Unerring" darts that flew to pierce and kill,
Piercing 1 the infant in its mother's arms,
The mother when she feels her first-born's breath,
Piercing 1 the father in his happy home,
Piercing- the lover tasting- love's first kiss,
Piercing- the vanquished when his banners fall,
Piercing- the victor 'mid triumphant shouts,
Piercing- the mig-hty monarch on his throne ;
While from a towering- cypress growing- near
Every disease to which frail flesh is heir
Like ravening- vultures watch each arrow's flight,
And quick as thoug-ht glide off on raven's wing's
To bring- the wounded, writhing- victim in
As well-trained hunters mark their master's aim,
Then fly to bring- the wounded quarry home.
Meanwhile a stifling- stench rose from below
As from a battle-field where nations met
And fiery ranks of living- valor foug-ht,
Now food for vultures, moldering- cold and low
And bleaching- bones were scattered everywhere.
Startled he wakes and rises from his couch.
The lamps shine down with soft and mellow light.
The fair Yasodhara still lay in sleep,
But not in quiet sleep. Her bosom heaved
As if a sigh were seeking to escape ;
Her brows were knit as if in pain or fear,
And tears were stealing from her close-shut lids.
But sweet Rahula slept, and sleeping smiled
As if he too those cherub faces saw.
68 THE DAWN AND THE DAY, OR
In haste alone he noiselessly stole forth
To wander in the park, and cool his brow
And calm his burdened, ag-itated soul.
The nig-ht had reached that hour preceding- dawn
When nature seems in solemn silence hushed,
Awed by the g-lories of the coming 1 day.
The moon hung- low above the western plains ;
Unnumbered stars with double brig-htness shine,
And half-transparent mists the landscape veil,
Throug-h which the mountains in dim grandeur
Silent, alone he crossed the maidan wide
Where first he saw the sweet Yasodhara,
Where joyful multitudes so often met,
Now still as that dark valley of his dream.
He passed the lake, mirror of heaven's hig-h vault,
Whose ruffled waters ripple on the shore,
Stirred by cool breezes from the snow-capped peaks ;
And heedless of his way passed on and up,
Throug-h giant cedars and the lofty pines,
Over a leafy carpet, velvet soft,
While solemn voices from their branches sound,
Strang-ely in unison with his sad soul ;
And on and up until he reached a spot
Above the trees, above the mist-wrapped world,
Where opening- chasms yawned on every side.
Perforce he stopped ; and, roused from revery,
Gazed on the dark and silent world below.
The moon had sunk from sig-ht, the stars grew dim,
And densest darkness veiled the sleeping- world,
When suddenly brig-ht beams of rosy lig-ht
THE BUDDHA AND THE CHRIST BOOK III. 69
Shot up the east ; the highest mountain-top
Glittered as if both land and sea had joined
Their richest jewels and most costly gems
To make its crown ; from mountain-peak to peak
The brightness spread, and darkness slunk away,
Until between two giant mountain-tops
Glittered a wedge of gold ; the hills were tinged,
And soon the sun flooded the world with light
As when the darkness heard that first command :
" Let there be light ! " and light from chaos shone.
Raptured he gazed upon the glorious scene.
"And can it be," he said, "with floods of light
Filling the blue and boundless vault above,
Bathing in brightness mountain, hill and plain,
Sending its rays to ocean's hidden depths,
With light for bird and beast and creeping thing,
Light for all eyes, oceans of light to spare,
That man alone from outer darkness comes,
Gropes blindly on his brief and restless round.
And then in starless darkness disappears ?
There must be light, fountains of living light,
For which my thirsty spirit pining pants
As pants the hunted hart for water-brooks
Another sun, lighting a better world,
Where weary souls may find a welcome rest.
Gladly I'd climb yon giddy mountain-heights,
Or gladly take the morning's wings and fly
To earth's remotest bounds, if light were there.
Welcome to me the hermit's lonely cell,
And welcome dangers, labors, fastings, pains
All would be welcome could I bring the light
70 THE DAWN AND THE DAY, OR
To myriads now in hopeless darkness sunk.
Farewell to kingdom, comforts, home and friends !
All will I leave to seek this glorious light."
The die is cast, the victor}' is gained.
Though love of people, parent, wife and child,
Half selfish, half divine, may bid him pause,
A higher love, unselfish, all divine,
For them and every soul, bade him go forth
To seek for light, and seek till light be found.
Home he returned, now strong to say farewell.
Meanwhile the sweet Yasodhara still slept,
And dreamed she saw Siddartha's empty couch.
