Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

Morning Hymn.

His compassions fail not: they are new every morning.-

Lament. iii., 22, 23.

H

*

UES of the rich unfolding morn,
That, ere the glorious sun be born,

By some soft touch invisible,
Around his path are taught to swell.
Thou rustling breeze so fresh and gay,
That dancest forth at opening day,
And brushing by with joyful wing,
Wakenest each little leaf to sing ;
Ye fragrant clouds of dewy steam
By which deep grove and tangled stream
Pay, for soft rains in season given,
Their tribute to the genial heaven ;-
Why waste your treasures of delight
Upon our thankless, joyless sight;
Who day by day to sin awake,
Seldom of heaven and you partake ?
Oh! timely happy, timely wise,
Hearts that with rising morn arise !
Eyes that the beam celestial view,
Which evermore makes all things new !
New every morning is the love
Our wakening and uprising prove ;
Through sleep and darkness safely brought,
Restored to life, and power, and thought.
New mercies, each returning day,
Hover around us while we pray;
New perils past, new sins forgiven,
New Thoughts of God, new hopes of heaven.
If on our daily course our mind
Be set to hallow all we find,
New treasures still, of countless price,
: God will provide for sacrifice.

Old friends, old scenes, will lovelier be,
As more of heaven in each we see ;
Some softening gleam of love and prayer
Shall dawn on every cross and care.

* Revelation xxi.,

5.

As for some dear familiar strain
Untired we ask, and ask again,
Ever, in its melodious store,
Finding a spell unheard before ;
Such is the bliss of souls serene,
When they have sworn and steadfast mean,
Counting the cost, in all t'espy
Their God, in all themselves deny.
O could we learn that sacrifice,
What light would all around us rise!
How could our hearts with wisdom talk
Along life's dullest, dreariest walk!
We need not bid, for cloistered cell,
Our neighbour and our work farewell,
Nor strive to wind ourselves too high
For sinful man beyond the sky,
The trivial round, the common task,
Would furnish all we ought to ask-
Room to deny ourselves; a road
To bring us, daily, nearer God.
Seek we no more: content with these,
Let present rapture, comfort, ease,
As heaven shall bid them, come and go,
The secret this of rest below.
Only, O Lord, in Thy dear love,
Fit us for perfect rest above;
And help us, this and every day,
To live more nearly as we pray.

JOHN KEBLE.

The Barber of Bagdad.

N the reign of Caliph Haroun al Raschid, of happy

memory, there lived in the city of Bagdad a celebrated barber called Ali Sahal. He was so famous for his steady hand and dexterity, that he could shave a head and trim a beard and whiskers with his eyes blindfolded, without once drawing blood. There

was not a man of any fashion in Bagdad who did not employ him; and such a run of business had he, that at

а

a

[ocr errors]

length he became proud and insolent, and would scarcely ever touch a head whose master was not, at least, a Bey or an Aga. Wood for fuel was always scarce and dear at Bagdad; and, as his shop consumed a good deal, the woodcutters brought their loads to him in preference, almost always sure of meeting with a ready sale and a high price.

One day a poor woodcutter, new to his calling, and ignorant of the character of Ali Sahal, went to his shop and offered him for sale a load of wood, which he had just brought on his ass from a considerable distance in the country. Ali immediately offered him a price, and in making the bargain used the words, “For all the wood that is upon the ass.” The woodcutter agreed, unloaded the beast, and asked for the money.

“You have not given me all the wood yet," said the barber ; “I must have the pack-saddle ” (which is chiefly made of wood) “ into the bargain: that was our agreement.”

“ How !” said the other in great amazement, “who ever heard of such a bargain ? It is impossible !” But at last, after much angry talk, the overbearing barber seized the pack-saddle, wood and all, and sent away the poor peasant in great distress.

