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 Royal Crown
By Solomon Ibn Gabirol (Trans. Rebecca A. Altman)
 
HOW shall I stand before Thee, Lord, and I am bowed with shame?
For e’en as I am poor and humble, exalted is Thy name!
E’en as my mortal might is weak and limited, Thy power is eternal, infinite,
Sorely wanting as I am, Almighty! Thou art perfect and complete!
For Thou art One, the only living God, who dost exist for aye.        5
Thou art wise and Thy might and majesty endure alway,
And I am wrought of dust and for the earth destined,
Full of error, helpless as a stone upon the way and blind—
A flitting shadow, a wind that passeth and returneth not—
Wrathful as a serpent, of stony heart and harboring all evil thought!        10
Yea, of proud and boastful mien, of unclean lips, a mortal vain
Who followeth his heart’s desire, and counsel doth despise, and thought disdain.
For what I am and what is even this my life and power?
What fruit may bear my righteousness through life’s e’er-changeful hour?
I know not whence I come, nor whither I am bound!        15
Before Thy might in awe I stand, bowed low unto the ground!
 
 
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