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.
 
The Bible
By David Levi
 
AS to an ancient temple
Whose vast proportions tower
With summit inaccessible
Among the stars of Heaven;
While the resistless Ocean        5
Of peoples and of cities
Breaks at its feet in foam,
Work that a hundred ages
Hallow; I bow to Thee.
 
From out thy mighty bosom        10
Rise hymns sublime, and melodies
Like to the Heavens singing
Praises to their Creator;
While at the sound, an ecstasy,
A trance, fills all my being        15
With terror and with awe—
I feel my proud heart thrilling
With throbs of holy pride.
 
Oh! come, Thou high, beneficent
Heritage of my fathers,        20
Our country, altar, prophet!
Thou art our all, Thou only.
Through doubt, through pain, through outrage,
Through pangs of dissolution
Wringing our tortured hearts;        25
Come, open the rosy portals
Of hope to us once more!
 
In Thee, eternal, limitless,
The Earth is bound to Heaven;
The ages in immensity        30
Are one in Thine infinity;
Rapt by Thy power, the Spirit
Springs ever high and higher
Through care and grief and love,
Groans in mysterious ecstasy,        35
Exults in bitter pain.
 
Idylls of love and tenderness,
Home joys and pure affections,
Voices of Hope unconquered
By torture or by agony,        40
Austere and fruitful suffering,
Terror and doubt and faith,
Oh! for the whole Creation
A voice is found in Thee.
 
Like an inspired Sibyl        45
Thou thunderest in anger,
Tyre, Babylon, demolished,
Vanish with throne and altar;
Thou singest, Heaven lets open,
Mankind awakes to harmony        50
And holy truth and peace;
Like blessed springs descending,
Thou fillest all the world.
 
Ah me! what countless miseries,
What tears all unregarded        55
Hast Thou consoled and softened
With gentle voice and holy!
How many hearts that struggle
With doubt, remorse, anxiety,
With all the woes of ages,        60
Dost Thou, on ample pinions,
Lift purified to Heaven!
 
 
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