"Yea, my lord Satan," quoth they, "do this thing, And let us hear thy words, for they are sweet."
Then he made answer, "By a messenger Have I this day been warned. There is a deed I may not tell of, lest the people add Scorn to a Coming Greatness to their faults. Why this? Who careth when about to slay, And slay indeed, how well they have deserved Death, whom he slayeth? Therefore yet is hid A meaning of some mercy that will rob The nether world. Now look to it,—'Twere vain Albeit this deluge He would send indeed, That we expect the harvest; He would yet Be the Master-reaper; for I heard it said, Them that be young and know Him not, and them That are bound and may not build, yea, more, their wives, Whom, suffering not to hear the doom, they keep Joyous behind the curtains, every one With maidens nourished in the house, and babes And children at her knees,—(then what remain!) He claimeth and will gather for His own. Now, therefore, it were good by guile to work, Princes, and suffer not the doom to fall. There is no evil like to love. I heard Him whisper it. Have I put on this flesh To ruin his two children beautiful, And shall my deed confound me in the end, Through awful imitation? Love of God, I cry against thee; thou art worst of all."
Now while these evil ones took counsel strange, The son of Lamech journeyed home; and, lo! A company came down, and struck the track As he did enter it. There rode in front Two horsemen, young and noble, and behind Were following slaves with tent gear; others led Strong horses, others bare the instruments O' the chase, and in the rear dull camels lagged, Sighing, for they were burdened, and they loved The desert sands above that grassy vale.
And as they met, those horsemen drew the rein, And fixed on him their grave untroubled eyes; He in his regal grandeur walked alone, And had nor steed nor follower, and his mien Was grave and like to theirs. He said to them, "Fair sirs, whose are ye?" They made answer cold, "The beautiful woman, sir, our mother dear, Niloiya, bear us to great Lamech's son." And he, replying, "I am he." They said, "We know it, sir. We have remembered you Through many seasons. Pray you let us not; We fain would greet our mother." And they made Obeisance and passed on; then all their train, Which while they spoke had halted, moved apace, And, while the silent father stood, went by, He gazing after, as a man that dreams; For he was sick with their cold, quiet scorn, That seemed to say, "Father, we own you not. We love you not, for you have left us long,— So long, we care not that you come again."
And while the sullen camels moved, he spake To him that led the last, "There are but two Of these my sons; but where doth Japhet ride? For I would see him." And the leader said, "Sir, ye shall find him, if ye follow up Along the track. Afore the noonday meal The young men, even our masters, bathed; (there grows A clump of cedars by the bend of yon Clear river)—there did Japhet, after meat, Being right weary, lay him down and sleep. There, with a company of slaves and some Few camels, ye shall find him."
And the man The father of these three, did let him pass, And struggle and give battle to his heart, Standing as motionless as pillar set To guide a wanderer in a pathless waste; But all his strength went from him, and he strove Vainly to trample out and trample down The misery of his love unsatisfied,— Unutterable love flung in his face.
Then he broke out in passionate words, that cried Against his lot, "I have lost my own, and won None other; no, not one! Alas, my sons! That I have looked to for my solacing, In the bitterness to come. My children dear!" And when from his own lips he heard those words, With passionate stirring of the heart, he wept.
And none came nigh to comfort him. His face Was on the ground; but, having wept, he rose Full hastily, and urged his way to find The river; and in hollow of his hand Raised up the water to his brow: "This son, This other son of mine," he said, "shall see No tears upon my face." And he looked on, Beheld the camels, and a group of slaves Sitting apart from some one fast asleep, Where they had spread out webs of broidery work Under a cedar-tree; and he came on, And when they made obeisance he declared His name, and said, "I will beside my son Sit till he wakeneth." So Japhet lay A-dreaming, and his father drew to him. He said, "This cannot scorn me yet"; and paused, Right angry with himself, because the youth, Albeit of stately growth, so languidly Lay with a listless smile upon his mouth, That was full sweet and pure; and as he looked, He half forgot his trouble in his pride. "And is this mine?" said he, "my son! mine own! (God, thou art good!) O, if this turn away, That pang shall be past bearing. I must think That all the sweetness of his goodly face Is copied from his soul. How beautiful Are children to their fathers! Son, my heart Is greatly glad because of thee; my life Shall lack of no completeness in the days To come. If I forget the joy of youth, In thee shall I be comforted; ay, see My youth, a dearer than my own again."
And when he ceased, the youth, with sleep content, Murmured a little, turned himself and woke.
He woke, and opened on his father's face The darkness of his eyes; but not a word The Master-shipwright said,—his lips were sealed; He was not ready, for he feared to see This mouth curl up with scorn. And Japhet spoke, Full of the calm that cometh after sleep: "Sir, I have dreamed of you. I pray you, sir, What is your name?" and even with his words His countenance changed. The son of Lamech said, "Why art thou sad? What have I done to thee?" And Japhet answered, "O, methought I fled In the wilderness before a maddened beast, And you came up and slew it; and I thought You were my father; but I fear me, sir, My thoughts were vain." With that his father said, "Whatever of blessing Thou reserv'st for me, God! if Thou wilt not give to both, give here: Bless him with both Thy hands"; and laid his own On Japhet's head. Then Japhet looked on him, Made quiet by content, and answered low, With faltering laughter, glad and reverent: "Sir, You are my father?" "Ay," quoth he, "I am! Kiss me, my son; and let me hear my name, My much desired name, from your dear lips."
Then after, rested, they betook them home: And Japhet, walking by the Master, thought, "I did not will to love this sire of mine; But now I feel as if I had always known And loved him well; truly, I see not why, But I would rather serve him than go free With my two brethren." And he said to him, "Father!"—who answered, "I am here, my son." And Japhet said, "I pray you, sir, attend To this my answer: let me go with you, For, now I think on it, I do not love The chase, nor managing the steed, nor yet The arrows and the bow; but rather you, For all you do and say, and you yourself, Are goodly and delightsome in mine eyes. I pray you, sir, when you go forth again, That I may also go." And he replied, "I will tell thy speech unto the Highest; He Shall answer it. But I would speak to thee Now of the days to come. Know thou, most dear To this thy father, that the drenched world, When risen clean washed from water, shall receive From thee her lordliest governors, from thee Daughters of noblest soul." So Japhet said, "Sir, I am young, but of my mother straight I will go ask a wife, that this may be. I pray you, therefore, as the manner is Of fathers, give me land that I may reap Corn for sustaining of my wife, and bruise The fruit of the vine to cheer her." But he said, "Dost thou forget? or dost thou not believe, My son?" He answered, "I did ne'er believe, My father, ere to-day; but now, methinks, Whatever thou believest I believe, For thy beloved sake. If this then be As thou (I hear) hast said, and earth doth bear The last of her wheat harvests, and make ripe The latest of her grapes; yet hear me, sir, None of the daughters shall be given to me If I be landless." Then his father said, "Lift up thine eyes toward the north, my son" And so he did. "Behold thy heritage!" Quoth the world's prince and master, "far away Upon the side o' the north, where green the field Lies every season through, and where the dews Of heaven are wholesome, shall thy children reign; I part it to them, for the earth is mine; The Highest gave it me: I make it theirs. Moreover, for thy marriage gift, behold The cedars where thou sleepedst! There are vines; And up the rise is growing wheat. I give (For all, alas! is mine),—I give thee both For dowry, and my blessing." And he said, "Sir, you are good, and therefore the Most High Shall bless me also. Sir, I love you well."
