Rabbi ben Ezra

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"Rabbi ben Ezra" is a poem by Robert Browning about Abraham ibn Ezra (1092–1167), one of the great poets, mathematicians, and scholars of the 12th century. He wrote on grammar, astronomy, the astrolabe, etc.

The poem begins:

Grow old along with me!
The best is yet to be...

It is not a biography of Abraham ibn Ezra; like all of Browning's historical poems, it is a free interpretation of the idea that ibn Ezra's life and work suggests to Browning, theistic paradox, that good might lie in the inevitability of its absence:

For thence,—a paradox
Which comforts while it mocks,—
Shall life succeed in that it seems to fail:
What I aspired to be,
And was not, comforts me:
brute I might have been, but would not sink i' the scale.

The poem was published in Browning's Dramatis Personae in 1864.

The second line of the poem, 'The Best is Yet to Be', was adopted as the motto of the Anglo-Chinese Schools of Singapore, a family of schools founded as a Methodist Institution in 1886, and is a well-known, well-endowed education institution in Singapore.

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