, and but here, to keep the door.
At present his reserve of brow
Reproach in such sort did avow,
That Clarel never pressed him more.
Nay, fearing lest he trespass might
Even in tarrying longer now,
He parted. As he slow withdrew,
Well pleased he noted in review
The hermitage improved in plight.
Some one had done a friendly thing:
Who? Small was Clarel's wondering.


In northern clime how tender show
The meads beneath heaven's humid Bow
When showers draw off and dew-drops cling
To sunset's skirt, and robins sing
Though night be near. So did the light
Of love redeem in Ruth the trace
Of grief, though scarce might it efface.
From wider rambles which excite
The thought, or study's lone repose,
Daily did Clarel win the close.
With interest feminine and true


The matron watched that love which grew;
She hailed it, since a hope was there
Made brighter for the grief's degree:
How shines the gull ye watch in air
White, white, against the cloud at sea.
Clarel, bereft while still but young,
Mother or sister, had not known;
To him now first in life was shown,
In Agar's frank demeanor kind,
What charm to woman may belong
When by a natural bent inclined
To goodness in domestic play:
On earth no better thing than this—
It canonizes very clay:
Madonna, hence thy worship is.
But Ruth: since Love had signed with Fate
The bond, and the first kiss had sealed,
Both for her own and Agar's state
Much of her exile-grief seemed healed:
New vistas opened; and if still
Forebodings might not be forgot
As to her sire's eventual lot,
Yet hope, which is of youth, could thrill.
That frame to foster and defend,
Clarel, when in her presence, strove
The unrest to hide which still could blend
With all the endearings of their love.
Ruth part divined the lurking care,
But more the curb, and motive too:
It made him but love's richer heir;
So much the more attachment grew.
She could not think but all would prove
Subject in end to mighty Love.
That cloud which in the present reigned,
By flushful hope's aurora stained,


At times redeemed itself in hues
Of shell, and humming-bird, and flower.
Could heaven two loyal hearts abuse?
The death-moth, let him keep his bower.


Ere twilight and the shadow fall
On Zion hill without the wall
In place where Latins set the bier
Borne from the gate—who lingers here,
Where, typing faith exempt from loss,
By sodless mound is seen a cross?
Clarel it is, at Celio's grave.
For him, the pale one, ere yet cold,
Assiduous to win and save,
The friars had claimed as of their fold;
Lit by the light of ritual wicks,
Had held to unprotesting lips
In mistimed zeal the crucifix;
And last, among the fellowships
Of Rome's legitimate dead, laid one
Not saved through faith, nor Papal Rome's true son.
Life's flickering hour they made command
Faith's candle in Doubt's dying hand.
So some, who other forms did hold,
Rumored, or criticised, or told
The tale.
Not this did Clarel win
To visit the hermit of the mound.
Nay, but he felt the appeal begin—


The poor petition from the ground:
Remember me! for all life's din
Let not my memory be drowned.
And thought was Clarel's even for one
Of tribe not his—to him unknown
Through vocal word or vital cheer:
A stranger, but less strange made here,
Less distant. Whom life held apart—
Life, whose cross-purposes make shy—
Death yields without reserve of heart
To meditation.
With a sigh
Turning, he slow pursued the steep
Until he won that leveled spot,
Terraced and elevated plot
Over Gihon, where yet others keep
Death's tryst—afar from kindred lie:
Protestants, which in Salem die.
There, fixed before a founded stone
With Bible mottoes part bestrown,
Stood one communing with the bier.
'Twas Rolfe. “Him, him I knew,” said he,
Down pointing; “but 'twas far from here—
How far from here!” A pause. “But see,
Job's text in wreath, what trust it giveth;
I know that my Redeemer liveth.’
Poor Ethelward! Thou didst but grope;
I knew thee, and thou hadst small hope.
But if at this spent man's death-bed
Some kind soul kneeled and chapter read—
Ah, own! to moderns death is drear,
So drear: we die, we make no sign,
We acquiesce in any cheer—
No rite we seek, no rite decline.
Is't nonchalance of languid sense,
Or the last, last indifference?


With some, no doubt, 'tis peace within;
In others, may be, care for kin:
Exemplary thro' life, as well
Dying they'd be so, nor repel.”
He let his eyes half absent move
About the mound: “One's thoughts will rove:
This minds me that in like content,
Other forms were kept without dissent
By one who hardly owned their spell.
He, in fulfillment of pledged work,
Among Turks having passed for Turk,
Sickened among them. On death-bed
Silent he heard the Koran read:
They shrilled the Islam wail for him,
They shawled him in his burial trim;
And now, on brinks of Egypt's waste,
Where the buried Sultans' chapels rise,
Consistently toward Mecca faced,
The blameless simulator lies:
The turbaned Swiss, Sheik Ibrahim—
Burckhardt.—But home the sparrow flees.
Come, move we ere the gate they quit,
And we be shut out here with these
Who never shall re-enter it.”



They parted in the port. Near by,
Long stone stairs win the battlement
Of wall, aërial gallery;
And thither now the student bent
To muse abroad.
The sun's last rays
Shed round a nearing train the haze
Of mote and speck. Advanced in view
And claiming chief regard, came two
Dismounted, barefoot; one in dress
Expressive of deep humbleness
Of spirit, scarce of social state—
His lineaments rebutted that,
Tho' all was overcast with pain—
The visage of a doom-struck man
Not idly seeking holy ground.
Behind, his furnished horse did bound
Checked by a groom in livery fair.
The master paced in act of prayer
Absorbed—went praying thro' the gate.
The attentive student, struck thereat,
The wall crossed—from the inner arch,
Viewed him emerging, while in starch
Of prelate robes, some waiting Greeks
Received him, kissed him on both cheeks,
Showing that specializing love
And deference grave, how far above
What Lazarus in grief may get;
Nor less sincere those priests were yet.
Second in the dismounted list
Was one, a laic votarist,
The cross and chaplet by his side,


Sharing the peace of eventide
In frame devout. A Latin he,
But not, as seemed, of high degree.
Such public reverence profound
In crossing Salem's sacred bound
Is not so common, in late day,
But that the people by the way
In silent-viewing eyes confessed
The spectacle had interest.
Nazarene Hebrews twain rode next,
By one of the escort slyly vexed.
In litter borne by steady mules
A Russian lady parts the screen;
A rider, as the gate is seen,
Dismounts, and her alighting rules—
Her husband. Checkered following there,
Like envoys from all Adam's race,
Mixed men of various nations pace,
Such as in crowded steamer come
And disembark at Jaffa's stair.
Mute mid the buzz of chat and prayer,
Plain-clad where others sport the plume,
What countrymen are yonder three?
The critic-coolness in their eyes
Disclaims emotion's shallow sea;
Or misapply they precept wise,
Nil admirari? Or, may be,
Rationalists these riders are,
Men self-sufficing, insular.
Nor less they show in grave degree
Tolerance for each poor votary.
Now when the last rays slanting fall,
The last new comer enters in:
The gate shuts after with a din.
Tarries the student on the wall.


Dubieties of recent date—
Scenes, words, events—he thinks of all.
As, when the autumn sweeps the down,
And gray skies tell of summer gone,
The swallow hovers by the strait—
Impending on the passage long;
Upon a brink and poise he hung.
The bird in end must needs migrate
Over the sea: shall Clarel too
Launch o'er his gulf, e'en Doubt, and woo
Remote conclusions?
He sought the inn, and tried to read
The Fathers with a filial mind.
In vain; heart wandered or repined.
The Evangelists may serve his need:
Deep as he felt the beauty sway,
Estrangement there he could but heed,
Both time and tone so far away
From him the modern. Not to dwell,
Rising he walked the floor, then stood
Irresolute. His eye here fell
Upon the blank wall of the cell,
The wall before him, and he viewed
A place where the last coat of lime—
White flakes whereof lay dropped below—
Thin scaling off, laid open so
Upon the prior coat a rhyme
Pale penciled. In one's nervous trance
Things near will distant things recall,
And common ones suggest romance:
He thought of her built up in wall,
Cristina of Coll'alto; yes,
The verse here breaking from recess—
Tho' immaterial, but a thought
In some sojurning traveler wrought—


Scribbled, overlaid, again revealed—
Seemed like a tragic fact unsealed:
So much can mood possess a man.
He read: obscurely thus it ran:—
“For me who never loved the stride,
Triumph and taunt that shame the winning side—
Toward Him over whom, in expectation's glow,
Elate the advance of rabble-banners gleam—
Turned from a world that dare renounce Him so,
My unweaned thoughts in steadfast trade-wind stream.
If Atheists and Vitriolists of doom
Faith's gathering night with rockets red illume—
So much the more in pathos I adore
The low lamps flickering in Syria's Tomb.”—
“What strain is this?—But, here, in blur
‘After return from Sepulcher:
B. L.’”—On the ensuing day
He plied the host with question free:
Who answered him, “A pilgrim—nay,
How to remember! English, though—
A fair young Englishman. But stay:”
And after absence brief he slow
With volumes came in hand: “These, look—
He left behind by chance.”—One book,
With portrait of a mitered man,
Treated of high church Anglican,
Confession, fast, saint-day—deplored
That rubric old was not restored.
But under Finis there was writ
A comment that made grief of it.
The second work had other cheer—


Started from Strauss, disdained Renan—
By striding paces up to Pan;
Nor rested, but the goat-god here
Capped with the red cap in the twist
Of Proudhon and the Communist.
But random jottings in the marge
Disclosed some reader of the text
Whose fervid comments did discharge
More dole than e'en dissent. Annexed,
In either book was penciled small:
“B. L.: Oxford: St. Mary's Hall.”
Such proved these volumes—such, as scanned
By Clarel, wishful to command
Some hint that might supply a clew
Better enabling to construe
The lines their owner left on wall.


Some of the strangers late arrived
Tarried with Abdon at the inn;
And, ere long, having viewed the town
Would travel further, and pass on
To Siddim, and the Dead Sea win
And Saba. And would Clarel go?
'Twas but for days. They would return
By Bethlehem, and there sojourn
Awhile, regaining Zion so.
But Clarel undetermined stood,
And kept his vacillating mood,


Though learning, as it happed, that Vine
And Rolfe would join the journeying band.
Loath was be here to disentwine
Himself from Ruth. Nor less Lot's land,
And sea, and Judah's utmost drought
Fain would he view, and mark their tone:
And prove if, unredeemed by John,
John's wilderness augmented doubt.
As chanced, while wavering in mind,
And threading a hushed lane or wynd
Quick warning shout he heard behind
And clattering hoofs. He hugged the wall,
Then turned; in that brief interval
The dust came on him, powdery light,
From one who like a javelin flew
Spectral with dust, and all his plight
Charged with the desert and its hue;
A courier, and he bent his flight—
(As Clarel afterward recalled)
Whither lay Agar's close inwalled.
The clank of arms, the clink of shoe,
The cry admonitory too,
Smote him, and yet he scarce knew why;
But when, some hours having flitted by,
Nearing the precincts of the Jew
His host, he did Nehemiah see
Waiting in arch, and with a look
Which some announcement's shadow took,
His heart stood still—Fate's herald, he?
“What is it? what?”—The saint delayed.—
“Ruth?”—“Nathan;” and the news conveyed.
The threat, oft hurled, as oft reviled
By one too proud to give it heed,
The menace of stern foemen wild,
No menace now was, but a deed:
Burned was the roof on Sharon's plain;


And timbers charred showed clotted stain:
But, spirited away, each corse
Unsepulchered remained, or worse.
Ah, Ruth—woe, Agar! Ill breeds ill;
The widow with no future free,
Without resource perhaps, or skill
To steer upon grief's misty sea.
To grieve with them and lend his aid,
Straight to the house see Clarel fare,
The house of mourning—sadder made
For that the mourned one lay not there—
But found it barred. He, waiting so,
Doubtful to knock or call them—lo,
The rabbi issues, while behind
The door shuts to. The meeting eyes
Reciprocate a quick surprise,
Then alter; and the secret mind
The rabbi bears to Clarel shows
In dark superior look he throws:
Censorious consciousness of power:
Death—and it is the Levite's hour.
No word he speaks, but turns and goes.
The student lingered. He was told
By one without, a neighbor old,
That never Jewish modes relent:
Sealed long would be the tenement
To all but Hebrews—of which race
Kneeled comforters by sorrow's side.
So both were cared for. Clogged in pace
He turned away. How pass the tide
Of Ruth's seclusion? Might he gain
Relief from dull inaction's pain?
Yes, join he would those pilgrims now
Which on the morrow would depart
For Siddim, by way of Jericho


But first of all, he letters sent,
Brief, yet dictated by the heart—
Announced his plan's constrained intent
Reluctant; and consigned a ring
For pledge of love and Ruth's remembering.


But what!—nay, nay: without adieu
Of vital word, dear presence true,
Part shall I?—break away from love?
But think: the circumstances move,
And warrant it. Shouldst thou abide,
Cut off yet wert thou from her side
For time: tho' she be sore distressed,
Herself would whisper: “Go—'tis best.”
Unstable! It was in a street,
Half vault, where few or none do greet,
He paced. Anon, encaved in wall
A fount arrests him, sculpture wrought
After a Saracen design—
Ruinous now and arid all
Save dusty weeds which trail or twine.
While lingering in way that brought
The memory of the Golden Bowl
And Pitcher broken, music rose—
Young voices; a procession shows:
A litter rich, with flowery wreath,
Singers and censers, and a veil.
She comes, the bride; but, ah, how pale:
Her groom that Blue-Beard, cruel Death,


Wedding his millionth maid to-day;
She, stretched on that Armenian bier,
Leaves home and each familiar way—
Quits all for him. Nearer, more near—
Till now the ineffectual flame
Of burning tapers borne he saw:
The westering sun puts these to shame.
But, hark: responsive marching choirs,
Robed men and boys, in rhythmic law
A contest undetermined keep:
Ay, as the bass in dolings deep
The serious, solemn thought inspires—
In unconcern of rallying sort
The urchin-treble shrills retort;
But, true to part imposed, again
The beards dirge out. And so they wind
Till thro' the city gate the train
Files forth to sepulcher.
Left in his hermitage of mind,
What troubles Clarel? See him there
As if admonishment in air
He heard. Can love be fearful so?
Jealous of fate? the future? all
Reverse—mischance? nay, even the pall
And pit?—No, I'll not leave her: no,
'Tis fixed; I waver now no more.—
But yet again he thought it o'er,
And self-rebukeful, and with mock:
Thou superstitious doubter—own,
Biers need be borne; why such a shock
When passes this Armenian one?
The word's dispatched, and wouldst recall?
'Tis but for fleeting interval.



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.


2. Part II



A down the Dolorosa Lane
The mounted pilgrims file in train
Whose clatter jars each open space;
Then, muffled in, shares change apace
As, striking sparks in vaulted street,
Clink, as in cave, the horses' feet.
Not from brave Chaucer's Tabard Inn
They pictured wend; scarce shall they win
Fair Kent, and Canterbury ken;
Nor franklin, squire, nor morris-dance
Of wit and story good as then:
Another age, and other men,
And life an unfulfilled romance.
First went the turban—guide and guard
In escort armed and desert trim;
The pilgrims next: whom now to limn.
One there the light rein slackly drew,
And skimming glanced, dejected never—
While yet the pilgrimage was new—
On sights ungladsome howsoever.


Cordial he turned his aspect clear
On all that passed; man, yea, and brute
Enheartening by a blithe salute,
Chirrup, or pat, in random cheer.
This pleasantness, which might endear,
Suffused was with a prosperous look
That bordered vanity, but took
Fair color as from ruddy heart.
A priest he was—though but in part;
For as the Templar old combined
The cavalier and monk in one;
In Derwent likewise might you find
The secular and cleric tone.
Imported or domestic mode,
Thought's last adopted style he showed;
Abreast kept with the age, the year,
And each bright optimistic mind,
Nor lagged with Solomon in rear,
And Job, the furthermost behind—
Brisk marching in time's drum-corps van
Abreast with whistling Jonathan.
Tho' English, with an English home,
His spirits through Creole cross derived
The light and effervescent foam;
And youth in years mature survived.
At saddle-bow a book was laid
Convenient—tinted in the page
Which did urbanely disengage
Sadness and doubt from all things sad
And dubious deemed. Confirmed he read:
A priest o' the club—a taking man,
And rather more than Lutheran.
A cloth cape, light in air afloat,
And easy set of cleric coat,
Seemed emblems of that facile wit,
Which suits the age—a happy fit.


Behind this good man's stirrups, rode
A solid stolid Elder, shod
With formidable boots. He went
Like Talus in a foundry cast;
Furrowed his face, with wrinkles massed.
He claimed no indirect descent
From Grampian kirk and covenant.
But recent sallying from home,
Late he assigned three days to Rome.
He saw the host go by. The crowd,
Made up from many a tribe and place
Of Christendom, kept seemly face:
Took off the hat, or kneeled, or bowed;
But he the helm rammed down apace:
Discourteous to the host, agree,
Tho' to a parting soul it went;
Nor deemed that, were it mummery,
'Twas pathos too. This hard dissent—
Transferred to Salem in remove,—
Led him to carp, and try disprove
Legend and site by square and line:
Aside time's violet mist he'd shove—
Quite disenchant the Land Divine.
So fierce he hurled zeal's javelin home,
It drove beyond the mark—pierced Rome,
And plunged beyond, thro' enemy
To friend. Scarce natural piety
Might live, abiding such a doom.
Traditions beautiful and old
Which with maternal arms enfold
Millions, else orphaned and made poor,
No plea could lure him to endure.
Concerned, meek Christian ill might bear
To mark this worthy brother rash,
Deeming he served religion there,
Work up the fag end of Voltaire,


And help along faith's final crash—
If that impend.
His fingers pressed
A ferule of black thorn: he bore
A pruning-knife in belt; in vest
A measuring-tape wound round a core;
And field-glass slung athwart the chest;
While peeped from holsters old and brown,
Horse-pistols—and they were his own.
A hale one followed, good to see,
English and Greek in pedigree;
Of middle-age; a ripe gallant,
A banker of the rich Levant;
In florid opulence preserved
Like peach in syrup. Ne'er he swerved
From morning bath, and dinner boon,
And velvet nap in afternoon,
And lounge in garden with cigar.
His home was Thessalonica,
Which views Olympus. But, may be,
Little he weened of Jove and gods
In synod mid those brave abodes;
Nor, haply, read or weighed Paul's plea
Addressed from Athens o'er the sea
Unto the Thessalonians old:
His bonds he scanned, and weighed his gold.
Parisian was his garb, and gay.
Upon his saddle-pommel lay
A rich Angora rug, for shawl
Or pillow, just as need might fall;
Not the Brazilian leopard's hair
Or toucan's plume may show more fair;
Yet, serving light convenience mere,
Proved but his heedless affluent cheer.
Chief exercise this sleek one took


Was toying with a tissue book
At intervals, and leaf by leaf
Gently reducing it. In brief,
With tempered yet Capuan zest,
Of cigarettes he smoked the best.
This wight did Lady Fortune love:
Day followed day in treasure-trove.
Nor only so, but he did run
In unmistrustful reveries bright
Beyond his own career to one
Who should continue it in light
Of lineal good times.
High walled,
An Eden owned he nigh his town,
Which locked in leafy emerald
A frescoed lodge. There Nubians armed,
Tall eunuchs virtuous in zeal,
In shining robes, with glittering steel,
Patrolled about his daughter charmed,
Inmost inclosed in nest of bowers,
By gorgons served, the dread she-powers,
Duennas: maiden more than fair:
How fairer in his rich conceit—
An Argive face, and English hair
Sunny as May in morning sweet:
A damsel for Apollo meet;
And yet a mortal's destined bride—
Bespoken, yes, affianced late
To one who by the senior's side
Rode rakishly deliberate—
A sprig of Smyrna, Glaucon he.
His father (such ere long to be)
Well loved him, nor that sole he felt
That fortune here had kindly dealt
Another court-card into hand—
The youth with gold at free command;—


No, but he also liked his clan,
His kinsmen, and his happy way;
And over wine would pleased repay
His parasites: Well may ye say
The boy's the bravest gentleman!—
From Beyrout late had come the pair
To further schemes of finance hid,
And for a pasha's favor bid
And grave connivance. That affair
Yet lingered. So, dull time to kill,
They wandered, anywhere, at will.
Scarce through self-knowledge or self-love
They ventured Judah's wilds to rove,
As time, ere long, and place, may prove.
Came next in file three sumpter mules
With all things needful for the tent,
And panniers which the Greek o'errules;
For there, with store of nourishment,
Rosoglio pink and wine of gold
Slumbered as in the smugglers' hold.
Viewing those Levantines in way
Of the snared lion, which from grate
Marks the light throngs on holiday,
Nor e'er relaxes in his state
Austerely sad; rode one whose air
Revealed—but, for the nonce, forbear.
Mortmain his name, or so in whim
Some moral wit had christened him.
Upon that creature men traduce
For patience under their abuse;
For whose requital there's assigned
No heaven; that thing of dreamful kind—
The ass—elected for the ease,


Good Nehemiah followed these;
His Bible under arm, and leaves
Of tracts still fluttering in sheaves.
In pure good will he bent his view
To right and left. The ass, pearl-gray,
Matched well the rider's garb in hue,
And sorted with the ashy way;
Upon her shoulders' jointed play
The white cross gleamed, which the untrue
Yet innocent fair legends say,
Memorializes Christ our Lord
When Him with palms the throngs adored
Upon the foal. Many a year
The wanderer's heart had longed to view
Green banks of Jordan dipped in dew;
Oft had he watched with starting tear
Pack-mule and camel, horse and spear,
Monks, soldiers, pilgrims, helm and hood,
The variegated annual train
In vernal Easter caravan,
Bound unto Gilgal's neighborhood.
Nor less belief his heart confessed
Not die he should till knees had pressed
The Palmers' Beach. Which trust proved true
'Twas charity gave faith her due:
Without publicity or din
It was the student moved herein
He, Clarel, with the earnest face
Which fitful took a hectic dye,
Kept near the saint. With equal pace
Came Rolfe in saddle pommeled high,
Yet e'en behind that peaked redoubt
Sat Indian-like, in pliant way,
As if he were an Osage scout,
Or Gaucho of the Paraguay.


Lagging in rear of all the train
As hardly he pertained thereto
Or his right place therein scarce knew,
Rode one who frequent turned again
To pore behind. He seemed to be
In reminiscence folded ever,
Or some deep moral fantasy;
At whiles in face a dusk and shiver,
As if in heart he heard amazed
The sighing of Ravenna's wood
Of pines, and saw the phantom knight
(Boccaccio's) with the dagger raised
Still hunt the lady in her flight
From solitude to solitude.
'Twas Vine. Nor less for day dream, still
The rein he held with lurking will.
So filed the muster whose array
Threaded the Dolorosa's way.


See him in his uncheerful head-piece!
Libertad's on the Mexic coin
Would better suit me for a shade-piece:
Ah, had I known he was to join!”—
So chid the Greek, the banker one
Perceiving Mortmain there at hand,
And in allusion to a dun
Skull-cap he wore. Derwent light reined
The steed; and thus: “Beg pardon now,
It looks a little queer, concede;
Nor less the cap fits well-shaped brow;


It yet may prove the wishing-cap
Of Fortunatus.”
“No indeed,
No, no, for that had velvet nap
Of violet with silver tassel—
Much like my smoking-cap, you see,”
Light laughed the Smyrniote, that vassal
Of health and young vivacity.
“Glaucon, be still,” the senior said
(And yet he liked to hear him too);
“I say it doth but ill bestead
To have a black cap in our crew.”
“Pink, pink,” cried Glaucon, “pink's the hue:—
“Pink cap and and ribbons of the pearl,
A Paradise of bodice,
The Queen of Sheba's laundry girl—
“Hallo, what now? They come to halt
Down here in glen! Well, well, we'll vault.”
His song arrested, so he spake
And light dismounted, wide awake.—
“A sprightly comrade have you here,
Said Derwent in the senior's ear.
The banker turned him: “Folly, folly—
But good against the melancholy.”



Sheep-tracks they'd look, at distance seen,
Did any herbage border them,
Those slender foot-paths slanting lean
Down or along waste slopes which hem
The high-lodged, walled Jerusalem.
Slipped from Bethesda's Pool leads one
Which by an arch across is thrown
Kedron the brook. The Virgin's Tomb
(Whence the near gate the Latins name—
St. Stephen's, as the Lutherans claim—
Hard by the place of martyrdom),
Time-worn in sculpture dim, is set
Humbly inearthed by Olivet.
'Tis hereabout now halt the band,
And by Gethsemane at hand,
For few omitted trifles wait
And guardsman whom adieus belate.
Some light dismount.
But hardly here,
Where on the verge they might foretaste
Or guess the flavor of the waste,
Greek sire and son took festive cheer.
Glaucon not less a topic found
At venture. One old tree becharmed
Leaned its decrepit trunk deformed
Over the garden's wayside bound:
“See now: this yellow olive wood
They carve in trinkets—rosary—rood:
Of these we must provide some few
For travel-gifts, ere we for good
Set out for home. And why not too


Some of those gems the nuns revere—
In hands of veteran venders here,
Wrought from the Kedron's saffron block
In the Monk's Glen, Mar Saba's rock;
And cameos of the Dead Sea stone?”
“Buy what ye will, be it Esau's flock,”
The other said: “but for that stone—
Avoid, nor name!”
That stone? what one?”
And cast a look of grieved surprise
Marking the senior's ruffled guise;
“Those cameos of Death's Sea—”
“Have done,
I beg! Unless all joy you'd cripple,
Both noun omit and participle.”
“Dear sir, what noun? strange grammar's this.”
“Have I expressed myself amiss?
Oh, don't you think it is but spleen:
A well-bred man counts it unclean
This name of—boy, and can't you guess?
Last bankruptcy without redress!”
“For heaven's sake!”
“With that ill word
Whose first is D and last is H,
No matter what be in regard,
Let none of mine ere crape his speech,
But shun it, ay, and shun the knell
Of each derivative.”
“Oh, well—
I see, I see; with all my heart!
Each conjugation will I curb,
All moods and tenses of the verb;
And, for the noun, to save from errors
I'll use instead—the ‘King of Terrors.’”
“Sir, change the topic.—Would 'twere done,


This scheme of ours, and we clean gone
From out this same dull land so holy
Which breeds but blues and melancholy.
To while our waiting I thought good
To join these travelers on their road;
But there's a bird in saucy glee
Trills—Fool, retreat; 'tis not for thee.
Had I fair pretext now, I'd turn.
But yonder—he don't show concern,”
Glancing toward Derwent, lounging there
Holding his horse with easy air
Slack by the rein.
With morning zest,
In sound digestion unoppressed,
The clergyman's good spirits made
A Tivoli of that grim glade.
And turning now his cheery eyes
Toward Salem's towers in solemn guise
Stretched dumb along the Mount of God,
He cried to Clarel waiting near
In saddle-seat and gazing drear:
“A canter, lad, on steed clean-shod
Didst ever take on English sod?
The downs, the downs! Yet even here
For a fair matin ride withal
I like the run round yonder wall.
Hight have you, outlook; and the view
Varies as you the turn pursue.”—
So he, thro' inobservance, blind
To that preoccupied young mind,
In frame how different, in sooth—
Pained and reverting still to Ruth
Immured and parted from him there
Behind those ramparts of despair.
Mortmain, whose wannish eyes declared
How ill thro' night-hours he had fared,


By chance overheard, and muttered—“Brass,
A sounding brass and tinkling cymbal!
Who he that with a tongue so nimble
Affects light heart in such a pass?”
And full his cloud on Derwent bent:
“Yea, and but thou seem'st well content.
But turn, another thing's to see:
Thy back's upon Gethsemane.”
The priest wheeled short: What kind of man
Was this? The other re-began:
“'Tis Terra Santa—Holy Land:
Terra Damnata though's at hand
Within.”—“You mean where Judas stood?
Yes, monks locate and name that ground;
They've railed it off. Good, very good:
It minds one of a vacant pound.—
We tarry long: why lags our man?”
And rose; anew glanced toward the hight.
Here Mortmain from the words and plight
Conjecture drew; and thus he ran:
“Be some who with the god will sup,
Happy to share his paschal wine.
'Tis well. But the ensuing cup,
The bitter cup?”
“Art a divine?”
Asked Derwent, turning that aside;
“Methinks, good friend, too much you chide.
I know these precincts. Still, believe—
And let's discard each idle trope—
Rightly considered, they can give
A hope to man, a cheerful hope.”
“Not for this world. The Christian plea—
What basis has it, but that here
Man is not happy, nor can be?
There it confirms philosophy:


The compensation of its cheer
Is reason why the grass survives
Of verdurous Christianity,
Ay, trampled, lives, tho' hardly thrives
In these mad days.”—
Surprised at it,
Derwent intently viewed the man,
Marked the unsolaced aspect wan;
And fidgeted; yet matter fit
Had offered; but the other changed
In quick caprice, and willful ranged
In wild invective: “O abyss!
Here, upon what was erst the sod,
A man betrayed the yearning god;
A man, yet with a woman's kiss.
'Twas human, that unanimous cry,
‘We're fixed to hate him—crucify!’
The which they did. And hands, nailed down,
Might not avail to screen the face
From each head-wagging mocking one.
This day, with some of earthly race,
May passion similar go on?”—
Inferring, rightly or amiss,
Some personal peculiar cause
For such a poignant strain as this,
The priest disturbed not here the pause
Which sudden fell. The other turned,
And, with a strange transition, burned
Invokingly: “Ye trunks of moan—
Gethsemane olives, do ye hear
The trump of that vain-glorious land
Where human nature they enthrone
Displacing the divine?” His hand
He raised there—let it fall, and fell
Himself, with the last syllable,
To moody hush. Then, fierce: “Hired band


Of laureates of man's fallen tribe—
Slaves are ye, slaves beyond the scribe
Of Nero; he, if flatterer blind,
Toadied not total human kind,
Which ye kerns do. But Bel shall bow
And Nebo stoop.”
“Ah, come, friend, come,”
Pleaded the charitable priest
Still bearing with him, anyhow,
By fate unbidden to joy's feast:
“Thou'rt strong; yield then the weak some room.
Too earnest art thou;” and with eye
Of one who fain would mollify
All frowardness, he looked a smile.
But not that heart might he beguile:
“Man's vicious: snaffle him with kings;
Or, if kings cease to curb, devise
Severer bit. This garden brings
Such lesson. Heed it, and be wise
In thoughts not new.”
“Thou'rt ill to-day,”
Here peering, but in cautious way,
“Nor solace find in valley wild.”
The other wheeled, nor more would say;
And soon the cavalcade defiled.



Our friend there—he's a little queer,”
To Rolfe said Derwent riding on;
“Beshrew me, there is in his tone
Naught of your new world's chanticleer.
Who's the eccentric? can you say?”
“Partly; but 'tis at second hand.
At the Black Jew's I met with one
Who, in response to my demand,
Did in a strange disclosure run
Respecting him.”—“Repeat it, pray.”—
And Rolfe complied. But here receive
Less the details of narrative
Than what the drift and import may convey.
A Swede he was—illicit son
Of noble lady, after-wed,
Who, for a cause over which be thrown
Charity of oblivion dead,—
Bore little love, but rather hate,
Even practiced to ensnare his state.
His father, while not owning, yet
In part discharged the natural debt
Of duty; gave him liberal lore
And timely income; but no more.
Thus isolated, what to bind
But the vague bond of human kind?
The north he left, to Paris came—
Paris, the nurse of many a flame
Evil and good. This son of earth,
This Psalmanazer, made a hearth
In warm desires and schemes for man:
Even he was an Arcadian.
Peace and good will was his acclaim—


If not in words, yet in the aim:
Peace, peace on earth: that note he thrilled,
But scarce in way the cherubs trilled
To Bethlehem and the shepherd band.
Yet much his theory could tell;
And he expounded it so well,
Disciples came. He took his stand.
Europe was in a decade dim:
Upon the future's trembling rim
The comet hovered. His a league
Of frank debate and close intrigue:
Plot, proselyte, appeal, denounce—
Conspirator, pamphleteer, at once,
And prophet. Wear and tear and jar
He met with coffee and cigar:
These kept awake the man and mood
And dream. That uncreated Good
He sought, whose absence is the cause
Of creeds and Atheists, mobs and laws.
Precocities of heart outran
The immaturities of brain.
Along with each superior mind
The vain, foolhardy, worthless, blind,
With Judases, are nothing loath
To clasp pledged hands and take the oath
Of aim, the which, if just, demands
Strong hearts, brows deep, and priestly hands.
Experience with her sharper touch
Stung Mortmain: Why, if men prove such,
Dote I? love theory overmuch?
Yea, also, whither will advance
This Revolution sprung in France
So many years ago? where end?
That current takes me. Whither tend?
Come, thou who makest such hot haste
To forge the future—weigh the past.


Such frame he knew. And timed event
Cogent a further question lent:
Wouldst meddle with the state? Well, mount
Thy guns; how many men dost count?
Besides, there's more that here belongs:
Be many questionable wrongs:
By yet more questionable war,
Prophet of peace, these wouldst thou bar?
The world's not new, nor new thy plea.
Tho' even shouldst thou triumph, see,
Prose overtakes the victor's songs:
Victorious right may need redress:
No failure like a harsh success.
Yea, ponder well the historic page:
Of all who, fired with noble rage,
Have warred for right without reprieve,
How many spanned the wings immense
Of Satan's muster, or could cheat
His cunning tactics of retreat
And ambuscade? Oh, now dispense!
The world is portioned out, believe:
The good have but a patch at best,
The wise their corner; for the rest—
Malice divides with ignorance.
And what is stable? find one boon
That is not lackey to the moon
Of fate. The flood ebbs out—the ebb
Floods back; the incessant shuttle shifts
And flies, and wears and tears the web.
Turn, turn thee to the proof that sifts:
What if the kings in Forty-eight
Fled like the gods? even as the gods
Shall do, return they made; and sate
And fortified their strong abodes;
And, to confirm them there in state,
Contrived new slogans, apt to please—


Pan and the tribal unities.
Behind all this still works some power
Unknowable, thou'lt yet adore.
That steers the world, not man. States drive;
The crazy rafts with billows strive.—
Go, go—absolve thee. Join that band
That wash them with the desert sand
For lack of water. In the dust
Of wisdom sit thee down, and rust.
So, mused he—solitary pined.
Tho' his apostolate had thrown
New prospects ope to Adam's kind,
And fame had trumped him far and free—
Now drop he did—a clod unknown;
Nay, rather, he would not disowns
Oblivion's volunteer to be;
Like those new-world discoverers bold
Ending in stony convent cold,
Or dying hermits; as if they,
Chastised to Micah's mind austere,
Remorseful felt that ampler sway
Their lead had given for old career
Of human nature.
But this man
No cloister sought. He, under ban
Of strange repentance and last dearth,
Roved the gray places of the earth.
And what seemed most his heart to wring
Was some unrenderable thing:
'Twas not his bastardy, nor bale
Medean in his mother pale,
Nor thwarted aims of high design;
But deeper—deep as nature's mine.
Tho' frequent among kind he sate
Tranquil enough to hold debate,


His moods he had, mad fitful ones,
Prolonged or brief, outbursts or moans;
And at such times would hiss or cry:
“Fair Circe—goddess of the sty!”
More frequent this: “Mock worse than wrong:
The Syren's kiss—the Fury's thong!”
Such he. Tho' scarce as such portrayed
In full by Rolfe, yet Derwent said
At close: “There's none so far astray,
Detached, abandoned, as might seem,
As to exclude the hope, the dream
Of fair redemption. One fine day
I saw at sea, by bit of deck—
Weedy—adrift from far away—
The dolphin in his gambol light
Through showery spray, arch into sight:
He flung a rainbow o'er that wreck.”


Now slanting toward the mountain's head
They round its southern shoulder so;
That immemorial path they tread
Whereby to Bethany you go
From Salem over Kedron's bed
And Olivet. Free change was made
Among the riders. Lightly strayed,
With overtures of friendly note,
To Clarel's side the Smyrniote.
Wishful from every one to learn,


As well his giddy talk to turn,
Clarel—in simpleness that comes
To students versed more in their tomes
Than life—of Homer spake, a man
With Smyrna linked, born there, 'twas said.
But no, the light Ionian
Scarce knew that singing beggar dead,
Though wight he'd heard of with the name;
“Homer? yes, I remember me;
Saw note-of-hand once with his name:
A fig for him, fig-dealer he,
The veriest old nobody:”
Then lightly skimming on: “Did you
By Joppa come? I did, and rue
Three dumpish days, like Sundays dull
Such as in London late I knew;
The gardens tho' are bountiful.
But Bethlehem—beyond compare!
Such roguish ladies! Tarried there?
You know it is a Christian town,
Decreed so under Ibrahim's rule
The Turk.” E'en thus he rippled on,
Way giving to his spirits free,
Relieved from that disparity
Of years he with the banker felt,
Nor noted Clarel's puzzled look,
Who, novice-like, at first mistook,
Doubting lest satire might be dealt.
Adjusting now the sporting gun
Slung to his back with pouch and all:
“Oh, but to sight a bird, just one,
An eagle say, and see him fall.”
And, chatting still, with giddy breath,
Of hunting feats over hill and dale:
“Fine shot was mine by Nazareth;
But birding's best in Tempe's Vale:


From Thessalonica, you know
'Tis thither that we fowlers stray.
But you don't talk, my friend.—Heigh-ho,
Next month I wed; yes, so they say.
Meantime do sing a song or so
To cheer one. Won't? Must I?—Let's see:
Song of poor-devil dandy: he:—
“She's handsome as a jeweled priest
In ephod on the festa,
And each poor blade like me must needs
Idolize and detest her.
“With rain-beads on her odorous hair
From gardens after showers,
All bloom and dew she trips along,
Intent on selling flowers.
“She beams—the rainbow of the bridge;
But, ah, my blank abhorrence,
She buttonholes me with a rose,
This flower-girl of Florence.
“My friends stand by; and, ‘There!’ she says—
An angel arch, a sinner:
I grudge to pay, but pay I must,
Then—dine on half a dinner!—
“Heigh-ho, next month I marry: well!”
With that he turned aside, and went
Humming another air content.
And Derwent heard him as befell.
“This lad is like a land of springs,”
He said, “he gushes so with song,”—
“Nor heeds if Olivet it wrong,”
Said Rolfe; “but no—he sings—he rings;


His is the guinea, fiddle-strings
Of youth too—which may heaven make strong!”
Meanwhile, in tetchy tone austere
That reprobated song and all,
Lowering rode the presbyter,
A cloud whose rain ere long must fall.


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.



Descending by the mountain side
When crags give way to pastures wide,
And lower opening, ever new,
Glades, meadows, hamlets meet the view,
Which from above did coyly hide—
And with re-kindled breasts of spring
The robins thro' the orchard wing;
Excellent then—as there bestowed—
And true in charm the downward road.
Quite other spells an influence throw
Down going, down, to Jericho.
Here first on path so evil-starred
Their guide they scan, and prize the guard.
The guide, a Druze of Lebanon,
Was rumored for an Emir's son,
Or offspring of a lord undone
In Ibrahim's time. Abrupt reverse
The princes in the East may know:
Lawgivers are outlaws at a blow,
And Crœsus dwindles in the purse.
Exiled, cut off, in friendless state,
The Druze maintained an air sedate;
Without the sacrifice of pride,
Sagacious still he earned his bread,
E'en managed to maintain the head,
Yes, lead men still, if but as guide
To pilgrims.
Here his dress to mark:
A simple woolen cloak, with dark
Vertical stripes; a vest to suit;
White turban like snow-wreath; a boot


Exempt from spur; a sash of fair
White linen, long-fringed at the ends:
The garb of Lebanon. His mare
In keeping showed: the saddle plain:
Head-stall untasseled, slender rein.
But nature made her rich amends
For art's default: full eye of flame
Tempered in softness, which became
Womanly sometimes, in desire
To be caressed; ears fine to know
Least intimation, catch a hint
As tinder takes the spark from flint
And steel. Veil-like her clear attire
Of silvery hair, with speckled show
Of grayish spots, and ample flow
Of milky mane. Much like a child
The Druze she'd follow, more than mild.
Not less, at need, what power she'd don,
Clothed with the thunderbolt would run
As conscious of the Emir's son
She bore; nor knew the hireling's lash,
Red rowel, or rebuke as rash.
Courteous her treatment. But deem not
This tokened a luxurious lot:
Her diet spare; sole stable, earth;
Beneath the burning sun she'd lie
With mane disheveled, whence her eye
Would flash across the fiery dearth,
As watching for that other queen,
Her mate, a beauteous Palmyrene,
The pride of Tadmore's tented scene.
Athwart the pommel-cloth coarse-spun
A long pipe lay, and longer gun,
With serviceable yataghan.
But prized above these arms of yore,
A new revolver bright he bore


Tucked in the belt, and oft would scan.
Accoutered thus, thro' desert-blight
Whose lord is the Amalekite,
And proffering or peace or war,
The swart Druze rode his silvery Zar.
Behind him, jogging two and two,
Came troopers six of tawny hue,
Bewrinkled veterans, and grave
As Carmel's prophets of the cave:
Old Arab Bethlehemites, with guns
And spears of grandsires old. Weird ones,
Their robes like palls funereal hung
Down from the shoulder, one fold flung
In mufflement about the head,
And kept there by a fillet's brain.
Over this venerable troop
Went Belex doughty in command,
Erst of the Sultan's saucy troop
Which into death he did disband—
Politic Mahmoud—when that clan
By fair pretence, in festive way,
He trapped within the Artmedan—
Of old, Byzantium's circus gay.
But Belex a sultana saved—
His senior, though by love enslaved,
Who fed upon the stripling's May—
Long since, for now his beard was gray;
Tho' goodly yet the features fine,
Firm chin, true lip, nose aquiline—
Type of the pure Osmanli breed.
But ah, equipments gone to seed—
Ah, shabby fate! his vesture's cloth
Hinted the Jew bazaar and moth:
The saddle, too, a cast-off one,
An Aga's erst, and late was sown


With seed-pearl in the seat; but now
All that, with tag-work, all was gone—
The tag-work of wee bells in row
That made a small, snug, dulcet din
About the housings Damascene.
But mark the bay: his twenty years
Still showed him pawing with his peers.
Pure desert air, doled diet pure,
Sleek tendance, brave result insure.
Ample his chest; small head, large eye—
How interrogative with soul—
Responsive too, his master by:
Trim hoof, and pace in strong control.
Thy birth-day well they keep, thou Don,
And well thy birth-day ode they sing;
Nor ill they named thee Solomon,
Prolific sire. Long live the king.


They journey. And, as heretofore,
Derwent invoked his spirits bright
Against the wilds expanding more:
“Do but regard yon Islamite
And horse: equipments be but lean,
Nor less the nature still is rife—
Mettle, you see, mettle and mien.
Methinks fair lesson here we glean:
The inherent vigor of man's life
Transmitted from strong Adam down,
Takes no infirmity that's won
By institutions—which, indeed,


Be as equipments of the breed.
God bless the marrow in the bone!
What's Islam now? does Turkey thrive?
Yet Islamite and Turk they wive
And flourish, and the world goes on.”
“Ay. But all qualities of race
Which make renown—these yet may die,
While leaving unimpaired in grace
The virile power,” was Rolfe's reply;
“For witness here I cite a Greek—
God bless him! who tricked me of late
In Argos. What a perfect beak
In contour,—oh, 'twas delicate;
And hero-symmetry of limb:
Clownish I looked by side of him.
Oh, but it does one's ardor damp—
That splendid instrument, a scamp!
These Greeks indeed they wear the kilt
Bravely; they skim their lucid seas;
But, prithee, where is Pericles?
Plato is where? Simonides?
No, friend: much good wine has been spilt:
The rank world prospers; but, alack!
Eden nor Athens shall come back:—
And what's become of Arcady?”
He paused; then in another key:
“Prone, prone are era, man and nation
To slide into a degradation?
With some, to age is that—but that.”
“Pathetic grow'st thou,” Derwent said:
And lightly, as in leafy glade,
Lightly he in the saddle sat.



In order meet they take their way
Through Bahurim where David fled;
And Shimei like a beast of prey
Prowled on the side-cliff overhead,
And flung the stone, the stone and curse,
And called it just, the king's reverse:
Still grieving grief, as demons may.
In flanking parched ravine they won,
The student wondered at the bale
So arid, as of Acheron
Run dry. Alert showed Belex hale,
Uprising in the stirrup, clear
Of saddle, outlook so to gain,
Rattling his piece and scimeter.
“Dear me, I say,” appealing ran
From the sleek Thessalonian.
“Say on!” the Turk, with bearded grin;
“This is the glen named Adommin!”
Uneasy glance the banker threw,
Tho' first now of such name he knew
Or place. Nor was his flutter stayed
When Belex, heading his brigade,
Drew sword, and with a summons cried:
“Ho, rout them!” and his cohort veered,
Scouring the dens on either side,
Then all together disappeared
Amid wild turns of ugly ground
Which well the sleuth-dog might confound.
The Druze, as if 'twere nothing new—
The Turk doing but as bid to do—
A higher stand-point would command;


But here across his shortened rein
And loosened, shrewd, keen yataghan,
Good Nehemiah laid a hand:
“Djalea, stay—not long I'll be;
A word, one Christian word with ye.
I've just been reading in the place
How, on a time, carles far from grace
Left here half dead the faring man:
Those wicked thieves. But heaven befriends,
Still heaven at need a rescue lends:
Mind ye the Good Samaritan?”—
In patient self-control high-bred,
Half of one sense, an ear, the Druze
Inclined; the while his grave eye fed
Afar; his arms at hand for use.
“He,” said the meek one going on,
Naught heeding but the tale he spun,
“He, when he saw him in the snare,
He had compassion; and with care
Him gently wakened from the swound
And oil and wine poured in the wound;
Then set him on his own good beast,
And bare him to the nighest inn—
A man not of his town or kin—
And tended whom he thus released;
Up with him sat he all that night,
Put off he did his journey quite;
And on the morrow, ere he went,
For the mistrustful host he sent,
And taking out his careful purse,
He gave him pence; and thus did sue:
‘Beseech ye now that well ye nurse
This poor man whom I leave with you;
And whatsoe'er thou spendest more,
When I again come, I'll restore.’—
Ye mind the chapter? Well, this day


Were some forlorn one here to bleed,
Aid would be meted to his need
In good soul traveling this way.
Speak I amiss? an answer, pray?”—
In deference the armed man,
O'er pistols, gun, and yataghan,
The turban bowed, but nothing said;
Then turned—resumed his purpose. Led
By old traditionary sense,
A liberal, fair reverence,
The Orientals homage pay,
And license yield in tacit way
To men demented, or so deemed.
Derwent meanwhile in saddle there
Heard all, but scarce at ease he seemed,
So ill the tale and time did pair.
Vine whispered to the saint aside:
“There was a Levite and a priest.”
“ Whom God forgive,” he mild replied,
“As I forget;” and there he ceased.
Touching that trouble in advance,
Some here, much like to landsmen wise
At sea in hour which tackle tries,
The adventure's issue left to chance.
In spent return the escort wind
Reporting they had put to flight
Some prowlers.—“Look!” one cried. Behind
A lesser ridge just glide from sight—
Though neither man nor horse appears—
Steel points and hair-tufts of five spears.
Like dorsal fins of sharks they show
When upright these divide the wave
And peer above, while down in grave


Of waters, slide the body lean
And charnel mouth.
With thoughtful mien
The student fared, nor might withstand
The something dubious in the Holy Land.


In divers ways which vary it
Stones mention find in hallowed Writ:
Stones rolled from well-mouths, altar stones,
Idols of stone, memorial ones,
Sling-stones, stone tables; Bethel high
Saw Jacob, under starry sky,
On stones his head lay—desert bones;
Stones sealed the sepulchers—huge cones
Heaved there in bulk; death too by stones
The law decreed for crime; in spite
As well, for taunt, or type of ban,
The same at place were cast, or man;
Or piled upon the pits of fight
Reproached or even denounced the slain:
So in the wood of Ephraim, some
Laid the great heap over Absalom.
Convenient too at willful need,
Stones prompted many a ruffian deed
And ending oft in parting groans:
By stones died Naboth; stoned to death
Was Stephen meek: and Scripture saith,
Against even Christ they took up stones.
Moreover, as a thing profuse,
Suggestive still in every use,


On stones, still stones, the gospels dwell
In lesson meet or happier parable.
Attesting here the Holy Writ—
In brook, in glen, by tomb and town
In natural way avouching it—
Behold the stones! And never one
A lichen greens; and, turn them o'er—
No worm—no life; but, all the more,
Good witnesses.
The way now led
Where shoals of flints and stones lay dead.
The obstructed horses tripped and stumbled,
The Thessalonian groaned and grumbled.
But Glaucon cried: “Alack the stones!
Or be they pilgrims' broken bones
Wherewith they pave the turnpikes here?
Is this your sort of world, Mynheer?
“Not on your knee—no no, no no;
But sit you so; verily and verily
Paris, are you true or no?
I'll look down your eyes and see.
“Helen, look—and look and look;
Look me, Helen, through and through;
Make me out the only rake:
Set down one and carry two.”—
“Have done, sir,” roared the Elder out;
“Have done with this lewd balladry.”—
Amazed the singer turned about;
But when he saw that, past all doubt,
The Scot was in dead earnest, he,
“Oh now, monsieur—monsieur, monsieur!”


