Verse > Anthologies > Joseph Friedlander, comp. > The Standard Book of Jewish Verse
Joseph Friedlander, comp.  The Standard Book of Jewish Verse.  1917.
The Jew
By George Alfred Townsend
(Dedicated to Benjamin F. Peixotto)

HIS dark face kindled in the East,
  He walks our Europe like a dream,
  And in his great beard gravely seem
To meet the poet and the priest;
His nation spent, his temple sacked,        5
  A haughty exile under ban,
From pole to pole he holds intact
  The ancient grandeur of the man.
Vain burnt the fires his frame to melt,
  His tough will turned the rack to straw;        10
  The granite tablets were his law,
And to the one high God he knelt!
Before his zeal fell hate and spite;
  Wide grew the narrowness of marts,
Immortal, sole cosmopolite,        15
  He gave for freedom all the arts!
Always the ages’ argonaut,
  The foremost sails he followed still,
  Gave to the Christian thrift and skill,
And peace and trade to heathens taught.        20
If ran to greed his heart sometimes,
  By reverend robbers wrung to pelf,
A child of genius in all climes,
  He drew the muses to himself.
Of God’s august historian heir,        25
  Who made creation eloquent,
  To themes occult and grand he bent
The realms of letters everywhere;
His pencil spurned, his marble crushed
  When art to monks its lease resigned,        30
The splendor of his numbers hushed,
  The rude music of mankind.
Oh! human faith in God’s good grace,
  Wait boldly and ye shall not fail,
  The patient ages must avail—        35
If freedom knows no waiting place,
The Zion holy to our hosts,
  This reverend world—made ruin by
The curse of shrines, and thrones, and ghosts—
  Art, toil, and hope shall purify.        40

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