Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, PEARLS OF THE FAITH: 28. AS-BAZIR, by EDWIN ARNOLD

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

PEARLS OF THE FAITH: 28. AS-BAZIR, by                 Poet Analysis     Poet's Biography
First Line: Were it one wasted seed of water-grass
Last Line: So that we die in thy dear grace.
Variant Title(s): Azrael And The Indian Prince
Subject(s): God; Islam

Al-Bazîr! Oh, Thou Seer! great and small
Live in Thy vision, which embraceth all.

Were it one wasted seed of water-grass,
Blown by the wind, or buried in the sand,
He seeth and ordaineth if it live;
Were it a wild bee questing honey-buds,He seeth if she find, and how she comes
On busy winglets to her hollow tree.
The seeing of His eyes should not be told,
Though all the reeds in all the earth were cut
To writing-sticks, and all the seven seas
Were seven times multiplied, flowing with ink,
And seventy Angels wrote. He beholds all
Which was, or is, or will be: yea, with Him
Is present vision of five secret things:
The Day of Judgment; and the times of rain
The child hid in the womb—its quickening,
And whether male or female;—what will fall
To morrow (as ye know what did befall
Yesterday); and where every man shall die.

"Where every man shall die." Al Beidhâwi
Presenteth how there sate with Solomon
A prince of India, and there passed them by
Azrael, Angel of Death, on shadowy plumes;
With great eyes gazing earnestly, as one
Who wonders, gazing. And, because the prince
Sate with the king, he saw what the king saw,
The Djins and Angels, and saw Azrael
Fixing on him those awful searching eyes;
"What name, I pray thee, wears yon messenger?"
So asked he of the king; and Solomon
Made answer, "It is Azrael who calls
The souls of men." He seemed," whispered the prince,
"To have an errand unto me;—bid now
That one among thy demon ministers
Waft me, upon the swiftest wing that beats,
To India, for I fear him." Solomon
Issued command, and a swift Djin sprang forth
Bearing the prince aloft, so that he came
To Coromandel, ere the fruit—which fell
Out of the fig—had touched the marble floor.

Thereupon Azrael said to Solomon,
"I looked thus earnestly upon the man
In wonder, for my Lord spake, 'Take his soul
In India.' Yet behold he talked with thee
Here in Judaea! Now see! he hath gone
There where it was commanded he should die."

Then followed Azrael. In that hour the prince
Died of a hurt, sitting in India.

With Thee, Lord, be the time and place,
So that we die in Thy dear grace.

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