Verse > Anthologies > Joseph Friedlander, comp. > The Standard Book of Jewish Verse
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Joseph Friedlander, comp.  The Standard Book of Jewish Verse.  1917.
 
A Song of Redemption
By Solomon Ibn Gabirol (Trans. Nina Davis)
 
CAPTIVE of sorrow on a foreign shore,
A handmaid as ’neath Egypt’s slavery;
Through the dark day of her bereavement sore
      She looketh unto Thee.
Restore her sons, O Mighty One of old!        5
Her remnant tenth shall cause man’s strife to cease.
O speed the message; swiftly be she told
Good tidings, which Elijah shall unfold:
Daughter of Zion, sing aloud! behold
      Thy Prince of Peace!        10
 
Wherefore wilt Thou forget us, Lord, for aye?
      Mercy we crave!
O Lord, we hope in Thee alway,
      Our King will save!
 
Surely a limit boundeth every woe,        15
But mine enduring anguish hath no end;
My grievous years are spent in ceaseless flow,
      My wound hath no amend.
O’erwhelmed, my helm doth fail, no hand is strong
To steer the bark to port, her longed for aim.        20
How long, O Lord, wilt Thou my doom prolong?
When shall be heard the dove’s sweet voice of song?
O leave us not to perish for our wrong,
      Who bear Thy Name!
 
Wherefore wilt Thou forget us, Lord, for aye?        25
      Mercy we crave!
O Lord, we hope in Thee alway,
      Our King will save!
 
Wounded and crushed, beneath my load I sigh,
Despised and abject, outcast, trampled low;        30
How long, O Lord, shall I of violence cry,
      My heart dissolve with woe?
How many years, without a gleam of light,
Has thraldom been our lot, our portion pain!
With Ishmael as a lion in his might,        35
And Persia as an owl of darksome night,
Beset on either side, behold our plight
      Betwixt the twain.
 
Wherefore wilt Thou forget us, Lord, for aye?
      Mercy we crave!        40
O Lord, we hope in Thee alway,
      Our King will save!
 
      Is this Thy voice?
The voice of captive Ariel’s woe unhealed?
Virgin of Israel, arise, rejoice!        45
In Daniel’s vision, lo, the end is sealed
      When Michael on the height
      Shall stand aloft in strength,
      And shout aloud in might,
And a Redeemer come to Zion at length.        50
      Amen, amen, behold
      The Lord’s decree foretold.
E’en as Thou hast our souls afflicted sore,
So wilt Thou make us glad for evermore!
 
Wherefore wilt Thou forget us, Lord, for aye?        55
      Mercy we crave!
O Lord, we hope in Thee alway,
      Our King will save!
 
 
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