Verse > Anthologies > Joseph Friedlander, comp. > The Standard Book of Jewish Verse
Joseph Friedlander, comp.  The Standard Book of Jewish Verse.  1917.
At Sinai
By Isabella R. Hess
DOWN from the mist-clad mountain Moses came,
His face aglow with some strange inward flame—
Down the long slope with winged feet he trod,
And vision clear, for he had talked with God!
Before the mount he saw his people stand,        5
As he had bidden. Slow he raised his hand—
A solemn stillness bound them as they saw,
Their restive hearts athrill with reverent awe.
Deep was his voice and tender. E’en the birds
Poised on their moveless wings to hear his words.        10
From out the misty cloud that wraps the hill,
There came the voice of God, so small and still.
And thus it said: “These words to Israel bring:
As I have borne them forth on eagle’s wing
From Egypt’s bonds, so will I guard them still        15
If they obey my voice, and do my will.
“Yea, Israel shall a priestly people be,
A most peculiar treasure unto Me;
If they do heed the Law that I do give.
My people, say! Will ye obey and live?”        20
With hands uplifted stood the leader there,
His face ablaze! And on the desert air
There rose a murmur swelling loud and true,
“All that the Lord doth bid us, will we do!”
So went he once again within the mist        25
That hid the somber mountain, grey, cloud-kissed;
And as they watched, the waiting people saw
Him come again, and in his arms, the Law!
Thus came the Word—and thus the right to hear
The message, that the world might know and share.        30
Yea, theirs the gift! But theirs the promise, too.
Whate’er the Lord hath spoken, that we’ll do.
Tho’ there at Sinai’s foot, in age long dead,
Our fathers hath the sacred covenant said,
Their blood is ours! and their promise true!        35
Whate’er the Lord hath bidden, shall we do!

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