Verse > Anthologies > Joseph Friedlander, comp. > The Standard Book of Jewish Verse
Joseph Friedlander, comp.  The Standard Book of Jewish Verse.  1917.
By Margaret Freeman
LITTLE candles shed your light
And illuminate our night;
Tell your tale of conquests won,
Of Judea’s warrior son;
Of the faith-born wondrous power,        5
Granted in our darkest hour;
Speak of him who made us free,
Israel’s champion—Maccabee.
What is slav’ry’s iron chain
To the thrall of heart and brain?        10
What’s the tyrant’s rage so blind,
To the listless human mind?
Or the champion’s cunning skill,
To the independent will?
Which is worse—a cell’s dim light,        15
Or the soul’s perpetual night?
Wake, then, rouse then candles bright,
Sleeping Israel, with your light!
Tell them that our chains of old
Meant but passing pains untold.        20
But our fetters forged each day,
Are blots we must wipe away;
Had we courage to be free,
Would we need a Maccabee?

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