The Terrible Sons

By Eleazar ben Kalir Eleazar ben Kalir

Translated By Israel Zangwill

The terrible sons of the mighty race
Shout in thunder the Lord is King,
The angels whose figure the lightnings trace
Flame to the world that the Lord was King,
And seraphs whose stature is one with Space,
Proclaim that the Lord shall be King for ever.
The Lord is King, the Lord was King, the Lord shall be King for ever and ever.

The rushing and undulant sons of fire
Fiercely cry that the Lord is King,
The rustling legions with harp and lyre
Sweetly tell that the Lord was King,
And numberless creatures in ceaseless choir
Chant that the Lord shall be King for ever.
The Lord is King, the Lord was King, the Lord shall be King for ever and ever.

The bards who remember the songs of yore
Sing aloud that the Lord is King,
The sages enshrouded in mystic lore
Find and proclaim that the Lord was King,
And rulers of spans of the heavenly floor
Cry that the Lord shall be King for ever.
The Lord is King, the Lord was King, the Lord shall be King for ever and ever.

The heirs of the Torah, Thy rich bequest,
Chant in joy that the Lord is King,
The lordly warriors with crown and crest
Crown Thee, declaring the Lord was King,
And angels in fiery garments drest
Repeat that the Lord shall be King for ever.
The Lord is King, the Lord was King, the Lord shall be King for ever and ever.

Mellifluous orators trained of tongue
Preach and teach that the Lord is King,
The shimmering cherubim, radiant, young,
Trumpet exultant the Lord was King,
And seraphim circling have ever sung
The song that the Lord shall be King for ever.
The Lord is King, the Lord was King, the Lord shall be King for ever and ever.

Thy people in passionate worship cry
One to another the Lord is King.
In awe of the marvels beneath the sky
Each explains that the Lord was King.
One sound from Thy pastures ascends on high:
The chant that the Lord shall be King for ever.
The Lord is King, the Lord was King, the Lord shall be King for ever and ever.

Assemblies of holiness consecrate
Thee with the cry that the Lord is King,
Innumerous myriads iterate
Only this—that the Lord was King,
And flame-flashing angels enthroned in state
Echo the Lord shall be King for ever.
The Lord is King, the Lord was King, the Lord shall be King for ever and ever.

The universe throbs with Thy pauseless praise,
Chorus eternal, the Lord is King.
Thy glory is cried from the dawn of days,
Worshippers calling the Lord was King.
And ever the Saints who shall witness Thy ways
Shall cry that the Lord shall be King for ever.
The Lord is King, the Lord was King, the Lord shall be King for ever and ever.

NOTES: From the liturgy for Rosh Hashanah

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Poet Eleazar ben Kalir

Subjects Religion, Faith & Doubt, Judaism, God & the Divine

Holidays Rosh Hashanah

Poetic Terms Refrain, Rhymed Stanza

Poems by Eleazar ben Kalir

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Religion, Faith & Doubt, Judaism, God & the Divine

Poetic Terms Refrain, Rhymed Stanza

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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