Ben Karshook's Wisdom

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Ben Karshook's Wisdom  (1856) 
by Robert Browning



"Would a man 'scape the rod?"
        Rabbi Ben Karshook saith,
"See that he turn to God
        The day before his death."

"Ay could a man enquire
        When it shall come!" I say,
The Rabbi's eye shoots fire—
        "Then let him turn to-day!"

Quoth a young Sadducee:
        "Reader of many rolls,
Is it so certain we
        Have, as they tell us, souls?"

"Son, there is no reply!"
        The Rabbi bit his beard:
"Certain, a soul have I
        We may have none," he sneer'd.

Thus Karshook, the Hiram's-Hammer,
        The Right-hand Temple-column,
Taught babes in grace their grammar,
        And struck the simple, solemn.


[Rome, April 27, 1854]