Commentary Magazine


Magnificat

Et esultavit . . . no, Johann Sebastian,
not in the weak magnificat
we (sickly) weave, a minor
banner of our praise. That

is not for us. Suscepit Israel. . . .
He hath received us O with cruel mercy
in the night like thieves like fallen lions.
Our exultation is not free.

But bound as Prometheus to the rock,
our liver eaten away by the vulture of God,
we have seen him put down the humble, exalt the mighty
—Abraham chained to the rock, covered with mud.

O Father Abraham, the Holy Spirit your praise
your glory, look on us now—! The seed
of the father in the tomb of the loins
rotting—and the worm within the creed!

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