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   Chapter 28 THE FAREWELL

The Prophet By Kahlil Gibran Characters: 13154

Updated: 2018-12-29 12:01


AND now it was evening. And Almitra the seeress said, Blessed be this day and this place and your spirit that has

Spoken. And he answered, Was it I who spoke? Was I not also

A listener?

Then he descended the steps of the Temple and all the peo-

Ple followed him. And he reached his ship and stood upon the

Deck.

And facing the people again, he raised his voice and said:

People of Orphalese, the wind bids me leave you. Less hasty

Am I than the wind, yet I must go.

We wanderers, ever seeking the lonelier way, begin no day

Where we have ended another day; and no sunrise finds us

Where sunset left us. Even while the earth sleeps we travel.

We are the seeds of the tenacious plant, and it is in our ripe-

Ness and our fullness of heart that we are given to the wind

And are scattered.

Brief were my days among you, and briefer still the words I

Have spoken. But should my voice fade in your ears, and my

Love vanish in your memory, then I will come again, And with a richer heart and lips more yielding to the spirit

Will I speak. Yea, I shall return with the tide, And though

Death may hide me, and the greater silence enfold me, yet

Again will I seek your understanding.

And not in vain will I seek. If aught I have said is truth, that

Truth shall reveal itself in a clearer voice, and in words more

Kin to your thoughts.

I go with the wind, people of Orphalese, but not down into

Emptiness; And if this day is not a fulfilment of your needs

And my love, then let it be a promise till another day.

Man's needs change, but not his love, nor his desire that his

Love should satisfy his needs. Know, therefore, that from the

Greater silence I shall return.

The mist that drifts away at dawn, leaving but dew in the

Fields, shall rise and gather into a cloud and then fall down in

Rain. And not unlike the mist have I been.

In the stillness of the night I have walked in your streets, And my spirit has entered your houses, And your heart-beats

Were in my heart, and your breath was upon my face, and I

Knew you all.

Ay, I knew your joy and your pain, and in your sleep your

Dreams were my dreams. And oftentimes I was among you a

Lake among the mountains.

I mirrored the summits in you and the bending slopes, and

Even the passing flocks of your thoughts and your desires.

And to my silence came the laughter of your children in

Streams, and the longing of your youths in rivers.

And when they reached my depth the streams and the riv-

Ers ceased not yet to sing. But sweeter still than laughter and

Greater than longing came to me.

It was the boundless in you; The vast man in whom you are

All but cells and sinews; He in whose chant all your singing is

But a soundless throbbing. It is in the vast man that you are

Vast, And in beholding him that I beheld you and loved you.

For what distances can love reach that are not in that vast

Sphere? What visions, what expectations and what presump-

Tions can outsoar that flight?

Like a giant oak tree covered with apple blossoms is the vast

Man in you. His might binds you to the earth, his fragrance

Lifts you into space, and in his durability you are deathless.

You have been told that, even like a chain, you are as weak as

Your weakest link. This is but half the truth.

You are also as strong as your strongest link. To measure you

By your smallest deed is to reckon the power of ocean by the

Frailty of its foam.

To judge you by your failures is to cast blame upon the

Seasons for their inconstancy. Ay, you are like an ocean, And

Though heavy-grounded ships await the tide upon your shores, Yet, even like an ocean, you cannot hasten your tides.

And like the seasons you are also, And though in your

Winter you deny your spring, Yet spring, reposing within you, Smiles in her drowsiness and is not offended.

Think not I say these things in order that you may say the

One to the other, 'He praised us well. He saw but the good in

Us.' I only speak to you in words of that which you yourselves

Know in thought. And what is word knowledge but a shadow

Of wordless knowledge?

Your thoughts and my words are waves from a sealed mem-

Ory that keeps records of our yesterdays, And of the ancient

Days when the earth knew not us nor herself, And of nights

When earth was upwrought with confusion.

Wise men have come to you to give you of their wisdom. I

Came to take of your wisdom: And behold I have found that

Which is greater than wisdom.

It is a flame spirit in you ever gathering more of itself, While

You, heedless of its expansion, bewail the withering of your

Days. It is life in quest of life in bodies that fear the grave.

There are no graves here.

These mountains and plains are a cradle and a stepping-

Stone. Whenever you pass by the field where you have laid

Your ancestors look well thereupon, and you shall see your-

Selves and your children dancing hand in hand.

Verily you often make merry without knowing.

Others have come to you to whom for golden promises

Made unto your faith you have given but riches and power and

Glory. Less than a promise have I given, and yet more generous

Have you been to me. You have given me my deeper thirsting

After life.

Surely there is no greater gift to a man than that which turns

All his aims into parching lips and all life into a fountain. And

In this lies my honour and my reward, That whenever I come

To the fountain to drink I find the living water itself thirsty;

And it drinks me while I drink it.

Some of you have deemed me proud and over-shy to receive

Gifts. Too proud indeed am I to receive wages, but not gifts.

And though I have eaten berries among the hills when you

Would have had me sit at your board, And slept in the portico

Of the temple when you would gladly have sheltered me, Yet

It was not your loving mindfulness of my days and my nights

That made food sweet to my mouth and girdled my sleep with

Visions?

For this I bless you most: You give much and know not that

You give at all. Verily the kindness that gazes upon itself in

A mirror turns to stone, And a good deed that calls itself by

Tender names becomes the parent to a curse.

