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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 happed 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 house,
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 unaware,
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 too-
So, 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 mayst 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.
ABT VOGLER. (AFTER HE HAS BEEN EXTEMPORIZING UPON THE MUSICAL
INSTRUMENT OF HIS INVENTION.)
[Dramatis Personæ 1864.] Would that the structure brave, the manifold music I build,
Bidding my organ obey, calling its keys to their work,
Claiming each slave of the sound, at a touch, as when
Solomon willed Armies of angels that soar, legions of demons that lurk, Man, brute, reptile, fly, -alien of end and of aim, Adverse, each from the other heaven-high, hell-deep
removed, Should rush into sight at once as he named the ineffable
Name, And pile him a palace straight, to pleasure the princess
Would it might tarry like his, the beautiful building of
mine, This which my keys in a crowd pressed and impor
tuned to raise! Ah, one and all, how they helped, would dispart now
and now combine, Zealous to hasten the work, heighten their master his
praise! And one would bury his brow with a blind plunge down
to hell, Burrow awhile and build, broad on the roots of things, Then up again swim into sight, having based me my
palace well, Founded it, fearless of flame, flat on the nether springs.
And another would mount and march, like the excellent
minion he was, Ay, another and yet another, one crowd but with many
a crest, Raising my rampired walls of gold as transparent as glass,
Eager to do and die, yield each his place to the rest: For higher still and higher (as a runner tips with fire,
When a great illumination surprises a festal nightOutlining round and round Rome's dome from space to
Up, the pinnacled glory reached, and the pride of my
soul was in sight.
In sight? Not half! for it seemed, it was certain, to match
man's birth, Nature in turn conceived, obeying an impulse as I; And the emulous heaven yearned down, made effort to
reach the earth, As the earth had done her best, in my passion, to scale
the sky: Novel splendours burst forth, grew familiar and dwelt
with mine, Not a point nor peak but found and fixed its wandering
star; Meteor-moons, balls of blaze: and they did not pale nor pine, For earth had attained to heaven, there was no more
near nor far. Nay more; for there wanted not who walked in the glare
and glow, Presences plain in the place; or, fresh from the Proto
plast, Furnished for ages to come, when a kindlier wind should
blow, Lured now to begin and live, in a house to their liking
at last; Or else the wonderful Dead who have passed through
the body and gone, But were back once more to breathe in an old world
worth their new: What never had been, was now; what was, as it shall
And what is,-shall I say, matched both? for I was
made perfect too.
All through my keys that gave their sounds to a wish
of my soul,