And when two days were over, Japhet said, "Mother, so please you, get a wife for me." The mother answered, "Dost thou mock me, son? 'Tis not the manner of our kin to wed So young. Thou knowest it; art thou not ashamed? Thou carest not for a wife." And the youth blushed, And made for answer: "This, my father, saith The doom is nigh; now therefore find a maid, Or else shall I be wifeless all my days. And as for me, I care not; but the lands Are parted, and the goodliest share is mine. And lo! my brethren are betrothed; their maids Are with thee in the house. Then why not mine? Didst thou not diligently search for these Among the noblest born of all the earth, And bring them up? My sisters, dwell they not With women that bespake them for their sons? Now, therefore, let a wife be found for me, Fair as the day, and gentle to my will As thou art to my father's." When she heard, Niloiya sighed, and answered, "It is well." And Japhet went out from her presence. Then Quoth the great Master: "Wherefore sought ye not, Woman, these many days, nor tired at all, Till ye had found, a maiden for my son? In this ye have done ill." Niloiya said: "Let not my lord be angry. All my soul Is sad: my lord hath walked afar so long, That some despise thee; yea, our servants fail Lately to bring their stint of corn and wood. And, sir, thy household slaves do steal away To thy great father, and our lands lie waste,— None till them: therefore think the women scorn To give me,—whatsoever gems I send, And goodly raiment,—(yea, I seek afar, And sue with all desire and humbleness Through every master's house, but no one gives)— A daughter for my son." With that she ceased.
Then said the Master: "Some thou hast with thee, Brought up among thy children, dutiful And fair; thy father gave them for my slaves,— Children of them whom he brought captive forth From their own heritage." And she replied, Right scornfully: "Shall Japhet wed a slave?" Then said the Master: "He shall wed: look thou To that. I say not he shall wed a slave; But by the might of One that made him mine, I will not quit thee for my doomed way Until thou wilt betroth him. Therefore, haste, Beautiful woman, loved of me and mine, To bring a maiden, and to say, 'Behold A wife for Japhet.'" Then she answered, "Sir, It shall be done." And forth Niloiya sped. She gathered all her jewels,—all she held Of costly or of rich,—and went and spake With some few slaves that yet abode with her, For daily they were fewer; and went forth, With fair and flattering words, among her feres, And fain had wrought with them: and she had hope That made her sick, it was so faint; and then She had fear, and after she had certainty, For all did scorn her. "Nay," they cried. "O fool! If this be so, and on a watery world Ye think to rock, what matters if a wife Be free or bond? There shall be none to rule, If she have freedom: if she have it not, None shall there be to serve." And she alit, The time being done, desponding at her door, And went behind a screen, where should have wrought The daughters of the captives; but there wrought One only, and this rose from off the floor, Where she the river rush full deftly wove, And made obeisance. Then Niloiya said, "Where are thy fellows?" And the maid replied, "Let not Niloiya, this my lady loved, Be angry; they are fled since yesternight." Then said Niloiya, "Amarant, my slave, When have I called thee by thy name before?" She answered, "Lady, never"; and she took And spread her broidered robe before her face. Niloiya spoke thus: "I am come to woe, And thou to honor." Saying this, she wept Passionate tears; and all the damsel's soul Was full of yearning wonder, and her robe Slipped from her hand, and her right innocent face Was seen betwixt her locks of tawny hair That dropped about her knees, and her two eyes, Blue as the much-loved flower that rims the beck, Looked sweetly on Niloiya; but she knew No meaning in her words; and she drew nigh, And kneeled and said, "Will this my lady speak? Her damsel is desirous of her words." Then said Niloiya, "I, thy mistress, sought A wife for Japhet, and no wife is found." And yet again she wept with grief of heart, Saying, "Ah me, miserable! I must give A wife: the Master willeth it: a wife, Ah me! unto the high-born. He will scorn His mother and reproach me. I must give— None else have I to give—a slave,—even thee." This further spake Niloiya: "I was good,— Had rue on thee, a tender sucking child, When they did tear thee from thy mother's breast; I fed thee, gave thee shelter, and I taught Thy hands all cunning arts that women prize. But out on me! my good is turned to ill. O, Japhet, well-beloved!" And she rose up, And did restrain herself, saying, "Dost thou heed? Behold, this thing shall be." The damsel sighed, "Lady, I do." Then went Niloiya forth.
And Amarant murmured in her deep amaze, "Shall Japhet's little children kiss my mouth? And will he sometimes take them from my arms, And almost care for me for their sweet sake? I have not dared to think I loved him,—now I know it well: but O, the bitterness For him!" And ending thus, the damsel rose, For Japhet entered. And she bowed herself Meekly and made obeisance, but her blood Ran cold about her heart, for all his face Was colored with his passion. Japhet spoke: He said, "My father's slave"; and she replied, Low drooping her fair head, "My master's son." And after that a silence fell on them, With trembling at her heart, and rage at his. And Japhet, mastered of his passion, sat And could not speak. O! cruel seemed his fate,— So cruel her that told it, so unkind. His breast was full of wounded love and wrath Wrestling together; and his eyes flashed out Indignant lights, as all amazed he took The insult home that she had offered him, Who should have held his honor dear. And, lo, The misery choked him and he cried in pain, "Go, get thee forth"; but she, all white and still, Parted her lips to speak, and yet spake not, Nor moved. And Japhet rose up passionate, With lifted arm as one about to strike; But she cried out and met him, and she held With desperate might his hand, and prayed to him, "Strike not, or else shall men from henceforth say, 'Japhet is like to us.'" And he shook off The damsel, and he said, "I thank thee, slave; For never have I stricken yet or child Or woman. Not for thy sake am I glad, Nay, but for mine. Get hence. Obey my words." Then Japhet lifted up his voice, and wept.
