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Selected Religious Poems of Solomon ibn Gabirol, tr. by Israel Zangwill, [1923], at

p. 30



Establish peace, for us, O Lord,
  In everlasting grace,
Nor let us be of Thee abhorred,
  Who art our dwelling-place

We wander ever to and fro,
  Or sit in chains in exile drear,
Yet still proclaim where’er we go,
  The splendour of Our Lord is here.

Sore-tried, involved in heathen mesh,
  Deep-sunk as though in midmost sea,
Each morn the thought is roused afresh,
  Who will arise to set us free?

From rampart and from mountain reft,
  Immured in thick and pitchy gloom,
Had not the Lord a remnant left,
  Death in the dust had been our doom.

p. 31

All realms behold our driven seed,
  Like wounded doves we fly their hate.
All nations hunt us and impede
  And in the desert lie in wait.

Gripped as a bird within a net,
  Ever pursued in deadly chase,
With harsh devices daily met,
  Perchance our God will grant us grace.

How many periods are past,
  And we in exile lingering,
By enemies encompassed fast,
  Who jeer that now we have no King!

They plot and league in lying spite
  God’s truth with cunning to eclipse,
Our tongues, they say, shall give us might,
  We own no master to our lips.

Shine forth, great God, in splendid flame,
  Bare Thy great arm of ancient days,
Be jealous for Thy glorious name,
  Not unto us, O Lord, the praise.

p. 32

To dust the Arab kingdom sweep,
  The ravenous beasts who tear and bite,
Who rend our scattered sons as sheep,
  Whose motto is to seize by might.

Our heritage they have possessed,
  Exiled, devoured us at their will,
Consumed and wasted and oppressed
  And machinate against us still.

So low our nation hath been brought,
  So many masters override,
A little more and it were naught,
  Had not the Lord been on its side.

Beneath the feet of slaves we bend,
  In pit and prison we are pressed,
The hunters at our necks impend,
  We labour still and have no rest.

Where is that kindness from above
  Of which Thy servitors have heard,
The boon of Thy peculiar love,
  For which we have our fathers’ word?

p. 33

O glorious sovran of the height,
  Abase, destroy their topmost tower,
The final marvel bring to light,
  Arise and save us, show Thy power.

Uplift the lowly from the mire,
  And make our meditation sweet,
The lily gather from the brier,
  And our salvation, Lord, complete.

With joy the lost and wounded bless,
  Wipe from all eyes the tears that run,
Unveil the orb of righteousness,
  For unto us is born a son.

O break the yoke, the slave release,
  Rebuke the arrogant again,
And send Thy messenger of peace,
  Whose feet are welcome as the rain.

Rejoice, my dear despised, the King
  In all His beauty thou shalt see,
And this the song that men shall sing
  In Judah’s land, our own and free.

p. 34

The prayer of the meek finds grace,
  And God will hearken and forgive,
Tread down corruption, sin erase,
  And in His light will let us live.

My song of penitence He ranks
  As though an altar-sacrifice.
Healed of my sins I give Him thanks,
  Who ’spite our deeds remits the price

Delight and peace from Thee we hail,
  Thy hand Thy people’s sin outscored,
Drew o’er iniquity a veil
  Nor gave wrongdoing its reward.

Perpetual ascend to Thee
  Thy people’s and Thy servants’ cries,
O let us Thy compassion see,
  And Thy salvation greet our eyes.

Next: 22. Judgment