Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Asia: Vols. XXI–XXIII. 1876–79.

Syria: Gethsemane


By John Keble (1792–1866)

(From Monday before Easter)

THERE is a spot within this sacred dale

That felt Thee kneeling,—touched thy prostrate brow:

One Angel knows it. O, might prayer avail

To win that knowledge; sure each holy vow

Less quickly from the unstable soul would fade,

Offered where Christ in agony was laid.

Might tear of ours once mingle with the blood

That from his aching brow by moonlight fell,

Over the mournful joy our thoughts would brood,

Till they had framed within a guardian spell

To chase repining fancies, as they rise,

Like birds of evil wing, to mar our sacrifice.

So dreams the heart self-flattering, fondly dreams;

Else wherefore, when the bitter waves o’erflow,

Miss we the light, Gethsemane, that streams

From thy dear name, where in his page of woe

It shines, a pale kind star in winter’s sky?

Who vainly reads it there, in vain had seen him die.