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A Hebrew poem on the death of Nelson

Raphael Loewe

<plain_text><page sequence="1">Jewish Historical Studies, volume 42, 2009 A Hebrew poem on the death of Nelson RAPHAEL LOEWE The destruction of the French fleet at Trafalgar marked the turning of the tide in the Napoleonic wars, and the death of Nelson in the hour of victory has continued to affect the hearts of his countrymen down the two centuries that have followed it.1 Several Jews saw action there under his command, one of them (according to family tradition) actually on HMS Victory,2 and another, Benjamin da Costa, as a naval officer.3 In the years immediately after the battle it inspired a number of English poems, some with musical settings - most of the poems, as might be expected, evincing no great liter? ary merit. G. Richards' Monody on ... Nelson^ composed in heroic couplets, contains nothing memorable or particularly moving, and reads like an academic exercise. A Jewish counterpart by Nathan Isaac Vallentine was published in 1806, under the Hebrew title "HDtP? ('Breakers of the Sea') and in English 'The Discourse of the Three Sisters Respecting the Fall and Murder of Admiral Nelson';5 because of its rarity, it is reprinted as an appendix below (on pages 89-93). And despite their deplorable short 1 To mark the arrival at Portsmouth of the Victory bearing Nelson's body a special service was held at Bevis Marks Synagogue on 5 December 1805, copies of the order for which were circu? lated to other London congregations, and at which Raphael Meldola, the Haham, delivered a sermon (Spanish &amp; Portuguese Jews Congregation, Mahamad minutes, 1805/5566, MS 109). I am grateful to Miss Miriam Rodrigues Pereira for drawing my attention to this. 2 C. Roth, 'Jews in the Defence of Britain', Trans JHSE 15 (1946) 9. 3 The Gentleman s Magazine, 1854, p. 445, records his death on 2 March as that of one of the last surviving officers who fought at Trafalgar. Noted by A. M. Hyamson, 'The Jewish Obituaries in the Gentlemans Magazine \ Misc. JHSE 4 (1942) 39. He was not in fact an officer, but joined HMS Temeraire as an able seaman on 10 June 1805 aged 23 (possibly an approximate figure), was promoted midshipman on 14 July, and discharged on 14 January 1806 (Muster, Adm. 36-15851, National Archives, Kew: I am grateful to Mr Geoffrey Green for this information). There are many Benjamin da Costas listed in the birth and circumcision registers of the Spanish &amp; Portuguese Jews' Congregation of London (M. Rodrigues-Pereira and C. Loewe [eds] Bevis Marks Records 5 [1993]), but none of them in or around 1782. Green,' "England expects..." British Jews Under the White Ensign from HMS Victory to the loss of HMS Hood in 1941', JHS 41 (2007) 63-4, n. 2, records the presence at Trafalgar of nine other Jews on the lower deck: Moses Benjamin (Victory), Joseph Manuel, Nathan Manuel, Henry Levi, Benjamin Solomon (Britannia), Philip Emanuel (Colossus), John Benjamin (Royal Sovereign), James Brandon (killed in action) and Thomas Brandon (Revenge). 4 Oxford, 1805. Copy in the British Library, pressmark RB 23 B 3145. 5 C. Roth, Magna Bibliothec a Anglo-Judaic a (London 1937) B. 13. 8, p. 341. 75</page><page sequence="2">Raphael Loewe comings in Hebrew grammar and syntax, it would be wrong to leave unmentioned here poems on Trafalgar and Nelson's death (among other Hebrew pieces composed for public occasions) composed by Henry Dimock, an Oxford-educated Christian Hebraist (see appendix below).6 But most of these commemorative tributes were composed in a less formal genre, some being provided with a musical setting simple enough for community singing. The Hebrew specimen to be considered below falls somewhere between the two kinds, and is therefore difficult to classify; but the starting-point for address to it has to be comparison with the unsophis? ticated pieces in English that received enough acclaim to