And no more he restrained himself, but cried, With heavings of the heart, "O hateful day! O day that shuts the door upon delight. A slave! to wed a slave! O loathed wife, Hated of Japhet's soul." And after, long, With face between his hands, he sat, his thoughts Sullen and sore; then scorned himself, and saying, "I will not take her, I will die unwed, It is but that"; lift up his eyes and saw The slave, and she was sitting at his feet; And he, so greatly wondering that she dared The disobedience, looked her in the face Less angry than afraid, for pale she was As lily yet unsmiled on by the sun; And he, his passion being spent, sighed out, "Low am I fallen indeed. Hast thou no fear, That thou dost flout me?" but she gave to him The sighing echo of his sigh, and mourned, "No." And he wondered, and he looked again, For in her heart there was a new-born pang, That cried; but she, as mothers with their young, Suffered, yet loved it; and there shone a strange Grave sweetness in her blue unsullied eyes. And Japhet, leaning from the settle, thought, "What is it? I will call her by her name, To comfort her, for also she is naught To blame; and since I will not her to wife, She falls back from the freedom she had hoped." Then he said "Amarant"; and the damsel drew Her eyes down slowly from the shaded sky Of even, and she said, "My master's son, Japhet"; and Japhet said, "I am not wroth With thee, but wretched for my mother's deed, Because she shamed me." And the maiden said, "Doth not thy father love thee well, sweet sir?" "Ay," quoth he, "well." She answered, "Let the heart Of Japhet, then, be merry. Go to him And say, 'The damsel whom my mother chose, Sits by her in the house; but as for me, Sir, ere I take her, let me go with you To that same outland country. Also, sir, My damsel hath not worked as yet the robe Of her betrothal'; now, then, sith he loves, He will not say thee nay. Herein for awhile Is respite, and thy mother far and near Will seek again: it may be she will find A fair, free maiden." Japhet said, "O maid, Sweet are thy words; but what if I return, And all again be as it is to-day?" Then Amarant answered, "Some have died in youth; But yet, I think not, sir, that I shall die. Though ye shall find it even as I had died,— Silent, for any words I might have said; Empty, for any space I might have filled. Sir, I will steal away, and hide afar; But if a wife be found, then will I bide And serve." He answered, "O, thy speech is good; Now therefore (since my mother gave me thee), I will reward it; I will find for thee A goodly husband, and will make him free Thee also." Then she started from his feet, And, red with shame and anger, flashed on him The passion of her eyes; and put her hands With catching of the breath to her fair throat, And stood in her defiance lost to fear, Like some fair hind in desperate danger turned And brought to bay, and wild in her despair. But shortly, "I remember," quoth she, low, With raining down of tears and broken sighs, "That I am Japhet's slave; beseech you, sir, As ye were ever gentle, ay, and sweet Of language to me, be not harder now. Sir, I was yours to take; I knew not, sir, That also ye might give me. Pray you, sir, Be pitiful,—be merciful to me, A slave." He said, "I thought to do thee good, For good hath been thy counsel"; but she cried, "Good master, be you therefore pitiful To me, a slave." And Japhet wondered much At her, and at her beauty, for he thought, "None of the daughters are so fair as this, Nor stand with such a grace majestical; She in her locks is like the travelling sun, Setting, all clad in coifing clouds of gold. And would she die unmatched?" He said to her, "What! wilt thou sail alone in yonder ship, And dwell alone hereafter?" "Ay," she said, "And serve my mistress." "It is well," quoth he, And held his hand to her, as is the way Of masters. Then she kissed it, and she said, "Thanks for benevolence," and turned herself, Adding, "I rest, sir, on your gracious words"; Then stepped into the twilight and was gone.
And Japhet, having found his father, said, "Sir, let me also journey when ye go." Who answered, "Hath thy mother done her part?"
He said, "Yea, truly, and my damsel sits Before her in the house; and also, sir, She said to me, 'I have not worked, as yet, The garment of betrothal.'" And he said, "'Tis not the manner of our kin to speak Concerning matters that a woman rules; But hath thy mother brought a damsel home, And let her see thy face, then all is one As ye were wed." He answered, "Even so, It matters nothing; therefore hear me, sir: The damsel being mine, I am content To let her do according to her will; And when we shall return, so surely, sir, As I shall find her by my mother's side, Then will I take her"; and he left to speak; His father answering, "Son, thy words are good."
Night. Now a tent was pitched, and Japhet sat In the door and watched, for on a litter lay The father of his love. And he was sick To death; but daily he would rouse him up, And stare upon the light, and ever say, "On, let us journey"; but it came to pass That night, across their path a river ran, And they who served the father and the son Had pitched the tents beside it, and had made A fire, to scare away the savagery That roamed in that great forest, for their way Had led among the trees of God. The moon Shone on the river, like a silver road To lead them over; but when Japhet looked, He said, "We shall not cross it. I shall lay This well-beloved head low in the leaves,— Not on the farther side." From time to time, The water-snakes would stir its glassy flow With curling undulations, and would lay Their heads along the bank, and, subtle-eyed, Consider those long spirting flames, that danced, When some red log would break and crumble down; And show his dark despondent eyes, that watched, Wearily, even Japhet's. But he cared Little; and in the dark, that was not dark, But dimness of confused incertitude, Would move a-near all silently, and gaze And breathe, and shape itself, a maned thing With eyes; and still he cared not, and the form Would falter, then recede, and melt again Into the farther shade. And Japhet said: "How long? The moon hath grown again in heaven, After her caving twice, since we did leave The threshold of our home; and now what 'vails That far on tumbled mountain snow we toiled, Hungry, and weary, all the day; by night Waked with a dreadful trembling underneath, To look, while every cone smoked, and there ran Red brooks adown, that licked the forest up, While in the pale white ashes wading on We saw no stars?—what 'vails if afterward, Astonished with great silence, we did move Over the measureless, unknown desert mead; While all the day, in rents and crevices, Would lie the lizard and the serpent kind, Drowsy; and in the night take fearsome shapes, And oft-times woman-faced and woman-haired Would trail their snaky length, and curse and mourn; Or there would wander up, when we were tired, Dark troops of evil ones, with eyes morose, Withstanding us, and staring;—O! what 'vails That in the dread deep forest we have fought With following packs of wolves? These men of might, Even the giants, shall not hear the doom My father came to tell them of. Ah, me! If God indeed had sent him, would he lie (For he is stricken with a sore disease) Helpless outside their city?" Then he rose, And put aside the curtains of the tent, To look upon his father's face; and lo! The tent being dark, he thought that somewhat sat Beside the litter; and he set his eyes To see it, and saw not; but only marked Where, fallen away from manhood and from power, His father lay. Then he came forth again, Trembling, and crouched beside the dull red fire, And murmured, "Now it is the second time: An old man, as I think (but scarcely saw). Dreadful of might. Its hair was white as wool: I dared not look; perhaps I saw not aught, But only knew that it was there: the same Which walked beside us once when he did pray." And Japhet hid his face between his hands For fear, and grief of heart, and weariness Of watching; and he slumbered not, but mourned To himself, a little moment, as it seemed, For sake of his loved father: then he lift His eyes, and day had dawned. Right suddenly The moon withheld her silver, and she hung Frail as a cloud. The ruddy flame that played, By night on dim, dusk trees, and on the flood, Crept red amongst the logs, and all the world And all the water blushed and bloomed. The stars Were gone, and golden shafts came up, and touched The feathered heads of palms, and green was born Under the rosy cloud, and purples flew Like veils across the mountains; and he saw, Winding athwart them, bathed in blissful peace, And the sacredness of morn, the battlements And out-posts of the giants; and there ran On the other side the river, as it were, White mounds of marble, tabernacles fair, And towers below a line of inland cliff: These were their fastnesses, and here their homes.
