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

By Abram S. Isaacs

The Vision of Huna

THE SUN had set upon Jerusalem,

And scattered rosy circles round the mount,

Whereon the ruins of the Temple lay.

Beneath the shadow of a crumbling wall

Stood Rabbi Huna. His mind was sad;

For on this spot, not many years before,

The holy Temple shone to all the earth,

And now was changed, alas! and desolate.

“Oh, how I love thee, my Jerusalem.”

So sighed the rabbi, as he sank to rest,

“Oh, how I love thee, tho’ upon thy neck

With crushing force the conqueror’s foot is pressed.

The last rapt strains of the prophetic lyre

I seem to hear across thy sloping hills.

Bright visions of the glory thrill me yet,

When in thy prophet’s words in bridal robe

Thou wast betrothed unto Israel’s God;

And now—.” The rabbi faltered as he thought,

Then sighing fell into a restless sleep.

Strange fancies came to Huna as he slept.

Again he trod the Temple’s sacred courts,

But there no altar dripped with streaming gore;

No groans of sacrificial sheep were heard,

No swelling chant, no pomp of liturgy,

No loudly spoken prayer, no mumbling lips,

No smiting of the breast, no postures vain;

A reverent throng with every impulse bent

To worship God in simple brotherhood.

They had, indeed, their holy litanies,

Which not in book or scroll alone were writ;

An open hand, a humble heart and mind,

An overflowing fount of love and truth,

With aspirations for the beautiful,

The true, the good, the pure.

The rabbi wakes.

Dead sounds of tumult rouse him from his sleep,

A sprawling band of Roman soldiery,

With cries of triumph, track him to the spot.

His helpless form the savage spears soon pierced,

And with “Shema Yisroel!” Huna dies.

Upon his face there rests a placid smile,

As if he trod the New Jerusalem.