Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE WANDERING JEW, by PIERRE JEAN DE BERANGER



Poetry Explorer

Classic and Contemporary Poetry

THE WANDERING JEW, by            
First Line: Christian! A cup of water fetch
Last Line: Never, never!
Subject(s): Wandering Jew


Christian! a cup of water fetch
For the faint pilgrim at thy gate:
I am the Wandering Jew, poor wretch!
Whirled onwards evermore by fate.
I age not, though by years opprest,
The world's end is my only dream;
Each eve, fresh hopes inspire my breast
But still to-morrow's sun will beam.
Ever, ever,
The earth spins round, and resteth never,
Never, never!

For eighteen hundred years, alas!
O'er Grecian and o'er Roman dust,
O'er countless empires quenched, I pass,
By fearful whirlwinds onward thrust.
Good I have seen that failed to thrive,
While lustier evil throve and grew;
And I have watched two worlds survive
The ancient world, from Ocean's blue.
Ever, ever,
The Earth spins round, and resteth never,
Never, never!

God changed me, that he might chastise—
To all that perishes I cling—
But, when some shelter open lies,
The tempest sweeps me on its wing.
How many starvelings in each land
Ask aid that I would fain supply!
They have no time to clasp the hand
I love to stretch while passing by.
Ever, ever,
The Earth spins round and resteth never,
Never, never!

If e'er beneath some leafy trees,
On cool green turf, beside the wave,
I seek my wretchedness to ease.
Forthwith the vengeful whirlwinds rave.
Oh! why should Heaven begrudge my grief
A fleeting moment of repose?
Eternity itself were brief
To soothe my agonizing woes!
Ever, ever,
The Earth spins round, and resteth never,
Never, never!

How oft have children, pure and bright,
Called up the phantoms of mine own!
But, while I feast upon the sight,
On by the whirlwind I am blown.
O aged mortals! wherefore lust
That age may be prolonged awhile?
My weary foot shall stir the dust
Of those sweet babes on whom I smile.
Ever, ever,
The Earth spins round, and resteth never,
Never, never!

I scan dim traces of the home,
Where, ages since, I had my birth:
The whirlwind mutters, "Onward roam!
Thy steps must traverse all the earth.
Such is the penance for thy sin
Till the spent universe expires:
For thee no place is kept within
The crumbling vault that holds thy sires."
Ever, ever,
The Earth spins round, and resteth never,
Never, never!

I taunted with inhuman jest
The Man-God, as he breathed his last!
Since then my feet have had no rest—
Farewell! I travel with the blast.
Ye who sweet charity disown.
Behold my pain that none can cure:
'Tis not for Godhead scorned, alone,
But outraged manhood I endure!
Ever, ever,
The Earth spins round, and resteth never,
Never, never!





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