She dreamed she saw him flying far away,
And when she called to him he answered not,
But only stopped his ears and faster flew
Until he seemed a speck, and then was gone.
And then she heard a mighty voice cry out :
" The time has come his glory shall appear ! "
Waked by that voice, she found his empty couch,
Siddartha gone, and with him every joy ;
But not all joy, for there Rahula la}',
With great wide-open eyes and cherub smile,
Watching the lights that flickered on the wall.
Caught in her arms she pressed him to her heart
To still its tumult and to ease its pain.
But now that step she knew so well is heard.
Siddartha comes, filled with unselfish love
Until his face beamed with celestial light
That like a holy halo crowned his head.
THK BUDDHA AND THE CHKIST BOOK III. 71
Gently he spoke : " My dearest and ray best,
The time has come the time when we must part.
Let not your heart be troubled it is best."
This said, a tender kiss spoke to her heart,
In love's own language, of unchanging love.
When sweet Rahula stretched his little arms,
And cooing asked his share of tenderness,
Siddartha from her bosom took their boy,
And though sore troubled, both together smiled,
And with him playing, that sweet jargon spoke.
Which, though no lexicon contains its words,
Seems like the speech of angels, poorly learned,
For ever}* sound and syllable and word
Was filled brimful of pure and perfect love.
At length grown calm, they tenderly communed
Of all their past, of all their hopes and fears ;
And when the time of separation came,
His holy resolution gave her strength
To give the last embrace and say farewell.
And forth he rode,* mounted on Kantaka,
A prince, a loving father, husband, son,
To exile driven by all-embracing love.
* In the " Light of Asia," the prince, after leaving his young wife, is
made to pass through a somewhat extensive harem en deskatille, which
is described with voluptuous minuteness. Although there are some
things in later Buddhistic literature that seem to justify it, I can but
regard the introduction of an institution so entirely alien to every age,
form and degree of Aryan civilization and so inconsistent with the
tender conjugal love which was the strongest tie to his beloved home,
.as a serious blot on that beautiful poem and as inconsistent with its
whole theory, for no prophet ever came from a harem.
72 THE DAWN AND THE DAY.
What wonder, as the ancient writings say,
That nature to her inmost depths was stirred,
And as he passed the birds burst forth in song-,
Fearless of hawk or kite that hovered near ?
What wonder that the beasts of field and wood,
And all the jungle's savage denizens,
Gathered in groups and gamboled fearlessly,
Leopards with kids and wolves with skipping
For he who rode alone, bowed down and sad,
Taug-ht millions, crores* of millions, yet unborn
To treat with kindness every living 1 thing-.
What wonder that the deepest hells were stirred ?
What wonder that the heavens were filled with joy ?
For he, bowed down with sorrow, going- forth,
Shall come with joy and teach all men the way
From earth's sad turmoil to Nirvana's rest.
* A crore is ten millions.
FAR from his kingdom, far from home and friends,
The prince has gone, his flowing- locks close shorn,
His rings and soft apparel laid aside,
All signs of rank and royalty cast off.
Clothed in a yellow robe, simple and coarse,
Through unknown streets from door to door he
Holding an alms-bowl forth for willing gifts.
But when, won by his stateliness and grace,
They brought their choicest stores, he gently said :
' ' Not so, my friends, keep such for those who need
The sick and old ; give me but common food."
And when sufficient for the day was given,
He took a way leading without the walls,
And through rich gardens, through the fruitful
Under dark mangoes and the jujube trees,
Eastward toward Sailagiri, hill of gems ;
And through an ancient grove, skirting its base,
Where, soothed by every soft and tranquil sound,
Full many saints were wearing out their days
In meditation, earnest, deep, intent,
74 THE DAWX AND THE DAY, OR
Seeking" to solve the mystery of life,
Seeking-, by leaving all its joys and cares,
Seeking-, by doubling- all its woes and pains,
To gain an entrance to eternal rest ;
And winding- up its rug-ged sides, to where
A shoulder of the mountain, sloping west,
O'erhangs a cave with wild figs canopied.
This mountain cave was now his dwelling-place,
A stone his pillow, and the earth his bed,
His earthen alms-bowl holding all his stores
Except the crystal waters, murmuring near.
A lonely path, rugged, and rough, and steep ;
A lonely cave, its stillness only stirred
By eagle's scream, or raven's solemn croak,
Or by the distant city's softened sounds,
Save when a sudden tempest breaks above,
And rolling thunders shake the trembling hills
A path since worn by countless pilgrims' feet,
Coming from far to view this hallowed spot,
And bow in worship on his hard, cold bed,
And press his pillow with their loving lips.
