Introduction

The biblical figures Joseph and Abraham are identical to Yussouf and Ibrahim in the Holy Quran. In the Book of Genesis in the Bible, Joseph plays a significant role. He was the first of Jacob and Rachel’s two sons. A descendant of both the Israelites and the Ishmaelite Arabs, Abraham was a prophet and a messenger of God. In Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, Abraham is frequently used as a symbol of faith. Both of them are significant figures in both the Bible and the Holy Quran.

About The Poet

American Romantic poet, critic, editor, and diplomat James Russell Lowell also served as a minister. He is linked to the New England authors known as the “fireside poets,” who were among the first American poets to match the prestige of British poets. He also thought that poetry is a method of social revolution. So, in order to bring about change, he wrote poems. After graduating from Harvard College in 1838, Lowell pursued a legal education at Harvard Law School. In 1842, he released the first volume of his poems.

Theme Of The Poem

Kindness, compassion, and belief in God’s judgment are the themes of the poem. This poem depicts a compassionate individual, Prophet Yussouf. Despite experiencing a personal loss associated to the stranger, he provided food and accommodation to the stranger. He put his feelings aside and assisted the stranger in saving his life, displaying his virtue.

Stanza 1

A stranger came one night to Yussouf’s tent,
Saying, “Behold one outcast and in dread,
Against whose life the bow of power is bent,
Who flies, and hath not where to lay his head;
I come to thee for shelter and for food,
To Yussouf, called through all our tribes, “The Good.”

One night, a stranger stopped by Yussouf’s tent. He claimed to be despised and an outcast. He was being chased by enemies. He admitted to Yussouf that he had nowhere to go. For at least the night, he requested food and shelter from Yussouf. The poet also states that the tribes referred to Yussouf as “The Good.”

Stanza 2

“The tent is mine,” said Yussouf, “but no more
Than it is God’s; come in, and be at peace;
Freely shalt thou partake of all my store
As I of His who buildeth over these
Our tents His glorious roof of night and day,
And at whose door none ever yet heard Nay.”

Yussouf pledged to help. According to him, the man at his door had the same right to utilize everything, including the tent, since it was all God’s property. Yussouf told the man that he may freely consume all of his supplies, just as he did with His, who constructed the magnificent roof that covers these tents day and night and whose door no one has ever heard say no.

Stanza 3

So Yussouf entertained his guest that night,
And, waking him ere day, said: “Here is gold,
My swiftest horse is saddled for thy flight,
Depart before the prying day grow bold.”
As one lamp lights another, nor grows less,
So nobleness enkindleth nobleness:

The stranger was given a roof and refuge by Yussouf as a gesture of kindness. The following day, Yussouf handed the stranger some money and his fastest horse. He instructed him to leave his home before dawn. Kindness has the power to transform people. It also encourages others to be kind. He added a phrase that was incredibly powerful: ” As one lamp lights another, nor grows less, So nobleness enkindleth nobleness.”

Stanza 4

That inward light the stranger’s face made grand,
Which shines from all self-conquest; kneeling low,
He bowed his forehead upon Yussouf’s hand,
Sobbing : “O Sheik, I cannot leave thee so;
I will repay thee: all this thou hast done
Unto that Ibrahim who slew thy son!”

The face of the stranger was imbued with a great inner glow that springs from inner consciousness. He was tremendously impacted by Yussouf’s generosity. He was accountable for the death of Youssouf’s son. Kneeling down, he placed his forehead on Youssouf’s palm while sobbing, “O Sheik, I cannot leave thee.”   He expressed sorrow for his actions and begged for pardon. In addition, he vowed to repay Yussouf with all he had.

Stanza 5

“Take thrice the gold, “said Yussouf, “for with thee
Into the desert, never to return,
My one black thought shall ride away from me :
First-born, for whom by day and night I yearn,
Balanced and just are all of God’s decrees;
Thou art avenged, my first-born, sleep in peace!”

Ibrahim was instructed to leave with three times as much gold by Yussouf. He informed him that a dark thought had now been erased. He admitted to Ibrahim that despite his constant longing for his son, he nonetheless had the belief that all of God’s edicts were fair and balanced. So instead of being upset at that specific time, he offered more gold. Yussouf assured his departed son that he had been requited and could now rest in peace.