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As it would do. But when he neared his death,
The kindly father was most sore perplexed.
It gave him pain to grieve two of his sons,
Who on his word relied. What should he do?
In secret to a jeweler he sends,

And orders him to make two other rings
According to the pattern of the first.

And bids him spare nor cost nor toil, that they
May prove to be alike and just like it.

The jeweler in this succeeds so well,

That when he brings the rings, the model ring
Not e'en the father longer can discern.
With joy he calls his sons, each one apart,
And gives to each his blessing and his ring-
And dies. Thou hear'st me, Sultan?
Saladin [who has turned away astonished]- Yes, I hear!
Make haste and bring thy story to an end.
Will it be

But love alike. Only from time to time
Now this one, now the other, now the third-
As each might chance to be alone with him,
And his effusive heart the other two


Did not divide seemed worthier of the ring,
Which through fond weakness he'd to each of them
Promised in turn. Thus it went on as long

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Already I have ended;
For what is still to follow, comes of course.
Scarce was the father dead, when each son comes
And brings his ring, and each would of the house
Be lord. They search, they quarrel, they accuse:
In vain; the right ring could not now be proved,
[After a pause, in which he awaits the Sultan's answer]
Almost as little as to us can be
The right belief.

The answer to my question?

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It shall serve
Merely as my excuse, if I presume
Not to discriminate between the rings
The father ordered made with the intent
That they should indiscriminate remain.

Saladin-The rings! Sport not with me! I should have thought

That the religions, which I named to thee,
Were easy to distinguish, e'en to dress
And e'en to meat and drink.


Saladin [aside].

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But only not

As to the grounds on which they're thought to rest.
For are they not all based on history,
Traditional or written? And history
Must be received on trust is it not so?
In whom now are we likeliest to trust?
In our own people, surely; in those men
Whose blood we are, and who from infancy
Have proved their love and never us deceived,
Unless 'twere wholesomer to be deceived.
How can I my forefathers less believe
Than thou dost thine? Or on the other hand,
Can ask of thee to say thy fathers lied,
In order not to contradict my own?
The same is true of Christians

is it not?

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Now by the living God, the man is right,
And I'm struck dumb.

Now to our rings let us
Return. As I have said, the sons brought suit
Against each other, and before the judge
Each truly swore that he'd received the ring
Directly from his father's hand, and swore—
Not the less true that also long before
He had by him been solemnly assured
That he one day the ring's prerogative
Should certainly enjoy. And each declared
The father ne'er could have been false to him.
Ere such a loving father he'd suspect,
He'd sooner charge his brothers with foul play,
Though hitherto of them the very best
He always had been ready to believe;
And now he wished to find the traitors out,
That he might on them be avenged.

And now The judge? I long to hear what thou wilt make The judge reply. Relate!

The judge spoke thus:-
"If you the father cannot soon produce,
Then I dismiss you from my judgment-seat.
Think you that to solve riddles I sit here?
Or wait you till the right ring opes its mouth?
Yet stay! I hear the right ring doth possess
The magic power of making one beloved,
To God and man well pleasing. That alone

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For surely the false rings
Now whom love two of you

Must now decide.
Will fail in that.
The most? Make haste and speak! Why are you mute?
It's only inward that the rings do work,

Not outward? Does each one love himself the most?
Deceived deceivers are you then all three!
And of your rings all three are not the true.
Presumably the true ring being lost,
The father to conceal or to repair
The loss had three rings made for one."

Grand! grand!


Nathan-And thereupon the judge went on to say:
"If you'll, instead of sentence, take advice,
This is my counsel: Let the matter rest
Just as it lies. If each of you has had
A ring presented by his father, then
Let each believe his own the genuine ring.
'Tis possible the father did not wish

To suffer any longer in his house

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The one ring's tyranny! And certainly,

As he all three did love, and all alike,

He would not willingly oppress the two

To favor one. Well, then! Let each one strive

To imitate that love, so pure and free
From prejudice! Let each one vie with each
In showing forth the virtue of the stone
That's in his ring! Let him assist its might
With gentleness, forbearance, love of peace,
And with sincere submission to his God!
And if the virtues of the stones remain,

And in your children's children prove their power,
After a thousand years have passed

Let them appear again before this seat.

