Verse > Anthologies > Joseph Friedlander, comp. > The Standard Book of Jewish Verse
Joseph Friedlander, comp.  The Standard Book of Jewish Verse.  1917.
As Jacob Served for Rachel
’TWAS the love that lightened service!
  The old, old story sweet
That yearning lips and waiting hearts
  In melody repeat.
As Jacob served for Rachel        5
  Beneath the Syrian sky,
Like the golden sands that swiftly drop
  The toiling years went by.
Chill fell the dews upon him,
  Fierce smote the sultry sun;        10
But what were cold and heat to him,
  Till that dear wife was won!
The angels whispered in his ear
  “Be patient and be strong!”
And the thought of her he waited for        15
  Was ever like a song.
Sweet Rachel, with the secret
  To hold a brave man leal;
To keep him through the changeful years
  Her own in woe and weal;        20
So that in age and exile,
  The death damp on his face,
Her name to the dark valley lent
  Its own peculiar grace.
And “There I buried Rachel,”        25
  He said of that lone spot
In Ephrath, near to Bethlehem,
  Where the wife he loved was not;
For God has taken from him
  The brightness and the zest,        30
And the heaven above thenceforward kept
  In fee his very best.
Of the love that lightens service,
  Dear God, how much we see,
When the father toils the livelong day        35
  For the children at his knee;
When all night the mother wakes,
  Nor deem the vigil hard,
The rose of health on sick one’s cheek,
  Her happy heart’s reward.        40
The love that lightens service
  The fisherman can tell,
When he wrests the bread his dear ones eat
  Where the bitter surges swell;
And the farmer in the furrow,        45
  The merchant in the mart,
Count little worth their weary toil
  For the treasures of the heart.
.    .    .    .    .    .
As Jacob served for Rachel
  Beneath the Syrian sky,        50
And the golden sands of toiling years
  Went swiftly slipping by,
The thought of her was music
  To cheer his weary feet,
’Twas love that lightened service,        55
  The old, old story sweet.

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