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.
 
Chanukah
By Louis Stern
 
I
WE welcome thee joyfully, glorious night,
We hail thee with pleasure, O Chanukah light!
Its lustre so brilliant, invites us to joy,
Invites us to praise Him, the great Adonoy.
 
He was our Redeemer in dark days of old,        5
When Syria’s mad ruler, proud, cruel, and bold,
Proclaimed through Judea: “Your God I defy;
Bow down to my idols and worship—or die!”
 
Of brave, pious martyrs these bright candles tell,
Who yielded their soul, praying: “Hear, Israel!”        10
Of Hannah, the mother and seven sons so dear,
Who sealed with their life-blood their faith without fear.
 
But Israel’s God never slumbers nor sleeps,
He ever is near him who mournfully weeps,
He saw our oppression, and, hearing our pleas,        15
Awakened, to save us the brave Maccabees.
 
Be welcome then, welcome, O glorious night,
We hail thee with pleasure, O Chanukah light!
Its lustre, so brilliant invites us to joy,
Invites us to praise Him the great Adonoy!        20
 
II
Let our grateful anthems ring,
  Joyous songs and gladsome lays,
To our God and Heavenly King,
  Sing His glory! Sound His praise!
    He who never sleepeth        25
    Israel safely keepeth,
Hears their cry, from on high,
    E’er when Judah weepeth.
 
Syria’s mad and mighty host
  Fiercely down upon us swept.        30
To destroy us was their boast;
  Israel trembled, Judah wept!
    But behold! salvation
    God wrought for our nation,
Sending light, clear and bright,        35
    ’Midst our tribulation.
 
“Feast of Lights”—O glorious name!
  Cast thy rays o’er land and seas;
Kindle in all hearts the flame
  That inspired the Maccabees;        40
    Heroes to be ever,
    Cowards, traitors—never!
And to love God above,
    Right and truth forever.
 
 
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