Imatges de pÓgina

And yet we share the harvest sheaves alike.
He surely needeth more for life than I:

I will arise, and gird myself, and go
Down to the field, and add to his from mine."

So he arose, and girded up his loins,
And went out softly to the level field.

The moon shone out from dusky bars of clouds,
The trees stood black against the cold blue sky,
The branches waved and whispered in the wind.
So Zimri, guided by the shifting light,

Went down the mountain-path, and found the field,
Took from his store of sheaves a generous third,
And bore them gladly to his brother's heap;
And then went back to sleep, and happy dreams.

Now, that same night, as Abram lay in bed,
Thinking upon his blissful state in life,
He thought upon his brother Zimri's lot,
And said, "He dwells within his house alone ;
He goeth forth to toil with few to help;

He goeth home at night to a cold house,
And hath few other friends but me and mine,"
(For these two tilled the happy vale alone):
"While I, whom Heaven hath very greatly blessed,
Dwell happy with my wife and seven sons,
Who aid me in my toil, and make it light.
And yet we share the harvest sheaves alike.
This surely is not pleasing unto God:
I will arise and gird myself, and go

Out to the field, and borrow from my store,
And add unto my brother Zimri's pile."

So he arose, and girded up his loins,
And went down softly to the level field.

The moon shone out from silver bars of clouds,
The trees stood black against the starry sky,

The dark leaves waved and whispered in the breeze.
So Abram, guided by the doubtful light,

Passed down the mountain-path, and found the field,
Took from his store of sheaves a generous third,
And added them unto his brother's heap;
Then he went back to sleep, and happy dreams.

So the next morning with the early sun
The brothers rose, and went out to their toil.
And when they came to see the heavy sheaves,
Each wondered in his heart to find his heap,
Though he had given a third, was still the same.

Now, the next night went Zimri to the field,
Took from his store of sheaves a generous share,
And placed them on his brother Abram's heap,
And then lay down behind his pile to watch.
The moon looked out from bars of silvery cloud,
The cedars stood up black against the sky,
The olive-branches whispered in the wind.

Then Abram came down softly from his home,
And, looking to the right and left, went on,
Took from his ample store a generous third,

And laid it on his brother Zimri's pile.

Then Zimri rose, and caught him in his arms,
And wept upon his neck, and kissed his cheek:
And Abram saw the whole, and could not speak;
Neither could Zimri. So they walked along

Back to their homes, and thanked their God in prayer
That he had bound them in such loving bands.



1. A mile and a half, it may be two miles, southeast of Bethlehem, there is a plain separated from the town by an intervening swell of the mountain. Besides being well sheltered from the north winds, the vale was covered with a growth of sycamore, dwarf oak and pine trees, while in the glens and ravines adjoining there were thickets of olive and mulberry, - all at this season of the year invaluable for the support of sheep, goats, and cattle, of which the wandering flocks consisted.

2. At the side farthest from the town, close under a bluff, there was an extensive máráh or sheep-cote, ages old.

A number of shepherds, seeking fresh walks for their flocks, led them up to this plain; and from early morning the groves had been made to ring with calls, and the blows of axes, the bleating of sheep and goats, the tinkling of bells, the lowing of cattle, and the barking of dogs.

3. When the sun went down they led the way to the marah, and by nightfall had everything safe in the field; then they kindled a fire, partook of their humble supper, and sat down to rest and talk, leaving one on watch.

They rested and talked, and their talk was all about their flocks, a dull theme to the world, yet a theme which was all the world to them. While they talked, and before the first watch was over, one by one the shepherds went to sleep, each lying where he had sat.

4. The night, like most nights of the winter season in the hill country, was clear, crisp, and sparkling with stars. There was no wind. The atmosphere seemed never so pure, and the stillness was more than silence; it was a holy hush, a warning that heaven was stooping low to whisper some good thing to the listening earth. By the gate, hugging his mantle close, the watchman walked. The midnight was slow coming to him, but at last it came.

His task was done; now for the dreamless sleep with which labor blesses its wearied children. He moved towards the fire, but paused; a light was breaking around him, soft and white, like the moon's. He waited breathlessly.

5. The light deepened; things before invisible came to view; he saw the whole field, and all it sheltered. A chill sharper than that of the frosty air smote him— a chill of fear. He looked up; the stars were gone; the light was dropping as from a window in the sky;

as he looked it became a splendor; then in terror he cried,

"Awake, awake!"

6. Up sprang the dogs, and, howling, ran away. The herds rushed together, bewildered. The men clambered to their feet, weapons in hand.


"What is it?" they asked, all in one voice. cried the watchman, "the sky is on fire." Suddenly the light became intolerably bright, and they covered their eyes and dropped upon their knees; then, as their souls. shrank with fear, they fell upon their faces, blind and fainting, and would have died had not a voice said to them,

"Fear not!"

7. And they listened.

"Fear not for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people."

The voice penetrated all their being, and filled them with assurance. They rose upon their knees, and looking worshipfully, beheld, in the centre of a great glory, the appearance of a man, clad in a robe intensely white; above its shoulders towered the tops of wings, shining and folded; a star over its forehead glowed with steady lustre, brilliant as Hesperus; its hands were stretched towards them in blessing; its face was serene and divinely beautiful.

8. They had often heard and in their simple way talked of angels; and they doubted not now, but said in their hearts, "The glory of God is about us; and this is he who of old came to the prophet by the river of Ulai.”

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