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I came out alone on my way to my tryst.  But who is this that

follows me in the silent dark?

I move aside to avoid his presence but I escape him not.

He makes the dust rise from the earth with his swagger; he adds

his loud voice to every word that I utter.

He is my own little self, my lord, he knows no shame; but I am

ashamed to come to thy door in his company.

‘Prisoner, tell me, who was it that bound you?’

‘It was my master,’ said the prisoner.  ‘I thought I could outdo

everybody in the world in wealth and power, and I amassed in my

own treasure-house the money due to my king.  When sleep overcame

me I lay upon the bed that was for my lord, and on waking up I

found I was a prisoner in my own treasure-house.’

‘Prisoner, tell me, who was it that wrought this unbreakable


‘It was I,’ said the prisoner, ‘who forged this chain very

carefully.  I thought my invincible power would hold the world

captive leaving me in a freedom undisturbed.  Thus night and day

I worked at the chain with huge fires and cruel hard strokes.

When at last the work was done and the links were complete and

unbreakable, I found that it held me in its grip.’

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From: GITANJALI – ‘Song Offerings’



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