He immediately ran to the Cadi; but the Cadi was one of the barber's customers, and refused to hear the case. The woodcutter went to a higher judge ; he also patronised Ali Sahal, and made light of the complaint. The poor man then appealed to the Mufti himself; who, having pondered over the question, at length settled that it was too difficult a case for him to decide, no provision being made for it in the Koran (the Mohammedan Bible); and, therefore, the woodcutter must put up with his loss. But the poor man was not yet disheartened ; and forthwith succeeded in getting a scribe to write a petition to the Caliph himself, which he duly presented on Friday, the day when he went in state to the mosque. The Caliph's punctuality in reading petitions is well known, and it was not long before the woodcutter was called.

When he had come into the Caliph's presence, he kneeled and kissed the ground ; and then, placing his arms straight before

; him, his hands covered with the sleeves of his cloak, he awaited the decision of his case. “Friend,” said the Caliph, "the barber has words on his side,—you have equity on yours. The law must be defined by words, and agreements must be made by words. The law must have its course, or it is nothing, and agreements must be kept, or there would be no faith between man and man; therefore the barber must keep all his wood; but," then calling the woodcutter close to him, the Caliph whispered something in his ear, which none but he could hear, and then sent him away quite satisfied.

The woodcutter, having made his obeisance, returned to his ass, which was standing outside, took it by the halter, and proceeded to his house. A few days after he applied to the barber, as if nothing had happened between them, and requested him to shave himself and a companion of his from the country. The price at which both operations were to be performed was settled. When the woodcutter's crown had been properly shorn, Sahal asked where his companion was. “ He is standing just outside here,” said the peasant, " and he shall come in at once." Accordingly he went out and returned, leading his ass after him by the halter. “ This,' said he, “is the friend of mine you have got to shave."

“Shave him!” exclaimed the barber in the greatest surprise. “ It is enough that I have consented to demean myself by touching you; and do you insult me by asking me to do as much for your ass ? Away with you both, or I will soon make you." And he forthwith drove them out of his shop.

The woodcutter at once went off to the Caliph, was admitted to his presence, and stated his case. “'Tis well,” said the Commander of the Faithful.“ Bring Ali Sahal and his razors to me this instant,” he exclaimed to one of his officers. In the course of ten minutes the barber stood before him.

“Why do you refuse to shave this man's companion ?” said the Caliph to the barber. “ Was not that your agreement ?" Ali, kissing the ground, answered, “ 'Tis true, O Caliph, that such was our agreement; but who ever made a companion of an ass before ? Or who ever before thought of treating it like a true believer ?

“You say right,” said the Caliph; “ but, at the same time, who ever thought of insisting upon a pack-saddle being included in a load of wood ? No, no; it is the woodcutter's turn now. To the ass immediately, or you know the consequences.”

The barber was then obliged to prepare a great quantity of

a

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

soap to lather the beast from head to foot, and to shave him in the presence of the Caliph and of the whole Court, whilst he was jeered and mocked by the taunts and laughter of all the bystanders. The poor woodcutter was then dismissed with a suitable present, and all Bagdad resounded with the story, and celebrated the justice of the Commander of the Faithful.

FLORIER.

The Atheist and the Acorn.

[ocr errors]

M

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

ETHINKS this world seems oddly made,

And everything amiss,'
A dull, complaining atheist said,
As stretched he lay beneath the shade,

And instanced in this :
“ Behold," quoth he, “that mighty thing,

A pumpkin large and round,
Is held but by a little string,
Which upwards cannot make it spring,

Nor bear it from the ground.
“ While on this oak an acorn small

So disproportioned grows,
That whosoe'er surveys this all-
This universal casual ball-

Its ill-contrivance knows.
“My better judgment would have hung

The pumpkin on the tree,
And left the acorn slightly strung
'Mong things that on the surface sprung,

And weak and feeble be.”
No more the caviller could say,

No farther faults descry;
For upwards gazing as he lay,
An acorn, loosened from its spray,

Fell down upon his eye.
The wounded part with tears ran o'er,

As punished for the sin :
Fool ! had the bough a pumpkin bore,
Thy whimsies would have worked no more,
Nor skull have kept them in.

ANON.

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »