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All poems might be called “imaginative representations.” But the class of poems in Browning’s work to which I give that name stands apart. It includes such poems as Cleon, Caliban on Setebos, Fra Lippo Lippi, the Epistle of Karshish, and they isolate themselves, not only in Browning’s poetry, but in English poetry. They have some resemblance in aim and method to the monologues of Tennyson, such as the Northern Farmer or Rizpah, but their aim is much wider than Tennyson’s, and their method far more elaborate and complex.

What do they represent? To answer this is to define within what limits I give them the name of “imaginative representations.” They are not only separate studies of individual men as they breathed and spoke; face, form, tricks of body recorded; intelligence, character, temper of mind, spiritual aspiration made clear Tennyson did that; they are also studies of these individual men Cleon, Karshish and the rest as general types, representative images, of the age in which they lived; or of the school of art to which they belonged; or of the crisis in theology, religion, art, or the social movement which took place while the men they paint were alive, and which these men led, on formed, or followed. That is their main element, and it defines them.

They are not dramatic. Their action and ideas are confined to one person, and their circumstance and scenery to one time and place. But Browning, unlike Tennyson, filled the background of the stage on which he placed his single figure with a multitude of objects, or animals, or natural scenery, or figures standing round or in motion; and these give additional vitality and interest to the representation. Again, they are short, as short as a soliloquy or a letter or a conversation in a street. Shortness belongs to this form of poetic work a form to which Browning gave a singular intensity. It follows that they must not be argumentative beyond what is fitting. Nor ought they to glide into the support of a thesis, or into didactic addresses, as Bishop Blougram and Mr. Sludge do. These might be called treatises, and are apart from the kind of poem of which I speak. They begin, indeed, within its limits, but they soon transgress those limits; and are more properly classed with poems which, also representative, have not the brevity, the scenery, the lucidity, the objective representation, the concentration of the age into one man’s mind, which mark out these poems from the rest, and isolate them into a class of their own.

The voice we hear in them is rarely the voice of Browning; nor is the mind of their personages his mind, save so far as he is their creator. There are a few exceptions to this, but, on the whole, Browning has, in writing these poems, stripped himself of his own personality. He had, by creative power, made these men; cast them off from himself, and put them into their own age. They talk their minds out in character with their age. Browning seems to watch them, and to wonder how they got out of his hands and became men. That is the impression they make, and it predicates a singular power of imagination. Like the Prometheus of Goethe, the poet sits apart, moulding men and then endowing them with life. But he cannot tell, any more than Prometheus, what they will say and do after he has made them. He does tell, of course, but that is not our impression. Our impression is that they live and talk of their own accord, so vitally at home they are in the country, the scenery, and the thinking of the place and time in which he has imagined them.

Great knowledge seems required for this, and Browning had indeed an extensive knowledge not so much of the historical facts, as of the tendencies of thought which worked in the times wherein he placed his men. But the chief knowledge he had, through his curious reading, was of a multitude of small intimate details of the customs, clothing, architecture, dress, popular talk and scenery of the towns and country of Italy from the thirteenth century up to modern times. To every one of these details such as are found in Sordello, in Fra Lippo Lippi, in the Bishop orders his Tomb at St. Praxed’s Church his vivid and grasping imagination gave an uncommon reality.

But even without great knowledge such poems may be written, if the poet have imagination, and the power to execute in metrical words what has been imagined. Theology in the Island and the prologue to a Death in the Desert are examples of this. Browning knew nothing of that island in the undiscovered seas where Prosper dwelt, but he made all the scenery of it and all its animal life, and he re-created Caliban. He had never seen the cave in the desert where he placed John to die, nor the sweep of rocky hills and sand around it, nor the Bactrian waiting with the camels. Other poets, of course, have seen unknown lands and alien folks, but he has seen them more vividly, more briefly, more forcibly. His imagination was objective enough.

But it was as subjective as it was objective. He saw the soul of Fra Lippo Lippi and the soul of his time as vividly as he saw the streets of Florence at night, the watch, the laughing girls, and the palace of the Medici round the corner. It was a remarkable combination, and it is by this combination of the subjective and objective imagination that he draws into some dim approach to Shakespeare; and nowhere closer than in these poems.