For here, for six long years, the world-renowned,
The tender lover of all living things,
Fasted and watched and wrestled for the light,
Less for himself than for a weeping world.
And here arrived, he ate his simple meal,
And then in silent meditation sat
The livelong da}-, heedless of noon's fierce heat
That sent to covert birds and panting beasts,
And from the parched and glowing plain sent up,
As from a furnace, gusts of scorching air,
THE BUDDHA AND THR CHRIST BOOK IV. 75
Through which the city's walls, the rocks and
All seemed to tremble, quiver, glow and shake,
As if a palsy shook the trembling- world ;
Heedless of loosened rocks that crashed so near,
And dashed and thundered to the depths below,
And of the shepherds, who with wondering- awe
Came near to gaze upon his noble form
And g-entle, loving- but majestic face,
And thought some god had deigned to visit men.
And thus he sat, still as the rock his seat,
Seeking to pierce the void from whence man came,
To look beyond the veil that shuts him in,
To find a clue to life's dark labyrinth,
Seeking to know why man is cast adrift
Upon the bosom of a troubled sea,
His boat so frail, his helm and compass lost,
To sink at last in dull oblivion's depths ;
When nature seems so perfect and complete,
Grand as a whole, and perfect all its parts,
Which from the greatest to the least proclaims
That Wisdom, Watchfulness, and Power and Love
Which built the mountains, spread the earth
And fixed the bounds that ocean cannot pass ;
Which taught the seasons their accustomed rounds,
Lest seed-time and the happy harvests fail ;
Which guides the stars in their celestial course,
And guides the pigeon's swift unerring flight
O'er mountain, sea and plain and desert waste,
Straight as an arrow to her distant home ;
76 THE DAWN AND THE DAY, OR
Teaching- the ant for winter to prepare ;
Clothing 1 the lily in its princely pride ;
Watching- the tiny sparrow when it falls ;
Nothing too great for His almighty arm ;
Nothing- too small for His all-seeing- eye ;
Nothing too mean for His paternal care.
And thus he mused, seeking to find a light
To guide men on their dark and weary way.
And through the valley and the shades of death,
Until the g-lories of the setting- sun
Called him to vespers and his evening meal.
Then roused from revery, ablutions made,
Eight times he bowed, just as the setting sun,
A fiery red, sunk slowly out of sight
Beyond the western plains, gilded and ting-ed,
Misty and vast, beneath a brilliant sky,
Shaded from brig-litest g-old to softest rose.
Then, after supper, back and forth he paced
Upon the narrow rock before his cave,
Seeking- to ease his numbed and stiffened limbs ;
While evening's sombre shadows slowly crept
From plain to hill and highest mountain-top,
And solemn silence settled on the world,
Save for the night-jar's cry and owl's complaint ;
While many lights from out the city gleam,
And thickening- stars spangle the azure vault,
Until the moon, with soft and silvery light,
Half veils and half reveals the sleeping world.
And then he slept for wear}' souls must sleep.
THE BUDDHA AND THE CHRIST BOOK IV. 77
As well as bodies worn with daily toil ;
And as he lay stretched on his hard, cold bed,
His youthful blood again bounds freely on,
Repairing 1 wastes the weary day had made.
And then he dreamed. Sometimes he dreamed of
Of young Rahula, reaching out his arms,
Of sweet Yasodhara with loving- words
Cheering- him on, as love alone can cheer.
Sometimes he dreamed he saw that living- lig-ht
For which his earnest soul so long- had yearned -
But over hills and mountains far away.
And then he seemed with labored steps to climb
Down giddy cliffs, far harder than ascent,
While yawning- chasms threatened to devour,
And beetling- cliffs precluded all retreat ;
But still the way seemed opening- step by step,
Until he reached the valley's lowest depths,
Where twilig-ht reig-ned, and grim and g-hastly
With flaming- swords, obstruct his onward way,
But his all-conquering- love still urg-ed him on,
When with wild shrieks they vanished in thin air;
And then he climbed, cling-ing- to jutting- cliffs,
And stunted trees that from each crevice grew,
Till weary, breathless, he reg-ained the heights,
To see that light nearer, but still so far.
And thus he slept, and thus sometimes he
But rose before the dawn had tinged the east,
78 THE DAWN AND THE DAY, OR
Before the jungle-cock had made his call,
When thoughts are clearest, and the world is still,
Refreshed and strengthened for his daily search
Into the seeds of sorrow, germs of pain,
After a light to scatter doubts and fears.
