Joseph Friedlander, comp. The Standard Book of Jewish Verse. 1917.

By Alter Abelson


O HEART, who art a fable, new and true;

O soul, a legend strange and sweet as joy;

Lover, whose love has built, not razed a Troy;

Akiba, whom heaven and angels taught to woo.

Lover, and lawyer, all Israel’s sceptred mind,

Who luminous mists hast orbed into a sun

Of Oral Law, and logic’s praises won;

A shepherd’s crook you left, a wand to find.

Our blameless Lancelot of lists of lore,

Who made Romance a theme for cherubim;

And love, God’s Song of Songs, His heavenly hymn;

And law, a mine where mercy digs for ore.

God’s patriot, who heaven with life hast sought,

And Holylands in Holyland hast known;

Thou art a part of heaven, thou hast shown,

Thou art a part of “Torah” thou hast taught.

What wonder you have traversed Paradise,

It was your gentle spirit’s element;

What wealth to heaven, what penury hell, you sent;

Courage and wisdom hailed you brave and wise.

And virtue named you saint, and greatness, great;

Patriotism, patriot; and knowledge, sage.

And love, a lover; your heart, its golden page.

And holiness rejoiced to own you, mate.

What, though the foe your frame with fires shod?

What, though he drained the wine-vats of your veins?

He only precious made like gems, your pains;

Aye, kissed by God, your feet on crowns have trod.