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.
 
On the Picture of the Finding of Moses by Pharaoh’s Daughter
By Charles and Mary Lamb
 
THIS picture does the story express
Of Moses in the bulrushes,
How lively the painter’s hand
By colors makes us understand.
Moses that little infant is,        5
This figure is his sister. This
Fine stately lady is no less
A personage than a princess,
Daughter of Pharaoh, Egypt’s king
Whom Providence did hither bring        10
This little Hebrew child to save.
See how near the perilous wave
He lies exposèd in the ark,
His rushy cradle, his frail bark!
Pharaoh, King of Egypt land,        15
In his greatness gave command
To his slaves they should destroy
Every new-born Hebrew boy.
This Moses was a Hebrew’s son;
When he was born, his birth to none        20
His mother told, to none revealed
But kept her goodly child concealed.
Three months she hid him; then she wrought
With bulrushes this ark, and brought
Him in it to this river’s side,        25
Carefully looking far and wide
To see that no Egyptian eye
Her ark-hid treasure should espy.
Among the river-flags she lays
The child. Near him his sister stays.        30
We may imagine her affright
When the King’s daughter is in sight.
Soon the princess will perceive
The ark among the flags and give
Command to her attendant maid        35
That its contents shall be displayed.
Within the ark the child is found,
And now he utters mournful sound.
Behold he weeps as if he were
Afraid of Egypt’s cruel heir!        40
She speaks, she says, “This little one
I will protect though he the son
Be of an Hebrew.” Every word
She speaks is by the sister heard.
And now observe, this is the part        45
The painter chose to show his art.
Look at the sister’s eager eye,
As here she seems advancing nigh.
Lowly she bends, says “Shall I go
And call a nurse for thee? I know        50
A Hebrew woman liveth near.
Great lady, shall I bring her here?”
See! Pharaoh’s daughter answers “Go.”
No more the painter’s art can show.
He cannot make his figures move.        55
On the light wings of swiftest love
The girl will fly to bring the mother
To be the nurse. She’ll bring no other.
To her will Pharaoh’s daughter say,
“Take this from me away,        60
For wages nurse him.” To my home
At proper age this child may come.
When to our palace he is brought,
Wise masters shall for him be sought
To train him up befitting one,        65
I would protect as my own son.
And Moses be a name unto him,
Because I from the waters drew him.
 
 
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