get into print together with their music. A Jewish dimension attaches to one of these, perhaps most popular (and surely the longest lasting) of them all: appar? ently the nation did not tire of hearing 'The Death of Nelson', by John Braham (who also composed the musical setting), and it was repeatedly sung in public performances by its author. Braham, a tenor who was much in demand on the Continent and in America as well as at home, had begun his career in the choir of the Great Synagogue in London.7 The song's premiere was in 'The Americans', produced at the Lyceum in 1811. Since the text is now difficult to find, I reproduce it here:8 Arise noble Britons in Valor arise, the banner of freedoms (sic) unfurld The day spring of Victory gleams from the sky, the Thunder of Vengeance is hurled; With our swords in our hands now uplifted to heav'n, we swear we will never be Slaves. And the Alter (sic) on which this promise is giv'n, Is the Turf of our forefa? thers' graves, (his) For a King our fond Father, for laws we adore, The dear tender ties of our love, Like a band of true Brothers we rush to the shore, Our Arms and our Valor to Prove; 6 Appended to Eight Sermons.. .Hebrew Odes, Literally Translated (London 1808); there is no copy in the British Library or that of Lambeth Palace, but Dr Williams' Library has one, pressmark 1101. G. 9. See I. Abrahams, 'Hebrew Loyalty under the First Four Georges', Trans JHSE 9 (1922) 105, 108-9, without the Hebrew text but printing the English version. 7 On Braham see M. Sands, 'Jonn Braham, Singer', Trans JHSE 20 (1964) 203-14, B. Weinberg, 'Aspects of Jewish Contributions to Musical Life in Britain, 1770-1820', Trans JHSE 34 (1997) 228-9; C. Roth, A History of the Jews of England* (Oxford 1964) 243-4; Dictionary of National Biography2, 2004 (G. Biddlecombe), and now D. Conway, 'John Braham - From Meshorrer to Tenor', JHS 41 (2007) 37-61, 41 n. 20. 8 From The Death of Nelson. A Celebrated National Song, printed with the music by W. Wybrow, n.d. British Library copy pressmark G 806. 76</page><page sequence="3">A Hebrew poem on the death of Nelson Shall our sweet native Isle so long freedoms abode, Be a prey to the Tyrant of Gaul. No! No! by our Honors, our Fathers, our God! We will save it or die at its fall. Hark! Hark! Tis the bugle each warrior that calls, Who shrinks not at Death's awful name, To Arms! haste to Arms 'tis our Nelson that falls, See he died in the blaze of his fame; The praise of his King, the applause of the brave, Shall soften his pillow of Death, While each Briton exulting, shall boast that to save, His Country; He gave up his breath. There is more in this of patriotism than hero-worship, but the proportion more than reversed in the following, by D. N. Beckman,9 which is closer mood to the Hebrew poem that concerns us: The Death of Nelson Oft have I seen the sinking wreck, Oft told the mournful story Oft have I trod the blood-stained deck, where Death has led to Glory, But never till this fatal day, Have e'er these eyes beheld, A deeper gloom o'er Valor's ray, Or Honor more excel'd; For Ah! Our loved our gallant Chief (Amid the hostile rattle, How does our joy give place to grief), Brave Nelson's slain in Battle. Oh he was generous good and great, How can I speak his merit; Or how within this hour of fate, Describe his gallant Spirit: Bold unassuming and humane, The Seaman's friend was he; At duty's call defying pain, A right true Briton - free; But Ah! He's gone our Naval pride, the theme of honest Kelson,10 What man this day but would have died, For England - And for Nelson. Tho' Death has laid the Victor low, To patriot zeal devoted; Resign'd he met his final blow, And doubtless is promoted: Where tempest and where cruel war, Their dismal horrors cease; Where safe in Port each faithful Tar, At Anchor rides in peace: Then brother Sailors who survive, This splendid day with Kelson, O ever may we while we live, Remember Gallant Nelson. 