Stops of Various Quills/Parable

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Parable by William Dean Howells
illustrations by Howard Pyle


Howells, Stops of Various Quills, 1895 051 large a.jpg

PARABLE


THE young man who had
 great possessions dreamed
That once again he came to
 Christ and seemed
To hear Him making answer as
 before,
"Sell all thou hast and give unto the
 poor,
And come and follow me." And now
 he did
In all immediately as Jesus bid.

Then some of them to whom he
 gave his wealth
Mocked at him for a fool or mad, by
 stealth
Or openly; and others he could see
Wasting his substance with a
 spendthrift glee;


And others yet were tempted, and drawn in
The ways of sin that had not dreamed of sin:
Others, besides, that took were robbed and killed:
Some that had toiled their whole lives were unwilled
By riches, and began the life accurst
Of idleness, like rich men from the first.
Some hid his money in the earth, a root
From which should grow a flower of deadly fruit;
Some kept, and put it out at usury,
And made men slaves with it that had been free.

The young man's dream was broken with his grief,
And he awoke to his immense relief,
And wept for joy, and cried, "He could not know
What dire results from His behests would flow!
I must not follow Him, but I can fulfil
The spirit, if not the letter, of His will.




Howells, Stops of Various Quills, 1895 053 large a.jpg


Seeing the things I have been shown in sleep,
I realize how much better 'twere to keep
The means that Providence has bestowed on me,
Doubtless for some wise purpose, and to be
The humble agency and instrument
Of good to others not intelligent
Enough to use the gifts of God aright."
He rose up with a heart at peace, and light;
And thenceforth none of the Deserving Poor
Ever went empty-handed from his door.


Howells, Stops of Various Quills, 1895 055 large a.jpg