Verse > Anthologies > Joseph Friedlander, comp. > The Standard Book of Jewish Verse
Joseph Friedlander, comp.  The Standard Book of Jewish Verse.  1917.
By Lydia Huntley Sigourney
FOR the first time a lovely scene
Earth saw and smiled,
A gentle form with pallid mien
Bending o’er a new-born child;
The pang, the anguish, and the woe        5
That speech hath never told,
Fled, as the sun with noontide glow
Dissolves the snow-wreath cold,
Leaving the bliss that none but mothers know;
While he, the partner of her heaven-taught joy        10
Knelt in adoring praise beside his beauteous boy.
She, first of all our mortal race,
Learn’d the ecstasy to trace
The expanding form of infant grace
From her own life-spring fed;        15
To mark each radiant hour,
Heaven’s sculpture still more perfect growing,
More full of power;
The little foot’s elastic tread,
The rounded cheek, like rose-bud glowing,        20
The fringèd eye with gladness flowing
As the pure, blue fountains roll;
And then those lisping sounds to hear,
Unfolding to her thrilling ear
The strange, mysterious, never-dying soul,        25
And with delight intense
To watch the angel-smile of sleeping innocence.
No more she mourned lost Eden’s joy,
Or wept her cherish’d flowers,
In their primeval bowers        30
By wrecking tempests riven;
The thorn and thistle of the exile’s lot
She heeded not.
So all-absorbing was her sweet employ
To rear the incipient man, the gift her God had given.        35
And when his boyhood bold
A richer beauty caught,
Her kindling glance of pleasure told
The incense of her idol-thought;
Not for the born of clay        40
Is pride’s exulting thrill,
Dark herald of the downward way,
And ominous of ill.
Even his cradled brother’s smile
The haughty first-born jealously survey’d        45
And envy marked the brow with hate and guile,
In God’s own image made.

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