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.
 
The Hymn of Glory
By Judah He-Hasid (Trans. Israel Zangwill)
 
I
SWEET hymns shall be my chant and woven songs,
For Thou art all for which my spirit longs—
 
To be within the shadow of Thy hand
And all Thy mystery to understand.
 
The while Thy glory is upon my tongue,        5
My inmost heart what love of Thee is wrung.
 
So though Thy mighty marvels I proclaim,
’Tis songs of love wherewith I greet Thy name.
 
II
I have not seen Thee, yet I tell Thy praise,
Nor known Thee, yet I image forth Thy ways.        10
 
For by Thy seers’ and servants’ mystic speech
Thou didst Thy sov’ran splendor darkly teach.
 
And from the grandeur of Thy work they drew
The measure of Thy inner greatness too.
 
They told of Thee, but not as Thou must be,        15
Since from Thy work they tried to body Thee.
 
To countless visions did their pictures run,
Behold through all the visions Thou art one.
 
III
In Thee old age and youth at once were drawn,
The grey of eld, the flowing locks of dawn,        20
 
The ancient Judge, the youthful Warrior,
The Man of Battles, terrible in war,
 
The helmet of salvation on His head,
And by His hand and arm the triumph led.
 
His head all shining with the dew of light,        25
His locks of dripping with the drops of night.
 
IV
I glorify Him, for He joys in me,
My crown of beauty He shall ever be!
 
His head is like pure gold; His forehead’s flame
Is graven glory of His holy name.        30
 
And with that lovely diadem ’tis graced,
The coronal His people there have placed.
 
His hair as on the head of youth is twined,
In wealth of raven curls it flows behind.
 
His circlet is the home of righteousness;        35
Ah, may He love His highest rapture less!
 
And be His treasured people in His hand
A diadem His kingly brow to band.
 
By Him they were uplifted, carried, crowned,
Thus honored inasmuch as precious found.        40
 
His glory is on me, and mine on Him,
And when I call He is not far or dim.
 
Ruddy in red apparel, bright He glows
When He from treading Edom’s wine-press goes.
 
Phylacteried the vision Moses viewed        45
The day he gazed on God’s similitude.
 
He loves His folk; the meek will glorify,
And, shrined in prayer, draw their rapt reply.
 
V
Truth is Thy primal word; at Thy behest
The generations pass—O and our quest        50
 
For Thee, and set my host of songs on high,
And let my psalmody come very nigh.
 
My praises as a coronal account,
And let my prayer as Thine incense mount.
 
Deem precious unto Thee the poor man’s song,        55
As those that to Thine altar did belong.
 
Rise, O my blessing, to the Lord of birth,
The breeding, quickening, righteous force of earth.
 
Do Thou receive it with acceptant nod,
My choicest incense offered to my God.        60
 
And let my meditation grateful be,
For all my being is athirst for Thee.
 
 
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