9 Printed, with music, British Library copy H. 1662 (20, 21). 10 I.e. keel; its use as a name for any sailor (cf. Jack Tar) is not recorded by the Oxford English Dictionary, but a note at the foot of the music reads: 'Kelson - A term understood by Nautical Men'. 77</page><page sequence="4">Raphael Loewe A companion piece follows, headed 'Gallant Nelson'. While the Hebrew piece shares some of the traits of the foregoing, it essays a more literary style, adequate command of which, it has to be recognized, exceeded the author's competence. The source is what I presume to be a unique manuscript in the posses? sion of Mrs Ian Landau of London, having been obtained from an unknown source by her late father Edward Jamilly, an architect who interested himself in Anglo-Jewish buildings.11 Written on the first page of a folio sheet folded to 430 x 276mm, it consists of 30 lines of a fine square Hebrew, apparently Ashkenazic script of professional quality (prick marks for align? ment are visible in the right margin), prompting the question as to whether the scribe was himself also the author. A few vowel-signs were inserted, for clarification, by the original hand. There are a few notes in English at the foot; their script is nineteenth century, and since the first letters of nouns are capitalized, these probably date from the earlier half. While the begin? ning and end of the Hebrew text is written across the page, with a 23mm margin to the right, 11. 9-28 consist of two columns of 4-line stanzas, their order reading downwards. If identification of the author seems unlikely to transpire, what can we discover about him? First, the familiarity that he possessed with the Hebrew Bible clearly transcends those parts of it which he would have known from the scriptural readings and synagogue liturgy12 - an accomplishment that he would not have owed to any Jewish educational syllabus, however advanced, available to him. There is no reason to doubt that he had been exposed to the conventional talmud torah regimen, and he may have spent some time in a yeshivah, probably without attaining rabbinic qualification. Were the author and the scribe one and the same ? The scribe was a sopher of considerable competence, and an accurate command of Hebrew grammar is not essential to his profession. If the two were not in fact the same individual, we may be fairly confident that both were numbered among the periphery of the London Ashkenazi rabbinical establishment, the scribe probably on call for his services as required - unless, of course, he was also one of the hazzanim. But there would have been nothing in the educational or occupational back? ground of a scribe, cantor or average lay member of the congregation to instil in him a sense of responsibility, to say nothing of self-discipline, in his use of language. The author's occasional carelessness (or perhaps one should say nonchalance) is irritating;13 and the introduction in 1. 7 of the rare third person-plural feminine verb nn?ttn before 0*13*7 (masculine) is surely a 11 Trans JHSE 38 (2003) 75-103. 12 See e.g. nn. 23, 46, 65, 66. 13 11. 16R DinD, 20R H?"), 2iL min (if not a scribal error). 78</page><page sequence="5">A Hebrew poem on the death of Nelson piece of deliberate pretentiousness, presumably intended for sonorous effect. Although the adjective *Tfcn (1. 9) is current in medieval Hebrew translations from Arabic, etc., it betrays itself as a takeover from the English 'perpetual' (or equivalent German, etc.), since the naturally resonant Hebrew for 'in everlasting memory' would be T?H fTlDT*?. Can the author, nevertheless, be reckoned among those few in England on whom the haskalah made an impact?14 One may summarise the essence of the literary aspect of its proponents' endeavour as the grafting of Western forms onto Hebrew writing without distortion of the natural genius of the language. The structure of Vallentine's poem (see the Appendix), divided as it is into speeches by England, Ireland and Scotland, reflects this more markedly than does the piece with which we are concerned; its author's achievement is not very impressive, but in the light of the following I suppose that we ought include him among the maskilim, though whether he thought of himself as such must remain an open question. The piece consists of two parts, the first, 11. 