Verse > Anthologies > Joseph Friedlander, comp. > The Standard Book of Jewish Verse
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Joseph Friedlander, comp.  The Standard Book of Jewish Verse.  1917.
 
Be Not Like Servants Basely Bred
By Alice Lucas
 
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,        5
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,        10
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        15
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,        20
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        25
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        30
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.
 
 
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