But when the coming day silvered the east,
And warmed that silver into softest gold,
And faintest rose-tints tinged the passing clouds,
He, as the Vedas taught, each morning bathed
In the clear stream that murmured near his cave,
Then bowed in reverence to the rising sun,
As from behind the glittering mountain-peaks
It burst in glory on the waking world.
Then bowl and staff in hand, he took his way
Along his mountain-path and through the grove,
And through the gardens, through the fruitful
Down to the city, for his daily alms ;
While children his expected coming watch,
And running cry : "The gracious Rishi comes."
All gladly gave, and soon his bowl was filled,
For he repaid their gifts with gracious thanks,
And his unbounded love, clearer than words,
Spoke to their hearts as he passed gently on.
Even stolid plowmen after him would look,
Wondering that one so stately and so grand
Should even for them have kind and gracious words.
Sometimes while passing through the sacred grove,
He paused beneath an aged banyan-tree,
THE BUDDHA AND THE CHRIST BOOK IV. 79
Whose spreading" branches drooping 1 down took
To grow again in other giant trunks,
An ever-widening", ever-deepening shade,
Where five, like him in manhood's early prime,
Each bound to life by all its tender ties,
High born and rich, had left their happy homes,
Their only food chance-g-athered day by day,
Their only roof this spreading 1 banyan-tree ;
And there long- time they earnestly communed,
Seeking 1 to aid each other in the search
For higher life and for a clearer light.
And here, under a sacred peepul's shade,
Two Brahmans, famed for sanctity, had dwelt
For many years, all cares of life cast off,
Who by long 1 fasting's sought to make the veil
Of flesh translucent to the inner eye ;
Eyes fixed intently on the nose's tip,
To lose all consciousness of outward thing's ;
By breath suppressed to still the outer pulse,
So that the soul might wake to conscious life,
And on unfolded wing's unchecked mig-ht rise,
And in the purest auras freely soar,
Above cross-currents that engender clouds
Where thunders roll, and quick cross-lig"htn ing's
To view the world of causes and of life,
And bathe in lig'ht that knows no night, no change.
With eager questionings he sought to learn,
While they with gentle answers gladly taught
All that their self-denying search had learned.
80 THE DAWN AND THE DAY, OR
And thus he passed his days and months and years,
In constant, patient, earnest search for light,
With longer fastings and more earnest search,
While day by day his body frailer grew,
Until his soul, loosed from its earthly bonds,
Sometimes escaped its narrow prison-house,
And like the lark to heaven's gate it soared,
To view the glories of the coming 1 dawn.
But as he rose, the sad and sorrowing world,
For which his soul with tender love had yearned,
Seemed deeper in the nether darkness sunk,
Beyond his reach, beyond his power to save,
When sadly to his prison-house he turned,
Wishing no light that did not shine for all.
Six years had passed, six long and weary years,
Since first he left the world to seek for light.
Knowledge he found, knowledge that soared aloft
To giddy heights, and sounded hidden depths,
Secrets of knowledge that the Brahmans taught
The favored few, but far beyond the reach
Of those who toil and weep and cry for help ;
A light that gilds the highest mountain-tops,
But leaves the fields and valle}^s dark and cold ;
But not that living light for which he yearned,
To light life's humble walks and common ways,
And send its warmth to every heart and home,
As spring-time sends a warm and genial glow
To every hill and valley, grove and field,
Clothing in softest verdure common grass,
As well as sandal-trees and lofty palms.
THE BUDDHA AND THE CHRIST BOOK IV. 81
One night, when hope seemed yielding- to despair,
Sleepless he lay upon the earth his bed
When suddenly a white and dazzling- lig-ht
Shone through the cave, and all was dark ag-ain.
Startled he rose, then prostrate in the dust,
His inmost soul breathed forth an earnest prayer *
That he who made the light would make it shine
Clearer and clearer to that perfect day,
When innocence, and peace, and righteousness
Might fill the earth, and ignorance and fear,
And cruelty and crime, might fly away,
As birds of night and savage prowling beasts
Fly from the glories of the rising sun.
Long time he lay, wrestling in earnest prayer,
When from the eastern wall, one clothed in light,
Beaming with love, and halo-crowned, appeared,
And gently said : " Siddartha, rise ! go forth !
Waste not your days in fasts, your nights in tears !
