When difficulties happen to the wise,
In his affairs whence trouble may arise,
To his own sense he adds another's wit,
That aid he may procure in solving it.
Should with one candle the house not be bright,
He places in its midst another light.
For the right-seeing ones these words, forsooth,
For those who sit upon the seat of truth:
Not for the crooked-thinking, crooked face;
Crookedness between two such grows apace.
When Joseph's brothers conference began
In Joseph's matter to concoct a plan,
“He has through sorrow shed our blood,” one said:
“We need a stratagem his blood to shed.
“When a fierce foe one has in hand, and sure,
“By killing him one may be quite secure.”
One said: “Of wickedness this is the way,
“One innocent that we should think to slay.
“If we of cruelty should drive the steed,
“Are we not faithless* in his death indeed?
“To drive him from this house our only aim,
“Not that he die, or we should kill or maim.
“'Twere well he from our sire should far be led,
“Alone, deserted, in some valley dread—
“Some desert where but snares and beasts are had,
“With naught but wolves and foxes, good or bad,—
“But tears of hopelessness no water there,—
“Except the sun's round orb no loaf to share,—
“Except night's darkness where would be no shade,—
“No couch but what on thorns' sharp points was laid.
“For some time if on them to rest he lie,
“He of himself without doubt soon would die.
“Nor with his blood our swords would coloured be;
“From wound of tales and tricks we should be free.”
Another said: “'Tis death of other kind;
“Any worse death than this one could not find.
“I've heard 'tis best to perish with the knife,
“Not to yield up to thirst and hunger life.
“'Twere better, then, that we should seek and mark
“Some well, or far or near, but cramped and dark.
“There from his seat of honour will we throw
“Him with a hundred piercing slights below.
“Perhaps some caravan may see the place,
“And there may halt to rest themselves a space.
“Some one may lower in the well a cup,
“And in the place of water draw him up.
“Some one may take him as a son or slave,
“And make all haste to bear him off and save.
“Connected with this place he will not stay,
“Whilst that we injured him they cannot say.”
When thus was told the tale of that dark well,
They all themselves into it headlong fell.
Their own well of deceit they did not know,
And all without a rope went down below.
Moving as hypocrites their father's heart,
In lying they agreed to bear their part.
To their own business then they went their way,—
Postponing this until another day.