Madame A. Christina Albers

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Then grew the child from babe to sunny boyhood,
Full ripe in mind, and mastered He the lore
Of books and scroll, and all that wise instructors
Could place before Him, and it soon was found
The teachers were the pupils of their pupil.
Yet was He ever meek and courteous
But was it seen that with advancing years
He courted loneliness and silent places
And once while sitting thus in fond dream state
In still repose in sylvan garden bower,
He did, behold on high a fleecy cloud
Swift moving and of scintillating whiteness:
A flock of noble swans on northward flight
Steered towards Himalayan height; their snowy plumage,
The lovenotes that they sent through the still air,
The slender grace of their soft swaying movement,
All these touched deeply the young boy’s full soul
And looked he long upon that scene of beauty.
When lo, from that white cloud of winged love
A still form dropped, its pure snow stained with crimson.
Then stirred deep anguish young Siddhārtha’s heart.
He took the bird, loosened the deadly arrow
And stemmed the crimson flood with skilful hand.
But now appeared his kinsman, Devadatta,
With haughty mien and speaking angry words,
‘Give me the bird: the prey goes to the hunter,
My arrow brought the swan unto the ground.’
But spake Siddhārtha gently, ‘Nay, my cousin.
You killed, but I restored his gasping breath.
Greater than death is life, and he who giveth
Life to a dying form does better deed
Than does the black hand of the wanton slayer.’
Then nursed the bird back unto health and strength
Till it could join its tribe in the free ether.