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

p. 3



My soul shall declare to Thee Thou art her former
  And shall Thee as her maker, O God, testify,
At Thy word 'Be, O Soul' did she take on existence,
  And from naught didst Thou draw her as light from the eye.

Of Thee she shall own and affirm, hand uplifted,
  ’Twas Thou that didst breathe her in me, and as due
For that work she shall pour out her thanks and bear witness
  That to me she was given Thy bidding to do.

She serves Thee as handmaid while yet in the body,
  And the day she returns to the land whence she came,
In Thee will she dwell, for in Thee is her being,
  Doth she rise, doth she sit, Thou art with her the same.

She was Thine when unborn ere the day of her breathing,
  With wisdom and knowledge by Thee she was fed,
And to Thee for her ordinance looks, and subsistence,
  Indebted to Thee for her water and bread.

p. 4

Her gaze is to Thee, and in Thee is her hoping
  When like novice in child-birth she cries in affright.
O take her torn heart as a sacrifice offered,
  And her ribs lacerated for fiery rite.

To Thee let her pour out her tears as drink-off’ring,
  Let the breath of her sighing as incense-cloud be,
At her gate and her doorway she watches with prayer,
  She is burning like flame with her passion for Thee.

She must ever approach Thee as servant his master,
  Or as handmaiden looks to her mistress’s eye,
She must spread out her palms in request and petition
  And turn herself humbly to Thee in her cry.

For call Thee she must, nor endure to be silent,
  Like a bird in the net her one hope is in flight,
In the depth of the night she must rise and keep vigil,
  For her work is Thy works to declare and recite.

For Thee she must pine and of Thee make entreaty,
  Her hand must be clean and as stainless her thought.
Her breach do Thou heal, be her hope and her helper,
  When she draws nigh redeem her, her sin count as naught.

p. 5

Behold her affliction, and hark to her weeping,
  In the sphere of the soul she with Thee is alone,
Repay and restore her, attend to her anguish,
  When her sobs and her tears her backslidings bemoan.

  Bemock, O Almighty, the foes that bemock her,
Avenge with due vengeance her insults and shame,
  In her stress be a rock of support ‘gainst her foeman,
Nor yield up the child Thou to manhood didst frame.

  No enemy came, whose reproach could be borne with,
No cruel one hunted her down in her track,
  ’Twas the friends of her household betrayed her—her passions—
’Twas her comrade who bloodily stabbed in the back.

  I ever am seeking my body’s best welfare,
Yet it in return would my spirit undo.
  Ah, truly the fruit of the tree in its root is,
The proverb "Like mother, like daughter" is true.

Next: 3. The Messiah