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XCVI

Yet Ah, that Spring should vanish with the Rose! That Youth's sweet-scented manuscript should close!

The Nightingale that in the branches sang, Ah whence, and whither flown again, who knows!

XCVII

Would but the Desert of the Fountain yield
One glimpse—if dimly, yet indeed, revealed,

To which the fainting Traveler might spring,
As springs the trampled herbage of the field!

XCVIII

Would but some winged Angel ere too late
Arrest the yet unfolded Roll of Fate,

And make the stern Recorder otherwise
Enregister, or quite obliterate!

XCIX

Ah Love! could you and I with Him conspire
To grasp this sorry Scheme of Things entire,

Would not we shatter it to bits—and then
Remold it nearer to the Heart's Desire!

с

Yon rising Moon that looks for us again-
How oft hereafter will she wax and wane;

How oft hereafter rising look for us
Through this same Garden--and for one in vain!

CI

And when like her, oh Sákí,1

you
shall

pass Among the Guests Star-scattered on the Grass,

And in your joyous errand reach the spot Where I made One—turn down an empty Glass!

Edward Fitzgerald

2

RABBI BEN EZRA 2

257

G

ROW old along with me!

The best is yet to be, The last of life, for which the first was made: Our times are in his hand Who saith, “A whole I planned, Youth shows but half; trust God: see all, nor be afraid!”

Not that, amassing flowers,
Youth sighed, “Which rose make ours,
Which lily leave and then as best recall?”
Not that, admiring stars,
It yearned, “Nor Jove, nor Mars;
Mine be some figured fame which blends, transcends them all!”

Not for such hopes and fears
Annulling youth's brief years,
Do I remonstrate: folly wide the mark! 3
Rather I prize the doubt
Low kinds exist without,
finished and finite clods, untroubled by a spark.

1 Cupbearer. 2 Although represented as the words of an eleventh-century rabbi, the oem is an accepted expression of the philosophy of its author.

3 The remonstrance referred to is presumably the disparagement of youth hich is implied in the first stanza.

Poor vaunt of life indeed,
Were man but formed to feed
On joy, to solely seek and find and feast;
Such feasting ended, then
As sure an end to men;
Irks care the crop-full bird? Frets doubt the maw-crammed

beast?

Rejoice we are allied
To that which doth provide
And not partake, effect and not receive!
A spark disturbs our clod;
Nearer we hold of God
Who gives, than of his tribes that take, I must believe.

Then, welcome each rebuff
That turns earth's smoothness rough,
Each sting that bids nor sit nor stand but go!
Be our joys three-parts pain!
Strive, and hold cheap the strain;
Learn, nor account the pang; dare, never grudge the throe!

For thence,-a paradox
Which comforts while it mocks,—
Shall life succeed in that it seems to fail:
What I aspired to be,
And was not, comforts me:
A brute I might have been, but would not sink i' the scale.

What is he but a brute
Whose fesh has soul to suit,
Whose spirit works lest arms and legs want play?
To man, propose this test--

1

1 Perhaps: whose spirit works only in the interest of bodily satisfactions.

hy body at its best,

ow far can that project thy soul on its lone way?

et gifts should prove their use:

own the Past profuse

f power each side, perfection every turn:

yes, ears took in their dole,

rain treasured up the whole;

hould not the heart beat once, "How good to live and learn?”

ot once beat, "Praise be thine!

see the whole design,

who saw power, see now Love perfect too;

erfect I call thy plan:

'hanks that I was a man!

laker, remake, complete,-I trust what thou shalt do!"

or pleasant is this flesh;

Jur soul, in its rose-mesh

ulled ever to the earth, still yearns for rest:

Jould we some prize might hold

'o match those manifold

ossessions of the brute,-gain most, as we did best!

et us not always say,

Spite of this flesh to-day

strove, made head, gained ground upon the whole!"

s the bird wings and sings,

et us cry, "All good things

re ours, nor soul helps flesh more, now, than flesh helps soul!"

'herefore I summon age

o grant youth's heritage,

ife's struggle having so far reached its term:

Thence shall I pass, approved

for removed From the developed brute; a God though in the germ.

A man,

aye

And I shall thereupon
Take rest, ere I be gone
Once more on my adventure brave and new:
Fearless and unperplexed,
When I wage battle next,
What weapons to select, what armor to indue.

Youth ended, I shall try
My gain or loss thereby;
Leave the fire ashes, what survives is gold:
And I shall weigh the same,
Give life its praise or blame:
Young, all lay in dispute; I shall know, being old.

For note, when evening shuts,
A certain moment cuts
The deed off, calls the glory from the gray:
A whisper from the west
Shoots—“Add this to the rest,
Take it and try its worth: here dies another day.”

So, still within this life,
Though lifted o'er its strife,
Let me discern, compare, pronounce at last,
“This rage was right i' the main,
That acquiescence vain:
The Future I may face now I have proved the Past.”

For more is not reserved
To man, with soul just nerved

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