Verse > Anthologies > Joseph Friedlander, comp. > The Standard Book of Jewish Verse
  PREVIOUSNEXT  
CONTENTS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
Joseph Friedlander, comp.  The Standard Book of Jewish Verse.  1917.
 
To the Czar—a Prophecy
By Ida (Mrs. Isidor) Straus
 
HOW canst thou face thy Maker, how canst thou ever dare
With all the guilt upon thy head to turn to Him in prayer?
Thou rearest thy religion to cloak thy evil deeds;
The torture thou inflicted on those of other creeds,
The exilings, the pogroms, the persecutions all,        5
Thou plannest with thy minions, within thy palace wall.
 
To thy corrupt officialdom thou givest a free rein
To murder, pillage, harass thy subjects for its gain.
With olden-time barbarity, with cruelty unsurpassed,
Thou rulest o’er an Empire, so wonderful, so vast,        10
Whose boundless wealth lies buried for ages, ’neath the soil,
Whose undeveloped resources wait but for honest toil,
While sore distress and famine go stalking in the land,
All enterprise, initiative stayed by a tyrant’s hand.
 
Bright shines the torch of progress in every land but thine,        15
Illumining every pathway that leads to Freedom’s shrine;
In thy realm superstition and Ignorance hold sway,
Grim allies of oppression that darken every way;
That foster crime and vices of all the vilest sort
And make of human beings a beastly dangerous horde.        20
Thou art a shame, a byword among the nations all,
Thy subjects’ execrations hang o’er thee like a pall!
*    *    *    *    *
How long wilt thou, O Russia, thy cruel burdens bear?
How long wilt thou meekly succumb to dull despair?
Rise up, throw off thy shackles, strike for the right to live!        25
For freedom, justice, tolerance, thy people’s wrongs retrieve!
And thou wilt surely triumph, for tyrants cowards are,
They shrink beneath the radiance of Liberty’s bright star.
For thee will dawn an era of brighter, happier days,
And all thy lamentations will change to songs of praise;        30
 
The present chaos, misrule, which now so hopeless seem,
Will then be but a memory, a nightmare in a dream,
Once more among the nations thou wilt then take thy place,
And with their march toward progress and culture keep apace.
Thy people will be blessed o’er all thy broad domain,        35
When Law and Order shall prevail, and Peace supreme shall reign!
 
 
CONTENTS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
  PREVIOUSNEXT  
 
Loading
Click here to shop the Bartleby Bookstore.

Shakespeare · Bible · Strunk · Anatomy · Nonfiction · Quotations · Reference · Fiction · Poetry
© 1993–2014 Bartleby.com · [Top 150] · Subjects · Titles · Authors