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Jehoshaphat (Kedron), the Valley.
E enter Kedron's vale, the stony height
Once crowned with olive-forests, bounds our right:
Age after age men yielded up their breath,
Till millions slumbered in this glen of death;
And here with those he loves, in peace to lie,
Is still the hapless Hebrew's latest sigh.
Ah! where so sadly sweet may scene be found!
Though flowers no longer deck the shrunken mound,
And plane and yew have ceased their shade to cast, -
They, voiceless mourners, dead themselves at last,
Here, deep below sad Salem's eastern walls,
The garish sunbeam mildly tempered falls;
Perched on the tombs, soft plains the hermit-bird,
And scarce the Pagan's Allah-cry is heard:
Through all, the Kedron pours its placid rill,
Sweet Nature's child mid death surviving still;
Its low-breathed voice like whispers from the graves,
As their stone fronts its limpid wavelet laves.
The rocks of Olivet are piled above,
Whose shade steals down, as if in hallowing love.
In such a spot the soul, till Judgment-day,
Might wish to leave her frail and cumbering clay,
Revisiting, at moonlight's holy hour,
That vale of peace, where Death has built his bower.
Stately are Kedron's tombs; in yon gray pile Frowns Egypt's strength, while Attic graces smile; Cornice and base are hewn from living rock, Its pointed summit braves Time's lengthened shock : The murdered rests within, those breezes bear To Fancy's ear his last and anguished prayer. Pause we awhile before this columned grot; Mect for calm musing seems the quiet spot, For here, tradition tells, the Apostles came,
To hear those words which touched their hearts with
Still further, near yon bridge, whose arch of stone
By modern hand across the stream is thrown,
A pile more massive, and of statelier height,
Like Petra's cliff-hewn temples, meets the sight.
Strange towers its form and well may wake surprise;
Its top, like flame, is pointing to the skies;
And yet no saint, a rebel slumbers here,
But ah! to one fond heart how passing dear!
The fair-haired Absalom, the gay of mien,
Who proud and graceful as a god was seen:
Hark to the royal father's heart-breathed sigh!
See his rent robe, and sorrow-streaming eye!
The crime of him no more he all forgave,
And only mourned in dust the lost, the brave!
THE VALLEY OF JEHOSHAPHAT.
HOME, Son of Israel, scorned in every land,
Outcast and wandering, come with mournful step
Down to the dark vale of Jehoshaphat,
And weigh the remnant of thy hoarded gold
To buy thyself a grave among the bones
Of patriarchs and of prophets and of kings.
It is a glorious place to take thy rest,
Poor child of Abraham, mid those awful scenes,
And sceptred monarchs, who, with Faith's keen eye
Piercing the midnight darkness that o'erhung
Messiah's coming, gave their dying flesh
Unto the worm, with such a lofty trust
In the strong promise of the invisible.
Here are damp gales to lull thy dreamless sleep,
And murmuring recollections of that lyre
Whose passing sweetness bore King David's prayer
Up to the ear of Heaven, and of that strain
With which the weeping prophet dirge-like sung
Doomed Zion's visioned woes. Yon rifted rocks,
So faintly purpled by the westering sun,
Reveal the unguarded walls, the silent towers,
Where, in her stricken pomp, Jerusalem
Sleeps like a palsied princess, from whose head
The diadem hath fallen. Still half concealed
In the deep bosom of that burial-vale
A fitful torrent, 'neath its time-worn arch
Hurries with hoarse tale mid the echoing tombs.
Thou too art near, rude-featured Olivet,
So honored of my Saviour.
Tell me where
His blessed knees thy flinty bosom prest,
When all night long his wrestling prayer went up,
That I may pour my tear-wet orison
Upon that sacred spot. Thou Lamb of God!
Who for our sakes wert wounded unto death,
Bid blinded Zion turn from Sinai's fires
Her tortured foot, and from the thundering law
Her terror-stricken ear rejoicing raise
Unto the Gospel's music. Bring again
Thy scattered people who so long have borne
A fearful punishment, so long wrung out
The bitter dregs of pale astonishment
Into the wine-cup of the wondering earth.
And O, to us, who from our being's dawn
Lisp out Salvation's lessons, yet do stray
Like erring sheep, to us thy Spirit give
That we may keep thy law and find thy fold,
Ere in the desolate city of the dead
We make our tenement, while Earth doth blot
Our history from the record of mankind.
this thy tomb, amid the mournful shades Of the deep valley of Jehoshaphat, Thou son of David? Kedron's gentle brook
Is murmuring near, as if it fain would tell
Thy varied history. Methinks I see
Thy graceful form, thy smile, thy sparkling eye,
The glorious beauty of thy flowing hair,
And that bright, eloquent lip, whose cunning stole
The hearts of all the people. Didst thou waste
The untold treasures of integrity,
The gold of conscience, for their light applause,
Thou fair dissembler?
Say, rememberest thou
When o'er yon flinty steep of Olivet
A sorrowing train went up? Dark frowning scers
Denouncing judgment on a rebel prince,
Past sadly on; and next a crownless king
Walking in sad and humbled majesty,
While hoary statesmen bent upon his brow
Indignant looks of tearful sympathy.
What caused the weeping there?
Thou heardst it not, For thou within the city's walls didst hold Thy revel brief and base. So thou couldst set The embattled host against thy father's life, The king of Israel, and the loved of God! He mid the evils of his changeful lot, Saul's moody hatred, stern Philistia's spear, His alien wanderings, and his warrior toil, Found naught so bitter as the rankling thorn Set by thy madness of ingratitude Deep in his yearning soul.
What were thy thoughts When in the mesh of thy own tresses snared