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In touching upon historical matters the romancer and poet have generously been accorded a certain license, elastic in proportion to the remoteness of the period embraced and consequent incompleteness and incertitude of our knowledge as to events, personages, and dates. It is upon this privilege, assumed for granted, that I here venture to proceed.

Rammon, not mentioned in canonic Scripture, the unrobust child of Solomon's old age and inheriting its despondent philosophy, was immoderat[e]ly influenced thereby. Vanity of vanities—such is this life. As to a translated life in some world hereafter—far be that thought! A primary law binds the universe. The worlds are like apples on the tree; in flavor and tint one apple perchance may somewhat differ from another, but all partake of the same sap. One of the worlds we know. And what find we here? Much good, a preponderance of good; that is, good it would be could it be winnowed from the associate evil that taints it. But evil is no accident. Like good it is an irremovable element. Bale out your individual boat, if you can, but the sea abides.

To Rammon then cessation of being was the desirable event. But desired or not, an end or what would seem to [be]


an end, does come. Here he would have rested—rested but for Buddha[.]

Solomon a very lax Hebrew did not altogether repell foreign ideas. It was in his time that reports of Buddha and the Buddhistic belief had, along with the recorded spices and pearls, been conveyed into Palestine by that travelled and learned Indian dame, not less communicative than inquisitive, the Princess of Sheba[.] Through her it was that the doctrine of the successive transmigration of souls came to circulate, along with legends of Ashtaroth and Chemosh, among a people whose theocratic lawgiver was silent as to any life to come. A significant abstention; and serving the more to invest with speculative novelty Budd[h]a's affirmative scheme. But profound doctrines not directly imparted by miracle, but through many removes and in end through the sprightly chat of a clever queen, though naturally enough they might supply a passing topic for the amateur of thought, yet in any vital way they would scarcely affect but the exceptionally few. This applies to Rammon. But the wonderful conceptions of Prince—[Siddhata?] were backed by something equally marvelous, his personality and life. These singularly appealed to Rammon also born a Prince, and conscious, too, that rank had not hardened his heart as to the mass of mankind, toilers and sufferers, nor in any wise intercepted a just view of the immense spectacle of things.

But, in large, his thought of Buddha partook of that tender awe with which long after Rammon's time, the earlier unconventional Christians were impressed by the story and character of Christ. It was not possible for him therefore to deem unworthy regard any doctrine however repugnant to his understanding and desire, authentically ascribed to so transcendent a nature.


Besides: If Budd[h]a['s] estimate of this present life confirms, and more than confirms, Solomon my wise father's view, so much the more then should a son of his attend to what Buddha reveals or alleges touching an unescapable life indefinitely continuous after death.

Rammon was young; his precocious mind eagerly receptive; in practical matters the honesty of his intel[l]ect in part compensated for his lack of experience and acquired knowledge. Nevertheless he had no grounding in axiomatic matters of the first consequence in passing judgement upon those vast claims, sometimes made as from heaven itself, upon the credence of man.

Moreover, in connection with Buddha it had never occurred to him as a conjecture, much less as a verity that the more spiritual, wide-seeing, conscientious and sympathetic the nature, so much the more is it spiritually isolationed, and isolation is the mother of illusion.

Lost between reverential love for Buddha's person and alarm at his confused teaching, (like all [OMITTED] teaching alike unprovable and irrefutable) and with none to befriend & enlighten him, there was no end to the sensitive Prince's reveries & misgivings.

He was left the more a prey to these disquietudes inasmuch as he took no part in public affairs. And for this reason. Upon the accession of Rehoboam his half-brother, troubles began, ending in the permanent disruption of the kingdom, a calamity directly traceable to the young king['s] disdain of the counsel of [i.e. and] advice of his father's councillors, and leaning to flatterers of his own age and arrogance of ignorance. The depressing event confirmed Rammon in his natural bias for a life with men. What avails it now that


Solomon my father was wise? Rehoboam succeeds. Such oscillations are not of a day. Why strive? Rehoboam is my brother. When the oil of coronation was not yet dry upon him, and repentant Jeroboam proffered his allegiance, only imploring that the king would not make his yoke grievous, and while the king had not yet determined the matter, I said to him, It is not wisdom to repulse a penitent. Jeroboam is [a] valorous, a mighty man. If you make him hopeless of lenity, he will stir up mischief, perchance a rebellion. When I said this much to the king my brother, without a word he turned on his heel. Then I foresaw what would come, and now I see it. But now as then, he held me for an imbecile. He surrounds himself with those natives he calls practical men. Why strive? And he withdrew to his meditations and abstractions.

But an interruption not unwelcome occurred. Tho' the Hebrews were not disposed as a people to superfluous intercourse with the Gentile's races, yet in one instance they would seem to have made an exception. The commercial alliance, between Solomon and Hiram partook something of personal good feeling which radiating out, resulted in an international amity that for a period survived both monarchs.

And so it came to pass that Tardi an importer of the coast[,] a versatile man, in reports for gifts other than the one popularly charting him, made a visit to the court in Jerusalem, a court still retaining something of the magnificence & luxury introduced by the Son of Jethro the shepherd. News of the Tyrian's arrival reaches Rammon's retreat. It interests him. With a view of eliciting something bearing on those questions that were cease[lessly] agitating his heart, he effects a privy interview with the new-comer; thinking


beforehand, My countrymen are stay-at-homes; whatsoever is extant in their thought is as contracted as their territory; but here comes an urbane stranger travelled intellectual,— Well, we shall see!

For Tardi, he was struck with the pure-minded ingenuousness of Rammon born to a station not favorable to candor. He was interested, perhaps entertained, by his youth and ardor entangled in problems which he for his own part had never seriously considered, holding them not more abstruse than profitless. But humoring a Prince so amiable, affably he lends himself to Rammon's purpose. But it is not long before Rammon divines, that Tardi, exempt from popular errors tho he [was] endowed with knowingness far beyond his own, suave and fluent, so bright too and prepossessing, was in essential character little more than a highly agreeable man-of-the-world, and as such, unconsciously prepared to avert himself, in a light-hearted way, from entire segments of life and thought. A fair urn, beautifully sculptured, but opaque and clay. True, among other things he is a poet; a poet, of a sensuous relish for the harmonious as to numbers and the thoughts they embody and a magic facility in infusing that double harmony, makes a poet then Tardi is such, and it is not necessary for a poet to be a seer. With a passionate exclamation he breaks off the conference, and for diversion from his disappoint[ment] solicits a trial of the accomplished stranger's improvising gift.

Let us attend the Prince & Tardi at that point in their interview when after some general discussion as to the strange doctrine troubling the former, he takes up the one mainly disturbing him, and makes a heart-felt appeal.


Who, friend that has lived, taking ampler view,
Running life's chances, would life renew?
Ay, Prince, but why fear? no use to dismay
When turning to enter death's chamber of spell
One waves back to life a good-natured farewell,
Bye-bye, I must sleep. That's in Tyrian way.
Not hereabouts very new.
But, piercing our Siddata's comfortable [word,]
Buddha, benign yet terrible, is heard:
It is Buddha I love.—
From his Ever-and-a-Day, friend, ravish me away!
Fable me something that may solace or repay—
Something of your art.
Well,—for a theme?
A Phoenician are you. And your voyages of Tyre
From Ophir's far strand they return full of dream
That leaps to the heart of the nearby desire.
Fable me, then, those Enviable Isles
Whereof King Hiram's tars used to tell;
Now looms the dim shore when the land is ahead;
And what the strange charm the tarrier beguiles
Time without end content there to dwell.
Ay, fable me, those enviable isles.