Israel, by Witter Bynner

Israel

The shaken beauty of a race
Was centered in that single face,
And the ancestral woes were there
Deep in a weeping shroud of hair;
The captive glory of her head
Was Israel live, and Israel dead.   No title once the earth could tell
So proud as born in Israel.
Tonight I saw that pride of old,
In the contempt with which she sold
Cheap in a modern marketplace
The attar of a bruisè d race.   I saw a king who kissed in awe
Those eyes, and on her cheek I saw
The singing lips of a shepherd-boy
Give kisses twelve for very joy;
But red as a sun in time of drouth,
Was Judas burning on her mouth.   Lost was her visage, like a moon,
And through her shame in misty swoon,
Moved with a less illustrious light,
But with the same immortal might,
Now drawing men to appraise a face,
That once drew God to choose a race.

poems.one - Witter Bynner