Skip to main content

Full text of "The Jewish May"

See other formats


STOP 



Early Journal Content on JSTOR, Free to Anyone in the World 

This article is one of nearly 500,000 scholarly works digitized and made freely available to everyone in 
the world by JSTOR. 

Known as the Early Journal Content, this set of works include research articles, news, letters, and other 
writings published in more than 200 of the oldest leading academic journals. The works date from the 
mid-seventeenth to the early twentieth centuries. 

We encourage people to read and share the Early Journal Content openly and to tell others that this 
resource exists. People may post this content online or redistribute in any way for non-commercial 
purposes. 

Read more about Early Journal Content at http://about.jstor.org/participate-jstor/individuals/early- 
journal-content . 



JSTOR is a digital library of academic journals, books, and primary source objects. JSTOR helps people 
discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content through a powerful research and teaching 
platform, and preserves this content for future generations. JSTOR is part of ITHAKA, a not-for-profit 
organization that also includes Ithaka S+R and Portico. For more information about JSTOR, please 
contact support@jstor.org. 



THE 

JEWISH QUARTERLY 
REVIEW 

OCTOBEB, 1902 

THE JEWISH MAY. 

From the Yiddish of Morris Rosenfeld 1 . 

May has come from out the showers, 
Sun and splendour in her train. 
All the grasses and the flowers 
Waken up to life again. 
Once again the leaves do show, 
And the meadow-blossoms blow, 
Once again thro' hills and dales 
Ring the songs of nightingales. 

Wheresoe'er on field or hill-side 
With her paint-brush Spring is seen, 
In the valley, by the rill-side, 
All the earth is decked with green. 
Once again the sun beguiles, 
Moves the drowsy world to smiles, 
See ! the sun, with mother-kiss, 
Wakes her child to joy and bliss. 

1 By kind permission of Messrs. Small, Maynard & Co., Publishers of 

Songs from the Ghetto. 

VOL. XV. B 



THE JEWISH QUARTERLY REVIEW 

Now each human feeling presses, 

Flow'rlike, upward to the light, 

Softly, thro' the heart's recesses, 

Steal sweet fancies, pure and bright. 

Golden dreams, their wings out-shaking, 

Now are making 

Bealms celestial, 

All of azure, 

New life waking, 

Bringing treasure 

Out of measure 

For the soul's delight and pleasure. 

Who then, tell me, old and sad, 
Nears us with a heavy tread? 
On the sward in verdure clad, 
See, he looks, and shakes his head. 
Lonely is the strange new-comer, 
Wearily he walks and slow, — 
His sweet springtime and his summer 
Faded long and long ago! 

Say, who is it yonder Walks 
Past the hedge-rows decked anew, 
While a fearsome spectre stalks 
By his side, the woodland thro' ? 
Tis our ancient friend the Jew! 
No sweet fancies hover round him, 
Nought but terror and distress. 
While, revealed 
In wounds unhealed, 
Wither corpses — old affections, 
Ghosts of former recollections, 
Buried youth and happiness. 

Briar and blossom bow to meet him 
In derision round his path ; 
Gloomily the hemlock greets him, 
And the crow screams out in wrath. 



THE JEWISH MAY 

Strange the birds, and strange the flowers, 
Strange the sunshine seems and dim, 
Folk on earth and heav'nly powers, — 
Lo, the May is strange to himl 

Little flowers, it were meeter 
If ye made not quite so bold: 
Sweet are ye, but oh, far sweeter 
Knew he in the days of old! 
Oranges by thousands glowing 
Filled the groves on either hand, — 
All the plants were God's own sowing 
In his happy, far-off land ! 

Ask the cedars on the mountain ! 
Ask them, for they knew him well ! 
Myrtles green by Sharon's fountain, 
In whose shade he loved to dwell! 
Ask the Mount of Olives beauteous, — 
Ev'ry tree by ev'ry stream! — 
One and all will answer duteous 
For the fair and ancient dream . . . 

O'er the desert and the pleasance 
Gales of Eden softly blew, 
And the Lord his loving Presence 
Evermore declared anew. 
Angel-children at their leisure 
Played in thousands round his tent, 
Countless thoughts of joy and pleasure 
God to his beloved sent. 
There, in bygone days and olden, 
From a wondrous harp and golden 
Charmed he songs of beauty rare, 
Holy, chaste beyond compare. 
Never with the ancient sweetness, 
Never in their old completeness 
Shall they sound: our dream is ended, 
On a willow-bough suspended . . . 
B a 



THE JEWISH QUARTERLY REVIEW 

Gone that dream so fair and fleeting! 
Yet, behold : thou dream'st anew ! 
Hark ! a new May gives thee greeting 
From afar. Dost hear it, Jew 1 ? 
Weep no more, altho' with sorrows 
Wearied e'en to death : I see 
Happier years and brighter morrows 
Dawning, oh my Jew, for thee ! 
Hear'st thou not the promise ring 
Where, like doves on silver wing, 
Thronging cherubs sweetly sing 
New-made songs of what shall be? 

Hark ! your olives shall be shaken, 

And your citrons and your limes 

Filled with fragrance, God shall waken, 

Lead you, as in olden times. 

In the pastures by the river 

Ye once more your flocks shall tend, 

Ye shall live, and live for ever, 

Happy lives that know no end. 

No more wand' ring, no more sadness; 

Peace shall be your lot, and still 

Hero-hearts shall throb with gladness 

'Neath Moriah's silent hill. 

Nevermore of dread afflictions, 

Or oppressions need ye tell: 

Filled with joy and benedictions 

In the old home shall ye dwell. 

To the fatherland returning, 

Following the homeward path, 

Ye shall find the embers burning, 

Still, upon the ruined hearth! 

Helena Frank.