Appealing there so winningly—
Conceding, as it were, his age,
Station, and moral gravity,
And right to be morose indeed,
Nor less endeavoring to assuage
At least. But scarce did he succeed.
Rolfe likewise, if in other style,
Here sought that hard road to beguile;
“The stone was man's first missile; yes,
Cain hurled it, or his sullen hand
Therewith made heavy. Cain, confess
A savage was, although he planned
His altar. Altars such as Cain's
Still find we on far island-chains
Deep mid the woods and hollows dark,
And set off like the shittim Ark.
Refrain from trespass; with black frown
Each votary straight takes up his stone—
As once against even me indeed:
I see them now start from their rocks
In malediction.”
“Yet concede,
They were but touchy in their creed,”
Said Derwent; “but did you succumb?
These irritable orthodox!”—
Thereat the Elder waxed more glum.
A halt being called now with design
Biscuit to bite and sip the wine,
The student saw the turbaned Druze
A courtesy peculiar use
In act of his accosting Vine,
Tho' but in trifle—as to how
The saddle suited. And before,
In little things, he'd marked the show


Of like observance. How explore
The cause of this, and understand?
The pilgrims were an equal band:
Why this preferring way toward one?
But Rolfe explained in undertone:
“But few, believe, have nicer eye
For the cast of aristocracy
Than Orientals. Well now, own,
Despite at times a manner shy,
Shows not our countryman in mold
Of a romanced nobility?
His chary speech, his rich still air
Confirm them in conjecture there.
I make slim doubt these people hold
Vine for some lord who fain would go
For delicate cause, incognito.—
What means Sir Crab?”—
In smouldering ire
The Elder, not dismounting, views
The nearer prospect; ill content,
The distance next his glance pursues,
A land of Eblis burned with fire;
Recoils; then, with big eyebrows bent,
Lowers on the comrades—Derwent most,
With luncheon now and flash engrossed;
His bridle turns, adjusts his seat
And holsters where the pistols be,
Nor taking leave like Christian sweet,
(Quite mindless of Paul's courtesy)
With dumb indomitable chin
Straight back he aims thro' Adommin,
Alone, nor blandly self-sustained—
Robber and robber-glen disdained.
As stiff he went, his humor dark
From Vine provoked a vivid spark—
Derisive comment, part restrained.


He passes. Well, peace with him go.
If truth have painted heart but grim,
None here hard measure meant for him;
Nay, Haytian airs around him blow,
And woo and win to cast behind
The harsher and inclement mind.
But needs narrate what followed now.
“Part from us,” Derwent cried, “that way?
I fear we have offended. Nay,
What other cause?”—
“The desert, see:
He and the desert don't agree,”
Said Rolfe; “or rather, let me say
He can't provoke a quarrel here
With blank indifference so drear:
Ever the desert waives dispute,
Cares not to argue, bides but mute.
Besides, no topographic cheer:
Surveyor's tape don't come in play;
The same with which upon a day
He upon all fours soused did roam
Measuring the sub-ducts of Siloam.
Late asking him in casual way
Something about the Tomb's old fane,
These words I got: ‘Sir, I don't know;
But once I dropped in—not again;
'Tis monkish, 'tis a raree-show—
A raree-show. Saints, sites, and stuff.
Had I my will I'd strip it, strip!’
I knew 'twere vain to try rebuff;
But asked, ‘Did Paul, embarked in ship
With Castor and Pollux for a sign
Deem it incumbent there to rip
From stern and prow the name and shrine?”
‘Saint Paul, sir, had not zeal enough;
I always thought so;’ and went on:


‘Where stands this fane, this Calvary one
Alleged? why, sir, within the site
Of Herod's wall? Can that be right?’
But why detail. Suffice, in few,
Even Zion's hill, he doubts that too;
Nay, Sinai in his dry purview
He's dubious if, as placed, it meet
“Why then do his feet
Tread Judah? no good end is won;”
Said Derwent.
“Curs need have a bone
To mumble, though but dry nor sweet.
Nay, that's too harsh and overdone.
'Tis still a vice these carpers brew—
They try us—us set carping too.”
“Ah well, quick then in thought we'll shun him,
And so foreclose all strictures on him.
Howbeit, this confess off-hand:
Amiss is robed in gown and band
A disenchanter.—Friend, the wine!”
The banker passed it without word.
Sad looked he: Why, these fools are stirred
About a nothing!—Plain to see
Such comradeship did ill agree:
Pedants, and poor! nor used to dine
In ease of table-talk benign—
Steeds, pictures, ladies, gold, Tokay,
Gardens and baths, the English news,
Stamboul, the market—gain or lose?
He turned to where young Glaucon lay,
Who now to startled speech was won:
“Look, is he crazy? see him there!”
The saint it was with busy care
Flinging aside stone after stone,


Yet feebly, nathless as he wrought
In charge imposed though not unloved;
While every stone that he removed
Laid bare but more. The student sighed,
So well he kenned his ways distraught
At influx of his eldritch tide.
But Derwent, hastening to the spot,
Exclaimed, “How now? surely, 'tis not
To mend the way?”
With patient look,
Poising a stone as 'twere a clod:
“All things are possible with God;
The humblest helper will he brook”
Derwent stood dumb; but quick in heart
Conjecturing how it was, addressed
Some friendly words, and slid apart;
And, yet while by that scene impressed,
Came, as it chanced, where unbecalmed
Mortmain aloof sat all disarmed—
Legs lengthwise crossed, head hanging low,
The skull-cap pulled upon the brow,
Hands groping toward the knees: “Then where?
A Thug, the sword-fish roams the sea—
The falcon's pirate in the air;
Betwixt the twain, where shalt thou flee,
Poor flying-fish? whither repair?
What other element for thee?
Whales, mighty whales have felt the wound—
Plunged bleeding thro' the blue profound;
But where their fangs the sand-sharks keep
Be shallows worse than any deep.”—
Hardly that chimed with Derwent's bell:
Him too he left.
When it befell
That new they started on their way;
To turn the current or allay,


He talked with Clarel, and first knew
Nehemiah's conceit about the Jew:
The ways prepared, the tilth restored
For the second coming of Our Lord.
Rolfe overheard: “And shall we say
That this is craze? or but, in brief,
Simplicity of plain belief?
The early Christians, how did they?
For His return looked any day.”
From dwelling on Rolfe's thought, ere long
On Rolfe himself the student broods:
Surely I would not think a wrong;
Nor less I've shrunk from him in moods.
A bluntness is about him set:
Truth's is it? But he winneth yet
Through taking qualities which join.
Make these the character? the rest
But rim? On Syracusan coin
The barbarous letters shall invest
The relieve's infinite of charm.—
I know not. Does he help, or harm?



Tho' frequent in the Arabian waste
The pilgrim, up ere dawn of day,
Inhale thy wafted musk, Cathay;
And Adam's primal joy may taste,
Beholding all the pomp of night
Bee'd thick with stars in swarms how bright;
And so, rides on alert and braced—
Tho' brisk at morn the pilgrim start,
Ere long he'll know in weary hour
Small love of deserts, if their power
Make to retreat upon the heart
Their own forsakenness.
Darwin quotes
From Shelley, that forever floats
Over all desert places known,
Mysterious doubt—an awful one.
He quotes, adopts it. Is it true?
Let instinct vouch; let poetry
Science and instinct here agree,
For truth requires strong retinue.
Waste places are where yet is given
A charm, a beauty from the heaven
Above them, and clear air divine—
Translucent æther opaline;
And some in evening's early dew
Put on illusion of a guise
Which Tantalus might tantalize
Afresh; ironical unrolled
Like Western counties all in grain
Ripe for the sickleman and wain;


Or, tawnier than the Guinea gold,
More like a lion's skin unfold:
Attest the desert opening out
Direct from Cairo by the Gate
Of Victors, whence the annual rout
To Mecca bound, precipitate
Their turbaned frenzy.—
Sands immense
Impart the oceanic sense:
The flying grit like scud is made:
Pillars of sand which whirl about
Or arc along in colonnade,
True kin be to the water-spout.
Yonder on the horizon, red
With storm, see there the caravan
Straggling long-drawn, dispirited;
Mark how it labors like a fleet
Dismasted, which the cross-winds fan
In crippled disaster of retreat
From battle.—
Sinai had renown
Ere thence was rolled the thundered Law;
Ever a terror wrapped its crown;
Never did shepherd dare to draw
Too nigh (Josephus saith) for awe
Of one, some ghost or god austere—
Hermit unknown, dread mountaineer.—
When comes the sun up over Nile
In cloudlessness, what cloud is cast
O'er Lybia? Thou shadow vast
Of Cheops' indissoluble pile,
Typ'st thou the imperishable Past
In empire posthumous and reaching sway
Projected far across to time's remotest day?


But curb.—Such deserts in air-zone
Or object lend suggestive tone,
Redeeming them.
For Judah here—
Let Erebus her rival own:
'Tis horror absolute—severe,
Dead, livid, honey-combed, dumb, fell—
A caked depopulated hell;
Yet so created, judged by sense,
And visaged in significance
Of settled anger terrible.
Profoundly cloven through the scene
Winds Kedron—word (the scholar saith)
Importing anguish hard on death.
And aptly may such named ravine
Conduct unto Lot's mortal Sea
In cleavage from Gethsemane
Where it begins.
But why does man
Regard religiously this tract
Cadaverous and under ban
Of blastment? Nay, recall the fact
That in the pagan era old
When bolts, deemed Jove's, tore up the mound,
Great stones the simple peasant rolled
And built a wall about the gap
Deemed hallowed by the thunder-clap.
So here: men here adore this ground
Which doom hath smitten. 'Tis a land
Direful yet holy—blest tho' banned.
But to pure hearts it yields no fear;
And John, he found wild honey here.



Infer the wilds which next pertain.
Though travel here be still a walk,
Small heart was theirs for easy talk.
Oblivious of the bridle-rein
Rolfe fell to Lethe altogether,
Bewitched by that uncanny weather
Of sultry cloud. And home-sick grew
The banker. In his reverie blue
The cigarette, a summer friend,
Went out between his teeth—could lend
No solace, soothe him nor engage.
And now disrelished he each word
Of sprightly, harmless persiflage
Wherewith young Glaucon here would fain
Evince a jaunty disregard.
But hush betimes o'ertook the twain—
The more impressive, it may be,
For that the senior, somewhat spent,
Florid overmuch and corpulent,
Labored in lungs, and audibly.
Rolfe, noting that the sufferer's steed
Was far less easy than his own,
Relieved him in his hour of need
By changing with him; then in tone
Aside, half musing, as alone,
“Unwise he is to venture here,
Poor fellow; 'tis but sorry cheer
For Mammon. Ill would it accord
If nabob with asthmatic breath
Lighted on Holbein's Dance of Death
Sly slipped among his prints from Claude.
Cosmetic-users scarce are bold


To face a skull. That sachem old
Whose wigwam is man's heart within—
How taciturn, and yet can speak,
Imparting more than volumes win;
Not Pleasure's darling cares to seek
Such counselor: the worse he fares;
Since—heedless, taken unawares—
Arrest he finds.—Look: at yon ground
How starts he now! So Abel's hound,
Snuffing his prostrate master wan,
Shrank back from earth's first murdered man.—
But friend, how thrivest?” turning there
To Derwent. He, with altered air,
Made vague rejoinder, nor serene:
His soul, if not cast down, was vexed
By Nature in this dubious scene:
His theory she harsh perplexed—
The more so for wild Mortmain's mien:
And Nehemiah in eldritch cheer:
“Lord, now Thou goest forth from Seir;
Lord, now from Edom marchest Thou!”—
Shunning the Swede—disturbed to know
The saint in strange clairvoyance so,
Clarel yet turned to meet the grace
Of one who not infected dwelt—
Yes, Vine, who shared his horse's pace
In level sameness, as both felt
At home in dearth.
But unconcern
That never knew Vine's thoughtful turn
The venerable escort showed:
True natives of the waste abode,
They moved like insects of the leaf—
Tint, tone adapted to the fief.



King, who betwixt the cross and sword
On ashes died in cowl and cord—
In desert died; and, if thy heart
Betrayed thee not, from life didst part
A martyr for thy martyred Lord;
Anointed one and undefiled—
O warrior manful, tho' a child
In simple faith—St. Louis! rise,
And teach us out of holy eyes
Whence came thy trust.”
So Rolfe, and shrank,
Awed by that region dread and great;
Thence led to take to heart the fate
Of one who tried in such a blank,
Believed—and died.
Lurching was seen
An Arab tall, on camel lean,
Up laboring from a glen's remove,
His long lance upright fixed above
The gun across the knee in guard.
So rocks in hollow trough of sea
A wreck with one gaunt mast, and yard
Displaced and slanting toward the lee.
Closer he drew; with visage mute,
Austere in passing made salute.
Such courtesy may vikings lend
Who through the dreary Hela wend.
Under gun, lance, and scabbard hacked
Pressed Nehemiah; with ado
High he reached up an Arab tract
From the low ass—“Christ's gift to you!”
With clatter of the steel he bore


The lofty nomad bent him o'er
In grave regard. The camel too
Her crane-like neck swerved round to view;
Nor more to camel than to man
Inscrutable the ciphers ran.
But wonted unto arid cheer,
The beast, misjudging, snapped it up,
And would have munched, but let it drop;
Her master, poling down his spear
Transfixed the page and brought it near,
Nor stayed his travel.
On they went
Through solitudes, till made intent
By small sharp shots which stirred rebound
In echo. Over upland drear
On tract of less obstructed ground
Came fairly into open sight
A mounted train in tulip plight:
Ten Turks, whereof advanced rode four,
With leveled pistols, left and right
Graceful diverging, as in plume
Feather from feather. So brave room
They make for turning toward each shore
Ambiguous in nooks of blight,
Discharging shots; then reunite,
And, with obeisance bland, adore
Their prince, a fair youth, who, behind—
'Tween favorites of equal age,
Brilliant in paynim equipage—
With Eastern dignity how sweet,
Nods to their homage, pleased to mind
Their gallant curvets. Still they meet,
Salute and wheel, and him precede,
As in a pleasure-park or mead.
The escorts join; and some would take


To parley, as is wont. The Druze,
Howbeit, hardly seems to choose
The first advances here to make;
Nor does he shun. Alert is seen
One in voluminous turban green,
Beneath which in that barren place
Sheltered he looks as by the grace
Of shady palm-tuft. Vernal he
In sacerdotal chivalry:
That turban by its hue declares
That the great Prophet's blood he shares:
Kept as the desert stallions be,
'Tis an attested pedigree.
But ah, the bigot, he could lower
In mosque on the intrusive Giaour.
To make him truculent for creed
Family-pride joined personal greed.
Tho' foremost here his word he vents—
Officious in the conference,
In rank and sway he ranged, in sooth,
Behind that fine sultanic youth
Which held his place apart, and, cool,
In lapse or latency of rule
Seemed mindless of the halting train
And pilgrims there of Franquestan
Or land of Franks. Remiss he wore
An indolent look superior.
His grade might justify the air:
The viceroy of Damascus' heir.
His father's jurisdiction sweeps
From Lebanon to Ammon's steeps.
Return he makes from mission far
To independent tribes of war
Beyond the Houran. In advance
Of the main escort, gun and lance,
He aims for Salem back.


This learned,
In anxiousness the banker yearned
To join; nor Glaucon seemed averse.
'Twas quick resolved, and soon arranged
Through fair diplomacy of purse
And Eastern compliments exchanged.
Their wine, in pannier of the mule,
Upon the pilgrims they bestow:
“And pledge us, friends, in valley cool,
If such this doleful road may know:
Farewell!” And so the Moslem train
Received these Christians, happy twain.
They fled. And thou? The way is dun;
Why further follow the Emir's son?
Scarce yet the thought may well engage
To lure thee thro' these leafless bowers,
That little avails a pilgrimage
Whose road but winds among the flowers.
Part here, then, would ye win release
From ampler dearth; part, and in peace.
Nay, part like Glaucon, part with song:
The note receding dies along:
“Tarry never there
Where the air
Lends a lone Hadean spell-
Where the ruin and the wreck
Vine and ivy never deck,
And wizard wan and sibyl dwell:
There, oh, beware!
Rather seek the grove—
Thither rove,
Where the leaf that falls to ground
In a violet upsprings,


And the oracle that sings
Is the bird above the mound:
There, tarry there!”


Jerusalem, the mountain town
Is based how far above the sea;
But down, a lead-line's long reach down,
A deep-sea lead, beneath the zone
Of ocean's level, heaven's decree
Has sunk the pool whose deeps submerged
The doomed Pentapolis fire-scourged.
Long then the slope, though varied oft,
From Zion to the seats abject;
For rods and roods ye wind aloft
By verges where the pulse is checked;
And chief both hight and steepness show
Ere Achor's gorge the barrier rends
And like a thunder-cloud impends
Ominous over Jericho.
Hard by the brink the Druze leads on,
But halts at a projecting crown
Of cliff, and beckons them. Nor goat
Nor fowler ranging far and high
Scales such a steep; nor vulture's eye
Scans one more lone. Deep down in throat
It shows a sooty black.
“A forge


Abandoned,” Rolfe said, “thus may look.”
“Yea,” quoth the saint, “and read the Book:
Flames, flames have forked in Achor's gorge.”
His wizard vehemence surprised:
Some new illusion they surmised;
Not less authentic text he took:
“Yea, after slaughter made at Ai
When Joshua's three thousand fled,
Achan the thief they made to die—
They stoned him in this hollow here—
They burned him with his children dear;
Among them flung his ingot red
And scarlet robe of Babylon:
Meet end for Carmi's wicked son
Because of whom they failed at Ai:
'Twas meet the trespasser should die;
Yea, verily.”—His visage took
The tone of that uncanny nook.
To Rolfe here Derwent: “Study him;
Then weigh that most ungenial rule
Of Moses and the austere school
Which e'en our saint can make so grim—
At least while Achor feeds his eyes.”
“But here speaks Nature otherwise?”
Asked Rolfe; “in region roundabout
She's Calvinistic if devout
In all her aspect.”—
Vine, o'ercast,
Estranged rode in thought's hid repast.
Clarel, receptive, saw and heard,
Learning, unlearning, word by word.
Erelong the wilds condense the ill—
They hump it into that black Hill
Named from the Forty Days and Nights,
The Quarantania's sum of blights.


Up from the gorge it grows, it grows:
Hight sheer, sheer depth, and death's repose.
Sunk in the gulf the wave disowns,
Stranded lay ancient torrent-stones.
These Mortmain marks: “Ah, from your deep
Turn ye, appeal ye to the steep?
But that looks off, and everywhere
Descries but worlds more waste, more bare.”
Flanked by the crag and glen they go.
Ahead, erelong in greeting show
The mounts of Moab, o'er the vale
Of Jordan opening into view,
With cloud-born shadows sweeping thro'.
The Swede, intent: “Lo, how they trail
The mortcloths in the funeral
Of gods!”
Although he naught confessed,
In Derwent, marking there the scene,
What interference was expressed
As of harsh grit in oiled machine—
Disrelish grating interest:
Howbeit, this he tried to screen.
“Pisgah!” cried Rolfe, and pointed him.
“Peor, too—ay, long Abarim
The ridge. Well, well: for thee I sigh,
Poor Moses. Saving Jericho
And her famed palms in Memphian row,
No cheerful landscape met thine eye;
Unless indeed (yon Pisgah's high)
Was caught, beyond each mount and plain,
The blue, blue Mediterranean.”
“And might he then for Egypt sigh?”
Here prompted Rolfe; but no reply;
And Rolfe went on: “Balboa's ken
Roved in fine sweep from Darien:


The woods and waves in tropic meeting,
Bright capes advancing, bays retreating—
Green land, blue sea in charm competing!”
Meantime, with slant reverted eyes
Vine marked the Crag of Agonies.
Exceeding high (as Matthew saith)
It shows from skirt of that wild path
Bare as an iceberg seamed by rain
Toppling awash in foggy main
Off Labrador. Grottoes Vine viewed
Upon the flank—or cells or tombs—
Void as the iceberg's catacombs
Of frost. He starts. A form endued
With living guise, from ledges dim
Leans as if looking down toward him.
Not pointing out the thing he saw
Vine watched it, but it showed no claw
Of hostile purpose; tho' indeed
Robbers and outlaws armed have dwelt
Vigilant by those caves where knelt
Of old the hermits of the creed.
Beyond, they win a storied fount
Which underneath the higher mount
Gurgles, clay-white, and downward sets
Toward Jericho in rivulets,
Which—much like children whose small mirth
Not funerals can stay—through dearth
Run babbling. One old humpbacked tree,
Sad grandam whom no season charms,
Droops o'er the spring her withered arms;
And stones as in a ruin laid,
Like penitential benches be
Where silent thickets fling a shade
And gather dust. Here halting, here
Awhile they rest and try the cheer.



It brake, it brake how long ago,
That morn which saw thy marvel done,
Elisha—healing of the spring!
A good deed lives, the doer low:
See how the waters eager run
With bounty which they chiming bring:
So out of Eden's bounds afar
Hymned Pison through green Havilah!
But ill those words in tone impart
The simple feelings in the heart
Of Nehemiah—full of the theme,
Standing beside the marge, with cup,
And pearls of water-beads adroop
Down thinnish beard of silvery gleam.
“Truly,” said Derwent, glad to note
That Achor found her antidote,
“Truly, the fount wells grateful here.”
Then to the student: “For the rest,
The site is pleasant; nor unblest
These thickets by their shade endear.”
Assent half vacant Clarel gave,
Watching that miracle the wave.
Said Rolfe, reclining by the rill,
“Needs life must end or soon or late:
Perchance set down it is in fate
That fail I must ere we fulfill
Our travel. Should it happen true—
Attention, pray—I mend my will,
And name executors in you:
Bury me by the road, somewhere
Near spring or brook. Palms plant me there,
And seats with backs to them, all stone:


In peace then go. The years shall run,
And green my grave shall be, and play
The part of host to all that stray
In desert: water, shade, and rest
Their entertainment. So I'll win
Balm to my soul by each poor guest
That solaced leaves the Dead Man's Inn.
But charges, mind, yourselves defray—
Seeing I've naught.”
Where thrown he lay,
Vine, sensitive, suffused did show.
Yet looked not up, but seemed to weigh
The nature of the heart whose trim
Of quaint goodfellowship could so
Strike on a chord long slack in him.
But how may spirit quick and deep
A constancy unfreakish keep?
A reed there shaken fitfully
He marks: “Was't this we came to see
In wilderness?” and rueful smiled.
The meek one, otherwise beguiled,
Here chancing now the ass to note
Languidly munching straw and bran,
Drew nigh, and smoothed the roughened coat,
And gave her bread, the wheaten grain.
Vine watches; and his aspect knows
A flush of diffident humor: “Nay,
Me too, me too let wait, I pray,
On our snubbed kin here;” and he rose.
Erelong, alert the escort show:
'Tis stirrups. But the Swede moved not,
Aloof abiding in dark plot
Made by the deeper shadow: “Go—
My horse lead; but for me, I stay;
Some bread—there, that small loaf will do:


It is my whim—my whim, I say;
Mount, heed not me.”—“And how long, pray?”
Asked Derwent, startled: “eve draws on:
Ye would not tarry here alone?”
“Thou man of God, nor desert here,
Nor Zin, nor Obi, yieldeth fear
If God but be—but be! This waste—
Soon shall night fold the hemisphere;
But safer then to lay me down,
Here, by yon evil Summit faced—
Safer than in the cut-throat town
Though on the church-steps. Go from me—
Begone! To-morrow or next day
Jordan ye greet, then round ye sway
And win Lot's marge. In sight ye'll be:
I'll intercept. Ride on, go—nay,
Bewitched, why gape ye so at me?
Shall man not take the natural way
With nature? Tut, fling me the cloak!”
Away, precipitate he broke,
The skull-cap glooming thro' the glade:
They paused, nor ventured to invade.
While so, not unconcerned, they stood,
The Druze said, “Well, let be. Why chafe?
Nights here are mild; one's pretty safe
When fearless.—Belex! come, the road!”



Look how a pine in luckless land
By fires autumnal overrun,
Abides a black extinguished brand
Gigantic—killed, not overthrown;
And high upon the horny bough
Perches the bandit captain-crow
And caws unto his troop afar
Of foragers: much so, in scar
Of blastment, looms the Crusaders' Tower
On the waste verge of Jericho:
So the dun sheik in lawless power
Kings it aloft in sombre robe,
Lord of the tawny Arab mob
To which, upon the plains in view,
He shouts down his wild hullabaloo.
There on the tower, through eve's delay
The pilgrims tarry, till for boon,
Launched up from Nebo far away,
Balloon-like rose the nibbled moon—
Nibbled, being after full one day.
Intent they watched the planet's rise—
Familiar, tho' in strangest skies.
The ascending orb of furrowed gold,
Contracting, changed, and silvery rolled
In violet heaven. The desert brown,
Dipped in the dream of argent light,
Like iron plated, took a tone
Transmuting it; and Ammon shone
In peaks of Paradise—so bright.
They gazed. Rolfe brake upon the calm:
“O haunted place, O powerful charm!


Were now Elijah's chariot seen
(And yonder, read we writ aright,
He went up—over against this site)
Soaring in that deep heaven serene,
To me 'twould but in beauty rise;
Nor hair-clad John would now surprise—
But Volney!”
“Volney?” Derwent cried;
“Ah, yes; he came to Jordan's side
A pilgrim deist from the Seine.”
“Ay, and Chateaubriand, he too,
The Catholic pilgrim, hither drew—
Here formed his purpose to assert
Religion in her just desert
Against the Red Caps of his time.
The book he wrote; it dies away;
But those Septemberists of crime
Enlarge in Vitriolists to-day.
Nor while we dwell upon this scene
Can one forget poor Lamartine—
A latter palmer. Oh, believe
When, his fine social dream to grieve,
Strode Fate, that realist how grim,
Displacing, deriding, hushing him,
Apt comment then might memory weave
In lesson from this waste.—That cry!
And would the jackal testify
From Moab?”
Derwent could but sway:
“Omit ye in citation, pray,
The healthy pilgrims of times old?
Robust they were; and cheery saw
Shrines, chapels, castles without flaw
Now gone. That river convent's fold,
By willows nigh the Pilgrims' Strand
Of Jordan, was a famous hold.


Prince Sigurd from the Norseman land,
Quitting his keel at Joppa, crossed
Hither, with Baldwin for his host,
And Templars for a guard. Perchance
Under these walls the train might prance
By Norman warder eyed.”
Responded Vine; “but why disown
The Knight of the Leopard—even he,
Since hereabout that fount made moan,
Named Diamond of the Desert?”—“Yes,”
Beamed Rolfe, divining him in clue;
“Such shadows we, one need confess
That Scott's dreamed knight seems all but true
As men which history vouches. She—
Tasso's Armida, by Lot's sea,
Where that enchantress, with sweet look
Of kindliest human sympathy,
Such webs about Rinaldo wove
That all the hero he forsook—
Lost in the perfidies of love—
Armida—starts at fancy's bid
Not less than Rahab, lass which hid
The spies here in this Jericho.”
A lull. Their thoughts, mute plunging, strayed
Like Arethusa under ground;
While Clarel marked where slumber-bound
Lay Nehemiah in screening shade.
Erelong, in reappearing tide,
Rolfe, gazing forth on either side:
“How lifeless! But the annual rout
At Easter here, shall throng and shout,
Far populate the lonely plain,
(Next day a solitude again,)
All pressing unto Jordan's dew;


While in the saddle of disdain
Skirr the Turk guards with fierce halloo,
Armed herdsmen of the drove.” He ceased;
And fell the silence unreleased
Till yet again did Rolfe round peer
Upon that moonlit land of fear:
“Man sprang from deserts: at the touch
Of grief or trial overmuch
On deserts he falls back at need;
Yes, 'tis the bare abandoned home
Recalleth then. See how the Swede
Like any rustic crazy Tom,
Bursting through every code and ward
Of civilization, masque and fraud,
Takes the wild plunge. Who so secure,
Except his clay be sodden loam,
As never to dream the day may come
When he may take it, foul or pure?
What in these turns of mortal tides—
What any fellow-creature bides,
May hap to any.”
“Pardon, pray,”
Cried Derwent—“but 'twill quick away:
Yon moon in pearl-cloud: look, her face
Peers like a bride's from webs of lace.”
They gazed until it faded there:
When Rolfe with a discouraged air
Sat as rebuked. In winning strain,
As 'twere in penitence urbane,
Here Derwent, “Come, we wait thee now.”
“No matter,” Rolfe said; “let it go.
My earnestness myself decry;
But as heaven made me, so am I.”
“You spake of Mortmain,” breathed Vine low.
As embers, not yet cold, will catch


Quick at the touch of smallest match,
Here Rolfe: “In gusts of lonely pain
Beating upon the naked brain—”
“God help him, ay, poor realist!”
So Derwent, and that theme dismissed.
When Ashtaroth her zenith won,
Sleep drugged them and the winds made moan.


Disturbed by topics canvassed late,
Clarel, from dreams of like debate,
Started, and heard strange muffled sounds,
Outgivings of wild mountain bounds.
He rose, stood gazing toward the hight—
Bethinking him that thereaway
Behind it o'er the desert lay
The walls that sheltered Ruth that night—
When Rolfe drew near. With motion slight,
Scarce conscious of the thing he did,
Partly aside the student slid;
Then, quick as thought, would fain atone.
Whence came that shrinking start unbid?
But from desire to be alone?
Or skim or sound him, was Rolfe one
Whom honest heart would care to shun?
By spirit immature or dim
Was nothing to be learned from him?
How frank seemed Rolfe. Yet Vine could lure


Despite reserve which overture
Withstood—e'en Clarel's—late repealed,
Finding that heart a fountain sealed.
But Rolfe: however it might be—
Whether in friendly fair advance
Checked by that start of dissonance,
Or whether rapt in revery
Beyond—apart he moved, and leant
Down peering from the battlement
Upon its shadow. Then and there
Clarel first noted in his air
A gleam of oneness more than Vine's—
The irrelation of a weed
Detached from vast Sargossa's mead
And drifting where the clear sea shines.
But Clarel turned him; and anew
His thoughts regained their prior clew;
When, lo, a fog, and all was changed.
Crept vapors from the Sea of Salt,
Overspread the plain, nor there made halt,
But blurred the heaven.
As one estranged
Who watches, watches from the shore,
Till the white speck is seen no more,
The ship that bears his plighted maid,
Then turns and sighs as fears invade;
See here the student, repossessed
By thoughts of Ruth, with eyes late pressed
Whither lay Salem, close and wynd—
The mist before him, mist behind,
While intercepting memories ran
Of chant and bier Armenian.



At early hour with Rolfe and Vine
Clarel ascends a minor hight;
They overtake in lone recline
A strange wayfarer of the night
Who, 'twixt the small hour and the gray,
With cruze and scrip replenished late
In Jericho at the wattled gate,
Had started on the upland way:
A young strange man of aspect thin
From vigils which in fast begin.
Though, pinned together with the thorn,
His robe was ragged all and worn—
Pure did he show as mountain-leaf
By brook, or coral washed in reef.
Contrasting with the bleached head-dress
His skin revealed such swarthiness,
And in the contour clear and grace
So all unworldly was the face,
He looked a later Baptist John.
They start; surprise perforce they own:
Much like De Gama's men, may be,
When sudden on their prow at sea
Lit the strange bird from shores unknown.
Although at first from words he shrunk,
He was, they knew, a Syrian monk.
They so prevailed with him and pressed,
He longer lingered at request.
They won him over in the end
To tell his story and unbend.
He told how that for forty days,
Not yet elapsed, he dwelt in ways


Of yonder Quarantanian hight,
A true recluse, an anchorite;
And only came at whiles below,
And ever in the calm of night,
To beg for scraps in Jericho.
'Twas sin, he said, that drove him out
Into the desert—sin of doubt.
Even he it was upon the mount
By chance perceived, untold, by Vine,
From Achor's brink. He gave account
Of much besides; his lonely mine
Of deep illusion; how the night,
The first, was spent upon the hight,
And way he climbed:
“Up cliff, up crag—
Cleft crag and cliff which still retard,
Goat-like I scrambled where stones lag
Poised on the brinks by thunder marred.
A ledge I reached which midway hung
Where a hut-oratory clung—
Rude stones massed up, with cave-like door,
Eremite work of days of yore.
White bones here lay, remains of feast
Dragged in by bird of prey or beast.
Hence gazed I on the wilds beneath,
Dengadda and the coasts of death.
But not a tremor felt I here:
It was upon the summit fear
First fell; there first I saw this world;
And scarce man's place it seemed to be;
The mazed Gehennas so were curled
As worm-tracks under bark of tree.
I ween not if to ye 'tis known—
Since few do know the crag aright,
Years left unvisited and lone—
That a wrecked chapel marks the site


Where tempter and the tempted stood
Of old. I sat me down to brood
Within that ruin; and—my heart
Unwaveringly to set apart
In meditation upon Him
Who here endured the evil whim
Of Satan—steadfast, steadfast down
Mine eyes fixed on a flinty stone
Which lay there at my feet. But thought
Would wander. Then the stone I caught,
Convulsed it in my hand till blood
Oozed from these nails. Then came and stood
The Saviour there—the Imp and He:
Fair showed the Fiend—foul enemy;
But, ah, the Other pale and dim:
I saw but as the shade of Him.
That passed. Again I was alone—
Alone—ah, no—not long alone:
As glides into dead grass the snake
Lean rustling from the bedded brake,
A spirit entered me. 'Twas he,
The tempter, in return; but me
He tempted now. He mocked: ‘Why strife?
Dost hunger for the bread of life?
Thou lackest faith: faith would be fed;
True faith could turn that stone to bread,
That stone thou hold'st.’—Mute then my face
I lifted to the starry space;
But the great heaven it burned so bright,
It cowed me, and back fell my sight.
Then he: ‘Is yon the Father's home?
And thou His child cast out to night?
'Tis bravely lighted, yonder dome.’—
‘Part speak'st thou true: yea, He is there.’—
‘Yea, yea, and He is everywhere—
Now and for aye, Evil and He.’—


‘Is there no good?’—‘Ill to fulfill
Needful is good: good salts the ill.’—
‘He's just.’—‘Goodness is justice. See,
Through all the pirate-spider's snare
Of silken arcs of gossamer,
'Tis delicate geometry:
Adorest the artificer?’—
No answer knew I, save this way:
‘Faith bideth.’—‘Noon, and wait for day?
The sand's half run! Eternal, He:
But aye with a futurity
Which not exceeds his past. Agree,
Full time has lapsed. What ages hoar,
What period fix, when faith no more,
If unfulfilled, shall fool?’—I sat;
Sore quivered I to answer that,
Yet answered naught; but lowly said—
‘And death?’—‘Why beat the bush in thee?
It is the cunningest mystery:
Alive thou know'st not death; and, dead,
Death thou'lt not know.’—‘The grave will test;
But He, He is, though doubt attend;
Peace will He give ere come the end.’—
‘Ha, thou at peace? Nay, peace were best—
Could the unselfish yearner rest!
At peace to be, here, here on earth,
Where peace, heart-peace, how few may claim,
And each pure nature pines in dearth—
Fie, fie, thy soul might well take shame.’—
There sunk my heart—he spake so true
In that. O God (I prayed), come through
The cloud; hard task Thou settest man
To know Thee; take me back again
To nothing, or make clear my view!—
Then stole the whisper intermitting;
Like tenon into mortice fitting


It slipped into the frame of me.
‘Content thee: in conclusion caught
Thou'lt find how thought's extremes agree,—
The forethought clinched by afterthought,
The firstling by finality.’—
There close fell, and therewith the stone
Dropped from my hand.—His will be done!”
And skyward patient he appealed,
Raising his eyes, and so revealed
First to the pilgrims' waiting view
Their virginal violet of hue.
Rolfe spake: “Surely, not all we've heard:
Peace—solace—was in end conferred?”—
His head but fell. He rose in haste,
The rough hair-girdle tighter drew
About the hollow of the waist,
Departing with a mild adieu.
They sat in silence. Rolfe at last:
“And this but ecstasy of fast?
Construe then Jonah in despair.”—
The student turned, awaiting Vine;
Who answered nothing, plaiting there
A weed from neighboring ground uptorn,
Plant common enough in Palestine,
And by the peasants named Christ's Thorn.



Barque, Easter barque, with happier freight
Than Spanish spoil of Inca plate;
Which vernal glidest from the strand
Of statues poised like angels fair;
On March morn sailest—starting, fanned
Auspicious by Sardinian air;
And carriest boughs thro' Calpe's gate
To Norman ports and Belgian land,
That the Green Sunday, even there,
No substituted leaf may wear,
Holly or willow's lither wand,
But sprays of Christ's canonic tree,
Rome's Palma-Christi by decree,
The Date Palm; ah, in bounty launch,
Thou blessed Easter barque, to me
Hither one consecrated branch!”
So Rolfe in burst, and turned toward Vine;
But he the thorn-wreath still did twine.
Rolfe watched him busy there and dumb,
Then cried: “Did gardens favor it,
How would I match thee here, and sit
Wreathing Christ's flower, chrysanthemum.”
Erelong the Syrian they view
In slow ascent, and also two
Between him and the peak,—one wight
An Arab with a pouch, nor light,
A desert Friday to the one
Who went before him, coming down,
Shagged Crusoe, by the mountain spur.


This last, when he the votary meets
Sad climbing slow, him loudly greets,
Stopping with questions which refer
In some way to the crag amort—
The crag, since thitherward his hand
Frequent he waves, as with demand
For some exact and clear report
Touching the place of his retreat
Aloft. As seemed, in neutral plight
Submiss responds the anchorite,
The wallet dropped beside his feet.
These part. Master and man now ply
Yet down the slope; and he in van—
Round-shouldered, and tho' gray yet spry—
A hammer swung.
I've met that man
Elsewhere (thought Clarel)—he whose cry
And gibe came up from the dung-gate
In hollow, when we scarce did wait
His nearer speech and wagging head,
The saint and I.—But naught he said
The stranger closer drew;
And Rolfe breathed “This now is a Jew,—
German, I deem—but readvised—
An Israelite, say, Hegelized—
Convert to science, for but see
The hammer: yes, geology.”
As now the other's random sight
On Clarel mute and Vine is thrown,
He misinterprets their grave plight;
And, with a banter in the tone,
Amused he cries: “Now, now, yon hight—
Come, let it not alarm: a mount
Whereof I've taken strict account
(Its first geologist, believe),


And, if my eyes do not deceive,
'Tis Jura limestone, every spur;
Yes, and tho' signs the rocks imprint
Which of Plutonic action hint,
No track is found, I plump aver,
Of Pluto's footings—Lucifer.”
The punning mock and manner stirred
Repugnance in fastidious Vine;
But Rolfe, who tolerantly heard,
Parleyed, and won him to define
At large his rovings on the hight.
The yester-afternoon and night
He'd spent there, sleeping in a cave—
Part for adventure, part to spite
The superstition, and outbrave.
'Twas a severe ascent, he said;
In bits a ladder of steep stone
With toe-holes cut, and worn, each one
By eremites long centuries dead.
And of his cullings too he told:
His henchman here, the Arab wight,
Bare solid texts from Bible old—
True Rock of Ages, he averred.
To read before a learned board,
When home regained should meet his sight,
A monograph he would indite—
The theme, that crag.
He went his way,
To win the tower. Little they say;
But Clarel started at the view
Which showed opposed the anchorite
Ascetical and—such a Jew.



From Ur of the Chaldees roved the man—
Priest, shepherd, prince, and pioneer—
Swart Bedouin in time's dusky van;
Even he which first, with mind austere,
Arrived in solitary tone
To think of God as One—alone;
The first which brake with hearth and home
For conscience' sake; whom piety ruled,
Prosperity blest, longevity schooled,
And time in fullness brought to Mamre's tomb
Arch founder of the solid base of Christendom.
Even this. For why disown the debt
When vouchers be? Yet, yet and yet
Our saving salt of grace is due
All to the East—nor least the Jew.
Perverse, if stigma then survive,
Elsewhere let such in satire thrive—
Not here. Quite other end is won
In picturing Margoth, fallen son
Of Judah. Him may Gabriel mend.
Little for love, or to unbend,
But swayed by tidings, hard to sift,
Of robbers by the river-drift
In force recruited; they suspend
Their going hence to Jordan's trees.
Released from travel, in good hour
Nehemiah dozed within the tower.
Uplands they range, and woo the breeze
Where crumbled aqueducts and mounds
Override long slopes and terraces,


And shattered pottery abounds—
Or such would seem, yet may but be
The shards of tile-like brick dispersed
Binding the wall or bulwark erst,
Such as in Kent still serve that end
In Richborough castle by the sea—
A Roman hold. What breadth of doom
As of the worlds in strata penned—
So cosmic seems the wreck of Rome.
Not wholly proof to natural sway
Of serious hearts and manners mild,
Uncouthly Margoth shared the way.
He controverted all the wild,
And in especial, Sodom's strand
Of marl and clinker: “Sirs, heed me:
This total tract,” and Esau's hand
He waved; “the plain—the vale—Lot's sea—
It needs we scientists remand
Back from old theologic myth
To geologic hammers. Pray,
Let me but give ye here the pith:
As the Phlegræan fields no more
Befool men as the spookish shore
Where Jove felled giants, but are known—
The Solfatara and each cone
Volcanic—to be but on a par
With all things natural; even so
Siddim shall likewise be set far
From fable.”
Part overhearing this,
Derwent, in rear with Rolfe: “Old clo'!
We've heard all that, and long ago:
Conceit of vacant emphasis:
Well, well!”—Here archly, Rolfe: “But own,
How graceful your concession—won
A score or two of years gone by.


Nor less therefrom at need ye'll fly,
Allow. Scarce easy 'tis to hit
Each slippery turn of cleric wit.”
Derwent but laughed; then said—“But he:
Intelligence veneers his mien
Though rude: unprofitably keen:
Sterile, and with sterility
Self-satisfied.” “But this is odd!
Not often do we hear you rail:
The gown it seems does yet avail,
Since from the sleeve you draw the rod.
But look, they lounge.”
Yes, all recline,
And on the site where havoc clove
The last late palm of royal line,
Sad Montezuma of the grove.
The mountain of the Imp they see
Scowl at the freedom which they take
Relaxed beneath his very lee.
The bread of wisdom here to break,
Margoth holds forth: the gossip tells
Of things the prophets left unsaid—
With master-key unlocks the spells
And mysteries of the world unmade;
Then mentions Salem: “Stale is she!
Lay flat the walls, let in the air,
That folk no more may sicken there!
Wake up the dead; and let there be
Rails, wires, from Olivet to the sea,
With station in Gethsemane.”
The priest here flushed. Rolfe rose: and, “How—
You go too far!” “A long Dutch mile
Behind the genius of our time.”
“Explain that, pray.” “And don't you know?
Malbrino's helmet is sublime—


The barber's basin may be vile:
Whether this basin is that helm
To vast debate has given rise—
Question profound for blinking eyes;
But common sense throughout her realm
Has settled it.”
There, like vain wight
His fine thing said, bidding friends good night,
He, to explore a rift they see,
Parted, bequeathing, as might be,
A glance which said—Again ye'll pine
Left to yourselves here in decline,
Missing my brave vitality!


Derwent fetched breath: “A healthy man:
His lungs are of the soundest leather.”
“Health's insolence in a Saurian,”
Said Rolfe. With that they fell together
Probing the purport of the Jew
In last ambiguous words he threw.
But Derwent, and in lenient way,
Explained it.
“Let him have his say,”
Cried Rolfe; “for one, I spare defiance
With such a kangaroo of science.”
“Yes; qualify though,” Derwent said,
“For science has her eagles too.”
Here musefully Rolfe hung the head;
Then lifted: “Eagles? ay; but few.


And search we in their æries lone
What find we, pray? perchance, a bone.”
“A very cheerful point of view!”
“'Tis as one takes it. Not unknown
That even in Physics much late lore
But drudges after Plato's theme;
Or supplements—but little more—
Some Hindoo's speculative dream
Of thousand years ago. And, own,
Darwin is but his grandsire's son.”
“But Newton and his gravitation!”
“Think you that system's strong persuasion
Is founded beyond shock? O'ermuch
'Twould seem for man, a clod, to clutch
God's secret so, and on a slate
Cipher all out, and formulate
The universe.” “You Pyrrhonist!
Why, now, perhaps you do not see—
Your mind has taken such a twist—
The claims of stellar chemistry.”
“What's that?” “No matter. Time runs on
And much that's useful, grant, is won.”
“Yes; but more's claimed. Now first they tell
The human mind is free to range.
Enlargement—ay; but where's the change?
We're yet within the citadel—
May rove in bounds, and study out
The insuperable towers about.”
“Come; but there's many a merry man:
How long since these sad times began?”
That steadied Rolfe: “Where's no annoy
I too perchance can take a joy—
Yet scarce in solitude of thought:
Together cymbals need be brought


Ere mirth is made. The wight alone
Who laughs, is deemed a witless one.
And why? But that we'll leave unsought.”
“By all means!—O ye frolic shapes:
Thou Dancing Faun, thou Faun with Grapes!
What think ye of them? tell us, pray.”
“Fine mellow marbles.”
“But their hint?”
“A mine as deep as rich the mint
Of cordial joy in Nature's sway
Shared somewhere by anterior clay
When life was innocent and free:
Methinks 'tis this they hint to me.”
He paused, as one who makes review
Of gala days; then—warmly too—
“Whither hast fled, thou deity
So genial? In thy last and best
Best avatar—so ripe in form—
Pure as the sleet—as roses warm—
Our earth's unmerited fair guest—
A god with peasants went abreast:
Man clasped a deity's offered hand;
And woman, ministrant, was then
How true, even in a Magdalen.
Him following through the wilding flowers
By lake and hill, or glad detained
In Cana—ever out of doors—
Ere yet the disenchantment gained
What dream they knew, that primal band
Of gipsy Christians! But it died;
Back rolled the world's effacing tide:
The “world”—by Him denounced, defined—
Him first—set off and countersigned,
Once and for all, as opposite
To honest children of the light.
But worse came—creeds, wars, stakes. Oh, men


Made earth inhuman; yes, a den
Worse for Christ's coming, since his love
(Perverted) did but venom prove.
In part that's passed. But what remains
After fierce seethings? golden grains?
Nay, dubious dregs: be frank, and own.
Opinion eats; all crumbles down:
Where stretched an isthmus, rolls a strait:
Cut off, cut off! Can'st feel elate
While all the depths of Being moan
Though luminous on every hand,
The breadths of shallow knowledge more expand?
Much as a light-ship keeper pines
Mid shoals immense, where dreary shines
His lamp, we toss beneath the ray
Of Science' beacon. This to trim
Is now man's barren office.—Nay,”
Starting abrupt, “this earnest way
I hate. Let doubt alone; best skim,
Not dive.”
“No, no,” cried Derwent gay,
Who late, upon acquaintance more,
Took no mislike to Rolfe at core,
And fain would make his knell a chime—
Being pledged to hold the palmy time
Of hope—at least, not to admit
That serious check might come to it:
“No, sun doubt's root—'twill fade, 'twill fade!
And for thy picture of the Prime,
Green Christianity in glade—
Why, let it pass; 'tis good, in sooth:
Who summons poets to the truth?”
How Vine sidelong regarded him
As 'twere in envy of his gift


For light disposings: so to skim!
Clarel surmised the expression's drift,
Thereby anew was led to sift
Good Derwent's mind. For Rolfe's discourse—
Prior recoil from Margoth's jeer
Was less than startled shying here
At earnest comment's random force.
He shrunk; but owned 'twas weakness mere.
Himself he chid: No more for me
The petty half-antipathy:
This pressure it need be endured:
Weakness to strength must get inured;
And Rolfe is sterling, though not less
At variance with that parlor-strain
Which counts each thought that borders pain
A social treason. Sterling—yes,
Despite illogical wild range
Of brain and heart's impulsive counterchange.


