A stripling Bonze (from Eastern clime
We bring the tale we have to tell)
Was standing, once upon a time,
Beside the margin of a well.
Down which he peer'd him wistfully,
As if all deeply pondering
On matter which therein might be,
Some curious or some precious thing.
There while he paused, an old Fakir
Observing, as he wandered by,
Thus spake him, 'What dost thou do here?
To whom the stripling made reply.
'Good Father! I have heard them tell
How truth, our angel-friend in doubt,
Doth hold her dwelling in a well,
And I full fain would win her out.'
'Nay, prythee, Boy! lift not that rope,
If grey experience may advise.
The very best we e'er may hope
From truth, when won, is compromise.'
'Or, scorning that, make sure, fond youth!
Thou now art sowing years of strife.
Who needs will battle for the truth
Shall lead a mighty sorry life.'
The stripling heard; the rope let go;
And never from that hour applied
To such unthankful task; and lo!
Became Chief Bonze before he died.