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.
 
Lines for the Ninth of Ab
By Solomon Solis Cohen
 
SHALL I sorrow, oh desolate city,
  For thy beauty and glory o’erthrown;
Shall I sing the dread day of destruction,
  When thy sins thou didst dearly atone—
When the Lord, from the place He had chosen,        5
  Withdrew the strong shield of His Name,
And its treasures were spoiled by the stranger,
  Its holiness given to shame—
When the shrieks of the daughters of Zion
  Sad echo’d the shouts of the foe,        10
And thy streets, ravished City, ran crimson
  With the blood of thy sons, lying low—
When the scepter departed from Judah,
  From Levi his birthright was riven,
And the people of God were led captive,        15
  Forsaken of earth and of Heaven!
 
Or shall I rejoice in the beauty
  And glory again to be thine,
When thy youth’s loving Bridegroom shall ransom
  His promise of comfort, divine—        20
In the courts of God’s temple rebuilded,
  Thy priests, morn and eve, shall proclaim
“He is One!”—and the sons of the stranger
  Shall answer: “And One is His Name!”
With chorus of praise shall thy daughters        25
  Reëcho the Levites’ glad song,
And thy gates night and day shall stand open
  For the pilgrims that thitherward throng.
For the scepter returneth to David,
  The miter to Aaron’s proud line;        30
And neighbour shall welcome his neighbour
  To the shadow of fig-tree and vine.
 
Like Akiba, who laughed when the foxes
  Ran out from the Holiest place,
Saying: “True were the warnings of evil        35
  And true is the promise of grace,”
My thoughts, on this day of sad memories,
  Turn not back to the past in despair,
But forward in hope to the future
  Where visions of glory shine fair!        40
When I read in the book of the prophet
  Who voiced fallen Zion’s distress,
I seek not alone words of grieving,
  But these rarer, that comfort and bless:
“Hear the word of the Lord, O ye nations,        45
  In the isles afar off be it told;
Who dispersed, will again gather Israel,
  And keep—as a shepherd his fold!”
 
 
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