As by the wood drifts thistle-down
And settles on soft mosses fair,
Stillness was wafted, dropped and sown;
Which stillness Vine, with timorous air
Of virgin tact, thus brake upon,
Nor with chance hint: “One can't forbear
Thinking that Margoth is—a Jew.”
Hereat, as for response, they view
The priest.
“And, well, why me?” he cried;


“With one consent why turn to me?
Am I professional? Nay, free!
I grant that here by Judah's side
Queerly it jars with frame implied
To list this geologic Jew
His way Jehovah's world construe:
In Gentile 'twould not seem so odd.
But here may preconceptions thrall?
Be many Hebrews we recall
Whose contrast with the breastplate bright
Of Aaron flushed in altar-light,
And Horeb's Moses, rock and rod,
Or closeted alone with God,
Quite equals Margoth's in its way:
At home we meet them every day.
The Houndsditch clothesman scarce would seem
Akin to seers. For one, I deem
Jew banker, merchant, statesman—these,
With artist, actress known to fame,
All strenuous in each Gentile aim,
Are Nature's off-hand witnesses
There's nothing mystic in her reign:
Your Jew's like wheat from Pharaoh's tomb:
Sow it in England, what will come?
The weird old seed yields market grain.”
Pleased by his wit while some recline,
A smile uncertain lighted Vine,
But died away.
“Jews share the change,”
Derwent proceeded: “Range, they range—
In liberal sciences they roam;
They're leavened, and it works, believe;
Signs are, and such as scarce deceive
From Holland, that historic home
Of erudite Israel, many a tome
Talmudic, shipped is over sea


For antiquarian rubbish.”
Cried Rolfe; “e'en that indeed may be,
Nor less the Jew keep fealty
To ancient rites. Aaron's gemmed vest
Will long outlive Genevan cloth—
Nothing in Time's old camphor-chest
So little subject to the moth.
But Rabbis have their troublers too.
Nay, if thro' dusty stalls we look,
Haply we disinter to view
More than one bold freethinking Jew
That in his day with vigor shook
Faith's leaning tower.”
“Which stood the throe,”
Here Derwent in appendix: “look,
Faith's leaning tower was founded so:
Faith leaned from the beginning; yes,
If slant, she holds her steadfastness.”
“May be;” and paused: “but wherefore clog?—
Uriel Acosta, he was one
Who troubled much the synagogue—
Recanted then, and dropped undone:
A suicide. There's Heine, too,
(In lineage crossed by blood of Jew,)
Pale jester, to whom life was yet
A tragic farce; whose wild death-rattle,
In which all voids and hollows met,
Desperately maintained the battle
Betwixt the dirge and castanet.
But him leave to his Paris stone
And rail, and friendly wreath thereon.
Recall those Hebrews, which of old
Sharing some doubts we moderns rue,
Would fain Eclectic comfort fold


By grafting slips from Plato's palm
On Moses' melancholy yew:
But did they sprout? So we seek balm
By kindred graftings. Is that true?”
“Why ask? But see: there lived a Jew—
No Alexandrine Greekish one—
You know him—Moses Mendelssohn.”
“Is't him you cite? True spirit staid,
He, though his honest heart was scourged
By doubt Judaic, never laid
His burden at Christ's door; he urged—
‘Admit the mounting flames enfold
My basement; wisely shall my feet
The attic win, for safe retreat?’”
“And he said that? Poor man, he's cold.
But was not this that Mendelssohn
Whose Hebrew kinswoman's Hebrew son,
Baptized to Christian, worthily won
The good name of Neander so?”
“If that link were, well might one urge
From such example, thy strange flow,
Conviction! Breaking habit's tether,
Sincerest minds will yet diverge
Like chance-clouds scattered by mere weather;
Nor less at one point still they meet:
The self-hood keep they pure and sweet.”
“But Margoth,” in reminder here
Breathed Vine, as if while yet the ray
Lit Rolfe, to try his further cheer:
“But Margoth!”
“He, poor sheep astray,
The Levitic cipher quite erased,
On what vile pig-weed hath he grazed.
Not his Spinosa's starry brow
(A non-conformer, ye'll allow),


A lion in brain, in life a lamb,
Sinless recluse of Amsterdam;
Who, in the obscure and humble lane,
Such strangers seemed to entertain
As sat by tent beneath the tree
On Mamre's plain—mysterious three,
The informing guests of Abraham.
But no, it had but ill beseemed
If God's own angels so could list
To visit one, Pan's Atheist.
That high intelligence but dreamed—
Above delusion's vulgar plain
Deluded still. The erring twain,
Spinosa and poor Margoth here,
Both Jews, which in dissent do vary:
In these what parted poles appear—
The blind man and the visionary.”
“And whose the eye that sees aright
If any?” Clarel eager asked.
Aside Rolfe turned as overtasked;
And none responded. 'Twas like night
Descending from the seats of light,
Or seeming thence to fall. But here
Sedate a kindly tempered look
Private and confidential spoke
From Derwent's eyes, Clarel to cheer:
Take heart; something to fit thy youth
Instill I may, some saving truth—
Not best just now to volunteer.
Thought Clarel: Pray, and what wouldst prove?
Thy faith an over-easy glove.
Meanwhile Vine had relapsed. They saw
In silence the heart's shadow draw—
Rich shadow, such as gardens keep


In bower aside, where glow-worms peep
In evening over the virgin bed
Where dark-green periwinkles sleep—
Their bud the Violet of the Dead.


On the third morn, a misty one,
Equipped they sally for the wave
Of Jordan. With his escort brown
The Israelite attendance gave
For that one day and night alone.
Slung by a cord from saddle-bow,
Is it the mace of Ivanhoe?
Rolfe views, and comments: “Note, I pray,”
He said to Derwent on the way,
“Yon knightly hammer. 'Tis with that
He stuns, and would exterminate
Your creeds as dragons.”
With light fire
Of wit, the priest rejoinder threw;
But turned to look at Nehemiah:
The laboring ass with much ado
Of swerving neck would, at the sight
Of bramble-tops, snatch for a bite;
And though it bred him joltings ill—
In patience that did never tire,
Her rider let her have her will.
The apostate, ready with his sneer:
“Yes, you had better—'tis a she.”
To Rolfe said Derwent: “There, you see:


It is these infidels that jeer
At everything.”
The Jew withheld
His mare, and let Nehemiah pass:
“Who is this Balaam on the ass?”
But none his wonderment dispelled.
Now skies distill a vaporous rain;
So looked the sunken slimy plain—
Such semblance of the vacuum shared,
As 'twere the quaking sea-bed bared
By the Caracas. All was still:
So much the more their bosoms thrill
With dream of some withdrawn vast surge
Its timed return about to urge
And whelm them.
But a cry they hear:
The steed of Mortmain, led in rear,
Broke loose and ran. “Horse too run mad?”
Cried Derwent; “shares his rider's mind—
His rider late? shun both their kind?
Poor Swede! But where was it he said
We should rejoin?” “'Tis by Lot's sea,
Remember. And, pray heaven, it be!—
Look, the steed's caught.”
Suspicious ground
They skirt, with ugly bushes crowned;
And thereinto, against surprise,
The vigilant Spahi throws his eyes:
To take of distant chance a bond,
Djalea looks forward, and beyond.
At this, some riders feel that awe
Which comes of sense of absent law,
And irreligious human kind,
Relapsed, remanded, reassigned
To chaos and brute passions blind.


But is it Jordan, Jordan dear,
That doth that evil bound define
Which borders on the barbarous sphere—
Jordan, even Jordan, stream divine?
In Clarel ran such revery here.
Belex his flint adjusts and rights,
Sharp speaks unto his Bethlehemites;
Then, signaled by Djalea, through air
Surveys the further ridges bare.
Foreshortened 'gainst a long-sloped hight
Beyond the wave whose wash of foam
Beats to the base of Moab home,
Seven furious horsemen fling their flight
Like eagles when they launching rush
To snatch the prey that hies to bush.
Dwarfed so these look, while yet afar
Descried. But trusting in their star,
Onward a space the party push;
But halt is called; the Druze rides on,
Bids Belex stand, and goes alone.
Now, for the nonce, those speeders sink
Viewless behind the arborous brink.
Thereto the staid one rides—peers in—
Then waves a hand. They gain his side,
Meeting the river's rapid tide
Here sluicing through embowered ravine
Such as of yore was Midian's screen
For rites impure. Facing, and near,
Across the waves which intervene,
In shade the robbers reappear:
Swart, sinuous men on silvery steeds—
Abreast, save where the copse impedes.
At halt, and mute, and in the van
Confronting them, with lengthy gun
Athwart the knee, and hand thereon,


Djalea waits. The mare and man
Show like a stone equestrian
Set up for homage. Over there
'Twas hard for mounted men to move
Among the thickets interwove,
Which dipped the stream and made a snare.
But, undeterred, the riders press
This way and that among the branches,
Picking them lanes through each recess,
Till backward on their settling haunches
The steeds withstand the slippery slope,
While yet their outflung fore-feet grope;
Then, like sword-push that ends in lunge,
The slide becomes a weltering plunge:
The willows drip, the banks resound;
They halloo, and with spray are crowned.
The torrent, swelled by Lebanon rains,
The spirited horses bravely stem,
Snorting, half-blinded by their manes,
Nor let the current master them.
As the rope-dancer on the hair
Poises the long slim pole in air;
Twirling their slender spears in pride,
Each horseman in imperiled seat
Blends skill and grace with courage meet.
Soon as they win the hither side,
Like quicksilver to beach they glide,
Dismounting, and essay the steep,
The horses led by slackened rein:
Slippery foothold ill they keep.
To help a grim one of the band
Good Nehemiah with mickle strain
Down reaches a decrepit hand:
The sheik ignores it—bandit dun,
Foremost in stride as first in rank—
Rejects it, and the knoll is won.


Challengingly he stares around,
Then stakes his spear upon the bank
As one reclaiming rightful ground.
Like otters when to land they go,
Riders and steeds how sleekly show.
The first inquiring look they trace
Is gun by gun, as face by face:
Salute they yield, for arms they view
Inspire respect sincere and true.
Meantime, while in their bearing shows
The thought which still their life attends,
And habit of encountering foes—
The thought that strangers scarce are friends—
What think the horses? Zar must needs
Be sociable; the robber steeds
She whinnies to; even fain would sway
Neck across neck in lovesome way.
Great Solomon, of rakish strain,
Trumpets—would be Don John again.
The sheik, without a moment's doubt,
Djalea for captain singles out;
And, after parley brief, would fain
Handle that pistol of the guide,
The new revolver at his side.
The Druze assents, nor shows surprise.
Barrel, cap, screw, the Arab tries;
And ah, the contrast needs he own:
Alack, for his poor lance and gun,
Though heirlooms both: the piece in stock
Half honeycombed, with cumbrous lock;
The spear like some crusader's pole
Dropped long ago when death-damps stole
Over the knight in Richard's host,
Then left to warp by Acre lost:
Dry rib of lance. But turning now
Upon his sweetheart, he was cheered


Her eye he met, the violet-glow,
Peaked ear, the mane's redundant flow;
It heartened him, and round he veered;
Elate he shot a brigand glare:
I, Ishmael, have my desert mare!
Elicited by contact's touch,
Tyrannous spleen vexed Belex much,
Misliking in poor tribe to mark
Freedom unawed and nature's spark.
With tutoring glance, a tempered fire,
The Druze repressed the illiberal ire.
The silvered saint came gently near,
Meekly intrepid, tract in hand,
And reached it with a heart sincere
Unto the sheik, whose fingers spanned
The shrewd revolver, loath to let
That coveted bauble go as yet.
“Nay,” breathed the Druze, and gently here:
“The print he likes not; let him be;
Pray now, he deems it sorcery.”
They drew him back. In rufflement
The sheik threw round a questioning eye;
Djalea explained, and drew more nigh,
Recalling him to old content;
Regained the weapon; and, from stores
Kept for such need, wary he pours
A dole of powder.
So they part—
Recrossing Jordan, horse and gun,
With warrior cry and brandished dart,
Where, in the years whose goal is won,
The halcyon Teacher waded in with John.



And do the clear sands pure and cold
At last each virgin elf enfold?
Under what drift of silvery spar
Sleeps now thy servant, Holy Rood,
Which in the age of brotherhood
Approaching here Bethabara
By wilds the verse depicted late,
Of Jordan caught a fortunate
Fair twinkle starry under trees;
And, with his crossed palms heartward pressed,
Bowed him, or dropped on reverent knees,
Warbling that hymn of beauty blest—
The Ave maris stella?—Lo,
The mound of him do field-mice know?
Nor less the rite, a rule serene,
Appropriate in tender grace,
Became the custom of the place
With each devouter Frank.
A truce
Here following the din profuse
Of Moab's swimming robbers keen,
Rolfe, late enamored of the spell
Of rituals olden, thought it well
To observe the Latin usage: “Look,”
Showing a small convenient book
In vellum bound; embossed thereon,
'Tween angels with a rosy crown,
Viols, Cecilia on a throne:
“Thanks, friar Benignus Muscatel;
Thy gift I prize, given me in cell
Of St. John's convent.—Comrades, come!
If heaven delight in spirits glad,


And men were all for brothers made,
Grudge not, beseech, to joy with Rome;”
And launched the hymn. Quick to rejoice,
The liberal priest lent tenor voice;
And marking them in cheery bloom
On turf inviting, even Vine,
Ravished from his reserve supine,
Drew near and overlooked the page—
All self-surprised he overlooked,
Joining his note impulsively;
Yet, flushing, seemed as scarce he brooked
This joy. Was joy a novelty?
Fraternal thus, the group engage—
While now the sun, obscured before,
Illumed for time the wooded shore—
In tribute to the beach and tide.
The triple voices blending glide,
Assimilating more and more,
Till in the last ascriptive line
Which thrones the Father, lauds the Son,
Came concord full, completion fine—
Rapport of souls in harmony of tone.
Meantime Nehemiah, eager bent,
Instinctive caught the sentiment;
But checked himself; and, in mixed mood,
Uncertain or relapsing stood,
Till ere the singers cease to thrill,
His joy is stayed. How cometh this?
True feeling, steadfast faith are his,
While they at best do but fulfill
A transient, an esthetic glow;
Knew he at last—could he but know—
The rite was alien? that no form
Approved was his, which here might warm
Meet channel for emotion's tide?


Apart he went, scarce satisfied;
But presently slipped down to where
The river ran, and tasting spare,
Not quaffing, sighed, “As sugar sweet!”
Though unsweet was it from the flow
Of turbid, troubled waters fleet.
Now Margoth—who had paced the strand
Gauging the level of the land,
Computing part the Jordan's fall
From Merom's spring, and therewithal
Had ended with a river-sip,
Which straight he spewed—here curled the lip
At hearing Nehemiah: The fool!
Fool meek and fulsome like to this—
Too old again to go to school—
Was never! wonder who he is:
I'll ask himself.—“Who art thou, say?”
“The chief of sinners.”—“Lack-a-day,
I think so too;” and moved away,
Low muttering in his ill content
At that so Christian bafflement;
And hunted up his sumpter mule
Intent on lunch. A pair hard by
He found. The third some person sly
In deeper shade had hitched—more cool.
This was that mule whose rarer wine,
In pannier slung and blushing shy,
The Thessalonian did decline
Away with him in flight to take,
And friendly gave them when farewell he spake,



Ah Rome, your tie! may child clean part?
Nay, tugs the mother at the heart!”
Strange voice that was which three there heard
Reclined upon the bank. They turned;
And he, the speaker of the word,
Stood in the grass, with eyes that burned
How eloquent upon the group.
“Here urging on before our troop,”
He said, “I caught your choral strains—
Spurred quicker, lighted, tied my mule
Behind you clump; and, for my pains,
Meet—three, I ween, who slight the rule
Of Rome, yet thence do here indeed,
Through strong compulsion of the need,
Derive fair rite: or may I err?”
Surprise they knew, yet made a stir
Of welcome, gazing on the man
In white robe of Dominican,
Of aspect strong, though cheek was spare,
Yellowed with tinge athlete may wear
Whom rigorous masters overtrain
When they with scourge of more and more
Would macerate him into power.
In wrought herewith was yet the air
And open frontage frankly fair
Of one who'd moved in active scene
And swayed men where they most convene.
His party came from Saba last,
Camping by Lot's wave overnight—
French pilgrims. So he did recite


Being questioned. Thereupon they passed
To matters of more pith. Debate
They held, built on that hymning late;
Till in reply to Derwent's strain
Thus warmed he, that Dominican:
“Crafty is Rome, you deem? Her art
Is simple, quarried from the heart.
Rough marbles, rudiments of worth
Ye win from ledges under earth;
Ye trim them, fit them, make them shine
In structures of a fair design.
Well, fervors as obscure in birth—
Precious, though fleeting in their dates—
Rome culls, adapts, perpetuates
In ordered rites. 'Tis these supply
Means to the mass to beautify
The rude emotion; lend meet voice
To organs which would fain rejoice
But lack the song; and oft present
To sorrow bound, an instrument
Which liberates. Each hope, each fear
Between the christening and the bier
Still Rome provides for, and with grace
And tact which hardly find a place
In uninspired designs.”
“Let be
Thou Paul! shall Festus yield to thee?”
Cried Rolfe; “and yet,” in altered tone,
“Even these fair things—ah, change goes on!”
“Change? yes, but not with us. In rout
Sword-hilts rap at the Vatican,
And, lo, an old, old man comes out:
‘What would ye?’ ‘Change!’ ‘I never change.’”
“Things changing not when all things change
Need perish then, one might retort,


Nor err.”
“Ay, things of human sort.”
“Rome superhuman?”
“As ye will.
Brave schemes these boyish times instill;
But Rome has lived a thousand years:
Shall not a thousand years know more
Than nonage may?” “Then all the cheers
Which hail the good time deemed at door
Are but the brayings which attest
The foolish, many-headed beast!”
“Hardly that inference I own.
The people once elected me
To be their spokesman. In this gown
I sat in legislative hall
A champion of true liberty—
God's liberty for one and all—
Not Satan's license. Mine's the state
Of a staunch Catholic Democrat.”
Indulgent here was Derwent's smile,
Incredulous was Rolfe's. But he:
“Hardly those terms ye reconcile.
And yet what is it that we see?
Before the Church our human race
Stand equal. None attain to place
Therein through claim of birth or fee.
No monk so mean but he may dare
Aspire to sit in Peter's chair.”
“Why, true,” said Derwent; “but what then?
That sums not all. And what think men?”
And, briefly, more, about the rot
Of Rome in Luther's time, the canker spot.
“Well,” said the monk, “I'll not gainsay
Some things you put: I own the shame:
Reform was needed, yes, and came—


Reform within. But let that go—
That era's gone: how fares it now?—
Melancthon! was forecast by thee,
Who fain had tempered Luther's mind,
This riot of reason quite set free:
Sects—sects bisected—sects disbanded
Into plain deists underhanded?
Against all this stands Rome's array:
Rome is the Protestant to-day:
The Red Republic slinging flame
In Europe—she's your Scarlet Dame.
Rome stands; but who may tell the end?
Relapse barbaric may impend,
Dismission into ages blind—
Moral dispersion of mankind.
Ah, God,” and dropped upon the knee:
“These flocks which range so far from Thee,
Ah, leave them not to be undone:
Let them not cower as 'twixt the sea
And storm—in panic crowd and drown!”
He rose, resumed his previous cheer
With something of a bearing sweet.
“Brother,” said Derwent friendly here,
“I'm glad to know ye, glad to meet,
Even though, in part, your Rome seeks ends
Not mine. But, see, there pass your friends:
Call they your name?”
“Yes, yes” he said,
And rose to loose his mule; “you're right;
We go to win the further bed
Of Jordan, by the convent's site.
A parting word: Methinks ye hold
Reserved objections. I'll unfold
But one:—Rome being fixed in form,
Unyielding there, how may she keep
Adjustment with new times? But deep


Below rigidities of form
The invisible nerves and tissues change
Adaptively. As men that range
From clime to clime, from zone to zone
(Say Russian hosts that menace Ind)
Through all vicissitudes still find
The body acclimate itself
While form and function hold their own—
Again they call:—Well, you are wise;
Enough—you can analogize
And take my meaning: I have done.
No, one more point:—Science but deals
With Nature; Nature is not God;
Never she answers our appeals,
Or, if she do, but mocks the clod.
Call to the echo—it returns
The word you send; how thrive the ferns
About the ruined house of prayer
In woods; one shadow falleth yet
From Christian spire—Turk minaret:
Consider the indifference there.
'Tis so throughout. Shall Science then
Which solely dealeth with this thing
Named Nature, shall she ever bring
One solitary hope to men?
'Tis Abba Father that we seek,
Not the Artificer. I speak,
But scarce may utter. Let it be.
Adieu; remember—Oh, not me;
But if with years should fail delight
As things unmask abroad and home;
Then, should ye yearn in reason's spite,
Remember hospitable Rome.”
He turned, and would have gone; but, no,
New matter struck him: “Ere I go


Yet one word more; and bear with me:
Whatever your belief may be—
If well ye wish to human kind,
Be not so mad, unblest, and blind
As, in such days as these, to try
To pull down Rome. If Rome could fall
'Twould not be Rome alone, but all
Religion. All with Rome have tie,
Even the railers which deny,
All but the downright Anarchist,
Christ-hater, Red, and Vitriolist.
Could libertine dreams true hope disable,
Rome's tomb would prove Abaddon's cradle.
Weigh well the Pope. Though he should be
Despoiled of Charlemagne's great fee—
Cast forth, and made a begging friar,
That would not quell him. No, the higher
Rome's In excelsis would extol
Her God—her De profundis roll
The deeper. Let destructives mind
The reserves upon reserves behind.
Offence I mean not. More's to tell:
But frigates meet—hail—part. Farewell.”
And, going, he a verse did weave,
Or hummed in low recitative:
“Yearly for a thousand years
On Christmas Day the wreath appears,
And the people joy together:
Prithee, Prince or Parliament,
An equal holiday invent
Outlasting centuries of weather.
“Arrested by a trembling shell,
Wee tinkle of the small mass-bell,


A giant drops upon the knee.
Thou art wise—effect as much;
Let thy wisdom by a touch
Reverence like this decree.”


Patcher of the rotten cloth,
Pickler of the wing o' the moth,
Toaster of bread stale in date,
Tinker of the rusty plate,
Botcher of a crumbling tomb,
Pounder with the holy hammer,
Gaffer-gammer, gaffer-gammer—
The broker take your trumpery pix
Paten and chalice! Turn ye—lo,
Here's bread, here's wine. In Mexico
Earthquakes lay flat your crucifix:
All, all's geology, I trow.
Away to your Pope Joan—go!”
As he the robed one decorous went,
From copse that doggerel was sent
And after-cry. Half screened from view
'Twas Margoth, who, reclined at lunch,
Had overheard, nor spared to munch,
And thence his contumely threw.
Rolfe, rising, had replied thereto,
And with some heat, but Derwent's hand


Caught at his skirt: Nay, of what use?
But wind, foul wind.”—Here fell a truce,
Which Margoth could but understand;
Wiping his mouth he hied away.
The student who apart though near
Had heard the Frank with tingling cheer,
Awaited now the after-play
Of comment; and it followed: “Own,”
Said Rolfe, “he took no shallow tone,
That new St. Dominick. Who'll repay?
Wilt thou?” to Derwent turning.—“No,
Not I! But had our Scot been near
To meet your Papal nuncio!
Fight fire with fire. But for me here,
You must have marked I did abstain.—
Odd, odd: this man who'd make our age
To Hildebrand's an appanage—
So able too—lit by our light—
Curious, he should so requite!
And, yes, lurked somewhat in his strain—”
“And in his falling on the knee?”
“Those supple hinges I let be.”
“Is the man false?”
“No, hardly that.
'Tis difficult to tell. But see:
Doubt late was an aristocrat;
But now the barbers' clerks do swell
In cast clothes of the infidel;
The more then one can now believe,
The more one's differenced, perceive,
From ribald commonplace. Here Rome
Comes in. This intellectual man—
Half monk, half tribune, partisan—
Who, as he hints—'tis troublesome
To analyze, and thankless too:
Much better be a dove, and coo


Softly. Come then, I'll e'en agree
His manner has a certain lure,
Disinterested, earnest, pure
And liberal. 'Tis such as he
Win over men.”
“There's Rome, her camp
Of tried instruction. She can stamp,
On the recruit that's framed aright,
The bearing of a Bayard knight
Ecclesiastic. I applaud
Her swordsmen of the priestly sword
Wielded in spiritual fight.”
“Indeed? take care! Rome lacks not charm
For fervid souls. Arm ye, forearm!
For syrens has she too,—her race
Of sainted virgin ones, with grace
Beyond the grace of Grecian calm,
For this is chill, but that how warm.”
“A frank concession.” “To be sure!
Since Rome may never me allure
By her enticing arts; since all
The bias of the days that be
Away leans from Authority,
And most when hierarchical;
So that the future of the Pope
Is cast in no fair horoscope;
In brief, since Rome must still decay;
Less care I to disown or hide
Aught that she has of merit rare:
Her legends—some are sweet as May;
Ungarnered wealth no doubt is there,
(Too long ignored by Luther's pride)
But which perchance in days divine
(Era, whereof I read the sign)
When much that sours the sects is gone,
Like Dorian myths the bards shall own—


Yes, prove the poet's second mine.”
“All that,” said Rolfe, “is very fine;
But Rome subsists, she lives to-day,
She re-affirms herself, her sway
Seductive draws rich minds away;
Some pastures, too, yield many a rover:
Sheep, sheep and shepherd running over.”
“Such sheep and shepherds, let them go;
They are not legion: and you know
What draws. Little imports it all
Overbalanced by that tidal fall
Of Rome in Southern Europe. Come.”
“If the tide fall or here or there,
Be sure 'tis rolling in elsewhere.”
“So oceanic then is Rome?”
“Nay, but there's ample sea-verge left:
A hemisphere invites.—When reft
From Afric, and the East its home,
The church shot out through wild and wood—
Germany, Gaul and Britain, Spain—
Colonized, Latinized, and made good
Her loss, and more—resolved to reign.”
“Centuries, centuries long ago!
What's that to us? I am surprised.
Rome's guns are spiked; and they'll stay so.
The world is now too civilized
For Rome. Your noble Western soil—
What! that be given up for spoil
“There is an Unforeseen.
Fate never gives a guarantee
That she'll abstain from aught. And men
Get tired at last of being free—
Whether in states—in states or creeds.
For what's the sequel? Verily,
Laws scribbled by law-breakers, creeds


Scrawled by the freethinkers, and deeds
Shameful and shameless. Men get sick
Under that curse of Frederic
The cynical: For punishment
This rebel province I present
To the philosophers. But, how?
Whole nations now philosophize,
And do their own undoing now.—
Who's gained by all the sacrifice
Of Europe's revolutions? who?
The Protestant? the Liberal?
I do not think it—not at all:
Rome and the Atheist have gained:
These two shall fight it out—these two;
Protestantism being retained
For base of operations sly
By Atheism.”
Without reply
Derwent low whistled—twitched a spray
That overhung: “What tree is this?”
“The tree of knowledge, I dare say;
But you don't eat.”—“That's not amiss,”
The good man laughed; but, changing, “O,
That a New-Worlder should talk so!”
“'Tis the New World that mannered me,
Yes, gave me this vile liberty
To reverence naught, not even herself.”
“How say you? you're the queerest elf!
But here's a thought I still pursue—
A thought I dreamed each thinker knew:
No more can men be what they've been;
All's altered—earth's another scene.”
“Man's heart is what it used to be.”
“I don't know that.”
“But Rome does, though:
And hence her stout persistency.


What mean her re-adopted modes
Even in the enemy's abodes?
Their place old emblems reassume.
She bides—content to let but blow
Among the sects that peak and pine,
Incursions of her taking bloom.”
“The censer's musk?—'Tis not the vine,
Vine evangelic, branching out
In fruitful latitude benign,
With all her bounty roundabout—
Each cluster, shaded or in sun,
Still varying from each other one,
But all true members, all with wine
Derived from Christ their stem and stock;
'Tis scarce that vine which doth unlock
The fragrance that you hint of. No,
The Latin plant don't flourish so;
Of sad distemper 'tis the seat;
Pry close, and startled you shall meet
Parasite-bugs—black swarming ones.”
“The monks?”—“You jest: thinned out, those drones.”
Considerate uncommitted eyes
Charged with things manifold and wise,
Rolfe turned upon good Derwent here;
Then changed: “Fall back we must. Yon mule
With pannier: Come, in stream we'll cool
The wine ere quaffing.—Muleteer!”



While now, to serve the pilgrim train,
The Arabs willow branches hew,
(For palms they serve in dearth of true),
Or, kneeling by the margin, stoop
To brim memorial bottles up;
And the Greek's wine entices two:
Apart see Clarel here incline,
Perplexed by that Dominican,
Nor less by Rolfe—capricious man:
“I cannot penetrate him.—Vine?”
As were Venetian slats between,
He espied him through a leafy screen,
Luxurious there in umbrage thrown,
Light sprays above his temples blown—
The river through the green retreat
Hurrying, reveling by his feet.
Vine looked an overture, but said
Nothing, till Clarel leaned—half laid—
Beside him: then “We dream, or be
In sylvan John's baptistery:
May Pisa's equal beauty keep?—
But how bad habits persevere!
I have been moralizing here
Like any imbecile: as thus:
Look how these willows over-weep
The waves, and plain: ‘Fleet so from us?
And wherefore? whitherward away?
Your best is here where wildings sway
And the light shadow's blown about;
Ah, tarry, for at hand's a sea
Whence ye shall never issue out
Once in.’ They sing back: ‘So let be!


We mad-caps hymn it as we flow—
Short life and merry! be it so!’”
Surprised at such a fluent turn,
The student did but listen—learn.
Putting aside the twigs which screened,
Again Vine spake, and lightly leaned
“Look; in yon vault so leafy dark,
At deep end lit by gemmy spark
Of mellowed sunbeam in a snare;
Over the stream—ay, just through there—
The sheik on that celestial mare
Shot, fading.—Clan of outcast Hagar,
Well do ye come by spear and dagger!
Yet in your bearing ye outvie
Our western Red Men, chiefs that stalk
In mud paint—whirl the tomahawk.—
But in these Nimrods noted you
The natural language of the eye,
Burning or liquid, flame or dew,
As still the changeable quick mood
Made transit in the wayward blood?
Methought therein one might espy,
For all the wildness, thoughts refined
By the old Asia's dreamful mind;
But hark—a bird?”
Pure as the rain
Which diamondeth with lucid grain,
The white swan in the April hours
Floating between two sunny showers
Upon the lake, while buds unroll;
So pure, so virginal in shrine
Of true unworldliness looked Vine.
Ah, clear sweet ether of the soul
(Mused Clarel), holding him in view.
Prior advances unreturned


Not here he recked of, while he yearned—
O, now but for communion true
And close; let go each alien theme;
Give me thyself!
But Vine, at will
Dwelling upon his wayward dream,
Nor as suspecting Clarel's thrill
Of personal longing, rambled still;
“Methinks they show a lingering trace
Of some quite unrecorded race
Such as the Book of Job implies.
What ages of refinings wise
Must have forerun what there is writ—
More ages than have followed it.
At Lydda late, as chance would have,
Some tribesmen from the south I saw,
Their tents pitched in the Gothic nave,
The ruined one. Disowning law,
Not lawless lived they; no, indeed;
Their chief—why, one of Sydney's clan,
A slayer, but chivalric man;
And chivalry, with all that breed
Was Arabic or Saracen
In source, they tell. But, as men stray
Further from Ararat away
Pity it were did they recede
In carriage, manners, and the rest;
But no, for ours the palm indeed
In bland amenities far West!
Come now, for pastime let's complain;
Grudged thanks, Columbus, for thy main!
Put back, as 'twere—assigned by fate
To fight crude Nature o'er again,
By slow degrees we re-create.
But then, alas, in Arab camps
No lack, they say, no lack of scamps.”


Divided mind knew Clarel here;
The heart's desire did interfere.
Thought he, How pleasant in another
Such sallies, or in thee, if said
After confidings that should wed
Our souls in one:—Ah, call me brother!—
So feminine his passionate mood
Which, long as hungering unfed,
All else rejected or withstood.
Some inklings he let fall. But no:
Here over Vine there slid a change—
A shadow, such as thin may show
Gliding along the mountain-range
And deepening in the gorge below.
Does Vine's rebukeful dusking say—
Why, on this vernal bank to-day,
Why bring oblations of thy pain
To one who hath his share? here fain
Would lap him in a chance reprieve?
Lives none can help ye; that believe.
Art thou the first soul tried by doubt?
Shalt prove the last? Go, live it out.
But for thy fonder dream of love
In man toward man—the soul's caress—
The negatives of flesh should prove
Analogies of non-cordialness
In spirit.—E'en such conceits could cling
To Clarel's dream of vain surmise
And imputation full of sting.
But, glancing up, unwarned he saw
What serious softness in those eyes
Bent on him. Shyly they withdraw.
Enslaver, wouldst thou but fool me
With bitter-sweet, sly sorcery,
Pride's pastime? or wouldst thou indeed,
Since things unspoken may impede,


Let flow thy nature but for bar?
Nay, dizzard, sick these feelings are;
How findest place within thy heart
For such solicitudes apart
From Ruth?—Self-taxings.
But a sign
Came here indicative from Vine,
Who with a reverent hushed air
His view directed toward the glade
Beyond, wherein a niche was made
Of leafage, and a kneeler there,
The meek one, on whom, as he prayed,
A golden shaft of mellow light,
Oblique through vernal cleft above,
And making his pale forehead bright,
Scintillant fell. By such a beam
From heaven descended erst the dove
On Christ emerging from the stream.
It faded; 'twas a transient ray;
And, quite unconscious of its sheen,
The suppliant rose and moved away,
Not dreaming that he had been seen.
When next they saw that innocent,
From prayer such cordial had he won
That all his aspect of content
As with the oil of gladness shone.
Less aged looked he. And his cheer
Took language in an action here:
The train now mustering in line,
Each pilgrim with a river-palm
In hand (except indeed the Jew),
The saint the head-stall need entwine
With wreathage of the same. When new
They issued from the wood, no charm
The ass found in such idle gear


Superfluous: with her long ear
She flapped it off, and the next thrust
Of hoof imprinted it in dust.
Meek hands (mused Vine), vainly ye twist
Fair garland for the realist.
The Hebrew, noting whither bent
Vine's glance, a word in passing lent:
“Ho, tell us how it comes to be
That thou who rank'st not with beginners
Regard have for yon chief of sinners.”
“Yon chief of sinners?”
“So names he
Himself. For one I'll not express
How I do loathe such lowliness.”


Southward they file. 'Tis Pluto's park
Beslimed as after baleful flood:
A nitrous, filmed and pallid mud,
With shrubs to match. Salt specks they mark
Or mildewed stunted twigs unclean
Brushed by the stirrup, Stygean green,
With shrivelled nut or apple small.
The Jew plucked one. Like a fuzz-ball
It brake, discharging fetid dust.
“Pippins of Sodom? they've declined!”
Cried Derwent: “where's the ruddy rind?”
Said Rolfe: “If Circe tempt one thus,
A fig for vice—I'm virtuous.
Who but poor Margoth now would lust
After such fruitage. See, but see


What makes our Nehemiah to be
So strange. That look returns to him
Which late he wore by Achor's rim.”
Over pale hollows foully smeared
The saint hung with an aspect weird:
“Yea, here it was the kings were tripped,
These, these the slime-pits where they slipped—
Gomorrah's lord and Sodom's, lo!”
What's that?” asked Derwent.
“You should know,”
Said Rolfe: “your Scripture lore revive:
The four kings strove against the five
In Siddim here.”
But turn; upon this other hand
See here another not remiss.”
'Twas Margoth raking there the land.
Some minerals of noisome kind
He found and straight to pouch consigned.
“The chiffonier!” cried Rolfe; “e'en grin
Milcom and Chemosh scowl at him—
Here nosing underneath their lee
Of pagod hights.”
In deeper dale
What canker may their palms assail?
Spotted they show, all limp they be.
Is it thy bitter mist, Bad Sea,
That, sudden driving, northward comes
Involving them, that each man roams
Half seen or lost?
But in the dark
Thick scud, the chanting saint they hark:
“Though through the valley of the shade
I pass, no evil do I fear;


His candle shineth on my head:
Lo, he is with me, even here.”
The rack drove by: and Derwent said—
“How apt he is!” then pause he made:
“This palm has grown a sorry sight;
A palm 'tis not, if named aright:
I'll drop it.—Look, the lake ahead!”


The legend round a Grecian urn,
The sylvan legend, though decay
Have wormed the garland all away,
And fire have left its Vandal burn;
Yet beauty inextinct may charm
In outline of the vessel's form.
Much so with Sodom, shore and sea.
Fair Como would like Sodom be
Should horror overrun the scene
And calcine all that makes it green,
Yet haply sparing to impeach
The contour in its larger reach.
In graceful lines the hills advance,
The valley's sweep repays the glance,
And wavy curves of winding beach;
But all is charred or crunched or riven,
Scarce seems of earth whereon we dwell;
Though framed within the lines of heaven
The picture intimates a hell.


That marge they win. Bides Mortmain there?
No trace of man, not anywhere.
It was the salt wave's northern brink.
No gravel bright nor shell was seen,
Nor kelpy growth nor coralline,
But dead boughs stranded, which the rout
Of Jordan, in old freshets born
In Libanus, had madly torn
Green from her arbor and thrust out
Into the liquid waste. No sound
Nor motion but of sea. The land
Was null: nor bramble, weed, nor trees,
Nor anything that grows on ground,
Flexile to indicate the breeze;
Though hitherward by south winds fanned
From Usdum's brink and Bozrah's site
Of bale, flew gritty atoms light.
Toward Karek's castle lost in blur,
And thence beyond toward Aroer
By Arnon where the robbers keep,
Jackal and vulture, eastward sweep
The waters, while their western rim
Stretches by Judah's headlands grim,
Which make in turns a sea-wall steep.
There, by the cliffs or distance hid,
The Fount or Cascade of the Kid
An Eden makes of one high glen,
One vernal and contrasted scene
In jaws of gloomy crags uncouth—
Rosemary in the black boar's mouth.
Alike withheld from present view
(And, until late, but hawk and kite
Visited the forgotten site).
The Maccabees' Masada true;
Stronghold which Flavian arms did rend,


The Peak of Eleazer's end,
Where patriot warriors made with brides
A martyrdom of suicides.
There too did Mariamne's hate
The death of John accelerate.
A crag of fairest, foulest weather—
Famous, and infamous together.
Hereof they spake, but never Vine,
Who little knew or seemed to know
Derived from books, but did incline
In docile way to each one's flow
Of knowledge bearing anyhow
In points less noted.
The sea indefinite was lost
Under a catafalque of cloud.
Unwelcome impress to disown
Or light evade, the priest, aloud
Taking an interested tone
And brisk, “Why, yonder lies Mount Hor,
E'en thereaway—that southward shore.”
“Ay,” added Rolfe, “and Aaron's cell
Thereon. A mountain sentinel,
He holds in solitude austere
The outpost of prohibited Seir
In cut-off Edom.”
“God can sever!”
Brake in the saint, who nigh them stood;
“The satyr to the dragon's brood
Crieth! God's word abideth ever:
None there pass through—no, never, never!”
“My friend Max Levi, he passed through.”
They turned. It was the hardy Jew.
Absorbed in vision here, the saint
Heard not. The priest in flushed constraint
Showed mixed emotion; part he winced


And part a humor pleased evinced—
Relish that would from qualms be free—
Aversion involved with sympathy.
But changing, and in formal way—
“Admitted; nay, 'tis tritely true;
Men pass thro' Edom, through and through.
But surely, few so dull to-day
As not to make allowance meet
For Orientalism's play
In Scripture, where the chapters treat
Of mystic themes.”
With eye askance,
The apostate fixed no genial glance:
“Ay, Keith's grown obsolete. And, pray,
How long will these last glosses stay?
The agitating influence
Of knowledge never will dispense
With teasing faith, do what ye may.
Adjust and readjust, ye deal
With compass in a ship of steel.”
“Such perturbations do but give
Proof that faith's vital: sensitive
Is faith, my friend.”
“Go to, go to:
Your black bat! how she hangs askew,
Torpid, from wall by claws of wings:
Let drop the left—sticks fast the right;
Then this unhook—the other swings;
Leave—she regains her double plight.”
“Ah, look,” cried Derwent; “ah, behold!”
From the blue battlements of air,
Over saline vapors hovering there,
A flag was flung out—curved in fold—
Fiery, rosy, violet, green—
And, lovelier growing, brighter, fairer,
Transfigured all that evil scene;
And Iris was the standard-bearer.


None spake. As in a world made new,
With upturned faces they review
That oriflamme, the which no man
Would look for in such clime of ban.
'Twas northern; and its home-like look
Touched Nehemiah. He, late with book
Gliding from Margoth's dubious sway,
Was standing by the ass apart;
And when he caught that scarf of May
How many a year ran back his heart:
Scythes hang in orchard, hay-cocks loom
After eve-showers, the mossed roofs gloom
Greenly beneath the homestead trees;
He tingles with these memories.
For Vine, over him suffusive stole
An efflorescence; all the soul
Flowering in flush upon the brow.
But 'twas ambiguously replaced
In words addressed to Clarel now—
“Yonder the arch dips in the waste;
Thither! and win the pouch of gold.”
Derwent reproached him: “ah, withhold!
See, even death's pool reflects the dyes—
The rose upon the coffin lies!”
“Brave words,” said Margoth, plodding near;
“Brave words; but yonder bow's forsworn.
The covenant made on Noah's morn,
Was that well kept? why, hardly here,
Where whelmed by fire and flood, they say,
The townsfolk sank in after day,
Yon sign in heaven should reappear.”
They heard, but in such torpid gloom
Scarcely they recked, for now the bloom
Vanished from sight, and half the sea
Died down to glazed monotony.


Craved solace here would Clarel prove,
Recalling Ruth, her glance of love.
But nay; those eyes so frequent known
To meet, and mellow on his own—
Now, in his vision of them, swerved;
While in perverse recurrence ran
Dreams of the bier Armenian.
Against their sway his soul he nerved:
“Go, goblins; go, each funeral thought—
Bewitchment from this Dead Sea caught!”
Westward they move, and turn the shore
Southward, till, where wild rocks are set,
Dismounting, they would fain restore
Ease to the limb. But haunts them yet
A dumb dejection lately met.


The City Red in cloud-land lies
Yonder,” said Derwent, quick to inter
The ill, or light regard transfer:
“But Petra must we leave unseen—
Tell us”—to Rolfe—“there hast thou been.”
“With dragons guarded roundabout
'Twas a new Jason found her out—
Burckhardt, you know.” “But tell.” “The flume
Or mountain corridor profound
Whereby ye win the inner ground
Petræan; this, from purple gloom
Of cliffs—whose tops the suns illume


Where oleanders wave the flag—
Winds out upon the rosy stain,
Warm color of the natural vein,
Of porch and pediment in crag.
One starts. In Esau's waste are blent
Ionian form, Venetian tint.
Statues salute ye from that fane,
The warders of the Horite lane.
They welcome, seem to point ye on
Where sequels which transcend them dwell;
But tarry, for just here is won
Happy suspension of the spell.”
“But expectation's raised.”
“No more!
'Tis then when bluely blurred in shore,
It looms through azure haze at sea—
Then most 'tis Colchis charmeth ye.
So ever, and with all! But, come,
Imagine us now quite at home
Taking the prospect from Mount Hor.
Good. Eastward turn thee—skipping o'er
The intervening craggy blight:
Mark'st thou the face of yon slabbed hight
Shouldered about by hights? what Door
Is that, sculptured in elfin freak?
The portal of the Prince o' the Air?
Thence will the god emerge, and speak?
El Deir it is; and Petra's there,
Down in her cleft. Mid such a scene
Of Nature's terror, how serene
That ordered form. Nor less 'tis cut
Out of that terror—does abut
Thereon: there's Art.”
“Dare say—no doubt;
But, prithee, turn we now about
And closer get thereto in mind;
That portal lures me.”


“Nay, forbear;
A bootless journey. We should wind
Along ravine by mountain-stair,—
Down which in season torrents sweep—
Up, slant by sepulchers in steep,
Grotto and porch, and so get near
Puck's platform, and thereby El Deir.
We'd knock. An echo. Knock again—
Ay, knock forever: none requite:
The live spring filters through cell, fane,
And tomb: a dream the Edomite!”
“And dreamers all who dream of him—
Though Sinbad's pleasant in the skim.
Pæstum and Petra: good to use
For sedative when one would muse.
But look, our Emir.—Ay, Djalea,
We guess why thou com'st mutely here
And hintful stand'st before us so.”
“Ay, ay,” said Rolfe; “stirrups, and go!”
“But first,” the priest said, “let me creep
And rouse our poor friend slumbering low
Under yon rock—queer place to sleep.”
Queer?” muttered Rolfe as Derwent went;
Queer is the furthest he will go
In phrase of a disparagement.
But—ominous, with haggard rent—
To me yon crag's brow-beating brow
Looks horrible—and I say so.”



While yet Rolfe's foot in stirrup stood,
Ere the light vault that wins the seat,
Derwent was heard: “What's this we meet?
A Cross? and—if one could but spell—
Inscription Sinaitic? Well,
Mortmain is nigh—his crazy freak;
Whose else? A closer view I'll seek;
I'll climb.”
In moving there aside
The rock's turned brow he had espied;
In rear this rock hung o'er the waste
And Nehemiah in sleep embraced
Below. The forepart gloomed Lot's wave
So nigh, the tide the base did lave.
Above, the sea-face smooth was worn
Through long attrition of that grit
Which on the waste of winds is borne.
And on the tablet high of it—
Traced in dull chalk, such as is found
Accessible in upper ground—
Big there between two scrawls, below
And over—a cross; three stars in row
Upright, two more for thwarting limb
Which drooped oblique.
At Derwent's cry
The rest drew near; and every eye
Marked the device.—Thy passion's whim,
Wild Swede, mused Vine in silent heart.
“Looks like the Southern Cross to me,”
Said Clarel; “so 'tis down in chart.”
“And so,” said Rolfe, “'tis set in sky—
Though error slight of place prevail


In midmost star here chalked. At sea,
Bound for Peru, when south ye sail,
Startling that novel cluster strange
Peers up from low; then as ye range
Cape-ward still further, brightly higher
And higher the stranger doth aspire,
'Till off the Horn, when at full hight
Ye slack your gaze as chilly grows the night.
But Derwent—see!”
The priest having gained
Convenient lodge the text below,
They called: “What's that in curve contained
Above the stars? Read: we would know.”
“Runs thus: By one who wails the loss,
This altar to the Slanting Cross.
“Ha! under that?” “Some crow's-foot scrawl.”
“Decipher, quick! we're waiting all.”
“Patience: for ere one try rehearse,
'Twere well to make it out. 'Tis verse.”
“Verse, say you? Read.” “'Tis mystical:
“‘Emblazoned bleak in austral skies—
A heaven remote, whose starry swarm
Like Science lights but cannot warm—
Translated Cross, hast thou withdrawn,
Dim paling too at every dawn,
With symbols vain once counted wise,
And gods declined to heraldries?
Estranged, estranged: can friend prove so?
Aloft, aloof, a frigid sign:
How far removed, thou Tree divine,
Whose tender fruit did reach so low—
Love apples of New-Paradise!
About the wide Australian sea
The planted nations yet to be—
When, ages hence, they lift their eyes,


Tell, what shall they retain of thee?
But class thee with Orion's sword?
In constellations unadored,
Christ and the Giant equal prize?
The atheist cycles—must they be?
Fomentors as forefathers we?’”
“Mad, mad enough,” the priest here cried,
Down slipping by the shelving brinks;
“But 'tis not Mortmain,” and he sighed.
“Not Mortmain?” Rolfe exclaimed. “Methinks,”
The priest, “'tis hardly in his vein.”
“How? fraught with feeling is the strain?
His heart's not ballasted with stone—
He's crank.” “Well, well, e'en let us own
That Mortmain, Mortmain is the man.
We've then a pledge here at a glance
Our comrade's met with no mischance.
Soon he'll rejoin us.” “There, amen!”
“But now to wake Nehemiah in den
Behind here.—But kind Clarel goes.
Strange how he naps nor trouble knows
Under the crag's impending block,
Nor fears its fall, nor recks of shock.”
Anon they mount; and much advance
Upon that chalked significance.
The student harks, and weighs each word,
Intent, he being newly stirred.
But tarries Margoth? Yes, behind
He lingers. He placards his mind:
Scaling the crag he rudely scores
With the same chalk (how here abused!)
Left by the other, after used,


A sledge or hammer huge as Thor's;
A legend lending—this, to wit:
“I, Science, I whose gain's thy loss,
I slanted thee, thou Slanting Cross.”
But sun and rain, and wind, with grit
Driving, these haste to cancel it.


Southward they find a strip at need
Between the mount and marge, and make,
In expectation of the Swede,
Encampment there, nor shun the Lake.
'Twas afternoon. With Arab zest
The Bethlehemites their spears present,
Whereon they lift and spread the tent
And care for all.
As Rolfe from rest
Came out, toward early eventide,
His comrades sat the shore beside,
In shadow deep, which from the west
The main Judæan mountains flung.
That ridge they faced, and anxious hung
Awaiting Mortmain, some having grown
The more concerned, because from stone
Inscribed, they had indulged a hope:
But now in ill surmise they grope.
Anew they question grave Djalea.
But what knows he?
Their hearts to cheer,
“Trust,” Derwent said, “hope's silver bell;
Nor dream he'd do his life a wrong—


No, never!”
“Demons here which dwell,”
Cried Rolfe, “riff-raff of Satan's throng,
May fetch him steel, rope, poison—well,
He'd spurn them, hoot their scurvy hell:
There's nobler.—But what other knell
Of hap—” He turned him toward the sea.
Like leagues of ice which slumberous roll
About the pivot of the pole—
Vitreous—glass it seemed to be.
Beyond, removed in air sublime,
As 'twere some more than human clime,
In flanking towers of Ætna hue
The Ammonitish mounts they view
Enkindled by the sunset cast
Over Judah's ridgy headlands massed
Which blacken baseward. Ranging higher
Where vague glens pierced the steeps of fire,
Imagination time repealed—
Restored there, and in fear revealed
Lot and his daughters twain in flight,
Three shadows flung on reflex light
Of Sodom in her funeral pyre.
Some fed upon the natural scene,
Deriving many a wandering hint
Such as will ofttimes intervene
When on the slab ye view the print
Of perished species.—Judge Rolfe's start
And quick revulsion, when, apart,
Derwent he saw at ease reclined,
With page before him, page refined
And appetizing, which threw ope
New parks, fresh walks for Signor Hope
To saunter in.
“And read you here?
Scarce suits the ground with bookish cheer.


