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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
Solomon and the Ant
By Sir Edwin Arnold (1832–1904)
 
  
From ‘Pearls of the Faith’
  
Say Ar-Raheen! call Him “Compassionate,”
For He is pitiful to small and great.

’TIS written that the serving angels stand
Beside God’s throne, ten myriads on each hand,
Waiting, with wings outstretched and watchful eyes,
To do their Master’s heavenly embassies.
Quicker than thought His high commands they read,        5
Swifter than light to execute them speed;
Bearing the word of power from star to star,
Some hither and some thither, near and far.
And unto these naught is too high or low,
Too mean or mighty, if He wills it so;        10
Neither is any creature, great or small,
Beyond His pity, which embraceth all,
Because His eye beholdeth all which are;
Sees without search, and counteth without care.
Nor lies the babe nearer the nursing-place        15
Than Allah’s smallest child to Allah’s grace;
Nor any ocean rolls so vast that He
Forgets one wave of all that restless sea.
 
  Thus it is written; and moreover told
How Gabriel, watching by the Gates of Gold,        20
Heard from the Voice Ineffable this word
Of twofold mandate uttered by the Lord:—
“Go earthward! pass where Solomon hath made
His pleasure-house, and sitteth there arrayed,
Goodly and splendid—whom I crowned the king.        25
For at this hour my servant doth a thing
Unfitting: out of Nisibis there came
A thousand steeds with nostrils all aflame
And limbs of swiftness, prizes of the fight;
Lo! these are led, for Solomon’s delight,        30
Before the palace, where he gazeth now
Filling his heart with pride at that brave show;
So taken with the snorting and the tramp
Of his war-horses, that Our silver lamp
Of eve is swung in vain, Our warning Sun        35
Will sink before his sunset-prayer’s begun;
So shall the people say, ‘This king, our lord,
Loves more the long-maned trophies of his sword
Than the remembrance of his God!’ Go in!
Save thou My faithful servant from such sin.        40
 
  “Also, upon the slope of Arafat,
Beneath a lote-tree which is fallen flat,
Toileth a yellow ant who carrieth home
Food for her nest, but so far hath she come
Her worn feet fail, and she will perish, caught        45
In the falling rain; but thou, make the way naught,
And help her to her people in the cleft
Of the black rock.”
                    Silently Gabriel left
The Presence, and prevented the king’s sin,
And holp the little ant at entering in.        50
 
O Thou whose love is wide and great,
We praise Thee, “The Compassionate.”
 
 
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