2-8, being itself divided. Of these, 11. 2-6 are in elevated if somewhat disjointed prose, the clauses roughly balanced in length. Somewhat incongruously, a reflection on Nelson's end in the light of the inevitability of death is linked to acknowl? edgement of the hand of divine providence in ensuring a smooth transfer? ence of command to Collingwood. This is followed (11. 7-8) by a heading to the poem that will follow, consisting of two distichs, each internally rhymed and probably intended to evince a stress-pattern of 3...3, but if so it is severely strained in 1. 8. The poem itself is more regular, consisting as it does of 10 4-line stanzas, 4 of them (2,4, 6, 7) rhyming 2 + 2, the remainder each with a single rhyme, albeit facilely achieved by use of possessive and other suffixes and ignoring the insistence of medieval Hebrew prosody that these must be preceded by matching consonants. A clear 2 + 2 stress maintains the rhythm, despite the unregulated number of syllables. But the feature which, in my opinion, justifies labelling the piece as an haskalah enterprise is the assignment of the last three stanzas to choruses of (i) naval officers, (ii) ratings, (iii) Nelson's fellow-countrymen, followed by a single-line finale assigned to humanity at 14 See C. Roth, 'The Haskalah in England', in H. J. Zimmels, J. Rabbinowitz, I. Finestein (eds) Essays presented to.. .Israel Brodie (London 1967) 365-76. Of those there reviewed, chronology admits of three only as conceivably identifiable with the author of the piece here edited. Hyman Hurwitz, 1770-1844 (p. 374) would never have perpetrated its grammatical solecisms. I have not seen any of the poetic productions (rated by Roth as 'quite elegant') of Michael Josephs (= Meir b. Joseph K?nigsberg, 1761-1849), pp. 375-6, composer of verses for the visit of the royal dukes to the Duke's Place synagogue in 1809. Jacob Hart (= Eliakim b. Abraham, c. 1745 - 1814, pp. 372-3) seems not to have written poetry (see Arthur Barnett, 'Eliakim b. Abraham...', Trans JHSE 14 [1940] 207-23). 79</page><page sequence="6">':' ' ' ^^^?j^^J^^ ^^^^J&amp;fi^lji^ _.|2j?uK^^^^gKj * rw v-?*&gt; w^ier waw ; *pn &gt; rr&gt; web* tfgjij "'?'EE 'w^???^ M'WIWJ^'Mili H l/H mn ? -4 Plate i The manuscript of the memorial poem. 8o</page><page sequence="7">A Hebrew poem on the death of Nelson large. Although several of the psalms are clearly constructed for antiphonal performance and Ps. 118:2-4 actually mentions this, the crescendo seems to be a distinct echo of the literary and musical effects of the West that could have been familiar for generations to Sephardi litterateurs in Italy and north? ern Europe, but to which the eighteenth-century maskilim were endeavour? ing to introduce their fellow-Ashkenazim. Had the author of the poem himself had a Sephardi background, what he produced would surely have been much more disciplined. On the other hand, he has caught the mood of the hour in a way that neither Vallentine nor the authors of the English pieces cited above did; no doubt further search would reveal English exam? ples reflecting similar sensitivity. The significance of this poem in regard to Anglo-Jewish social history is independent of its aesthetic quality. The manuscript appears in Plate 1. There follows here a transcription and annotated translation. : 15mi;n: &lt;:16nnw&gt; nxr xVi -m : rvDsm mnV : wsvm : otx xun V^dd nniw msj rmxi ?num 17 m : nmxn by nmt wttwn xip "n Vipi : lsni *[wn xV t ir-rsn "n p&amp; Vnnn mx 5 : inn Din jxoVs?: nnn 19fD*n prn nxmrVVxp Dip : onno?a nnoa