Yehuda Matzliaḥ Padova (Leon Prospero Padova) (? – 1728)
A World Inverted
O unschooled man who comes and goes before me,
Draw near and hear from me these admonitions:
My ev’ry word is just, without a defect,
Your soul shall draw from every sound its comfort.
See how this world withholds from you unfairly
Eternal peace and rest and also seizes
Your mind; your strength it casts into the chasm,
And there all pride on bended knee is humbled.
O hear you well, my words are not yet swallowed:
For are you not the man who once considered
Himself above all living souls, deserving
Obeisance from the world, with might tight-girded?
The beasts and creatures heeded all your orders,
The buds and blossoms you plucked by the handful,
And earth’s mute stones with scorn you freely trampled,
but unrevealed to you: the hidden meaning.
Unveil your wisdom’s eyes so truth they’ll follow;
Regard your strength and glory as if broken.
Indeed, upon your back will thickets thicken,
The grass will overgrow the place you’re buried,
And with no shame at all will sink its roots in,
And thistles’ thorns will fill your former dwelling
And silent stones o’er which you once went striding
Will be piled up above your head forever.
O Man, do you not stir with wrath and ire?
And do you not berate all those created
Subservient to you? Now see how fearless
At times like this they’ve all worked to restrain you!
And where are all your holdings and your legions?
And where are men’s delights once held so dearly?
How woefully into their graves they’ve fallen,
Their light goes dim and their bright flame’s extinguished.
I stand as keystone, calling out with purpose;
With reasoned words I’ll be the nations’ banner.
The tongues of men cleave firmly to their palates,
Their mouths won’t open, bellowing like thunder,
Instead they mutely stand with lips gone rotten.
Now heed me, for I lead the way with honor:
Should men be high of heart? When wrath befalls them
Salvation flees and settles far beyond them.
And so should men take heed of this instruction
And leave their births a distant recollection,
Will not this tiny drop they’ve drawn start flowing,
And will they not then scorn and leave their homelands?
Their hearts, uncircumcised, and heads are humbled
The moment that they see their doom is fated;
Instead they’ll rush to take this path I’ve shown them,
Then rise to Eden gleeful and rejoicing.