16 NOVEMBER 1867, Page 16


Lizanus, that weary Lazarus again !- Why can't a man rest quiet?" So Dives spake With Lazarus' petition in his hand.

Then laying it on the table, let it wait Through all the courses of the sumptuous feast, Till came the olives awl the dark red wine.

And then be broke the seal, and thus he read :— " Right Reverend Father," so the letter ran (For Dives was a Bishop), "may a man, Most poor in all things, but in that most poor 1Vherein he should be rich, most poor in faith, Have from you ghostly counsel and advice ?

I only ask the parings of the feast, In which you, furnished unto all good works, Rich in a faith which mountains can remove,

Sit day by day, deeming you feed on Christ."

Here Dives stopped, with an impatient word : — "Advice," he said, "I gave the man advice, To keep his living and to hold his tongue, And now he pesters me,—at dinner, too !"

Then he read on :—" My Lord, that I might prove, At least, that I am honest, I resigned This day all benefits that I received, In virtue of the doctrines which I held, But hold no longer. Poor am I indeed In purse, and yet the weight of poverty More lightly presses than the weight of doubt, And fiercer is the craving of the soul

Than hunger of-the flesh. My sores cry out,

Wounded I lie in darkness, seeking light."

And so it ended. Dives turned it o'er Once and again, as if he sought within

Something he did not find there, and his face,

Courteous, comfortable, and bland, expressed Utter bewilderment. It seemed to him, As much as if a man of choice preferred, That Christmas night, the bitter cold outside, The howling wind, that wailed as if its voice The woe of all the human race expressed :— The wide wild moor, with heaps of driven snow, To that room, bright with artificial light, Filled full with all the good things of this world.

Thus Dives in his microcosm deemed Of him who sought the Infinite outside.

And Dives wrote that Lazarus was to blame,—

Such doubts were sent as punishment for sin ; And as a righteous man ne'er begs his bread, So a good man can never come to doubt.

• All was as clear as day in Dives' eyes, From Genesis to the Apocalypse.

And on he prosed some pages. At the end He wrote :—" If after all convincing words Like these I send, you choose to starve in soul, I cannot help you further. I must beg, As one on whom the eyes of all the world Are fixed, though all unworthy [Dives here Paused with a thrill of sweet humility], That I have not the scandal at my door, And in my diocese, of doubt like yours."

Thus Lazarus was driven forth to starve. I.