Verse > Anthologies > Joseph Friedlander, comp. > The Standard Book of Jewish Verse
Joseph Friedlander, comp.  The Standard Book of Jewish Verse.  1917.
The Lent Jewels
By Richard Chenevix Trench
A Jewish Apologue

IN schools of wisdom all the day was spent;
His steps at eve the Rabbi homeward bent,
With homeward thoughts, which dwelt upon the wife
And two fair children who consoled his life.
She, meeting at the threshold, led him in        5
And with these words preventing, did begin:
“I, greeting ever your desired return,
Yet greet it most today; for since this morn
I have been much perplexed and sorely tried
Upon one point, which you shall now decide.        10
Some years ago, a friend unto my care
Some jewels gave—rich, precious gems they were;
But having given them in my charge, this friend
Did afterward not come for them, nor send.
But in my keeping suffered them so long,        15
That now it almost seems to me a wrong
That he should suddenly arrive today,
To take those jewels, which he left, away.
What think you? Shall I freely yield them back,
And with no murmuring? so henceforth to lack        20
Those gems myself, which I had learned to see
Almost as mine for ever, mine in fee!”
“What question can be here? your own true heart
Must needs advise you of the only part;
That may be claimed again which was but lent,        25
And should be yielded with no discontent;
Nor surely can we find in this a wrong,
That it was left us to enjoy it long.”
“Good is the word,” she answered; “may we now
And evermore that it is good allow!”        30
And, rising, to an inner chamber led,
And there she showed him, stretched upon one bed,
Two children pale, and he the jewels knew,
Which God had lent him, and resumed anew.

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