Meditations. (Translations From The Hebrew Poets Of Medaeval Spain.)

A poem by Emma Lazarus

Forget thine anguish,
Vexed heart, again.
Why shouldst thou languish,
With earthly pain?
The husk shall slumber,
Bedded in clay
Silent and sombre,
Oblivion's prey!
But, Spirit immortal,
Thou at Death's portal,
Tremblest with fear.
If he caress thee,
Curse thee or bless thee,
Thou must draw near,
From him the worth of thy works to hear.

Why full of terror,
Compassed with error,
Trouble thy heart,
For thy mortal part?
The soul flies home -
The corpse is dumb.
Of all thou didst have,
Follows naught to the grave.
Thou fliest thy nest,
Swift as a bird to thy place of rest.

What avail grief and fasting,
Where nothing is lasting?
Pomp, domination,
Become tribulation.
In a health-giving draught,
A death-dealing shaft.
Wealth - an illusion,
Power - a lie,
Over all, dissolution
Creeps silent and sly.
Unto others remain
The goods thou didst gain
With infinite pain.

Life is a vine-branch;
A vintager, Death.
He threatens and lowers
More near with each breath.
Then hasten, arise!
Seek God, O my soul!
For time quickly flies,
Still far is the goal.
Vain heart praying dumbly,
Learn to prize humbly,
The meanest of fare.
Forget all thy sorrow,
Behold, Death is there!

Dove-like lamenting,
Be full of repenting,
Lift vision supernal
To raptures eternal.
On ev'ry occasion
Seek lasting salvation.
Pour thy heart out in weeping,
While others are sleeping.
Pray to Him when all's still,
Performing his will.
And so shall the angel of peace be thy warden,
And guide thee at last to the heavenly garden.

Solomon Ben Judah Gabirol (Died Between 1070-80.)

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