In valleys and the forest, all that night, There had been woe; in every hollow place, And under walls, like drifted flowers, or snow, Women lay mourning; for the serpent lodged That night within the gates, and had decreed, "I will (or ever I come) that ye drive out The women, the abhorred of my soul." Therefore, more beauteous than all climbing bloom, Purple and scarlet, cumbering of the boughs, Or flights of azure doves that lit to drink The water of the river; or, new born, The quivering butterflies in companies, That slowly crept adown the sandy marge, Like living crocus beds, and also drank, And rose an orange cloud; their hollowed hands They dipped between the lilies, or with robes Full of ripe fruitage, sat and peeled and ate, Weeping; or comforting their little ones, And lulling them with sorrowful long hymns Among the palms. So went the earlier morn. Then came a messenger, while Japhet sat Mournfully, and he said, "The men of might Are willing; let thy master, youth, appear." And Japhet said, "So be it"; and he thought, "Now will I trust in God"; and he went in And stood before his father, and he said, "My father"; but the Master answered not, But gazed upon the curtains of his tent, Nor knew that one had called him. He was clad As ready for the journey, and his feet Were sandalled, and his staff was at his side; And Japhet took the gown of sacrifice And spread it on him, and he laid his crown Upon his knees, and he went forth, and lift His hand to heaven, and cried, "My father's God!" But neither whisper came nor echo fell When he did listen. Therefore he went on: "Behold, I have a thing to say to thee. My father charged thy servant, 'Let not ruth Prevail with thee, to turn and bear me hence, For God appointed me my task, to preach Before the mighty.' I must do my part (O! let it not displease thee), for he said But yesternight, 'When they shall send for me, Take me before them.' And I sware to him. I pray thee, therefore, count his life and mine Precious; for I that sware, I will perform."
Then cried he to his people, "Let us hence: Take up the litter." And they set their feet Toward the raft whereby men crossed that flood. And while they journeyed, lo, the giants sat Within the fairest hall where all were fair, Each on his carven throne, o'er-canopied With work of women. And the dragon lay In a place of honor; and with subtlety He counselled them, for they did speak by turns; And they being proud, might nothing master them, But guile alone: and he did fawn on them; And when the younger taunted him, submiss He testified great humbleness, and cried, "A cruel God, forsooth! but nay, O nay, I will not think it of Him, that He meant To threaten these. O, when I look on them, How doth my soul admire."
And one stood forth, The youngest; of his brethren, named "the Rock." "Speak out," quoth he, "thou toothless slavering thing, What is it? thinkest thou that such as we Should be afraid? What is this goodly doom?" And Satan laughed upon him. "Lo," said he, "Thou art not fully grown, and every one I look on, standeth higher by the head, Yea, and the shoulders, than do other men; Forsooth, thy servant thought not thou wouldst fear, Thou and thy fellows." Then with one accord, "Speak," cried they; and with mild persuasive eyes, And flattering tongue, he spoke.
"Ye mighty ones, It hath been known to you these many days How that for piety I am much famed. I am exceeding pious: if I lie, As hath been whispered, it is but for sake Of God, and that ye should not think Him hard, For I am all for God. Now some have thought that He hath also (and it, may be so Or yet may not be so) on me been hard; Be not ye therefore wroth, for my poor sake; I am contented to have earned your weal, Though I must therefore suffer.
"Now to-day One cometh, yea, an harmless man, a fool, Who boasts he hath a message from our God, And lest that you, for bravery of heart And stoutness, being angered with his prate, Should lift a hand, and kill him, I am here."
Then spoke the Leader, "How now, snake? Thy words Ring false. Why ever liest thou, snake, to us? Thou coward! none of us will see thee harmed. I say thou liest. The land is strewed with slain; Myself have hewn down companies, and blood Makes fertile all the field. Thou knowest it well; And hast thou, driveller, panting sore for age, Come with a force to bid us spare one fool?"
And Satan answered, "Nay you! be not wroth; Yet true it is, and yet not all the truth. Your servant would have told the rest, if now (For fulness of your life being fretted sore At mine infirmities, which God in vain I supplicate to heal) ye had not caused My speech to stop." And he they called "the Oak" Made answer, "'Tis a good snake; let him be. Why would ye fright the poor old craven beast? Look how his lolling tongue doth foam for fear. Ye should have mercy, brethren, on the weak. Speak, dragon, thou hast leave; make stout thy heart. What! hast thou lied to this great company? It was, we know it was, for humbleness; Thou wert not willing to offend with truth."
"Yea, majesties," quoth Satan, "thus it was," And lifted up appealing eyes, and groaned; "O, can it be, compassionate as brave, And housed in cunning works themselves have reared, And served in gold, and warmed with minivere, And ruling nobly,—that He, not content Unless alone He reigneth, looks to bend O break them in, like slaves to cry to Him, 'What is Thy will with us, O Master dear?' Or else to eat of death?
