Shir Hakovod

Shir Hakovod  (1906) 
by Rabbi Yehuda ben Samuel he-Hasid of Regensburg, translated by Israel Zangwill

from Service of the Synagogue: New Year pub. Routledge & Kegan Paul (1906) p. 61.

Shir Hakovod

Sweet hymns shall be my chant and woven songs,
For Thou art all for which my spirit longs--
To be within the shadow of Thy hand
And all Thy mystery to understand.
The while Thy glory is upon my tongue,
My inmost heart with love of thee is wrung,
So though Thy mighty marvels I proclaim,
'Tis songs of love wherewith I greet Thy name.

I have not seen Thee, yet I tell Thy praise,
Nor known Thee, yet I image forth Thy ways.
For by Thy seers' and servants' mystic speech
Thou didst Thy sov'ran splendour darkly teach,
And from the grandeur of Thy work they drew
The measure of Thy inner greatness, too.
They told of Thee, but not as Thou must be,
Since from Thy work they tried to body Thee.
To countless visions did their pictures run,
Behold through all the visions Thou art one.

In Thee old age and youth at once were drawn,
The grey of eld, the flowing locks of dawn,
The ancient Judge, the youthful Warrior,
The Man of Battles, terrible in war,
The helmet of salvation on his head,
And by his hand and arm the triumph led,
His head all shining with the dew of light,
His locks all dripping with the drops of night.

I glorify Him, for he joys in me,
My crown of beauty He shall ever be!
His head is like pure gold: His forehead's flame
Is graven glory of His holy name.
And with that lovely diadem 'tis graced,
The coronal His people there have placed.

Truth is Thy primal word; at thy behest
The generations pass - O aid our quest
For Thee, and set my host of songs on high,
And let my psalmody come very nigh.
My praises as a coronal account,
And let my prayers as Thine incense mount.
Deem precious unto Thee the poor man's song,
As those that to thine altar did belong.
Rise, O my blessing, to the lord of birth,
The breeding, quickening, righteous force of earth.
Do Thou receive it with acceptant nod,
My choicest incense offered to my God.
And let my meditation grateful be,
For all my being is athirst for Thee.

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This work was published before January 1, 1926, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.


This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1926.

The author died in 1926, so this work is also in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 80 years or less. This work may also be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.