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

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Cantor to God:

"What profits it to see Thy people wallow,
  A prostrate lily whelmed in floods of water?
She twitters like a caged and frightened swallow,
  When Thou art girt with weapons for her slaughter.
Be over her, O Rock, a shield erected,
And make Thy corner-stone of that rejected!"


"Before my foe I am humiliated,
  He sits in fatted ease while I must wander,
Before his flouts and roars and blows prostrated,
  Yet I endure and fix my vision yonder,
And wait for healing, with my crying stifled,
Like Hannah’s, and a heart subdued and rifled."

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Cantor to Congregation:

"What ails thee that soul-sick and bitter-hearted,
  Thou faintest, face and hands with teardrops streaming?
Sow charity, and kindness shall be carted,
  Who trusts in force is ignorantly dreaming.
Oppression passes, trampled by oppression,
And violence breeds violent succession."

Congregation to Cantor:

"My years have gone in sorrow and in sighing,
  I hoped for respite but instead comes wailing,
Before the balm arrives behold me dying."

Cantor to Congregation:

"Ah wait, faint heart, that sighest, sick and failing,
Thyself against God’s mercy do not harden,
Thou, eased of foes, shalt flower like a garden."

Congregation to God:

"Mine eyes are sick and faint from hope’s depression,
  Dumb like a sheep I bear Thy storm of fury,
Perchance my pain shall cancel my transgression,
  Crush not the plagued and stricken son of Jewry,

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The broken-hearted, crouching ’neath Thy rod,
He waits Thee, night and day, O jealous God.

Gripped like a bird within its captor’s fingers,
And crushed to dust, I groan beyond all bearing."


"Hearken, afflicted one, for hope yet lingers,
  And look to Me, whose angel is preparing
My path, for though at night be tears and sadness
Yet in the morning come delight and gladness."

Next: 20. Duologue