"For my part, lords, I cannot think it: for my piety And reason, which I also share with you, Are my best lights, and ever counsel me, 'Believe not aught against thy God; believe, Since thou canst never reach to do Him wrong, That He will never stoop to do thee wrong. Is He not just and equal, yea, and kind?' Therefore, O majesties, it is my mind Concerning him ye wot of, thus to think The message is not like what I have learned By reason and experience, of the God. Therefore no message 'tis. The man is mad." Thereat the great Leader laughed for scorn. "Hold, snake; If God be just, there SHALL be reckoning days. We rather would He were a partial God, And being strong, He sided with the strong. Turn now thy reason to the other side, And speak for that; for as to justice, snake, We would have none of it."
And Satan fawned: "My lord is pleased to mock at my poor wit; Yet in my pious fashion I must talk: For say that God was wroth with man, and came And slew him, that should make an empty world, But not a bettor nation."
This replied, "Truth, dragon, yet He is not bound to mean A better nation; may be, He designs, If none will turn again, a punishment Upon an evil one." And Satan cried, "Alas! my heart being full of love for men, I cannot choose but think of God as like To me; and yet my piety concludes, Since He will have your fear, that love alone Sufficeth not, and I admire, and say, 'Give me, O friends, your love, and give to God Your fear.'" But they cried out in wrath and rage, "We are not strong that any we will fear, Nor specially a foe that means us ill."
And while he spoke there was a noise without; The curtains of the door were flung aside, And some with heavy feet bare in, and set A litter on the floor. The Master lay Upon it, but his eyes were dimmed and set; And Japhet, in despairing weariness, Leaned it beside. He marked the mighty ones, Silent for pride of heart, and in his place The jewelled dragon; and the dragon laughed, And subtly peered at him, till Japhet shook With rage and fear. The snaky wonder cried, Hissing, "Thou brown-haired youth, come up to me; I fain would have thee for my shrine afar, To serve among an host as beautiful As thou: draw near." It hissed, and Japhet felt Horrible drawings, and cried out in fear, "Father! O help, the serpent draweth me!" And struggled and grew faint, as in the toils A netted bird. But still his father lay Unconscious, and the mighty did not speak, But half in fear and half for wonderment Beheld. And yet again the dragon laughed, And leered at him and hissed; and Japhet strove Vainly to take away his spell-set eyes, And moved to go to him, till piercingly Crying out, "God! forbid it, God in heaven!" The dragon lowered his head, and shut his eyes As feigning sleep; and, suddenly released, He fell back staggering; and at noise of it, And clash of Japhet's weapons on the floor, And Japhet's voice crying out, "I loathe thee, snake! I hate thee! O, I hate thee!" came again, The senses of the shipwright; and he, moved, And looking, as one 'mazed, distressfully Upon the mighty, said, "One called on God: Where is my God? If God have need of me, Let Him come down and touch my lips with strength, Or dying I shall die."
It came to pass, While he was speaking, that the curtains swayed; A rushing wind did move throughout the place, And all the pillars shook, and on the head Of Noah the hair was lifted, and there played A somewhat, as it were a light, upon His breast; then fell a darkness, and men heard A whisper as of one that spake. With that, The daunted mighty ones kept silent watch Until the wind had ceased and darkness fled. When it grew light, there curled a cloud of smoke From many censers where the dragon lay. It hid him. He had called his ministrants, And bid them veil him thus, that none might look; Also the folk who came with Noah had fled.
But Noah was seen, for he stood up erect, And leaned on Japhet's hand. Then, after pause, The Leader said, "My brethren, it were well (For naught we fear) to let this sorcerer speak." And they did reach toward the man their staves, And cry with loud accord, "Hail, sorcerer, hail!"
And he made answer, "Hail! I am a man That is a shipwright. I was born afar To Lamech, him that reigns a king, to wit, Over the land of Jalal. Majesties, I bring a message,—lay you it to heart; For there is wrath in heaven: my God is wroth. 'Prepare your houses, or I come,' saith He, 'A Judge.' Now, therefore, say not in your hearts, 'What have we done?' Your dogs may answer that, To make whom fiercer for the chase, ye feed With captives whom ye slew not in the war, But saved alive, and living throw to them Daily. Your wives may answer that, whose babes Their firstborn ye do take and offer up To this abhorred snake, while yet the milk Is in their innocent mouths,—your maiden babes Tender. Your slaves may answer that,—the gangs Whose eyes ye did put out to make them work By night unwitting (yea, by multitudes They work upon the wheel in chains). Your friends May answer that,—(their bleached bones cry out.) For ye did, wickedly, to eat their lands, Turn on their valleys, in a time of peace, The rivers, and they, choking in the night, Died unavenged. But rather (for I leave To tell of more, the time would be so long To do it, and your time, O mighty ones, Is short),—but rather say, 'We sinners know Why the Judge standeth at the door,' and turn While yet there may be respite, and repent.
"'Or else,' saith He that formed you, 'I swear, By all the silence of the times to come, By the solemnities of death,—yea, more,. By Mine own power and love which ye have scorned, That I will come. I will command the clouds, And raining they shall rain; yea, I will stir With all my storms the ocean for your sake, And break for you the boundary of the deep.
"'Then shall the mighty mourn. Should I forbear, That have been patient? I will not forbear! For yet,' saith He, 'the weak cry out; for yet The little ones do languish; and the slave Lifts up to Me his chain. I therefore, I Will hear them. I by death will scatter you; Yea, and by death will draw them to My breast, And gather them to peace. "'But yet,' saith He, 'Repent, and turn you. Wherefore will ye die?'
"Turn then, O turn, while yet the enemy Untamed of man fatefully moans afar; For if ye will not turn, the doom is near. Then shall the crested wave make sport, and beat You mighty at your doors. Will ye be wroth? Will ye forbid it? Monsters of the deep Shall suckle in your palaces their young, And swim atween your hangings, all of them Costly with broidered work, and rare with gold And white and scarlet (there did ye oppress,— There did ye make you vile); but ye shall lie Meekly, and storm and wind shall rage above, And urge the weltering wave.
"'Yet,' saith thy God, 'Son,' ay, to each of you He saith, 'O son, Made in My image, beautiful and strong, Why wilt thou die? Thy Father loves thee well. Repent and turn thee from thine evil ways, O son! and no more dare the wrath of love. Live for thy Father's sake that formed thee. Why wilt thou die?' Here will I make an end."
