The Beginning of the Brothers’ Envy.

Whilst Joseph exalted his head in beauty,
He became dearer and dearer to the heart of Jacob;
He kept him in his eye like the pupil of his eye,
And closed his eyes to the other brothers.
He so preferred him to his special favours,
That every moment their envy increased more and more.
There stood a tree within the court of his dwelling,
Augmenting delight by its freedom and beauty,*
Clothed in green like the brethren of the Oratory,
And like them ever moving in the ecstasy of devotion.
It stood rooted in the soil of stateliness,
And cast on the ground the shadow of luxuriance;
Every leaf was a tongue uttering praises,
Like one who keepeth reciting—“In the name of God.”
The boughs climbed higher than the pinnacle of the roof,
And Angels nestled like birds in its branches.
With every son which the Lord gave him,
From that tree, gladsome as the sidra-tree of Paradise.—*
At the same moment sprouted out a fresh shoot,
Which waxed stronger and stronger as he grew in stature;
And as each arrived at the age of manhood
His father would give from it a green staff into his hand;
Except to Joseph; for to the greatness of his destiny
A staff from that tree he deemed an unworthy present:
He was a sapling in the garden of spirits,
To whom a staff of wood was all too common.

But Joseph is not content to be so passed over, and the ambitious and presuming youth beseeches his father to pray to God to grant him a staff from the sidra-tree itself:

Which from the season of youth to that of old age
May yield him support wheresoever he may be,
And give him on the field of exercise or combat
A marked superiority over all his brethren.

The prayer is granted to Jacob’s earnest and humble supplication, and the angel brings the sought for boon, which of course only increases the jealousy of the brothers.