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Shebuoth, a poem by Miriam del Banco (1932)


Contribute a translationSource (English)
From dim, dark ages of the past
Since centuries their course have run,
The few acknowledged but our God:
One God, and only one.
Religion’s silver sandaled feet,
With time, have roamed o’er all the earth
To other forms she’s given rise,
To other creeds she’s given birth.
The different rites the different gods
Have scattered been o’er land and sea;
But one race clung to Him alone,
Before no other bent the knee.
And when the Lord had breathed to man
A spirit like unto his own
He rested, and the day, unchanged,
Is holy to the Jews alone.
They are His people, and He speaks
Unto its youth: “While thou art here,
If thou this beauteous earth dost love,
Honor thy father and mother, dear.”
They shall in God’s own chosen time,
To him return, through good and ill
He guides them here with patient hand;
He counseleth; “Thou shalt not kill.”
He counseleth: “Be true, be pure,
Be virtuous in all thy ways;
Be honest, upright, undefiled,
Spotlessly pure through all thy days.
So tender in His mercies He,
So careful of our woe and weal,
Our slightest action ne’er escapes
His watchful eye “Thou shalt not steal.”
Then, why should we, the chosen ones,
Not live in love and peaceful care;
Why should we ’gainst each other plot?
Or ’gainst our friends false witness bear?
Why should we struggle with our fate?
Why wish for riches or for fame?
If we our neighbor covet not.
Tis to our great God all the same.
All the religions and beliefs
The Jews have their foundation given;
For near six thousand years ago
The law, to them, was sent from heaven.

The poem “Shebuoth” by Miriam del Banco (1858-1931) was included in her posthumously published anthology, Poetry and Prose (1932), p. 37-38. The poem was likely published during her lifetime, but we do not know where or when. If you know, please leave a comment, or contact us. –Aharon Varady






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