Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, PEARLS OF THE FAITH: 35. AL-GHAFIR, by EDWIN ARNOLD



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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

PEARLS OF THE FAITH: 35. AL-GHAFIR, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Know ye of hassan's slave? Hassan the son
Last Line: Forgive a brother's injury.
Subject(s): God; Islam; Slavery; Serfs


He is the "Pardoner," and his Scripture hath—
"Paradise is for them that check their wrath,
And pardon sins; so Allah doth with souls;
He loveth best him who himself controls."

Know ye of Hassan's slave? Hassan the son
Of Ali. In the camp at Ras-al-hadd
He made a banquet unto sheikhs and lords,
Rich dressed and joyous; and a slave bore round,
Smoking with new-cooked pillaw, Badhan's dish
Carved from rock-crystal, with the feet in gold,
And garnets round the rim; but the boy slipped
Against the tent-rope, and the precious dish
Broke into shards of beauty on the board,
Scalding the son of Ali. One guest cried,
"Dog! wert thou mine, for this thing thou shouldst howl!"
Another, "Wretch! thou meritest to die."
And yet another, "Hassan! give me leave
To smite away this swine's head with my sword!"
Even Hassan's self was moved; but the boy fell
Face to the earth and cried, My "lord! 'tis writ,
'Paradise is for them that check their wrath.'"
"'Tis writ so," Hassan said; "I am not wroth."
"My lord!" the boy sobbed on, "also 'tis writ,
'Pardon the trespasser."' Hassan replied,
"'Tis written—I remember—I forgive."
"Now is the blessing of the Most High God
On thee, dear Master!" cried the happy slave,
"For He—'tis writ—'loves the beneficent.'"
"Yea! I remember, and I thank thee, slave,"
Quoth Hassan;—"better is one noble verse
Fetched from 'the Book,' than gold and crystal brought
From Yaman's hills. Lords! he hath marred the dish,
But mended fault with wisdom. See, my slave!
I give thee freedom, and this purse to buy
The robe and turban of a Muslim freed."

Al Ghâfir! pardon us, as we
Forgive a brother's injury.





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