Verse > Anthologies > Joseph Friedlander, comp. > The Standard Book of Jewish Verse
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Joseph Friedlander, comp.  The Standard Book of Jewish Verse.  1917.
 
The New Jewish Hospital at Hamburg
By Heinrich Heine
 
A HOSPITAL for the poor and weary Jew,
For sons of man that suffer three-fold ills;
Burdened and baned with three infirmities;
With poverty, disease, and Judaism!
 
The worst of all has ever been the last,        5
The Jewish sickness of the centuries,
The plague caught in the Nile stream’s slimy vale,
The old unwholesome faith that Egypt knew.
 
No healing for this sickness! All in vain
The vapor-bath and douch, vain all the tricks        10
Of surgery, vain all this house may bring
Of simples to its fever-tossing guests.
 
Will Time perchance, the eternal goddess, blot
This gloomy sorrow that handed down
From sire to son—will some far children know        15
The perfect happiness of cloudless health?
 
None can foretell! Yet meantime let us praise
The heart that full of love and wisdom sought
To trickle balm upon the rankling wound,
To give what comfort still is possible.        20
 
This loving man has built a shelter here
For suffering that a skillful hand may soothe
Or cure, or haply Death’s if others fail.
Beds sets he here and cooling drinks and care.
 
A man of deeds, he did what one might do        25
And in the evening of his days he paid
Unto good works the needful due, and dreamed
To rest from labor in kind charity.
 
Unstinted was his hand—yet richer gifts
Rolled down his cheeks so many a time—the tears,        30
The precious, generous tears that oft he wept
For his poor brethren’s immedicable ill.
 
 
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