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.
 
Water Song
By Solomon Ibn Gabirol (Trans. Israel Abrahams)
 
THE FEAST’S begun
And the Wine is done,
So my sad tears run
    Like streams of water, streams of water.
 
Three score and ten were Wine’s bold braves,        5
But a full score more were Water’s knaves,
And silent are our watery graves.
  For—whence tuneful note?
  When the minstrel’s throat
Tastes naught but Water, Water, Water!        10
 
Around the board you see no smile;
Untasted dishes rest in file,
How can I touch these dainties while
  There stands my cup
  To the brim filled up        15
With hated Water, Water, Water!
 
Old Moses chid the Red Sea tide,
And Egypt’s dusky streams he dried,
Till Pharaoh’s fools for Water cried!
  But Moses dear,        20
  Why dost thou here
Turn all to Water, hated Water?
 
Can I myself to aught compare?
To the frog who damp in watery lair,
With dismal croakings fills the air.        25
  So frog and I
  Will sing or cry,
The song of Water, the dirge of Water.
 
The man whom water can delight
For aught I care may turn Nazirite;        30
Total abstention shall be his plight!
  And all his days
  To his lips shall raise
Cups of Water, always Water!
 
The Feast is done,        35
And Wine there’s none;
So my sad tears run
    Like streams of Water, streams of Water.
 
 
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