divident hill

by Elizabeth Clementine Kinney

dividenthill
Image: Old Newark

Pause here, O Muse! that Fancy’s eye
        May trace the footprints still
Of men that, centuries gone by,
        With prayer ordained this hill;
As lifts the misty veil of years,
        Such visions here arise
As when the glorious past appears
        Before enchanted eyes.

I see, from midst the faithful few
        Whose deeds yet live sublime–
Whose guileless spirits, brave as true,
        Are models “for all time,”
A group upon this height convened–
        In solemn prayer they stand–
Men, on whose sturdy wisdom leaned
        The settlers of our land.

In mutual love the line they trace
        That will their homes divide,
And ever mark the chosen place
        That prayer hath sanctified;
And here it stands–a temple old,
        Which crumbling Time still braves;
Though ages have their cycles rolled
        Above those patriots’ graves.

As Christ transfigured on the height
        The tree beheld with awe,
And near his radiant form, in white,
        The ancient prophets saw;
So, on this summit I behold
        With beatific sight,
Once more our praying sires of old,
        As spirits clothed in light.

A halo crowns the sacred hill,
        And thence glad voices raise
A song that doth the concave fill–
        Their prayers are turned to praise!
Art may not for these saints of old
        The marble urn invent;
Yet here the Future shall behold
        Their Heaven-built monument.

Elizabeth Clementine Stedman Kinney (née Dodge) was a prolific writer of poems and essays. Her “Divident Hill” exists in manuscript among the Kinney papers at The New Jersey Historical Society, and was first printed in Proceedings commemorative of the settlement of Newark, New Jersey (1866). Part of the historic boundary between Newark and Elizabeth, Divident Hill was crowned in 1916 by the stone pavilion pictured above.

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