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

By Robert Browning

Ben Karshook’s Wisdom

“WOULD a man ’scape the rod?”

Rabbi Ben Karshook saith,

“See that he turn to God

The day before his death,”

“Ay, could a man inquire

When it shall come!” I say.

The Rabbi’s eye shoots fire—

“Then let him turn today!”

Quoth a young Sadducee;

“Reader of many rolls,

Is it so certain we

Have, as they tell us, souls?”

“Son, there is no reply!”

The Rabbi bit his beard:

Certain, a soul have I—

We may have none,” he sneered.

Thus Karshook, the Hiram’s-Hammer,

The Right-hand Temple-column,

Taught babes in grace their grammar,

And struck the simple, solemn.