Again, not only the main character of each of these poems, but all the figures introduced (sometimes only in a single line) to fill up the background, are sketched with as true and vigorous a pencil as the main figure; are never out of place or harmony with the whole, and are justly subordinated. The young men who stand round the Bishop’s bed when he orders his tomb, the watchmen in Fra Lippo Lippi, the group of St. John’s disciples, are as alive, and as much in tune with the whole, as the servants and tenants of Justice Shallow. Again, it is not only the lesser figures, but the scenery of these poems which is worth our study. That also is closely fitted to the main subject. The imagination paints it for that, and nothing else. It would not fit any other subject. For imagination, working at white heat, cannot do what is out of harmony; no more than a great musician can introduce a false chord. All goes together in these poems scenery, characters, time, place and action.

Then, also, the extent of their range is remarkable. Their subjects begin with savage man making his god out of himself. They pass through Greek mythology to early Christian times; from Artemis and Pan to St. John dying in the desert. Then, still in the same period, while Paul was yet alive, he paints another aspect of the time in Cleon the rich artist, the friend of kings, who had reached the top of life, included all the arts in himself, yet dimly craved for more than earth could give. From these times the poems pass on to the early and late Renaissance, and from that to the struggle for freedom in Italy, and from that to modern life in Europe. This great range illustrates the penetration and the versatility of his genius. He could place us with ease and truth at Corinth, Athens or Rome, in Paris, Vienna or London; and wherever we go with him we are at home.

One word more must be said about the way a great number of these poems arose. They leaped up in his imagination full-clad and finished at a single touch from the outside. Caliban upon Setebos took its rise from a text in the Bible which darted into his mind as he read the Tempest. Cleon arose as he read that verse in St. Paul’s speech at Athens, “As certain also of your own poets have said.” I fancy that An Epistle of Karshish was born one day when he read those two stanzas in In Memoriam about Lazarus, and imagined how the subject would come to him. Fra Lippo Lippi slipped into his mind one day at the Belle Arti at Florence as he stood before the picture described in the poem, and walked afterwards at night through the streets of Florence. These fine things are born in a moment, and come into our world from poet, painter, and musician, full-grown; built, like Aladdin’s palace, with all their jewels, in a single night. They are inexplicable by any scientific explanation, as inexplicable as genius itself. When have the hereditarians explained Shakespeare, Mozart, Turner? When has the science of the world explained the birth of a lyric of Burns, a song of Beethoven’s, or a drawing of Raffaelle? Let these gentlemen veil their eyes, and confess their inability to explain the facts. For it is fact they touch. “Full fathom five thy father lies” that song of Shakespeare exists. The overture to Don Giovanni is a reality. We can see the Bacchus and Ariadne at the National Gallery and the Theseus at the Museum. These are facts; but they are a million million miles beyond the grasp of any science. Nay, the very smallest things of their kind, the slightest water-colour sketch of Turner, a half-finished clay sketch of Donatello, the little song done in the corner of a provincial paper by a working clerk in a true poetic hour, are not to be fathomed by the most far-descending plummet of the scientific understanding. These things are in that superphysical world into which, however closely he saw and dealt with his characters in the world of the senses, the conscience, or the understanding, Browning led them all at last.

The first of these poems is Natural Theology on the Island; or, Caliban upon Setebos. Caliban, with the instincts and intelligence of an early savage, has, in an hour of holiday, set himself to conceive what Setebos, his mother’s god, is like in character. He talks out the question with himself, and because he is in a vague fear lest Setebos, hearing him soliloquise about him, should feel insulted and swing a thunder-bolt at him, he not only hides himself in the earth, but speaks in the third person, as if it was not he that spoke; hoping in that fashion to trick his God.

Browning, conceiving in himself the mind and temper of an honest, earthly, imaginative savage who is developed far enough to build nature-myths in their coarse early forms architectures the character of Setebos out of the habits, caprices, fancies, likes and dislikes, and thoughts of Caliban; and an excellent piece of penetrative imagination it is. Browning has done nothing better, though he has done as well.

But Browning’s Caliban is not a single personage. No one savage, at no one time, would have all these thoughts of his God. He is the representative of what has been thought, during centuries, by many thousands of men; the concentration into one mind of the ground-thoughts of early theology. At one point, as if Browning wished to sketch the beginning of a new theological period, Caliban represents a more advanced thought than savage man conceives. This is Caliban’s imagination of a higher being than Setebos who is the capricious creator and power of the earth of the “Quiet,” who is master of Setebos and whose temper is quite different; who also made the stars, things which Caliban, with a touch of Browning’s subtle thought, separates from the sun and moon and earth. It is plain from this, and from the whole argument which is admirably conducted, that Caliban is an intellectual personage, too long neglected; and Prospero, could he have understood his nature, would have enjoyed his conversation. Renan agreed with Browning in this estimate of his intelligence, and made him the foundation of a philosophical play.

