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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
After Death
By Sir Edwin Arnold (1832–1904)
 
  
From ‘Pearls of the Faith’
  
He made life—and He takes it—but instead
Gives more: praise the Restorer, Al-Mu’hid!

HE who died at Azan sends
This to comfort faithful friends:—
 
Faithful friends! it lies, I know,
Pale and white and cold as snow;
And ye say, “Abdullah’s dead!”        5
Weeping at my feet and head.
I can see your falling tears,
I can hear your cries and prayers,
Yet I smile and whisper this:—
“I am not that thing you kiss;        10
Cease your tears and let it lie:
It was mine, it is not I.”
 
Sweet friends! what the women lave
For its last bed in the grave
Is a tent which I am quitting,        15
Is a garment no more fitting,
Is a cage from which at last
Like a hawk my soul hath passed.
Love the inmate, not the room;
The wearer, not the garb; the plume        20
Of the falcon, not the bars
Which kept him from the splendid stars.
 
Loving friends! be wise, and dry
Straightway every weeping eye:
What ye lift upon the bier        25
Is not worth a wistful tear.
’Tis an empty sea-shell, one
Out of which the pearl is gone.
The shell is broken, it lies there;
The pearl, the all, the soul, is here.        30
’Tis an earthen jar whose lid
Allah sealed, the while it hid
That treasure of His treasury,
A mind which loved Him: let it lie!
Let the shard be earth’s once more,        35
Since the gold shines in His store!
 
Allah Mu’hid, Allah most good!
Now Thy grace is understood:
Now my heart no longer wonders
What Al-Barsakh is, which sunders        40
Life from death, and death from Heaven:
Nor the “Paradises Seven”
Which the happy dead inherit;
Nor those “birds” which bear each spirit
Toward the Throne, “green birds and white,”        45
Radiant, glorious, swift their flight!
Now the long, long darkness ends.
Yet ye wail, my foolish friends,
While the man whom ye call “dead”
In unbroken bliss instead        50
Lives, and loves you: lost, ’tis true
By any light which shines for you;
But in light ye cannot see
Of unfulfilled felicity,
And enlarging Paradise;        55
Lives the life that never dies.
 
Farewell, friends! Yet not farewell;
Where I am, ye, too, shall dwell.
I am gone before your face
A heart-beat’s time, a gray ant’s pace.        60
When ye come where I have stepped,
Ye will marvel why ye wept;
Ye will know, by true love taught,
That here is all, and there is naught.
Weep awhile, if ye are fain,—        65
Sunshine still must follow rain!
Only not at death, for death—
Now I see—is that first breath
Which our souls draw when we enter
Life, that is of all life centre.        70
 
Know ye Allah’s law is love,
Viewed from Allah’s Throne above;
Be ye firm of trust, and come
Faithful onward to your home!
“La Allah illa Allah! Yea,        75
Mu’hid! Restorer! Sovereign!” say!
 
He who died at Azan gave
This to those that made his grave.
 
 
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