Author: James Russell Lowell [More Titles by Lowell]
A stranger came one night to Yussouf's tent,
Saying, 'Behold one outcast and in dread,
Against whose life the bow of power is bent,
Who flies, and hath not where to lay his head;
I come to thee for shelter and for food,
To Yussouf, called through all our tribes "The Good."
'This tent is mine,' said Yussouf, 'but no more
Than it is God's come in and be at peace;
Freely shall thou partake of all my store
As I of His who buildeth over these
Our tents his glorious roof of night and day,
And at whose door none ever yet heard Nay.'
So Yussouf entertained his guest that night,
And, waking him ere day, said: 'Here is gold;
My swiftest horse is saddled for thy flight;
Depart before the prying day grow bold.'
As one lamp lights another, nor grows less,
So nobleness enkindleth nobleness.
That inward light the stranger's face made grand,
Which shines from all self-conquest; kneeling low,
He bowed his forehead upon Yussouf's hand,
Sobbing: 'O Sheik, I cannot leave thee so;
I will repay thee; all this thou hast done
Unto that Ibrahim who slew thy son!'
'Take thrice the gold,' said Yussouf 'for with thee
Into the desert, never to return,
My one black thought shall ride away from me;
First-born, for whom by day and night I yearn,
Balanced and just are all of God's decrees;
Thou art avenged, my first-born, sleep in peace!'
Yussouf is a sort of a moral story written in the form of a beautiful poem. The poet has hidden the theme of his poem in itself. In the heart of Ibrahim, the murderer and outlaw, Yussouf's kindness awakened the feelings which had long been dormant and moved him to make his confession.
On a pleasant and quiet night, a desperate stranger goes to the tent of Yussouf. He begs Yussouf to protect him from the enemies who were after him. Yussouf readily grants what he wants.
He tells him to behave...