The place is fair and tranquil, Judaea’s cloudless sky
Smiles down on distant mountain, on glade and valley nigh,
And odorous winds bring fragrance from palm-tops darkly green,
And olive trees whose branches wave softly o’er the scene.
Whence comes the awe-struck feeling that fills the gazer’s breast,
The breath, quick-drawn and panting, the awe, the solemn rest?
What strange and holy magic seems earth and air to fill,
That worldly thoughts and feelings are now all hushed and still?
Ah! here, one solemn evening, in ages long gone by,
A mourner knelt and sorrowed beneath the starlit sky,
And He whose drops of anguish bedewed the sacred sod
Was Lord of earth and heaven, our Saviour and our God!
Hark to the mournful whispers from olive leaf and bough!
They fanned His aching temples, His damp and grief-struck brow;
Hark! how the soft winds murmur with low and grieving tone!
They heard His words of anguish, they heard each sigh and moan.
Alone in deepest agony, while tired apostles slept;
No one to share His vigil–weep with Him as He wept;
Before Him, clearly rising, the Cross, the dying pain,
And sins of hosts unnumbered whose souls He dies to gain.
O Garden of Gethsemane! the God-like lesson, then
Left as a precious token to suff’ring, sorrowing men,
Has breaking hearts oft strengthened, that else, so sharply tried,
Had sunk beneath sin’s burden and in despair had died.
O Garden of Gethsemane! “when pressed and sore afraid,”
May I in spirit enter beneath thine olive shade,
And, great though be my anguish, still, like that God-like One,
Submissive say: “Oh Father! Thy will, not mine, be done!”