Public Domain Day

The Prophet

A beloved book of prose-poetry by Lebanese-American writer Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet has been translated into well over 100 languages and has not been out of print since its publication in 1923. Despite never being a particular hit with literary critics, The Prophet continued to find audiences, especially during the Great Depression and the 1960s, sometimes referred to as the "Bible of the Counterculture."

First edition cover of The Prophet
Portrait of Kahlil Gibran

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Full electronic text available from Project Gutenberg Australia

An excerpt from Kahlil Gibran's The Prophet "On Teaching"

Then said a teacher, Speak to us of Teaching.

And he said:

No man can reveal to you aught but that which already lies half asleep in the dawning of your knowledge.

The teacher who walks in the shadow of the temple, among his followers, gives not of his wisdom but rather of his faith and his lovingness.

If he is indeed wise he does not bid you enter the house of his wisdom, but rather leads you to the threshold of your own mind.

The astronomer may speak to you of his understanding of space, but he cannot give you his understanding.

The musician may sing to you of the rhythm which is in all space, but he cannot give you the ear which arrests the rhythm, nor the voice that echoes it.

And he who is versed in the science of numbers can tell of the regions of weight and measure, but he cannot conduct you thither.

For the vision of one man lends not its wings to another man.

And even as each one of you stands alone in God’s knowledge, so must each one of you be alone in his knowledge of God and in his understanding of the earth.

A community-contributed audiobook from the Internet Archive

An animated film adaptation was released in 2015