Skip to main content

Full text of "Ode to Zion"

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. 



ODE TO ZION 213 



ODE TO ZION. 

(Words of Love and Honour to the Holy Land, and of 
strong Longing to see her and to abide in her.) 

Jehudah Halevi (1086). 

Zion, wilt thou not ask if peace's wing 

Shadows the captives that ensue thy peace, 
Left lonely from thine ancient shepherding? 

From west and east and north and south — world-wide — 

From all those far and near, without surcease, 
Take Peace — and Peace to thee from every side. 

And Peace from him that in captivity 

Longeth, and giveth tears like Hermon's dew, 
Yearning to shed them on the hills of thee. 

To weep thy woe my cry is waxen strong: — 

But dreaming of thine own restored anew 
I am a harp to sound for thee thy song. 

My heart to Bethel sorely yearneth yet, 

Peniel and Mahanaim ; yea, where'er 
In holy concourse all thy pure ones met. 

There the Shechinah dwelt in thee ; and He, 

God thy Creator, lo, He opened there 
Toward the gates of Heaven the gates of thee. 

And only glory from the Lord was thine 

For light ; and moon and stars and sunshine waned 
Nor gave more light unto thy light divine. 

O I would choose but for my soul to pour 

Itself where then the Spirit of God remained, 
Outpoured upon thy chosen ones of yore. 



2T4 THE JEWISH QUARTERLY REVIEW 

Thou art the royal house; thou art the throne 
Of God ; and how come slaves to sit at last 
Upon the thrones which were thy lords' alone? 

Would I were wandering in the places where 
God's glory was revealed in that time past, 
Kevealed in thee to messenger and seer ! 

And who will make me wings that I may fly, 

That I may hasten thither far away 
Where mine heart's ruins 'mid thy ruins lie? 

Prostrate upon thine earth, I fain would thrust 

Myself, delighting in thy stones, and lay 
Exceeding tender hold upon thy dust. 

Yea, standing by the burial-places there 

Of mine own fathers, I would wondering gaze, 
In Hebron, at each chosen sepulchre; 

And pass into thy forest, and incline 

To Carmel, and would stand in Gilead's ways 
And marvel at the Mount Abarim thine ; 

Thy Mount Abarim and thy Mountain Hor, 

There where the two great luminaries sleep, 
Which were thy teacher and thy light before. 

The life of souls thine air is ; yea, and thou 

Hast purest myrrh for grains of dust ; and deep 
With honey from the comb thy rivers flow. 

Sweet to my soul 'twould be to wander bare 

And go unshod in places waxen waste — 
Desolate since thine oracles were there ; 

Where thine Ark rested, hidden in thine heart, 

And where, within, thy Cherubim were placed, 
Which in thine innermost chambers dwelt apart. 

I will cut off and cast away my crown 

Of locks, and curse the season which profaned 
In unclean land the Nazarites, thine own. 



ODE TO ZION 215 

How shall it any more be sweet to me 

To eat or drink, beholding, unrestrained, 
Dogs rend thy tender whelps unsparingly? 

Or how shall light of day at all be sweet 

Unto mine eyes, while still I see them killed — 
Thine eagles — caught in ravens' mouths for meat ? 

O cup of sorrow ! gently ! let thy stress 
Desist a little! for my reins are filled 
Already, and my soul, with bitterness. 

I, calling back Aholah's memory, 

Drink thine hot poison; and, remembering 
Aholibah, I drain the dregs of thee. 

Zion ! O perfect in thy beauty ! found 

With love bound up, with grace encompassing, 
With thy soul thy companions' souls are bound: 

They that rejoice at thy tranquillity, 

And mourn the wasteness of thine overthrow, 
And weep at thy destruction bitterly ; 

They from the captive's pit, each one that waits 

Panting towards thee; all they bending low 
Each one from his own place, towards thy gates ; 

The flocks of all thy multitudes of old 

That, sent from mount to hill in scattered flight, 
Have yet forgotten nevermore thy fold ; 

That take fast clinging hold upon thy skirt, 

Striving to grasp the palm-boughs on thine height, 
To come to thee at last with strength begirt. 

Shinar and Pathros — nay, can these compare 
With thee in state? And can thy purity, 
And can thy light * be like the vain things there ? 

And thine anointed — who among their throng 

Compareth? Likened unto whom shall be 
Levites and seers and singers of thy song? 

1 Thummim and Urim. 



2l6 THE JEWISH QUARTERLY REVIEW 

Lo! it shall pass, shall change, the heritage 

Of vain-crowned kingdoms ; not all time subdues 
Thy strength; thy crown endures from age to age. 

Thy God desired thee for a dwelling-place; 

And happy is the man whom He shall choose 
And draw him nigh to rest within thy space. 

Happy is he that waiteth; — he shall go 

To thee, and thine arising radiance see 
When over him shall break thy morning glow; 

And see rest for thy chosen ; and sublime 

Kejoicing find amid the joy of thee 
Returned unto thine olden youthful time. 

Nina Davis.