Now ever on his dais the dragon lay, Feigning to sleep; and all the mighty ones Were wroth, and chided, some against the woe, And some at whom the sorcerer they had named,— Some at their fellows, for the younger sort,— As men the less acquaint with deeds of blood, And given to learning and the arts of peace (Their fathers having crushed rebellion out Before their time)—lent favorable ears. They said, "A man, or false or fanatic, May claim good audience if he fill our ears With what is strange: and we would hear again."
The Leader said, "An audience hath been given. The man hath spoken, and his words are naught; A feeble threatener, with a foolish threat, And it is not our manner that we sit Beyond the noonday"; then they grandly rose, A stalwart crowd, and with their Leader moved To the tones of harping, and the beat of shawms, And the noise of pipes, away. But some were left About the Master; and the feigning snake Couched on his dais. Then one to Japhet said, One called "the Cedar-Tree," "Dost thou, too, think To reign upon our lands when we lie drowned?" And Japhet said, "I think not, nor desire, Nor in my heart consent, but that ye swear Allegiance to the God, and live." He cried, To one surnamed "the Pine,"—"Brother, behooves That deep we cut our names in yonder crag. Else when this youth returns, his sons may ask Our names, and he may answer, 'Matters not, For my part I forget them.'" Japhet said, "They might do worse than that, they might deny That such as you have ever been." With that They answered, "No, thou dost not think it, no!" And Japhet, being chafed, replied in heat, "And wherefore? if ye say of what is sworn, 'He will not do it,' shall it be more hard For future men, if any talk on it, To say, 'He did not do it'?" They replied, With laughter, "Lo you! he is stout with us. And yet he cowered before the poor old snake. Sirrah, when you are saved, we pray you now To bear our might in mind,—do, sirrah, do; And likewise tell your sons, '"The Cedar Tree" Was a good giant, for he struck me not, Though he was young and full of sport, and though I taunted him.'" With that they also passed. But there remained who with the shipwright spoke: "How wilt thou certify to us thy truth?" And he related to them all his ways From the beginning: of the Voice that called; Moreover, how the ship of doom was built.
And one made answer, "Shall the mighty God Talk with a man of wooden beams and bars? No, thou mad preacher, no. If He, Eterne, Be ordering of His far infinitudes, And darkness cloud a world, it is but chance, As if the shadow of His hand had fallen On one that He forgot, and troubled it." Then said the Master, "Yet,—who told thee so?"
And from his dais the feigning serpent hissed: "Preacher, the light within, it was that shined, And told him so. The pious will have dread Him to declare such as ye rashly told. The course of God is one. It likes not us To think of Him as being acquaint with change: It were beneath Him. Nay, the finished earth Is left to her great masters. They must rule; They do; and I have set myself between,— A visible thing for worship, sith His face (For He is hard) He showeth not to men. Yea, I have set myself 'twixt God and man, To be interpreter, and teach mankind A pious lesson by my piety, He loveth not, nor hateth, nor desires,— It were beneath Him." And the Master said, "Thou liest. Thou wouldst lie away the world, If He, whom thou hast dared speak against, Would suffer it." "I may not chide with thee," It answered, "NOW; but if there come such time As thou hast prophesied, as I now reign In all men's sight, shall my dominion then Reach to be mighty in their souls. Thou too Shalt feel it, prophet." And he lowered his head.
Then quoth the Leader of the young men: "Sir, We scorn you not; speak further; yet our thought First answer. Not but by a miracle Can this thing be. The fashion of the world We heretofore have never known to change; And will God change it now?" He then replied: "What is thy thought? THERE is NO MIRACLE? There is a great one, which thou hast not read. And never shalt escape. Thyself, O man, Thou art the miracle. Lo, if thou sayest, 'I am one, and fashioned like the gracious world, Red clay is all my make, myself, my whole, And not my habitation,' then thy sleep Shall give thee wings to play among the rays O' the morning. If thy thought be, 'I am one,— A spirit among spirits,—and the world A dream my spirit dreameth of, my dream Being all,' the dominating mountains strong Shall not for that forbear to take thy breath, And rage with all their winds, and beat thee back, And beat thee down when thou wouldst set thy feet Upon their awful crests. Ay, thou thyself, Being in the world and of the world, thyself Hast breathed in breath from Him that made the world. Thou dost inherit, as thy Maker's son, That which He is, and that which He hath made: Thou art thy Father's copy of Himself,— THOU art thy FATHER'S MIRACLE. Behold He buildeth up the stars in companies; He made for them a law. To man He said, 'Freely I give thee freedom.' What remains? O, it remains, if thou, the image of God, Wilt reason well, that thou shalt know His ways; But first thou must be loyal,—love, O man, Thy Father,—hearken when He pleads with thee, For there is something left of Him e'en now,— A witness for thy Father in thy soul, Albeit thy better state thou hast foregone.
"Now, then, be still, and think not in thy soul, 'The rivers in their course forever run, And turn not from it. He is like to them Who made them,' Think the rather, 'With my foot I have turned the rivers from their ancient way, To water grasses that were fading. What! Is God my Father as the river wave, That yet descendeth, like the lesser thing He made, and not like me, a living son, That changed the watercourse to suit his will?'
"Man is the miracle in nature. God Is the ONE MIRACLE to man. Behold, 'There is a God,' thou sayest. Thou sayest well: In that thou sayest all. To Be is more Of wonderful, than being, to have wrought, Or reigned, or rested. Hold then there, content; Learn that to love is the one way to know, Or God or man: it is not love received That maketh man to know the inner life Of them that love him; his own love bestowed Shall do it. Love thy Father, and no more His doings shall be strange. Thou shalt not fret At any counsel, then, that He will send,— No, nor rebel, albeit He have with thee Great reservations. Know, to Be is more Than to have acted; yea, or after rest And patience, to have risen and been wroth, Broken the sequence of an ordered earth, And troubled nations." Then the dragon sighed. "Poor fanatic," quoth he, "thou speakest well. Would I were like thee, for thy faith is strong, Albeit thy senses wander. Yea, good sooth, My masters, let us not despise, but learn Fresh loyalty from this poor loyal soul. Let us go forth—(myself will also go To head you)—and do sacrifice; for that, We know, is pleasing to the mighty God: But as for building many arks of wood, O majesties! when He shall counsel you HIMSELF, then build. What say you, shall it be An hundred oxen,—fat, well liking, white? An hundred? why, a thousand were not much To such as you." Then Noah lift up his arms To heaven, and cried, "Thou aged shape of sin, The Lord rebuke thee."
