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

By Adelaide G. Waters

At Last

THE RABBI LEVI let his thoughts be cast

Upon the current of remembered life,

And saw the faces of his child and wife,

So fair and mystical, it well might seem

As if he saw by moonlight in a dream

What he had seen in sunlight in the past.

Yet at remembered sin he starts to see

Remorse, most dreaded angel of the Lord,

Flash back the sunshine from his awful sword.

His wan cheek flushes like a dying brand;

“Take back, O Angel, in thy strong right hand

This sweet but cruel gift of memory.”

“Not so,” the angel answered; “thou shalt live,

Love and remember till thy work is done.”

And thus the Rabbi toiled, and did not shun

To look upon what he himself had wrought.

For years he freely learned and freely taught

The wisdom that his own mistakes could give.

The Rabbi Levi, when his head was white,

Heard a soft voice, “Henceforth no more for you

Shall memory come as flame, but cooling dew;

“Take thou the comfort of thy heart’s release,

For with thine own life thou shalt be at peace.”

So, smiling, he passed out into the light.