Judean Palms

I thought that it was a Sunday morning in May, that it was Easter Sunday,

and as yet very early in the morning.  I was standing, as it seemed to me, at the door of my own cottage.  Right before me lay the very scene which could really be commanded from that situation, but exalted, as was usual, and solemnised by the power of dreams.  There were the same mountains, and the same lovely valley at their feet; but the mountains were raised to more than Alpine height, and there was interspace far larger between them of meadows and forest lawns; the hedges were rich with white roses; and no living creature was to be seen, excepting that in the green churchyard there were cattle tranquilly reposing upon the verdant graves, and particularly round about the grave of a child whom I had tenderly loved, just as I had really beheld them, a little before sunrise in the same summer, when that child died.  I gazed upon the well-known scene, and I said aloud (as I thought) to myself, “It yet wants much of sunrise, and it is Easter Sunday; and that is the day on which they celebrate the first fruits of resurrection.  I will walk abroad; old griefs shall be forgotten to-day; for the air is cool and still, and the hills are high and stretch away to heaven; and the forest glades are as quiet as the churchyard, and with the dew I can wash the fever from my forehead, and then I shall be unhappy no longer.”

And I turned as if to open my garden gate, and immediately I saw upon the left a scene far different, but which yet the power of dreams had reconciled into harmony with the other.  The scene was an Oriental one, and there also it was Easter Sunday, and very early in the morning.  And at a vast distance were visible, as a stain upon the horizon, the domes and cupolas of a great city—an image or faint abstraction, caught perhaps in childhood from some picture of Jerusalem.  And not a bow-shot from me, upon a stone and shaded by Judean palms, there sat a woman, and I looked, and it was—Ann!  She fixed her eyes upon me earnestly, and I said to her at length: “So, then, I have found you at last.”  I waited, but she answered me not a word.  Her face was the same as when I saw it last, and yet again how different!  Seventeen years ago, when the lamplight fell upon her face, as for the last time I kissed her lips (lips, Ann, that to me were not polluted), her eyes were streaming with tears: the tears were now wiped away; she seemed more beautiful than she was at that time, but in all other points the same, and not older.  Her looks were tranquil, but with unusual solemnity of expression, and I now gazed upon her with some awe; but suddenly her countenance grew dim, and turning to the mountains I perceived vapours rolling between us.  In a moment all had vanished, thick darkness came on, and in the twinkling of an eye I was far away from mountains, and by lamplight in Oxford Street, walking again with Ann—just as we walked seventeen years before, when we were both children.

From: Confessions of an English Opium Eater by Thomas De Quincey, 1821.

Photo: http://toulogoilogou.blogspot.com/

Psalm 22

passionColor
My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?
why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring?

O my God, I cry in the day time, but thou hearest not;
and in the night season, and am not silent.

But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel.

Our fathers trusted in thee: they trusted, and thou didst deliver them.

They cried unto thee, and were delivered:
they trusted in thee, and were not confounded.

But I am a worm, and no man;
a reproach of men, and despised of the people.

All they that see me laugh me to scorn:
they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying,

He trusted on the Lord that he would deliver him:
let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him.

But thou art he that took me out of the womb:
thou didst make me hope when I was upon my mother’s breasts.

I was cast upon thee from the womb:
thou art my God from my mother’s belly.

Be not far from me; for trouble is near; for there is none to help.

Many bulls have compassed me: strong bulls of Bashan have beset me round.

They gaped upon me with their mouths, as a ravening and a roaring lion.

I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint:
my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels.

My strength is dried up like a potsherd;
and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death.

For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me:
they pierced my hands and my feet.

I may tell all my bones: they look and stare upon me.

They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture.

But be not thou far from me, O Lord: O my strength, haste thee to help me.

Deliver my soul from the sword; my darling from the power of the dog.

Save me from the lion’s mouth:
for thou hast heard me from the horns of the unicorns.

I will declare thy name unto my brethren:
in the midst of the congregation will I praise thee.

Ye that fear the Lord, praise him;
all ye the seed of Jacob, glorify him; and fear him, all ye the seed of Israel.

For he hath not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted;
neither hath he hid his face from him; but when he cried unto him, he heard.

My praise shall be of thee in the great congregation:
I will pay my vows before them that fear him.

The meek shall eat and be satisfied:
they shall praise the Lord that seek him: your heart shall live for ever.

All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the Lord:
and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee.

For the kingdom is the Lord’s: and he is the governor among the nations.

All they that be fat upon earth shall eat and worship:
all they that go down to the dust shall bow before him:
and none can keep alive his own soul.

A seed shall serve him; it shall be accounted to the Lord for a generation.

They shall come, and shall declare his righteousness unto a people that shall be born,
that he hath done this.

Psalm 22 [King James Version]