The Spike: or, Victoria College Review, October 1908
The Cadi's Seat
The Cadi's Seat.
God has placed conscience within you to determine,—no like an Asiatic Cadi, according to the ebbs and flows of his own passions; but like a judge,—who makes no new law, but faithfully declares that glorious law which he finds already written.—Sterne.
The Cadi's seat of Mercy, carven stone.
The spider looped alooft, with death alone,
May marvel where is he that prizeth blood
As rich as doth a spider in a flood
Of recollections of dead flies. Perhaps
A spider can't remember every lapse
To murder. True—'tis his vocation. Stay!
It can't be wrong to follow Nature's way.
The Cadi's seat of justice. Oh, forlorn
To look for any grape on any thorn.
If Justice has abiding seat within
This portico, she never ventures in;
To shut her voluntary eyes that seal
More than a jurist ever can reveal.
The Cadi, and the Prophet—that is just!
Not any flaw, not any crack for dust
To mar the balance! Dreams, poor fellaheen,
Too subtle for the Cadi! You have seen
page 71 The right become the wrong, the innocent
More black in soul than ever soul was meant.
Your blood has spouted like a water-rose;
The Cadi has decided—and he goes.
There's a bird twittering in a bough. You think
He never has a thought but meat and drink,
Though Summer's calling to the world asleep
Save for the wind and its twin slave the deep.
But be has little recollections stored,
And fear is with them. Somewhere is a lord
To tear his entrails. Not a thing that dies
So loose but has uncounted agonies.
And there's your soul—the Cadi who directs
Your right and wrong, and warps too many texts
To fit your inclination. You have made,
So carelessly you could not be afraid,
A murder of a tender heart that went
Singing for you in loveliest content.
Oh, specious Cadi of the breast, to hold
Our wishes to be truth, to see the gold
In the debasing lead; to find a flaw
In reprobating Duty that would draw
Higher than any sunbeam! Too austere
For creeping minds God's silver atmosphere.
Ah, there is no appeal: when you decide
To touch the grossness goodness is defied.
What wickedness is made the precedent
For every dirty hour that you have spent!
"Thus others do, and no one marks the slur
Dimming the conscience. If I do prefer
The hard, bare line of Duty, will it be
Counted for profit in eternity?
Palabra! Let my spirit take her wings
Of uncontrollable delight in things,
No matter right or wrong?" Oh, barren judge,
Too wordy for the wisdom that doth grudge
More than the word appointed; you have made,
With your deceit and lying, Truth afraid.
What star shall shine for you if Earth allure?
The Cadi's seat within you—Is it pure?