There is some slight reason for this in Shakespeare’s invention. He lifts Caliban in intellect, even in feeling, far above Trinculo, Stephano, the Boatswain and the rest of the common men. The objection, however, has been made that Browning makes him too intelligent. The answer is that Browning is not drawing Caliban only, but embodying in an imagined personage the thoughts about God likely to be invented by early man during thousands of years and this accounts for the insequences in Caliban’s thinking. They are not the thoughts of one but of several men. Yet a certain poetic unity is given to them by the unity of place. The continual introduction of the landscape to be seen from his refuge knits the discursive thinking of the savage into a kind of unity. We watch him lying in the thick water-slime of the hollow, his head on the rim of it propped by his hands, under the cave’s mouth, hidden by the gadding gourds and vines; looking out to sea and watching the wild animals that pass him by and out of this place he does not stir.

In Shakespeare’s Tempest Caliban is the gross, brutal element of the earth and is opposed to Ariel, the light, swift, fine element of the air. Caliban curses Prospero with the evils of the earth, with the wicked dew of the fen and the red plague of the sea-marsh. Browning’s Caliban does not curse at all. When he is not angered, or in a caprice, he is a good-natured creature, full of animal enjoyment. He loves to lie in the cool slush, like a lias-lizard, shivering with earthy pleasure when his spine is tickled by the small eft-things that course along it,

Run in and out each arm, and make him laugh.

The poem is full of these good, close, vivid realisations of the brown prolific earth.

Browning had his own sympathy with Caliban Nor does Shakespeare make him altogether brutish. He has been so educated by his close contact with nature that his imagination has been kindled. His very cursing is imaginative:

As wicked dew as e’er my mother brushed
With raven’s feather from unwholesome fen
Drop on you both; a south-west blow on you
And blister you all o’er.

Stephano and Trinculo, vulgar products of civilisation, could never have said that. Moreover, Shakespeare’s Caliban, like Browning’s, has the poetry of the earth-man in him. When Ariel plays, Trinculo and Stephano think it must be the devil, and Trinculo is afraid: but Caliban loves and enjoys the music for itself:

Be not afear’d; the isle is full of noises,
Sounds and sweet airs, that give delight and hurt not.
Sometimes a thousand twangling instruments
Will hum about mine ears, and sometimes voices
That, if I then had waked after long sleep.
Will make me sleep again.

Stephano answers, like a modern millionaire:

This will prove a brave kingdom for me, where I shall have
my music for nothing.

Browning’s Caliban is also something of a poet, and loves the Nature of whom he is a child. We are not surprised when he

looks out o’er yon sea which sunbeams cross
And recross till they weave a spider web
(Meshes of fire some great fish breaks at times)

though the phrase is full of a poet’s imagination, for so the living earth would see and feel the sea. It belongs also to Caliban’s nearness to the earth that he should have the keenest of eyes for animals, and that poetic pleasure in watching their life which, having seen them vividly, could describe them vividly. I quote one example from the poem; there are many others:

’Thinketh, He made thereat the sun, this isle,
Trees and the fowls here, beast and creeping thing.
Yon otter, sleek-wet, black, lithe as a leech;
Yon auk, one fire-eye in a ball of foam,
That floats and feeds; a certain badger brown
He hath watched hunt with that slant white-wedge eye
By moonlight; and the pie with the long tongue
That pricks deep into oakwarts for a worm,
And says a plain word when she finds her prize,
But will not eat the ants; the ants themselves
That build a wall of seeds and settled stalks
About their hole

There are two more remarks to make about this poem. First, that Browning makes Caliban create a dramatic world in which Miranda, Ariel, and he himself play their parts, and in which he assumes the part of Prosper. That is, Caliban invents a new world out of the persons he knows, but different from them, and a second self outside himself. No lower animal has ever conceived of such a creation. Secondly, Browning makes Caliban, in order to exercise his wit and his sense of what is beautiful, fall to making something a bird, an insect, or a building which he ornaments, which satisfies him for a time, and which he then destroys to make a better. This is art in its beginning; and the highest animal we know of is incapable of it. We know that the men of the caves were capable of it. When they made a drawing, a piece of carving, they were unsatisfied until they had made a better. When they made a story out of what they knew and saw, they went on to make more. Creation, invention, art this, independent entirely of the religious desire, makes the infinite gulf which divides man from the highest animals.

