Verse > Anthologies > Joseph Friedlander, comp. > The Standard Book of Jewish Verse
Joseph Friedlander, comp.  The Standard Book of Jewish Verse.  1917.
The Sabbath Eve
By Samuel Augustus Willoughby Duffield
IN quaint old Talmud’s pages,
Where speak the Jewish sages,
I found this pearl tonight:
Behold it, fair and white!
For, as the rabbins say,        5
Two angels guard the way
  Of him on Sabbath eve
Who turns his homeward feet
Off through the busy street,
  The synagogue to leave.        10
And if the lamps are lit,
If there the maidens sit
With the mother by their side;
If there the youths abide
At the quiet eventide—        15
Then speaks the spirit blest—
“Here let all blessing rest!
May every Sabbath be
Like this one unto thee;
Peace to this dwelling, peace!”        20
And he of little ease,
The restless demon, then,
Mutters a rough “Amen!”
But if the darkness there
Obscures the evening prayer;        25
If matron and if maid
Show worldliness displayed;
And if the youths have place
In regions low and base—
Then sneers the evil one:        30
“Be all thy blessings gone!
Make every Sabbath be
Like this one unto me!”
And, with his head bent low,
The other in his woe,        35
Must weep and utter then
His sorrowful, “Amen!”

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