Commentary Magazine


Inscription on the Flyleaf of a Bible

I give you this Bible and more to take.
Love is the work the hands of man can
      make.
So read what this, our fabled history teaches
and where, the fire-work, Imagination reaches
to dignify and sanctify.

So on the interior circuits do not miss
the vivid allegories you’ll find in this.
The Pentateuch, Kings, Prophets—all will
    yield
signposts to guide you through the darkened
    field,
truths of piety and poetry.
Like Moses, avoid the gold and choose the
    coal
and see the pattern in the whole.
With the abandoned always side
and the loud and lonely crowd deride
who vilify and simplify.

Find valuable Job’s elegance of distress,
David’s winging gifts to praise. Such
    eloquence can bless
even wild soldiers on the barricade,
for the great visions are past but do not
    fade
and fortify and mollify.

_____________

 

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