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


O my God,
If my iniquity is too great to be borne,
What wilt Thou do for Thy great name’s sake?
And if I do not wait on Thy mercies,
Who will have pity on me but Thee?
Therefore though Thou shouldst slay me, yet will I trust in Thee.
For if Thou shouldst pursue my iniquity,
I will flee from Thee to Thyself,
And I will shelter myself from Thy wrath in Thy shadow,
And to the skirts of Thy mercies I will lay hold until Thou hast had mercy on me,
And I will not let Thee go till Thou hast blessed me.
Remember, I pray Thee, that of slime Thou hast made me,
And by all these hardships tried me,
Therefore visit me not according to my wanton dealings,
Nor feed me on the fruit of my deeds, p. 119
But prolong Thy patience, nor bring near my day,
Until I shall have prepared provision for returning to my eternal home,
Nor rage against me to send me hastily from the earth,
With my sins bound up in the kneading-trough on my shoulder.
And when Thou placest my sins in the balance
Place Thou in the other scale my sorrows,
And while recalling my depravity and frowardness,
Remember my affliction and my harrying,
And place these against the others.
And remember, I pray Thee, O my God,
That Thou hast driven me rolling and wandering like Cain,
And in the furnace of exile hast tried me,
And from the mass of my wickedness refined me,
And I know ’tis for my good Thou hast proved me,
And in faithfulness afflicted me,
And that it is to profit me at my latter end
That Thou hast brought me through this testing by troubles.
Therefore, O God, let Thy mercies be moved toward me,
And do not exhaust Thy wrath upon me,
Nor reward me according to my works,
But cry to the Destroying Angel:
Enough! p. 120
For what height or advantage have I attained
That Thou shouldst pursue me for my iniquity,
And shouldst post a watch over me,
And trap me like an antelope in a snare?
Is not the bulk of my days past and vanished?
Shall the rest consume in their iniquity?
And if I am here to-day before Thee,
"To-morrow Thine eyes are upon me and I am not."
"And now wherefore should I die
And this Thy great fire devour me?"
O my God, turn Thine eyes favourably upon me
For the remainder of my brief days,
Pursue not their escaping survivors,
Nor let the remnant of the crops that the hail hath spared
Be finished off by the locust for my sins.
For am I not the creation of Thy hands,
And what shall it avail Thee
That the worm shall take me for its meal
And feed on the product of Thy hands?

Next: XXXIX.