Verse > Anthologies > Joseph Friedlander, comp. > The Standard Book of Jewish Verse
Joseph Friedlander, comp.  The Standard Book of Jewish Verse.  1917.
“Yes, He’s a Jew”
By John Paul Cosgrave
“YES, he’s a Jew”—and then you shook your head
As though the worst of all had just been said;
As though that word expressed the height of crime,
The depth of shame, the lowest moral slime.
Yet, when you use that term reproach to cast        5
You show your ignorance of what the past
To student eyes reveals; how Moses led
In safety through the desert them that fled
From Egypt’s bondage; how he planned the laws
That after ages hailed with loud applause        10
To guide the race in whom no power subdued
Their loyalty to God; aye, from that brood—
That storm-tossed people, oft enslaved in chains,
Have sprung a line of men, in arms and brains
The peers of any—white, or black, or brown;        15
Whose deeds in camp or court e’er won renown.
When Celt, or Gaul, and Saxon chased the deer,
And slew their prey with simple bow and spear,
And dwelt in holes in hillsides, like the lairs
Of prowling beasts, and naught of fame was theirs,        20
The Jew in Orient lands had read the stars,
Had loved with Venus, and had fought with Mars;
Had won with voice and sword the crown of fame,
In field and forum earned an honored name.
And when the Celt and Saxon ruled the world,        25
And the blue smoke from peaceful chimneys curled,
Beside the generation that was new
There walked the scion of the ancient Jew.
When foes harassed and threatened Britain Great
A Jew’s hand ’twas that steered the ship of State,        30
And when the bugle sounded war’s alarm
And myriad men from factory and farm
Took up the sword to keep this Nation whole,
The names of loyal Jews were on the roll.
“Yes; he’s a Jew,” O pigmy of a clan        35
What say you when ’tis said “Yes, he’s a Man”?
Does not that statement cover all the test
That can of any mortal be expressed?
Hark you—you simple-headed bigot hear
A whispered caution in your dullard ear:        40
Do you know that Christ, of whom you sue
Forgiveness, was a persecuted Jew?

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