University of Virginia Library



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?