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.
 
What Praise Is on Our Lips?
By Joseph Leiser
 
WHAT praise is on our lips, what cheer
  To Him, who sitteth on His throne?
Firm master of the changing year,
  Who leads us on from zone to zone,
He gave to us His sacred cause—        5
The practice of His ancient laws.
 
From lands far off our fathers came,
  Lone pilgrims of a thousand years,
To bear the burden of a name
  Amid new ways and unlaid fears—        10
Still rings His message and His cause:
To teach all men His sacred laws.
 
No warring hosts our grand-sires marched,
  Sword-bound and panting for the spoil,
Long suffering from want, and parched,        15
  They mixed their heart throbs with the soil
That here, beneath these skies, His cause
Might live in men and be their laws.
 
The law of love was in their heart,
  Made warm through grief, grown strong through pain,        20
They mingled at the wharf and mart
  Unweaponing the strife of gain—
To make all men uphold His cause
And write upon their hearts His laws.
 
Long years are done. And we this day        25
  Praise Him who prospered land and men;
Our star of glory fades away
  To spaces hidden from our ken,
Unless each one espouse His cause,
Whose love gave us the Book of Laws.        30
 
O Lord, who guided Israel’s host
  Across strange seas, to shores unknown,
Without Thee all our hope is lost
  And seaward all our pomp is blown:—
Still stands the edict of His cause        35
Proclaimed of old in Sinai’s laws.
 
 
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