11. Lower Gihon -

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 —

Behold!"

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 misshaped. 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."

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