I do not mean, in this book, to speak of the theology of Caliban, though the part of the poem which concerns the origin of sacrifice is well worth our attention. But the poem may be recommended to those theological persons who say there is no God; and to that large class of professional theologians, whose idea of a capricious, jealous, suddenly-angered God, without any conscience except his sense of power to do as he pleases, is quite in harmony with Caliban’s idea of Setebos.

The next of these “imaginative representations” is the poem called Cleon. Cleon is a rich and famous artist of the Grecian isles, alive while St. Paul was still making his missionary journeys, just at the time when the Graeco-Roman culture had attained a height of refinement, but had lost originating power; when it thought it had mastered all the means for a perfect life, but was, in reality, trembling in a deep dissatisfaction on the edge of its first descent into exhaustion. Then, as everything good had been done in the art of the past, cultivated men began to ask “Was there anything worth doing?” “Was life itself worth living?”; questions never asked by those who are living. Or “What is life in its perfection, and when shall we have it?”; a question also not asked by those who live in the morning of a new aera, when the world as in Elizabeth’s days, as in 1789, as perhaps it may be in a few years is born afresh; but which is asked continually in the years when a great movement of life has passed its culminating point and has begun to decline. Again and again the world has heard these questions; in Cleon’s time, and when the Renaissance had spent its force, and at the end of the reign of Louis XIV., and before Elizabeth’s reign had closed, and about 1820 in England, and of late years also in our society. This is the temper and the time that Browning embodies in Cleon, who is the incarnation of a culture which is already feeling that life is going out of it.

Protus, the king, has written to him, and the poem is Cleons answer to the king. Browning takes care, as usual, to have his background of scenery quite clear and fair. It is a courtyard to Cleons house in one of the sprinkled isles

Lily on lily, that o’erlace the sea,
And laugh their pride when the light wave lisps “Greece.”

I quote it; it marks the man and the age of luxurious culture.

They give thy letter to me, even now;
I read and seem as if I heard thee speak.
The master of thy galley still unlades
Gift after gift; they block my court at last
And pile themselves along its portico
Royal with sunset, like a thought of thee;
And one white she-slave from the group dispersed
Of black and white slaves (like the chequer work
Pavement, at once my nation’s work and gift,
Now covered with this settle-down of doves),
One lyric woman, in her crocus vest
Woven of sea-wools, with her two white hands
Commends to me the strainer and the cup
Thy lip hath bettered ere it blesses mine.

But he is more than luxurious. He desires the highest life, and he praises the king because he has acknowledged by his gifts the joy that Art gives to life; and most of all he praises him, because he too aspires, building a mighty tower, not that men may look at it, but that he may gaze from its height on the sun, and think what higher he may attain. The tower is the symbol of the cry of the king’s soul.

Then he answers the king’s letter. “It is true, O king, I am poet, sculptor, painter, architect, philosopher, musician; all arts are mine. Have I done as well as the great men of old? No, but I have combined their excellences into one man, into myself.

I have not chanted verse like Homer, no
Nor swept string like Terpander no nor carved
And painted men like Phidias and his friend:
I am not great as they are, point by point.
But I have entered into sympathy
With these four, running these into one soul,
Who, separate, ignored each other’s art.
Say, is it nothing that I know them all?

“This, since the best in each art has already been done, was the only progress possible, and I have made it. It is not unworthy, king!

“Well, now thou askest, if having done this, ’I have not attained the very crown of life; if I cannot now comfortably and fearlessly meet death?’ ‘I, Cleon, leave,’ thou sayest, ’my life behind me in my poems, my pictures; I am immortal in my work. What more can life desire?’”

