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.
 
Moses on Mount Nebo
By I. Solomon
 
I
HE stood on Nebo’s lofty crest,
  Above him arched the azure sky,
Beneath the valley was at rest,
  A gem in Nature’s pageantry;
Behind him lay the toil of years,        5
  And chains of bondage meekly borne,
And pathways moistened with his tears—
  A life of many a pleasure shorn.
 
II
No more for him the drowsy Nile,
  Where long had slaved God’s chosen race,        10
No more the swarth Egyptian’s guile,
  The trembling hand, the haggard face;
For he had led his brethren far
  Beyond the whip, beyond the chain,
And now beneath the brightest star        15
  Lay Canaan sweet with hill and plain.
 
III
He saw that land whose portals fair
  Would never open to his tread,
And Jordan old was flowing where
  He ne’er would rest his weary head;        20
And Amram’s son from Nebo’s crest
  Gazed long upon the matchless scene;
An untold longing filled his breast
  To reach the promised pastures green.
 
IV
He knew that on the mountain high,
        25
  Far from the vale that slept below,
’Neath heaven’s softest canopy
  The ceaseless years would o’er him go;
That Israel, anchored safe at last,
  Where Jordan singing, sought the sea.        30
With toil and danger ever past,
  Would, thro’ God’s watchful care, be free.
 
V
In sweet communion with his God
  Stood Israel’s leader true and bold;
His grave was not to be the sod        35
  Where Canaan’s rose its petals fold;
He bowed his head and looked no more,
  Perchance he for a moment wept;
He knew the pilgrimage was o’er.
  God touched him gently and he slept.        40
 
VI
No mortal eye hath found the place
  Where Moses laid his mantle down.
For high on Nebo’s rugged face,
  His service done, he won the crown;
Jehovah made that lonely grave        45
  And left His servant old alone;
Afar from Jordan’s sunlit wave
  He sleeps, his sepulchre unknown.
 
 
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