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Poems by Isaac Rosenberg

; POEMS BY ISAAC

; POEMS BY ISAAC ROSENBERG An Aged Minstrel [Swigs frorn a distance^ Taut is the air and tied the trees, The leaves lie as on a hand ; God's unthinkable imagination Invents new tortures for nature. And when the air is soft and the leaves Feel free and push and tremble, Will they not remember and say How wonderful to have lived ? [The Old Hebrew is agitated and murmurs^] Messiah, Messiah. . . . That voice . . . O, he has beaten my sight out. ... I see Like a rain about a devouring fire. . . . [The Minstrel sings.'] Ye who best God awhile, O hear : your wealth Is but His cunning to see to make death more hard, Your iron sinews take more pain in breaking And he has made the market for your beauty Too poor to buy although you die to sell. 70

— MOSES Old Hebrew I am crazed with whips. ... I hear a Messiah. Young Hebrew The venerable man will question this. Abinoah [Overhearing.] Ill beat you more, and he'll question The scratchiness of your whining ; or, may be, Thence ma} be born deep argument 7 With reasons from philosophy, That this blow, taking longer, yet was but one, Or perhaps two ; or that you felt this one Arguing from the difference in your whine Exactly, or not, like the other. Minstrel You labour hard to give pain. Abinoah [Still beating.] My pain is . . . not ... to labour so. Minstrel What is this greybeard worth to you now, All his dried-up blood crumbled to dust? 71