University of Virginia Library



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.