Ben Karshook’s Wisdom

A poem 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

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