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.
 
Israel
By Israel Zangwill
 
HEAR, O Israel, Jehovah, the Lord our God is one,
But we, Jehovah, His people, are dual and so undone.
 
Slaves in eternal Egypts, baking their strawless bricks,
At ease in successive Zions, prating their politics.
 
Rotting in sunlit Rumania, pigging in Russian pale,        5
Driving in Park, Bois, and Prater, clinging to Fashion’s tail;
 
Reeling before every rowdy, sore with a hundred stings,
Clothed in fine linen and purple, loved at the courts of Kings;
 
Faithful friends to our foemen, slaves to a scornful clique,
The only Christians in Europe, turning the other cheek;        10
 
Priests of the household altar, blessing the bread and wine,
Lords of the hells of Gomorrah, licensed keepers of swine;
 
Coughing o’er clattering treadles, saintly and underpaid,
Ousting the rough from Whitechapel—by learning the hooligan’s trade;
 
Pious, fanatical zealots throttled in Talmud-coil,        15
Impious, lecherous skeptics, cynical stalkers of spoil;
 
Wedded ’neath Hebrew awning, buried ’neath Hebrew sod,
Between not a dream of duty, never a glimpse of God;
 
Risking our lives for our countries, loving our nations’ flags,
Hounded therefrom in repayment, hugging our bloody rags;        20
 
Blarneying, shivering, crawling, taking all colors and none,
Lying a fox in the covert, leaping an ape in the sun.
 
Tantalus-Proteus of Peoples, security comes from within;
Where is the lion of Judah? Wearing an ass’s skin!
 
Hear, O Israel, Jehovah, the Lord our God is One,        25
But we, Jehovah His people, are dual and so undone.
 
 
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