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.
 
They Tell Me
By Ezekiel Leavitt (Trans. from the Hebrew by Alice Stone Blackwell)
 
THEY tell me, “Give thy nation up;
  The ancient graves resign!
Give us thy soul—then plenty, wealth,
  And greatness shall be thine.”
 
They tell me: “Think not to rebuild        5
  The City, proud and tall,
Of whose old splendor there is left
  Only a crumbling wall.
 
“Dream not thy nation to arouse
  Out of its slumber deep;        10
Behold, it has so many years
  Lain in a marmot’s sleep!”
 
False prophets, hush! Fie, charlatans!
  I swerve not from the goal.
I will not give my honor up,—        15
  I will not sell my soul.
 
The path my fathers trod through life
  I follow straight and clear;
Should Death demand me, I will mount
  The scaffold without fear.        20
 
My God, my race, I will not change
  For gold or jewels’ fires.
More than a stranger’s treasure-house
  A grave among my sires.
 
 
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