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.
 
Benjamin Disraeli, Earl of Beaconsfield
By Punch
 
Born, December 21, 1804. Died, April 19, 1881.

DISRAELI dead! The trappings of late days,
  The Coronet, the Garter, slip aside,
The Peer’s emblazonment, the victor’s bays,
  The pageantry of pride.
 
Triumph’s mere symbols, badges of success,        5
  Who weighs, who marks them now when all is said
In simple words, low-breathed in heaviness?—
  Disraeli’s dead!
 
So all have known him from that earlier time
  Of meteoric and all-daring youth,        10
And through the season of his dazzling prime;
  And so to-day, in sooth,
 
’Tis Benjamin Disraeli all will mourn,
  Nor he the less unfeignedly whose lance
Against that shield and crest full oft had borne        15
  In combat à outrance.
 
The fearless fighter and the flashing wit
  Swordless and silent! ’Tis a thought to dim
The young Spring sunshine, glancing, as was fit,
  Bright at the last on him.        20
 
Who knew no touch of winter in his soul,
  Holding the Greek gift yet in mind and tongue,
And who, though faring past life’s common goal,
  Loved of the gods died young.
 
Like the Enchantress of the Nile, unstaled        25
  By custom as unchilled by creeping years,
A world-compeller, who not often failed
  In fight with his few peers.
 
Success incarnate, self-inspired, self-raised
  To that proud height whereat youth’s fancy aimed        30
Whom even those who doubted whilst they praised,
  Admired, e’en whilst they blamed.
 
No more that fine invective’s flow to hear,
  That buoyant wisdom or that biting wit!
To see him and his one sole battle-peer        35
  Sharp counter hit for hit.
 
No more to picture that impassive face,
  That unbetraying eye, that fadeless curl,
No more in plot or policy to trace
  The hand of the great Earl!        40
 
How strange it seems, and how unwelcome! Rest,
  Not least amidst our greatest! Who would dare
Deny thee place and splendour with the best
  Who breathed our English air?
 
Peace, lasting Peace that strife no more shall break,        45
  With Honour none may challenge, crown thee now
Wherever laid, nor Faction’s self would shake
  The laurel from thy brow.
 
And England, who for thy quenched brightness grieves,
  Garlands the sword no more to leave its sheath,        50
And, turning from thy simple gravestone, leaves
  A tear upon the wreath.
 
 
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