Verse > Anthologies > Joseph Friedlander, comp. > The Standard Book of Jewish Verse
Joseph Friedlander, comp.  The Standard Book of Jewish Verse.  1917.
Ode to the Sacred Lamps
By M. L. R. Breslar
O FUGITIVES from black Oppression’s bread,
Scourged of your God, through flames and furies led
  To Babel’s streams, to Persia’s milder shore,
    To Afric’s marge, and isles of pensive Greece;—
  ’Twas not with magic, not with priestly lore,        5
    But with high wisdom, folded in a fleece,
You spread, broadcast, the seeds of Hebrew power!
Oppression’s head was bruised in Israel’s bower,
  By you, who steeped your souls’ high-centered pride
    In day dreams of old Zion’s new built State;        10
  With cunning hands, you raised unto your bride,
    Temples and schools, defying death and fate;
In Yavneh and in Pumbadissa, Egypt, Spain and Rome,—
You toasted deep the Torah’s health and dreamed of your “Old Home.”
The Western surge keeps ringing in mine ears,        15
Music too sweet, to stir my breast with fears.
  Out there, fine vistas shaping life, I view,
    To mart and farm, and mansions by the sea,
  On soils superb, divine as Hermon’s dew;—
    Visions ecstatic, splendours new to me,        20
Wind round my heart, a fragrant benison:—
“Israel ne’er shall orphaned be again”;
  Her Talmud schools, her Temples’ gilded shrines,
    Imaged by men of high magnetic zeal,
  Floating the Stars and Stripes’ triumphant signs,        25
    Shall build a race strong for the Commonweal;
Apt for affairs, keen in debate; with scholar stratagem,
Enkindled by the sacred lamps of Old Jerusalem.

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