It is the question so many are asking now, and it is the answer now given. What better immortality than in one’s work left behind to move in men? What more than this can life desire? But Cleon does not agree with that. “If thou, O king, with the light now in thee, hadst looked at creation before man appeared, thou wouldst have said, ’All is perfect so far.’ But questioned if anything more perfect in joy might be, thou wouldst have said, ’Yes; a being may be made, unlike these who do not know the joy they have, who shall be conscious of himself, and know that he is happy. Then his life will be satisfied with daily joy.’” O king, thou wouldst have answered foolishly. The higher the soul climbs in joy the more it sees of joy, and when it sees the most, it perishes. Vast capabilities of joy open round it; it craves for all it presages; desire for more deepening with every attainment. And then the body intervenes. Age, sickness, decay, forbid attainment. Life is inadequate to joy. What have the gods done? It cannot be their malice, no, nor carelessness; but to let us see oceans of joy, and only give us power to hold a cupful is that to live? It is misery, and the more of joy my artist nature makes me capable of feeling, the deeper my misery.

“But then, O king, thou sayest ’that I leave behind me works that will live; works, too, which paint the joy of life.’ Yes, but to show what the joy of life is, is not to have it. If I carve the young Phoebus, am I therefore young? I can write odes of the delight of love, but grown too grey to be beloved, can I have its delight? That fair slave of yours, and the rower with the muscles all a ripple on his back who lowers the sail in the bay, can write no love odes nor can they paint the joy of love; but they can have it not I.”

The knowledge, he thinks, of what joy is, of all that life can give, which increases in the artist as his feebleness increases, makes his fate the deadlier. What is it to him that his works live? He does not live. The hand of death grapples the throat of life at the moment when he sees most clearly its infinite possibilities. Decay paralyses his hand when he knows best how to use his tools. It is accomplished wretchedness.

I quote his outburst. It is in the soul of thousands who have no hope of a life to come.

“But,” sayest thou (and I marvel, I repeat,
To find thee trip on such a mere word) “what
Thou writest, paintest, stays; that does not die:
Sappho survives, because we sing her songs,
And AEschylus, because we read his plays!”
Why, if they live still, let them come and take
Thy slave in my despite, drink from thy cup,
Speak in my place! Thou diest while I survive?
Say rather that my fate is deadlier still,
In this, that every day my sense of joy
Grows more acute, my soul (intensified
By power and insight) more enlarged, more keen;
While every day my hairs fall more and more,
My hand shakes, and the heavy years increase
The horror quickening still from year to year,
The consummation coming past escape
When I shall know most, and yet least enjoy
When all my works wherein I prove my worth,
Being present still to mock me in men’s mouths,
Alive still, in the praise of such as thou,
I, I the feeling, thinking, acting man,
The man who loved his life so overmuch,
Sleep in my urn. It is so horrible
I dare at times imagine to my need
Some future state revealed to us by Zeus,
Unlimited in capability
For joy, as this is in desire of joy,
To seek which the joy-hunger forces us:
That, stung by straitness of our life, made strait
On purpose to make prized the life at large
Freed by the throbbing impulse we call death,
We burst there as the worm into the fly.
Who, while a worm still, wants his wings. But no!
Zeus has not yet revealed it; and alas,
He must have done so, were it possible!

This is one only of Browning’s statements of what he held to be the fierce necessity for another life. Without it, nothing is left for humanity, having arrived at full culture, knowledge, at educated love of beauty, at finished morality and unselfishness nothing in the end but Cleon’s cry sorrowful, somewhat stern, yet gentle to Protus,

Live long and happy, and in that thought die,
Glad for what was. Farewell.

But for those who are not Cleon and Protus, not kings in comfort or poets in luxury, who have had no gladness, what end what is to be said of them? I will not stay to speak of A Death in the Desert, which is another of these poems, because the most part of it is concerned with questions of modern theology. St. John awakes into clear consciousness just before his death in the cave where he lies tended by a few disciples. He foresees some of the doubts of this century and meets them as he can. The bulk of this poem, very interesting in its way, is Browning’s exposition of his own belief, not an imaginative representation of what St. John actually would have said. It does not therefore come into my subject. What does come into it is the extraordinary naturalness and vitality of the description given by John’s disciple of the place where they were, and the fate of his companions. This is invented in Browning’s most excellent way. It could not be better done.

The next poem is the Epistle of Karshish, the Arab Physician, to his master, concerning his strange medical experience. The time is just before the last siege of Jerusalem, and Karshish, journeying through Jericho, and up the pass, stays for a few days at Bethany and meets Lazarus. His case amazes him, and though he thinks his interest in it unworthy of a man of science in comparison with the new herbs and new diseases he has discovered, yet he is carried away by it and gives a full account of it to his master.

