The Poems of Henry Van Dyke eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 381 pages of information about The Poems of Henry Van Dyke.


The house of Elisha, upon a terraced hillside.  A low stone cottage with vine-trellises and flowers; a flight of steps, at the foot of which is NAAMAN’S chariot.  He is standing in it; SABALLIDIN beside it.  Two soldiers come down the steps.

    We have delivered my lord’s greeting and his message.

    Yes, and near lost our noses in the doing of it!  For
      the servant slammed the door in our faces.  A most
      unmannerly reception!

    But I take that as a good omen.  It is a mark of holy
      men to keep ill-conditioned servants.  Look, the
      door opens, the prophet is coming.

    No, by my head, it is that notable mark of his master’s
      holiness, that same lantern-jawed lout of a servant.

[GEHAZI loiters down the steps and comes to NAAMAN
with a slight obeisance.]

    My master, the prophet of Israel, sends word to Naaman
      the Syrian,—­are you he?—–­“Go wash in Jordan seven
      times and be healed.”

[GEHAZI turns and goes slowly up the steps.]

    What insolence is this?  Am I a man
    To be put off with surly messengers? 
    Has not Damascus rivers more renowned
    Than this rude muddy Jordan?  Crystal streams,
    Abana!  Pharpar! flowing smoothly through
    A paradise of roses?  Might I not
    Have bathed in them and been restored at ease? 
    Come up, Saballidin, and guide me home!

    Bethink thee, master, shall we lose our quest
    Because a servant is uncouth?  The road
    That seeks the mountain leads us through the vale. 
    The prophet’s word is friendly after all;
    For had it been some mighty task he set,
    Thou wouldst perform it.  How much rather then
    This easy one?  Hast thou not promised her
    Who waits for thy return?  Wilt thou go back
    To her unhealed?

                      No! not for all my pride! 
    I’ll make myself most humble for her sake,
    And stoop to anything that gives me hope
    Of having her.  Make haste, Saballidin,
    Bring me to Jordan.  I will cast myself
    Into that river’s turbulent embrace
    A hundred times, until I save my life
    Or lose it!

[Exeunt.  The light fades:  musical interlude. 
The light increases again with ruddy sunset
shining on the door of ELISHA’S house.  The
prophet appears and looks off, shading his
eyes with his hand as he descends the steps. 
Trumpet blows,—­NAAMAN’S call;—­sound of
horses galloping and men shouting.  NAAMAN
enters joyously, followed by SABALLIDIN and
soldiers, with gifts.]

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The Poems of Henry Van Dyke from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.