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.
 
Mordecai
Anonymous
 
Esther vii. 1–10; viii. 15.

“NOW say, my queen,” the monarch cries,
  “What boon dost thou demand?
Be it the half of my kingdom’s worth,
  ’Tis given to thy hand.”
 
“O king, had all my race been sold        5
  To bondage and to shame,
No murmur from my lip had passed
  My sovereign’s deed to blame;
 
“But sold to slaughter, doomed to death,
  I pour my humble prayer;        10
Oh, let thy royal clemency
  My guiltless kindred spare!”
 
“And who, my queen, hath dared the deed?”
  “Behold, our ruthless foe!
’Tis Haman whets the murd’rous steel        15
  And aims the fatal blow.”
 
The king is wroth: the traitor shrinks;
  The stern command is given:
Bound and condemned they bear him forth
  To feed the fowls of heaven.        20
 
A gallows, by his impious hand
  For Mordecai designed,
Receives the tyrant’s struggling form,
  And gives him to the wind.
 
Haman, thy wife hath well foretold        25
  The dark intent will fail;
Against Jehovah’s chosen fold
  Thou never couldst prevail.
 
Who comes? His costly garments wave
  In many a purple fold,        30
Blest with the purest white; he wears
  A crown of burnished gold.
 
It is the Jew—’tis Mordecai,
  Type of his ransomed race;
For shame is double honor given,        35
  And glory for disgrace.
 
Such, Israel, is thy future lot,
  Purged in refining fires;
Queens shall thy nursing mothers be,
  And kings thy nursing sires.        40
 
And thou, in means and mercies rich,
  Loved Albion, happy land,
For Judah bend the suppliant knee,
  And work with willing hand.
 
Oh, help thine elder brother’s need,        45
  Bid him thy blessings share,
Nor let him perish at thy gate
  While thou hast bread to spare!
 
 
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