Verse > Anthologies > Joseph Friedlander, comp. > The Standard Book of Jewish Verse
Joseph Friedlander, comp.  The Standard Book of Jewish Verse.  1917.
God Is Nigh to Contrite Hearts
By David Levy
LORD of the world, we seek Thy face,
  With contrite hearts implore Thy grace,
Not on our merits we depend,
  To us Thy favor Thou wilt send;
But trusting in Thy mercy great,        5
  That Thou wilt hear us supplicate.
For what are we, our life or deed?
  Some broken staff; some bruised reed,
What are the virtues that we boast?
  Of small account and vain at most.        10
What is our strength and what our power
  That fails us in each tempting hour?
What can we urge our cause to plead,
  Our fathers’ God, to intercede?
For what to Thee are men of power        15
  Who fade at last like grass or flower?
What are the wise, the most august?
  Thou art to them as star to dust.
The greatest of our works are vain,
  For life is fraught with sin and pain.        20
And how alike are beast and man,
  Whose longest years are but a span,
Save in that pure, immortal soul
  Which yearns for its celestial goal.
There at Thy throne in future time,—        25
  Though most momentous and sublime,—
The soul shall render its report
  At Mercy’s just and last high court;
And there the favor of the Lord
  Shall be its true and blest reward.        30

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