Then one ran, crying, while Niloiya wrought, "The Master cometh!" and she went within To adorn herself for meeting him. And Shem Went forth and talked with Japhet in the field, And said, "Is it well, my brother?" He replied, "Well! and, I pray you, is it well at home?"
But Shem made answer, "Can a house be well, If he that should command it bides afar? Yet well is thee, because a fair free maid Is found to wed thee; and they bring her in This day at sundown. Therefore is much haste To cover thick with costly webs the floor, And pluck and cover thick the same with leaves Of all sweet herbs,—I warrant, ye shall hear No footfall where she treadeth; and the seats Are ready, spread with robes; the tables set With golden baskets, red pomegranates shred To fill them; and the rubied censers smoke, Heaped up with ambergris and cinnamon, And frankincense and cedar." Japhet said, "I will betroth her to me straight"; and went (Yet labored he with sore disquietude) To gather grapes, and reap and bind the sheaf For his betrothal. And his brother spake, "Where is our father? doth he preach to-day?" And Japhet answered, "Yea. He said to me, 'Go forward; I will follow when the folk By yonder mountain-hold I shall have warned.'"
And Shem replied, "How thinkest thou?—thine ears Have heard him oft." He answered, "I do think These be the last days of this old fair world."
Then he did tell him of the giant folk: How they, than he, were taller by the head; How one must stride that will ascend the steps That lead to their wide halls; and how they drave, With manful shouts, the mammoth to the north; And how the talking dragon lied and fawned, They seated proudly on their ivory thrones, And scorning him: and of their peaked hoods, And garments wrought upon, each with the tale Of him that wore it,—all his manful deeds (Yea, and about their skirts were effigies Of kings that they had slain; and some, whose swords Many had pierced, wore vestures all of red, To signify much blood): and of their pride He told, but of the vision in the tent He told him not. And when they reached the house, Niloiya met them, and to Japhet cried, "All hail, right fortunate! Lo, I have found A maid. And now thou hast done well to reap The late ripe corn." So he went in with her, And she did talk with him right motherly: "It hath been fully told me how ye loathed To wed thy father's slave; yea, she herself, Did she not all declare to me?" He said, "Yet is thy damsel fair, and wise of heart." "Yea," quoth his mother; "she made clear to me How ye did weep, my son, and ye did vow, 'I will not take her!' Now it was not I That wrought to have it so." And he replied, "I know it." Quoth the mother, "It is well; For that same cause is laughter in my heart." "But she is sweet of language," Japhet said. "Ay," quoth Niloiya, "and thy wife no less Whom thou shalt wed anon,—forsooth, anon,— It is a lucky hour. Thou wilt?" He said, "I will." And Japhet laid the slender sheaf From off his shoulder, and he said, "Behold, My father!" Then Niloiya turned herself, And lo! the shipwright stood. "All hail!" quoth she. And bowed herself, and kissed him on the mouth; But while she spake with him, sorely he sighed; And she did hang about his neck the robe Of feasting, and she poured upon his hands Clear water, and anointed him, and set Before him bread. And Japhet said to him, "My father, my beloved, wilt thou yet Be sad because of scorning? Eat this day; For as an angel in their eyes thou art Who stand before thee." But he answered, "Peace! Thy words are wide." And when Niloiya heard, She said, "Is this a time for mirth of heart And wine? Behold, I thought to wed my son, Even this Japhet; but is this a time, When sad is he to whom is my desire, And lying under sorrow as from God?"
He answered, "Yea, it is a time of times; Bring in the maid." Niloiya said, "The maid That first I spoke on, shall not Japhet wed; It likes not her, nor yet it likes not me. But I have found another; yea, good sooth, The damsel will not tarry, she will come With all her slaves by sundown." And she said, "Comfort thy heart, and eat: moreover, know How that thy great work even to-day is done. Sir, thy great ship is finished, and the folk (For I, according to thy will, have paid All that was left us to them for their wage,) Have brought, as to a storehouse, flour of wheat, Honey and oil,—much victual; yea, and fruits, Curtains and household gear. And, sir, they say It is thy will to take it for thy hold Our fastness and abode." He answered, "Yea, Else wherefore was it built?" She said, "Good sir, I pray you make us not the whole earth's scorn. And now, to-morrow in thy father's house Is a great feast, and weddings are toward; Let be the ship, till after, for thy words Have ever been, 'If God shall send a flood, There will I dwell'; I pray you therefore wait At least till He DOTH send it." And he turned, And answered nothing. Now the sun was low While yet she spake; and Japhet came to them In goodly raiment, and upon his arm The garment of betrothal. And with that A noise, and then brake in a woman slave And Amarant. This, with folding of her hands, Did say full meekly, "If I do offend, Yet have not I been willing to offend; For now this woman will not be denied Herself to tell her errand." And they sat. Then spoke the woman, "If I do offend, Pray you forgive the bondslave, for her tongue Is for her mistress. 'Lo!' my mistress saith, 'Put off thy bravery, bridegroom; fold away, Mother, thy webs of pride, thy costly robes Woven of many colors. We have heard Thy master. Lo, to-day right evil things He prophesied to us, that were his friends; Therefore, my answer:—God do so to me; Yea, God do so to me, more also, more Than He did threaten, if my damsel's foot Ever draw nigh thy door.'" And when she heard, Niloiya sat amazed, in grief of soul. But Japhet came unto the slave, where low She bowed herself for fear. He said, "Depart; Say to thy mistress, 'It is well.'" With that She turned herself, and she made haste to flee, Lest any, for those evil words she brought, Would smite her. But the bondmaid of the house Lift up her hand and said, "If I offend, It was not of my heart: thy damsel knew Naught of this matter." And he held to her His hand and touched her, and said, "Amarant!" And when she looked upon him, she did take And spread before her face her radiant locks, Trembling. And Japhet said, "Lift up thy face, O fairest of the daughters, thy fair face; For, lo! the bridegroom standeth with the robe Of thy betrothal! "—and he took her locks In his two hands to part them from her brow, And laid them on her shoulders; and he said, "Sweet are the blushes of thy face," and put The robe upon her, having said, "Behold, I have repented me; and oft by night, In the waste wilderness, while all things slept, I thought upon thy words, for they were sweet.
