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


O God, my countenance falleth,
When I remember all wherein I have provoked Thee.
For all the good which Thou hast bestowed on me
I have requited Thee with evil.
For Thou hast created me not from necessity, but from grace,
And not by compulsion of circumstance
But by favour and love.
And before I was,
With Thy mercies didst Thou precede me,
And breathe into me a spirit and call me into being,
And after I came forth into the light of the world
Thou didst not forsake me,
But like a tender father didst Thou watch over my growing up, p. 111
And as a nurse fostereth a suckling didst Thou foster me.
Upon the breasts of my mother Thou madest me rest trustfully,
And with Thy delight didst satisfy me.
And when I essayed my feet, Thou didst strengthen my standing
And didst take me in Thine arms and teach me to walk.
And wisdom and discipline didst Thou impart to me,
And from all trouble and distress didst Thou relieve me,
And at the time of the passing away of Thy wrath
In the shadow of Thy hand didst Thou hide me,
And from how many sorrows concealed from mine eyes didst Thou deliver me!
For before the hardship came
Thou didst prepare the remedy for my distress all unbeknown to me,
And when from some injury I was unguarded,
Thou didst guard me,
And when I came within the fangs of lions
Thou didst break the teeth of the whelps and deliver me thence,
And when evil and constant distress anguished me,
Thou hast freely healed me,
And when Thy dreadful judgment came upon the world,
Thou didst deliver me from the sword p. 112
And didst save me from the pestilence,
And in famine didst feed me,
And with plenty sustain me.
And when I provoked Thee,
Thou didst chastise me as a father chastiseth his son,
And when I called out from the depths of my sorrow,
My soul was precious in Thy sight,
Nor didst Thou send me empty away.
But all this didst Thou yet exceed and add to
When Thou gavest me a perfect faith
To believe that Thou art the God of Truth
And that Thy Law is true and Thy prophets are true.
For Thou hast not set my portion with the
rebels and those who rise up against Thee
And the foolish multitude that blaspheme Thy name;
Who make mock of Thy law,
And contend with Thy servants,
And give the lie to Thy prophets,
Making a show of innocence
But with cunning below,
Exhibiting a pure and stainless soul,
While underneath lurketh the bright leprous spot:
Like to a vessel full of shameful things,
Washed on the outside with the waters of deceit,
And defiling all that is within.

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