Verse > Anthologies > Joseph Friedlander, comp. > The Standard Book of Jewish Verse
Joseph Friedlander, comp.  The Standard Book of Jewish Verse.  1917.
A Tribute to the Jews
By Rufus C. Hopkins
SINCE Terah’s son from Chaldea went,
On Manfred’s plains to spread his tent,
The Jewish race in every age
Illumines the historic page.
In ages dim, long past and gone,        5
The Hebrew warrior victories won,
Ere Priam’s son in battle stood,
Or Roman soldier shed his blood.
The ancient Seer, in dreamy trance,
The past had seen in mystic glance,        10
And in the flaming bush had heard
The voice of God—Almighty’s word.
On Sinai’s mount, ’mid thunders loud,
From cavern dark, and curtaining cloud
Mysterious voices to him came        15
In which he heard Jehovah’s name;
And in the clefted rock he saw
The Spirit of Eternal Law.
The history of this people old,
By poet writ and prophet told,        20
Gives pictures grand of highest thought,
From realms of inspiration caught;
Whether writ with pen of living fire,
Or told in words of burning ire;
Whether an Isaiah sternly warns,        25
Or Jeremiah weeping mourns;
Whether Daniel warning gives to kings
Or the lone captive sadly sings
Beneath the willow trees upon
The streams that flow by Babylon;        30
Whether David sings a hymn of praise,
Or Job laments his darkened days;
They all, in lofty numbers tell
Of thoughts sublime, that only dwell
In minds inspired by living beams        35
That wake to life the poet’s dreams.
Dark was the day, and sad the hour,
When Judea passed to Roman power!
Her old men sighed, her maidens wept,
When havoc o’er Jerusalem swept;        40
And smouldering ruins, stained with blood,
Told where her sacred Temple stood.
And darker still, in after time,
When scattered far, in every clime,
Against her wandering children rose        45
The persecuting hand of foes,
Inspired by blind, malignant hate,
Which centuries long did not abate,
Which still in this enlightened day,
Has not entirely passed away;        50
And, yet for all, though scattered wide
On every shore where rolls the tide,
Her children e’er preserved the name
That told from whence their fathers came;
And worshipped still the Great Unknown,        55
As to the ancient Patriarch shown.
The gloomy ages testify
To what they did in times gone by,
In learned science, and the part
They acted in the realms of art,        60
While wandering o’er the face of earth,
Far from the land that gave them birth.
The student of historic lore,
As slow he turns the pages o’er,
Upon its musty leaves will see        65
Semitic names of high degree;
In many a dim and blotted line,
The Maccabæan warriors shine,
And bright and lustrous, too, he sees
The name of famed Maimonides.        70
And modern times bear witness, too,
To what the sons of Israel do—
Disraeli fills a shining place
In the history of the Saxon race;
And Benjamin high honors won        75
In the Senate Halls of Washington;
Montefiore long will stand
An honored name in every land;
The Baron Hirsch long, long will be
Remembered by humanity;        80
While now, to-day, the Bernhardt’s name
Is clothed in histrionic fame!
While, though the Jews no country claim,
And, as a nation, have no name,
They still retain, where’er they be,        85
Their ancient skill and energy;
And whereso’er on earth they live
Obedience to the laws they give,
And merit well an honored place
’Mong children of a foreign race.        90
The Christ, who gave the Christians name,
And a redeeming Saviour came
To the transgressing sons of earth,
Was of an humble Jewish birth;
And, furthermore, the sacred book,        95
From which their creeds the Christians took,
And on whose truths their faith they base,
Sprang from the ancient Jewish race.
Then honored be that glorious race,
Whose genius still on earth finds place,        100
While classic Greece has passed away,
And Rome has lost her ancient sway;
And shame on him who would withhold
The credit due this people old,
Whoe’er have played such active part        105
In science, literature and art.

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