A Persian Fable

A Persian fable says: One day
A wanderer found a lump of clay
So redolent of sweet perfume
Its odors scented all the room.

‘What are thou?’ was his quick demand,
‘Art thou some gem from Samarcand,
Or spikenard in this rude disguise,
Or other costly merchandise?’

‘Nay: I am but a lump of clay.’
‘Then whence this wondrous perfume–say!’
‘Friend, if the secret I disclose,
I have been dwelling with the Rose.’

Sweet parable! and will not those
Who love to dwell with Sharon’s Rose,
Distil sweet odors all around,
Though low and mean themselves are found?
Dear Lord, abide with us that we
May draw our perfume fresh from Thee.

Source: Streams in the Desert, L. B. Cowman, September 15 entry.

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