Verse > Anthologies > Joseph Friedlander, comp. > The Standard Book of Jewish Verse
Joseph Friedlander, comp.  The Standard Book of Jewish Verse.  1917.
The Talmud
By S. Frug (Trans. Alice Stone Blackwell)
ANCIENT pages of the Talmud,
  Legends, tales that there I view,
In my mournful life and dreary
  Oftentimes I turn to you.
When at night amid the darkness        5
  On mine eyes sleep will not rest,
And I sit alone, and wretched,
  With my head upon my breast,
In those hours, as a star shines
  In the azure summer night,        10
Memories amid my sadness
  Then begin to glimmer bright.
I recall my love, my childhood;
  Those sweet hours come back again
When I still was free from sorrow,        15
  Free from anger, free from pain.
I recall those times, long vanished,
  When I quaffed, without alloy,
Life’s first, best and sweetest chalice,
  Freedom, mirthfulness and joy.        20
Those old years so sweet and precious
  Pass again before mine eyes,
And the pages of the Talmud
  In my memory arise.
Oh! the precious ancient pages!        25
  All the lights and stars I see
Burning, shining in those pages;
  They can ne’er extinguished be!
Myriad streams and myriad rivers
  Have flowed o’er them in the past;        30
Sand has covered them and hid them,
  Storms have rent them—still they last.
Yes, the ancient, ancient pages
  Still survive and perish not,
Although yellowed, torn and blackened,        35
  Here a hole and there a spot.
What of that? Indeed it truly
  Is a graveyard, old and hoar,
Where within the tomb lies buried
  All that we shall see no more.        40

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