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The Valley of Jehoshaphat

By Mrs. R. Hyneman

The Valley of Jehoshaphat has in all ages served as the burying place to Jerusalem; you meet there monuments of the most distant time, and of the present century. The Jews still come there to die, from the corners or the earth. A stranger sells to them, for almost its weight in gold, the land which contains the bones of their fathers. Chateaubriand

Oh wearily, and sadly, a mournful train came forth,
From the bright hills of the sunny south, the fierce blasts of the north,
From east and west they gather, when the angel of death draws nigh,
To seek a home in that distant land, to rest beneath its sky.

Hath the wide earth no resting-place, where the weary may repose,
No spot on which to lay the head when life’s evening shadows close?
That thus they press with weary step, and panting, labouring breath,
Through scenes where the strongest heart might quail, to seek that place of death?

Oh many a fairer spot than this, hath the broad-bosomed earth,
Many a bright vine-trellised home, where rarest flowers have birth;
And they have gladly left them all, fair land and sunny sky,
To roam through wilds and wastes unknown, to their father-land, to die.

For this they braved the midnight storm, that raved in its mighty wrath,
For this they dared the perilous pass of the mountain’s lonely path;
They breathed the noisome dews of night, they sank ‘neath the noonday sun,
And they prayed for strength to bear them on, till their pilgrimage was done.

And as the storm-tossed mariner hails the freshness of the land,
When with quivering mast and shivered sail, he nears the welcome strand,
So hope reanimates once more each weary pilgrim’s breast,
As he turns from the stormy waves of life, to that calm haven of rest.

<<538>>And ere the silver moon arose in that lonely, solemn place,
Warm and fervent prayers went forth for the remnant of Israel’s race,
They prayed that God who had led their sires from the fierce oppressor’s sway,
Would be unto them a fire by night, a pillar of cloud by day.

Now mournfully and slowly bear ye forth the blessed, holy dead,
Their task is done, their race is run, the sainted spirit’s fled,
Lay them to rest where the stream of grief pours its melancholy wave,
And the night-winds sigh with a sadder sound o’er the pilgrim’s lonely grave.