Escaped from forms, enlarged at last,
Pupils we be of wave and waste—
Not books; nay, nay!”
“Book-comment, though,”—
Smiled Derwent—“were it ill to know?”
“But how if nature vetoes all
Her commentators? Disenthrall
Thy heart. Look round. Are not here met
Books and that truth no type shall set?”—
Then, to himself in refluent flow:
“Earnest again!—well, let it go.”
Derwent quick glanced from face to face,
Lighting upon the student's hue
Of pale perplexity, with trace
Almost of twinge at Rolfe: “Believe,
Though here I random page review,
Not books I let exclusive cleave
And sway. Much too there is, I grant,
Which well might Solomon's wisdom daunt—
Much that we mark. Nevertheless,
Were it a paradox to confess
A book's a man? If this be so,
Books be but part of nature. Oh,
'Tis studying nature, reading books:
And 'tis through Nature each heart looks
Up to a God, or whatsoe'er
One images beyond our sphere.
Moreover, Siddim's not the world:
There's Naples. Why, yourself well know
What breadths of beauty lie unfurled
All round the bays where sailors go.
So, prithee, do not be severe,
But let me read.”
Rolfe looked esteem:
“You suave St. Francis! Him, I mean,
Of Sales, not that soul whose dream


Founded the bare-foot Order lean.
Though wise as serpents, Sales proves
The throbbings sweet of social doves.
I like you.”
Derwent laughed; then, “Ah,
From each Saint Francis am I far!”
And grave he grew.
It was a scene
Which Clarel in his memory scored:
How reconcile Rolfe's wizard chord
And forks of esoteric fire,
With common-place of laxer mien?
May truth be such a spendthrift lord?
Then Derwent: he reviewed in heart
His tone with Margoth; his attire
Of tolerance; the easy part
He played. Could Derwent, having gained
A certain slant in liberal thought,
Think there to bide, like one detained
Half-way adown the slippery glacier caught?
Was honesty his, with lore and art
Not to be fooled?—But if in vain
One tries to comprehend a man,
How think to sound God's deeper heart!



Roving along the winding verge
Trying these problems as a lock,
Clarel upon the further marge
Caught sight of Vine. Upon a rock
Low couchant there, and dumb as that,
Bent on the wave Vine moveless sat.
The student after pause drew near:
Then, as in presence which though mute
Did not repel, without salute
He joined him.
Unto these, by chance
In ruminating slow advance
Came Rolfe, and lingered.
At Vine's feet
A branchless tree lay lodged ashore,
One end immersed. Of form complete—
Half fossilized—could this have been,
In ages back, a palm-shaft green?
Yes, long detained in depths which store
A bitter virtue, there it lay,
Washed up to sight—free from decay
But dead.
And now in slouched return
From random prowlings, brief sojourn
As chance might prompt, the Jew they espy
Coasting inquisitive the shore
And frequent stooping. Ranging nigh,
In hirsute hand a flint he bore—
A flint, or stone, of smooth dull gloom:
“A jewel? not asphaltum—no:
Observe it, pray. Methinks in show
'Tis like the flagging round that Tomb


Ye celebrate.”
Rolfe, glancing, said,
“I err, or 'twas from Siddim's bed
Or quarry here, those floor-stones came:
'Tis Stone-of-Moses called, they vouch;
The Arabs know it by that name.”
“Moses? who's Moses?” Into pouch
The lump he slipped; while wistful here
Clarel in silence challenged Vine;
But not responsive was Vine's cheer,
Discharged of every meaning sign.
With motive, Rolfe the talk renewed:
“Yes, here it was the cities stood
That sank in reprobation. See,
The scene and record well agree.”
“Tut, tut—tut, tut. Of aqueous force,
Vent igneous, a shake or so,
One here perceives the sign—of course;
All's mere geology, you know.”
“Nay, how should one know that?”
“By sight,
Touch, taste—all senses in assent
Of common sense their parliament.
Judge now; this lake, with outlet none
And into which five streams discharge
From south; which east and west is shown
Walled in by Alps along the marge;
North, in this lake, the waters end
Of Jordan—end here, or dilate
Rather, and so evaporate
From surface. But do you attend?”
“Most teachably.”
“Well, now: assume
This lake was formed, even as they tell,
Then first when the Five Cities fell;
Where, I demand, ere yet that doom,


Where emptied Jordan?”
“Who can say?
Not I.”
“No, none. A point I make
Coeval are the stream and lake!
I say no more.”
As came that close
A hideous hee-haw horrible rose,
Rebounded in unearthly sort
From shore to shore, as if retort
From all the damned in Sodom's Sea
Out brayed at him. “Just God, what's that?”
“The ass,” breathed Vine, with tropic eye
Freakishly impish, nor less shy;
Then, distant as before, he sat.
Anew Rolfe turned toward Margoth then;
“May not these levels high and low
Have undergone derangement when
The cities met their overthrow?
Or say there was a lake at first—
A supposition not reversed
By Writ—a lake enlarged through doom
Which overtook the cities? Come!”—
The Jew, recovering from decline
Arising from late asinine
Applause, replied hereto in way
Eliciting from Rolfe—“Delay:
What knowest thou? or what know I?
Suspect you may ere yet you die
Or afterward perchance may learn,
That Moses' God is no mere Pam
With painted clubs, but true I AM.”
“Hog-Latin,” was the quick return;
“Plague on that ass!” for here again
Brake in the pestilent refrain.
Meanwhile, as if in a dissent


Not bordering their element,
Vine kept his place, aloof in air.
They could but part and leave him there;
The Hebrew railing as they went—
“Of all the dolorous dull men!
He's like a poor nun's pining hen.
And me too: should I let it pass?
Ass? did he say it was the ass?”
Hereat, timed like the clerk's Amen
Yet once more did the hee-haw free
Come in with new alacrity.
Vine tarried; and with fitful hand
Took bits of dead drift from the sand
And flung them to the wave, as one
Whose race of thought long since was run—
For whom the spots enlarge that blot the golden sun.


While now at poise the wings of shade
Outstretched overhang each ridge and glade,
Mortmain descends from Judah's hight
Through sally-port of minor glens:
Against the background of black dens
Blacker the figure glooms enhanced.
Relieved from anxious fears, the group
In friendliness would have advanced
To greet, but shrank or fell adroop.


Like Hecla ice inveined with marl
And frozen cinders showed his face
Rigid and darkened. Shunning parle
He seated him aloof in place,
Hands clasped about the knees drawn up
As round the cask the binding hoop—
Condensed in self, or like a seer
Unconscious of each object near,
While yet, informed, the nerve may reach
Like wire under wave to furthest beach.
By what brook Cherith had he been,
Watching it shrivel from the scene—
Or voice aerial had heard,
That now he murmured the wild word;
“But, hectored by the impious years,
What god invoke, for leave to unveil
That gulf whither tend these modern fears,
And deeps over which men crowd the sail?
Up, as possessed, he rose anon,
And crying to the beach went down:
“Repent! repent in every land
Or hell's hot kingdom is at hand!
Yea, yea,
In pause of the artillery's boom,
While now the armed world holds its own,
The comet peers, the star dips down;
Flicker the lamps in Syria's tomb,
While Anti-Christ and Atheist set
On Anarch the red coronet!”
“Mad John,” sighed Rolfe, “dost there betray
The dire Vox Clamans of our day?”
“Why heed him?” Derwent breathed: “alas!
Let him alone, and it will pass.—


What would he now?” Before the bay
Low bowed he there, with hand addressed
To scoop. “Unhappy, hadst thou best?”
Djalea it was; then calling low
Unto a Bethlehemite whose brow
Was wrinkled like the bat's shrunk hide—
“Your salt-song, Beltha: warn and chide.”
“Would ye know what bitter drink
They gave to Christ upon the Tree?
Sip the wave that laps the brink
Of Siddim: taste, and God keep ye!
It drains the hills where alum's hid—
Drains the rock-salt's ancient bed;
Hither unto basin fall
The torrents from the steeps of gall—
Here is Hades' water-shed.
Sinner, would ye that your soul
Bitter were and like the pool?
Sip the Sodom waters dead;
But never from thy heart shall haste
The Marah—yea, the after-taste.”
He closed.—Arrested as he stooped,
Did Mortmain his pale hand recall?
No; undeterred the wave he scooped,
And tried it—madly tried the gall.



In Piranezi's rarer prints,
Interiors measurelessly strange,
Where the distrustful thought may range
Misgiving still—what mean the hints?
Stairs upon stairs which dim ascend
In series from plunged Bastiles drear—
Pit under pit; long tier on tier
Of shadowed galleries which impend
Over cloisters, cloisters without end;
The hight, the depth—the far, the near;
Ring-bolts to pillars in vaulted lanes,
And dragging Rhadamanthine chains;
These less of wizard influence lend
Than some allusive chambers closed.
Those wards of hush are not disposed
In gibe of goblin fantasy—
Grimace—unclean diablery:
Thy wings, Imagination, span
Ideal truth in fable's seat:
The thing implied is one with man,
His penetralia of retreat—
The heart, with labyrinths replete:
In freaks of intimation see
Paul's “mystery of iniquity:”
Involved indeed, a blur of dream;
As, awed by scruple and restricted
In first design, or interdicted
By fate and warnings as might seem;
The inventor miraged all the maze,
Obscured it with prudential haze;
Nor less, if subject unto question,
The egg left, egg of the suggestion.


Dwell on those etchings in the night,
Those touches bitten in the steel
By aqua-fortis, till ye feel
The Pauline text in gray of light;
Turn hither then and read aright.
For ye who green or gray retain
Childhood's illusion, or but feign;
As bride and suit let pass a bier—
So pass the coming canto here.


Full night. The moon has yet to rise;
The air oppresses, and the skies
Reveal beyond the lake afar
One solitary tawny star—
Complexioned so by vapors dim,
Whereof some hang above the brim
And nearer waters of the lake,
Whose bubbling air-beads mount and break
As charged with breath of things alive.
In talk about the Cities Five
Engulfed, on beach they linger late.
And he, the quaffer of the brine,
Puckered with that heart-wizening wine
Of bitterness, among them sate
Upon a camel's skull, late dragged
From forth the wave, the eye-pits slagged
With crusted salt.—“What star is yon?”


And pointed to that single one
Befogged above the sea afar.
“It might be Mars, so red it shines,”
One answered; “duskily it pines
In this strange mist.”—“It is the star
Called Wormwood. Some hearts die in thrall
Of waters which yon star makes gall;”
And, lapsing, turned, and made review
Of what that wickedness might be
Which down on these ill precincts drew
The flood, the fire; put forth new plea,
Which not with Writ might disagree;
Urged that those malefactors stood
Guilty of sins scarce scored as crimes
In any statute known, or code—
Nor now, nor in the former times:
Things hard to prove: decorum's wile,
Malice discreet, judicious guile;
Good done with ill intent—reversed:
Best deeds designed to serve the worst;
And hate which under life's fair hue
Prowls like the shark in sunned Pacific blue.
He paused, and under stress did bow,
Lank hands enlocked across the brow.
“Nay, nay, thou sea,
'Twas not all carnal harlotry,
But sins refined, crimes of the spirit,
Helped earn that doom ye here inherit:
Doom well imposed, though sharp and dread,
In some god's reign, some god long fled.—
Thou gaseous puff of mineral breath
Mephitical; thou swooning flaw
That fann'st me from this pond of death;
Wert thou that venomous small thing
Which tickled with the poisoned straw?
Thou, stronger, but who yet couldst start


Shrinking with sympathetic sting,
While willing the uncompunctious dart!
Ah, ghosts of Sodom, how ye thrill
About me in this peccant air,
Conjuring yet to spare, but spare!
Fie, fie, that didst in formal will
Plot piously the posthumous snare.
And thou, the mud-flow—evil mass
Of surest-footed sluggishness
Swamping the nobler breed—art there?
Moan, Burker of kind heart: all's known
To Him; with thy connivers, moan.—
Sinners—expelled, transmuted souls
Blown in these airs, or whirled in shoals
Of gurgles which your gasps send up,
Or on this crater marge and cup
Slavered in slime, or puffed in stench—
Not ever on the tavern bench
Ye lolled. Few dicers here, few sots,
Few sluggards, and no idiots.
'Tis thou who servedst Mammon's hate
Or greed through forms which holy are—
Black slaver steering by a star,
'Tis thou—and all like thee in state.
Who knew the world, yet varnished it;
Who traded on the coast of crime
Though landing not; who did outwit
Justice, his brother, and the time—
These, chiefly these, to doom submit.
But who the manifold may tell?
And sins there be inscrutable,
Ending there
He shrank, and like an osprey gray
Peered on the wave. His hollow stare
Marked then some smaller bubbles play


In cluster silvery like spray:
“Be these the beads on the wives'-wine,
Tofana-brew?—O fair Medea—
O soft man-eater, furry-fine:
Oh, be thou Jael, be thou Leah—
Unfathomably shallow!—No!
Nearer the core than man can go
Or Science get—nearer the slime
Of nature's rudiments and lime
In chyle before the bone. Thee, thee,
In thee the filmy cell is spun—
The mould thou art of what men be:
Events are all in thee begun—
By thee, through thee!—Undo, undo,
Prithee, undo, and still renew
The fall forever!”
On his throne
He lapsed; and muffled came the moan
How multitudinous in sound,
From Sodom's wave. He glanced around:
They all had left him, one by one.
Was it because he open threw
The inmost to the outward view?
Or did but pain at frenzied thought,
Prompt to avoid him, since but naught
In such case might remonstrance do?
But none there ventured idle plea,
Weak sneer, or fraudful levity.
Two spirits, hovering in remove,
Sad with inefficacious love,
Here sighed debate: “Ah, Zoima, say;
Be it far from me to impute a sin,
But may a sinless nature win
Those deeps he knows?”—“Sin shuns that way;


Sin acts the sin, but flees the thought
That sweeps the abyss that sin has wrought.
Innocent be the heart and true—
Howe'er it feed on bitter bread—
That, venturous through the Evil led,
Moves as along the ocean's bed
Amid the dragon's staring crew.”


Credit the Arab wizard lean,
And still at favoring hour are seen
(But not by Franks, whom doubts debar)
Through waves the cities overthrown:
Seboym and Segor, Aldemah,
With two whereof the foul renown
And syllables more widely reign.
Astarte, worshiped on the Plain
Ere Terah's day, her vigil keeps
Devoted where her temple sleeps
Like moss within the agate's vein—
A ruin in the lucid sea.
The columns lie overlappingly—
Slant, as in order smooth they slid
Down the live slope. Her ray can bid
Their beauty thrill along the lane
Of tremulous silver. By the marge
(If yet the Arab credence gain)
At slack wave, when midsummer's glow
Widens the shallows, statues show—


He vouches; and will more enlarge
On sculptured basins broad in span,
With alum scurfed and alkatran.
Nay, further—let who will, believe—
As monks aver, on holy eve,
Easter or John's, along the strand
Shadows Corinthian wiles in weave:
Voluptuous palaces expand,
From whose moon-lighted colonnade
Beckons Armida, deadly maid:
Traditions; and their fountains run
Beyond King Nine and Babylon.
But disenchanters grave maintain
That in the time ere Sodom's fall
'Twas shepherds here endured life's pain:
Shepherds, and all was pastoral
In Siddim; Abraham and Lot,
Blanketed Bedouins of the plain;
Sodom and her four daughters small—
For Sodom held maternal reign—
Poor little hamlets, such as dot
The mountain side and valley way
Of Syria as she shows to-day;
The East, where constancies in dwell,
Such hint may give: 'tis plausible.
Hereof the group—from Mortmain's blight
Withdrawn where sands the beach embayed
And Nehemiah apart was laid—
Held curious discourse that night.
They chatted; but 'twas underrun
By heavier current. And anon,
After the meek one had retired
Under the tent, the thought transpired,
And Mortmain was the theme.
“If mad,


'Tis indignation at the bad,”
Said Rolfe; “most men somehow get used
To seeing evil, though not all
They see; 'tis sympathetical;
But never some are disabused
Of first impressions which appal.”
“There, there,” cried Derwent, “let it fall.
Assume that some are but so-so,
They'll be transfigured. Let suffice:
Dismas he dwells in Paradise.”
“Who?” “Dismas the Good Thief, you know.
Ay, and the Blest One shared the cup
With Judas; e'en let Judas sup
With him, at the Last Supper too.—
But see!”
It was the busy Jew
With chemic lamp aflame, by tent
Trying some shrewd experiment
With minerals secured that day,
Dead unctuous stones.
“Look how his ray,”
Said Rolfe, “too small for stars to heed,
Strange lights him, reason's sorcerer,
Poor Simon Magus run to seed.
And, yes, 'twas here—or else I err—
The legends claim, that into sea
The old magician flung his book
When life and lore he both forsook:
The evil spell yet lurks, may be.—
But yon strange orb—can be the moon?
These vapors: and the waters swoon.”
Ere long the tent received them all;
They slumber—wait the morning's call.



Now Nehemiah with wistful heart
Much heed had given to myths which bore
Upon that Pentateuchal shore;
Him could the wilder legend thrill
With credulous impulse, whose appeal,
Oblique, touched on his Christian vein.
Wakeful he bode. With throbbing brain
O'erwrought by travel, long he lay
In febrile musings, life's decay,
Begetting soon an ecstasy
Wherein he saw arcade and fane
And people moving in the deep;
Strange hum he heard, and minstrel-sweep.
Then, by that sleight each dreamer knows,
Dream merged in dream: the city rose—
Shrouded, it went up from the wave;
Transfigured came down out of heaven
Clad like a bride in splendor brave.
There, through the streets, with purling sound
Clear waters the clear agates lave,
Opal and pearl in pebbles strown;
The palaces with palms were crowned—
The water-palaces each one;
And from the fount of rivers shone
Soft rays as of Saint Martin's sun;
Last, dearer than ere Jason found,
A fleece—the Fleece upon a throne!
And a great voice he hears which saith,
Pain is no more, no more is death;
I wipe away all tears: Come, ye,


Enter, it is eternity.
And happy souls, the saved and blest,
Welcomed by angels and caressed,
Hand linked in hand like lovers sweet,
Festoons of tenderness complete—
Roamed up and on, by orchards fair
To bright ascents and mellower air;
Thence, highest, toward the throne were led,
And kissed, amid the sobbings shed
Of faith fulfilled.—In magic play
So to the meek one in the dream
Appeared the New Jerusalem:
Haven for which how many a day—
In bed, afoot, or on the knee—
He yearned: Would God I were in thee!
The visions changed and counterchanged—
Blended and parted—distant ranged,
And beckoned, beckoned him away.
In sleep he rose; and none did wist
When vanished this somnambulist.


The camel's skull upon the beach
No more the sluggish waters reach—
No more the languid waters lave;
Not now they wander in and out
Of those void chambers walled about—
So dull the calm, so dead the wave.
Above thick mist how pallid looms,


While the slurred day doth wanly break,
Ammon's long ridge beyond the lake.
Down to the shrouded margin comes
Lone Vine—and starts: not at the skull,
The camel's, for that bides the same
As when overnight 'twas Mortmain's stool.
But, nigh it—how that object name?
Slant on the shore, ground-curls of mist
Enfold it, as in amethyst
Subdued, small flames in dead of night
Lick the dumb back-log ashy white.
What is it?—paler than the pale
Pervading vapors, which so veil,
That some peak-tops are islanded
Baseless above the dull, dull bed
Of waters, which not e'en transmit
One ripple 'gainst the cheek of It.
The start which the discoverer gave
Was physical—scarce shocked the soul,
Since many a prior revery grave
Forearmed against alarm's control.
To him, indeed, each lapse and end
Meet—in harmonious method blend.
Lowly he murmured, “Here is balm:
Repose is snowed upon repose—
Sleep upon sleep; it is the calm
And incantation of the close.”
The others, summoned to the spot,
Were staggered: Nehemiah? no!
The innocent and sinless—what!—
Pale lying like the Assyrian low?
The Swede stood by; nor after-taste
Extinct was of the liquid waste


Nor influence of that Wormwood Star
Whereof he spake. All overcast—
His genial spirits meeting jar—
Derwent on no unfeeling plea
Held back. Mortmain, relentless: “See:
To view death on the bed—at ease—
A dream, and draped; to minister
To inheriting kin; to comfort these
In chamber comfortable:—here
The elements all that unsay!
The first man dies. Thus Abel lay.”
The sad priest, rightly to be read
Scarce hoping,—pained, dispirited—
Was dumb. And Mortmain went aside
In thrill by only Vine espied:
Alas (thought Vine) thou bitter Swede,
Into thine armor dost thou bleed?
Intent but poised, the Druze looked on:
“The sheath: the sword?”
“Ah, whither gone?”
Clarel, and bowed him there and kneeled:
“Whither art gone? thou friendliest mind
Unfriended—what friend now shalt find?
Robin or raven, hath God a bird
To come and strew thee, lone interred,
With leaves, when here left far behind?”
“He's gone,” the Jew; “czars, stars must go
Or change! All's chymestry. Aye so.”—
Resurget”—faintly Derwent there.
In pace”—Vine, nor more would dare.
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.”—
Inside a hollow free from stone
With camel-ribs they scooped a trench;
And Derwent, rallying from blench
Of Mortmain's brow, and nothing loth
Tacit to vindicate the cloth,
Craved they would bring to him the Book,
Now ownerless. The same he took,
And thence had culled brief service meet,
But closed, reminded of the psalm
Heard when the salt fog shrunk the palm—
They wending toward these waters' seat—
Raised by the saint, as e'en it lent
A voice to low presentiment:
Naught better might one here repeat:


“Though through the valley of the shade
I pass, no evil do I fear;
His candle shineth on my head:
Lo, he is with me, even here.”
That o'er, they kneeled—with foreheads bare
Bowed as he made the burial prayer.
Even Margoth bent him; but 'twas so
As some hard salt at sea will do
Holding the narrow plank that bears
The shotted hammock, while brief prayers
Are by the master read mid war
Relentless of wild elements—
The sleet congealing on the spar:
It was a sulking reverence.
The body now the Arabs placed
Within the grave, and then with haste
Had covered, but for Rolfe's restraint:
“The Book!”—The Bible of the saint—
With that the relics there he graced,
Yea, put it in the hand: “Since now
The last long journey thou dost go,
Why part thee from thy friend and guide!
And better guide who knoweth? Bide.”
They closed. And came a rush, a roar—
Aloof, but growing more and more,
Nearer and nearer. They invoke
The long Judaic range, the hight
Of nearer mountains hid from sight
By the blind mist. Nor spark nor smoke
Of that plunged wake their eyes might see;
But, hoarse in hubbub, horribly,
With all its retinue around—
Flints, dust, and showers of splintered stone,


An avalanche of rock down tore,
In somerset from each rebound—
Thud upon thump—down, down and down—
And landed. Lull. Then shore to shore
Rolled the deep echo, fold on fold,
Which, so reverberated, bowled
And bowled far down the long El Ghor.
They turn; and, in that silence sealed,
What works there from behind the veil?
A counter object is revealed—
A thing of heaven, and yet how frail:
Up in thin mist above the sea
Humid is formed, and noiselessly,
The fog-bow: segment of an oval
Set in a colorless removal
Against a vertical shaft, or slight
Slim pencil of an aqueous light.
Suspended there, the segment hung
Like to the May-wreath that is swung
Against the pole. It showed half spent—
Hovered and trembled, paled away, and—went.


2. VOL. II.




What reveries be in yonder heaven
Whither, if yet faith rule it so,
The tried and ransomed natures flow?
If there peace after strife be given
Shall hearts remember yet and know?
Thy vista, Lord, of havens dear,
May that in such entrancement bind
That never starts a wandering tear
For wail and willow left behind?
Then wherefore, chaplet, quivering throw
A dusk e'en on the martyr's brow
You crown? Do seraphim shed balm
At last on all of earnest mind,
Unworldly yearners, nor the palm
Awarded St. Teresa, ban
To Leopardi, Obermann?
Translated where the anthem's sung
Beyond the thunder, in a strain
Whose harmony unwinds and solves
Each mystery that life involves;
There shall the Tree whereon He hung,


The olive wood, leaf out again—
Again leaf out, and endless reign
Type of the peace that buds from sinless pain?
Exhalings! Tending toward the skies
By natural law, from heart they rise
Of one there by the moundless bed
Where stones they roll to feet and head;
Then mount, and fall behind the guard
And so away.
But whitherward?
'Tis the high desert, sultry Alp
Which suns decay, which lightnings scalp.
For now, to round the waste in large,
Christ's Tomb re-win by Saba's marge
Of grots and ossuary cells,
And Bethlehem where remembrance dwells—
From Sodom in her pit dismayed
Westward they wheel, and there invade
Judah's main ridge, which horrors deaden—
Where Chaos holds the wilds in pawn,
As here had happed an Armageddon,
Betwixt the good and ill a fray,
But ending in a battle drawn,
Victory undetermined. Nay,
For how an indecisive day
When one side camps upon the ground
Ere enlocked in bound
They enter where the ridge is riven,
A look, one natural look is given
Toward Margoth and his henchmen twain,
Dwindling to ants far off upon the plain.
“So fade men from each other!—Jew,
We do forgive thee now thy scoff,


Now that thou dim recedest off
Forever. Fair hap to thee, Jew:
Consolator whom thou disownest
Attend thee in last hour lonest!”
Rolfe, gazing, could not all repress
That utterance; and more or less,
Albeit they left it undeclared,
The others in the feeling shared.
They turn, and enter now the pass
Wherein, all unredeemed by weeds,
Trees, moss, the winding cornice leads
For road along the calcined mass
Of aged mountain. Slow they urge
Sidelong their way betwixt the wall
And flanked abyss. They hark the fall
Of stones, hoof-loosened, down the crags:
The crumblings note they of the verge.
In rear one strange steed timid lags:
On foot an Arab goes before
And coaxes him to steepy shore
Of scooped-out gulfs, would halt him there:
Back shrinks the foal with snort and glare.
Then downward from the giddy brim
They peep; but hardly may they tell
If the black gulf affrighted him
Or lingering scent he caught in air
From relics in mid lodgment placed,
Now first perceived within the dell—
Two human skeletons inlaced
In grapple as alive they fell,
Or so disposed in overthrow,
As to suggest encounter so.
A ticklish rim, an imminent pass
For quarrel; and blood-feud, alas,
The Arab keeps, and where or when,


Cain meeting Abel, closes then.
That desert's age the gorge may prove,
Piercing profound the mountain bare;
Yet hardly churned out in the groove
By a perennial wear and tear
Of floods; nay, dry it shows within;
But twice a year the waters flow,
Nor then in tide, but dribbling thin:
Avers Mar Saba's abbot so.
Nor less perchance before the day
When Joshua met the tribes in fray,
What wave here ran though leafy scene
Like uplands in Vermont the green;
What sylvan folk by mountain-base
Descrying showers about the crown
Of woods, foreknew the freshet's race
Quick to descend in torrent down;
And watched for it, and hailed in glee,
Then rode the comb of freshet wild,
As peaked upon the roller free
With gulls for mates, the Maldives' merry child.
Or, earlier yet, could be a day,
In time's first youth and pristine May
When here the hunter stood alone—
Moccasined Nimrod, belted Boone;
And down the tube of fringed ravine
Siddim descried, a lilied scene?
But crime and earthquake, throes and war;
And heaven remands the flower and star.
Aside they turn, and leave that gorge,
And slant upon the mountain long,
And toward a ledge they toilsome urge
High over Siddim, and overhung
By loftier crags. In spirals curled
And pearly nothings buoyant whirled,
Eddies of exhalations light,


As over lime-kilns, swim in sight.
The fog dispersed, those vapors show
Diurnal from the waters won
By the athirst demanding sun—
Recalling text of Scripture so;
For on the morn which followed rain
Of fire, when Abraham looked again,
The smoke went up from all the plain.
Their mount of vision, voiceless, bare,
It is that ridge, the desert's own,
Which by its dead Medusa stare
Petrific o'er the valley thrown,
Congeals Arabia into stone.
With dull metallic glint, the sea
Slumbers beneath the silent lee
Of sulphurous hills. These stretch away
Toward wilds of Kadesh Barnea,
And Zin the waste.
In pale regard
Intent the Swede turned thitherward:
“God came from Teman; in His hour
The Holy One from Paran came;
They knew Him not; He hid His power
Within the forking of the flame,
Within the thunder and the roll.
Imperious in its swift control,
The lion's instantaneous lick
Not more effaces to the quick
Than His fierce indignation then.
Look! for His wake is here. O men,
Since Science can so much explode,
Evaporated is this God?—
Recall the red year Forty-eight:
He storms in Paris; thence divides:
The menace scarce outspeeds the fate:
He's over the Rhine—He's at Berlin—


At Munich—Dresden—fires Vien;
He's over the Alps—the whirlwind rides
In Rome; London's alert—the Czar:
The portent and the fact of war,
And terror that into hate subsides.
There, through His instruments made known,
Including Atheist and his tribes,
Behold the prophet's marching One,
He at whose coming Midian shook—
The God, the striding God of Habakkuk.”
Distempered! Nor might passion tire,
Nor pale reaction from it quell
The craze of grief's intolerant fire
Unwearied and unweariable.


From vehemence too mad to stem
Fain would they turn and solace them.
Turn where they may they find a dart.
For while recumbent here they view,
Beneath them spread, the seats malign,
Nehemiah recurs—in last recline
A hermit there. And some renew
Their wonderment at such a heart
Single in life—in death, how far apart!
That life they question, seek a clew:
Those virtues which his meekness knew,
Marked these indeed but wreckful wane
Of strength, or the organic man?


The hardy hemlock, if subdued,
Decays to violets in the wood,
Which put forth from the sodden stem:
His virtues, might they breed like them?
Nor less that tale by Rolfe narrated
(Thrown out some theory to achieve),
Erewhile upon Mount Olivet,
That sea-tale of the master fated;
Not wholly might it here receive
An application such as met
The case. It needed something more
Or else, to penetrate the core.
But Clarel—made remindful so
Of by-gone things which death can show
In kindled meaning—here revealed
That once Nehemiah his lips unsealed
(How prompted he could not recall)
In story which seemed rambling all,
And yet, in him, not quite amiss.
In pointed version it was this:
A gentle wight of Jesu's trade,
A carpenter, for years had made
His living in a quiet dell,
And toiled and ate and slept alone,
Esteemed a harmless witless one.
Had I a friend thought he, 'twere well.
A friend he made, and through device
Of jobbing for him without price.
But on a day there came a word—
A word unblest, a blow abhorred.
Thereafter, in the mid of night,
When from the rafter and the joist
The insect ticked; and he, lone sprite,
How wakeful lay, what word was voiced?
Me love; fear only man. And he—
He willed what seemed too strange to be:


The hamlet marveled and the glade:
Interring him within his house,
He there his monastery made,
And grew familiar with the mouse.
Down to the beggar who might sing,
Alms, silent alms, unseen he'd fling,
And cakes to children. But no more
Abroad he went, till spent and gray,
Feet foremost he was borne away.
As when upon a misty shore
The watchful seaman marks a light
Blurred by the fog, uncertain quite;
And thereto instant turns the glass
And studies it, and thinks it o'er
By compass: Is't the cape we pass?
So Rolfe from Clarel's mention caught
Food for an eagerness of thought:
“It bears, it bears; such things may be:
Shut from the busy world's pell-mell
And man's aggressive energy—
In cloistral Palestine to dwell
And pace the stone!”
And Mortmain heard,
Attesting; more his look did tell
Than comment of a bitter word.
Meantime the ass, high o'er the bed
Late scooped by Siddim's borders there—
As stupefied by brute despair,
Motionless hung the earthward head.



The Elysium of the Greek was given
By haughty bards, a hero-heaven;
No victim looked for solace there:
The marble gate disowned the plea—
Ye heavy laden, come to me.
Nor Fortune's Isles, nor Tempe's dale
Nor Araby the Blest did bear
A saving balm—might not avail
To lull one pang, one lot repair.
Dreams, narrow dreams; nor of a kind
Showing inventiveness of mind
Beyond our earth. But oh! 'twas rare,
In world like this, the world we know
(Sole know, and reason from) to dare
To pledge indemnifying good
In worlds not known; boldly avow,
Against experience, the brood
Of Christian hopes.”
So Rolfe, and sat
Clouded. But, changing, up he gat:
“Whence sprang the vision? They who freeze,
On earth here, under want or wrong;
The Sermon on the Mount shall these
Find verified? is love so strong?
Or bounds are hers, that Python mars
Your gentler influence, ye stars?
If so, how seem they given o'er
To worse than Circe's fooling spell;
Enslaved, degraded, tractable
To each mean atheist's crafty power.
So winning in enthusiast plea
Here may the Gospel but the more


Operate like a perfidy?”
“So worldlings deem,” the Swede in glow;
“Much so they deem; or, if not so,
Hereon they act. But what said he,
The Jew whose feet the blisters know,
To Christ as sore He trailed the Tree
Toward Golgotha: ‘Ha, is it Thou,
The king, the god? Well then, be strong:
No royal steed with galls is wrung:
That's for the hack.’ There he but hurled
The scoff of Nature and the World,
Those monstrous twins.” It jarred the nerve
Of Derwent, but he masked the thrill.
For Vine, he kindled, sitting still;
Respected he the Swede's wild will
As did the Swede Vine's ruled reserve.
Mortmain went on: “We've touched a theme
From which the club and lyceum swerve,
Nor Herr von Goethe would esteem;
And yet of such compulsive worth,
It dragged a god here down to earth,
As some account. And, truth to say,
Religion ofttimes, one may deem,
Is man's appeal from fellow-clay:
Thibetan faith implies the extreme—
That death emancipates the good,
Absorbs them into deity,
Dropping the wicked into bestialhood.”
With that for text to revery due,
In lifted waste, on ashy ground
Like Job's pale group, without a sound
They sat. But hark! what strains ensue
Voiced from the crags above their view



Noble gods at the board
Where lord unto lord
Light pushes the care-killing wine:
Urbane in their pleasure,
Superb in their leisure—
Lax ease—
Lax ease after labor divine!
“Golden ages eternal,
Autumnal, supernal,
Deep mellow their temper serene:
The rose by their gate
Shall it yield unto fate?
They are gods—
They are gods and their garlands keep green.
“Ever blandly adore them;
But spare to implore them:
They rest, they discharge them from time;
Yet believe, light believe
They would succor, reprieve—
Nay, retrieve—
Might but revelers pause in the prime!”
“Who sings?” cried Rolfe; “dare say no Quaker:
Fine song o'er funeral Siddim here:
So, mindless of the undertaker,
In cage above her mistress' bier
The gold canary chirps. What cheer?
Who comes?”
“Ay, welcome as the drums


Of marching allies unto men
Beleaguered—comes, who hymning comes—
What rescuer, what Delian?”
So Derwent, and with quick remove
Scaling the rock which hemmed their cove
He thence descried where higher yet
A traveler came, by cliffs beset,
Descending, and where terrors met.
Nor Orpheus of heavenly seed
Adown thrilled Hades' gorges singing,
About him personally flinging
The bloom transmitted from the mead;
In listening ghost such thoughts could breed
As did the vocal stranger here
In Mortmain, where relaxed he lay
Under that voice from other sphere
And carol laughing at the clay.
Nearer the minstrel drew. How fair
And light he leaned with easeful air
Backward in saddle, so to frame
A counterpoise as down he came.
Against the dolorous mountain side
His Phrygian cap in scarlet pride
Burned like a cardinal-flower in glen.
And after him, in trappings paced
His escort armed, three goodly men.
Observing now the other train,
He halted. Young he was, and graced
With fortunate aspect, such as draws
Hearts to good-will by natural laws.
No furtive scrutiny he made,
But frankly flung salute, and said:
“Well met in desert! Hear my song?”
“Indeed we did,” cried Derwent boon.
“And wondered where you got that tune,”
Rolfe added there. “Oh, brought along


From Cyprus; I'm a Cypriote,
You see; one catches many a note
Wafted from only heaven knows where.”
“And, pray, how name you it?” “The air?
Why, hymn of Aristippus.” “Ah:
And whither wends your train?” “Not far;”
And sidelong in the saddle free
A thigh he lolled: “'Tis thus, you see:
My dame beneath Our Lady's star
Vowed in her need, to Saba's shrine
Three flagons good for holy wine:
Vowed, and through me performed. Even now
I come from Saba, having done
Her will, accomplishing the vow.
But late I made a private one—
Meant to surprise her with a present
She'll value more than juicy pheasant,
Good mother mine. Yes, here I go
To Jordan, in desert there below,
To dip this shroud for her.” “Shroud, shroud?”
Cried Derwent, following the hand
In startled wonderment unfeigned,
Which here a little tap bestowed
In designation on a roll
Strapped to the pommel; “Azrael's scroll!
You do not mean you carry there
A—a—” “The same; 'tis woven fair:
“My shroud is saintly linen,
In lavender 'tis laid;
I have chosen a bed by the marigold
And supplied me a silver spade!”
The priest gazed at the singer; then
Turned his perplexed entreating ken
Upon Djalea. But Rolfe explained:


“I chance to know. Last year I gained
The Jordan at the Easter tide,
And saw the Greeks in numbers there,
Men, women, blithe on every side,
Dipping their winding-sheets. With care
They bleach and fold and put away
And take home to await the day:
A custom of old precedent,
And curious too in mode 'tis kept,
Showing how under Christian sway
Greeks still retain their primal bent,
Nor let grave doctrine intercept
That gay Hellene lightheartedness
Which in the pagan years did twine
The funeral urn with fair caress
Of vintage holiday divine.”
He turned him toward the Cypriote:
“Your courier, the forerunning note
Which ere we sighted you, we heard—
You're bold to trill it so, my bird.”
“And why? It is a fluent song.
Though who they be I cannot say,
I trust their lordships think no wrong;
I do but trill it for the air;
'Tis anything as down we fare.”
Enough; Rolfe let him have his way;
Yes, there he let the matter stay.
And so, with mutual good-will shown,
They parted.
For l'envoy anon
They heard his lilting voice impel
Among the crags this versicle:
With a rose in thy mouth
Through the world lightly veer:


Rose in the mouth
Makes a rose of the year!”
Then, after interval again,
But fainter, further in the strain:
“With the Prince of the South
O'er the Styx bravely steer:
Rose in the mouth
And a wreath on the bier!”
Chord deeper now that touched within.
Listening, they at each other look;
Some charitable hope they brook,
Yes, vague belief they fondly win
That heaven would brim his happy years
Nor time mature him into tears.
And Vine in heart of revery saith:
Like any flute inspired with breath
Pervasive, and which duly renders
Unconscious in melodious play,
Whate'er the light musician tenders;
So warblest thou lay after lay
Scarce self-derived; and (shroud before)
Down goest singing toward Death's Sea,
Where lies aloof our pilgrim hoar
In pit thou'lt pass. Ah, young to be!



Where silence and the legend dwell,
A cleft in Horeb is, they tell,
Through which upon one happy day
(The sun on his heraldic track
Due sign having gained in Zodiac)
A sunbeam darts, which slants away
Through ancient carven oriel
Or window in the Convent there,
Illuming so with annual flush
The somber vaulted chamber spare
Of Catherine's Chapel of the Bush—
The Burning Bush. Brief visitant,
It makes no lasting covenant;
It brings, but cannot leave, the ray.
To hearts which here the desert smote
So came, so went the Cypriote.
Derwent deep felt it; and, as fain
His prior spirits to regain;
Impatient too of scenes which led
To converse such as late was bred,
Moved to go on. But some declined.
So, for relief to heart which pined,
Belex he sought, by him sat down
In cordial ease upon a stone
Apart, and heard his stories free
Of Ibrahim's wild infantry.
The rest abide. To these there comes,
As down on Siddim's scene they peer,
The contrast of their vernal homes—
Field, orchard, and the harvest cheer.
At variance in their revery move


The spleen of nature and her love:
At variance, yet entangled too—
Like wrestlers. Here in apt review
They call to mind Abel and Cain—
Ormuzd involved with Ahriman
In deadly lock. Were those gods gone?
Or under other names lived on?
The theme they started. 'Twas averred
That, in old Gnostic pages blurred,
Jehovah was construed to be
Author of evil, yea, its god;
And Christ divine his contrary:
A god was held against a god,
But Christ revered alone. Herefrom,
If inference availeth aught
(For still the topic pressed they home)
The two-fold Testaments become
Transmitters of Chaldaic thought
By implication. If no more
Those Gnostic heretics prevail
Which shook the East from shore to shore,
Their strife forgotten now and pale;
Yet, with the sects, that old revolt
Now reappears, if in assault
Less frank: none say Jehovah's evil,
None gainsay that he bears the rod;
Scarce that; but there's dismission civil,
And Jesus is the indulgent God.
This change, this dusking change that slips
(Like the penumbra o'er the sun),
Over the faith transmitted down;
Foreshadows it complete eclipse?
Science and Faith, can these unite?
Or is that priestly instinct right
(Right as regards conserving still
The Church's reign) whose strenuous will


Made Galileo pale recite
The Penitential Psalms in vest
Of sackcloth; which to-day would blight
Those potent solvents late expressed
In laboratories of the West?
But in her Protestant repose
Snores faith toward her mortal close?
Nay, like a sachem petrified,
Encaved found in the mountain-side,
Perfect in feature, true in limb,
Life's full similitude in him,
Yet all mere stone—is faith dead now,
A petrifaction? Grant it so,
Then what's in store? what shapeless birth?
Reveal the doom reserved for earth?
How far may seas retiring go?
But, to redeem us, shall we say
That faith, undying, does but range,
Casting the skin—the creed. In change
Dead always does some creed delay—
Dead, not interred, though hard upon
Interment's brink? At Saint Denis
Where slept the Capets, sire and son,
Eight centuries of lineal clay,
On steps that led down into vault
The prince inurned last made a halt,
The coffin left they there, 'tis said,
Till the inheritor was dead;
Then, not till then 'twas laid away.
But if no more the creeds be linked,
If the long line's at last extinct,
If time both creed and faith betray,
Vesture and vested—yet again
What interregnum or what reign
Ensues? Or does a period come?
The Sibyls books lodged in the tomb?


Shall endless time no more unfold
Of truth at core? Some things discerned
By the far Noahs of India old—
Earth's first spectators, the clear-eyed
Unvitiated, unfalsified
Seers at first hand—shall these be learned
Though late, even by the New World, say,
Which now contemns?
But what shall stay
The fever of advance? London immense
Still wax for aye? A check: but whence?
How of the teeming Prairie-Land?
There shall the plenitude expand
Unthinned, unawed? Or does it need
Only that men should breed and breed
To enrich those forces into play
Which in past times could oversway
Pride at his proudest? Do they come,
The locusts, only to the bloom?
Prosperity sire them?
Thus they swept,
Nor sequence held, consistent tone—
Imagination wildering on
Through vacant halls which faith once kept
With ushers good.
Themselves thus lost,
At settled hearts they wonder most.
For those (they asked) who still adhere
In homely habit's dull delay,
To dreams dreamed out or passed away;
Do these, our pagans, all appear
Much like each poor and busy one
Who when the Tartar took Pekin,
(If credence hearsay old may win)
Knew not the fact—so vast the town
The multitude, the maze, the din?


Still laggeth in deferred adieu
The A. D. (Anno Domini)
Overlapping into era new
Even as the Roman A. U. C.
Yet ran for time, regardless all
That Christ was born, and after fall
Of Rome itself?
But now our age,
So infidel in equipage,
While carrying still the Christian name—
For all its self-asserted claim,
How fares it, tell? Can the age stem
Its own conclusions? is't a king
Awed by his conquests which enring
With menaces his diadem?
Bright visions of the times to be—
Must these recoil, ere long be cowed
Before the march in league avowed
Of Mammon and Democracy?
In one result whereto we tend
Shall Science disappoint the hope,
Yea, to confound us in the end,
New doors to superstition ope?
As years, as years and annals grow,
And action and reaction vie,
And never men attain, but know
How waves on waves forever die;
Does all more enigmatic show?
So they; and in the vain appeal
Persisted yet, as ever still
Blown back in sleet that blinds the eyes,
Not less the fervid Geysers rise.
Clarel meantime ungladdened bent
Regardful, and the more intent


For silence held. At whiles his eye
Lit on the Druze, reclined half prone,
The long pipe resting on the stone
And wreaths of vapor floating by—
The man and pipe in peace as one.
How clear the profile, clear and true;
And he so tawny. Bust ye view,
Antique, in alabaster brown,
Might show like that. There, all aside,
How passionless he took for bride
The calm—the calm, but not the dearth—
The dearth or waste; nor would he fall
In waste of words, that waste of all.
For Vine, from that unchristened earth
Bits he picked up of porous stone,
And crushed in fist: or one by one,
Through the dull void of desert air,
He tossed them into valley down;
Or pelted his own shadow there;
Nor sided he with anything:
By fits, indeed, he wakeful looked;
But, in the main, how ill he brooked
That weary length of arguing—
Like tale interminable told
In Hades by some gossip old
To while the never-ending night.
Apart he went. Meantime, like kite
On Sidon perched, which doth enfold,
Slowly exact, the noiseless wing:
Each wrinkled Arab Bethlehemite,
Or trooper of the Arab ring,
With look of Endor's withered sprite
Slant peered on them from lateral hight;
While unperturbed over-deserts riven,
Stretched the clear vault of hollow heaven.



At night upon the darkling main
To ship return with muffled sound
The rowers without comment vain—
The messmate overboard not found:
So, baffled in deep quest but late,
These on the mountain.
But from chat
With Belex in campaigning mood,
Derwent drew nigh. The sight of him
Ruffled the Swede—evoked a whim
Which took these words: “O, well bestowed!
Hither and help us, man of God:
Doctor of consolation, here!
Be warned though: truth won't docile be
To codes of good society.”
Allowing for pain's bitter jeer,
Or hearing but in part perchance,
The comely cleric pilgrim came
With what he might of suiting frame,
And air approaching nonchalance;
And “How to serve you, friends?” he said.
“Ah, that!” cried Rolfe; “for we, misled,
We peer from brinks of all we know;
Our eyes are blurred against the haze:
Canst help us track in snow on snow
The footprint of the Ancient of Days?
“Scarce without snow-shoes;” Derwent mild
In gravity; “But come; we've whiled
The time; up then, and let us go.”
“Delay,” said Mortmain; “stay, roseace:
What word is thine for sinking heart,


What is thy wont in such a case,
Who sends for thee to act thy part
Consoling—not in life's last hour
Indeed—but when some deprivation sore
Unnerves, and every hope lies flat?”
That troubled Derwent, for the tone
Brake into tremble unbeknown
E'en to the speaker. Down he sat
Beside them: “Well, if such one—nay!
But never yet such sent for me—
I mean, none in that last degree;
Assume it though: to him I'd say—
‘The less in hand the more in store,
Dear friend.’ No formula I'd trace,
But honest comfort face to face;
And, yes, with tonic strong I'd brace,
Closing with cheerful Paul in lore
Of text—Rejoice ye evermore.”
The Swede here of a sudden drooped,
A hump dropped on him, one would say;
He reached and some burnt gravel scooped,
Then stared down on the plain away.
The priest in fidget moved to part:
“Abide,” said Mortmain with a start;
“Abide, for more I yet would know:
Is God an omnipresent God?
Is He in Siddim yonder? No?
If anywhere He's disavowed
How think to shun the final schism—
Blind elements, flat atheism?”
Whereto the priest: “Far let it be
That ground where Durham's prelate stood
Who saw no proof that God was good
But only righteous.—Woe is me!
These controversies. Oft I've said
That never, never would I be led


Into their maze of vanity.
Behead me—rid me of pride's part
And let me live but by the heart!”
“Hast proved thy heart? first prove it. Stay:
The Bible, tell me, is it true,
And thence deriv'st thy flattering view?”
But Derwent glanced aside, as vexed;
Inly assured, nor less perplexed
How to impart; and grieved too late
At being drawn within the strait
Of vexed discussion: nor quite free
From ill conjecture, that the Swede,
Though no dissembler, yet indeed
Part played on him: “Why question me?
Why pound the text? Ah, modern be,
And share the truth's munificence.
Look now, one reasons thus: Immense
Is tropic India; hence she breeds
Brahma tremendous, gods like seeds.
The genial clime of Hellas gay
Begat Apollo. Take that way;
Nor query—Ramayana true?
The Iliad?”
Mortmain nothing said,
But lumped his limbs and sunk his head.
Then Rolfe to Derwent: “But the Jew:
Since clime and country, as you own,
So much effect, how with the Jew
There Derwent sat him down
Afresh, well pleased and leisurely,
As one in favorite theory
Invoked: “That bondman from his doom
By Nile, and subsequent distress,
With punishment in wilderness,


Methinks he brought an added gloom
To nature here. Here church and state
He founded—would perpetuate
Exclusive and withdrawn. But no:
Advancing years prohibit rest;
All turns or alters for the best.
Time ran; and that expansive light
Of Greeks about the bordering sea,
Their happy genial spirits bright,
Wit, grace urbane, amenity
Contagious, and so hard to ban
By bigot law, or any plan;
These influences stole their way,
Affecting here and there a Jew;
Likewise the Magi tincture too
Derived from the Captivity:
Hence Hillel's fair reforming school,
Liberal gloss and leavening rule.
How then? could other issue be
At last but ferment and a change?
True, none recanted or dared range:
To Moses' law they yet did cling,
But some would fain have tempering—
In the bare place a bit of green.
And lo, an advent—the Essene,
Gentle and holy, meek, retired,
With virgin charity inspired:
Precursor, nay, a pledge, agree,
Of light to break from Galilee.
And, ay, He comes: the lilies blow!
In hamlet, field, and on the road,
To every man, in every mode
How did the crowning Teacher show
His broad and blessed comity.
I do avow He still doth seem
Pontiff of optomists supreme!”


