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.
 
Miriam
By E. Dudley Jackson
 
OH, for that day, that day of bliss entrancing
  When Israel stood, her night of bondage o’er.
And leaped in heart to see no more advancing
  Egypt’s dark host along the desert shore;
For scarce a ripple now proclaimed where lay        5
The boasting Pharaoh and his fierce array.
 
Miriam! she silent stood, that sight beholding,
  And bowed with sacred awe her wondering head.
Till lo! No more their hideous spoils withholding
  The depths indignant, spurned their buried dead;        10
And all along that sad and vengeful coast
Pale corpses lay,—a monumental host.
 
Miriam! She saw; then all to life awaking,—
  “Sing to the Lord,” with a great voice she cried;
“Sing to the Lord,” their many timbrels shaking,        15
  Ten thousand ransomed hearts and tongues replied;
While, leading on the dance in triumph long
Thus the great Prophetess broke forth in song:
 
      “Oh, sing to the Lord,
        Sing his triumph right glorious;        20
      “O’er horse and rider
        Sing his right arm victorious;
      Pharaoh’s horsemen and chariots
        And captains so brave,
      The Lord hath thrown down        25
        In the bottomless wave.
 
      “Man of war is the Lord
        And Jehovah is His name;
      We trusted his pillar
        Of cloud and of flame.        30
      Proud boasters, ye followed
        But where have ye gone?
      Down, down in the waters
        Ye sank like a stone.
 
      “O Lord thou didst blow        35
        With thy nostrils a blast
      And upheaved, the huge billows
        Like mountains stood fast!
      Egypt shuddered with wonder
        That pathway to see,        40
      Those depths all congealed
        In the heart of the sea.
 
      “‘I, too, will march onward’
        (The enemy cried)
      I shall soon overtake        45
        I, the spoil will divide
      I will kill’—O my God!
        The depths fell at thy breath
      And like lead they went down
        In those waters of death.        50
 
      “But o’er us the soft wings
        Of thy mercy outspread,
      To thine own chosen dwelling
        Our feet have been led.
      Palistrina, affrighted,        55
        The tidings shall hear,
      And your hearts, O ye nations,
        Shall wither with fear.
 
      “Thus brought in with triumph
        Safe planted and blessed        60
      On thy own holy mountain
        Thy people shall rest.
      Shout! Pharaoh is fallen
        To rise again never.
      Sing! The Lord he shall reign        65
        Forever and ever.”
 
 
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