I do not think that Browning ever wrote a poem the writing of which he more enjoyed. The creation of Karshish suited his humour and his quaint play with recondite knowledge. He describes the physician till we see him alive and thinking, in body and soul. The creation of Lazarus is even a higher example of the imaginative power of Browning; and that it is shaped for us through the mind of Karshish, and in tune with it, makes the imaginative effort the more remarkable. Then the problem how to express the condition of a man’s body and soul, who, having for three days according to the story as Browning conceives it lived consciously in the eternal and perfect world, has come back to dwell in this world was so difficult and so involved in metaphysical strangenesses, that it delighted him.

Of course, he carefully prepares his scenery to give a true semblance to the whole. Karshish comes up the flinty pass from Jericho; he is attacked by thieves twice and beaten, and the wild beasts endanger his path;

A black lynx snarled and pricked a tufted ear,
Lust of my blood inflamed his yellow balls;
I cried and threw my staff and he was gone,

and then, at the end of the pass, he met Lazarus. See how vividly the scenery is realised

I crossed a ridge of short, sharp, broken hills
Like an old lion’s cheek-teeth. Out there came
A moon made like a face with certain spots,
Multiform, manifold and menacing:
Then a wind rose behind me. So we met
In this old sleepy town at unaware
The man and I.

And the weird evening, Karshish thinks, had something to do with the strange impression the man has made on him. Then we are placed in the dreamy village of Bethany. We hear of its elders, its diseases, its flowers, its herbs and gums, of the insects which may help medicine

There is a spider here
Weaves no web, watches on the ledge of tombs,
Sprinkled with mottles on an ash-grey back;

and then, how the countryside is all on fire with news of Vespasian marching into Judaea. So we have the place, the village, the hills, the animals, and the time, all clear, and half of the character of Karshish. The inner character of the man emerges as clearly when he comes to deal with Lazarus. This is not a case of the body, he thinks, but of the soul. “The Syrian,” he tells his master, “has had catalepsy, and a learned leech of his nation, slain soon afterwards, healed him and brought him back to life after three days. He says he was dead, and made alive again, but that is his madness; though the man seems sane enough. At any rate, his disease has disappeared, he is as well as you and I. But the mind and soul of the man, that is the strange matter, and in that he is entirely unlike other men. Whatever he has gone through has rebathed him as in clear water of another life, and penetrated his whole being. He views the world like a child, he scarcely listens to what goes on about him, yet he is no fool. If one could fancy a man endowed with perfect knowledge beyond the fleshly faculty, and while he has this heaven in him forced to live on earth, such a man is he. His heart and brain move there, his feet stay here. He has lost all sense of our values of things. Vespasian besieging Jerusalem and a mule passing with gourds awaken the same interest. But speak of some little fact, little as we think, and he stands astonished with its prodigious import. If his child sicken to death it does not seem to matter to him, but a gesture, a glance from the child, starts him into an agony of fear and anger, as if the child were undoing the universe. He lives like one between two regions, one of distracting glory, of which he is conscious but must not enter yet; and the other into which he has been exiled back again and between this region where his soul moves and the earth where his body is, there is so little harmony of thought or feeling that he cannot undertake any human activity, nor unite the demands of the two worlds. He knows that what ought to be cannot be in the world he has returned to, so that his life is perplexed; but in this incessant perplexity he falls back on prone submission to the heavenly will. The time will come when death will restore his being to equilibrium; but now he is out of harmony, for the soul knows more than the body and the body clouds the soul.”

“I probed this seeming indifference. ’Beast, to be so still and careless when Rome is at the gates of thy town.’ He merely looked with his large eyes at me. Yet the man is not apathetic, but loves old and young, the very brutes and birds and flowers of the field. His only impatience is with wrongdoing, but he curbs that impatience.”

At last Karshish tells, with many apologies for his foolishness, the strangest thing of all. Lazarus thinks that his curer was God himself who came and dwelt in flesh among those he had made, and went in and out among them healing and teaching, and then died. “It is strange, but why write of trivial matters when things of price call every moment for remark? Forget it, my master, pardon me and farewell.”

Then comes the postscript, that impression which, in spite of all his knowledge, is left in Karshishs mind

The very God! think, Abib; dost thou think?
So, the All-Great were the All-Loving too
So, through the thunder comes a human voice
Saying: “O heart I made, a heart beats here!
Face, my hands fashioned, see it in myself!
Thou hast no power, nor may’st conceive of mine,
But love I gave thee, with myself to love,
And thou must love me who have died for thee!
The madman saith He said so; it is strange.