The Swede sat stone-like. Suddenly:
“Leave thy carmine! From thorns the streak
Ruddies enough that tortured cheek.
'Twas Shaftesbury first assumed your tone,
Trying to cheerfulize Christ's moan.”
“Nay now,” plead Derwent, earnest here,
And in his eyes the forming tear;
“But hear me, hear!”
“No more of it!”
And rose. It was his passion-fit.
The other changed; his pleasant cheer,
Confronted by that aspect wild,
Dropped like the flower from Ceres' child
In Enna, seeing the pale brow
Of Pluto dank from scud below.
Though by Genthsemane, where first
Derwent encountered Mortmain's mien,
Christian forbearance well he nursed,
Allowing for distempered spleen;
Now all was altered, quite reversed—
'Twas now as at the burial scene
By Siddim's marge. And yet—and yet
Was here a proof the priest had met
His confutation? Hardly so
(Mused Clarel) but he longed to know
How it could be, that while the rest
Contented scarce the splenetic Swede,
They hardly so provoked the man
To biting outburst unrepressed
As did the cleric's gentle fan.
But had the student paid more heed
To Derwent's look, he might have caught
Hints of reserves within the thought.
Nor failed the priest ere all too late
His patience here to vindicate.



Eloi lama sabachthani!”
And, swooning, strove no more.
Nor gone
For every heart, whate'er they say,
The eclipse that cry of cries brought down,
And clamors through the darkness blown.
More wide for some it spreads in sway,
Involves the lily of the Easter Day.
A chance word of the Swede in place—
Allusion to the anguished face,
Recalled to Clarel now the cry,
The ghost's reproachful litany.
Disturbed then, he apart would go;
And passed among the crags; and there,
Like David in Adullum's lair—
Could it be Vine, and quivering so?
'Twas Vine. He wore that nameless look
About the mouth—so hard to brook—
Which in the Cenci portrait shows,
Lost in each copy, oil or print;
Lost, or else slurred, as 'twere a hint
Which if received, few might sustain:
A trembling over of small throes
In weak swoll'n lips, which to restrain
Desire is none, nor any rein.
Clarel recalled the garden's shade,
And Vine therein, with all that made
The estrangement in Gethsemane.
Reserves laid bare? and can it be?
The dock-yard forge's silent mound,
Played over by small nimble flame—


Raked open, lo, the anchor's found
In white-heat's alb.
With shrinking-frame,
Grateful that he was unespied,
Clarel quite noiseless slipped aside:
Ill hour (thought he), an evil sign:
No more need dream of winning Vine
Or coming at his mystery.
O, lives which languish in the shade,
Puzzle and tease us, or upbraid;
What noteless confidant, may be,
Withholds the talisman, the key!
Or if indeed it run not so,
And he's above me where I cling;
Then how these higher natures know
Except in shadow from the wing?—
Hark! as in benison to all,
Borne on waste air in wasteful clime,
What swell on swell of mellowing chime,
Which every drooping pilgrim rallies;
How much unlike that ominous call
Pealed in the blast from Roncesvalles!
Was more than silver in this shell
By distance toned. What festival?
What feast? of Adam's kind, or fay?
Hark—no, not yet it dies away.
Where the sexton of the vaulted seas
Buries the drowned in weedy grave,
While tolls the buoy-bell down the breeze;
There, off the shoals of rainy wave
Outside the channel which they crave,
The sailors lost in shrouding mist,
Unto that muffled knelling list,
The more because for fogged remove
The floating belfry none may prove;


So, yet with difference, do these
“Chimes, chimes? but whence? thou breeze;”
Here Derwent; “convent none is near.”
“Ay,” said the Druze, “but quick's the ear
In deep hush of the desert wide.”
“'Tis Saba calling; yea,” Rolfe cried,
“Saba, Mar Saba summons us:
O, hither, pilgrims, turn to me,
Escape the desert perilous;
Here's refuge, hither unto me!”
A lateral lodgment won, they wheeled,
And toward the abandoned ledge they glanced:
Near, in the high void waste advanced,
They saw, in turn abrupt revealed,
An object reared aloof by Vine
In whim of silence, when debate
Was held upon the cliff but late
And ended where all words decline:
A heap of stones in arid state.
The cairn (thought Clarel), meant he—yes,
A monument to barrenness?



They climb. In Indian file they gain
A sheeted blank white lifted plain—
A moor of chalk, or slimy clay,
With gluey track and streaky trail
Of some small slug or torpid snail.
With hooded brows against the sun,
Man after man they labor on.
Corrupt and mortally intense,
What fumes ere long pollute the sense?
But, hark the flap and lumbering rise
Of launching wing; see the gaunt size
Of the ground-shadow thereby thrown.
Behind a great and sheltering stone
A camel, worn out, down had laid—
Never to rise. 'Tis thence the kite
Ascends, sails off in Tyreward flight.
As 'twere Apollyon, angel bad,
They watch him as he speeds away.
But Vine, in mere caprice of clay,
Or else because a pride had birth
Slighting high claims which vaunted be
And favoring things of low degree—
From heaven he turned him down to earth,
Eagle to ass. She now, ahead
Went riderless, with even tread
And in official manner, sooth,
For bell and cord she'd known in youth;
Through mart and wild, bazaar and waste
Preceding camels strung in train,
Full often had the dwarf thing paced,
Conductress of the caravan
Of creatures tall. What meant Vine's glance


Ironic here which impish ran
In thievish way? O, world's advance:
We wise limp after!
The cavalcade
Anon file by a pit-like glade
Clean scooped of last lean dregs of soil;
Attesting in rude terraced stones
The ancient husbandmen's hard toil,—
All now a valley of dry bones—
In shape a hopper. 'Twas a sight
So marked with dead, dead undelight,
That Derwent half unconscious here
Stole a quick glance at Mortmain's face
To note how it received the cheer.
Whereat the moody man, with sting
Returned the imprudent glance apace—
Wayward retort all withering
Though wordless. Clarel looking on,
Saw there repeated the wild tone
Of that discountenancing late
In sequel to prolonged debate
Upon the mountain. And again
Puzzled, and earnest, less to know
What rasped the Swede in such a man
Than how indeed the priest could show
Such strange forbearance; ventured now
To put a question to him fair.
“Oh, oh,” he answered, all his air
Recovered from the disarray;
“The shadow flung by Ebal's hill
On Gerizim, it cannot stay,
But passes. Ay, and ever still—
But don't you see the man is mad?
His fits he has; sad, sad, how sad!
Besides; but let me tell you now;
Do you read Greek? Well, long ago,


In stage when goslings try the wing,
And peacock-chicks would softly sing,
And roosters small essay to crow;
Reading Theocritus divine,
Envious I grew of all that charm
Where sweet and simple so entwine;
But I plucked up and won a balm:
Thought I, I'll beat him in his place:
If, in my verses, and what not,
If I can't have this pagan grace,
Still—nor alone in page I blot,
But all encounters that may be—
I'll make it up with Christian charity.”
Another brink they win, and view
Adown in faintly greenish hollow
An oval camp of sable hue
Pitched full across the track they follow—
Twelve tents of shaggy goat's wool dun.
“Ah, tents of Kedar may these be,”
Cried Derwent; “named by Solomon
In song? Black, but scarce comely, see.
Whom have we here? The brood of Lot?”
“The oval seems his burial-plot,”
Said Rolfe; “and, for his brood, these men—
They rove perchance from Moab's den
Or Ammon's. Belex here seems well
To know them, and no doubt will tell.”
The Spahi, not at all remiss
In airing his Turk prejudice,
Exclaimed: “Ay, sirs; and ill betide
These Moabites and Ammonites
Ferrying Jordan either side—
Robbers and starvelings, mangy wights.
Sirs, I will vouch one thing they do:
Each year they harry Jericho


In harvest; yet thereby they gain
But meager, rusty spears of grain.
What right have such black thieves to live?
Much more to think here to receive
Our toll? Just Allah! say the word,
And—” here he signified with sword
The rest, impatient of delay
While yet on hight at brink they stay,
So bidden by Djalea, who slow
Descends into the hopper low,
Riding. “To parley with the knaves!”
Cried Belex; “spur them down; that saves
All trouble, sirs; 'twas Ibrahim's way;
When, in the Lebanon one day
We came upon a---”
“Pardon me,”
The priest; “but look how leisurely
He enters; yes, and straight he goes
To meet our friend with scowling brows,
The warder in yon outlet, see,
Holding his desert spear transverse,
Bar-like, from sable hearse to hearse
Of toll-gate tents. Foreboding ill,
The woman calls there to her brood.
But what's to fear! Ah, with good-will
They bustle in the war-like mood;
Save us from those long fish-pole lances!
Look, menacingly one advances;
But he, our Druze, he mindeth none,
But paces. So! they soften down.
'Tis Zar, it is that dainty steed,
High-bred fine equine lady brave,
Of stock derived from long ago;
'Tis she they now admiring heed,
Picking her mincing way so grave,
None jostling, grazing scarce a toe


Of all the press. The sulky clan,
Yes, make way for the mare—and man!
There's homage!”
“Ay, ay,” Belex said,
“They'd like to steal her and retire:
Her beauty is their heart's desire—
Base jackals with their jades!”
Well sped
The Druze. The champion he nears
Posted in outlet, keeping ward,
Who, altering at that aspect, peers,
And him needs own for natural lord.
Though claiming kingship of the land
He hesitates to make demand:
Salute he yields. The Druze returns
The salutation; nor he spurns
To smoke with Ammon, but in way
Not derogating—brief delay.
They part. The unmolested train
Are beckoned, and come down. Amain
The camp they enter and pass through;
No conflict here, no weak ado
Of words or blows.
This policy
(Djalea's) bred now a pleasing thought
In Derwent: “Wars might ended be,
Yes, Japhet, Shem, and Ham be brought
To confluence of amity,
Were leaders but discreet and wise
Like this our chief.”
The armed man's eyes
Turned toward him tolerantly there
As 'twere a prattling child.
They fare
Further, and win a nook of stone,
And there a fountain making moan.


The shade invites, though not of trees:
They tarry in this chapel-of-ease;
Then up, and journey on and on,
Nor tent they see—not even a lonely one.


The lake ink-black mid slopes of snow—
The dead-house for the frozen, barred—
And the stone hospice; chill they show
Monastic in thy pass, Bernard.
Apostle of the Alps storm-riven,
How lone didst build so near the heaven!
Anchored in seas of Nitria's sand,
The desert convent of the Copt—
No aerolite can more command
The sense of dead detachment, dropped
All solitary from the sky.
The herdsmen of Olympus lie
In summer when the eve is won
Viewing white Spermos lower down,
The mountain-convent; and winds bear
The chimes that bid the monks to prayer;
Nor man-of-war-hawk sole in sky
O'er lonely ship sends lonelier cry.
The Grand Chartreuse with crystal peaks
Mid pines—the wintry Paradise
Of soul which but a Saviour seeks—
The mountains round all slabbed with ice;
May well recall the founder true,
St. Bruno, who to heaven has gone


And proved his motto—that whereto
Each locked Carthusian yet adheres:
Troubled I was, but spake I none;
I kept in mind the eternal years.
And Vallambrosa—in, shut in;
And Montserrat—enisled aloft;
With many more the verse might win,
Solitudes all, austere or soft.
But Saba! Of retreats where heart
Longing for more than downy rest,
Fit place would find from world apart,
Saba abides the loneliest:
Saba, that with an eagle's theft
Seizeth and dwelleth in the cleft.
Aloof the monks their aerie keep,
Down from their hanging cells they peep
Like samphire-gatherers o'er the bay
Faint hearing there the hammering deep
Of surf that smites the ledges gray.
But up and down, from grot to shrine,
Along the gorge, hard by the brink
File the gowned monks in even line,
And never shrink!
With litany or dirge they wend
Where nature as in travail dwells;
And the worn grots and pensive dells
In wail for wail responses send—
Echoes in plaintive syllables.
With mystic silvery brede divine,
Saint Basil's banner of Our Lord
(In lieu of crucifix adored
By Greeks which images decline)
Stained with the five small wounds and red,
Down through the darkling gulf is led—


By night ofttimes, while tapers glow
Small in the depths, as stars may show
Reflected far in well profound.
Full fifteen hundred years have wound
Since cenobite first harbored here;
The bones of men, deemed martyrs crowned,
To fossils turn in mountain near;
Nor less while now lone scribe may write,
Even now, in living dead of night,
In Saba's lamps the flames aspire—
The votaries tend the far-transmitted fire.


'Tis Kedron, that profound ravine
Whence Saba soars. And all between
Zion and Saba one may stray,
Sunk from the sun, through Kedron's way.
By road more menacingly dead
Than that which wins the convent's base
No ghost to Tartarus is led.
Through scuttle small, that keepeth place
In floor of cellars which impend—
Cellars or cloisters—men ascend
By ladder which the monks let down
And quick withdraw; and thence yet on
Higher and higher, flight by flight,
They mount from Erebus to light,
And off look, world-wide, much in tone
Of Uriel, warder in the sun,
Who serious views this earthly scene
Since Satan passed his guard and entered in.


But not by Kedron these now come
Who ride from Siddim; no, they roam
The roof of mountains—win the tall
Towers of Saba, and huge wall
Builded along the steep, and there
A postern with a door, full spare
Yet strong, a clamped and bucklered mass
Bolted. In waste whose king is Fear,
Sole port of refuge, it is here.
Strange (and it might repel, alas)
Fair haven's won by such a pass.
In London Tower the Traitors' Gate
Through which the guilty waters flow,
Looks not more grim. Yet shalt thou know,
If once thou enter, good estate.
Beneath these walls what frays have been,
What clash and outcry, sabers crossed
Pilgrim and Perizzite between;
And some have here given up the ghost
Before the gate in last despair.
Nor, for the most part, lacking fair
Sign-manuel from a mitered lord,
Admission shall that arch afford
To any.
Weary now the train
At eve halt by the gate and knock.
No answer. Belex shouts amain:
As well invoke the Pico Rock.
“Bide,” breathes the Druze, and dropping rein,
He points. A wallet's lowered down
From under where a hood projects
High up the tower, a cowl of stone,
Wherefrom alert an eye inspects
All applicants, and unbeknown.
Djalea promptly from his vest
A missive draws, which duly placed


In budget, rises from the ground
And vanishes. So, without sound
Monks fish up to their donjon dark
The voucher from their Patriarch,
Even him who dwells in damask state
On Zion throned. Not long they wait:
The postern swings. Dismounting nigh,
The horses through the needle's eye,
That small and narrow gate, they lead.
But while low ducks each lofty steed,
Behold how through the crucial pass
Slips unabased the humble ass.
And so they all with clattering din
The stony fortress court-yard win.
There see them served, and bidden rest;
Horse, ass too, treated as a guest.
Friars tend as grooms. Yet others call
And lead them to the frater-hall
Cliff-hung. By monks the board is spread;
They break the monastery bread,
Moist'ning the same with Saba's wine,
Product of painful toil mid stones
In terraces, whose Bacchic zones
That desert gird. Olive and vine
To flinty places well incline,
Once crush the flint. Even so they fared,
So well for them the brethren cared.
Refection done, for grateful bed
Cool mats of dye sedate, were spread:
The lamps were looked to, freshly trimmed;
And last (at hint from mellow man
Who seemed to know how all things ran,
And who in place shall soon be hymned)
A young monk-servant, slender-limbed,
And of a comely countenance,
Set out one flask of stature tall,


Against men's needs medicinal,
Travelers, subject to mischance;
Devout then, and with aspect bright
Invoked Mar Saba's blessing—bade good night.
He goes. But now in change of tune,
Shall friar be followed by buffoon?
Saba supply a Pantaloon?
Wise largess of true license yield.
Howe'er the river, winding round,
May win an unexpected bound;
The aim and destiny, unsealed
In the first fount, hold unrepealed.


Life is not by square and line:
Wisdom's stupid without folly:
Sherbet to-day, to-morrow wine—
Feather in cap and the world is jolly!”
So he, the aforesaid mellow man,
Thrumming upon the table's span.
Scarce audible except in air
Mirth's modest overture seemed there.
Nor less the pilgrims, folding wing,
Weary, would now in slumber fall—
Sleep, held for a superfluous thing
By that free heart at home in hall.
And who was he so jovial?
Purveyor, he some needful stores


Supplied from Syrian towns and shores;
And on his trips, dismissing care,—
His stores delivered all and told,
Would rest awhile in Saba's fold.
Not broken he with fast and prayer:
The leg did well plump out the sock;
Nor young, nor old, but did enlock
In reconcilement a bright cheek
And fleecy beard; that cheek, in show,
Arbutus flaked about with snow,
Running-arbutus in Spring's freak
Overtaken so. In Mytilene,
Sappho and Phaon's Lesbos green,
His home was, his lax Paradise,
An island yet luxurious seen,
Fruitful in all that can entice.
For chum he had a mountaineer,
A giant man, beneath whose lee
Lightly he bloomed, like pinks that cheer
The base of tower where cannon be.
That mountaineer the battle tans,
An Arnaut of no mean degree,
A lion of war, and drew descent
Through dames heroic from the tent
Of Pyrrhus and those Epirot clans
Which routed Rome. And, furthermore,
In after-line enlinked he stood
To Scanderbeg's Albanian brood,
And Arslan, famous heretofore,
The horse-tail pennon dyed in gore.
An Islamite he was by creed—
In act, what fortune's chances breed:
Attest the medal, vouch the scar—
Had bled for Sultan, won for Czar;
His psalter bugle was and drum,
Any scorched rag his Labarum.


For time adherent of the Turk,
In Saba's hold he sheathed his dirk,
Waiting arrival of a troop
Destined for some dragooning swoop
On the wild tribes beyond the wave
Of Jordan. Unconstrained though grave,
Stalwart but agile, nobly tall,
Complexion a burnt red, and all
His carriage charged with courage high
And devil-dare. A hawk's his eye.
While, for the garb: a snow-white kilt
Was background to his great sword-hilt:
The waistcoat blue, with plates and chains
Tarnished a bit with grapy stains;
Oaches in silver rows: stout greaves
Of leather: buskins thonged; light cloak
Of broidered stuff Damascus weaves;
And, scorched one side with powder smoke,
A crimson Fez, bald as a skull
Save for long tassel prodigal.
Last, add hereto a blood-red sash,
With dagger and pistol's silvery charms,
And there you have this Arnaut rash,
In zone of war—a trophy of arms.
While yet the monks stood by serene,
He as to kill time, his moustache
Adjusted in his scimeter's sheen;
But when they made their mild adieu,
Response he nodded, seemly too.
And now, the last gowned friar gone,
His heart of onslaught he toned down
Into a solemn sort of grace,
Each pilgrim looking full in face,
As he should say: Why now, let's be
Good comrades here to-night.
Grave plea


For brotherly love and jollity
From such an arsenal of man,
A little strange seemed and remote.
To bring it nearer—spice—promote—
Nor mindless of some aspects wan,
Lesbos, with fair engaging tone,
Threw in some moral cinnamon:
“Sir pilgrims, look; 'tis early yet;
In evening arbor here forget
The heat, the burden of the day.
Life has its trials, sorrows—yes,
I know—I feel; but blessedness
Makes up. Ye've grieved the tender clay:
Solace should now all that requite;
'Tis duty, sirs. And—by the way—
Not vainly Anselm bade good night,
For see!” and cheery on the board
The flask he set.
“I and the sword”
The Arnaut said (and in a tone
Of natural bass which startled one—
Profound as the profound trombone)
“I and the sword stand by the red.
But this will pass, this molten ore
Of yellow gold. Is there no more?”
“Trust wit for that,” the other said:
“Purveyor, shall he not purvey?”
And slid a panel, showing store
Of cups and bottles in array.
“Then arms at ease, and ho, the bench!”
It made the slender student blench
To hark the jangling of the steel,
Vibration of the floor to feel,
Tremor through beams and bones which ran
As that ripe masterpiece of man
Plumped solid down upon the deal.


Derwent a little hung behind—
Censorious not, nor disinclined,
But with self-querying countenance,
As if one of the cloth, perchance
Due bound should set, observe degree
In liberal play of social glee.
Through instinct of good fellow bright
His poise, as seemed, the Lesbian wight
Divined: and justly deeming here
The stage required a riper cheer
Than that before—solicitous,
With bubbling cup in either hand,
Toward Derwent drew he, archly bland;
Then posed; and tunefully e'en thus:
“A shady rock, and trickling too,
Is good to meet in desert drear:
Prithee now, the beading here—
Beads of Saba, saintly dew:
Quaff it, sweetheart, I and you:
Quaff it, for thereby ye bless
Beadsmen here in wilderness.
Spite of sorrow, maugre sin,
Bless their larder and laud their bin:
Nor deem that here they vainly pine
Who toil for heaven and till the vine!”
He sings; and in the act of singing,
Near and more near one cup he's bringing,
Till by his genial sleight of hand
'Tis lodged in Derwent's, and—retained.
As lit by vintage sunset's hue
Which mellow warms the grapes that bleed,
In amber light the good man view;
Nor text of sanction lacked at need;
“At Cana, who renewed the wine?


Sourly did I this cup decline
(Which lo, I quaff, and not for food),
'Twould by an implication rude
Asperse that festival benign.—
We're brethren, ay!”
The lamps disclose
The Spahi, Arnaut, and the priest,
With Rolfe and the not-of-Sharon Rose,
Ranged at the board for family feast.
“But where's Djalea?” the cleric cried;
“'Tis royalty should here preside:”
And looked about him. Truth to own,
The Druze, his office having done
And brought them into haven there,
Discharged himself of further care
Till the next start: the interim
Accounting rightfully his own;
And may be, heedful not to dim
The escutcheon of an Emir's son
By any needless letting down.
The Lesbian who had Derwent served,
Officiated for them all;
And, as from man to man he swerved,
Grotesque a bit of song let fall:
“The Mufti in park suburban
Lies under a stone
Surmounted serene by a turban
Magnific—a marble one!”
So, man by man, with twinkling air,
And cup and text of stanza fair:
“A Rabbi in Prague they muster
In mound evermore


Looking up at his monument's cluster—
A cluster of grapes of Noah!”
When all were served with wine and rhyme
“Ho, comrade,” cried armed Og sublime,
“Your singing makes the filling scant;
The flask to me, let me decant.”
With that, the host he played—brimmed up
And off-hand pushed the frequent cup;
Flung out his thigh, and quaffed apace,
Barbaric in his hardy grace;
The while his haughty port did say,
Who 's here uncivilized, I pray?
I know good customs: stint I ye?
Indeed (thought Rolfe), a man of mark,
And makes a rare symposiarch;
I like him; I'll e'en feel his grip.
With that, in vinous fellowship
Frank he put out his hand. In mood
Of questionable brotherhood
The slayer stared—anon construed
The overture aright, and yet
Not unreservedly he met
The palm. Came it in sort too close?
Was it embraces were for foes?
Rolfe, noting a fine color stir
Flushing each happy reveler,
Now leaned back, with this ditty wee:
“The Mountain-Ash
And Sumach fine,
Tipplers of summer,
Betray the wine
In autumn leaf
Of vermil flame:


Bramble and Thorn
Cry—Fie, for shame!”
Mortmain aloof and single sat—
In range with Rolfe, as viewed from mat
Where Vine reposed, observing there
That these in contour of the head
And goodly profile made a pair,
Though one looked like a statue dead.
Methinks (mused Vine), 'tis Ahab's court
And yon the Tishbite; he'll consort
Not long, but Kedron seek. It proved
Even so: the desert-heart removed.
But he of bins, whose wakeful eye
On him had fixed, and followed sly
Until the shadow left the door,
Turned short, and tristful visage wore
In quaint appeal. A shrug; and then
“Beseech ye now, ye friendly men,
Who's he—a cup, pray;—O, my faith!
That funeral cap of his means death
To all good fellowship in feast.
Mad, say he's mad!”
Awhile the priest
And Rolfe, reminded here in heart
Of more than well they might impart,
Uneasy sat. But this went by:
Ill sort some truths with revelry.—
The giant plied the flask. For Vine
Relaxed he viewed nor spurned the wine,
But humorously moralized
On those five souls imparadised
For term how brief; well pleased to scan
The Mytilene, the juicy man.
Earth—of the earth (thought Vine) well, well,
So's a fresh turf, but good the smell.


Yes, deemed by some medicinal—
Most too if damped with wine of Xeres
And snuffed at when the spirit wearies.
I have it under strong advising
'Tis good at whiles this sensualizing;
Would I could joy in it myself;
But no!—
For Derwent, he, light elf,
Not vainly stifling recent fret,
Under the table his two knees
Pushed deeper, so as e'en to get
Closer in comradeship at ease.
Arnaut and Spahi, in respect
Of all adventures they had known,
These chiefly did the priest affect:
Adventures, such as duly shown
Printed in books, seem passing strange
To clerks which read them by the fire,
Yet be the wonted common-place
Of some who in the Orient range,
Free-lances, spendthrifts of their hire,
And who in end, when they retrace
Their lives, see little to admire
Or wonder at, so dull they be
(Like fish mid marvels of the sea)
To every thing that is not pent
In self, or thereto ministrant.



But ere those Sinbads had begun
Their Orient Decameron,
Rolfe rose, to view the further hall.
Here showed, set up against the wall,
Heroic traditionary arms,
Protecting tutelary charms
(Like Godfrey's sword and Baldwin's spur
In treasury of the Sepulcher,
Wherewith they knighthood yet confer,
The monks or their Superior)
Sanctified heirlooms of old time;
With trophies of the Paynim clime;
These last with tarnish on the gilt,
The jewels vanished from the hilt.
Upon one serpent-curving blade
Love-motto beamed from Antar's rhyme
In Arabic. A second said
(A scimiter the Turk had made,
And likely, it had clove a skull)
In name of God the Merciful!
A third was given suspended place,
And as in salutation waved,
And in old Greek was finely graved
With this: Hail, Mary, full of grace!
'Tis a rare sheaf of arms be here,
Thought Rolfe: “Who's this?” and turned to peer
At one who had but late come in,
(A stranger) and, avoiding din
Made by each distant reveler,
Anchored beside him. His sea-gear


Announced a pilgrim-timoneer.
The weird and weather-beaten face,
Bearded and pitted, and fine vexed
With wrinkles of cabala text,
Did yet reveal a twinge-like trace
Of some late trial undergone:
Nor less a beauty grave pertained
To him, part such as is ordained
To Eld, for each age hath its own,
And even scars may share the tone.
Bald was his head as any bell—
Quite bald, except a silvery round
Of small curled bud-like locks which bound
His temples as with asphodel.
Such he, who in nigh nook disturbed
Upon his mat by late uncurbed
Light revel, came with air subdued,
And by the clustered arms here stood
Regarding them with dullish eye
Of some old reminiscence sad.
On him Rolfe gazed: “And do ye sigh?
Hardly they seem to cheer ye: why?”
He pursed the mouth and shook the head.
“But speak!” “'Tis but an old bewailing.”
“No matter, tell.” “'Twere unavailing.”
“Come, now.”
“Since you entreat of me—
'Tis long ago—I'm aged, see—
From Egypt sailing—hurrying too—
For spite the sky there, always blue,
And blue daubed seas so bland, the pest
Was breaking out—the people quailing
In houses hushed; from Egypt sailing,
In ship, I say, which shunned the pest,
Cargo half-stored, and—and—alack!
One passenger of visage black,


But whom a white robe did invest
And linen turban, like the rest—
A Moor he was, with but a chest;—
A fugitive poor Wahabee—
So ran his story—who by me
Was smuggled aboard; and ah, a crew
That did their wrangles still renew,
Jabbing the poignard in the fray,
And mutinous withal;—I say,
From Egypt bound for Venice sailing—
On Friday—well might heart forebode!
In this same craft from Cadiz hailing,
Christened by friar ‘The Peace of God,’
(She laden now with rusted cannon
Which long beneath the Crescent's pennon
On beach had laid, condemned and dead,
Beneath a rampart, and from bed
Were shipped off to be sold and smelted
And into new artillery melted)
I say that to The Peace of God
(Your iron the salt seas corrode)
I say there fell to her unblest
A hap more baleful than the pest.
Yea, from the first I knew a fear,
So strangely did the needle veer.
A gale came up, with frequent din
Of cracking thunder out and in:
Corposants on yard-arms did burn,
Red lightning forked upon the stern:
The needle like an imp did spin.
Three gulls continual plied in wake,
Which wriggled like a wounded snake,
For I, the wretched timoneer,
By fitful stars yet tried to steer
'Neath shortened sail. The needle flew
(The glass thick blurred with damp and dew),


And flew the ship we knew not where.
Meantime the mutinous bad crew
Got at the casks and drowned despair,
Carousing, fighting. What to do?
To all the saints I put up prayer,
Seeing against the gloomy shades
Breakers in ghastly palisades.
Nevertheless she took the rocks;
And dinning through the grinds and shocks,
(Attend the solving of the riddle)
I heard the clattering of blades
Shaken within the Moor's strong box
In cabin underneath the needle.
How screamed those three birds round the mast
Slant going over. The keel was broken
And heaved aboard us for death-token.
To quit the wreck I was the last,
Yet I sole wight that 'scaped the sea.”
“But he, the Moor?”
”O, sorcery!
For him no heaven is, no atoner.
He proved an armorer, the Jonah!
And dealt in blades that poisoned were,
A black lieutenant of Lucifer.
I heard in Algiers, as befell
Afterward, his crimes of hell.
I'm far from superstitious, see;
But arms in sheaf, somehow they trouble me.”
“Ha, trouble, trouble? what's that, pray?
I've heard of it; bad thing, they say;
“Bug there, lady bug, plumped in your wine?
Only rose-leaves flutter by mine!”
The gracioso man, 'twas he,
Flagon in hand, held tiltingly.


How peered at him that timoneer,
With what a changed, still, merman-cheer,
As much he could, but would not say:
So murmuring naught, he moved away.
“Old, old,” the Lesbian dropped; “old—dry:
Remainder biscuit; and alas,
But recent 'scaped from luckless pass.”
“Indeed? relate.”—“O, by-and-by.”
But Rolfe would have it then. And so
The incident narrated was
Re-cast, it thus may flow:
The shipmen of the Cyclades
Being Greeks even of St. Saba's creed,
Are frequent pilgrims. From the seas
Greek convents welcome them, and feed.
Agath, with hardy messmates ten,
To Saba, and on foot, had fared
From Joppa. Duly in the Glen
His prayers he said; but rashly dared
Afar to range without the wall.
Upon him fell a robber-brood,
Some Ammonites. Choking his call,
They beat and stripped him, drawing blood,
And left him prone. His mates made search
With friars, and ere night found him so,
And bore him moaning back to porch
Of Saba's refuge. Cure proved slow;
The end his messmates might not wait;
Therefore they left him unto love
And charity—within that gate
Not lacking. Mended now in main,
Or convalescent, he would fain
Back unto Joppa make remove
With the first charitable train.


His story told, the teller turned
And seemed like one who instant yearned
To rid him of intrusive sigh:
“You happier pilgrim, by-the-by—
I like him: his vocation, pray?
Purveyor he? like me, purvey?”
“Ay—for the conscience: he's our priest.”
“Priest? he's a grape, judicious one—
Keeps on the right side of the sun.
But here's a song I heard at feast.”


The chalice tall of beaten gold
Is hung with bells about:
The flamen serves in temple old,
And weirdly are the tinklings rolled
When he pours libation out.
O Cybele, dread Cybele,
Thy turrets nod, thy terrors be!
“But service done, and vestment doffed,
With cronies in a row
Behind night's violet velvet soft,
The chalice drained he rings aloft
To another tune, I trow.
O Cybele, fine Cybele,
Jolly thy bins and belfries be!”
With action timing well the song,
His flagon flourished up in air,
The varlet of the isle so flung


His mad-cap intimation—there
Comic on Rolfe his eye retaining
In mirth how full of roguish feigning.
Ought I protest? (thought Rolfe) the man
Nor malice has, nor faith: why ban
This heart though of religion scant,
A true child of the lax Levant,
That polyglot and loose-laced mother?
In such variety he's lived
Where creeds dovetail into each other;
Such influences he's received:
Thrown among all—Medes, Elamites,
Egyptians, Jews and proselytes,
Strangers from Rome, and men of Crete—
And parts of Lybia round Cyrene—
Arabians, and the throngs ye meet
On Smyrna's quays, and all between
Stamboul and Fez:—thrown among these,
A caterer to revelries,
He's caught the tints of many a scene,
And so became a harlequin
Gay patchwork of all levities.
Holding to now, swearing by here,
His course conducting by no keen
Observance of the stellar sphere—
He coasteth under sail latteen:
Then let him laugh, enjoy his dinner,
He's an excusable poor sinner.
'Twas Rolfe. But Clarel, what thought he?
For he too heard the Lesbian's song
There by the casement where he hung:
In heart of Saba's mystery
This mocker light!—
But now in waltz


The Pantaloon here Rolfe assaults;
Then, keeping arm around his waist,
Sees Rolfe's reciprocally placed;
'Tis side-by-side entwined in ease
Of Chang and Eng the Siamese
When leaning mutually embraced;
And so these improvised twin brothers
Dance forward and salute the others,
The Lesbian flourishing for sign
His wine-cup, though it lacked the wine.
They sit. With random scraps of song
He whips the tandem hours along,
Or moments, rather; in the end
Calling on Derwent to unbend
In lyric.
“I?” said Derwent, “I?
Well, if you like, I'll even give
A trifle in recitative—
A something—nothing—anything—
Since little does it signify
In festive free contributing:
“To Hafiz in grape-arbor comes
Didymus, with book he thumbs:
My lord Hafiz, priest of bowers—
Flowers in such a world as ours?
Who is the god of all these flowers?—
Signior Didymus, who knows?
None the less I take repose—
Believe, and worship here with wine
In vaulted chapel of the vine
Before the altar of the rose.
“Ah, who sits here? a sailor meek?”
It was that sea-appareled Greek:
“Gray brother, here, partake our wine.”


He shook his head, yes, did decline.
“Or quaff or sing,” cried Derwent then,
“For learn, we be hilarious men.
Pray, now, you seamen know to sing.”
“I'm old,” he breathed.—“So's many a tree,
Yet green the leaves and dance in glee.”
The Arnaut made the scabbard ring:
“Sing, man, and here's the chorus—sing!”
“Sing, sing!” the Islesman, “bear the bell;
Sing, and the other songs excel.”
“Ay, sing,” cried Rolfe, “here now's a sample;
'Tis virtue teaches by example:
“Jars of honey,
Wine-skin, dates, and macaroni:
Falling back upon the senses—
O, the wrong—
Need take up with recompenses:
Song, a song!”
They sang about him till he said:
“Sing, sirs, I cannot: this I'll do,
Repeat a thing Methodius made,
Good chaplain of The Apostles' crew:
“Priest in ship with saintly bow,
War-ship named from Paul and Peter
Grandly carved on castled prow;
Gliding by the grouped Canaries
Under liquid light of Mary's
Mellow star of eventide;
Lulled by tinklings at the side,
I, along the taffrail leaning,
Yielding to the ship's careening,


Shared that peace the upland owns
Where the palm—the palm and pine
Meeting on the frontier line
Seal a truce between the zones.
This be ever! (mused I lowly)
Dear repose is this and holy;
Like the Gospel it is gracious
And prevailing.—There, audacious—
Boom! the signal-gun it jarred me,
Flash and boom together marred me,
And I thought of horrid war;
But never moved grand Paul and Peter,
Never blenched Our Lady's star!”


Bless that good chaplain,” Derwent here;
“All doves and halcyons round the sphere
Defend him from war's rude alarms!”
Then (Oh, sweet impudence of wine)
Then rising and approaching Vine
In suppliant way: “I crave an alms:
Since this gray guest, this serious one,
Our wrinkled old Euroclydon,
Since even he, with genial breath
His quota here contributeth,
Helping our gladness to prolong—
Thou too! Nay, nay; as everywhere
Water is found if one not spare
To delve—tale, prithee now, or song!”
Vine's brow shot up with crimson lights
As may the North on frosty nights


Over Dilston Hall and his low state—
The fair young Earl whose bloody end
Those red rays do commemorate,
And take his name.
Now all did bend
In chorus, crying, “Tale or song!”
Investing him. Was no escape
Beset by such a Bacchic throng.
“Ambushed in leaves we spy your grape,”
Cried Derwent; “black but juicy one—
A song!”
No way for Vine to shun:
“Well, if you'll let me here recline
At ease the while, I'll hum a word
Which in his Florence loft I heard
An artist trill one morning fine:—
“What is beauty? 'tis a dream
Dispensing still with gladness:
The dolphin haunteth not the shoal,
And deeps there be in sadness.
“The rose-leaves, see, disbanded be—
Blowing, about me blowing;
But on the death-bed of the rose
My amaranths are growing.
His amaranths: a fond conceit,
Yes, last illusion of retreat!
Short measure 'tis.” “And yet enough,”
Said Derwent; “'tis a hopeful song;
Or, if part sad, not less adorning,
Like purple in a royal mourning.
We debtors be. Now come along
To table, we'll take no rebuff.”


So Vine sat down among them then—
Adept—shy prying into men.
Derwent here wheeled him: “But for sake
Of conscience, noble Arnaut, tell;
When now I as from dream awake
It just dawns on me: how is this?
Wine-bibbing? No! that kind of bliss
Your Koran bars. And Belex, man,
Thou'st smoked before the sun low fell;
And this month's what? your Ramadan?
May true believers thus rebel?”
Good sooth, did neither know to tell,
Or care to know, what time did fall
The Islam fast; yet took it so
As Derwent roguish prompted, though
It was no Ramadan at all;
'Twas far ahead, a movable fast
Of lunar month, which to forecast
Needs reckoning.
Ponderous pause
The Anak made: “Mahone has laws,
And Allah's great—of course:—forefend!
Ho, rouse a stave, and so an end:
“The Bey, the Emir, and Mamalook lords
Charged down on the field in a grove of swords:
Hurrah! hurrah and hurrah
For the grove of swords in the wind of war!
“And the Bey to the Emir exclaimed, Who knows?
In the shade of the scimiters Paradise shows!
Hurrah! hurrah and hurrah
For the grove of swords in the wind of war!”
He sang; then settled down, a mate
For Mars' high pontiff—solemn sate,


And on his long broad Bazra blade
Deep ruminated. Less sedate,
The Spahi now in escapade
Vented some Turkish guard-room joke,
But scarce thereby the other woke
To laughter, for he never laughed,
Into whatever mood he broke,
Nor verbal levity vouchsafed,
So leonine the man. But here
The Spahi, with another cheer
Into a vein of mockery ran,
Toasting the feast of Ramadan,
Laughing thereat, removed from fear.
It was a deep-mouthed mastiff burst,
Nor less, for all the jovial tone
The echo startling import won—
At least for Clarel, little versed
In men, their levities and tides
Unequal, and of much besides.
There by a lattice open swung
Over the Kedron's gulf he hung,
And pored and pondered: With what sweep
Doubt plunges, and from maw to maw;
Traditions none the nations keep—
Old ties dissolve in one wide thaw;
The Frank, the Turk, and e'en the Jew
Share it; perchance the Brahmin too.
Returns each thing that may withdraw?
The schools of blue-fish years desert
Our sounds and shores—but they revert;
The ship returns on her long tack:
The bones of Theseus are brought back:
A comet shall resume its path
Though three millenniums go. But faith?
Ah, Nehemiah—and, Derwent, thou
'Twas dust to dust: what is it now


And here? Is life indeed a dream?
Are these the pilgrims late that heard
The wheeling desert vultures scream
Above the Man and Book interred—
Scream like the haglet and the gull
Off Chiloe o'er the foundered hull?
But hark: while here light fell the clink
The five cups made touched brink to brink
In fair bouquet of fellowship,
And just as the gay Lesbian's lip
Was parted—jetting came a wail
In litany from Kedron's jail
Profound, and belly of the whale:
“Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Intercede for me,
Angel of the Agony.
Spare me, spare me!
Merciful be—
Lord, spare me—
Spare and deliver me!”
Arrested, those five revelers there,
Fixed in light postures of their glee,
Seemed problematic shapes ye see
In linked caprice of festal air
Graved round the Greek sarcophagi.



The roller upon Borneo's strand
Halts not, but in recoiling throe
Drags back the shells involved with sand,
Shuffled and muffled in the flow
And hollow of the wallowing undertow.
In night Rolfe waked, and whelming felt
That refluence of disquiet dealt
In sequel to redundant joy.
Around he gazed in vague annoy
Upon his mates. The lamp-light dim
Obscurely showed them, strangely thrown
In sleep, nor heeding eye of him;
Flung every way, with random limb—
Like corses, when the battle's done
And stars come up. No sound but slight
Calm breathing, or low elfin shriek
In dream. But Mortmain, coiled in plight,
Lay with one arm wedged under cheek,
Mumbling by starts the other hand,
As the wolf-hound the bone. Rolfe rose
And shook him. Whereat, from his throes
He started, glaring; then lapsed down:
“Soft, soft and tender; feels so bland—
Grind it! 'tis hers, Brinvilliers' hand,
My nurse.” From which mad dream anon
He seemed his frame to re-command;
And yet would give an animal moan.
“God help thee, and may such ice make
Except against some solid? nay—
But thou who mark'st, get thee away,
Nor in such coals of Tartarus rake.”
So Rolfe; and wide a casement threw.


Aroma! and is this Judæa?
Down the long gorge of Kedron blew
A balm beyond the sweet Sabæa—
An air as from Elysian grass;
Such freshening redolence divine
As mariners upon the brine
Inhale, when barren beach they pass
By night; a musk of wafted spoil
From Nature's scent-bags in the soil,
Not in her flowers; nor seems it known
Even on the shores wherefrom 'tis blown.
Clarel, he likewise wakeful grew,
And rose, joined Rolfe, and both repaired
Out to a railed-in ledge. In view
Across the gulf a fox was scared
Even by their quiet coming so,
And noiseless fled along a line
Of giddy cornice, till more slow
He skulked out of the clear moonshine;
For great part of that wall did show,
To these beneath the shadowed hight,
With arras hung of fair moon-light.
The lime-stone mountain cloven asunder,
With scars of many a plunge and shock
Tremendous of the rifted rock;
So hushed now after all the thunder,
Begat a pain of troubled wonder.
The student felt it; for redress
He turned him—anywhere—to find
Some simple thing to ease the mind
Dejected in her littleness.
Rolfe read him; and in quiet way
Would interpose, lead off, allay.
“Look,” whispered he, “yon object white—
This side here, on the crag at brink—
'Tis touched, just touched by paler light;


Stood we in Finland, one might think
An ermine there lay coiled. But no,
A turban 'tis, Djalea's, aloof
Reclining, as he used to do
In Lebanon upon proud roof—
His sire's. And, see, long pipe in state,
He inhales the friendly fume sedate.
Yon turban with the snowy folds
Announces that my lord there holds
The rank of Druze initiate—
Not versed in portion mere, but total—
Advanced in secrets sacerdotal;
Though what these be, or high or low,
Who dreams? Might Lady Esther learn?”
“Lady Esther. Don't you know?
Pitt's sibyl-niece, who made sojourn
In Libanus, and read the stars;
Self-exiled lady, long ago
She prophesied of wizard wars,
And kept a saddled steed in stall
Awaiting some Messiah's call
Who came not.—But yon Druze's veil
Of Sais may one lift, nor quail?
We'll try.”
To courteous challenge sent,
The Druze responded, not by word
Indeed, but act: he came; content
He leaned beside them in accord,
Resting the pipe-bowl. His assent
In joining them, nay, all his air
Mute testimony seemed to bear
That now night's siren element,
Stealing upon his inner frame,
Pliant had made it and more tame.
With welcome having greeted him,


Rolfe led along by easy skim
And won the topic: “Tell us here—
Your Druze faith: are there not degrees,
Orders, ascents of mysteries
Therein? One would not pry and peer:
Of course there's no disclosing these;
But what's that working thought you win?
The prelate-princes of your kin,
They—they—doubtless they take their ease.”
No ripple stirred the Emir's son,
He whiffed the vapor, kept him staid,
Then from the lip the amber won:
“No God there is but God,” he said,
And tapped the ashes from the bowl,
And stood. 'Twas passive self-control
Of Pallas' statue in sacked Rome
Which bode till pushed from off the plinth;
Then through the rocky labyrinth
Betook him where cool sleep might come;
But not before farewell sedate:—
“Allah preserve ye, Allah great!”


There's politesse! we're left behind.
And yet I like this Prince of Pith;
Too pithy almost. Where'll ye find
Nobleman to keep silence with
Better than Lord Djalea?—But you—
It can not be this interview
Has somehow—” “No,” said Clarel; “no,”


And sighed; then, “How irreverent
Was Belex in the wassail-flow:
His Ramadan he links with Lent.”
“No marvel: what else to infer?
Toll-taker at the Sepulcher.
To me he gave his history late,
The which I sought.—You've marked the state
Of warders shawled, on old divan,
Sword, pipe, and coffee-cup at knee,
Cross-legg'd within that portal's span
Which wins the Holy Tomb? Ay me,
With what a bored dead apathy
Faith's eager pilgrims they let in!”
“Guard of the Urn has Belex been?”
Said Clarel, starting; “why then,—yes—”
He checked himself.—
“Nay, but confess,”
Cried Rolfe; “I know the revery lurks:
Frankly admit that for these Turks
There's nothing that can so entice
To disbelieve, nay, Atheize—
Nothing so baneful unto them
As shrined El Cods, Jerusalem.
For look now how it operates:
To Christ the Turk as much as Frank
Concedes a supernatural rank;
Our Holy Places too he mates
All but with Mecca's own. But then
If chance he mark the Cross profaned
By violence of Christian men
So called—his faith then needs be strained;
The more, if he himself have done
(Enforced thereto by harsh command)
Irreverence unto Mary's Son.”
“How mean you?” and the speaker scanned.


“Why not alone has Belex been
An idling guard about The Tomb:
Nay, but he knows another scene
In fray beneath the self-same dome
At festivals. What backs he's scored
When on the day by Greeks adored,
St. Basil's Easter, all the friars
Schismatic, with the pilgrim tribes,
Levantine, Russian, heave their tides
Of uproar in among the shrines,
Waiting the burst of fraudful fires
From vent there in the Holy Tomb
Which closeteth the mongers. Room!
It jets! To quell the rush, the lines
Of soldiers sway: crack falls the thong;
And mid the press, some there, though strong,
Are trampled, trodden, till they die.
In transfer swift, igniting fly
The magic flames, which, caught along
By countless candles, multiply.
Like seas phosphoric on calm nights,
Blue shows the fane in fog of lights;
But here 'tis hurricane and high:
Zeal, furious zeal, and frenzying faith
And ecstasy of Aty's scath
When up the Phrygian mount he rushed
Bleeding, yet heeding not his shame,
While round him frantic timbrels pushed
In rites delirious to name.
No: Dindymus' nor Brahma's crew
Dream what these Christian fakirs do:
Wrecked banners, crosses, ragged palms—
Red wounds thro' vestments white ye view;
And priests who shout ferocious psalms
And hoarse hosannas to their king,
Even Christ; and naught may work a lull,


Nor timely truce of reason bring;
Not cutting lash, nor smiting sword,
Nor yet—Oh! more than wonderful—
The tomb, the pleading tomb where lay Our Lord.”
“But who ordains the imposture? speak.”
“The vivid, ever-inventive Greek.”
“The Greek? But that is hard to think.
Seemly the port, gentle the cheer
Of friars which lodge upon this brink
Of Kedron, and do worship here
With rites august, and keep the creed.”—
“Ah, rites august;—this ancient sect,
Stately upholstered and bedecked,
Is but a catafalque, concede—
Prolongs in sacerdotal way
The Lower Empire's bastard sway;
It does not grow, it does but bide—
An orthodoxy petrified.
Or, if it grow, it grows but with
Russia, and thence derives its pith.
The Czar is its armed bishop. See,
The Czar's purse, so it comes to me,
Contributes to this convent's pride.
But what's that twinkling through the gloom
Far down? the lights in chantry? Yes!
Whence came the flame that lit? Confess,
E'en from Jerusalem—the Tomb,
Last Easter. Horseman from the porch
Hither each Easter spurs with torch
To re-ignite the flames extinct
Upon Good-Friday. Thus, you see,
Contagious is this cheatery;
Nay, that's unhandsome; guests we are;
And hosts are sacred—house and all;
And one may think, and scarcely mar


The truth, that it may so befall
That, as yon docile lamps receive
The fraudful flame, yet honest burn,
So, no collusive guile may cleave
Unto these simple friars, who turn
And take whate'er the forms dispense,
Nor question, Wherefore? ask not, Whence?”
Clarel, as if in search of aught
To mitigate unwelcome thought,
Appealed to turret, crag and star;
But all was strange, withdrawn and far.
“Yet need we grant,” Rolfe here resumed,
“This trick its source had in a dream
Artless, which few will disesteem—
That angels verily illumed
Those lamps at Easter, long ago;
Though now indeed all come from prayer
(As Greeks believe—at least avow)
Of bishops in the Sepulcher.
Be rumor just, which small birds sing,
Greek churchmen would let drop this thing
Of fraud, e'en let it cease. But no;
'Tis ancient, 'tis entangled so
With vital things of needful sway,
Scarce dare they deviate that way.
The Latin in this spurious rite
Joined with the Greek: but long ago,
Long years since, he abjured it quite.
Still, few Rome's pilgrims here, and they
Less credulous than Greeks to-day.
Now worldlings in their worldliness
Enjoin upon us, Never retract:
With ignorant folk, think you, no less
Of policy priestcraft may exact?


