Verse > Anthologies > Joseph Friedlander, comp. > The Standard Book of Jewish Verse
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Joseph Friedlander, comp.  The Standard Book of Jewish Verse.  1917.
 
The Maid of the Ghetto
Anonymous
 
SAD eyes and dark she bends upon the throng,
  Man’s exile and Earth’s alien in all lands!
Her ears drink up the street’s tempestuous song,
  And all its currents lave her where she stands.
Not Time nor Place shall rob her of her dower        5
  For rooted in her long remembrance dwell
The days of glory and the realms of power,
  The temples and the tribes of Israel.
 
Not this crushed, driven multitude she sees,
  But priests and patriarchs that chant their psalms;        10
Not these stark walls of brick, but, all at ease,
  Her white-robed sisters by the springs and palms.
And phantoms out of ancient days returning,
  Light up the amber vastness of her land;
Oblivious to this stygian asphalt burning,        15
  Her feet are cool on Jordan’s silver sand.
 
Disparted long and reft from Palestine,
  Lorn maiden of Judaea, dost thou wait
By these strange walls of ages reared between
  Thee and some lover sealed and consecrate?        20
Dost thou seek here his face amidst these faces,
  His form from out this hurrying, sullen press,
Or is thy mystic longing but thy race’s—
  Thou living statue of its mute distress?
 
Thou dusk-eyed daughter of Eternity,        25
  Thou standest in the Visible and Now;
The Past hath locked its mystery in thee,
  And Orient suns have rolled athwart thy brow.
Thy face foreshadows fruitful generations,
  O nymph of Jewry from the iron lands!—        30
Art thou some Esther in the house of nations,—
  Some Judith with a falchion in her hands?
 
 
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