In the stillest hour of the night, as I lay half asleep, my seven
selves sat together and thus conversed in whisper:
First Self: Here, in this madman, I have dwelt all these years,
with naught to do but renew his pain by day and recreate his sorrow
by night. I can bear my fate no longer, and now I rebel.
Second Self: Yours is a better lot than mine, brother, for it is
given to me to be this madman’s joyous self. I laugh his laughter
and sing his happy hours, and with thrice winged feet I dance
his brighter thoughts. It is I that would rebel against my weary
Third Self: And what of me, the love-ridden self, the flaming brand
of wild passion and fantastic desires? It is I the love-sick self
who would rebel against this madman.
Fourth Self: I, amongst you all, am the most miserable, for naught
was given me but odious hatred and destructive loathing. It is
I, the tempest-like self, the one born in the black caves of Hell,
who would protest against serving this madman.
Fifth Self: Nay, it is I, the thinking self, the fanciful self,
the self of hunger and thirst, the one doomed to wander without
rest in search of unknown things and things not yet created; it is
I, not you, who would rebel.
Sixth Self: And I, the working self, the pitiful labourer, who,
with patient hands, and longing eyes, fashion the days into images
and give the formless elements new and eternal forms—it is I, the
solitary one, who would rebel against this restless madman.
Seventh Self: How strange that you all would rebel against this
man, because each and every one of you has a preordained fate to
fulfill. Ah! could I but be like one of you, a self with a determined
lot! But I have none, I am the do-nothing self, the one who sits
in the dumb, empty nowhere and nowhen, while you are busy re-creating
life. Is it you or I, neighbours, who should rebel?
When the seventh self thus spake the other six selves looked with
pity upon him but said nothing more; and as the night grew deeper
one after the other went to sleep enfolded with a new and happy
But the seventh self remained watching and gazing at nothingness,
which is behind all things.
Read Kahlil Gibran's Poems:
The Three Ants | Said a Blade of Grass | And When My Sorrow was Born | The Pomegranate | When My Sorrow Was Born | The Two Hermits | The Scarecrow | The Astronomer | War | The Blessed City | The Sleep-Walkers | The Eye & The Fox | The Great Longing | The Wise King | Ambition | The Good God and the Evil God & The Grave-Digger | The Perfect World | The Seven Selves | The Other Language | The Greater Sea | The Wise Dog | The Two Learned Men | My Friend | Crucified | Night and the Madman | Defeat | Faces | God