But Luther's clergy: though their deeds
Take not imposture, yet 'tis seen
That, in some matters more abstract,
These, too, may be impeached herein.
While, as each plain observer heeds,
Some doctrines fall away from creeds,
And therewith, hopes, which scarce again,
In those same forms, shall solace men—
Perchance, suspended and inert
May hang, with few to controvert,
For ages; does the Lutheran,
To such disciples as may sit
Receptive of his sanctioned wit,
In candor own the dubious weather
And lengthen out the cable's tether?—
You catch my drift?”
“I do. But, nay,
Some ease the cable.”
“Derwent, pray?
Ah, he—he is a generous wight,
And lets it slip, yes, run out quite.
Whether now in his priestly state
He seek indeed to mediate
'Tween faith and science (which still slight
Each truce deceptive) or discreet
Would kindly cover faith's retreat,
Alike he labors vainly. Nay,
And, since I think it, why not say—
Things all diverse he would unite:
His idol's an hermaphrodite.”
The student shrank. Again he knew
Return for Rolfe of quick distaste;
But mastered it; for still the hue
Rolfe kept of candor undefaced,
Quoting pure nature at his need,
As 'twere the Venerable Bede:
An Adam in his natural ways.


But scrupulous lest any phrase
Through inference might seem unjust
Unto the friend they here discussed;
Rolfe supplements: “Derwent but errs—
No, buoyantly but overstates
In much his genial heart avers:
I cannot dream he simulates.
For pulpiteers which make their mart—
Who, in the Truth not for a day,
Debarred from growth as from decay,
Truth one forever, Scriptures say,
Do yet the fine progressive part
So jauntily maintain; these find
(For sciolists abound) a kind
And favoring audience. But none
Exceed in flushed repute the one
Who bold can harmonize for all
Moses and Comte, Renan and Paul:
'Tis the robustious circus-man:
With legs astride the dappled span
Elate he drives white, black, before:
The small apprentices adore.
Astute ones be though, staid and grave
Who in the wars of Faith and Science
Remind one of old tactics brave—
Imposing front of false defiance:
The King a corpse in armor led
On a live horse.—You turn your head:
You hardly like that. Woe is me:
What would you have? For one to hold
That he must still trim down, and cold
Dissemble—this were coxcombry!
Indulgence should with frankness mate:
Fraternal be: Ah, tolerate!”
The modulated voice here won
Ingress where scarce the plea alone


Had entrance gained. But—to forget
Allusions which no welcome met
In him who heard—Rolfe thus went on.
“Never I've seen it; but they claim
That the Greek prelate's artifice
Comes as a tragic after-piece
To farce, or rather prank and game;
Racers and tumblers round the Tomb:
Sports such as might the mound confront,
The funeral mound, by Hellespont,
Of slain Patroclus. Linger still
Such games beneath some groves of bloom
In mid Pacific, where life's thrill
Is primal—Pagan; and fauns deck
Green theatres for that tattooed Greek
The Polynesian.—Who will say
These Syrians are more wise than they,
Or more humane? not those, believe,
Who may the narrative receive
Of Ibrahim the conqueror, borne
Dead-faint, by soldiers red with gore
Over slippery corses heaped forlorn
Out from splashed Calvary through the door
Into heaven's light. Urged to ordain
That nevermore the frenzying ray
Should issue—‘That would but sustain
The cry of persecution; nay,
Let Allah, if he will, remand
These sects to reason. Let it stand.’—
Cynical Moslem! but didst err,
Arch-Captain of the Sepulcher?”—
He stayed: and Clarel knew decline
Of all his spirits, as may one
Who hears some story of his line
Which shows him half his house undone.


Revulsion came: with lifted brows
He gazed on Rolfe: Is this the man
Whom Jordan heard in part espouse
The appeal of that Dominican
And Rome? and here, all sects, behold,
All creeds involving in one fold
Of doubt? Better a partisan!
Earnest he seems: can union be
'Twixt earnestness and levity?
Or need at last in Rolfe confess
Thy hollow, Manysidedness!
But, timely, here diversion fell.
Dawn broke; and from each cliff-hung cell
'Twas hailed with hymns—confusion sweet
As of some aviary's seat:
Commemorative matin din:
'Tis Saba's festival they usher in.


That day, though to the convent brood
A holiday, was kept in mood
Of serious sort, yet took the tone
And livery of legend grown
Poetical if grave. The fane
Was garnished, and it heard a strain
Reserved for festa. And befell
That now and then at interval
Some, gathered on the cliffs around,
Would sing Saint Cosmos' canticle;


Some read aloud from book embrowned
While others listened; some prefer
A chant in Scripture character,
Or monkish sort of melodrame.
Upon one group the pilgrims came
In gallery of slender space,
Locked in the echoing embrace
Of crags: a choir of seemly men
Reposed in cirque, nor wanting grace,
Whose tones went eddying down the glen:

First Voice.
No more the princes flout the word—
Jeremiah's in dungeon cast:
The siege is up, the walls give way:
This desolation is the last.
The Chaldee army, pouring in,
Fiercer grown for disarray,
Hunt Zedekiah that fleeth out:
Baal and Assyria win:
Israel's last king is shamed in rout,
Taken and blinded, chains put on,
And captive dragged to Babylon.

Second Voice.
O daughter of Jerusalem,
Cast up the ashes on the brow!
Nergal and Samgar, Sarsechim
Break down thy towers, abase thee now.

Third Voice.
Oh, now each lover leaveth!


Fourth Voice.
None comfort me, she saith:

First Voice.
Abroad the sword bereaveth:

Second Voice.
At home there is as death.

The Four.
Behold, behold! the days foretold begin:
A sword without—the pestilence within.

First and Second Voices.
But thou that pull'st the city down,
Ah, vauntest thou thy glory so?

Second and Third Voices.
God is against thee, haughty one;
His archers roundabout thee go:

The Four.
Earth shall be moved, the nations groan
At the jar of Bel and Babylon
In din of overthrow.

First Voice.
But Zion shall be built again!


Third and Fourth Voices.
Nor shepherd from the flock shall sever;
For lo, his mercy doth remain,
His tender mercy—

Second Voice.
And forever!

The Four.
Forever and forever!

Forever and forever
His mercy shall remain:
In rivers flow forever,
Forever fall in rain!


Huge be the buttresses enmassed
Which shoulder up, like Titan men,
Against the precipices vast
The ancient minster of the glen.
One holds the library four-square,
A study, but with students few:
Books, manuscripts, and—cobwebs too.
Within, the church were rich and rare
But for the time-stain which ye see:


Gilded with venerable gold,
It shows in magnified degree
Much like some tarnished casket old
Which in the dusty place ye view
Through window of the broker Jew.
But Asiatic pomp adheres
To ministry and ministers
Of Basil's Church; that night 'twas seen
In all that festival confers:
Plate of Byzantium, stones and spars,
Urim and Thummin, gold and green;
Music like cymbals clashed in wars
Of great Semiramis the queen.
And texts sonorous they intone
From parchment, not plebeian print;
From old and golden parchment brown
They voice the old Septuagint,
And Gospels, and Epistles, all
In the same tongue employed by Paul.
Flags, beatific flags they view:
Ascetics which the hair-cloth knew
And wooden pillow, here were seen
Pictured on satin soft—serene
In fair translation. But advanced
Above the others, and enhanced
About the staff with ring and boss,
They mark the standard of the Cross.
That emblem, here, in Eastern form,
For Derwent seemed to have a charm.
“I like this Greek cross, it has grace;”
He whispered Rolfe: “the Greeks eschew
The long limb; beauty must have place—
Attic! I like it. And do you?”
“Better I'd like it, were it true.”
“What mean you there?”
“I do but mean


'Tis not the cross of Calvary's scene.
The Latin cross (by that name known)
Holds the true semblance; that's the one
Was lifted up and knew the nail;
'Tis realistic—can avail!”
Breathed Derwent then, “These arches quite
Set off and aggrandize the rite:
A goodly fane. The incense, though,
Somehow it drugs, makes sleepy so.
They purpose down there in ravine
Having an auto, act, or scene,
Or something. Come, pray, let us go.


Tis night, with silence, save low moan
Of winds. By torches red in glen
A muffled man upon a stone
Sits desolate sole denizen.
Pilgrims and friars on ledge above
Repose. A figure in remove
This prologue renders: “He in view
Is that Cartaphilus, the Jew
Who wanders ever; in low state,
Behold him in Jehoshaphat
The valley, underneath the hem
And towers of gray Jerusalem:
This must ye feign. With quick conceit
Ingenuous, attuned in heart,
Help out the actor in his part,
And gracious be;” and made retreat.
Then slouching rose the muffled man;
Gazed toward the turrets, and began:


“O city yonder,
Exposed in penalty and wonder,
Again thou seest me! Hither I
Still drawn am by the guilty tie
Between us; all the load I bear
Only thou know'st, for thou dost share.
As round my heart the phantoms throng
Of tribe and era perished long,
So thou art haunted, sister in wrong!
While ghosts from mounds of recent date
Invest and knock at every gate—
Specters of thirty sieges old
Your outer line of trenches hold:
Egyptian, Mede, Greek, Arab, Turk,
Roman, and Frank, beleaguering lurk.—
Not solely for that bond of doom
Between us, do I frequent come
Hither, and make profound resort
In Shaveh's dale, in Joel's court;
But hungering also for the day
Whose dawn these weary feet shall stay,
When Michael's trump the call shall spread
Through all your warrens of the dead.
“Time, never may I know the calm
Till then? my lull the world's alarm?
But many mortal fears and feelings
In me, in me here stand reversed:
The unappeased judicial pealings
Wrench me, not wither me, accursed.
‘Just let him live, just let him rove,’
(Pronounced the voice estranged from love)
‘Live—live and rove the sea and land;
Long live, rove far, and understand
And sum all knowledge for his dower;
For he forbid is, he is banned;


His brain shall tingle, but his hand
Shall palsied be in power:
Ruthless, he meriteth no ruth,
On him I imprecate the truth.’”
He quailed; then, after little truce,
Moaned querulous:
“My fate!
Cut off I am, made separate;
For man's embrace I strive no more;
For, would I be
Friendly with one, the mystery
He guesses of that dreadful lore
Which Eld accumulates in me:
He fleeth me.
My face begetteth superstition:
In dungeons of Spain's Inquisition
Thrice languished I for sorcery,
An Elymas. In Venice, long
Immured beneath the wave I lay
For a conspirator. Some wrong
On me is heaped, go where I may,
Among mankind. Hence solitude
Elect I; in waste places brood
More lonely than an only god;
For, human still, I yearn, I yearn,
Yea, after a millennium, turn
Back to my wife, my wife and boy;
Yet ever I shun the dear abode
Or site thereof, of homely joy.
I fold ye in the watch of night,
Esther! then start. And hast thou been?
And I for ages in this plight?
Caitiff I am; but there's no sin
Conjecturable, possible,
No crime they expiate in hell


Justly whereto such pangs belong:
The wrongdoer he endureth wrong.
Yea, now the Jew, inhuman erst,
With penal sympathy is cursed—
The burden shares of every crime,
And throttled miseries undirged,
Unchronicled, and guilt submerged
Each moment in the flood of time.
Go mad I can not: I maintain
The perilous outpost of the sane.
Memory could I mitigate,
Or would the long years vary any!
But no, 'tis fate repeating fate:
Banquet and war, bridal and hate,
And tumults of the people many;
And wind, and dust soon laid again:
Vanity, vanity's endless reign!—
What's there?”
He paused, and all was hush
Save a wild screech, and hurtling rush
Of wings. An owl—the hermit true
Of grot the eremite once knew
Up in the cleft—alarmed by ray
Of shifted flambeau, burst from cave
On bushy wing, and brushed away
Down the long Kedron gorge and grave.
“It flees, but it will be at rest
Anon! But I—” and hung oppressed—
“Years, three-score years, seem much to men;
Three hundred—five—eight hundred, then;
And add a thousand; these I know!
That eighth dim cycle of my woe,
The which, ahead, did so delay,
To me now seems but yesterday:
To Rome I wandered out of Spain,


And saw thy crowning, Charlemagne,
On Christmas eve. Is all but dream?
Or is this Shaveh, and on high,
Is that, even that, Jerusalem?—
How long, how long? Compute hereby:
The years, the penal years to be,
Reckon by years, years, years, and years
Whose calendar thou here mayst see
On grave-slabs which the blister sears—
Of ancient Jews which sought this clime
Inscriptions nigh extinct,
Or blent or interlinked
With dotard scrawl of idiot Time.
Transported felon on the seas
Pacing the deck while spray-clouds freeze;
Pacing and pacing, night and morn,
Until he staggers overworn;
Through time, so I, Christ's convict grim,
Deathless and sleepless lurching fare—
Deathless and sleepless through remorse for Him;
Deathless, when sleepless were enough to bear.”
Rising he slouched along the glen
Halting at base of crag—detached
Erect, as from the barrier snatched,
And upright lodged below; and then:
“Absalom's Pillar! See the shoal
Before it—pebble, flint, and stone,
With malediction, jeer or groan
Cast through long ages. Ah, what soul
That was but human, without sin,
Did hither the first just missile spin!
Culprit am I—this hand flings none;
Rather through yon dark-yawning gap,
Missed by the rabble in mishap
Of peltings vain—abject I'd go,


And, contrite, coil down there within,
Lie still, and try to ease the throe.
But nay—away!
Not long the feet unblest may stay.
They come: the vengeful vixens strive—
The harpies, lo—hag, gorgon, drive!”
There caught along, as swept by sand
In fierce Sahara hurricaned,
He fled, and vanished down the glen.
The Spahi, who absorbed had been
By the true acting, turned amain,
And letting go the mental strain,
Vented a resonant, “Bismillah!”
Strange answering which pealed from on high—
Dies irœ, dies illa!”
They looked, and through the lurid fume
Profuse of torches that but die,
And ghastly there the cliffs illume;
The skull-capped man they mark on high—
Fitful revealed, as when, through rift
Of clouds which dyed by sunset drift,
The Matterhorn shows its cragged austerity.



Seedsmen of old Saturn's land,
Love and peace went hand in hand,
And sowed the Era Golden!
Golden time for man and mead:
Title none, nor title-deed,
Nor any slave, nor Soldan.
Venus burned both large and bright,
Honey-moon from night to night,
Nor bride, nor groom waxed olden.
Big the tears, but ruddy ones,
Crushed from grapes in vats and tuns
Of vineyards green and golden!
Sweet to sour did never sue,
None repented ardor true—
Those years did so embolden.
Glum Don Graveairs slunk in den:
Frankly roved the gods with men
In gracious talk and golden.
Thrill it, cymbals of my rhyme,
Power was love, and love in prime,
Nor revel to toil beholden.
Back, come back, good age, and reign,
Goodly age, and long remain—
Saturnian Age, the Golden!”


The masquer gone, by stairs that climb,
In seemly sort, the friars withdrew;
And, waiting that, the Islesman threw
His couplets of the Arcadian time,
Then turning on the pilgrims: “Hoo!
“The bird of Paradise don't like owls:
A handful of acorns after the cowls!”
But Clarel, bantered by the song,
Sad questioned, if in frames of thought
And feeling, there be right and wrong;
Whether the lesson Joel taught
Confute what from the marble's caught
In sylvan sculpture—Bacchant, Faun,
Or shapes more lax by Titian drawn.
Such counter natures in mankind—
Mole, bird, not more unlike we find:
Instincts adverse, nor less how true
Each to itself. What clew, what clew?


Towers twain crown Saba's mountain hight;
And one, with larger outlook bold,
Monks frequent climb or day or night
To peer for Arabs. In the breeze
So the ship's lifted topmen hold
Watch on the blue and silver seas,
To guard against the slim Malay,


That perilous imp whose slender proa
Great hulls have rued—as in ill hour
The whale the sword-fish' lank assay.
Upon that pile, to catch the dawn,
Alert next day see Derwent stand
With Clarel. All the mountain-land
Disclosed through Kedron far withdrawn,
Cloven and shattered, hushed and banned,
Seemed poised as in a chaos true,
Or throe-lock of transitional earth
When old forms are annulled, and new
Rebel, and pangs suspend the birth.
That aspect influenced Clarel. Fair
Derwent's regard played otherwhere—
Expectant. Twilight gray took on
Suffusion faint of cherry tone.
The student marked it; but the priest
Marked whence it came: “Turn, turn—the East!
Oh, look! how like an ember red
The seed of fire, by early hand
Raked forth from out the ashy bed,
Shows you tinged flake of dawn. See, fanned
As 'twere, by this spice-air that blows,
The live coal kindles—the fire grows!”
And mute, he watched till all the East
Was flame: “Ah, who would not here come,
And from dull drowsiness released,
Behold morn's rosy martyrdom!”
It was an unaffected joy,
And showed him free from all annoy
Within—such, say, as mutiny
Of non-content in random touch
That he perchance had overmuch
Favored the first night's revelry.


For Clarel—though at call indeed
He might not else than turn and feed
On florid dawn—not less, anon,
When wonted light of day was won,
Sober and common light, with that
Returned to him his unelate
And unalleviated tone;
And thoughts, strange thoughts, derived overnight,
Touching the Swede's dark undelight,
Recurred; with sequence how profuse
Concerning all the company—
The Arnaut, and the man of glee—
The Lesbian, and calm grave Druze,
And Belex; yes, and in degree
Even Rolfe; Vine too. Less he who trim
Beside him stood, eludes his doubt—
Derwent himself, whose easy skim
Never had satisfied throughout.
He now, if not deemed less devout
Through wassail and late hint of him,
Was keenlier scanned. Yet part might be
Effect of long society,
Which still detracts. But in review
Of one who could such doubt renew,
Clarel inveighs: Parhelion orb
Of faith autumnal, may the dew
Of earth's sad tears thy rays absorb?
Truth bitter: Derwent bred distrust
Heavier than came from Mortmain's thrust
Into the cloud—profounder far
Than Achor's glen with ominous scar.
All aliens now being quite aloof,
Fain would he put that soul to proof.
Yet, fearful lest he might displease,
His topics broached he by degrees.


Needless. For Derwent never shrunk:
“Lad, lad, this diffidence forget;
Believe, you talk here to no monk:
Who's old Duns Scotus? We're well met.
Glad that at last your mind you set
In frank communion here with me.
Better had this been earlier, though;
There lacked not times of privacy
Had such been sought. But yes, I know;
You're young, you're off the poise; and so
A link have felt with hearts the same
Though more advanced. I scarce can blame.
And yet perhaps one here might plead
These rather stimulate than feed.
Nor less let each tongue say its say;
Therefrom we truth elicit. Nay,
And with the worst, 'tis understood
We broader clergy think it good
No more to use censorious tone:
License to all.—We are alone;
Speak out, that's right.”
The student first
Cited the din of clashed belief
So loud in Palestine, and chief
By Calvary, where are rehearsed
Within the Sepulcher's one fane
All rituals which, ere Luther's reign,
Shared the assent of Christendom.
Besides: how was it even at home?
Behind the mellow chancel's rail
Lurked strife intestine. What avail
The parlor-chapels liberal?
The hearers their own minds elect;
The very pews are each a sect;
No one opinion's steadfast sway:
A wide, an elemental fray.


As with ships moored in road unsafe,
When gales augment and billows chafe,
Hull drives 'gainst hull, endangering all
In crossing cables; while from thrall
Of anchor, others, dragged amain,
Drift seaward: so the churches strain,
Much so the fleets sectarian meet
Doubt's equinox. Yes, all was dim;
He saw no one secure retreat;
Of late so much had shaken him.
Derwent in grave concern inclined.
“Part true, alas!” Nor less he claimed
Reserves of solace, and of kind
Beyond that in the desert named,
When the debate was scarce with men
Who owned with him a common ground—
True center where they might convene.
And yet this solace when unbound
At best proved vague (so Clarel deemed).
He thought, too, that the priest here seemed
Embarrassed on the sudden, nay,
He faltered. What could so betray?
In single contact, heart to heart,
With young, fresh, fervid earnestness,
Was he surprised into distress—
An honest quandary, a smart
More trying e'en than Mortmain's dart,
Grieving and graveling, could deal?
But Derwent rallied, and with zeal:
“Shall everything then plain be made?
Not that there's any ambuscade:
In youth's first heat to think to know!
For time 'tis well to bear a cross:
Yet on some waters here below
Pilots there be, if one's at loss.”
The pupil colored; then restrained


An apt retort too personal,
Content with this: “Pilots retained?
But in debates which I recall
Such proved but naught. This side—that side,
They crossing hail through fogs that dwell
Upon a limitless deep tide,
While their own cutters toll the bell
Of groping.”
Derwent bit the lip;
Altered again, had fain let slip
“Throw all this burden upon HIM;”
But hesitated. Changing trim,
Considerate then he turned a look
Which seemed to weigh as in a book
Just how far youth might well be let
Into maturity's cabinet.
He, as in trial, took this tone:
“Not but there's here and there a heart
Which shares at whiles strange throbs alone.
Such at the freakish sting will start:
No umpirage! they cry—we dote
To dream heaven drops a casting vote,
In these perplexities takes part!”
Clarel, uncertain, stood at gaze,
But Derwent, riving that amaze,
Advanced impulsively: “Your hand!
No longer will I be restrained.
Yours is a sect—but never mind:
By function we are intertwined,
Our common function. Weigh it thus:
Clerics we are—clerics, my son;
Nay, shrink not so incredulous;
Paternally my sympathies run—
Toward you I yearn. Well, now: what joy,
What saving calm, what but annoy
In all this hunt without one clew?


What lack ye, pray? what would ye do?
Have Faith, which, even from the myth,
Draws something to be useful with:
In any form some truths will hold;
Employ the present-sanctioned mold.
Nay, hear me out; clean breast I make,
Quite unreserved—and for whose sake?
Suppose an instituted creed
(Or truth or fable) should indeed
To ashes fall; the spirit exhales,
But reinfunds in active forms:
Verse, popular verse, it charms or warms—
Bellies Philosophy's flattened sails—
Tinctures the very book, perchance,
Which claims arrest of its advance.
Why, the true import, deeper use
Shows first when Reason quite slips noose,
And Faith's long dead. Attest that gold
Which Bacon counted down and told
In one ripe tract, by time unshamed,
Wherein from riddle he reclaimed
The myths of Greece. But go back—well,
Reach to the years of first decay
Or totter: prithee, lad, but tell
How with the flamens of that day?
When brake the sun from morning's tents
And walked the hills, and gilded thence
The fane in porch; the priest in view
Bowed—hailed Apollo, as before,
Ere change set in; what else to do?
Or whither turn, or what adore?
What but to temporize for him,
Stranded upon an interim
Between the ebb and flood? He knew.—
You see? Transfer—apply it, you.”
“Ill know I what you there advise.—


Ah, heaven!” and for a moment stood;
Then turned: “A rite they solemnize—
An awful rite, and yet how sweet
To humble hearts which sorrows best.
Tell, is that mystic flesh and blood—
I shrink to utter it!—Of old
For medicine they mummy sold—
Conjurer's balsam.—God, my God,
Sorely Thou triest me the clod!”
Upon the impassioned novice here
Discreet the kind proficient throws
The glance of one who still would peer
Where best to take the hedge or close.
Ere long: “You'd do the world some good?
Well, then: no good man will gainsay
That good is good, done any way,
In any name, by any brotherhood.
How think you there?”
From Clarel naught.
Derwent went on: “For lamp you yearn—
A lantern to benighted thought.
Obtain it—whither will you turn?
Still lost you'd be in banks of snow.
My fellow-creature, do you know
That what most satisfies the head
Least solaces the heart? Less light
Than warmth needs earthly wight.
Christ built a hearth: the flame is dead
We'll say, extinct; but lingers yet,
Enlodged in stone, the hoarded heat.
Why not nurse that? Would rive the door
And let the sleet in? But, once o'er,
This tarrying glow, never to man,
Methinks, shall come the like again.
What if some camp on crags austere


The Stoic held ere Gospel cheer?
There may the common herd abide,
Having dreamed of heaven? Nay, and can you?
You shun that; what shall needier do?
Think, think!”
The student, sorely tried,
The appeal and implication felt,
But comfort none.
And Derwent dealt
Heaped measure still: “All your ado
In youth was mine; your swarm I knew
Of buzzing doubts. But is it good
Such gnats to fight? or well to brood
In selfish introverted search,
Leaving the poor world in the lurch?
Not so did Christ. Nor less he knew
And shared a troubled era too;
And shared besides that problem gray
Which is forever and alway:
His person our own shadow threw.
Then heed him, heed his eldership:
In all respects did Christ indeed
Credit the Jews' crab-apple creed
Whereto he yet conformed? or so
But use it, graft it with his slip
From Paradise? No, no—no, no!
Spare fervid speech! But, for the rest,
Be not extreme. Midway is best.
Herein 'tis never as by Nile—
From waste to garden but a stile.
Betwixt rejection and belief,
Shadings there are—degrees, in brief.
But ween you, gentle friend, your way
Of giving to yourself the goad
Is obsolete, no more the mode?
Our comrades—frankly let me say—


That Rolfe, good fellow though he be,
And Vine, methinks, would you but see,
Are much like prints from plates but old.
Interpretations so unfold
New finding, happy gloss or key,
A decade's now a century.
Byron's storm-cloud away has rolled—
Joined Werter's; Shelley's drowned; and—why,
Perverse were now e'en Hamlet's sigh:
Perverse?—indecorous indeed!”
“E'en so? e'en sadly is it so?”
“Not sad, but veritable, know.
But what—how's this!” For here, with speed
Of passion, Clarel turned: “Forbear!
Ah, wherefore not at once name Job,
In whom these Hamlets all conglobe.
Own, own with me, and spare to feign,
Doubt bleeds, nor Faith is free from pain!”
Derwent averted here his face—
With his own heart he seemed to strive;
Then said: “Alas, too deep you dive.
But hear me yet for little space:
This shaft you sink shall strike no bloom:
The surface, ah, heaven keeps that green;
Green, sunny: nature's active scene,
For man appointed, man's true home.”
He ended. Saba's desert lay—
Glare rived by gloom. That comment's sway
He felt: “Our privacy is gone;
Here trips young Anselm to espy
Arab or pilgrim drawing nigh.
Dost hear him? come then, we'll go down.
At every step and steep,


While higher came the youthful monk,
Lower and lower in Clarel sunk
The freighted heart. It touched this deep:
Ah, Nehemiah, alone art true?
Secure in reason's wane or loss?
Thy folly that folly of the cross
Contemned by reason, yet how dear to you?


In Saba, as by one consent,
Frequent the pilgrims single went;
So, parting with his young compeer,
And breaking fast without delay,
For more restorative and cheer,
Good Derwent lightly strolled away
Within this monkish capital.
Chapels and oratories all,
And shrines in coves of gilded gloom;
The kitchen, too, and pantler's room—
Naught came amiss.
Anear the church
He drew unto a kind of porch
Such as next some old minsters be,
An inner porch (named Galilee
In parlance of the times gone by),
A place for discipline and grief.
And here his tarry had been brief
But for a shield of marble nigh,
Set in the living rock: a stone
In low relief, where well was shown,


Before an altar under sky,
A man in armor, visor down,
Enlocked complete in panoply,
Uplifting reverent a crown
In invocation.
This armed man
In corselet showed the dented plate,
And dread streaks down the thigh-piece ran;
But the bright helm inviolate
Seemed raised above the battle-zone—
Cherubic with a rare device:
Perch for the Bird-of-Paradise.
A victor seemed he, without pride
Of victory, or joy in fame:
'Twas reverence, and naught beside,
Unless it might that shadow claim
Which comes of trial. Yes, the art
So cunning was, that it in part
By fair expressiveness of grace
Atoned even for the visored face.
Long time becharmed here Derwent stood,
Charmed by the marble's quiet mood
Of beauty, more than by its tone
Of earnestness, though these were one
In that good piece. Yes, long he fed
Ere yet the eye was lower led
To trace the inscription underrun:
O fair friendly manifested Spirit!
Before thine altar dear
Let me recount the marvel of the story
Fulfilled in tribute here.
In battle waged where all was fraudful silence,
Foul battle against odds,


Disarmed, I, fall'n and trampled, prayed: Death, succor!
Come, Death: thy hand is God's!
A pale hand noiseless from the turf responded,
Riving the turf and stone:
It raised, re-armed me, sword and golden armor,
And waved me warring on.
O fairest, friendliest, and ever holy
O Love, dissuading fate—
To thee, to thee the rescuer, thee sainted,
The crown I dedicate:
To thee I dedicate the crown, a guerdon
The winner may not wear;
His wound re-opens, and he goes to haven:
Spirit! befriend him there.
“A hero, and shall he repine?
'Tis not Achilles;” and straightway
He felt the charm in sort decline;
And, turning, saw a votary gray:
“Good brother, tell: make this thing clear:
Who set this up?” “'Twas long ago,
Yes, long before I harbored here,
Long centuries, they say.” “Why, no!
So bright it looks, 'tis recent, sure.
Who set it up?” “A count turned monk.”
“What count?” “His name he did abjure
For Lazarus, and ever shrunk
From aught of his life's history:
Yon slab tells all or nothing, see.


But this I've heard; that when the stone
Hither was brought from Cyprus fair
(Some happy sculptors flourished there
When Venice ruled), he said to one:
‘They've made the knight too rich appear—
Too rich in helm.’ He set it here
In Saba as securest place,
For a memorial of grace
To outlast him, and many a year.”


'Tis travel teaches much that's strange,
Mused Derwent in his further range;
Then fell into uneasy frame:
The visored man, relinquished name,
And touch of unglad mystery.
He rallied: I will go and see
The archimandrate in his court:
And thither straight he made resort
And met with much benignity.
The abbot's days were near the span,
A holy and right reverend man,
By name Christodulus, which means
Servant of Christ. Behind the screens
He kept, but issued the decree:
Unseen he ruled, and sightlessly:
Yes, blind he was, stone-blind and old;
But, in his silken vestment rolled,
At mid-day on his Persian rug,


Showed cosy as the puss Maltese
Demure, in rosy fire-light snug,
Upon the velvet hem at ease
Of seated lady's luxuries
Of robe. For all his days, and nights,
Which Eld finds wakeful, and the slights
Of churlish Time, life still could please.
And chief what made the charm to be,
Was his retention of that toy,
Dear to the old—authority.
And blent herewith was soothing balm,
Senior complacency of calm—
A settledness without alloy,
In tried belief how orthodox
And venerable; which the shocks
Of schism had stood, ere yet the state
Of Peter claimed earth's pastorate.
So far back his Greek Church did plant,
Rome's Pope he deemed but Protestant—
A Rationalist, a bigger Paine—
Heretic, worse than Arian;
He lumped him with that compound mass
Of sectaries of the West, alas!
Breathed Derwent: “This is a lone life;
Removed thou art from din and strife,
But from all news as well.”
“Even so,
My son. But what's news here below?
For hearts that do Christ's promise claim,
No hap's important since He came.
Besides: in Saba here remain
Ten years; then back, the world regain—
Five minutes' talk with any one
Would put thee even with him, son.
Pretentious are events, but vain.”


“But new books, authors of the time?”
“Books have we ever new—sublime:
The Scriptures—drama, precept fine,
Verse and philosophy divine,
All best. Believe again, O son,
God's revelation, Holy Writ,
Quite supersedes and makes unfit
All text save comment thereupon.
The Fathers have we, these discuss:
Sweet Chrysostom, Basilius,
Great Athanese, and—but all's known
To you, no question.”
In the mien
Of Derwent, as this dropped in ear,
A junior's deference was seen.
Nothing he controverted. Here
He won the old man's heart, he knew,
And readier brought to pass the thing
That he designed: which was, to view
The treasures of this hermit-king.
At hint urbane, the abbot called
An acolyth, a blue-robed boy,
So used to service, he forestalled
His lighter wishes, and took joy
In serving. Keys were given. He took
From out a coffer's deeper nook
Small shrines and reliquaries old:
Beryl and Indian seed-pearl set
In little folding-doors of gold
And ivory, of tryptych form,
With starred Byzantine pictures warm,
And opening into cabinet
Where lay secured in precious zone
The honeycombed gray-greenish bone
Of storied saint. But prized supreme
Were some he dwelt upon, detained,


Felt of them lovingly in hand;
Making of such a text or theme
For grave particulars; far back
Tracing them in monastic dream:
While fondling them (in way, alack,
Of Jew his coins) with just esteem
For rich encasings. Here anew
Derwent's attention was not slack;
Yet underneath a reverence due,
Slyly he kept his pleasant state:
The dowager—her family plate.
The abbot, with a blind man's way
Of meek divining, guessed the play
Of inkept comment: “Son,” said he,
“These dry bones cannot live: what then?
In times ere Christianity
By worldlings was professed, true men
And brave, which sealed their faith in blood
Or flame, the Christian brotherhood
Revered—attended them in death;
Caught the last parting of the breath:
Happy were they could they but own
Some true memento, but a bone
Purchased from executioner,
Or begged: hence relics. Trust me, son,
'Twas love began, and pious care
Prolongs this homage.” Derwent bowed;
And, bland: “Have miracles been wrought
From these?” “No, none by me avowed
From knowledge personal. But then
Such things may be, for they have been.”
“Have been?” “'Tis in the Scripture taught
That contact with Elisha's bones
Restored the dead to life.” “Most true,”
Eyeing the bits of skeletons
As in enlightened reverence new,


Forgetting that his host was blind,
Nor might the flattery receive.
Erelong, observing the old man
Waxed weary, and to doze began,
Strange settling sidelong, half reclined,
His blessing craved he, and took leave.


But Clarel, bides he still by tower?
His was no sprightly frame; nor mate
He sought: it was his inner hour.
Yes, keeping to himself his state,
Nor thinking to break fast till late,
He moved along the gulf's built flank
Within the inclosures rank o'er rank.
Accost was none, for none he saw,
Until the Druze he chanced to meet,
Smoking, nor did the Emir draw
The amber from the mouth, to greet,
Not caring so to break the spell
Of that Elysian interval;
But lay, his pipe at lengthy lean,
Reclined along the crag serene,
As under Spain's San Pedro dome
The long-sword Cid upon his tomb;
And with an unobtrusive eye
Yet apprehending, and mild mien,
Regarded him as he went by
Tossed in his trouble. 'Twas a glance
Clarel did many a time recall,


Though its unmeant significance—
That was the last thing learned of all.
But passing on by ways that wind,
A place he gained secluded there
In ledge. A cenobite inclined
Busy at scuttle-hole in floor
Of rock, like smith who may repair
A bolt of Mammon's vault. The door
Or stony slab lay pushed aside.
Deeming that here the monks might store,
In times of menace which they bide,
Their altar plate, Clarel drew near,
But faltered at the friar's sad tone
Ascetical. He looked like one
Whose life is but a patience mere,
Or worse, a fretting doubt of cheer
Beyond; he toiled as in employ
Imposed, a bondman far from joy.
No answer made he to salute,
Yet deaf might be. And now, while mute
The student lingered, lo, down slipped
Through cleft of crags, the sun did win
Aloft in Kedron's citadel,
A fiery shaft into that crypt
(Like well-pole slant in farm-house well)
And lighted it: and he looked in.
On stony benches, head by head,
In court where no recorders be,
Preserved by nature's chemistry
Sat the dim conclave of the dead,
Encircled where the shadow rules,
By sloping theatres of skulls.
He rose—retreated by the line
Of cliff, but paused at tones which sent:
“So pale? the end's nor imminent
Nor far. Stand, thou; the countersign!”—


It came from over Kedron's rent.
Thitherward then his glance he bent,
And saw, by mouth of grot or mine,
Rustic with wicket's rude design,
A sheeted apparition wait,
Like Lazarus at the charnel gate
In Bethany.
“The countersign!”
“Reply, say something; yea, say Death,”
Prompted the monk, erewhile so mute.
Clarel obeyed; and, in a breath,
“Advance!” the shroud cried, turning foot,
And so retired there into gloom
Within, and all again was dumb.
“And who that man—or ghost?” he yearned
Unto the toiler; who returned:
“Cyril. 'Tis long since that he craved
Over against to dwell encaved.
In youth he was a soldier. Go.”
But Clarel might not end it so:
“I pray thee, friend, what grief or zeal
Could so unhinge him? that reveal.”
“Go—ask your world:” and grim toiled on,
Fitting his clamp as if alone,
Dismissing him austerely thus.
And Clarel, sooth, felt timorous.
Conscious of seeds within his frame
Transmitted from the early gone,
Scarce in his heart might he disclaim
That challenge from the shrouded one.
He walked in vision—saw in fright
Where through the limitless of night
The spirits innumerable lie,
Strewn like snared miners in vain flight
From the dull black-damp. Die—to die!


To be, then not to be! to end,
And yet time never, never suspend
His going.—This is cowardice
To brood on this!—Ah, Ruth, thine eyes
Abash these base mortalities!
But slid the change, anew it slid
As by the Dead Sea marge forbid:
The vision took another guise:
From 'neath the closing, lingering lid
Ruth's glance of love is glazing met,
Reproaching him: Dost tarry, tarry yet?


If where, in blocks unbeautified,
But lath and plaster may divide
The cot of dole from bed of bride;
Here, then, a page's slender shell
Is thick enough to set between
The graver moral, lighter mien—
The student and the cap-and-bell.
'Tis nature.
Pastime to achieve,
After he reverent did leave
The dozer in the gallery,
Derwent, good man of pleasantry,
He sauntered by the stables old,
And there the ass spied through a door,
Lodged in a darksome stall or hold,
The head communing with the floor.
Taking some barley, near at hand,
He entered, but was brought to stand,


Hearing a voice: “Don't bother her;
She cares not, she, for provender;
Respect her nunnery, her cell:
She's pondering, see, the asses' hell.”
He turned; it was the Lesbian wag,
Who offered straight to be his guide
Even anywhere, be it vault or crag.
“Well, thanks; but first to feed your nun,
She fasts overmuch.—There, it is done.
Come show me, do, that famous tide
Evoked up from the waste, they tell,
The canonized abbot's miracle,
St. Saba's fount: where soams it, pray?”
“Near where the damned ones den.” “What say?”
“Down, plummets down. But come along;”
And leading, whiled the way with song:
“Saintly lily, credit me,
Sweet is the thigh of the honey-bee!
Ruddy ever and oleose,
Ho for the balm of the red, red rose!”
Stair after stair, and stair again,
And ladder after ladder free,
Lower and steeper, till the strain
Of cord irked Derwent: “Verily,
E'en as but now you lightly said,
'Tis to Avernus we are bending;
And how much further this descending?”
At last they dropped down on the bed
Of Kedron, sought a cavern dead
And there the fount.
“'Tis cool to sip,
I'm told; my cup, here 'tis; wilt dip?”
And proffered it: “With me, with me,


Alas, this natural dilution
Of water never did agree;
Mine is a touchy constitution;
'Tis a respectable fluid though.
Ah, you don't care. Well, come out, do.
The thing to mark here's not the well,
But Saba in her crescent swell,
Terrace on terrace piled. And see,
Up there by yon small balcony
Our famous palm stands sentinel.
Are you a good believer?” “Why?”
“Because that blessed tree (not I,
But all our monks avouch it so)
Was set a thousand years ago
By dibble in St. Saba's hand.”
“Indeed? Heaven crown him for it. Palm!
Thou benediction in the land,
A new millennium may'st thou stand:
So fair, no fate would do thee harm.”
Much he admired the impressive view;
Then facing round and gazing up
Where soared the crags: “Yon grottoes few—
Which make the most ambitious group
Of all the laura row on row,
Can one attain?” “Forward!” And so
Up by a cloven rift they plied—
Saffron and black—branded beside,
Like to some felon's wall of cell
Smoked with his name. Up they impel
Till Derwent, overwearied, cried:
“Dear Virgil mine, you are so strong,
But I, thy Dante, am nigh dead.”
“Who daunts ye, friend? don't catch the thread.”
“The ascending path was ever long.”
“Ah yes; well, cheer it with a song:


“My love but she has little feet
And slippers of the rose,
From under—Oh, the lavender sweet—
Just peeping out, demurely neat;
But she, she never knows—
No, no, she never knows!
“A dimpled hand is hers, and e'en
As dainty as her toes;
In mine confiding it she'll lean
Till heaven knows what my tinglings mean;
But she, she never knows—
Oh no, she never knows!
“No, never!—Hist!”
“Nay, revelers, stay.
Lachryma Christi makes ye glad!
Where joys he now shall next go mad?
His snare the spider weaves in sun:
But ye, your lease has yet to run;
Go, go: from ye no countersign.”
Such incoherence! where lurks he,
The ghoul, the riddler? in what mine?
It came from an impending crag
Or cleft therein, or cavity.
The man of bins a bit did drag;
But quick to Derwent, “Never lag:
A crazy friar; but prithee, haste:
I know him,—Cyril; there, we've passed.”
“Well, that is queer—the queerest thing,”
Said Derwent, breathing nervously,
“He's ever ready with his sting,
Though dozing in his grotto dull.”
“Demented—pity! let him be.”
“Ay, if he like that kind of hull,
Let the poor wasp den in the skull.”


“What's that?” here Derwent; “that shrill cry?”
And glanced aloft; “for mercy, look!”
A great bird crossed high up in sky
Over the gulf; and, under him,
Its downward flight a black thing took,
And, eddying by the path's sheer rim,
Still spun below: “'Tis Mortmain's cap,
The skull-cap!” “Skull is't? say ye skull
From heaven flung into Kedron's lap?
The gods were ever bountiful!
No—there: I see. Small as a wren—
That death's head of all mortal men—
Look where he's perched on topmost crag,
Bareheaded brooding. Oh, the hag,
That from the very brow could pluck
The cap of a philosopher
So near the sky, then, with a mock,
Disdain and drop it.” “Queer, 'tis queer
Indeed!” “One did the same to me,
Yes, much the same—pecked at my hat,
I mountain-riding, dozingly,
Upon a dromedary drear.
The devil's in these eagles-gier.
She ones they are, be sure of that,
That be so saucy.—Ahoy there, thou!”
Shooting the voice in sudden freak
Athwart the chasm, where wended slow
The timoneer, that pilgrim Greek,
The graybeard in the mariner trim,
The same that told the story o'er
Of crazy compass and the Moor.
But he, indeed, not hearing him,
Pursued his way.
“That salted one,
That pickled old sea-Solomon,


Tempests have deafened him, I think.
He has a tale can make ye wink;
And pat it comes in too. But dwell!
Here, sit we down here while I tell.”


Along those ledges, up and down—
Through terce, sext, nones, in ritual slight
To vespers and mild evening brown;
On errand best to angels known,
A shadow creepeth, brushed by light.
Behold it stealing now over one
Reclined aloof upon a stone
High up. 'Tis Vine.
And is it I
(He muses), I that leave the others,
Or do they leave me? One could sigh
For Achmed with his hundred brothers:
How share the gushing amity
With all? Divine philanthropy!
For my part, I but love the past—
The further back the better; yes,
In the past is the true blessedness;
The future's ever overcast—
The present aye plebeian. So,
Mar Saba, thou fine long-ago
Lithographed here, thee do I love;
And yet to-morrow I'll remove
With right good will; a fickle lover
Is only constant as a rover.


Here I lie, poor solitaire;
But see the brave one over there—
The Palm! Come now, to pass the time
I'll try an invocation free—
Invoke it in a style sublime,
Yet sad as sad sincerity:—
“Witness to a watered land,
Voucher of a vernal year—
St. Saba's Palm, why there dost stand?
Would'st thou win the desert here
To dreams of Eden? Thy device
Intimates a Paradise!
Nay, thy plume would give us proof
That thou thyself art prince thereof,
Fair lord of that domain.
But, lonely dwelling in thy reign,
Kinship claimest with the tree
Worshipped on Delos in the sea—
Apollo's Palm? It ended;
Nor dear divinities befriended.—
Thou that pledgest heaven to me,
Stem of beauty, shaft of light,
Behold, thou hang'st suspended
Over Kedron and the night!
Shall come the fall? shall time disarm
The grace, the glory of the Palm?
Tropic seraph! thou once gone,
Who then shall take thy office on—
Redeem the waste, and high appear,
Apostle of Talassa's year
And climes where rivers of waters run?
But braid thy tresses—yet thou'rt fair:
Every age for itself must care:
Braid thy green tresses; let the grim
Awaiter find thee never dim!


Serenely still thy glance be sent
Plumb down from horror's battlement:
Though the deep Fates be concerting
A reversion, a subverting,
Still bear thee like the Seraphim.”
He loitered, lounging on the stair:
Howbeit, the sunlight still is fair.
Next meetly here behooves narrate
How fared they, seated left but late—
Viewless to Vine above their dell,
Viewless and quite inaudible:
Derwent, and his good gossip cosy,
The man of Lesbos, light and rosy,
His anecdote about to tell.


Yes, pat it comes in here for me:
He says, that one fine day at sea—
'Twas when he younger was and spry—
Being at mast-head all alone,
While he his business there did ply,
Strapping a block where halyards run,
He felt a fanning overhead—
Looked up, and so into the eye
Of a big bird, red-billed and black
In plume. It startled him, he said,
It seemed a thing demoniac.
From poise, it went to wheeling round him;
Then, when in daze it well had bound him,
It pounced upon him with a buffet;
He, enraged, essayed to cuff it,


But only had one hand, the other
Still holding on the spar. And so,
While yet they shouted from below,
And yet the wings did whirr and smother,
The bird tore at his old wool cap,
And chanced upon the brain to tap.
Up went both hands; he lost his stay,
And down he fell—he, and the bird
Maintaining still the airy fray—
And, souse, plumped into sea; and heard,
While sinking there, the piercing gird
Of the grim fowl, that bore away
The prize at last.”
“And did he drown?”
“Why, there he goes!” and pointed him
Where still the mariner wended on:
“'Twas in smooth water; he could swim.
They luffed and flung the rope, and fired
The harpoon at the shark untired
Astern, and dragged him—not the shark,
But man—they dragged him 'board the barque;
And down he dropped there with a thump,
Being water-logged with spongy lump
Of quilted patches on the shirt
Of wool, and trowsers. All inert
He lay. He says, and true's the word,
That bitterer than the brine he drank
Was that shrill gird the while he sank.”
“A curious story, who e'er heard
Of such a fray 'twixt man and bird!”—
“Bird? but he deemed it was the devil,
And that he carried off his soul
In the old cap, nor was made whole
'Till some good vicar did unravel
The snarled illusion in the skein,
And he got back his soul again.”


“But lost his cap. A curious-story—
A bit of Nature's allegory.
And—well, what now? You seem perplexed.”
“And so I am.—Your friend there, see,
Up on yon peak, he puzzles me.
Wonder where I shall find him next?
Last time 'twas where the corn-cribs be—
Bone-cribs, I mean; in church, you know;
The blessed martyrs' holy bones,
Hard by the porch as in you go—
Sabaïtes' bones, the thousand ones
Of slaughtered monks—so faith avers.
Dumb, peering in there through the bars
He stood. Then, in the spiders' room,
I saw him there, yes, quite at home
In long-abandoned library old,
Conning a venerable tome,
While dust of ages round him rolled;
Nor heeded he the big fly's buzz,
But mid heaped parchment leaves that mold
Sat like the bankrupt man of Uz
Among the ashes, and read and read.
Much learning, has it made him mad?
Kedron well suits him, 'twould appear:
Why don't he stay, yes, anchor here,
Turn anchorite?”
And do ye pun,
And he, he such an austere one?
(Thought Derwent then.) Well, run your rig—
Hard to be comic and revere;
And once 'twas tittered in mine ear
St. Paul himself was but a prig.
Who's safe from the derision?—Here
Aloud: “Why, yes; our friend is queer,
And yet, as some esteem him, not
Without some wisdom to his lot.”


“Wisdom? our Cyril is deemed wise.
In the East here, one who's lost his wits
For saint or sage they canonize:
That's pretty good for perquisites.
I'll tell you: Cyril (some do own)
Has gained such prescience as to man
(Through seldom seeing any one),
To him's revealed the mortal span
Of any wight he peers upon.
And that's his hobby—as we proved
But late.”
“Then not in vain we've roved,
Winning the oracle whose caprice
Avers we've yet to run our lease.”
“Length to that lease! But let's return,
Give over climbing, and adjourn.”
“Just as you will.”
“But first to show
A curious caverned place hard by.
Another crazed monk—start not so—
He's gone, clean vanished from the eye!
Another crazed one, deemed inspired,
Long dwelt in it. He never tired—
Ah, here it is, the vestibule.”
They reach an inner grotto cool,
Lighted by fissure up in dome;
Fixed was each thing, each fixture stone:
Stone bed, bench, cross, and altar—stone.
“How like you it—Habbibi's home?
You see these writings on the wall?
His craze was this: he heard a call
Ever from heaven: O scribe, write, write!
Write this—that write—to these indite—
To them! Forever it was—write!
Well, write he did, as here you see.


