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No Rabbi reads the ancient Decalogue

In the grand dialect the Prophets spake.

Gone are the living, but the dead remain,

And not neglected; for a hand unseen, Scattering its bounty, like a summer rain,

Still keeps their graves and their remem

brance green.

How came they here? What burst of Chris

tian hate, What persecution, merciless and blind, Drove o’er the sea - that desert desolate

These Ishmaels and Hagars of mankind?

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They lived in narrow streets and lanes ob

scure, Ghetto and Judenstrass, in mirk and mire; Taught in the school of patience to endure

The life of anguish and the death of fire.

All their lives long, with the unleavened bread

And bitter herbs of exile and its fears, The wasting famine of the heart they fed,

And slaked its thirst with marah of their tears.

Anathema maranatha! was the cry
That rang from town to town, from street to

street; At every gate the accursed Mordecai Was mocked and jeered, and spurned by

Christian feet.

Pride and humiliation hand in hand

Walked with them through the world wher

e'er they went; Trampled and beaten were they as the sand,

And yet unshaken as the continent.

For in the background figures vague and vast

Of patriarchs and of prophets rose sublime,

And all the great traditions of the Past

They saw reflected in the coming time.

And thus for ever with reverted look

The mystic volume of the world they read, Spelling it backward, like a Hebrew book,

Till life became a Legend of the Dead.

But ah! what once has been shall be no more!

The groaning earth in travail and in pain Brings forth its races, but does not restore,

And the dead nations never rise again.


In the Valley of the Vire

Still is seen an ancient mill, With its gables quaint and queer,

And beneath the window-sill,

On the stone,

These words alone:

66 Oliver Basselin lived here."

Far above it, on the steep,

Ruined stands the old Château;

Nothing but the donjon-keep

Left for shelter or for show.

Its vacant eyes

Stare at the skies, Stare at the valley green and deep.

Once a convent, old and brown,

Looked, but ah! it looks no more, From the neighboring hillside down On the rushing and the roar

Of the stream

Whose sunny gleam Cheers the little Norman town.

In that darksome mill of stone,

To the water's dash and din,
Careless, humble, and unknown,
Sang the poet Basselin

Songs that fill
That ancient mill

With a splendor of its own.

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