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.
 
To Carmen Sylva (Queen of Roumania)
By Emma Lazarus
 
OH, that the golden lyre divine
Whence David smote flame-tones were mine!
Oh, that the silent harp which hung
          Untuned, unstrung,
Upon the willows by the river,        5
Would throb beneath my touch and quiver
With the old song-enchanted spell
          Of Israel!
 
Oh, that the large prophetic Voice
Would make my reed-piped throat its choice!        10
All ears should prick, all hearts should spring
          To hear me sing
The burden of the isles, the word
Assyria knew, Damascus heard,
When, like the wind, while cedars shake,        15
          Isaiah spake.
 
For I would frame a song to-day
Winged like a bird to cleave its way
O’er land and sea that spread between,
          To where a Queen        20
Sits with a triple coronet.
Genius and Sorrow both have set
Their diadems above the gold—
          A Queen three-fold!
 
To her the forest lent its lyre,        25
Hers are the sylvan dews, the fire
Of Orient suns, the mist-wreathed gleams
          Of mountain streams.
She, the imperial Rhine’s own child,
Takes to her heart the wood-nymph wild,        30
The gipsy Pelech, and the wide
          White Danube’s tide.
 
She who beside an infant’s bier
Long since resigned all hope to hear,
The sacred name of “Mother” bless        35
          Her childlessness,
Now from a people’s sole acclaim
Receives the heart-vibrating name,
And “Mother, Mother, Mother!” fills
          The echoing hills.        40
 
Yet who is he who pines apart,
Estranged from that maternal heart,
Ungraced, unfriended, and forlorn,
          The butt of scorn?
An alien in his land of birth,        45
An outcast from his brethren’s earth,
Albeit with theirs his blood mixed well
          When Plevna fell?
 
When all Roumania’s chains were riven,
When unto all his sons was given        50
The hero’s glorious reward,
          Reaped by the sword,—
Wherefore was this poor thrall, whose chains
Hung heaviest, within whose veins
The oldest blood of freedom streamed,        55
          Still unredeemed?
*  *  *  *
 
 
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