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 Jewish Martyrs
By W. V. B.
 
FROM far Siberia’s frozen plains,
  They cry to heaven, they cry to us!
We hear the clanking of their chains
  And turn away! Not thus, not thus,
Our fathers, were your hearts made cold        5
By lust of power, by greed of gold!
 
They have not feared the scaffold rope,
  Nor cringed for whip or knotted cord;
They give up all and keep their hope;
  They die and call no despot lord;        10
Before the heaven that made men free,
They testify for liberty.
 
Who gave their tyrants leave to smite
  Truth’s witnesses with knout or rod?
Who says such wrongs are in heaven’s right,        15
  He lives before the throne of God,
And all the blood by despots shed,
Shall be a curse upon his head!
 
If to our altar one should come,
  With the czar’s hounds upon his track,        20
Could e’en our buried dead be dumb
  Were we so base to drive him back,
Were we such craven, venal slaves,
Among our myriad hero-graves?
 
 
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