Verse > Anthologies > Joseph Friedlander, comp. > The Standard Book of Jewish Verse
Joseph Friedlander, comp.  The Standard Book of Jewish Verse.  1917.
By Marion Hartog
DOWN-TRODDEN ’neath the Syrian heel
  Did Zion’s sceptre lie;
Her shrine, where once God’s glory flung
Its radiance, now wildly rung
  With pagan revelry.        5
And in the Temple’s secret place,
  Where once the High Priest bowed
In homage to the King of kings,
The vilest of all earthly things
  Was worshipped by the crowd.        10
And still the flaming altar smoked,
  The priest was at his post,
Commanding Israel’s sons to pray
To images of stone and clay,
  Or swell the holocaust.        15
Seven glorious brethren there had stood,
  Unflinching, side by side,
And, sooner than yield up their faith,
Had dared the faggot’s burning breath,
  And willing martyrs died.        20
Not unavenged and not in vain
  Fell that undaunted race;
For Judas, with his patriot band,
Drove the oppressors from the land,
  And cleansed the holy place.        25
Then the Menorah once again
  Illumed the holy shrine,
One little flask of sacred oil,
Saved unpolluted from the spoil
  Supplied the light divine.        30
Full twenty centuries have rolled
  The gulf of Time adown,
Since those heroic Maccabees,
The victims of Epiphanes,
  Assumed the martyr’s crown.        35
And still the Festival of Lights
  Recalls those deeds of yore
That make our history’s page sublime
  And live for evermore.

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