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The Hour Of Death.

[This is the first poem of Rebekah Hyneman to be published in The Occident. She had formally converted to Judaism only a few weeks earlier.]

Hush! ‘tis a holy scene, for Death is near,
And as his terrors meet the mourners’ eye,
There swells a sad and solemn chaunt to heaven,
Bearing in prayer the parting soul on high.

At Death’s approach their voices blend in prayer,
And he, the dying one, now joins the strain,
Though his pale quivering lips give forth no sound,
Yet strives he still to speak those holy words again.

Oh solemn ritual of God’s chosen ones,
Oh sweet and soothing balm to those whose breath
Is fleeting fast away from earth’s bright things,
And journeying swiftly to the shores of death!

Through scorn, and insult, and oppression’s wrongs,
God’s holy words have cheered him on his way;
And now in death’s dark hour their power is felt,
They smooth his path to realms of endless day.

שמע ישראל the Hebrew’s prayer of faith,
Then hear, O Israel, your God is one;
Bow down your heads and glorify His name,
Proclaim his unity from sire to son.

The soul hath flown! With prayers upon his lips
He meekly bow’d to meet the chastening rod,
And now, his earthly errors all forgiven,
He sleeps upon the bosom of his God.