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I understand. Proceed.

From son to son,

The ring at length descended to a sire
Who had three sons, alike obedient to him,
And whom he loved with just and equal love.
The first, the second, and the third, in turn,
According as they each apart received.
The overflowings of his heart, appeared
Most worthy, as his heir, to take the ring,
Which, with good-natured weakness, he in turn
Had promised privately to each; and thus
Things lasted for a while. But death approached,
The father now embarrassed, could not bear
To disappoint two sons, who trusted him.
What's to be done? In secret he commands
The jeweler to come, that from the form
Of the true ring, he may bespeak two more.
Nor cost nor pains are to be spared, to make
The rings alike—quite like the true one.
The artist managed. When the rings were brought
The father's eye could not distinguish which
Had been the model. Overjoyed, he calls
His sons, takes leave of each apart - bestows
His blessing and his ring on each and dies.
You hear me?

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Saladin [who has turned away in perplexity]





Ay! I hear. Conclude the tale.

'Tis ended, Sultan! All that follows next
May well be guessed. Scarce is the father dead,
When with his ring each separate son appears,
And claims to be the lord of all the house.

Question arises, tumult and debate

But all in vain -the true ring could no more

Be then distinguished than-[after a pause, in which he awaits the Sultan's reply] the true faith now.

Is that your answer to my question?

But it may serve as my apology.


I cannot venture to decide between
Rings which the father had expressly made,
To baffle those who would distinguish them.


Rings, Nathan! Come, a truce to this! The creeds
Which I have named have broad, distinctive marks,
Differing in raiment, food, and drink!






'Tis true!

But then they differ not in their foundation.
Are not all built on history alike,
Traditional or written?


Must be received on trust. Is it not so?

In whom are we most likely to put trust?

In our own people? in those very men

Whose blood we are? who, from our earliest youth,
Have proved their love for us, have ne'er deceived,
Except in cases where 'twere better so?

Why should I credit my forefathers less
Than you do yours? or can I ask of you

To charge your ancestors with falsehood, that
The praise of truth may be bestowed on mine?
And so of Christians.

By our Prophet's faith,
The man is right. I have no more to say.

Now let us to our rings once more return.
We said the sons complained; each to the judge
Swore from his father's hand immediately
To have received the ring as was the case

In virtue of a promise that he should

One day enjoy the ring's prerogative.

In this they spoke the truth. Then each maintained

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His father had been false. Each could not think

His father guilty of an act so base.

Rather than that, reluctant as he was

To judge his brethren, he must yet declare
Some treach'rous act of falsehood had been done.

Well! and the judge? I'm curious now to hear
What you will make him say. Go on, go on!

The judge said: If the father is not brought
Before my seat, I cannot judge the case.
Am I to judge enigmas? Do you think
That the true ring will here unseal its lips?
But, hold! You tell me that the real ring
Enjoys the secret power to make the man

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Who wears it, both by God and man beloved.
Let that decide. Who of the three is loved
Best by his brethren? Is there no reply?
What do these love-exciting rings alone
Act inwardly? Have they no outward charm?
Does each one love himself alone? You're all
Deceived deceivers. All your rings are false.
The real ring, perchance, has disappeared;
And so your father, to supply the loss,
Has caused three rings to fill the place of one.
Saladin -


O, charming, charming!

And, the judge continued,
If you insist on judgment, and refuse
My counsel, be it so. I recommend
That you consider how the matter stands.
Each from his father has received a ring:
Let each then think the real ring his own.
Your father, possibly, desired to free
His power from one ring's tyrannous control.
He loved you all with an impartial love,
And equally, and had no inward wish
To prove the measure of his love for one
By pressing heavily upon the rest.
Therefore, let each one imitate this love;
So, free from prejudice, let each one aim
To emulate his brethren in the strife
To prove the virtues of his several ring,

By offices of kindness and of love,

And trust in God. And if, in years to come,

The virtues of the ring shall reappear

Amongst your children's children, then, once more

Come to this judgment seat. A greater far

Than I shall sit upon it, and

So spake the modest judge.

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O God, O God!

And if now, Saladin, you think you're he

Saladin [approaches NATHAN and takes his hand, which he retains to the end of the scene]

This promised judge-I?-Dust! I?-Naught! O God!


What is the matter, Sultan?


Dearest Nathan!

That judge's thousand years are not yet past;

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I have been trav'ling, and am just returned
From a long journey, from collecting debts.
Hard cash is troublesome these perilous times,
I know not where I may bestow it safely.
These coming wars need money; and, perchance,
You can employ it for me, Saladin ?

Saladin [fixing his eyes upon NATHAN] -—

I ask not, Nathan, have you seen Al-Hafi?
Nor if some shrewd suspicion of your own
Moves you to make this offer.

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What suspicion?

- it is just,

I do not ask forgive me,
For what avails concealment?
I was about


I confess

To ask this very thing?

Then our objects are at once fulfilled.


(From "Narrative of Cook's Voyages," by A. Kippis.)

THE circumstances which brought Captain Cook back to Karakakooa Bay, and the unhappy consequences that followed, I shall give from Mr. Samwell's narrative of his death. This narrative was, in the most obliging manner, communicated to me in manuscript, by Mr. Samwell, with entire liberty to make such use of it as I should judge proper. Upon a perusal of it, its importance struck me in so strong a light that I wished to have it separately laid before the world. Accordingly, with Mr. Samwell's concurrence, I procured its publication, that, if any objections should be made to it, I might be able to notice them in my own work. As the narrative had continued for more than two years unimpeached and uncontradicted, I esteem myself fully authorized to insert it in this place, as containing the most complete and authentic account of the melancholy catastrophe which, at Owyhee, befell our illustrious navigator and commander.

"On the 6th [February, 1779] we were overtaken by a gale of wind, and the next night the 'Resolution' had the misfortune of springing the head of the foremast in such a dangerous manner that Captain Cook was obliged to return to Keragegooah in order to have it repaired; for we could find no other convenient harbor on the island. The same gale had occasioned much distress among some canoes that had paid us a visit from the shore. One of them, with two men and a child on board, was picked up by the 'Resolution,' and rescued from destruction: the men, having toiled hard all night in attempting to reach the land, were so much exhausted that they could hardly mount the ship's side. When they got upon the quarterdeck, they burst into tears, and seemed much affected with the dangerous situation from which they had escaped; but the little child appeared lively and cheerful. One of the 'Resolution's' boats was also so fortunate as to save a man and two women, whose canoe had been upset by the violence of the waves. They were brought on board and, with the others, partook of the kindness and humanity of Captain Cook.

"On the morning of Wednesday, the 10th, we were within a few miles of the harbor, and were soon joined by several

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