In which calm home of happy life and love
Ligged our Lord Buddha, knowing not of woe,
Nor want, nor pain, nor plague, nor age, nor death,
Save as when sleepers roam dim seas in dreams,
And land awearied on the shores of day,
Bringing strange merchandise from that black voyage.
Thus ofttimes when he lay with gentle head
Lulled on the dark breasts of Yasôdhara,
Her fond hands fanning slow his sleeping lids,
He would start up and cry, My world! Oh, world!
I hear! I know! I come ! And she would ask,
‘What ails my Lord?’ with large eyes terror-struck
For at such times the pity in his look
Was awful, and his visage like a god’s.
Then would he smile again to stay her tears,
And bid the vinas sound; but once they set
A stringed gourd on the sill, there where the wind
Could linger o’er its notes and play at will –
Wild music makes the wind on silver strings –
And those who lay around heard only that;
But Prince Siddârtha heard the Devas play,
And to his ears they sang such words as these: –
We are the voices of the wandering wind,
Which moan for rest and rest can never find;
Lo! as the wind is so is mortal life,
A moan , a sigh, a sob, a storm, a strife.
Wherefore and whence we are ye cannot know,
Nor where life springs nor whither life doth go:
We are as ye are, ghosts from the inane.
… Read the full poem by Edwin Arnold, born this day in 1832