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p. 334



O soul, with storms beset!
Thy griefs and cares forget.
Why dread earth's transient woe,
When soon thy body in the grave unseen
Shall be laid low,
And all will be forgotten then, as though
It had not been?

Wherefore, my soul, be still!
Adore God's holy will,
Fear death's supreme decree.
Thus mayest thou save thyself, and win high aid
To profit thee,
When thou, returning to thy lord, shalt see
Thy deeds repaid.

Why muse, O troubled soul,
O'er life's poor earthly goal?
When thou hast fled, the clay
Lies mute, nor bear'st thou aught of wealth, or might
With thee that day,
But, like a bird, unto thy nest away,
Thou wilt take flight.

Why for a land lament
In which a lifetime spent
Is as a hurried breath?
Where splendor turns to gloom, and honors show
A faded wreath,
Where health and healing soon must sink beneath
The fatal bow?

p. 335

What seemeth good and fair
Is often falsehood there.
Gold melts like shifting sands,
Thy hoarded riches pass to other men
And strangers' hands,
And what will all thy treasured wealth and lands
Avail thee then?

Life is a vine, whose crown
The reaper Death cuts down.
His ever-watchful eyes
Mark every step until night's shadows fall,
And swiftly flies
The passing day, and ah! how distant lies
The goal of all.

Therefore, rebellious soul,
Thy base desires control;
With scantly given bread
Content thyself, nor let thy memory stray
To splendors fled,
But call to mind affliction's weight, and dread
The judgment-day.

Prostrate and humbled go,
Like to the dove laid low,
Remember evermore
The peace of heaven, the Lord's eternal rest.
When burdened sore
With sorrow's load, at every step implore
His succor blest.

Before God's mercy-seat
His pardoning love entreat.
Make pure thy thoughts from sin,
And bring a contrite heart as sacrifice
His grace to win--
Then will his angels come and lead thee in
To Paradise.

p. 336


Whose works, O Lord, like thine can be,
Who 'neath thy throne of grace,
For those pure souls from earth set free,
Hast made a dwelling-place?

There are the sinless spirits bound,
Up in the bond of life,
The weary there new strength have found,
The weak have rest from strife.

Sweet peace and calm their spirits bless,
Who reach that heavenly home,
And never-ending pleasantness--
Such is the world to come.

There glorious visions manifold
Those happy ones delight,
And in God's presence they behold
Themselves and him aright.

In the King's palace they abide,
And at his table eat,
With kingly dainties satisfied,
Spiritual food most sweet.

This is the rest forever sure,
This is the heritage,
Whose goodness and whose bliss endure
Unchanged from age to age.

This is the land the spirit knows
That everlastingly
With milk and honey overflows
And such its fruit shall be.

Next: Poems of Judah Halevi