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

By Alice Lucas

Be Not Like Servants Basely Bred

ANTIGONUS of Socho said:

Be not like servants basely bred,

Who to their master minister

In hope of gift he may confer.

But be you like those servants still,

Who strive to do their master’s will

Without a thought of guerdon given,

And be on you the fear of Heaven.

And this did Rabbi Tarphon say:

The work is great and short the day,

Sluggish the labourers, their Lord

Urgent, but mighty the reward.

He also said: ’Tis not on thee

Incumbent, that thou shouldest end

The work, but neither art thou free

To cease from it. If thou dost spend

Much time in studying the divine

Torah, much guerdon shall be thine,

For faithful thine employer is

To pay thee for thy labour’s sum,

And know thou that the righteous is

Rewarded in the time to come.

And Rabbi Jacob said of old:

Do thou this world of ours behold

As though a vestibule it were

Into the world to come. Prepare

Thyself the Vestibule within,

That thou the hall may’st enter in.

And further thus his saying reads:

One hour’s repentance and good deeds

In this world better is than all

The world to come, but yet withal

In yonder world one hour of bliss

Is better than all life in this.