Verse > Anthologies > Joseph Friedlander, comp. > The Standard Book of Jewish Verse
Joseph Friedlander, comp.  The Standard Book of Jewish Verse.  1917.
“Why look ye to the dead? Awake!”
By Albert Frank Hoffmann
WHY look ye to the dead? Awake!
  O Israel, be strong—
Be strong to make the truth and right
  Triumphant over wrong;
Know you, O Israel, that he—        5
He lives and is anear to you;
  And tho’ surges roll,
  That the Master Soul
Will guide you safely through.
No need had he for dirges, and        10
  No need for bells to chime;
For heard ye not the night winds play
  A funeral march sublime—
A requiem on nature’s harp,
As he on that April day—        15
  From the shadow-land
  To the golden strand,
In spirit winged his way.
And when the veil was rent and he
  Beheld the Father’s face,        20
He lived, and in Him found his life,
  Saved by His loving grace;
His faith to glorious sight was changed,
As he stood in the presence of Him,
  And of those who trod,        25
  As the sons of God,
Thro’ the shadows dark and dim.
And saw ye not the glory light
  That stole athwart life’s sea?
It left the impression on him of        30
  An immortality;
For when he shed life’s robe of clay,
He smiled as his spirit fled—
  And it lit his face
  With a tender grace—        35
The cold face of the dead.
And nobler far than granite shaft,
  Which storms in time will dim,
The Hebrew Union College stands,
  A monument to him;        40
While those who knew him—loved him, say
His breast held a lion’s heart;
  For the play of life,
  ’Mid its din and strife,
He played the better part.        45
The victor he, though laurel wreath
  Crowned not his aged head;
Still God’s reflected glory lit
  His face when he was dead.
And better that than all the crowns,        50
The world at one’s feet might lay—
  As one takes his flight,
  ’Mid the shadow-light,
To find eternal day.

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