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 Ghetto-Jew
By Rufus Learsi
 
I MARKED in the midst of the glittering throng
  A figure all bent and retreating;
His raiment was shabby, and bearded his face,
  His gaze was bewildering and fleeting;
And those whose drossiness glared through the gilt        5
  Guffawed a contemptuous greeting.
 
Intently I peered in his time lined face
  And read there his marvellous story;
His brows were large with the wisdom of pain,
  His locks by affliction made hoary;        10
A memory lurked in the depth of his eyes,
  A prayer and a vision of glory.
 
A mem’ry aglow with the splendors of old,
  A prayer of patience and yearning,
And a vision of Home that gleamed in the dark,        15
  Through ages of weary sojourning;
Yet they of the gilded and glittering throng
  Had naught but derision and spurning.
 
He folded a dream to his quivering heart
  And nursed it through vigils of ages;        20
He gave it the blood of his life to absorb
  Yet mockery now is his wages.
Shall this be the word his story to close,
  A jeer be the last of its pages?
 
 
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