"For this I make thee free. And now thyself Art loveliest in mine eyes; I look, and lo! Thou art of beauty more than any thought I had concerning thee. Let, then, this robe, Wrought on with imagery of fruitful bough, And graceful leaf, and birds with tender eyes, Cover the ripples of thy tawny hair." So when she held her peace, he brought her nigh To hear the speech of wedlock; ay, he took The golden cup of wine to drink with her, And laid the sheaf upon her arms. He said, "Like as my fathers in the older days Led home the daughters whom they chose, do I; Like as they said, 'Mine honor have I set Upon thy head!' do I. Eat of my bread, Rule in my house, be mistress of my slaves, And mother of my children." And he brought The damsel to his father, saying, "Behold My wife! I have betrothed her to myself; I pray you, kiss her." And the Master did: He said, "Be mother of a multitude, And let them to their father even so Be found, as he is found to me." With that She answered, "Let this woman, sir, find grace And favor in your sight." And Japhet said, "Sweet mother, I have wed the maid ye chose And brought me first. I leave her in thy hand; Have care on her, till I shall come again And ask her of thee." So they went apart, He and his father to the marriage feast.
The prayer of Noah. The man went forth by night And listened; and the earth was dark and still, And he was driven of his great distress Into the forest; but the birds of night Sang sweetly; and he fell upon his face, And cried, "God, God! Thy billows and Thy waves Have swallowed up my soul.
"Where is my God? For I have somewhat yet to plead with Thee; For I have walked the strands of Thy great deep, Heard the dull thunder of its rage afar, And its dread moaning. O, the field is sweet,— Spare it. The delicate woods make white their trees With blossom,—spare them. Life is sweet; behold There is much cattle, and the wild and tame, Father, do feed in quiet,—spare them.
"God! Where is my God? The long wave doth not rear Her ghostly crest to lick the forest up, And like a chief in battle fall,—not yet. The lightnings pour not down, from ragged holes In heaven, the torment of their forked tongues, And, like fell serpents, dart and sting,—not yet. The winds awake not, with their awful wings To winnow, even as chaff, from out their track, All that withstandeth, and bring down the pride Of all things strong and all things high—
"Not yet. O, let it not be yet. Where is my God? How am I saved, if I and mine be saved Alone? I am not saved, for I have loved My country and my kin. Must I, Thy thrall, Over their lands be lord when they are gone? I would not: spare them. Mighty. Spare Thyself, For Thou dost love them greatly,—and if not ..."
Another praying unremote, a Voice Calm as the solitude between wide stars.
"Where is my God, who loveth this lost world,— Lost from its place and name, but won for Thee? Where is my multitude, my multitude, That I shall gather?" And white smoke went up From incense that was burning, but there gleamed No light of fire, save dimly to reveal The whiteness rising, as the prayer of him That mourned. "My God, appear for me, appear; Give me my multitude, for it is mine. The bitterness of death I have not feared, To-morrow shall Thy courts, O God, be full. Then shall the captive from his bonds go free, Then shall the thrall find rest, that knew not rest From labor and from blows. The sorrowful— That said of joy, 'What is it?' and of songs, 'We have not heard them'—shall be glad and sing; Then shall the little ones that knew not Thee, And such as heard not of Thee, see Thy face, And seeing, dwell content." The prayer of Noah. He cried out in the darkness, "Hear, O God, Hear HIM: hear this one; through the gates of death, If life be all past praying for, O give To Thy great multitude a way to peace; Give them to HIM.
"But yet," said he, "O yet, If there be respite for the terrible, The proud, yea, such as scorn Thee,—and if not.... Let not mine eyes behold their fall." He cried, "Forgive. I have not done Thy work, Great Judge, With a perfect heart; I have but half believed, While in accustomed language I have warned; And now there is no more to do, no place For my repentance, yea, no hour remains For doing of that work again. O, lost, Lost world!" And while he prayed, the daylight dawned.
And Noah went up into the ship, and sat Before the Lord. And all was still; and now In that great quietness the sun came up, And there were marks across it, as it were The shadow of a Hand upon the sun,— Three fingers dark and dread, and afterward There rose a white, thick mist, that peacefully Folded the fair earth in her funeral shroud, The earth that gave no token, save that now There fell a little trembling under foot.
And Noah went down, and took and hid his face Behind his mantle, saying, "I have made Great preparation, and it may be yet, Beside my house, whom I did charge to come This day to meet me, there may enter in Many that yesternight thought scorn of all My bidding." And because the fog was thick, He said, "Forbid it, Heaven, if such there be, That they should miss the way." And even then There was a noise of weeping and lament; The words of them that were affrighted, yea, And cried for grief of heart. There came to him The mother and her children, and they cried, "Speak, father, what is this? What hast thou done?" And when he lifted up his face, he saw Japhet, his well-beloved, where he stood Apart; and Amarant leaned upon his breast, And hid her face, for she was sore afraid; And lo! the robes of her betrothal gleamed White in the deadly gloom. And at his feet The wives of his two other sons did kneel, And wring their hands.
One cried, "O, speak to us; We are affrighted; we have dreamed a dream, Each to herself. For me, I saw in mine The grave old angels, like to shepherds, walk, Much cattle following them. Thy daughter looked, And they did enter here." The other lay And moaned, "Alas! O father, for my dream Was evil: lo, I heard when it was dark, I heard two wicked ones contend for me. One said, 'And wherefore should this woman live, When only for her children, and for her, Is woe and degradation?' Then he laughed, The other crying, 'Let alone, O prince; Hinder her not to live and bear much seed, Because I hate her.'" But he said, "Rise up, Daughters of Noah, for I have learned no words To comfort you." Then spake her lord to her, "Peace! or I swear that for thy dream, myself Will hate thee also." And Niloiya said, "My sons, if one of you will hear my words, Go now, look out, and tell me of the day, How fares it?" And the fateful darkness grew. But Shem went up to do his mother's will; And all was one as though the frighted earth Quivered and fell a-trembling; then they hid Their faces every one, till he returned, And spake not. "Nay," they cried, "what hast thou seen? O, is it come to this?" He answered them, "The door is shut."
NOTES TO "A STORY OF DOOM."
The name of the patriarch's wife is intended to be pronounced Nigh-loi-ya.
Of the three sons of Noah,—Shem, Ham, and Japhet,—I have called Japhet the youngest (because he is always named last), and have supposed that, in the genealogies where he is called "Japhet the elder," he may have received the epithet because by that time there were younger Japhets.
The quivering butterflies in companies, That slowly crept adown the sandy marge, Like living crocus beds.
This beautiful comparison is taken from "The Naturalist on the River Amazons." "Vast numbers of orange-colored butterflies congregated on the moist sands. They assembled in densely-packed masses, sometimes two or three yards in circumference, their wings all held in an upright position, so that the sands looked as though variegated with beds of crocuses."