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Hath gotten now so thoroughly by heart
That henceforth she will read or these or none.
And first-the man's own firm conviction rests
That he was dead (in fact they buried him)
-That he was dead and then restored to life
By a Nazarene physician of his tribe:
—'Sayeth, the same bade “Rise," and he did rise.
“ Such cases are diurnal,” thou wilt cry.
Not so this figment!-not, that such a fume,
Instead of giving way to time and health,
Should eat itself into the life of life,
As saffron tingeth flesh, blood, bones, and all!
For see, how he takes up the after-life.
The man-it is one Lazarus a Jew,
Sanguine, proportioned, fifty years of age,
The body's habit wholly laudable,
As much, indeed, beyond the common health
As he were made and put aside to show.
Think, could we penetrate by any drug
And bathe the wearied soul and worried flesh,
And bring it clear and fair, by three days' sleep!
Whence has the man the balm that brightens all?
This grown man eyes the world now like a child.
Some elders of his tribe, I should premise,
Led in their friend, obedient as a sheep,
To bear my inquisition. While they spoke,
Now sharply, now with sorrow,—told the case,-
He listened not except I spoke to him,
But folded his two hands and let them talk,
Watching the flies that buzzed: and yet no fool.
And that's a sample how his years must go.
Look if a beggar, in fixed middle-life,
Should find a treasure,—can he use the same
With straitened habits and with tastes starved small,
And take at once to his impoverished brain
The sudden element that changes things,
That sets the undreamed of rapture at his hand,
And puts the cheap old joy in the scorned dust?
Is he not such an one as moves to mirth-
Warily parsimonious, when no need,
Wasteful as drunkenness at undue times?
All prudent counsel as to what befits
The golden mean, is lost on such an one:
The man's fantastic will is the man's law.
So here—we call the treasure knowledge, say,
Increased beyond the fleshly faculty-
140 Heaven opened to a soul while yet on earth, Earth forced on a soul's use while seeing heaven: The man is witless of the size, the sum, The value in proportion of all things, Or whether it be little or be much.
145 ourse to him of prodigious armaments Assembled to besiege his city now, And of the passing of a mule with gourds'Tis one! Then take it on the other side, Speak of some trifling fact,-he will gaze rapt 150 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 the point)
155 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,
160 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
165 The reason why—“'tis but a word,” object
“A gesture ”—he regards thee as our lord 167. Our lord. Some sage under whom Abib and Karshish had studied,
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 180
Of glory on either side that meager thread,
Which, conscious of, he must not enter yet-
The spiritual life around the earthly life:
The law of that is known to him as this,
His heart and brain move there, his feet stay here. 185
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 thro' the blaze-
“ It should be " balked by “here it cannot be." 190
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,
177. Greck fire. This is an anachronism, as Greek fire was first used in warfare by the Byzantine Greeks against the Saracens at the siege of Constantinople in 673 A. D. Liquid fire, however, was used by the ancients. Gibbon says (Ch. 57): “It would seem that the principal ingredient was the naphtha or liquid bitumen; a light, tenacious inflammable oil, which springs from the earth and catches fire as şoon as it comes in contact with the air."
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 neighbor 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, 245
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, tho' 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: tho' in writing to a leech
265 '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.
270 —'Sayeth that such an one was born and lived, Taught, healed the sick, broke bread at his own house,