Verse > Anthologies > Joseph Friedlander, comp. > The Standard Book of Jewish Verse
Joseph Friedlander, comp.  The Standard Book of Jewish Verse.  1917.
In the Hour of Need
By Leto (In the Graphic)
D’YE see that shop at the corner, with the three balls over the door?
A pawnshop? Yes, it is, my lad—just that, and nothing more,
Nothing remarkable in that? You see ’em every day?
No doubt you do. But wait a bit, and let me say my say.
Four months ago my little wife was ill as she could be;        5
I thought I should have lost her, but you see she is still with me:
I owe her life to him, my lad! To who d’ye ask?—to who?
To the old man at that popshop there!—and mark me, he’s a Jew!
That staggers you, I thought it would. But bear with me a bit;
It won’t take long to let you have the sense and soul of it;        10
Fanny was ill, and times were bad, and I’d no work to do;
Fanny got worse, and then I took to visiting the Jew.
Fanny got worse, and worse, and worse,—my God; she was so ill;
And the times that were so tight before, my lad, got tighter still;
I pawned my things—such as they were—and I pawned my wife’s things too,        15
Till nothing was left to pawn—and still I had no work to do!
I was starving—downright starving!—and Fanny was almost dead,
One night as I sat, with tight-clasped hands, beside my poor girl’s bed;
I closed my eyes in a dreamy way—didn’t sleep you understand;—
When I opened ’em I saw the Jew, with a basket in his hand!        20
He was only a hook-nosed, crook-back Jew, but he seemed an angel then,
For he brought new life to my dying wife, and made her strong again!
If Heaven is full when he dies, I know they’ll make room for the Jew!…
There! that’s the short of it, my lad,—and every word is true!

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