Give what you have ; do what you find to do ;
With gentle admonitions check the strong ;
With loving counsels aid and guide the weak,
* I am aware there are many who think that Buddha did not be
lieve in prayer, which Arnold puts into his own mouth in these words,
which sound like the clanking of chains in a prison-vault :
" Pray not ! the darkness will not brighten ! Ask
Nought from Silence, for it cannot speak! "
Buddha did teach that mere prayers without any effort to over
come our evils is of no more use than for a merchant to pray the farther
bank of a swollen stream to come to him without seeking any means to
cross, which merely differs in words from the declaration of St. James
that faith without works is dead; but if he ever taught that the earn
est yearning of a soul for help, which is the essence of prayer, is no
aid in the struggle for a higher life, then my whole reading has been
at fault, and the whole Buddhist worship has been a departure from
the teachings of its founder.
82 THE DAWN AND THE DAY, OR
And light will come, the day will surely dawn."
This said, the light grew dim, the form was gone,
But hope revived, his heart was strong again.
Joyful he rose, and when the rising sun
Had filled the earth's dark places full of light,
With all his worldly wealth, his staff and bowl,
Obedient to that voice he left his cave ;
When from a shepherd's cottage near his way,
Whence he had often heard the busy hum
Of industry, and childhood's merry laugh,
There came the angry, stern command of one
Clothed in a little brief authority,
Mingled with earnest pleadings, and the wail
Of women's voices, and above them all
The plaintive treble of a little child.
Thither he turned, and when he reached the spot,
The cause of all this sorrow was revealed :
One from the king had seized their little all,
Their goats and sheep, and e'en the child's pet lamb.
But when they saw him they had often watched
With reverent awe, as if come down from heaven,
Prostrate they fell, and kissed his garment's hem,
While he so insolent, now stood abashed,
And, self accused, he thus excused himself :
" The Brahmans make this day a sacrifice,
And they demand unblemished goats and lambs.
I but obey the king's express command
To bring them to the temple ere high noon."
But Buddha stooped and raised the little child,
Who nestled in his arms in perfect trust,
THE BUDDHA AND THE CHRIST BOOK IV. 83
And gently said : " Rise up, my friends, weep not !
The king- must be obeyed but king's have hearts.
I go along" to be your advocate.
The king 1 may spare what zealous priest would kill,
Thinking- the gods above delight in blood."
But when the officers would drive the flock
With staves and slings and loud and angry cries,
They only scattered them among the rocks,
And Buddha bade the shepherd call his own,
As love can lead where force in vain would drive.
He called ; they knew his voice and followed him,
Dumb innocents, down to the slaughter led,
While Buddha kissed the child, and followed them,
With those so late made insolent by power,
Now dumb as if led out to punishment.
Meanwhile the temple-gates wide open stood,
And when the king, in royal purple robed,
And decked with gems, attended by his court,
To clash of cymbals, sound of shell and drum,
Through streets swept clean and sprinkled with
Adorned with flags, and filled with shouting crowds,
Drew near the sacred shrine, a greater came,
Through unswept ways, where dwelt the toiling
Huddled in wretched huts, breathing foul air,
Living in fetid filth and poverty
No childhood's joys, youth prematurely old,
Manhood a painful struggle but to live,
And age a weary shifting of the scene ;
84 THE I>A\VN AND THE DAY. OR
While all the people drew aside to gaze
Upon his gentle but majestic face,
Beaming- with tender, all-embracing- love.
And when the king- and royal train dismount,
'Mid prostrate people and the statel}' priests,
On fragrant flowers that carpeted his way,
And mount the lofty steps to reach the shrine,
Siddartha came, upon the other side,
'Mid stalls for victims, sheds for sacred wood,
And rude attendants on the pompous rites,
Who seized a goat, the patriarch of the flock,
And bound him firm with sacred munja grass,
And bore aloft, while Buddha followed where
A priest before the blazing altar stood
With glittering knife, and others fed the fires,
While clouds of incense from the altar rose,
Sweeter than Araby the blest can yield,
And white-robed Brahmans chant their sacred
And there before that ancient shrine they met,
The king, the priests, the hermit from the hill,
When one, an aged Brahman, raised his hands,
And praying, lifted up his voice and cried :
" O hear ! great Indra, from thy lofty throne
On Meru's holy mountain, high in heaven.
Let every good the king has ever done
With this sweet incense mingled rise to thee ;
And every secret, every open sin
Be laid upon this goat, to sink from sight,
Drunk by the earth with his hot spouting blood,
Or on this altar with his flesh be burned."
THE BUDDHA AND THE CHRIST BOOK IV. 85
And all the Brahman choir responsive cried :
" Long- live the king- ! now let the victim die ! "
But Buddha said : " Let him not strike, O king !
For how can God, being- g-ood, delig-ht in blood ?
And how can blood wash out the stains of sin,