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.
 
Making of Man
By Edwin Arnold
 
AL-MUZAWWIR! the “Fashioner!” say thus;
Still lauding Him who hath compounded us:
When the Lord would fashion men,
  Spake He in the Angels’ hearing,
“Lo! Our will is there shall be        5
  On the earth a creature bearing
Rule and royalty. Today
We will shape a man from clay.”
 
Spake the Angels, “Wilt Thou make
  Man who must forget his Maker,        10
Working evil, shedding blood,
  Of Thy precepts the forsaker?
But Thou knowest all, and we
Celebrate Thy majesty.”
 
Answered Allah, “Yea! I know        15
  What ye know not of this making;
Gabriel! Michael! Israfel!
  Go down to the earth, and taking
Seven clods of colors seven,
Bring them unto Me in Heaven.        20
Then those holy Angels three,
  Spread their pinions and descended;
Seeking clods of diverse clay,
  That all colors might be blended;
Yellow, tawny, dun, black, brown,        25
White and red as men are known.
But the earth spake sore afraid,
  “Angels! of my substance take not,
Give me back my dust and pray
  That the dread Creator make not        30
Man, for he will sin and bring
Wrath on me and suffering.”
Therefore, empty-handed came
  Gabriel, Michael, Israfel,
Saying, “Lord! Thy earth imploreth        35
  Man may never on her dwell;
He will sin and anger Thee,
Give me back my clay!” cried she.
Spake the Lord to Azrael,
  “Go thou, who of wing art surest,        40
Tell my earth this shall be well;
  Bring those clods, which thou procurest
From her bosom, unto Me;
Shape them as I order thee.”
Thus ’tis written how the Lord        45
  Fashioned Adam for His glory,
Whom the Angels worshipped,
  All save Iblis; and this story
Teacheth wherefore Azrael saith
“Come thou!” at man’s hour of death.        50
 
 
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