A wiser man than I will then sit here

And speak. Depart!" Thus said the modest judge.


(From "Eine Duplik.")

I KNOW not whether it be a duty to offer up fortune and life to the truth: certainly the courage and resolution necessary to such a sacrifice are not gifts which we can bestow upon ourselves. But I know it is a duty, if one undertake to teach the truth, to teach the whole of it or none at all, to teach it clearly

and roundly, without enigmas or reserves, and with perfect confidence in its efficacy and utility; and the gifts required for such a decision are in our power. Whoever will not acquire these, or when acquired will not use them, shows that he has a very poor opinion of the human intellect; and he deserves to lose the confidence of his hearers, who, while he frees them from some gross errors, yet withholds the entire truth, and thinks to satisfy them by a compromise with falsehood. For the greater the error, the shorter and straighter the way to the truth. On the other hand, subtle error can prevent our recognition of its nature, and forever blind us to the truth.

The man who is faithless to Truth in threatening dangers, may yet love her much; and Truth forgives him his infidelity for the sake of his love. But whosoever thinks of prostituting Truth under all sorts of masks and rouge, may indeed be her pimp, but he has never been her lover.

Not the truth of which any one is, or supposes himself to be, possessed, but the upright endeavor he has made to arrive at truth, makes the worth of the man. For not by the possession but by the pursuit of truth are his powers expanded, wherein alone his ever-growing perfection consists. Possession makes us easy, indolent, proud.

If God held all truth shut in his right hand, and in his left nothing but the ever-restless search after truth, although with the condition of for ever and ever erring, and should say to me, "Choose!" I should bow humbly to his left hand and say, Father, give! pure truth is for Thee alone!"



WHAT is called a heretic has a very good side. It is a man who wishes to see with his own eyes. The only question is whether he has good eyes. In certain ages the name of heretic is the best title that a scholar can transmit to posterity; far better than that of sorcerer, magian, exorcist, for these serve to conceal many an impostor.


IF it be true that painting uses for its imitations wholly different means or signs from poetry, namely, forms and colors in space instead of articulate tones in time, if it be incontestable that these signs must bear a suitable relation to the thing signified, then coexistent signs can represent only coexistent objects, and successive signs only successive objects.

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Coexistent objects are called bodies; consequently bodies with their visible attributes are the proper objects of painting. Successive objects are called in general actions; consequently actions are the proper objects of poetry.

Bodies exist, however, not only in space, but also in time. They continue, and at every moment of their duration appear differently and in different relations to each other. Each of these momentary appearances and relations is the effect of a preceding and can be the cause of a succeeding one, and therefore the center of an action; consequently painting can imitate actions, but only suggestively through bodies.

On the other hand, actions cannot exist in themselves, but must inhere in certain beings. So far as these beings are bodies or are regarded as bodies, poetry describes bodies, but only suggestively through actions.

Painting can use in its coexistent compositions only a single moment of the action; and must therefore choose the most pregnant one, which will render what precedes and follows most comprehensible.

In like manner poetry in its progressive imitations can use only a single property of bodies; and must therefore choose the one that awakens the most sensible image of the body, for the purpose to which it is to be put.

Hence the rule of singleness in picturesque epithets and of frugality in descriptions of material objects.

I should have less confidence in this dry deduction, if it were not fully confirmed by the practice of Homer; or if it were not rather the practice of Homer, from which I have derived it. The grand style of the Greeks can be determined and elucidated only by these principles, which are also justified by the opposite style of so many modern poets, who wish to vie with the

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