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His compassions fail not: they are new every morning.— Lament. iii., 22, 23.
UES of the rich unfolding morn,
Thou rustling breeze so fresh and gay,
Ye fragrant clouds of dewy steam
Why waste your treasures of delight
Oh! timely happy, timely wise,
Our wakening and uprising prove;
Through sleep and darkness safely brought,
New mercies, each returning day,
New thoughts of God, new hopes of heaven.
If on our daily course our mind
Be set to hallow all we find,
New treasures still, of countless price,
Old friends, old scenes, will lovelier be,
* Revelation xxi., 5.
As for some dear familiar strain
Such is the bliss of souls serene,
O could we learn that sacrifice,
The trivial round, the common task,
Seek we no more: content with these,
Only, O Lord, in Thy dear love,
The Barber of Bagdad.
N the reign of Caliph Haroun al Raschid, of happy memory, there lived in the city of Bagdad a celebrated barber called Ali Sahal. He was so famous for his steady hand and dexterity, that he could shave a head and trim a beard and whiskers with his eyes blindfolded, without once drawing blood. There was not a man of any fashion in Bagdad who did not employ him; and such a run of business had he, that at
length he became proud and insolent, and would scarcely ever touch a head whose master was not, at least, a Bey or an Aga. Wood for fuel was always scarce and dear at Bagdad; and, as his shop consumed a good deal, the woodcutters brought their loads to him in preference, almost always sure of meeting with a ready sale and a high price.
One day a poor woodcutter, new to his calling, and ignorant of the character of Ali Sahal, went to his shop and offered him for sale a load of wood, which he had just brought on his ass from a considerable distance in the country. Ali immediately offered him a price, and in making the bargain used the words, "For all the wood that is upon the ass.' The woodcutter agreed, unloaded the beast, and asked for the money.
"You have not given me all the wood yet," said the barber; "I must have the pack-saddle" (which is chiefly made of wood) "into the bargain: that was our agreement."
"How!" said the other in great amazement, "who ever heard of such a bargain? It is impossible!" But at last, after much angry talk, the overbearing barber seized the pack-saddle, wood and all, and sent away the poor peasant in great distress.
He immediately ran to the Cadi; but the Cadi was one of the barber's customers, and refused to hear the case. The woodcutter went to a higher judge; he also patronised Ali Sahal, and made light of the complaint. The poor man then appealed to the Mufti himself; who, having pondered over the question, at length settled that it was too difficult a case for him to decide, no provision being made for it in the Koran (the Mohammedan Bible); and, therefore, the woodcutter must put up with his loss. But the poor man was not yet disheartened; and forthwith succeeded in getting a scribe to write a petition to the Caliph himself, which he duly presented on Friday, the day when he went in state to the mosque. The Caliph's punctuality in reading petitions is well known, and it was not long before the woodcutter was called.
When he had come into the Caliph's presence, he kneeled and kissed the ground; and then, placing his arms straight before him, his hands covered with the sleeves of his cloak, he awaited the decision of his case. "Friend," said the Caliph, "the barber has words on his side,-you have equity on yours.
law must be defined by words, and agreements must be made by words. The law must have its course, or it is nothing, and agreements must be kept, or there would be no faith between man and man; therefore the barber must keep all his wood; but-" then calling the woodcutter close to him, the Caliph whispered something in his ear, which none but he could hear, and then sent him away quite satisfied.
The woodcutter, having made his obeisance, returned to his ass, which was standing outside, took it by the halter, and proceeded to his house. A few days after he applied to the barber, as if nothing had happened between them, and requested him to shave himself and a companion of his from the country. The price at which both operations were to be performed was settled. When the woodcutter's crown had been properly shorn, Sahal asked where his companion was. "He is standing just outside here," said the peasant, "and he shall come in at once.' Accordingly he went out and returned, leading his ass after him by the halter. "This," said he, "is the friend of mine you have got to shave."
"Shave him!" exclaimed the barber in the greatest surprise. "It is enough that I have consented to demean myself by touching you; and do you insult me by asking me to do as much for your ass? Away with you both, or I will soon make you." And he forthwith drove them out of his shop.
In the course
The woodcutter at once went off to the Caliph, was admitted to his presence, and stated his case. ""Tis well,” said the Commander of the Faithful. "Bring Ali Sahal and his razors to me this instant," he exclaimed to one of his officers. of ten minutes the barber stood before him. refuse to shave this man's companion?" said the barber. "Was not that your agreement?" Ali, kissing the ground, answered, ""Tis true, O Caliph, that such was our agreement; but who ever made a companion of an ass before? Or who ever before thought of treating it like a true believer?"
Why do you Caliph to the
"You say right," said the Caliph; "but, at the same time, who ever thought of insisting upon a pack-saddle being included in a load of wood? No, no; it is the woodcutter's turn now. To the ass immediately, or you know the consequences."
The barber was then obliged to prepare a great quantity of
soap to lather the beast from head to foot, and to shave him in the presence of the Caliph and of the whole Court, whilst he was jeered and mocked by the taunts and laughter of all the bystanders. The poor woodcutter was then dismissed with a suitable present, and all Bagdad resounded with the story, and celebrated the justice of the Commander of the Faithful.
A dull, complaining atheist said,
As stretched he lay beneath the shade,
"Behold," quoth he, "that mighty thing,
"While on this oak an acorn small
Its ill-contrivance knows.
My better judgment would have hung
The pumpkin on the tree,
And left the acorn slightly strung
No more the caviller could say,
For upwards gazing as he lay,
The wounded part with tears ran o'er,
Fool! had the bough a pumpkin bore,
Thy whimsies would have worked no more,
Nor skull have kept them in.