Rachel's Tomb

Nicholas Michell

What mouldering pile near Ephrath stands alone,
With dome-shaped top, and base of massy stone?
Rude is the chamber where her bones repose,
Yet here, 'tis said, fair Rachel's pillar rose.
Ah! sad her fate in Nature's pangs to die;
To sorrowing friends I hear her parting sigh;
I see her husband's woe, his streaming tear,
His last fond kiss before he laid her here,
His anguished brow, where smiles no more would be,
For ne'er was wife, poor Rachel! loved like thee.

Author's Note: The building erected over the spot where Rachel is said to have been buried, after having given birth to Benjamin, stands near the road, as the traveller proceeds from Bethlehem to Jerusalem. "And Rachel died and was buried in the way to Ephrath, which is Bethlehem." The square ruinous building, of Turkish origin, is surmounted by a dome, and has an aperture on the south side. Within, a mass of masonry rises nearly to the roof, and this is said to inclose the pillar set up by Jacob as a memorial of his beloved wife. Most travellers are disposed to consider this spot the genuine place of Rachel's interment.