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.
 
“Full sweet of a truth is the sparkle of wine”
By Solomon Ibn Gabirol (Trans. Joseph Chotzner)
 
I
FULL sweet of a truth is the sparkle of wine,
But sorely we miss this blessing divine,
And how can we waken a song or a laugh
When we find that we simply have nothing to quaff
            But water, mere water?        5
 
II
The banquet has little contentment to bring,
Bears little incitement to joke or to sing,
When the potions we hoped to our future would
Turn out in the end to be nothing at all,
            But water, yes water.        10
 
III
Good Moses of old caused the waters to flee,
And led all his people dryshod o’er the sea;
But Moses, our host, at the precedent frowns,
And us, his poor guests, he unflinchingly drowns
            In water, cold water.        15
 
IV
We sit round the table like cold-blooded frogs,
Who live out their lives in the watery bogs;
Well,— if we have fallen on watery days,
Let us, too, like them, croak a pæan in praise
            Of water, dear water.        20
 
V
Long, long may our host here with main and with might
By night and by day for his temperance fight,
And may he and his line find it writ in the law
That their business in life will be ever to draw
            Water, pure water.        25
 
 
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