Verse > Anthologies > Joseph Friedlander, comp. > The Standard Book of Jewish Verse
Joseph Friedlander, comp.  The Standard Book of Jewish Verse.  1917.
I Am the Suppliant
By Baruch ben Samuel (Trans. Nina Davis)
I AM the suppliant for my people here,
  Yea, for the House of Israel, I am he;
I seek my God’s benign and heedful ear,
  For words that rise from me.
Amid the walls of hearts that stand around,        5
  My bitter sighs surge up to mount the sky;
Ah! how my heart doth part with ceaseless bound
  For God, my Rock on high.
With mighty works and wondrous He hath wrought,
  Lord of my strength, my God. When me He bade        10
To make a sanctuary for Him, I sought,
  I labored, and ’twas made.
The Lord my God, He hath fulfilled His word—
  He ruleth as an all-consuming fire—
I came with sacrifice, my prayer He heard,        15
  He granted my desire.
My sprinkling He accepted at the dawn
  Of this, the holiest day, the chosen one,
When with the daily offering of the morn
  The High Priest had begun.        20
And when the services thereafter came
  In glorious order, each a sacred rite,
I, bending low, and calling on the Name,
  Confessed before His sight.
The holy Priests, the ardent, for their sin        25
  Upon this day made their atonement then,
With blood of bullocks and of goats, within
  The city full of men.
The Priest with glowing censer seemed as one
  Preparing for the pure a way by fire.        30
I brought two rams and entered as a son
  That cometh to his sire.
The bathings and ablutions, as ’twas meet,
  Were all performed according to their way;
Then passed before the throne of God complete        35
  The service of the day.
And when sweet strains of praise to glorify
  Burst forth in psalmody and songs of love,
Yea, when I heard the voice uplifted high,
  I raised mine hand above.        40
The rising clouds of incense mantled o’er
  The mercy-seat within its sacred space:
Then glory filled me and my soul would soar
  To yon exalted place.
Of ancient times I dream, of vanished days;        45
  Now wild disquiet rageth unrestrained;
Scorned and reproached by all from godly ways
  Have I, alas, refrained.
Afar mine eyes have strayed and I have erred,
  Even the hearing of mine ears I quelled;        50
And righteous is the Lord, for at His word
  I sorely have rebelled.
Perverseness have I loved, and wrongful thought,
  And hating good, strove righteousness to shun,
And in mine actions foolishness have wrought;        55
  Great evil have I done.
Pardon I pray Thee, our iniquity,
  O God, from Thine high dwelling, and behold
The souls that in affliction weep to Thee—
  For lo! I have grown old.        60
Work for me, I beseech Thee, marvels now,
  O Lord of Hosts! in mercy lull our fears;
Answer with potent signs and be not Thou
  Silent to all my tears.
Open Thine hand exalted, nor revile        65
  The hearts not comforted, but pierced with care,
Praying with fervent lips, that know not guile,
  O hearken to my prayer!

Shakespeare · Bible · Strunk · Anatomy · Nonfiction · Quotations · Reference · Fiction · Poetry
© 1993–2015 · [Top 150] · Subjects · Titles · Authors · World Lit.