Verse > Anthologies > Joseph Friedlander, comp. > The Standard Book of Jewish Verse
Joseph Friedlander, comp.  The Standard Book of Jewish Verse.  1917.
Israel’s Spiritual Lamp
By George Eliot
(From “The Spanish Gypsy”)

By that wise spirit of listening reverence
Which marks the boldest doctors of our race.
For Truth, to us, is like a living child
Born of two parents: if the parents part        5
And will divide the child, how shall it live?
Or, I will rather say: Two angels guide
The paths of man, both aged and yet young,
As angels are, ripening through endless years.
On one he leans: some call her Memory,        10
And some Tradition; and her voice is sweet,
With deep mysterious accords: the other,
Floating above, holds down a lamp which streams
A light divine and searching on the earth,
Compelling eyes and footsteps. Memory yields        15
Yet clings with loving cheek, and shines anew,
Reflecting all the rays of that bright lamp
Our angel Reason holds. We had not walked,
But for Tradition; we walk evermore
To higher paths, by brightening Reason’s lamp.        20

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