What is it all?”
“Dim, dim to me,”
Said Derwent; “ay, obscurely traced;
And much is rubbed off or defaced.
But here now, this is pretty clear:
‘I, Self, I am the enemy
Of all. From me deliver me,
O Lord.’—Poor man!—But here, dim here:
“There is a hell over which mere hell
Serves—for—a—heaven.’—Oh, terrible!
Profound pit that must be!—What's here
Half faded: ‘. . . teen . . six,
The hundred summers run,
Except it be in cicatrix
The aloe—flowers—none.’—
Ah, Nostrodamus; prophecy
Is so explicit.—But this, see.
Much blurred again: . . . ‘testimony,
. . . . . grown fat and gray,
The lion down, and—full of honey,
The bears shall rummage—him—in—May.’—
Yes, bears like honey.—Yon gap there
Well lights the grotto; and this air
Is dry and sweet; nice citadel
For study.”
“Or dessert-room. So,
Hast seen enough? then let us go.
Write, write—indite!—what peer you at?”
Emerging, Derwent, turning round,
Small text spied which the door-way crowned.
“Ha, new to me; and what is that?”
The Islesman asked; “pray, read it o'er.”
“‘Ye here who enter Habbi's den,
Beware what hence ye take!’” “Amen!
Why didn't he say that before?
But what's to take? all's fixture here.”


“Occult, occult,” said Derwent, “queer.”
Returning now, they made descent,
The pilot trilling as they went:
“King Cole sang as he clinked the can,
Sol goes round, and the mill-horse too:
A thousand pound for a fire-proof man!
The devil vows he's the sole true-blue;
And the prick-louse sings,
See the humbug of kings—
'Tis I take their measure, ninth part of a man!”
Lightly he sheds it off (mused then
The priest), a man for Daniel's den.
In by-place now they join the twain,
Belex, and Og in red Fez bald;
And Derwent, in his easy vein
Ear gives to chat, with wine and gladness,
Pleased to elude the Siddim madness,
And, yes, even that in grotto scrawled;
Nor grieving that each pilgrim friend
For time now leave him to unbend.
Yet, intervening even there,
A touch he knew of gliding care:
We loiterers whom life can please
(Thought he) could we but find our mates
Ever! but no; before the gates
Of joy, lie some who carp and tease:
Collisions of men's destinies!—
But quick, to nullify that tone
He turned to mark the jovial one
Telling the twain, the martial pair,
Of Cairo and his tarry there;
And how, his humorous soul to please,
He visited the dervishes,


The dancing ones: “But what think ye?
The captain-dervish vowed to me
That those same cheeses, whirl-round-rings
He made, were David's—yes, the king's
Who danced before the Ark. But, look:
This was the step King David took;”
And cut fantastic pigeon-wings.


See him!—How all your threat he braves,
Saba! your ominous architraves
Impending, stir him not a jot.
Scarce he would change with me in lot:
Wiser am I?—Curse on this store
Of knowledge! Nay, 'twas cursed of yore.
Knowledge is power: tell that to knaves;
'Tis knavish knowledge: the true lore
Is impotent for earth: ‘Thyself
Thou can'st not save; come down from cross!’
They cast it in His teeth; trim Pelf
Stood by, and jeered, Is gold then dross?—
Cling to His tree, and there find hope:
Me it but makes a misanthrope.
Makes? nay, but 'twould, did not the hate
Dissolve in pity of the fate.—
This legend, dream, and fact of life!
The drooping hands, the dancing feet
Which in the endless series meet;
And rumors of No God so rife!”
The Swede, the brotherless—who else?
'Twas he, upon the brink opposed,


To whom the Lesbian was disclosed
In antic: hence those syllables.
Ere long (at distance from that scene)
A voice dropped on him from a screen
Above: “Ho, halt!” It chanced to be
The challenged here no start incurred,
Forewarned of near vicinity
Of Cyril and his freak. He heard,
Looked up, and answered, “Well?” “The word!”
Hope,” in derision. “Stand, delay:
That was pass-word for yesterday.”
Despair.” “Advance.”
He, going, scanned
The testimony of the hand
Gnawed in the dream: “Yea, but 'tis here.
Despair? nay, death; and what's death's cheer?
Death means—the sea-beat gains the shore;
He's home; his watch is called no more.
So looks it. Not I tax thee, Death,
With that, which might make Strength a trembler,—
While yet for me it scants no breath—
That, quiet under sleepiest mound,
Thou art a dangerous dissembler;
That he whose evil is profound
In multiform of life's disguises,
Whom none dare check, and naught chastises,
And in his license thinks no bound—
For him thou hoardest strange surprises!—
But what—the Tree? O holy Palm,
If 'tis a world where hearts wax warm
Oftener through hate than love, and chief
The bland thing be the adder's charm,
And the true thing virtue's ancient grief—
Thee yet it nourishes—even thee!


Envoy, whose looks the pang assuage,
Disclose thy heavenly embassage!
That lily-rod which Gabriel bore
To Mary, kneeling her before,
Announcing a God, the mother she;
That budded stalk from Paradise—
Like that thou shin'st in thy device:
And sway'st thou over here toward me—
Toward me can such a symbol sway!”
In rounded turn of craggy way,
Across the interposed abyss,
He had encountered it. Submiss,
He dropped upon the under stone,
And soon in such a dream was thrown
He felt as floated up in cheer
Of saint borne heavenward from the bier.
Indeed, each wakeful night, and fast
(That feeds and keeps what clay would clutch)
With thrills which he did still outlast,
His fibres made so fine in end
That though in trials fate can lend
Firm to withstand, strong to contend;
Sensitive he to a spirit's touch.
A wind awakened him—a breath.
He lay like light upon the heath,
Alive though still. And all came back,
The years outlived, with all their black;
While bright he saw the angel-tree
Across the gulf alluring sway:
Come over! be—forever be
As in the trance.—“Wilt no delay?
Yet hear me in appeal to thee:
When the last light shall fade from me,


If, groping round, no hand I meet;
Thee I'll recall—invoke thee, Palm:
Comfort me then, thou Paraclete!
The lull late mine beneath thy lee,
Then, then renew, and seal the calm.”
Upon the ledge of hanging stair,
And under Vine, invisible there,
With eyes still feeding on the Tree,
Relapsed he lingered as in Lethe's snare.


Pursued, the mounted robber flies
Unawed through Kedron's plunged demesne:
The clink, and clinking echo dies:
He vanishes: a long ravine.
And stealthy there, in little chinks
Betwixt or under slab-rocks, slinks
The dwindled amber current lean.
Far down see Rolfe there, hidden low
By ledges slant. Small does he show
(If eagles eye), small and far off
As Mother-Cary's bird in den
Of Cape Horn's hollowing billow-trough,
When from the rail where lashed they bide
The sweep of overcurling tide,—
Down, down, in bonds the seamen gaze
Upon that flutterer in glen
Of waters where it sheltered plays,
While, over it, each briny hight


Is torn with bubbling torrents white
In slant foam tumbling from the snow
Upon the crest; and far as eye
Can range through mist and scud which fly,
Peak behind peak the liquid summits grow.
By chance Rolfe won the rocky stair
At base, and queried if it were
Man's work or nature's, or the twain
Had wrought together in that lane
Of high ascent, so crooked with turns
And flanked by coignes, that one discerns
But links thereof in flights encaved,
Whate'er the point of view. Up, slow
He climbed for little space; then craved
A respite, turned and sat; and, lo,
The Tree in salutation waved
Across the chasm. Remindings swell;
Sweet troubles of emotion mount—
Sylvan reveries, and they well
From memory's Bandusa fount;
Yet scarce the memory alone,
But that and question merged in one:
“Whom weave ye in,
Ye vines, ye palms? whom now, Soolee?
Lives yet your Indian Arcady?
His sunburnt face what Saxon shows—
His limbs all white as lilies be—
Where Eden, isled, impurpled glows
In old Mendanna's sea?
Takes who the venture after me?
“Who now adown the mountain dell
(Till mine, by human foot untrod—
Nor easy, like the steps to hell)
In panic leaps the appalling crag,


Alighting on the cloistral sod
Where strange Hesperian orchards drag,
Walled round by cliff and cascatelle—
Arcades of Iris; and though lorn,
A truant ship-boy overworn,
Is hailed for a descended god?
“Who sips the vernal cocoa's cream—
The nereids dimpling in the darkling stream?
For whom the gambol of the tricksy dream—
Even Puck's substantiated scene,
Yea, much as man might hope and more than heaven may mean?
“And whom do priest and people sue,
In terms which pathos yet shall tone
When memory comes unto her own,
To dwell with them and ever find them true:
‘Abide, for peace is here:
Behold, nor heat nor cold we fear,
Nor any dearth: one happy tide—
A dance, a garland of the year:
“But who so feels the stars annoy,
Upbraiding him,—how far astray!—
That he abjures the simple joy,
And hurries over the briny world away?
“Renouncer! is it Adam's flight
Without compulsion or the sin?
And shall the vale avenge the slight
By haunting thee in hours thou yet shalt win?”
He tarried. And each swaying fan
Sighed to his mood in threnodies of Pan.



All distant through that afternoon
The student kept, nor might attune
His heart to any steadfast thought
But Ruth—still Ruth, yet strange involved
With every mystery unresolved
In time and fate. In cloud thus caught,
Her image labored like a star
Fitful revealed in midnight heaven
When inland from the sea-coast far
The storm-rack and dark scud are driven.
Words scarce might tell his frame, in sooth:
'Twas Ruth, and oh, much more than Ruth.
That flank of Kedron still he held
Which is built up; and, passing on—
While now sweet peal of chimings swelled
From belfry old, withdrawn in zone—
A way through cloisters deep he won
And winding vaults that slope to hight;
And heard a voice, espied a light
In twinkle through far passage dim,
And aimed for it, a friendly gleam;
And so came out upon the Tree
Mid-poised, and ledge-built balcony
Inrailed, and one who, leaning o'er,
Beneath the Palm—from shore to shore
Of Kedron's overwhelming walls
And up and down her gap and grave,
A golden cry sent, such as calls
To creatures which the summons know.
And, launching from crag, tower, and cave
Beatified in flight they go:


St. Saba's doves, in Saba bred.
For wonted bounty they repair,
These convent-pensioners of air;
Fly to their friend; from hand outspread
Or fluttering at his feet are fed.
Some, iridescent round his brow,
Wheel, and with nimbus him endow.
Not fortune's darling here was seen,
But heaven's elect. The robe of blue
So sorted with the doves in hue
Prevailing, and clear skies serene
Without a cloud; so pure he showed—
Of stature tall, in aspect bright—
He looked an almoner of God,
Dispenser of the bread of light.
'Twas not the intellectual air—
Not solely that, though that be fair:
Another order, and more rare—
As high above the Plato mind
As this above the Mammon kind.
In beauty of his port unsealed,
To Clarel part he stood revealed
At first encounter; but the sweet
Small pecking bills and hopping feet
Had previous won; the host urbane,
In courtesy that could not feign,
Mute welcome yielding, and a seat.
It charmed away half Clarel's care,
And charmed the picture that he saw,
To think how like that turtle pair
Which Mary, to fulfill the law,
From Bethlehem to temple brought
For offering; these Saba doves
Seemed natives—not of Venus' court
Voluptuous with wanton wreath—
But colonnades where Enoch roves,
Or walks with God, as Scripture saith.


Nor myrtle here, but sole the Palm
Whose vernal fans take rich release
From crowns of foot-stalks golden warm.
O martyr's scepter, type of peace,
And trouble glorified to calm!
What stillness in the almoner's face:
Nor Fomalhaut more mild may reign
Mellow above the purple main
Of autumn hills. It was a grace
Beyond medallions ye recall.
The student murmured, filial—
“Father,” and tremulously gleamed,
“Here, sure, is peace.” The father beamed;
The nature of the peace was such
It shunned to venture any touch
Of word. “And yet,” went Clarel on;
But faltered there. The saint but glanced.
“Father, if Good, 'tis unenhanced:
No life domestic do ye own
Within these walls: woman I miss.
Like cranes, what years from time's abyss
Their flight have taken, one by one,
Since Saba founded this retreat:
In cells here many a stifled moan
Of lonely generations gone;
And more shall pine as more shall fleet.”
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.
The given page the student scanned:
Started—reviewed, nor might withstand.
He turned; the celibate was gone;
Over the gulf he hung alone:
Alone, but for the comment caught
Or dreamed, in face seen far below,
Upturned toward the Palm in thought,
Or else on him—he scarce might know.
Fixed seemed it in assent indeed
Which indexed all? It was the Swede.
Over the Swede, upon the stair—
Long Bethel-stair of ledges brown
Sloping as from the heaven let down—
Apart lay Vine; lowermost there,


Rolfe he discerned; nor less the three,
While of each other unaware,
In one consent of frame might be.
How vaguely, while yet influenced so
By late encounter, and his glance
Rested on Vine, his reveries flow
Recalling that repulsed advance
He knew by Jordan in the wood,
And the enigma unsubdued—
Possessing Ruth, nor less his heart
Aye hungering still, in deeper part
Unsatisfied. Can be a bond
(Thought he) as David sings in strain
That dirges beauteous Jonathan,
Passing the love of woman fond?
And may experience but dull
The longing for it? Can time teach?
Shall all these billows win the lull
And shallow on life's hardened beach?—
He lingered. The last dove had fled,
And nothing breathed—breathed, waved, or fed,
Along the uppermost sublime
Blank ridge. He wandered as in sleep;
A saffron sun's last rays were shed;
More still, more solemn waxed the time,
Till Apathy upon the steep
Sat one with Silence and the Dead.



But who was SHE (if Luke attest)
Whom generations hail for blest—
Immaculate though human one;
What diademed and starry Nun—
Bearing in English old the name
And hallowed style of HOLIDAME;
She, She, the Mater of the Rood—
Sprang she from Ruth's young sisterhood?”
On cliff in moonlight roaming out,
So Clarel, thrilled by deep dissent,
Revulsion from injected doubt
And many a strange presentiment.
But came ere long profound relapse:
The Rhyme recurred, made voids or gaps
In dear relations; while anew,
From chambers of his mind's review,
Emerged the saint, who with the Palm
Shared heaven on earth in gracious calm,
Even as his robe partook the hue.
And needs from that high mentor part?
Is strength too strong to teach the weak?
Though tame the life seem, turn the cheek,
Does the call elect the hero-heart?—
The thunder smites our tropic bloom:
If live the abodes unvexed and balmy—
No equinox with annual doom;
If Eden's wafted from the plume
Of shining Raphael, Michael palmy;
If these in more than fable be,
With natures variously divine—
Through all their ranks they are masculine;


Else how the power with purity?
Or in yon worlds of light is known
The clear intelligence alone?
Express the Founder's words declare,
Marrying none is in the heaven;
Yet love in heaven itself to spare—
Love feminine! Can Eve be riven
From sex, and disengaged retain
Its charm? Think this—then may ye feign
The perfumed rose shall keep its bloom,
Cut off from sustenance of loam.
But if Eve's charm be not supernal,
Enduring not divine transplanting—
Love kindled thence, is that eternal?
Here, here's the hollow—here the haunting!
Ah, love, ah wherefore thus unsure?
Linked art thou—locked, with Self impure?
Yearnings benign the angels know,
Saint Francis and Saint John have felt:
Good-will—desires that overflow,
And reaching far as life is dealt.
That other love!—Oh heavy load—
Is naught then trustworthy but God?
On more hereof, derived in frame
From the eremite's Thebæan flame,
Mused Clarel, taking self to task,
Nor might determined thought reclaim:
But, the waste invoking, this did ask:
“Truth, truth cherubic! claim'st thou worth
Foreign to time and hearts which dwell
Helots of habit old as earth
Suspended 'twixt the heaven and hell?”
But turn thee, rest the burden there;
To-morrow new deserts must thou share.



The gray of dawn. A tremor slight:
The trouble of imperfect light
Anew begins. In floating cloud
Midway suspended down the gorge,
A long mist trails white shreds of shroud
How languorous toward the Dead Sea's verge.
Riders in seat halt by the gate:
Why not set forth? For one they wait
Whose stirrups empty be—the Swede.
Still absent from the frater-hall
Since afternoon and vesper-call,
He, they imagined, had but sought
Some cave in keeping with his thought,
And reappear would with the light
Suddenly as the Gileadite
In Obadiah's way. But—no,
He cometh not when they would go.
Dismounting, they make search in vain;
Till Clarel—minding him again
Of something settled in his air—
A quietude beyond mere calm—
When seen from ledge beside the Palm
Reclined in nook of Bethel stair,
Thitherward led them in a thrill
Of nervous apprehension, till
Startled he stops, with eyes avert
And indicating hand.—
'Tis he
So undisturbed, supine, inert—
The filmed orbs fixed upon the Tree—
Night's dews upon his eyelids be.
To test if breath remain, none tries:


On those thin lips a feather lies—
An eagle's, wafted from the skies.
The vow: and had the genius heard,
Benignant? nor had made delay,
But, more than taking him at word,
Quick wafted where the palm-boughs sway
In Saint John's heaven? Some divined
That long had he been undermined
In frame; the brain a tocsin-bell
Overburdensome for citadel
Whose base was shattered. They refrain
From aught but that dumb look that fell
Identifying; feeling pain
That such a heart could beat, and will—
Aspire, yearn, suffer, baffled still,
And end. With monks which round them stood
Concerned, not discomposed in mood,
Interment they provided for—
Heaved a last sigh, nor tarried more.
Nay; one a little lingered there;
'Twas Rolfe. And as the rising sun,
Though viewless yet from Bethel stair,
More lit the mountains, he was won
To invocation, scarce to prayer:
“Holy Morning,
What blessed lore reservest thou,
Withheld from man, that evermore
Without surprise,
But, rather, with a hurtless scorning
In thy placid eyes,
Thou viewest all events alike?
Oh, tell me, do thy bright beams strike
The healing hills of Gilead now?”


And glanced toward the pale one near
In shadow of the crag's dark brow.—
Did Charity follow that poor bier?
It did; but Bigotry did steer:
Friars buried him without the walls
(Nor in a consecrated bed)
Where vulture unto vulture calls,
And only ill things find a friend:
There let the beak and claw contend,
There the hyena's cub be fed:
Heaven that disclaims, and him beweeps
In annual showers; and the tried spirit sleeps.




Of old, if legend truth aver,
With hearts that did in aim concur,
Three mitered kings—Amerrian
Apelius, and Damazon—
By miracle in Cassak met
(An Indian city, bards infer);
Thence, prompted by the vision yet
To find the new-born Lord nor err,
Westward their pious feet they set—
With gold and frankincense and myrrh.
Nor failed they, though by deserts vast
And voids and menaces they passed:
They failed not, for a light was given—
The light and pilotage of heaven:
A light, a lead, no longer won
By any, now, who seekers are:
Or fable is it? but if none,
Let man lament the foundered Star.
And Kedron's pilgrims: In review
The wilds receive those guests anew.
Yet ere, the Manger now to win,
Their desert march they re-begin,


Belated leaving Saba's tower;
Reverted glance they grateful throw,
Nor slight the abbot's parting dower
Whose benedictions with them go.
Nor did the sinner of the isle
From friendly cheer refrain, though lax:
“Our Lady of the Vines beguile
Your travel and bedew your tracks!”
Blithe wishes, which slim mirth bestow;
For, ah, with chill at heart they mind
Two now forever left behind.
But as men drop, replacements rule:
Though fleeting be each part assigned,
The eternal ranks of life keep full:
So here—if but in small degree—
Recruits for fallen ones atone;
The Arnaut and pilgrim from the sea
The muster joining; also one
In military undress dun—
A stranger quite.
The Arnaut rode
For escort mere. His martial stud
A brother seemed—as strong as he,
As brave in trappings, and with blood
As proud, and equal gravity,
Reserving latent mettle. Good
To mark the rider in his seat—
Tall, shapely, powerful and complete;
A'lean, too, in an easy way,
Like Pisa's Tower confirmed in place,
Nor lacking in subordinate grace
Of lighter beauty. Truth to say,
This horseman seemed to waive command:
Abeyance of the bridle-hand.
But winning space more wide and clear,
He showed in ostentation here


How but a pulse conveyed through rein
Could thrill and fire, or prompt detain.
On dappled steed, in kilt snow-white,
With burnished arms refracting light,
He orbits round the plodding train.
Djalea in quiet seat observes;
'Tis little from his poise he swerves;
Sedate he nods, as he should say:
“Rough road may tame this holiday
Of thine; but pleasant to look on:
Come, that's polite!” for on the wing,
Or in suspense of curveting
Chiron salutes the Emir's son.
Meantime, remiss, with dangling sword,
Upon a cloistral beast but sad,
A Saba friar's befitting pad
(His own steed, having sprained a cord,
Left now behind in convent ward)
The plain-clad soldier, heeding none
Though marked himself, in neutral tone
Maintained his place. His shoulders lithe
Were long-sloped and yet ample, too,
In keeping with each limb and thew:
Waist flexile as a willow withe;
Withal, a slouched reserve of strength,
As in the pard's luxurious length;
The cheek, high-boned, of copperish show
Enhanced by sun on land and seas;
Long hair, much like a Cherokee's,
Curving behind the ear in flow
And veiling part a saber-scar
Slant on the neck, a livid bar;
Nor might the felt hat hide from view
One temple pitted with strange blue
Of powder-burn. Of him you'd say—


A veteran, no more. But nay:
Brown eyes, what reveries they keep—
Sad woods they be, where wild things sleep.
Hereby, and by yet other sign,
To Rolfe, and Clarel part, and Vine,
The stranger stood revealed, confessed
A native of the fair South-West—
Their countryman, though of a zone
Varied in nature from their own:
A countryman—but how estranged!
Nor any word as yet exchanged
With them. But yester-evening's hour
Then first he came to Saba's tower,
And saw the Epirot aside
In conference, and word supplied
Touching detention of the troop
Destined to join him for the swoop
Over Jordan. But the pilgrims few
Knew not hereof, not yet they knew,
But deemed him one who took his way
Eccentric in an armed survey
Of Judah.
On the pearl-gray ass
(From Siddim riderless, alas!)
Rode now the timoneer sedate,
Jogging beneath the Druze's lee,
As well he might, instructed late
What perils in lack of convoy be.
A frater-feeling of the sea
Influenced Rolfe, and made him take
Solace with him of salt romance,
Albeit Agath scarce did wake
To full requital—chill, perchance
Derived from years or diffidence;
Howe'er, in friendly way Rolfe plied
One-sided chat.


As on they ride
And o'er the ridge begin to go,
A parting glance they turn; and lo!
The convent's twin towers disappear—
Engulfed like a brig's masts below
Submerging waters. Thence they steer
Upward anew, in lane of steeps—
Ravine hewn-out, as 'twere by sledges;
Inwalled, from ledges unto ledges,
And stepwise still, each rider creeps,
Until, at top, their eyes behold
Judæa in highlands far unrolled.
A horseman so, in easier play
Wheeling aloft (so travelers say)
Up the Moor's Tower, may outlook gain
From saddle over Seville's plain.
But here, 'twixt tent-lapped hills, they see,
Northward, a land immovably
Haggard and haggish, specked gray-green—
Pale tint of those frilled lichens lean,
Which on a prostrate pine ye view,
When fallen from the banks of grace
Down to the sand-pit's sterile place,
Blisters supplant the beads of dew.
Canker and palmer-worm both must
Famished have left those fields of rust:
The rain is powder—land of dust:
There few do tarry, none may live—
Save mad, possessed, or fugitive.
Exalted in accursed estate,
Like Naaman in is leprous plight
Haughty before Elisha's gate,
Show the blanched hills.
All now alight
Upon the Promethean ledge.
The Druze stands by the imminent edge


Peering, and rein in hand. With head
Over her master's shoulder laid,
The mare, too, gazed, nor feared a check,
Though leaning half her lovesome neck,
Yet lightly, as a swan might do.
An arm Djalea enfolding stretched,
While sighs the sensitive creature fetched,
As e'en that waste to sorrow moved
Instinctive. So, to take the view
See man and mare, lover and loved.
Slant palm to brow against the haze,
Meantime the salt one sent his gaze
As from the mast-head o'er the pale
Expanse. But what may eyes avail?
Land lone as seas without a sail.
‘Wreck, ho—the wreck!” Not unamazed
They hear his sudden outcry. Crazed?
Or subject yet by starts dismayed
To flighty turns, for friars said
Much wandered he in mind when low.
But never Agath heeded them:
Forth did his leveled finger go
And, fixing, pointed: “See ye, see?
'Way over where the gray hills be;
Yonder—no, there—that upland dim:
Wreck, ho! the wreck—Jerusalem!”
“Keen-sighted art thou!” said Djalea
Confirming him; “ay, it is there.”
Then Agath, that excitement gone,
Relapsed into his quiet tone.



Needs well to know the distant site
(Like Agath, who late on the way
From Joppa here had made delay)
Ere, if unprompted, thou aright
Mayst single Zion's mountain out
From kindred summits roundabout.
Abandoned quarry mid the hills
Remote, as well one's dream fulfills
Of what Jerusalem should be,
As that vague heap, whose neutral tones
Blend in with Nature's, helplessly:
Stony metropolis of stones.
But much as distant shows the town
Erst glorious under Solomon,
Appears now, in these latter days,
To languid eyes, through dwelling haze,
The city St. John saw so bright
With sardonyx and ruby? Gleam
No more, like Monte Rosa's hight,
Thy towers, O New Jerusalem?
To Patmos now may visions steal?
Lone crag where lone the ospreys wheel!
Such thought, or something near akin,
Touched Clarel, and perchance might win
(To judge them by their absent air)
Others at hand. But not of these
The Illyrian bold: impatient stare
He random flung; then, like a breeze
Which fitful rushes through the glen
Over clansmen low—Prince Charlie's men—


Shot down the ledges, while the clang
Of saber 'gainst the stirrup rang,
And clinked the steel shoe on the stone.
His freak of gallantry in cheer
Of barbarous escort ending here,
Back for the stronghold dashed he lone.
When died the din, it left them more
Becalmed upon that hollow shore.
Not slack was ocean's wrinkled son
In study of the mountain town—
Much like himself, indeed, so gray
Left in life's waste to slow decay.
For index now as he stretched forth
His loose-sleeved arm in sailor way
Pointing the bearings south and north,
Derwent, arrested, cried, “Dost bleed?”
Touching the naked skin: “Look here—
A living fresco!” And indeed,
Upon the fore-arm did appear
A thing of art, vermil and blue,
A crucifixion in tattoo,
With trickling blood-drops strange to see.
Above that emblem of the loss,
Twin curving palm-boughs draping met
In manner of a canopy
Over an equi-limbed small cross
And three tri-spiked and sister crowns:
And under these a star was set:
And all was tanned and toned in browns.
In chapel erst which knew the mass,
A mullioned window's umber glass
Dyed with some saintly legend old,
Obscured by cobwebs; this might hold
Some likeness to the picture rare
On arm here webbed with straggling hair.


“Leave out the crucifixion's hint,”
Said Rolfe, “the rest will show in tint
The Ensign: palms, cross, diadems,
And star—the Sign!—Jerusalem's,
Coeval with King Baldwin's sway.—
Skilled monk in sooth ye need have sought
In Saba.”
Quoth the sea-sage: “Nay;
Sketched out it was one Christmas day
Off Java-Head. Little I thought
(A heedless lad, scarce through youth's straits—
How hopeful on the wreckful way)
What meant this thing which here ye see,
The bleeding man upon the tree;
Since then I've felt it, and the fates.”
“Ah—yes,” sighed Derwent; “yes, indeed!
But 'tis the Ensign now we heed.”
The stranger here his dusk eye ran
In reading sort from man to man,
Cleric to sailor—back again.
“But, shipmate,” Derwent cried; “tell me:
How came you by this blazonry?”
“We seamen, when there's naught to do
In calms, the straw for hats we plait,
Or one another we tattoo
With marks we copy from a mate,
Which he has from his elders ta'en,
And those from prior ones again;
And few, if any, think or reck
But so with pains their skin to deck.
This crucifixion, though, by some
A charm is held 'gainst watery doom.”
“Comrades,” said Rolfe, “'tis here we note
Downhanded in a way blind-fold,
A pious use of times remote.


Ah, but it dim grows, and more dim,
The gold of legend, that fine gold!
Washed in with wine of Bethlehem,
This Ensign in the ages old
Was stamped on every pilgrim's arm
By grave practitioners elect
Whose calling lacked not for respect
In Zion. Like the sprig of palm,
Token it was at home, that he
Which bore, had kneeled at Calvary.
Nay, those monk-soldiers helmet-crowned,
Whose effigies in armed sleep, lie—
Stone, in the stony Temple round
In London; and (to verify
Them more) with carved greaves crossed, for sign
Of duty done in Palestine;
Exceeds it, pray, conjecture fair,
These may have borne this blazon rare,
And not alone on standard fine,
But pricked on chest or sinewy arm,
Pledged to defend against alarm
His tomb for whom they warred? But see,
From these mailed Templars now the sign,
Losing the import and true key,
Descends to boatswains of the brine.”
Clarel, reposing there aside,
By secret thought preoccupied,
Now, as he inward chafe would shun,
A feigned quick interest put on:
“The import of these marks? Tell me.”
“Come, come,” cried Derwent; “dull ye bide!
By palm-leaves here are signified
Judæa, as on the Roman gem;
The cross scarce needs a word, agree;


The crowns are for the magi three;
This star—the star of Bethlehem.”
“One might have known;” and fell anew
In void relapse.
“Why, why so blue?”
Derwent again; and rallying ran:
“While now for Bethlehem we aim,
Our stellar friend the post should claim
Of guide. We'll put him in the van—
Follow the star on the tattooed man,
We wise men here.—What's that?”
A gun,
At distance fired, startles the group.
Around they gaze, and down and up;
But in the wilds they seem alone.
Long time the echo sent its din,
Hurled roundabout, and out and in—
A foot-ball tossed from crag to crag;
Then died away in ether thin—
Died, as they deemed, yet did but lag,
For all abrupt one far rebound
Gave pause; that o'er, the hush was crowned.
“We loiter,” Derwent said, in tone
Uneasy; “come, shall we go on?”
“Wherefore?” the saturnine demands.
Toward him they look, for his eclipse
There gave way for the first; and stands
The adage old, that one's own lips
Proclaim the character: “A gun:
A gun's man's voice—sincerest one.
Blench we to have assurance here,
Here in the waste, that kind is near?”
Eyes settle on his scars in view,
Both warp and burn, the which evince
Experience of the thing he hints.
“Nay—hark!” and all turn round anew:


Remoter shot came duller there:
“The Arnaut—and but fires in air,”
Djalea averred: “his last adieu.”
By chance directed here in thought,
Clarel upon that warrior haught
Low mused: The rowel of thy spur
The robe rips of philosopher!
Naught reckest thou of wisest book:
The creeds thou star'st down with a look.
And how the worse for such wild sense?
And where is wisdom's recompense?
And as for heaven—Oh, heavens enlarge
Beyond each designated marge:
Valhalla's hall would hardly bar
Welcome to one whose end need be
In grace and grief of harnessed war,
To sink mid swords and minstrelsy.
So willful! but 'tis loss and smart,
Clarel, in thy dissolving heart.
Will't form anew?
Vine's watchful eye,
While none perceived where bent his view,
Had fed on Agath sitting by;
He seemed to like him, one whose print
The impress bore of Nature's mint.
Authentic; man of nature true,
If simple; naught that slid between
Him and the elemental scene—
Unless it were that thing indeed
Uplooming from his ancient creed;
Yet that but deepen might the sense
Of awe, and serve dumb reverence
And resignation.—“Anywhere,”
Asked Vine—here now to converse led—


“In those far regions, strange or rare,
Where thou hast been, may aught compare
With Judah here?”
“Sooth, sir,” he said,
“Some chance comparison I've made
In mind, between this stricken land
And one far isle forever banned
I camped on in life's early days:
I view it now—but through a haze:
Our boats I view, reversed, turned down
For shelter by the midnight sea;
The very slag comes back to me
I raked for shells, but found not one;
That harpy sea-hawk—him I view
Which, pouncing, from the red coal drew
Our hissing meat—we lounging nigh—
An instant's dash—and with it flew
To his sea-rock detached, his cry
Thence sent, to mock the marl we threw:—
I hear, I see; return those days
Again—but 'tis through deepening haze:
How like a flash that life is gone—
So brief the youth by sailors known!”
“But tell us, tell,” now others cried,
And grouped them as by hearth-stone wide.
The timoneer, at hazard thrown
With men of order not his own,
Evinced abashment, yes, proved shy.
They urged; and he could but comply.
But, more of clearness to confer—
Less dimly to express the thing
Rude outlined by this mariner,
License is claimed in rendering;
And tones he felt but scarce might give,
The verse essays to interweave.



In waters where no charts avail,
Where only fin and spout ye see,
The lonely spout of hermit-whale,
God set that isle which haunteth me.
There clouds hang low, but yield no rain—
Forever hang, since wind is none
Or light; nor ship-boy's eye may gain
The smoke-wrapped peak, the inland one
Volcanic; this, within its shroud
Streaked black and red, burns unrevealed;
It burns by night—by day the cloud
Shows leaden all, and dull and sealed.
The beach is cinders. With the tide
Salt creek and ashy inlet bring
More loneness from the outer ring
Of ocean.”
Pause he made, and sighed.—
“But take the way across the marl,
A broken field of tumbled slabs
Like ice-cakes frozen in a snarl
After the break-up in a sound;
So win the thicket's upper ground
Where silence like a poniard stabs,
Since there the low throb of the sea
Not heard is, and the sea-fowl flee
Far off the shore, all the long day
Hunting the flying-fish their prey.
Haply in bush ye find a path:
Of man or beast it scarce may be;
And yet a wasted look it hath,
As it were traveled ceaselessly—
Century after century—


The rock in places much worn down
Like to some old, old kneeling-stone
Before a shrine. But naught's to see,
At least naught there was seen by me,
Of any moving, creeping one.
No berry do those thickets bear,
Nor many leaves. Yet even there,
Some sailor from the steerage den
Put sick ashore—alas, by men
Who weary of him thus abjure—
The way may follow, in pursuit
Of apples red—the homestead-fruit
He dreams of in his calenture.
He drops, lost soul; but we go on—
Advance, until in end be won
The terraced orchard's mysteries,
Which well do that imp-isle beseem;
Paved with jet blocks those terraces,
The surface rubbed to unctuous gleam
By something which has life, you feel:
And yet, the shades but death reveal;
For under cobwebbed cactus trees,
White by their trunks—what hulks be these
Which, like old skulls of Anaks, are
Set round as in a Golgotha?
But, list,—a sound! Dull, dull it booms—
Dull as the jar in vaulted tombs
When urns are shifted. With amaze
Into the dim retreats ye gaze.
Lo, 'tis the monstrous tortoise drear!
Of huge humped arch, the ancient shell
Is trenched with seams where lichens dwell,
Or some adhesive growth and sere:
A lumpish languor marks the pace—
A hideous, harmless look, with trace
Of hopelessness; the eyes are dull


As in the bog the dead black pool:
Penal his aspect; all is dragged,
As he for more than years had lagged—
A convict doomed to bide the place;
A soul transformed—for earned disgrace
Degraded, and from higher race.
Ye watch him—him so woe-begone:
Searching, he creeps with laboring neck,
Each crevice tries, and long may seek:
Water he craves, where rain is none—
Water within the parching zone,
Where only dews of midnight fall
And dribbling lodge in chinks of stone.
For meat the bitter tree is all—
The cactus, whose nipped fruit is shed
On those bleached skull-like hulks below,
Which, when by life inhabited,
Crept hither in last journey slow
After a hundred years of pain
And pilgrimage here to and fro,
For other hundred years to reign
In hollow of white armor so—
Then perish piecemeal. You advance:
Instant, more rapid than a glance,
Long neck and four legs are drawn in,
Letting the shell down with report
Upon the stone; so falls in court
The clattering buckler with a din.
There leave him, since for hours he'll keep
That feint of death.—But for the isle—
Much seems it like this barren steep:
As here, few there would think to smile.”
So, paraphrased in lines sincere
Which still similitude would win,
The sketch ran of that timoneer.


He ended, and how passive sate:
Nature's own look, which might recall
Dumb patience of mere animal,
Which better may abide life's fate
Than comprehend.
What may man know?
(Here pondered Clarel;) let him rule—
Pull down, build up, creed, system, school
And reason's endless battle wage,
Make and remake his verbiage—
But solve the world! Scarce that he'll do:
Too wild it is, too wonderful.
Since this world, then, can baffle so—
Our natural harbor—it were strange
If that alleged, which is afar,
Should not confound us when we range
In revery where its problems are.—
Such thoughts! and can they e'en be mine
In fount? Did Derwent true divine
Upon the tower of Saba—yes,
Hinting I too much felt the stress
Of Rolfe—or whom? Green and unsure,
And in attendance on a mind
Poised at self-center and mature,
Do I but lacquey it behind?
Yea, here in frame of thought and word
But wear the cast clothes of my lord?



Quiet Agath, with a start, just then
Shrieked out, abhorrent or in fright.
Disturbed in its pernicious den
Amid dry flints and shards of blight,
A crabbed scorpion, dingy brown,
With nervous tail slant upward thrown
(Like to a snake's wroth neck and head
Dilating when the coil's unmade
Before the poor affrighted clown
Whose foot offends it unbeknown)
Writhing, faint crackling, like wire spring,
With anguish of the poisonous bile
Inflaming the slim duct, the while
In act of shooting toward the sting;
This, the unblest, small, evil thing,
'Tis this they mark, wriggling in range,
Fearless, and with ill menace, strange
In such a minim.
Derwent rose,
And Clarel; Vine and Rolfe remained
At gaze; the soldier too and Druze.
Cried Rolfe, while thus they stood enchained:
“O small epitome of devil,
Wert thou an ox couldst thou thus sway?
No, disproportionate is evil
In influence. Evil do I say?
But speak not evil of the evil:
Evil and good they braided play
Into one cord.”
While they delay,
The object vanished. Turning head
Toward the salt one, Derwent said:


“The thing's not sweet; but why start so,
My good man, you that frequent know
The wonders of the deep?” He flushed,
And in embarrassment kept dumb.
But Rolfe here to the rescue pushed:
“Men not deemed craven will succumb
To such an apparition. Why,
Soldiers, that into battle marching
Elastic pace with instep arching—
Sailors (and he's a sailor nigh)
Who out upon the jib-boom hie,
At world's end, in the midnight gale,
And wrestle with the thrashing sail,
The while the speared spar like a javelin flies
Slant up from thundering seas to skies
Electric:—these—I've known one start
Seeing a spider run athwart!”
In common-place here lightly blew
Across them through the desert air
A whiff from pipe that Belex smoked:
The Druze his sleek mare smooth bestroked,
Then gave a sign. One parting view
At Zion blurred, and on they fare.



While Agath was his story telling
(Ere yet the ill thing worked surprise)
The officer with forest eyes
Still kept them dwelling, somber dwelling
On that mild merman gray. His mien
In part was that of one who tries
Something outside his own routine
Of memories, all too profuse
In personal pain monotonous.
And yet derived he little here,
As seemed, to soothe his mind—austere
With deep impressions uneffaced.
At chance allusion—at the hint
That the dragged tortoise bore the print
Of something mystic and debased,
How glowed the comment in his eyes:
No cynic fire sarcastic; nay,
But deeper in the startled sway
Of illustrations to surmise.
Ever on him they turned the look,
While yet the hearing not forsook
The salt seer while narration ran.
The desert march resumed, in thought
They dwell, till Rolfe the Druze besought
If he before had met this man—
So distant, though a countryman
By birth. Why, yes—had met him: see,
Drilling some tawny infantry
In shadow of a Memphian wall,
White-robed young conscripts up the Nile;
And, afterward, on Jaffa beach,
With Turkish captains holding speech


Over some cannon in a pile
Late landed—with the conic ball.
No more? No more the Druze let fall,
If more he knew.
Thought Rolfe: Ay me,
Ay me, poor Freedom, can it be
A countryman's a refugee?
What maketh him abroad to roam
Sharing with infidels a home?
Is it the immense charred solitudes
Once farms? and chimney-stacks that reign
War-burnt upon the houseless plain
Of hearthstones without neighborhoods?
Is it the wilds whose memories own
More specters than the woods bestrown
With Varus' legions mossy grown?
Is't misrule after strife? and dust
From victor heels? Is it disgust
For times when honor's out of date
And serveth but to alienate?
The usurping altar doth he scout—
The Parsee of a sun gone out?
And this, may all this mar his state?
His very virtues, in the blench
And violence of fortune's wrench,
Alas, serve but to vitiate?
Strong natures have a strong recoil
Whose shock may wreck them or despoil.
Oh, but it yields a thought that smarts,
To note this man. Our New World bold
Had fain improved upon the Old;
But the hemispheres are counterparts.
So inly Rolfe; and did incline
In briefer question there to Vine,
Who could but answer him with eyes
Opulent in withheld replies.


And here—without a thought to chide—
Feeling the tremor of the ground—
Reluctant touching on the wound
Unhealed yet in our mother's side;
Behooveth it to hint in brief
The rankling thing in Ungar's grief;
For bravest grieve.—That evil day,
Black in the New World's calendar—
The dolorous winter ere the war;
True Bridge of Sighs—so yet 'twill be
Esteemed in riper history—
Sad arch between contrasted eras;
The span of fate; that evil day
When the cadets from rival zones,
Tradition's generous adherers,
Their country's pick and flower of sons,
Abrupt were called upon to act—
For life or death, nor brook delay—
Touching construction of a pact,
A paper pact, with points abstruse
As theologic ones—profuse
In matter for an honest doubt;
And which, in end, a stubborn knot
Some cut but with the sword; that day
With its decision, yet could sway
Ungar, and plunging thoughts excite.
Reading and revery imped his pain,
Confirmed, and made it take a flight
Beyond experience and the reign
Of self; till, in a sort, the man
Grew much like that Pamphylian
Who, dying (as the fable goes)
In walks of Hades met with those
Which, though he was a sage of worth,
Did such new pregnancies implant,
Hadean lore, he did recant


All science he had brought from earth.
Herewith in Ungar, though, ensued
A bias, bitterness—a strain
Much like an Indian's hopeless feud
Under the white's aggressive reign.
Indian's the word; nor it impeach
For over-pointedness of speech;
No, let the story rearward run
And its propriety be shown:
Up Chesapeake in days of old,
By winding banks whose curves unfold
Cape after cape in bright remove,
Steered the ship Ark with her attendant Dove.
From the non-conformists' zeal or bile
Which urged, inflamed the civil check
Upon the dreaded Popish guile,
The New World's fairer flowers and dews
Welcomed the English Catholic:
Like sheltering arms the shores expand
To embrace and take to heart the crews.
Care-worn, sea-worn, and tempest-tanned,
Devout they hail that harbor green;
And, mindful of heaven's gracious Queen
And Britain's princess, name it Mary-Land.
It was from one of Calvert's friends
The exile of the verse descends;
And gifts, brave gifts, and martial fame
Won under Tilly's great command
That sire of after-sires might claim.
But heedless, in the Indian glade
He wedded with a wigwam maid,
Transmitting through his line, far down,
Along with touch in lineaments,
A latent nature, which events
Developed in this distant son,


And overrode the genial part—
An Anglo brain, but Indian heart.
And yet not so but Ungar knew
(In freak, his forest name alone
Retained he now) that instinct true
Which tempered him in years bygone,
When, spite the prejudice of kin
And custom, he with friends could be
Outspoken in his heart's belief
That holding slaves was aye a grief—
The system an iniquity
In those who plant it and begin;
While for inheritors—alas,
Who knows? and let the problem pass.
But now all that was over—gone;
Now was he the self-exiled one.
Too steadfast! Wherefore should be lent
The profitless high sentiment?
Renounce conviction in defeat:
Pass over, share the spoiler's seat
And thrive. Behooves thee else turn cheek
To fate with wisdom of the meek.
Wilt not? Unblest then with the store
Of heaven, and spurning worldly lore
Astute, eat thou thy cake of pride,
And henceforth live on unallied.—
His passion, that—mused, never said;
And his own pride did him upbraid.
The habit of his mind, and tone
Tenacious touching issues gone,
Expression found, nor all amiss,
In thing he'd murmur: it was this:
“Who abideth by the dead
Which ye hung before your Lord?


Steadfast who, when all have fled
Tree and corse abhorred?
Who drives off the wolf, the kite—
Bird by day, and beast by night,
And keeps the hill through all?
It is Rizpah: true is one
Unto death; nor then will shun
The Seven throttled and undone,
To glut the foes of Saul.”
That for the past; and for the surge
Reactionary, which years urge:
“Elating and elate,
Do they mount them in their pride?
Let them wait a little, wait,
For the brimming of the flood
Brings the turning of the tide.”
His lyric. Yet in heart of hearts
Perchance its vanity he knew,
At least suspected. What to do?
Time cares not to avenge your smarts,
But presses on, impatient of review.



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.



As shipwrecked men adrift, whose boat
In war-time on the houseless seas
Draws nigh to some embattled hull
With pinnacles and traceries—
Grim abbey on the wave afloat;
And mark her bulwarks sorrowful
With briny stains, and answering mien
And cenobite dumb discipline,
And homely uniform of crew
Peering from ports where cannon lean,
Or pacing in deep galleries far,
Black cloisters of the god of war;
And hear a language which is new
Or foreign: so now with this band
Who, after desert rovings, win
The fort monastic, close at hand,
Survey it, meditate it—see,
Through vaultings, the girt Capuchin,
Or list his speech of Italy.
Up to the arch the graybeard train
Of Bethlehemites attend, salute,
And in expectancy remain
At stand; their escort ending here,
They wait the recompense and fruit;
'Tis given; and with friendly cheer
Parting, they boar a meed beyond
The dry price set down in the bond.
The bonus Derwent did suggest,
Saying: “They're old: of all sweet food
Naught they take in so cheers their blood
As ruddy coin; it pads the vest.”


Belex abides—true as his steel
To noble pilgrims which such largess deal.
While these now at refection sit,
Rolse speaks: “Provided for so well,
Much at our ease methinks we dwell.
Our merit's guerdon? far from it!
Unworthy, here we welcome win
Where Mary found no room at inn.”
“True, true,” the priest sighed, staying there
The cup of Bethlehem wine in hand;
Then sipped; yet by sad absent air
The flavor seeming to forswear;
Nor less the juice did glad the gland.
The abstemious Ungar noted all,
Grave silence keeping. Rolfe let fall:
“Strange! of the sacred places here,
And all through Palestine indeed,
Not one we Protestants hold dear
Enough to tend and care for.”
The priest, “and why now should that breed
Astonishment? but say your say.”
“Why, Shakespeare's house in Stratford town
Ye keep with loving tendance true,
Set it apart in reverence due:
A shrine to which the pilgrim's won
Across an ocean's stormy tide:
What zeal, what faith is there implied;
Pure worship localized in grace,
Tradition sole providing base.”
“Your drift I catch. And yet I think
That they who most and deepest drink
At Shakespeare's fountain, scarce incline
To idolize the local shrine:


What's in mere place that can bestead?”
“Nay, 'tis the heart here, not the head.
You note some pilgrims hither bring
The rich or humble offering:
If that's irrational—what then?
In kindred way your Lutheran
Will rival it; yes, in sad hour
The Lutheran widow lays her flower
Before the picture of the dead:
Vital affections do not draw
Precepts from Reason's arid law.”
“Ah, clever! But we won't contend.
As for these Places, my dear friend,
Thus stands the matter—as you know:
Ere Luther yet made his demur,
These legend-precincts high and low
In custody already were
Of Greek and Latin, who retain.
So, even did we wish to be
Shrine-keepers here and share the fee—
No sites for Protestants remain.”
The compline service they attend;
Then bedward, travel-worn, they wend;
And, like a bland breeze out of heaven,
The gracious boon of sleep is given.
But Ungar, islanded in thought
Which not from place a prompting caught,
Alone, upon the terrace stair
Lingered, in adoration there
Of Eastern skies: “Now night enthrones
Arcturns and his shining sons;
And lo, Job's chambers of the South:
How might his hand not go to mouth


In kiss adoring ye, bright zones?
Look up: the age, the age forget—
There's something to look up to yet!”


When rule and era passed away
With old Sylvanus (stories say),
The oracles adrift were hurled,
And ocean moaned about the world,
And wandering voices without name
At sea to sailors did proclaim,
Pan, Pan is dead!
Such fables old—
From man's deep nature are they rolled,
Pained and perplexed—awed, overawed
By sense of change? But never word
Aërial by mortal heard,
Rumors that vast eclipse, if slow,
Whose passage yet we undergo,
Emerging on an age untried.
If not all oracles be dead,
The upstart ones the old deride:
Parrots replace the sibyls fled—
By rote repeat in lilting pride:
Lodged in power, enlarged in all,
Man achieves his last exemption—
Hopes no heaven, but fears no fall,
King in time, nor needs redemption.
They hymn. But these who cloistral dwell
In Bethlehem here, and share faith's spell


Meekly, and keep her tenor mild—
What know they of a world beguiled?
Or, knowing, they but know too well.
Buzzed thoughts! To Rolfe they came in doze
(His brain like ocean's murmuring shell)
Between the dream and slumber's light repose.


