Feb 192013
 

Unlike Ephraim, I don’t even know rich people I can rage at (although, if I know my Italian Jewish history, Ephraim Luzzatto was not exactly the salt of the earth). But anyway, my sonnets must be directed at the poor. Either way, I suppose, we’re all gonna die.

Ephraim Luzzatto (1729 – 1792)
For All the Prideful

Villain, abuser, high-headed, conceited,
Burdened with pride you lift up every weighed tread,
Humble yourself! And with trembling and grave dread
Keep this in mind: for the slaughter you’re destined.

Heed well God’s voice; for misfortune incessant
Men like yourself have been chosen and fated,
Then your own soul will be stooped and prostrated,
Suddenly struck with blood, pain most malignant.

Turn back to Him, with new ways he’ll instill you,
Chase after right!1 — for what else d’you engage in?
Hoarding mere wealth, or renown to fulfill you?

Would that you might strongly dwell for the ages,
There in your home on the city’s high hill, true —
You’ll sleep in dust, the day coming presages.

אפרים לוצאטו
על כל גאה ורם

 
זֵד, מִסְתּוֹלֵל, יָהִיר וּגְבַה הַמֶּצַח
כִּי בִכְבֵדוּת גָּאוֹן תָּרִים הַצַּעַד,
הָהּ הִכָּנַע! וּבְחַלְחָלָה וָרַעַד
זָכוֹר, כִּי גַם אַתָּה מוּעָד לָרֶצַח.
 
קוֹל מִמָּרוֹם הַסְכֵּת, כִּי אֵיד לָנֶצַח
אֶל גֶבֶר כִּדְמוּתָךְ גָּזַר וַיָּעַד,
וִיחִידָתָךְ אָז תִּשְׁתּוֹחַח מִבַּעַד,
מֻכָּה פִתְאֹם בִּכְאֵב אָנוּשׁ וָנֶצַח.
 
שׁוּב שׁוּב, וּתְהִי אִתָּךְ רוּחַ אַחֶרֶת,
צֶדֶק צֶדֶק תִּרְדוֹף, כִּי מַה הִסְכַּנְתָּ
אִם הוֹן אָצַרְתָּ לָךְ, אוֹ שֵׁם תִּפְאֶרֶת?
 
לוּ שָׁנִים אֶלֶף בִּגְבוּרָה שָׁכַנְתָּ
עַל מוֹשָׁבָךְ אֵיתָן בִּמְרוֹמֵי קֶרֶת,
הִנֵּה יוֹם בָּא, כִי בֶעָפָר יָשַׁנְתָּ.
י

Transliteration/תעתיק:

Zeid, mistoléil, yahír ugváh ha-métzaḥ
Ki vikhveidút ga’ón tarím ha-tzáʕad,
Hah hikanáʕ! U-ve-ḥalhaláh va-ráʕad
Zakhór, ki gam ‘atáh muʕád la-rétzáḥ.

Kol mi-maróm haskéit, ki ‘eid la-nétzaḥ
‘El géver kidmutákh gazár va-yáʕad,
Viḥidatákh ‘az tishtoḥáḥ mi-báʕad,
Mukáh pit’óm bikh’éiv ‘anúsh va-nétzaḥ.

Shuv shuv, u-tehí ‘itákh ruáḥ ‘aḥéret,
Tzédek tzédek tirdóf, ki mah hiskánta
‘Im hon ‘atzárta lakh, ‘o sheim tif’éret?

Lu shaním ‘élef bigvuráh shakhánta
ʕal moshavákh ‘eitán bimroméi kéret,
Hinéih yom ba, khi ve-ʕavár yashánta.

  1. Deuteronomy 16:20.

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