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.
 
Benjamin Artom
By Re Henry
 
Chief Rabbi of the Spanish and Portuguese Jews

WITH mournful pomp they bore him to the grave
  With all the solemn pageantry of woe;
No ancient right or custom would they waive
  Which might their grief and awe-struck reverence show;
  With honour and with state they laid him low,        5
And dignities as if a Prince had died;
  He was a Prince—none nobler rank could know
Than that he bore with such an honest pride—
God’s priest! A warrior chief fighting on Heaven’s side!
 
He came a stranger from his Southern shore,        10
  To colder climes, to natures less intense,
He came—and was a stranger then no more,
  For with the music of his eloquence
He won our hearts, and charmed our every sense.
  That music’s dead, the earthly bonds are riven,        15
And he who woke the chords is summoned hence,
  “The Gates of Hope” to which his thoughts were given
  Have flung their portals wide and shown the path to Heaven!
 
Patron of learning! Champion of the poor!
  These are the titles that he nobly gained,        20
These are the honours that will still endure
  And teach mere earthly rank to be disdained.
The empire cannot die for him who reigned
  By sympathy and knowledge; and the host
That will perpetuate a name unstained,        25
  Poor, seeking wisdom, these shall be our boast,
  He loved them—let them comfort her who mourns him most!
 
 
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