Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE PROPHET, by MIKHAIL YUREVICH LERMONTOV

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THE PROPHET, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: The eternal justice made me seer
Last Line: "and how they all think scorn of him!"
Alternate Author Name(s): Lermontov, Mikhail Yuryevich

THE Eternal Justice made me seer,
All secret things to penetrate:
Since when, through eyes of men I peer
And read the page of Wrong and Fate.

Pure matters I began to preach
Of Righteousness and Love Atoning;
The neighbours ran to hear, and each
Was eager who'd begin ... the stoning.

I scattered ashes on my head,
The beggars' road from town I trod:
In the wilderness I make my bed,
And get my meat, like birds, from God.

Keeping the Eternal's covenant,
All things of earth obey and love me;
Stars to my service ministrant
Sparkle with frolic lamps above me.

But if with furtive hurrying feet
I slip through town amid the noise,
I see the smile of self-conceit,
And hear the old men tell the boys:

"Look! Here was Pride -- be warned and dread it! --
Would none of us to dwell among:
This fool would have his neighbours credit
That God gave utterance to his tongue.

"Look well, you children. There he goes --
Haggard and sour and bad and grim!
Look, he's no money, he's no clothes!
And how they all think scorn of him!"

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