Poems by Emma Lazarus

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Thou two-faced year, Mother of Change and Fate,
Where is the man who has been tried and found strong and sound?
Ten o'clock: the broken moon
But yesterday the earth drank like a child
(A Dream.)
Born July 22, 1849; Died November 19, 1887.
Yea, she hath looked Truth grimly face to face,
To my friend, Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Long in the lap of childhood didst thou sleep,
Small, shapeless drifts of cloud
Uplift the ponderous, golden mask of death,
Come closer, kind, white, long-familiar friend,
From Joshua Ibn Vives of Allorqui to his Former Master, Solomon Levi-Paul, de Santa-Maria, Bishop of Cartegna Chancellor of Castile, and Privy Councillor to King Henry III. of Spain.
On a background of pale gold
Dark lies the earth, and bright with worlds the sky:
Look! the round-cheeked moon floats high,
Air and sky are swathed in gold
Weep, Israel! your tardy meed outpour
1. Long, long has the Orient-Jew spun around his helplessness the cunningly enmeshed web of Talmud and Kabbala.
'T is not alone that black and yawning void
O strange, dim other-world revealed to us,
An Apologue.
1. Vast oceanic movements, the flux and reflux of immeasurable tides, oversweep our continent.
"Conquer the gloomy night of thy sorrow, for the morning greets
Not a lad in Saragossa
"I would not have," he said,
(From the German of Heine)
Late-born and woman-souled I dare not hope,
Rest, beauty, stillness: not a waif of a cloud
From the oped lattice glance once more abroad
She feels outwearied, as though o'er her head
The ceaseless whirr of crickets fills the ear
Light silken curtain, colorless and soft,
Golden lights and lengthening shadows,
My friend spoke with insinuating tongue:
I never see, after nocturnal rain,
I know how well Love shoots, how swift his flight,
Now since nor grief nor fear was longer there,
So, Calchas, on the sacred Palatine,
My thoughts impelled me to the resting-place
"O World-God, give me Wealth!" the Egyptian cried.
There is a hungry longing in the soul,
In rich Virginian woods,
Her languid pulses thrill with sudden hope,
How long, and yet how long,
Almighty! what is man?
"Since that day till now our life is one unbroken paradise. We live a true brotherly life. Every evening after supper we take a seat under the mighty oak and sing our songs." - Extract from a letter of a Russian refugee in Texas.
The golden harvest-tide is here, the corn
The noble Column, the green Laurel-tree
Yon nightingale who mourns so plaintively
Let us go in: the air is dank and chill
Unto the house of prayer my spirit yearns,
O waters fresh and sweet and clear,
The God of Love and I in wonder stared,
I saw on earth angelic graces beam,
Since thou and I have proven many a time
Sennuccio, I would have thee know the shame
The fervent, pale-faced Mother ere she sleep,
Not while the fever of the blood is strong,
The little and the great are joined in one
All stupor of surprise hath passed away;
I see it as it looked one afternoon
O city of the world, with sacred splendor blest,
Look westward o'er the steaming rain-washed slopes,
"See'st thou o'er my shoulders falling,
By the impulse of my will,
Down the goldenest of streams,
Gray earth, gray mist, gray sky:
Forget thine anguish,
Night, and the heavens beam serene with peace,
Will night already spread her wings and weave
We sat at twilight nigh the sea,
The grass of fifty Aprils hath waved green
The passion of despair is quelled at last;
The calm outgoing of a long, rich day,
Raschi of Troyes, the Moon of Israel,
Thin summer rain on grass and bush and hedge,
Would I had waked this morn where Florence smiles,
I give God thanks that I, a lean old man,
And so we twain must part! Oh linger yet,
March 13, 1881.
"Am I sipping the honey of the lips?
Frosty lies the winter-landscape,
What art thou doing here, O Imagination? Go away I entreat thee by the gods, as thou didst come, for I want thee not. But thou art come according to thy old fashion. I am not angry with thee - only go away.
When the vexed hubbub of our world of gain
"With tears thy grief thou dost bemoan,
Serene was morning with clear, winnowed air,
Oft have I brooded on defeat and pain,
September 26, 1881.
When the stunned soul can first lift tired eyes
It comes not in such wise as she had deemed,
Therefore I dare reveal my private woe,
(After Robert Schumann.)
To my mother. May, 1870.
Wake, Israel, wake! Recall to-day
A Legend of the Talmud.
I saw in dream the spirits unbegot,
There was a man who watched the river flow
Across the Eastern sky has glowed
A Historical Tragedy in Five Acts.
[Aaron Ben Mier "loquitur."]
"Oh brew me a potion strong and good!
What dainty note of long-drawn melody
1. The Spanish noon is a blaze of azure fire, and the dusty pilgrims crawl like an endless serpent along treeless plains and bleached highroads, through rock-split ravines and castellated, cathedral-shadowed towns.
Kindle the taper like the steadfast star
Spoken by a Citizen of Malta - 1300.
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
What, can these dead bones live, whose sap is dried
1. Moses Ben Maimon lifting his perpetual lamp over the path of the perplexed;
Night, and beneath star-blazoned summer skies
1. Over a boundless plain went a man, carrying seed.
Well-nigh two thousand years hath Israel
1. Daylong I brooded upon the Passion of Israel.
If the sudden tidings came
The Autumn promised, and he keeps
Oh, that the golden lyre divine
1. Through cycles of darkness the diamond sleeps in its coal-black prison.
Down the long hall she glistens like a star,
How strange, in some brief interval of rest,
Deep languor overcometh mind and frame:
With heavy groans did I approach my friends,
Yet life is not a vision nor a prayer,
What hast thou done to this dear friend of mine,
Sweet empty sky of June without a stain,