Seder-Night

By Israel Zangwill 1864–1927 Israel Zangwill
Prosaic miles of streets stretch all round,
    Astir with restless, hurried life and spanned
By arches that with thund’rous trains resound,
    And throbbing wires that galvanize the land;
    Gin-palaces in tawdry splendor stand;
The newsboys shriek of mangled bodies found;
    The last burlesque is playing in the Strand—
In modern prose all poetry seems drowned.
Yet in ten thousand homes this April night
    An ancient People celebrates its birth
    To Freedom, with a reverential mirth,
With customs quaint and many a hoary rite,
Waiting until, its tarnished glories bright,
    Its God shall be the God of all the earth.

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Poet Israel Zangwill 1864–1927

POET’S REGION England

Subjects Religion, Judaism

Holidays Passover

Poetic Terms Sonnet

Biography

Jewish writer and Zionist activist Israel Zangwill was born in London, the son of Latvian and Polish immigrants. Zangwill attended the Jews’ Free School and later the University of London, where he earned honors in French, English, and mental and moral science. Zangwill’s talent was recognized early: In 1881, his short story “Professor Grimmer” won a literary contest, and his career as a short story writer and novelist was . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Religion, Judaism

POET’S REGION England

Poetic Terms Sonnet

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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