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.
 
During the Crusades (“Thou, to whom my name bears witness”)
By David Ben Meshullam
 
THOU, to whom my name bears witness,
Be not silent, I entreat Thee;
Leave not hid mine ebbing life’s blood!
High above in heaven’s regions,
Far and wide in halls of learning,        5
And where people meet together,
Be my sacrifices published!
How my tender infants perished;
How their tortures laid me prostrate,
Learn to know their deeds of horror!        10
We were crushed and rent asunder,
Until corpse by corpse lay buried.
*    *    *    *    *    *
When suffering under tryant’s torture,
Our wives would practise priestly functions,
And sacrifice their cherished offspring;        15
While on the mother’s knee they nestled,
The woeful work was calmly finished;
As if they went to sleep in quiet.
No heed was given to the precept,
“Slay not the young one with its mother”;        20
For now no sheep from folds were taken.
Tied down like lambs prepared for slaughter,
There perished fathers, sons, whole households;
And God was hallowed in his glory.
When they beheld the pictured idols,        25
They cried: Depart! let us be murdered!
 
 
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