Verse > Anthologies > Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. > A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895
Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908).  A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895.  1895.
From “The Light of Asia”
Sir Edwin Arnold (1832–1904)
THE BOOKS say well, my Brothers! each man’s life
  The outcome of his former living is;
The bygone wrongs bring forth sorrows and woes,
  The bygone right breeds bliss.
That which ye sow ye reap. See yonder fields!        5
  The sesamum was sesamum, the corn
Was corn. The Silence and the Darkness knew!
  So is a man’s fate born.
He cometh, reaper of the things he sow’d,
  Sesamum, corn, so much cast in past birth;        10
And so much weed and poison-stuff, which mar
  Him and the aching earth.
If he shall labor rightly, rooting these,
  And planting wholesome seedlings where they grew,
Fruitful and fair and clean the ground shall be,        15
  And rich the harvest due.
If he who liveth, learning whence woe springs,
  Endureth patiently, striving to pay
His utmost debt for ancient evils done
  In Love and Truth alway;        20
If making none to lack, he thoroughly purge
  The lie and lust of self forth from his blood;
Suffering all meekly, rendering for offence
  Nothing but grace and good;
If he shall day by day dwell merciful,        25
  Holy and just and kind and true; and rend
Desire from where it clings with bleeding roots,
  Till love of life have end:
He—dying—leaveth as the sum of him
  A life-count clos’d, whose ills are dead and quit,        30
Whose good is quick and mighty, far and near,
  So that fruits follow it.
No need hath such to live as ye name life;
  That which began in him when he began
Is finish’d: he hath wrought the purpose through        35
  Of what did make him Man.
Never shall yearnings torture him, nor sins
  Stain him, nor ache of earthly joys and woes
Invade his safe eternal peace; nor deaths
  And lives recur. He goes        40
Unto NIRVÂNA. He is one with Life
  Yet lives not. He is blest, ceasing to be.
OM, MANI PADME, OM! the Dewdrop slips
  Into the shining sea!


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