University of Virginia Library



Day passed; and passed a second one,
A third—fourth—fifth; and bound he sate
In film of sorrow without moan—
Abandoned, in the stony strait
Of mutineer thrust on wild shore,
Hearing, beyond the roller's froth,
The last dip of the parting oar.
Alone, for all had left him so;
Though Rolfe, Vine, Derwent—each was loth,
How loth to leave him, or to go
Be first. From Vine he caught new sense
Developed through fate's pertinence.
Friendly they tarried—blameless went:
Life, avaricious, still demands
Her own, and more; the world is rent
With partings.
But, since all are gone,
Why lingers he, the stricken one?
Why linger where no hope can be?
Ask grief, love ask—fidelity
In dog that by the corse abides
Of shepherd fallen—abides, abides
Though autumn into winter glides,
Till on the mountain all is chill
And snow-bound, and the twain lie still.
How oft through Lent the feet were led
Of this chastised and fasting one
To neutral silence of the dead
In Kedron's gulf. One morn he sate
Down poring toward it from the gate
Sealed and named Golden. There a tomb,


Erected in time's recent day,
In block along the threshold lay
Impassable. From Omar's bloom
Came birds which lit, nor dreamed of harm,
On neighboring stones. His visage calm
Seemed not the one which late showed play
Of passion's throe; but here divine
No peace; ignition in the mine
Announced is by the rush, the roar:
These end; yet may the coal burn on—
Still slumberous burn beneath the floor
Of pastures where the sheep lie down.
Ere long a cheerful choral strain
He hears; 'tis an Armenian train
Embowered in palms they bear, which (green,
And shifting oft) reveal the mien
Of flamens tall and singers young
In festal robes: a rainbow throng,
Like dolphins off Madeira seen
Which quick the ship and shout dismay.
With the blest anthem, censers sway,
Whose opal vapor, spiral borne,
Blends with the heavens' own azure Morn
Of Palms; for 'twas Palm Sunday bright,
Though thereof he, oblivious quite,
Knew nothing, nor that here they came
In memory of the green acclaim
Triumphal, and hosanna-roll
Which hailed Him on the ass's foal.
But unto Clarel that bright view
Into a dusk reminder grew:
He saw the tapers—saw again
The censers, singers, and the wreath
And litter of the bride of death
Pass through the Broken Fountain's lane;
In treble shrill and bass how deep


The men and boys he heard again
The undetermined contest keep
About the bier—the bier Armenian.
Yet dull, in torpor dim, he knew
The futile omen in review.
Yet three more days, and leadenly
From over Mary's port and arch,
On Holy Thursday, he the march
Of friars beheld, with litany
Filing beneath his feet, and bent
With crosses craped to sacrament
Down in the glenned Gethsemane.
Yes, Passion Week; the altars cower—
Each shrine a dead dismantled bower.
But when Good Friday dirged her gloom
Ere brake the morning, and each light
Round Calvary faded and the TOMB,
What exhalations met his sight:—
Illusion of grief's wakeful doom:
The dead walked. There, amid the train,
White Nehemiah he saw again—
With charnel beard; and Celio passed
As in a dampened mirror glassed;
Gleamed Mortmain, pallid as wolf-bone
Which bleaches where no man hath gone;
And Nathan in his murdered guise—
Sullen, and Hades in his eyes;
Poor Agar, with such wandering mien
As in her last blank hour was seen.
And each and all kept lonely state,
Yea, man and wife passed separate.
But Ruth—ah, how estranged in face!
He knew her by no earthly grace:
Nor might he reach to her in place.


And languid vapors from them go
Like thaw-fogs curled from dankish snow.
Where, where now He who helpeth us,
The Comforter?—Tell, Erebus!