Up, up! Around morn's standard rally;
She makes a sortie—join the sally:
Up, slugabeds; up, up!”
That call
Ere matins did each pilgrim hear
In cell, and knew the blithe voice clear.
“Beshrew thee, thou'rt poetical,”
Rolfe murmured from his place withdrawn.
“Ay, brother; but 'tis not surprising:
Apollo's the god of early rising.
Up, up! The negro-groom of Night
Leads forth the horses of the Dawn!
Up, up!” So Derwent, jocund sprite—
Although but two days now were passed
Since he had viewed a sunrise last—
Persuaded them to join him there
And unto convent roof repair.
Thought one: He's of no nature surly,
So cheerful in the morning early.
Sun-worship over, they came down:
And Derwent lured them forth, and on.


Behind the Convent lies a dale.
The Valley of the Shepherds named,
(And never may the title fail!)
By old tradition fondly claimed
To be in truth the very ground
About whose hollow, on the mound
Of hills, reclined in dozing way
That simple group ere break of day,
Which, startled by their flocks' dismay—
All bleating up to them in panic
And sparkling in scintillant ray—
Beheld a splendor diaphanic—
Effulgence never dawn hath shot,
Nor flying meteors of the night;
And trembling rose, shading the sight;
But heard the angel breathe—Fear not.
So (might one reverently dare
Terrene with heavenly to compare),
So, oft in mid-watch on that sea
Where the ridged Andes of Peru
Are far seen by the coasting crew—
Waves, sails and sailors in accord
Illumed are in a mystery,
Wonder and glory of the Lord,
Though manifest in aspect minor—
Phosphoric ocean in shekinah.
And down now in that dale they go,
Meeting a little St. John boy
In sackcloth shirt and belt of tow,
Leading his sheep. Ever behind
He kept one hand, stained with a shrub,
The which an ewe licked, never coy;
And all the rest with docile mind
Followed; and fleece with fleece did rub.
Beyond, hard by twin planted tents,


Paced as in friendly conference
Two shepherds on the pastoral hill,
Brown patriarchs in shaggy cloak;
Peaceful they went, as in a yoke
The oxen unto pasture oak
To lie in shade when noon is still.
Nibbling the herb, or far or near,
Advanced their flocks, and yet would veer,
For width of range makes wayward will.
Ungar beheld: “What treat they of?
Halving the land?—This might reclaim
Old years of Lot and Abraham
Just ere they parted in remove:
A peaceful parting: ‘Let there be
No strife, I pray thee, between me
And thee, my herdmen and thine own;
For we be brethren. See, the land
Is all before thee, fenced by none:
Then separate thyself from me,
I pray thee. If now the left hand
Thou, Lot, wilt take, then I will go
Unto the right; if thou depart
Unto the right, then I will go
Unto the left.’—They parted so,
And not unwisely: both were wise.
'Twas East and West; but North and South!”
Rolfe marked the nip of quivering mouth,
Passion repressed within the eyes;
But ignorance feigned: “This calm,” he said,
“How fitly hereabout is shed:
The site of Eden's placed not far;
In bond 'tween man and animal
Survives yet under Asia's star
A link with years before the Fall.”


“Indeed,” cried Derwent, pleased thereat,
“Blest, blest is here the creature's state.
Those pigeons, now, in Saba's hold,
Their wings how winsome would they fold
Alighting at one's feet so soft.
Doves, too, in mosque, I've marked aloft,
At hour of prayer through window come
From trees adjacent, and a'thrill
Perch, coo, and nestle in the dome,
Or fly with green sprig in the bill.
How by the marble fount in court,
Where for ablution Turks resort
Ere going in to hear the Word,
These small apostles they regard
Which of sweet innocence report.
None stone the dog; caressed, the steed;
Only poor Dobbin (Jew indeed
Of brutes) seems slighted in the East.”
Ungar, who chafed in heart of him
At Rolfe's avoidance of his theme
(Although he felt he scarce could blame),
Here turned his vexed mood on the priest:
As cruel as a Turk: Whence came
That proverb old as the crusades?
From Anglo-Saxons. What are they?
Let the the horse answer, and blockades
Of medicine in civil fray!
The Anglo-Saxons—lacking grace
To win the love of any race;
Hated by myriads dispossessed
Of rights—the Indians East and West.
These pirates of the sphere! grave looters—
Grave, canting, Mammonite freebooters,
Who in the name of Christ and Trade


(Oh, bucklered forehead of the brass!)
Deflower the world's last sylvan glade!”
“Alas, alas, ten times alas,
Poor Anglo-Saxons!” Derwent sighed.
“Nay, but if there I lurched too wide,
Respond to this: Old ballads sing
Fair Christian children crucified
By impious Jews: you've heard the thing:
Yes, fable; but there's truth hard by:
How many Hughs of Lincoln, say,
Does Mammon in his mills, to-day,
Crook, if he do not crucify?”
“Ah, come,” said Derwent; “come, now, come;
Think you that we who build the home
For foundlings, and yield sums immense
To hospitals for indigence—”
“Your alms-box, smaller than your till,
And poor-house won't absolve your mill.
But what ye are, a straw may tell—
Your dearth of phrases affable.
Italian, French—more tongues than these—
Addresses have of courtesies
In kindliness of man toward man,
By prince used and by artisan,
And not pervertible in sense
Of scorn or slight. Ye have the Sir,
That sole, employed in snub or slur,
Never in pure benevolence,
And at its best a formal term
Of cold regard.”
“Ah, why so warm
In mere philology, dear sir?”
Plead Derwent; “there, don't that confer
Sweet amity? I used the word.”
But Ungar heeded not—scarce heard;


And, earnest as the earnest tomb,
With added feeling, sting, and gloom
His strange impeachment urged. Reply
Came none; they let it go; for why
Argue with man of bitter blood?
But Rolfe he could but grieve within
For countryman in such a mood—
Knowing the cause, the origin.


Wise Derwent, that discourse to end,
Pointed athwart the dale divine:
“What's yonder object—fountain? shrine?
Companions, let us thither go
And make inspection.”
In consent
Silent they follow him in calm.
It proved an ancient monument—
Rude stone; but tablets lent a charm:
Three tablets on three sides. In one
The Tender Shepherd mild looked down
Upon the rescued weanling lost,
Snugged now in arms. In emblem crossed
By pastoral crook, Christ's monogram
(Wrought with a medieval grace)
Showed on the square opposed in face.
But chiefly did they feel the claim
Of the main tablet; there a lamb
On passive haunches upright sate
In patience which reproached not fate;
The two fine furry fore-legs drooping


Like tassels; while the shearer, stooping,
Embraced it with one arm; and all
The fleece rolled off in seamless shawl
Flecked here and there with hinted blood.
It did not shrink; no cry did come:
In still life of that stone subdued
Shearer and shorn alike were dumb.
As with a seventy-four, when lull
Lapses upon the storm, the hull
Rights for the instant, while a moan
Of winds succeeds the howl; so here
In poise of heart and altered tone
With Ungar. Respite brief though dear
It proved; for he: “This type's assigned
To One who sharing not man's mind
Partook man's frame; whose mystic birth
Wrecked him upon this reef of earth
Inclement and inhuman. Yet,
Through all the trials that beset,
He leaned on an upholding arm—
Foreknowing, too, reserves of balm.
But how of them whose souls may claim
Some link with Christ beyond the name,
Which share the fate, but never share
Aid or assurance, and nowhere
Look for requital? Such there be;
In by-lanes o'er the world ye see
The Calvary-faces.” All averse
Turned Derwent, murmuring, “Forbear.
Such breakers do the heaven asperse!”
But timely he alert espied,
Upon the mountain humbly kneeling,
Those shepherds twain, while morning-tide
Rolled o'er the hills with golden healing.
It was a rock they kneeled upon,


Convenient for their rite avowed—
Kneeled, and their turbaned foreheads bowed—
Bowed over, till they kissed the stone:
Each shaggy sur-coat heedful spread
For rug, such as in mosque is laid.
About the ledge's favored hem
Mild fed their sheep, enringing them;
While, facing as by second-sight,
Toward Mecca they direct the rite.
“Look; and their backs on Bethlehem turned,”
Cried Rolfe. The priest then, who discerned
The drift, replied, “Yes, for they pray
To Allah. Well, and what of that?
Christ listens, standing in heaven's gate—
Benignant listens, nor doth stay
Upon a syllable in creed:
Vowels and consonants indeed!”
And Rolfe: “But here were Margoth now,
Seeing yon shepherds praying so,
His gibe would run from man to man:
‘Which is the humble publican?
Or do they but prostrate them there
To flout you Franks with Islam's prayer?’”
“Doubtless: some shallow thing he'd say,
Poor fellow,” Derwent then; “but, nay,
Earnest they are; nor yet they'd part
(If pealed the hour) in street or mart,
From like observance.”
If 'tis so”
The refugee, “let all avow
As openly faith's loyal heart.
By Christians too was God confessed
How frankly! in those days that come
No more to misnamed Christendom!
Religion then was the good guest,


First served, and last, in every gate:
What mottoes upon wall and plate!
She every human venture shared:
The ship in manifest declared
That not disclaiming heaven she thrust
Her bowsprit into fog and storm:
Some current silver bore the palm
Of Christ, token of saint, or bust;
In line devout the pikemen kneeled—
To battle by the rite were sealed.
Men were not lettered, but had sense
Beyond the mean intelligence
That knows to read, and but to read—
Not think. 'Twas harder to mislead
The people then, whose smattering now
Does but the more their ignorance show—
Nay, them to peril more expose—
Is as the ring in the bull's nose
Whereby a pert boy turns and winds
This monster of a million minds.
Men owned true masters; kings owned God—
Their master; Louis plied the rod
Upon himself. In high estate,
Not puffed up like a democrat
In office, how with Charlemagne?
Look up he did, look up in reign—
Humbly look up, who might look down:
His meekest thing was still his crown:
How meek on him; since, graven there,
Among the Apostles twelve—behold,
Stern Scriptural precepts were enrolled,
High admonitions, meet for kings.
The coronation was a prayer,
Which yet in ceremonial clings.
The church was like a bonfire warm:
All ranks were gathered round the charm.”


Derwent, who vainly had essayed
To impede the speaker, or blockade,
Snatched at the bridle here: “Ho, wait;
A word, impetuous laureate!
This bric-a-brac-ish style (outgrown
Almost, where first it gave the tone)
Of lauding the quaint ages old—
But nay, that's satire; I withhold.
Grant your side of the shield part true:
What then? why, turn the other: view
The buckler in reverse. Don't sages
Denominate those times Dark Ages?
Dark Middle Ages, time's midnight!”
“If night, it was no starless one;
Art still admires what then was done:
A strength they showed which is of light.
Not more the Phidian marbles prove
The graces of the Grecian prime
And indicate what men they were,
Than the grand minsters in remove
Do intimate, if not declare
A magnanimity which our time
Would envy, were it great enough
To comprehend. Your counterbuff,
However, holds. Yes, frankly, yes,
Another side there is, admit.
Nor less the very worst of it
Reveals not such a shamelessness
Of evildoer and hypocrite,
And sordid mercenary sin
As these days vaunt and revel in.”
“No use, no use,” the priest aside;
“Patience! it is the maddest tide;”
And seated him.
And Ungar then:
“What's overtaken ye pale men?


Shrewd are ye, the main chance ye heed:
Has God quite lost his throne indeed
That lukewarm now ye grow? Wilt own,
Council ye take with fossil-stone?
Your sects do nowadays create
Churches as worldly as the state.
And, for your more established forms—
Ah, once in York I viewed through storms
The Minster's majesty of mien—
Towers, peaks, and pinnacles sublime—
Faith's iceberg, stranded on a scene
How alien, and an alien time;
But now”—he checked himself, and stood.
Whence this strange bias of his mood
(Thought they) leaning to things corroded,
By many deemed for aye exploded?
But, truly, knowing not the man,
At fault they in conjecture ran.
But Ungar (as in fitter place
Set down) being sprung from Romish race,
Albeit himself had spared to feed
On any one elected creed
Or rite, though much he might recall
In annals bearing upon all;
And, in this land named of Behest,
A wandering Ishmael from the West;
Inherited the Latin mind,
Which late—blown by the adverse wind
Of harder fortunes that molest—
Kindled from ember into coal.
The priest, as one who keeps him whole,
Anew turns toward the kneeling twain:
“Your error's slight, or, if a stain,
'Twill fade. Our Lord enjoins good deeds


Nor catechiseth in the creeds.”
A something in the voice or man,
Or in assumption of the turn
Which prior theme did so adjourn,
Pricked Ungar, and a look he ran
Toward Derwent—an electric light
Chastising in its fierce revolt;
Then settled into that still night
Of cloud which has discharged the bolt.


At breakfast in refectory there
The priest—if Clarel not mistook—
The good priest wore the troubled air
Of honest heart striving to brook
Injury, which from words abstained,
And, hence, not readily arraigned;
Which to requite in its own sort
Is not allowed in heaven's high court,
Or self-respect's. Such would forget,
But for the teasing doubt or fret
Lest unto worldly witness mere
The injury none the less appear
To challenge notice at the least.
Ungar withdrew, leaving the priest
Less ill at ease; who now a thought
Threw out, as 'twere in sad concern
For one whose nature, sour or stern,
Still dealt in all unhandsome flings
At happy times and happy things:


“‘The bramble sayeth it is naught:’
Poor man!” But that; and quite forbore
To vent his grievance. Nor less sore
He felt it—Clarel so inferred,
Recalling here too Mortmain's word
Of cutting censorship. How then?
While most who met him frank averred
That Derwent ranked with best of men,
The Swede and refugee unite
In one repugnance, yea, and slight.
How take, construe their ill-content?
A thing of vein and temperament?
Rolfe liked him; and if Vine said naught,
Yet even Vine seemed not uncheered
By fair address. Then stole the thought
Of how the priest had late appeared
In that one confidential hour,
Ambiguous on Saba's tower.
There he dismissed it, let it fall:
To probe overmuch seems finical.
Nor less (for still the point did tease,
Nor would away and leave at ease)
Nor less, I wonder, if ere long
He'll turn this off, not worth a song,
As lightly as of late he turned
Poor Mortmain's sally when he burned?



Marking the priest not all sedate,
Rolfe, that a friend might fret discard,
Turned his attention to debate
Between two strangers at the board.
In furtherance of his point or plea
One said:
“Late it was told to me,
And by the man himself concerned,
A merchant Frank on Syria's coast,
That in a fire which traveled post,
His books and records being burned,
His Christian debtors held their peace;
The Islam ones disclaimed release,
And came with purses and accounts.”
“And duly rendered their amounts?
'Twas very kind. But oh, the greed,
Rapacity, and crime at need
In satraps which oppress the throng.”
“True. But with these 'tis, after all,
Wrong-doing purely personal—
Not legislated—not a wrong
Law-sanctioned. No: the Turk, admit,
In scheme of state, the scheme of it,
Upon the civil arm confers
A sway above the scimeter's—
The civil power itself subjects
Unto that Koran which respects
Nor place nor person. Nay, adjourn
The jeer; for now aside we'll turn.
Dismembered Poland and her throe
In Ninety-Five, all unredressed:
Did France, did England then protest?”


“England? I'm sure I do not know.
Come, I distrust your shifting so.
Pray, to what end now is this pressed?”
“Why, here armed Christendom looking on,
In protest the Sultan stood alone.”
“Indeed? But all this, seems to me,
Savors of Urquhart's vanity.”
“The commentator on the East?”
“The same: that very inexact
Eccentric ideologist
Now obsolete.”
“And that's your view?
He stands for God.”
I stand by fact.”
“Well then, another fact or two:
When Poland's place in Thirty-One
Was blotted out, the Turk again
Protested, with one other man,
The Pope; these, and but these alone;
And in the protest both avowed
'Twas made for justice's sake and God.—
You smile.”
“Oh no: but very clear
The protest prompted was by fear
In Turk and Pope, that time might come
When spoliation should drive home
Upon themselves. Besides, you know
The Polish church was Catholic:
The Czar would wrest it to the Greek:
'Twas that touched Rome. But let it go.—
In pith, what is it you would show?
Are Turks our betters? Very strange
Heaven's favor does not choicely range
Upon these Islam people good:
Bed-rid they are, behindhand all,
While Europe flowers in plenitude


Of wealth and commerce.”
“I recall
Nothing in Testament which saith
That worldliness shall not succeed
In that wherein it laboreth.
Howbeit, the Sultan's coming on:
Fine lesson from ye has he won
Of late; apt pupil he indeed:
Ormus, that riches did confer,
Ormus is made a borrower:
Selim, who grandly turbaned sat,
Verges on bankruptcy and—hat.
But this don't touch the rank and file;
At least, as yet. But preach and work:
You'll civilize the barbarous Turk—
Nay, all the East may reconcile:
That done, let Mammon take the wings of even,
And mount and civilize the saints in heaven.”
“I laugh—I like a brave caprice!
And, sir—”
But here did Rolfe release
His ear, and Derwent too. A stir
In court was heard of man and steed—
Neighings and mountings, din indeed;
And Rolfe: “Come, come; our traveler.”



They rise, and for a little space
In farewell Agath they detain,
Transferred here to a timelier train
Than theirs. A work-day, passive face
He turns to Derwent's Luck to thee!
No slight he means—'tis far from that;
But, schooled by the inhuman sea,
He feels 'tis vain to wave the hat
In God-speed on this mortal strand;
Recalling all the sailing crews
Destined to sleep in ocean sand,
Cheered from the wharf with blithe adieus.
Nor less the heart's farewell they say,
And bless the old man on his way.
Led by a slender monk and young,
With curls that ringed the shaven crown,
Courts now and shrines they trace. That thong
Ascetic which can life chastise
Down to her bleak necessities,
They mark in coarse serge of his gown,
And girdling rope, with cross of wood
For tag at end; and hut-like hood
Superfluous now behind him thrown;
And sandals which expose the skin
Transparent, and the blue vein thin
Meandering there: the feet, the face
Alike in lucid marble grace.
His simple manners self-possessed
Both saint and noble-born suggest;
Yet under quietude they mark
The slumbering of a vivid spark—


Excitable, if brought to test.
A Tuscan, he exchanged the charm
Val d'Arno yields, for this dull calm
Of desert. Was his youth self-given
In frank oblation unto heaven?
Or what inducement might disarm
This Isaac when too young to know?
Hereon they, pacing, muse—till, lo,
The temple opens in dusk glades
Of long-drawn double colonnades:
Monoliths two-score and eight.
Rolfe looked about him, pleased in state:
“But this is goodly! Here we rove
As down the deep Dodona grove:
Years, years and years these boles have stood!—
Late by the spring in idle mood
My will I made (if ye recall),
Providing for the Inn of Trees:
But ah, to set out trunks like these
In harbor open unto all
For generations!” So in vein
Rolfe free descanted as through fane
They passed. But noting now the guide
In acquiescence by their side,
He checked himself: “Why prate I here?
This brother—I usurp his sphere.”
They came unto a silver star
In pavement set which none do mar
By treading. Here at pause remained
The monk; till, seeing Rolfe refrained,
And all, from words, he said: “The place,
Signori, where that shining grace
Which led the Magi, stood; below,
The Manger is.” They comment none;


Not voicing everything they know,
In cirque about that silver star
They quietly gaze thereupon.
But, turning now, one glanced afar
Along the columned aisles, and thought
Of Baldwin whom the mailed knights brought,
While Godfrey's requiem did ring,
Hither to Bethlehem, and crowned
His temples helmet-worn, with round
Of gold and velvet—crowned him king—
King of Jerusalem, on floor
Of this same nave august, above
The Manger in its low remove
Where lay, a thousand years before,
The Child of awful worshiping,
Destined to prove all slights and scorns,
And a God's coronation—thorns.
Not Derwent's was that revery;
Another thing his heart possessed,
The clashing of the East and West,
Odd sense of incongruity;
He felt a secret impulse move
To start a humorous comment slant
Upon the monk, and sly reprove.
But no: I'll curb the Protestant
And modern in me—at least here
For time I'll curb it. Perish truth
If it but act the boor, in sooth,
Requiting courtesy with jeer;
For courteous is our guide, with grace
Of a pure heart.
Some little trace,
May be, of Derwent's passing thought
The Tuscan from his aspect caught;
And turned him: “Pardon! but the crypt:
This way, signori—follow me.”


Down by a rock-hewn stair they slipped,
Turning by steps which winding be,
Winning a sparry chamber brave
Unsearched by that prose critic keen,
The daylight. Archimago's cave
Was here? or that more sorcerous scene
The Persian Sibyl kept within
For turbaned musings? Bowing o'er,
Crossing himself, and on the knee,
Straight did the guide that grot adore;
Then, rising, and as one set free:
“The place of the Nativity.”
Dim pendent lamps, in cluster small
Were Pleiads of the mystic hall;
Fair lamps of silver, lamps of gold—
Rich gifts devout of monarchs old,
Kings catholic. Rare objects beamed
All round, recalling things but dreamed:
Solomon's talismans garnered up,
His sword, his signet-ring and cup.
In further caverns, part revealed,
What silent shapes like statues kneeled;
What brown monks moved by twinkling shrines
Like Aztecs down in silver mines.
This, this the Stable mean and poor?
Noting their looks, to ward surprise,
The Italian: “'Tis incrusted o'er
With marbles, so that now one's eyes
Meet not the natural wall. This floor—”
“But how? within a cave we stand!”
“Yes, caves of old to use were put
For cattle, and with gates were shut.
One meets them still—with arms at hand,
The keepers nigh. Sure it need be
That if in Gihon ye have been,


Or hereabouts, yourselves have seen
The grots in question.”
They agree;
And silent in their hearts confess
The strangeness, but the truth no less.
Anew the guide: “Ere now we get
Further herein, indulge me yet;”
But paused awhile: “Though o'er this cave,
Where Christ” (and crossed himself) “had birth,
Constantine's mother reared the Nave
Whose Greek mosaics fade in bloom,
No older church in Christendom;
And generations, with the girth
Of domes and walls, have still enlarged
And built about; yet convents, shrines,
Cloisters and towers, take not for signs,
Entreat ye, of meek faith submerged
Under proud masses. Be it urged
As all began from these small bounds,
So, by all avenues and gates,
All here returns, hereto redounds:
In this one Cave all terminates:
In honor of the Manger sole
Saints, kings, knights, prelates reared the whole.”
He warmed. Ah, fervor bought too dear:
The fingers clutching rope and cross;
Life too intense; the cheek austere
Deepening in hollow, waste and loss.
They marked him; and at heart some knew
Inklings they loved not to pursue.
But Rolfe recalled in fleeting gleam
The first Franciscan, richly born—
The youthful one who, night and morn,
In Umbria ranged the hills in dream,
And first devised the girdling cord


In type that rebel senses so
Should led be—led like beast abroad
By halter. Tuscan! in the glow
And white light of thy faith's illumings,
In vigils, fervent prayers and trances,
Agonies and self-consumings—
Renewest thou the young Saint Francis?
So inly Rolfe; when, in low tone
Considerate Derwent whispered near:
“'Tis doubtless the poor boy's first year
In Bethlehem; time will abate
This novice-ardor; yes, sedate
He'll grow, adapt him to the sphere.”
Close to the Sanctum now they drew,
A semicircular recess;
And there, in marble floor, they view
A silver sun which (friars profess)
Is set in plummet-line exact
Beneath the star in pavement-tract
Above; and raying from this sun
Shoot jasper-spikes, which so point out
Argent inscription roundabout
In Latin text; which thus may run:
The Virgin here brought forth the Son.
The Tuscan bowed him; then with air
Friendly he turned; but something there
In Derwent's look—no matter what—
An open levity 'twas not—
Disturbed him; and in accents clear,
As challenged in his faith sincere:
“I trust tradition! Here He lay
Who shed on Mary's breasts the ray:
Salvator Mundi!”
Turning now,
He noted, and he bade them see


Where, with a timid piety
A band of rustics bent them low
In worship mute: “Shepherds these are,
And come from pastoral hills not far
Whereon they keep the night-watch wild:
These, like their sires, adore the CHILD,
And in same spot. But, mixed with these,
Mark ye yon poor swart images
In other garb? But late they fled
From over Jordan hither; yes,
Escaping so the heinousness
Of one with price upon his head.
But look, and yet seem not to peer,
Lest pain ye give: an eye, an ear,
A hand, is mutilate or gone:
The mangler marked them for his own;
But Christ redeems them.” Derwent here
His eyes withdrew, but Ungar not,
While visibly the red blood shot
Into his thin-skinned scar, and sent,
As seemed, a pulse of argument
Confirming so some angry sense
Of evil, and malevolence
In man toward man.
Now, lower down
The cave, the Manger they descry,
With marble lined; and, o'er it thrown,
A lustrous saint-cloth meets the eye.
And suits of saint-cloths here they have
Wherewith to deck the Manger brave:
Gifts of the Latin princes, these—
Fair Christmas gifts, these draperies.
A damask one of gold and white
Rich flowered with pinks embroidered bright,
Was for the present week in turn
The adornment of the sacred Urn.


Impressive was it here to note
Those herdsmen in the shaggy coat:
Impressive, yet partook of dream;
It touched the pilgrims, as might seem;
Which pleased the monk; but in disguise
Modest he dropped his damsel-eyes.
Thought Derwent then: Demure in sooth!
'Tis like a maid in lily of youth
Who grieves not in her core of glee,
By spells of grave virginity
To cozen men to foolish looks;
While she—who reads such hearts' hid nooks?—
What now? “Signori, here, believe,
Where night and day, while ages run,
Faith in these lamps burns on and on,
'Tis good to spend one's Christmas Eve;
Yea, better rather than in land
Which may your holly tree command,
And greens profuse which ye inweave.”


Fervid he spake. And Ungar there
Appeared (if looks allow surmise)
In latent way to sympathize,
Yet wonder at the votary's air;
And frequent too he turned his face
To note the grotto, and compare
These haunted precincts with the guide,
As so to realize the place,
Or fact from fable to divide;
At times his changeful aspect wore


Touch of the look the simple shepherds bore.
The Tuscan marked; he pierced him through,
Yet gently, gifted with the clew—
Ascetic insight; and he caught
The lapse within the soldier's thought,
The favorable frame, nor missed
Appealing to it, to enlist
Or influence, or drop a seed
Which might some latter harvest breed.
Gently approaching him, he said:
“True sign you bear: your sword's a cross.”
Ungar but started, as at loss
To take the meaning, and yet led
To marvel how that mannered word
Did somehow slip into accord
With visitings that scarce might cleave—
Shadows, but shadows fugitive.
He lifted up the steel: the blade
Was straight; the hilt, a bar: “'Tis true;
A cross, it is a cross,” he said;
And touched seemed, though 'twas hardly new.
Then glowed the other; and, again:
“Ignatius was a soldier too,
And Martin. 'Tis the pure disdain
Of life, or, holding life the real,
Still subject to a brave ideal—
'Tis this that makes the tent a porch
Whereby the warrior wins the church:
The habit of renouncing, yes,
'Tis good, a good preparedness.—
Our founder”—here he raised his eyes
As unto all the sanctities—
“Footing it near Rieti town
Met a young knight on horseback, one
Named Angelo Tancredi: ‘Lo,’


He said, ‘Thy belt thou'lt change for cord,
Thy spurs for mire, good Angelo,
And be a true knight of the Lord.’
And he, the cavalier—” Aside
A brother of the cowl here drew
This ardent proselyting guide,
Detaining him in interview
About some matter. Ungar stood
Lost in his thoughts.
In neighborhood
Derwent by Rolfe here chanced to bide;
And said: “It just occurs to me
As interesting in its way,
That these Franciscans steadily
Have been custodians of the Tomb
And Manger, ever since the day
Of rescue under Godfrey's plume
Long centuries ago.” Rolfe said:
“Ay; and appropriate seems it too
For the Franciscan retinue
To keep these places, since their head,
St. Francis, spite his scouted hood,
May claim more of similitude
To Christ, than any man we know.
Through clouds of myth investing him—
Obscuring, yet attesting him,
He burns with the seraphic glow
And perfume of a holy flower.
Sweetness, simplicity, with power!
By love's true miracle of charm
He instituted a reform
(Not insurrection) which restored
For time the spirit of his Lord
On earth. If sad perversion came
Unto his order—what of that?
All Christianity shares the same:


Pure things men need adulterate
And so adapt them to the kind.”
“Oh, oh! But I have grown resigned
To these vagaries.—And for him,
Assisi's saint—a good young man,
No doubt, and beautiful to limn;
Yes, something soft, Elysian;
Nay, rather, the transparent hue
Unearthly of a maiden tranced
In sleep somnambulic; no true
Color of health; beauty enhanced
To enervation. In a word,
For all his charity divine,
Love, self-devotion, ardor fine—
Unmanly seems he!”
“Of our Lord
The same was said by Machiavel,
Or hinted, rather. Prithee, tell,
What is it to be manly?”
To be man-like”—and here the chest
Bold out he threw—“man at his best!”
“But even at best, one might reply,
Man is that thing of sad renown
Which moved a deity to come down
And save him. Lay not too much stress
Upon the carnal manliness:
The Christliness is better—higher;
And Francis owned it, the first friar.
Too orthodox is that?”
“See, see,”
Said Derwent, with kind air of one
Who would a brother's weak spot shun:
“Mark this most delicate drapery;
If woven by some royal dame—
God bless her and her tambour frame!”



Meanwhile with Vine there, Clarel stood
Aside in friendly neighborhood,
And felt a flattering pleasure stir
At words—nor in equivocal tone
Freakish, or leaving to infer,
Such as beforetime he had known—
Breathed now by that exceptional one
In unconstraint:
“'Tis very much
The cold fastidious heart to touch
This way; nor is it mere address
That so could move one's silver chord.
How he transfigured Ungar's sword!
Delusive is this earnestness
Which holds him in its passion pale—
Tenant of melancholy's dale
Of mirage? To interpret him,
Perhaps it needs a swallow-skim
Over distant time. Migrate with me
Across the years, across the sea.—
How like a Poor Clare in her cheer
(Grave Sister of his order sad)
Showed nature to that Cordelier
Who, roving in the Mexic glade,
Saw in a bud of happy dower
Whose stalk entwined the tropic tree,
Emblems of Christ's last agony:
In anthers, style, and fibers torn,
The five wounds, nails, and crown of thorn;
And named it so the passion-flower.
What beauty in that sad conceit!
Such charm, the title still we meet.


Our guide, methinks, where'er he turns
For him this passion-flower burns;
And all the world is elegy.
A green knoll is to you and me
But pastoral, and little more:
To him 'tis even Calvary
Where feeds the Lamb. This passion-flower—
But list!”
Hid organ-pipes unclose
A timid rill of slender sound,
Which gains in volume—grows, and flows
Gladsome in amplitude of bound.
Low murmurs creep. From either side
Tenor and treble interpose,
And talk across the expanding tide:
Debate, which in confusion merges—
Din and clamor, discord's hight:
Countering surges—pæans—dirges—
Mocks, and laughter light.
But rolled in long ground-swell persistent,
A tone, an under-tone assails
And overpowers all near and distant;
Earnest and sternest, it prevails.
Then terror, horror—wind and rain—
Accents of undetermined fear,
And voices as in shipwreck drear:
A sea, a sea of spirits in pain!
The suppliant cries decrease—
The voices in their ferment cease:
One wave rolls over all and whelms to peace.
But hark—oh, hark!
Whence, whence this stir, this whirr of wings?
Numbers numberless convening—
Harps and child-like carolings
In happy holiday of meaning:


To God be glory in the hight,
For tidings glad we bring;
Good will to men, and peace on earth
We children-cherubs sing!
To God be glory in the depth,
As in the hight be praise;
He who shall break the gates of death
A babe in manger rays.
Ye people all in every land,
Embrace, embrace, be kin:
Immanuel's born in Bethlehem,
And gracious years begin!
It dies; and, half around the heavenly sphere,
Like silvery lances lightly touched aloft—
Like Northern Lights appealing to the ear,
An elfin melody chimes low and soft.
That also dies, that last strange fairy-thrill:
Slowly it dies away, and all is sweetly still.


To branching grottoes next they fare,
Old caves of penitence and prayer.
Where Paula kneeled—her urn is there—
Paula the Widow, Scipio's heir
But Christ's adopted. Well her tomb
Adjoins her friend's, renowned Jerome.


Never the attending Druze resigned
His temperate poise, his moderate mind;
While Belex, in punctilious guard,
Relinquished not the martial ward:
“If by His tomb hot strife may be,
Trust ye His cradle shall be free?
Heed one experienced, sirs.” His sword,
Held cavalier by jingling chain,
Dropping at whiles, would clank amain
Upon the pave.
“I pray ye now,”
To him said Rolfe in accents low,
“Have care; for see ye not ye jar
These devotees? they turn—they cease
(Hearing your clanging scimeter)
Their suppliance to the Prince of Peace.”
Like miners from the shaft, or tars
From forth the hold, up from those spars
And grottoes, by the stony stair
They climb, emerge, and seek the air
In open space.
“Save me, what now?
Cried Derwent, foremost of the group—
“The holy water!”
Hanging low
Outside, was fixed a scalloped stoup
Or marble shell, to hold the wave
Of Jordan, for true ones to lave
The finger, and so make the sign,
The Cross's sign, ere in they slip
And bend the knee. In this divine
Recess, deliberately a lip
Was lapping slow, with long-drawn pains,
The liquid globules, last remains
Of the full stone. Astray, alas,


Athirst and lazed, it was—the ass;
The friars, withdrawn for time, having left
That court untended and bereft.
“Was ever Saracen so bold!”
“Well, things have come to pretty pass—
The mysteries slobbered by an ass!”
“Mere Nature do we here behold?”
So they. But he, the earnest guide,
Turning the truant there aside,
Said, and in unaffected tone:
“What should it know, this foolish one?
It is an infidel we see:
Ah, the poor brute's stupidity!”
“I hardly think so,” Derwent said;
“For, look, it hangs the conscious head.”
The friar no relish had for wit,
No sense, perhaps, too rapt for it,
Pre-occupied. So, having seen
The ass led back, he bade adieu;
But first, and with the kindliest mien:
“Signori, would ye have fair view
Of Bethlehem of Judæa, pray
Ascend to roof: ye take yon stair.
And now, heaven have ye in its care—
Me save from sin, and all from error!
Farewell.”—But Derwent: “Yet delay:
Fain would we cherish when away:
Thy name, then?” “Brother Salvaterra.”
“'Tis a fair name. And, brother, we
Are not insensible, conceive,
To thy most Christian courtesy.—
He goes. Sweet echo does he leave
In Salvaterra: may it dwell!
Silver in every syllable!”
“And import too,” said Rolfe.
They fare


And win the designated stair,
And climb; and, as they climb, in bell
Of Derwent's repetition, fell:
Me save from sin, and all from error!
So prays good brother Salvaterra.”
In paved flat roof, how ample there,
They tread a goodly St. Mark's Square
Aloft. An elder brother lorn
They meet, with shrunken cheek, and worn
Like to a slab whereon may weep
The unceasing water-drops. And deep
Within his hollow gown-sleeves old
His viewless hands he did enfold.
He never spake, but moved away
With shuffling pace of dragged infirm delay.
“Seaward he gazed,” said Rolfe, “toward home:
An empty longing!”
“Cruel Rome!”
Sighed Derwent; “See, though, good to greet
The vale of eclogue, Boaz' seat.
Trips Ruth there, yonder?” thitherward
Down pointing where the vineyards meet.
At that dear name in Bethlehem heard,
How Clarel starts. Not Agar's child—
Naomi's! Then, unreconciled,
And in reaction falling low,
He saw the files Armenian go,
The tapers round the virgin's bier,
And heard the boys' light strophe free
Overborne by the men's antistrophe.
Illusion! yet he knew a fear:
“Fixed that this second night we bide
In Bethlehem?” he asked aside.
Yes, so 'twas planned. For moment there


He thought to leave them and repair
Alone forthwith to Salem. Nay,
Doubt had unhinged so, that her sway,
In minor things even, could retard
The will and purpose. And, beyond,
Prevailed the tacit pilgrim-bond—
Of no slight force in his regard;
Besides, a diffidence was sown:
None knew his heart, nor might he own;
And, last, feared he to prove the fear?
With outward things he sought to clear
His mind; and turned to list the tone
Of Derwent, who to Rolfe: “Here now
One stands emancipated.”
“The air—the air, the liberal air!
Those witcheries of the cave ill fare
Reviewed aloft. Ah, Salvaterra,
So winning in thy dulcet error—
How fervid thou! Nor less thy tone,
So heartfelt in sincere effusion,
Is hardly that more chastened one
We Protestants feel. But the illusion!
Those grottoes: yes, void now they seem
As phantoms which accost in dream—
Accost and fade. Hold you with me?”
“Yes, partly: I in part agree.
In Kedron too, thou mayst recall,
The monkish night of festival,
And masque enacted—how it shrank
When, afterward, in nature frank,
Upon the terrace thrown at ease,
Like magi of the old Chaldæa,
Viewing Rigel and Betelguese,
We breathed the balm-wind from Sabæa.
All shows and forms in Kedron had—


Nor hymn nor banner made them glad
To me. And yet—why, who may know!
These things come down from long ago.
While so much else partakes decay,
While states, tongues, manners pass away,
How wonderful the Latin rite
Surviving still like oak austere
Over crops rotated year by year,
Or Cæsar's tower on London's site.
But, tell me: stands it true in fact
That robe and ritual—every kind
By Rome employed in ways exact—
However strange to modern mind,
Or even absurd (like cards Chinese
In ceremonial usages),
Not less of faith or need were born—
Survive untampered with, unshorn;
Date far back to a primal day,
Obscure and hard to trace indeed—
The springing of the planted seed
In the church's first organic sway?
Still for a type, a type or use,
Each decoration so profuse
Budding and flowering? Tell me here.”
“If but one could! To be sincere,
Rome's wide campania of old lore
Ecclesiastic—that waste shore
I've shunned: an instinct makes one fear
Malarial places. But I'll tell
That at the mass this very morn
I marked the broidered maniple
Which by the ministrant was worn:
How like a napkin does it show,
Thought I, a napkin on the arm
Of servitor. And hence we know
Its origin. In the first days


(And who denies their simple charm!)
When the church's were like household ways,
Some served the flock in humble state—
At Eucharist, passed cup or plate.
The thing of simple use, you see,
Tricked out—embellished—has become
Theatric and a form. There's Rome!
Yet what of this, since happily
Each superflux men now disown.”
“Perchance!—'Tis an ambiguous time;
And periods unforecast come on.
Recurs to me a Persian rhyme:
In Pera late an Asian man,
With stately cap of Astracan,
I knew in arbored coffee-house
On bluff above the Bosphorus.
Strange lore was his, and Saadi's wit:
Over pipe and Mocha long we'd sit
Discussing themes which thrive in shade.
In pause of talk a way he had
Of humming a low air of his:
I asked him once, What trills your bird?
And he recited it in word,
To pleasure me, and this it is:
“Flamen, flamen, put away
Robe and mitre glorious:
Doubt undeifies the day!
Look, in vapors odorous
As the spice-king's funeral-pyre,
Dies the Zoroastian fire
On your altars in decay:
The rule, the Magian rule is run,
And Mythra abdicates the sun!”



Fine, very fine,” said Derwent light;
“But, look, yon rustics there in sight
Crossing the slope; and are they not
Those Arabs that we saw in grot?”
“Why, who they be their garb bespeaks:
Yes, 'tis those Arab Catholics.”
“Catholic Arabs? Say not that!
Some words don't chime together, see.”
“Oh, never mind the euphony:
We saw them worship, and but late.
Our Bethlehemites, the guard, they too
Are Catholics. I talked with one,
And much from his discourse I drew,
Which the conventicles would shun:
These be the children of the sun:
They like not prosing—turn the lip
From Luther's jug—prefer to sip
From that tall chalice brimmed with wine
Which Rome hath graved, and made to shine
For haughty West and barbarous East,
To win all people to her feast.”
“So, so! But, glamoured in that school
Of taking shows and charmful rites,
What ween they of Christ's genuine rule,
These credulous poor neophytes?
Alas for such disciples! No,
At mass before the altar, own,
The celebrant in mystic gown
To them is but a Prospero,
A prince of magic. I deplore
That zeal in such conversions seeks
Less Christians than good Catholics:


And here one might append much more.
But drop.—Yon vineyards they are fair.
For hill-side scenery—for curve
Of beauty in a meek reserve—
'Tis Bethlehem the bell may bear!”
Longer he gazed, then turned aside.
Clarel was left with Rolfe. In view
Leaned Ungar, watching there the guide
Below, who passed on errand new.
“Your judgment of him let me crave—
Him there,” here lowly Rolfe.
“I would
I were his mate,” in earnest mood
Clarel rejoined; “such faith to have,
I'd take the rest, even Crib and Cave.”
“Ah, you mistake me; him I mean,
Our comrade, Ungar.”
“He? at loss
I am: at loss, for he's most strange;
Wild, too, adventurous in range;
And suffers; so that one might glean
An added import from the word
The Tuscan spake: You bear a cross,
Referring to the straight-hilt sword.”
“I know. And when the Arnaut ran,
But yesterday, with arms how bright
(Like wheeling Phœbus flashing light),
Superb about this sombrous man—
A soldier too with vouching tinge;
Methought, O War, thy bullion fringe
Never shall gladsome make thy pall.
Ungar is Mars in funeral
Of reminiscence—not in pledge
And glory of brave equipage
And manifesto. But some keen


Side-talk I had with him yestreen:
Brave soldier and stout thinker both;
In this regard, and in degree,
An Ethan Allen, by my troth,
Or Herbert lord of Cherbury,
Dusked over. 'Tis an iron glove,
An armed man in the Druid grove.”


Pertaining unto nations three—
Or, rather, each unto its clan—
Greek, Latin, and Armenian,
About the fane three convents be.
Confederate on the mountain fair,
Blunt buttressed huge with masonry,
They mass an Ehrenbreitstein there.
In these, and in the Empress' fane
Enough they gather to detain
Or occupy till afternoon;
When some of them the ridge went down
To view that legendary grot
Whose milky chalkiness of vest
Derived is (so the hinds allot)
From droppings of Madonna's breast:
A fairy tale: yet, grant it, due
To that creative love alone
Wherefrom the faun and cherub grew,
With genii good and Oberon.
Returning, part way up the hight,
Ungar they met; and Vine in sight.


Here all repose them.
“Look away,”
Cried Derwent, westward pointing; “see,
How glorified yon vapors be!
It is the dying of the day;
A hopeful death-bed: yes, need own
There is a morrow for the sun.”
So, mild they sat in pleased delay.
Vine turned—what seemed a random word
Shyly let fall; and they were stirred
Thereby to broach anew the theme—
How wrought the sites of Bethlehem
On Western natures. Here some speech
Was had; and then: “For me,” Rolfe said,
“From Bethlehem here my musings reach
Yes—frankly—to Tahiti's beach.”
“Tahiti?” Derwent; “you have sped!”
“Ay, truant humor. But to me
That vine-wreathed urn of Ver, in sea
Of halcyons, where no tides do flow
Or ebb, but waves bide peacefully
At brim, by beach where palm trees grow
That sheltered Omai's olive race—
Tahiti should have been the place
For Christ in advent.”
“Deem ye so?
Or on the topic's budding bough
But lights your fancy's robin?”
Said Ungar, “err one if he say
The God's design was, part, to broach
Rebuke of man's factitious life;
So, for his first point of approach,
Came thereunto where that was rife,
The land of Pharisees and scorn—


Judæa, with customs hard as horn.”
This, chief, to Rolfe and Derwent twain.
But Derwent, if no grudge he knew,
Still felt some twinges of the pain
(Vibrations of the residue)
That morning in the dale incurred;
Wherefore, at present he abstained,
When Ungar spake, from any word
Receptive. Rolfe reply maintained;
And much here followed, though of kind
Scarce welcome to the priest. Resigned
He heard; till, at a hint, the Cave
He named:
“If on the first review
Its shrines seemed each a gilded grave;
Yet, reconsidered, they renew
The spell of the transmitted story—
The grace, the innocence, the glory:
Shepherds, the Manger, and the Child:
What wonder that it has beguiled
So many generations! Ah,
Though much we knew in desert late,
Beneath no kind auspicious star,
Of lifted minds in poised debate—
'Twas of the brain. Consult the heart!
Spouse to the brain—can coax or thwart:
Does she renounce the trust divine?
Hide it she may, but scarce resign;
Like to a casket buried deep
Which, in a fine and fibrous throng,
The rootlets of the forest keep—
'Tis tangled in her meshes strong.”
“Yes, yes,” cried Rolfe; “that tone delights;
But oh, these legends, relics, sites!
Of yore, you know, Greeks showed the place
Where Argo landed, and the stone


That served to anchor Argo; yes,
And Agamemnon's scepter, throne;
Mars' spear; and so on. More to please,
Where the goddess suckled Hercules—
Priests showed that spot, a sacred one.”
“Well then, Madonna's but a dream,
The Manger and the Crib. So deem;
So be it; but undo it! Nay,
Little avails what sages say:
Tell Romeo that Juliet's eyes
Are chemical; e'en analyze
The iris; show 'tis albumen—
Gluten—fish-jelly mere. What then?
To Romeo it is still love's sky:
He loves: enough! Though Faith no doubt
Seem insubstantial as a sigh,
Never ween that 'tis a water-spout
Dissolving, dropping into dew
At pistol-shot. Besides, review
That comprehensive Christian scheme:
It catches man at each extreme:
Simple—august; strange as a dream,
Yet practical as plodding life:
Not use and sentiment at strife.”
They hearken: none aver dissent,
Nor one confirms him; while his look
Unwitting an expression took,
Scarce insincere, yet so it lent
Provocative to Ungar's heart;
Who, bridling the embittered part,
Thus spake: “This yieldeth no content:
Your implication lacketh stay:
There is a callousness in clay.
Christ's pastoral parables divine,
Breathing the sweet breath of sweet kine,
As wholesome too; how many feel?


Feel! rather put it—comprehend?
Not unto all does nature lend
The gift; at hight such love's appeal
Is hard to know, as in her deep
Is hate; a prior love must steep
The spirit; head nor heart have marge
Commensurate in man at large.”
“Indulge me,” Derwent; “Grant it so
As you present it; 'tis most strange
How Christ could work his powerful change:
The world turned Christian long ago.”
“The world but joined the Creed Divine
With prosperous days and Constantine;
The world turned Christian, need confess,
But the world remained the world, no less:
The world turned Christian: where's the odds?
Hearts change not in the change of gods.
Despite professions, outward shows—
So far as working practice goes,
More minds with shrewd Voltaire have part
Than now own Jesus in the heart.”
“Not rashly judge,” said Derwent grave;
“Prudence will here decision waive.”
“No: shift the test. How Buddha pined!
Pierced with the sense of all we bear,
Not only ills by fate assigned,
But misrule of our selfish mind,
Fain would the tender sage repair.
Well, Asia owns him. But the lives:
Buddha but in a name survives—
A name, a rite. Confucius, too:
Does China take his honest hue?
Some forms they keep, some forms of his;
But well we know them, the Chinese.
Ah, Moses, thy deterring dart!—
Etherial visitants of earth,


Foiled benefactors, proves your worth
But sundry texts, disowned in mart,
Light scratched, not graved on man's hard heart?
'Tis penalty makes sinners start.”


Good echoes, echo it! Ho, chant
'Tis penalty we sinners want:
By all means, penalty!”
What man
Thus struck in here so consonant?
They turn them, and a stranger scan.
As through the rigging of some port
Where cheek by jowl the ships resort—
The sea-beat hulls of briny oak—
Peereth the May-day's jocund sun;
So through his inlaced wrinkles broke
A nature bright, a beaming one.
“Hidalgos, pardon! Strolling here
These fine old villa-sites to see,
I caught that good word penalty,
And could not otherwise than cheer.
Pray now, here be—two, four, six, eight—
Ten legs; I'll add one more, by leave,
And eke an arm.”
In hobbling state
He came among them, with one sleeve
Loose flying, and one wooden limb,
A leg. All eyes the cripple skim;
Each rises, and his seat would give:


But Derwent in advance: “Why, Don—
My good Don Hannibal, I mean;
Señor Don Hannibal Rohon
Del Aquaviva—a good e'en!”
“Ha, thou, is't thou?” the other cried,
And peered and stared not unamazed;
Then flung his one arm round him wide:
Then at arm's length: “St. James be praised,
With all the calendar!”
“But, tell:
What wind wafts here Don Hannibal?
When last I left thee at “The Cock
In Fleet Street, thou wert like a rock
For England—bent on anchoring there.”
“Oh, too much agitation; yes,
Too proletarian it proved.
I've stumped about since; no redress;
Norway's too cold; Egypt's all glare;
And everywhere that I removed
This cursed Progress still would greet.
Ah where (thought I) in Old World view
Some blest asylum from the New!
At last I steamed for Joppa's seat,
Resolved on Asia for retreat.
Asia for me, Asia will do.
But just where to pitch tent—invest—
Ah, that's the point; I'm still in quest,
Don Derwent.—Look, the sun falls low;
But lower the funds in Mexico
Whereto he's sinking.”
Said Derwent, turning on them then;
“I introduce and do commend
To ye Don Hannibal Rohon;
He is my estimable friend
And well beloved. Great fame he's won


In war. Those limbs—”
“St. James defend!”
Here cried Don Hannibal; “stop! stop!
Pulled down is Montezuma's hall!—
Hidalgos, I am, as ye see,
Just a poor cripple—that is all;
A cripple, yet contrive to hop
Far off from Mexic liberty,
Thank God! I lost these limbs for that;
And would that they were mine again,
And all were back to former state—
I, Mexico, and poor Old Spain.
And for Don Derwent here, my friend—