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- Nathan the Wise - 5/43 -


To buy him friends -

RECHA.

Alas! my father.

NATHAN.

Lies Without advice, attendance, converse, pity, The prey of agony, of death -

RECHA.

Where--where?

NATHAN.

He, who, for one he never knew, or saw - It is enough for him he is a man - Plunged into fire.

DAYA.

O Nathan, Nathan, spare her.

NATHAN.

Who cared not to know aught of her he saved, Declined her presence to escape her thanks -

DAYA.

Do, spare her!

NATHAN.

Did not wish to see her more Unless it were a second time to save her - Enough for him he is a man -

DAYA.

Stop, look!

NATHAN.

He--he, in death, has nothing to console him, But the remembrance of this deed.

DAYA.

You kill her!

NATHAN.

And you kill him--or might have done at least - Recha 'tis medicine I give, not poison. He lives--come to thyself--may not be ill - Not even ill -

RECHA.

Surely not dead, not dead.

NATHAN.

Dead surely not--for God rewards the good Done here below, here too. Go; but remember How easier far devout enthusiasm is Than a good action; and how willingly Our indolence takes up with pious rapture, Tho' at the time unconscious of its end, Only to save the toil of useful deeds.

RECHA.

Oh never leave again thy child alone! - But can he not be only gone a journey?

NATHAN.

Yes, very likely. There's a Mussulman Numbering with curious eye my laden camels, Do you know who he is?

DAYA.

Oh, your old dervis.

NATHAN.

Who--who?

DAYA.

Your chess companion.

NATHAN.

That, Al-Hafi?

DAYA.

And now the treasurer of Saladin.

NATHAN.

Al-Hafi? Are you dreaming? How was this? In fact it is so. He seems coming hither. In with you quick.--What now am I to hear?

NATHAN and HAFI.

HAFI.

Aye, lift thine eyes in wonder.

NATHAN.

Is it you? A dervis so magnificent! -

HAFI.

Why not? Can nothing then be made out of a dervis?

NATHAN.

Yes, surely; but I have been wont to think A dervis, that's to say a thorough dervis, Will allow nothing to be made of him.

HAFI.

May-be 'tis true that I'm no thorough dervis; But by the prophet, when we must -

NATHAN.

Must, Hafi? Needs must--belongs to no man: and a dervis -

HAFI.

When he is much besought, and thinks it right, A dervis must.

NATHAN.

Well spoken, by our God! Embrace me, man, you're still, I trust, my friend.

HAFI.

Why not ask first what has been made of me?

NATHAN.

Ask climbers to look back!

HAFI.

And may I not Have grown to such a creature in the state That my old friendship is no longer welcome?

NATHAN.

If you still bear your dervis-heart about you I'll run the risk of that. Th' official robe Is but your cloak.

HAFI.

A cloak, that claims some honour. What think'st thou? At a court of thine how great Had been Al-Hafi?

NATHAN.

Nothing but a dervis. If more, perhaps--what shall I say--my cook.

HAFI.

In order to unlearn my native trade. Thy cook--why not thy butler too? The Sultan, He knows me better, I'm his treasurer.

NATHAN.

You, you?

HAFI.

Mistake not--of the lesser purse - His father manages the greater still - The purser of his household.


Nathan the Wise - 5/43

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