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And do we then lament so very seldom? 

Let's reckon now, and see if we can tell ! 
We weep throughout the fast-day of Atonement, 

The rich and poor, the young and old as well. 

We weep o'er Lamentations and Confession, 

We weep the daylight and the darkness through, 

And are we not to laugh a little ever ? 
Go, let us be! why, that would never do! 

They've laughed in years gone by, and in the future 
To laugh they will continue, just so long 

As there shall live a Jew — then hush, be silent, 
My song, my melancholy song! 


Once again, in spirit, 
Living o'er my childhood, 
On the solemn fast-day 
By the wall I stand, 
Dressed in snow-white linen, 
Hungry, aye, and thirsty, 
With the old, the heavy 
Prayer-book in my hand. 

And with tears and fervour : 
" For the sin " repeating, 
Missing nothing, from the 
First word to the last, 
All the while, tho', feeling 
Most as I were dreaming, 
Most, as I were lying 
Bound in slumber fast. 


" For the sin " . . come, quicker ! 
Tis my father speaking, 
And I lift the prayer-book, 
Read them one by one, 
Sins, by tens I count them, 
And misdeeds so many, 
Wicked things I never, 
Nevermore have done! 

God of mine almighty ! 
I, a child in Israel, 
I, a little, sickly 
Jewish boy, oh, say: 
How can I be guilty 
Of such dark misdoings, 
Who misdeeds so dreadful 
To my charge can lay? 

Usury, extortion — 
Three misdeeds and forty — 
I, a little Jew ! well, 
Rattle it along ! 
Ah, too big and heavy 
Is for me the Pray'r book, 
And the fast-day portion, 
" For the sin . . " too long ! 

Days, and months, and seasons 
Since have come and vanished, 
I have altered with them, 
I am bent and old, 
And my head is sprinkled 
With the snows of winter, 
On my heart's faint beating 
Fall the night-dews cold. 

Yes, the little school-boy 
To a Jew has changed — 

VOL. XIV. Q q 


In my lonely chamber 

Pensively I lie, 

Thoughts of gloom and sadness 

Gathering within me, 

Like the clouds at evening 

In a stormy sky. 

I, dear people Israel, 
Will thy life consider, 
Prying into corners, 
Searching, thinking o'er 
All our deep and tender 
Brotherly affection, 
Year by year increasing, 
Strengthened more and more : 

All our benefactors, 
And our wealthy leaders, 
In whose flood of riches 
We are more than blest; 
All our learned Rabbis, 
Counsellors and judges, 
Schools and Talmud-Torahs, 
Temples, and the rest: 

Our untarnished honour, 
Our sincere attachment 
To the name we're called by, 
And which we have borne, 
Cherished years three thousand, 
Deeming it a treasure 
To be saved and sheltered 
From the breath of scorn ; 

Lest it should be injured, 
Spoken of with slighting — 
And I take the pray'r-book, 
Heavy, worn with age, 


'Tis the same — and open 
At the fast-day portion : 
" For the sin . . " is -written 
On the yellowed page . . . 

How is this, my brothers? 
Oh, this topsy-turvy 
World ! — in truth I know not 
If to cry or laugh ! 
Tell me, what has happened 
To the list, the long one? 
This one — why, God help us ! 
'Tis too short by half! 


Three neighbours were we, three companions, I ween 
That nowadays rarely our like may be seen — 
The red-haired Eliakim, Nachman, and I, 
The poet who humbly to please you will try. 

We grew up together, we learned side by side 
The law that is Israel's comfort and guide, 
Together we sported, we prayed all together, 
Alike for all three were the wind and the weather. 

Together we settled to live evermore, 

Till we met beyond parting on Eden's glad shore. 

And now will I tell you what happened one day, 
When down to the wood we had taken our way. 

We brandished three pointed and glittering knives, 
As long as the Angel's who gathers our lives. 

To murder, to rob? why, good friend, how you shiver! 
To cut willow-branches alongside the river. 

The rays from the West, growing long now and cold, 
Illumined a willow-tree crooked and old.