Like jewels did her story fall,
A jewel, every gentle clause;
“Truly,” I said, “thou best of all!
My great distress thy voice withdraws.
I thought my pearl lost past recall,
My jewel shut within earth’s jaws;
But now I shall keep festival,
And dwell with it in bright wood-shaws;
And love my Lord and all His laws,
Who hath brought this bliss. Ah! if I were
Beyond these waves, I should have cause
To be a joyful jeweler.”
“Jeweler,” said that Gem so dear,
“Why jest ye men, so mad ye be?
Three sayings thou hast spoken clear,
And unconsidered were all three;
Their meaning thou canst not come near,
Thy word before thy thought doth flee.
First, thou believest me truly here,
Because with eyes thou mayst me see;
Second, with me in this country
Thou wilt dwell, whatever may deter;
Third, that to cross here thou art free:
That may no joyful jeweler.”
The jeweler merits little praise,
Who loves but what he sees with eye,
And it were a discourteous phrase
To say our Lord would make a lie,
Who surely pledged thy soul to raise,
Though fate should cause thy flesh to die.
Thou dost twist His words in crooked ways
Believing only what is nigh;
This is but pride and bigotry,
That a good man may ill assume,
To hold no matter trustworthy
Till like a judge he hear and doom.
“Whate’er thy doom, dost thou complain
As man should speak to God most high?
Thou wouldst gladly dwell in this domain;
’T were best, methinks, for leave to apply.
Even so, perchance, thou pleadest in vain.
Across this water thou wouldst fly,—
To other end thou must attain.
Thy corpse to clay comes verily,—
In Paradise ’t was ruined by
Our forefather. Now in the womb
Of dreary death each man must lie,
Ere God on this bank gives his doom.”
“Doom me not, sweet, to my old fears
And pain again wherein I pine.
My pearl that, long, long lost, appears,
Shall I again forego, in fine?
Meet it, and miss it through more years?
Thou hast hurt me with that threat of thine.
For what serves treasure but for tears,
One must so soon his bliss resign?
I reck not how my days decline,
Though far from earth my soul seek room,
Parted from that dear pearl of mine.
Save endless dole what is man’s doom?”
“No doom save pain and soul’s distress?”
She answered: “Wherefore thinkst thou so?
For pain of parting with the less,
Man often lets the greater go.
’T were better thou thy fate shouldst bless,
And love thy God, through weal and woe;
For anger wins not happiness;
Who must, shall bear; bend thy pride low;
For though thou mayst dance to and fro,
Struggle and shriek, and fret and fume,
When thou canst stir not, swift nor slow,
At last, thou must endure His doom.”