Слике страница

Or whether it be little or be much. Discourse to him of prodigious armaments Assembled to besiege his city now, And of the passing of a mule with gourds'T is one! Then take it on the other side, Speak of some trifling fact,-he will gaze rapt With stupor at its very littleness, (Far as I see) as if in that indeed He caught prodigious import, whole results ; And so will turn to us the bystanders In ever the same stupor (note this point) That we too see not with his opened eyes. Wonder and doubt come wrongly into play, Preposterously, at cross purposes. Should his child sicken unto death,—why, look For scarce abatement of his cheerfulness, Or pretermission of the daily craft ! While a word, gesture, glance from that same child At play or in the school or laid asleep, Will startle him to an agony of fear, Exasperation, just as like. Demand The reason why—“'t is but a word," object“ A gesture”—he regards thee as our lord Who lived there in the pyramid alone, Looked at us (dost thou mind ?) when, being young, We both would unadvisedly recite Some charm's beginning, from that book of his, Able to bid the sun throb wide and burst All into stars, as suns grown old are wont. Thou and the child have each a veil alike Thrown o'er your heads, from under which ye both Stretch your blind hands and trifle with a match Over a mine of Greek fire, did ye know ! He holds on firmly to some thread of life(It is the life to lead perforcedly) Which runs across some vast distracting orb

Of glory on either side that meagre thread,
Which, conscious of, he must not enter yet-
The spiritual life around the earthly life :
The la v of that is known to him as this,
His heart and brain move there, his feet stay here.
So is the man perplext with impulses
Sudden to start off crosswise, not straight on,
Proclaiming what is right and wrong across,
And not along, this black thread through the blaze-
“ It should be” baulked by “here it cannot be. .
And oft the man's soul springs into his face
As if he saw again and heard again
His sage that bade him “Rise" and he did rise.
Something, a word, a tick o' the blood within
Admonishes : then back he sinks at once
To ashes, who was very fire before,
In sedulous recurrence to his trade
Whereby he earneth him the daily bread;
And studiously the humbler for that pride,
Professedly the faultier that he knows
God's secret, while he holds the thread of life.
Indeed the especial marking of the man
Is prone submission to the heavenly will —
Seeing it, what it is, and why it is.
'Sayeth, he will wait patient to the last
For that same death which must restore his being
To equilibrium, body loosening soul
Divorced even now by premature full growth :
He will live, nay, it pleaseth him to live
So long as God please, and just how God please.
He even seeketh not to please God more
(Which meaneth, otherwise) than as God please.
Hence, I perceive not he affects to preach

The doctrine of his sect whate'er it be,
Make proselytes as madmen thirst to do:
How can he give his neighbour the real ground,

His own conviction ? Ardent as he is-
Call his great truth a lie, why, still the old
“ Be it as God please” reassureth him.
I probed the sore as thy disciple should :
“ How, beast,” said I, “this stolid carelessness
“ Sufficeth thee, when Rome is on her march
“ To stamp out like a little spark thy town,
“ Thy tribe, thy crazy tale and thee at once?"
He merely looked with his large eyes on me.

The man is apathetic, you deduce?
Contrariwise, he loves both old and young,
Able and weak, affects the very brutes
And birds—how say I? flowers of the field-
As a wise workman recognizes tools
In a master's workshop, loving what they make. .
Thus is the man as harmless as a lamb:
Only impatient, let him do his best,
At ignorance and carelessness and sin-
An indignation which is promptly curbed :
As when in certain travel I have feigned
To be an ignoramus in our art
According to some preconceived design,
And happened to hear the land's practitioners
Steeped in conceit sublimed by ignorance,
Prattle fantastically on disease,
Its cause and cure—and I must hold my peace!

Thou wilt object-Why have I not ere this Sought out the sage himself, the Nazarene Who wrought this cure, inquiring at the source, Conferring with the frankness that befits? Alas! it grieveth me, the learned leech Perished in a tumult many years ago, Accused,- our learning's fate,-of wizardry, Rebellion, to the setting up a rule And creed prodigious as described to me.

His death, which happened when the earthquake fell
(Prefiguring, as soon appeared, the loss
To occult learning in our lord the sage
Who lived there in the pyramid alone)
Was wrought by the mad people—that 's their wont !
On vain recourse, as I conjecture it,
To his tried virtue, for miraculous help-
How could he stop the earthquake? That's their

way! The other imputations must be lies : But take one, though I loathe to give it thee, In mere respect for any good man's fame. (And after all, our patient Lazarus . Is stark mad; should we count on what he says ? Perhaps not : though in writing to a leech 'Tis well to keep back nothing of a case.) This man so cured regards the curer, then, As—God forgive me! who but God himself, Creator and sustainer of the world, That came and dwelt in flesh on it awhile . _'Sayeth that such an one was born and lived, Taught, healed the sick, broke bread at his own

Then died, with Lazarus by, for aught I know,
And yet was . . . what I said nor choose repeat,
And must have so avouched himself, in fact,
In hearing of this very Lazarus
Who saith—but why all this of what he saith ?
Why write of trivial matters, things of price
Calling at every moment for remark?
I noticed on the margin of a pool
Blue-flowering borage, the Aleppo sort,
Aboundeth, very nitrous. It is strange !

Thy pardon for this long and tedious case, Which, now that I review it, needs must seem

Unduly dwelt on, prolixly set forth !
Nor I myself discern in what is writ
Good cause for the peculiar interest
And awe indeed this man has touched me with.
Perhaps the journey's end, the weariness
Had wrought upon me first. I met him thus :
I crossed a ridge of short sharp broken hills
Like an old lion's cheek teeth. Out there came
A moon made like a face with certain spots
Multiform, manifold and menacing :
Then a wind rose behind me. So we met
In this old sleepy town at unawares,
The man and I. I send thee what is writ.
Regard it as a chance, a matter risked
To this ambiguous Syrian : he may lose,
Or steal, or give it thee with equal good.
Jerusalem's repose shall make amends
For time this letter wastes, thy time and mine ;
Till when, once more thy pardon and farewell !

The very God! think, Abib ; dost thou think? So, the All-Great, were the All-Loving tooSo, through the thunder comes a human voice Saying, “ O heart I made, a heart beats here ! “ Face, my hands fashioned, see it in myself ! “ Thou hast no power nor may'st conceive of mine : “ But love I gave thee, with myself to love, " And thou must love me who have died for thee!” The madman saith He said so : it is strange.

« ПретходнаНастави »