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.
 
Before Battle
By Samuel Roth
 
WE have toiled, O Lord, with our blood and might
  And have offered a hymn to Thee;
And in pain and rage we have spent our light,
  And our nights in misery;
We have dug the trench and built the site,        5
  That we might be near to Thee;
O Lord our God, we have spent our light
  In search of Thee.
 
Garish culture we spurned as we spurned all things
  That were not in the grace of Thee;        10
And we bowed our heads and our hearts to kings
  Who wore crowns by their claims in Thee;
In the deep of night we have sung Thy praise,
  Unperishing songs of Thee;
O Lord our God, we have spent our days        15
  In praise of Thee.
 
We’ve preserved our flesh from the joys of lust
  That we might be clean with Thee;
We have fed our souls on the dryest dust,
  That we might keep true to Thee;        20
We have fought, and many the odds have stood,
  We have conquered the world for Thee;
O Lord our God, we have spilled our blood
  For love of Thee.
 
We have toiled, O Lord, with our blood and might,        25
  And have offered a hymn to Thee;
Yet our days You’ve cursed with the gloom of night,
  And our nights with misery;
We have kept our faith through the bitterest strife,
  Through the bitterest strife for Thee;        30
O Lord our God, take of our dust,
  Our faith in Thee.
 
 
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