Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > Asia
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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Asia: Vols. XXI–XXIII.  1876–79.
 
Syria: Jehoshaphat (Kedron), the Valley
The Valley of Jehoshaphat
Lydia Huntley Sigourney (1791–1865)
 
COME, 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        5
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        10
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        15
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,        20
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        25
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,        30
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        35
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        40
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        45
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.
 
 
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