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Divine Love, a poem by Rosa Emma Salaman (1848)


HebrewSource (English)

וְאָהַבְתָּ אֵת יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ
וּבְכָל־מְאֹדֶךָ׃ (דברים ו:ה)
“And thou shalt love the Lord thy God
with all thine heart,
with all thy soul,
and with all thy might.” —Deut. 6, 5.

I know not what this world would be
(Not even by analogy)
If love were banished, for a time,
To other realm, or other clime;

But no, it is not bound by space,
But with illimitable grace,
Glides through all worlds, and lives in all;
All hearts and souls it does enthrall;

And though in some ‘tis little felt,
Some, where the spirit seldom dwelt,
‘Tis not quite banished or forgot:
It were indeed a dreary spot,
Without one single ray of love,
That heavenly blessing from above!

For what were virtue, goodness, truth,
Without the light of love? in sooth
They would not be—they could not last
Without this heavenly antepast;
This foretaste of celestial love
Viceregent here, but crowned above.

Oh! love, thou pure and holy thing!
What are the blessings thou dost bring?
Nay, rather what is happiness
But love in some new guise or dress?

Even from birth ‘tis love which fills
Each avenue of soul—instills
Its spiritual influence,
And makes us love all excellence;

Whatever bears the noble stamp
Of great and good; ‘tis this pure lamp
Which lights our path, which gives us hope,
Extends our views to higher scope.

We love to read, to hear, to learn,
And why? because our spirits burn
To enter at that heavenly gate,
Where mind in majesty of state
Sits on the throne of love; and where
Love’s essence breathes upon the air.

And all God’s attributes abound
In holy love; for all around
Throughout creation, not a law
But springs from love, nay, if we saw
The root of all that’s good ‘twould be
Love, only love, that we should see.

Love all pervading—all divine,
In heaven how brightly will it shine,
The pure, pure spirit cherished here,
To consummate the heavenly sphere;

To bud on earth for one short hour,
To bloom for age a lovely flower,
In heaven so beautiful and bright,
Its very shadow will be light,

That when we say “this, this is love!”
Our spirits will be far above,
Dwelling with God in holiness,
And loving for pure blessedness.

The poem, “Divine Love” by Rosa Emma Salaman, was first published in the Occident 6:7, Tishrei 5609, October 1849, p. 197-198.


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