And some of you have called me aloof, and drunk with my

Own aloneness, And you have said, 'He holds council with the

Trees of the forest, but not with men. He sits alone on hill-tops

And looks down upon our city' True it is that I have climbed

The hills and walked in remote places.

How could I have seen you save from a great height or a

Great distance? How can one be indeed near unless he be far?

And others among you called unto me, not in words, and

They said: 'Stranger, stranger, lover of unreachable heights, Why dwell you among the summits where eagles build their

Nests?

Why seek you the unattainable? What storms would you

Trap in your net, And what vaporous birds do you hunt in the

Sky?

Come and be one of us. Descend and appease your hunger

With our bread and quench your thirst with our wine.' In the

Solitude of their souls they said these things;

But were their solitude deeper they would have known that I

Sought but the secret of your joy and your pain, And I hunted

Only your larger selves that walk the sky.

But the hunter was also the hunted; For many of my arrows

Left my bow only to seek my own breast. And the flier was also

The creeper; For when my wings were spread in the sun their

Shadow upon the earth was a turtle.

And I the believer was also the doubter; For often have I

Put my finger in my own wound that I might have the greater

Belief in you and the greater knowledge of you.

And it is with this belief and this knowledge that I say, You

Are not enclosed within your bodies, nor confined to houses

Or fields. That which is you dwells above the mountain and

Roves with the wind.

It is not a thing that crawls into the sun for warmth or digs

Holes into darkness for safety, But a thing free, a spirit that

Envelops the earth and moves in the ether.

If these be vague words, then seek not to clear them. Vague

And nebulous is the beginning of all things, but not their

End, And I fain would have you remember me as a beginning.

Life, and all that lives, is conceived in the mist and not in the

Crystal.

And who knows but a crystal is mist in decay? This would

I have you remember in remembering me: That which seems

Most feeble and bewildered in you is the strongest and most

Determined.

Is it not your breath that has erected and hardened the

Structure of your bones? And is it not a dream which none of

You remember having dreamt, that built your city and fash-

Ioned all there is in it?

Could you but see the tides of that breath you would cease

To see all else, And if you could hear the whispering of the

Dream you would hear no other sound. But you do not see, Nor do you hear, and it is well.

The veil that clouds your eyes shall be lifted by the hands

That wove it, And the clay that fills your ears shall be pierced

By those fingers that kneaded it.

And you shall see And you shall hear. Yet you shall not de-

Plore having known blindness, nor regret having been deaf.

For in that day you shall know the hidden purposes in all

Things, And you shall bless darkness as you would bless light.

After saying these things he looked about him, and he saw

The pilot of his ship standing by the helm and gazing now at

The full sails and now at the distance.

And he said: Patient, over-patient, is the captain of my ship.

The wind blows, and restless are the sails; Even the rudder

Begs direction; Yet quietly my captain awaits my silence.

And these my mariners, who have heard the choir of the

Greater sea, they too have heard me patiently. Now they shall

Wait no longer. I am ready.

The stream has reached the sea, and once more the great

Mother holds her son against her breast. Fare you well, people

Of Orphalese. This day has ended. It is closing upon us even as

The water-lily upon its own tomorrow.

What was given us here we shall keep, And if it suffices not, Then again must we come together and together stretch our

Hands unto the giver. Forget not that I shall come back to you.

A little while, and my longing shall gather dust and foam for

Another body. A little while, a moment of rest upon the wind, And another woman shall bear me. Farewell to you and the

Youth I have spent with you. It was but yesterday we met in a

Dream.

You have sung to me in my aloneness, and I of your longings

Have built a tower in the sky. But now our sleep has fled and

Our dream is over, and it is no longer dawn.

The noontide is upon us and our half waking has turned to

Fuller day, and we must part. If in the twilight of memory we

Should meet once more, we shall speak again together and you

Shall sing to me a deeper song. And if our hands should meet

In another dream we shall build another tower in the sky.

So saying he made a signal to the seamen, and straightaway

They weighed anchor and cast the ship loose from its moor-

Ings, and they moved eastward. And a cry came from the

People as from a single heart, and it rose into the dusk and was

Carried out over the sea like a great trumpeting.

Only Almitra was silent, gazing after the ship until it had

Vanished into the mist.

And when all the people were dispersed she still stood alone

Upon the sea-wall, remembering in her heart his saying: A

Little while, a moment of rest upon the wind, and another

Woman shall bear me.'

~38~

~39~

Gibran Khalil Gibran was born on January 6th, 1883 in the Turkish

Province of Northern Lebanon. In 1895 his family moved to the USA

And settled in Boston leaving his father behind in Lebanon.

Gibran's curiosity led him to the cultural side of Boston, which

Exposed him to the rich world of theatre, opera and artisitc galleries.

His creative talents caught the attention of his teachers who saw artistic

Future for the boy. They contacted Fred Holland Day, an artist and sup-

Porter of artists who opened up Gibran's cultural world and set him on

The road to artistic fame.

In 1904 Gibran had his first exhibition in Boston. From 1908 to 1910

He studied art in Paris with August Rodin. In 1912 he settled in New

York and devoted himself to writing and painting. It was here that

Gibran was to compose his most famous book The Prophet.

The Prophet speaks of the yearning for unity within us all. Through a

Series of twenty six poetic essays, he teaches us that only through Love

Can we truly acheive that unity.

Gibran died in New York in 1931, at the age of forty eight.

The Prophet has been translated into more than twenty languages, and

Is cited as the most widely read book of the twentieth century.

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