nni? : 21i?dt7n^ nm jxdVm : onann nVx nm?i?n : 20*t?n pimV : "TOBT 23DDD lpDD : miHT 221TnX1 : D7TOX") TTJ : lH^mi IDi? wxV 24i 3 n j? : 26*pn : i"n rnaVi : 25^D3 rran : 28*p? *p? 11? : 27?j?W xVl : m XV ior : 30t]1H X1? : VT 29^b DX : 3l?pw *m*a rrnx vti : prm nxi 81</page><page sequence="8">Raphael Loewe : wi man ix : 32nrrnm d^ss? : StfPD 33mnX 31D ix : TJH IX : Vn x1? : 13} Y^IX VlH : Ottl : p : ^Vl : 13^3 34i3ptt umn : irr owo dx f]x : 35?n2f? Vm : OlV?3 H?rn Vdji? ?:36D*?3ip nnU*K f31 : miDX Vn* 11? : 37d^s?d njmn xim : van pu? "n : 39d^n 13V TOXI : ^hdi x^XLTID *t : fH37 ]X?Vl?3 33*7 : 4?nXtt W hd 42mD3 vt vnnx Vi? dx t]K : maa inV^n J" nsrwn u1? ]h3 433ii? iVipi : ri^u? anpn i^D3 : r^ix nxipV : 45n3T^ -U3 : 1D1 31p "?3 *]x : 46rrro i?2 : inerte ni?nn dxi 47mp nps D*niz^ : "wsn nVti? d^nn : n?tz; niy r&gt;nsu? ms? : nrrm 48i&gt;Vip irmps Vi? wx wx : "msrp xVi 49n3Vrr rnra rx : 5?1tid3 XV : DHIttDl Dn?m 82</page><page sequence="9">A Hebrew poem on the death of Nelson ramx : isVin im 51imVm dy&gt;3 WIK : 52t&gt;3Jtt 13X : 1SDX dt&gt;3 54D7*r rnrD 53"ni?3 "iai?V da 15^ ^"on^wn Vdx : Kip' mopm ivnpb (mxax ?iw nxmr^ij? 'na Vnpn imnx wi : "jtod unn ?ppm up inVnnV arn it3 : 'ynwm nvronn "pnx rax : 57i,n?DixV -p^un 56nni?n nip1* 13W Vi; 59irri? mm d^d nVs 6113H133 pxV 1Dt??3 6?WS3 Vl? 133? nVm 62i3^DD w\w xV i3in m 6313*?Va1 tnftV p3 xVl : WS) UTXV t13t inx 01? p?n ?www i?dw 64iunp jw?? D^pnti? pw 25z, 13'nnx d3, i3"?nx irm*? 65m33xu? mm3?23 irxaiu; jtdV lasm 663W mi?n Vx 3inn 67i3nx3 T?n npin DiVti? nsiai d"n (iy?d3 oVwn) : laonim u?? -px X3 dw "H 7^ Alluding to the Trees which [sic] Timber ? Meaning the Sound Ships are built ff Being the Beginning [sic] of his Letter to the Board of Admiralty after the Victory of the Nile 83</page><page sequence="10">Raphael Loewe Translation (i) With the help of the Almighty15 (2) It is before The Lord above that man's sin [meets] its judgment, [extending?] to generations decreed [to be yet born]: what man is there who lives [for ever], without seeing &lt;the underworld? 16&gt; (3) The sun rose to shine over earth's surface, but then the clouds of glory17 withheld their glow, all light stood [still], forsaken: (4) just so [were overcast] the paths of NELSON, whose radiance had shone in the war, his flames of a sudden disappeared entirely; quenched was (5) the light of the great [leader], God's very shield about us. [Yet] not for an instant did He withhold18 [his protec? tion] - God's voice summoned a hero: (6) 'arise, Collingwood, be strong and of good courage,19 raise high your arm in Nelson's stead, and triumph'. (7) Let20 these words stand [firm], in everlasting memory of Nelson: having glimpsed his eternal [reputation21], he is now at one with what is concealed [from our ken]. (8) His people, his heritage, shake their heads [in grief] they take hold of trembling,22 they smite together their hands [in frustration23] as they distil their tears. Lament a man24 (gR) who freely poured out his very being,25 holding his life cheap in face of death,26 (10R) nor resting nor relaxing27 until he had 15 Abbreviation, = UWTl mnn. 16 Ps. 49:10(9). 17 The defective spelling is curious. The allusion is to the protective cloud that accompanied Israel while journeying through the wilderness, Tosephta Sotah 11:10, ed. M. Zuckermandel, PP-3i5f 18 Presumably hasakh, with sin, is intended, the subject being God, and an object (e.g. 'protec? tion') has to be supplied imaginatively. To read hashakh or hoshekh, with shin, would yield, albeit most crudely expressed, 'but darkness did not ensue even for a moment'. 19 Ci. Judges 5:12, Deut. 31:23. 20 11. 7-8 constitute two rhymed couplets, each to be read across the page (unlike 11. 9ff.) 21 BTAbodah Zarah 10b; instead of mp&gt; ('acquired'), as conventional in this idiom, the author wrote nX"i('saw'). 22 Conceivably imx is a scribal error for 0TI1X ('terror takes hold of theni), which would accord with Hebrew poetic convention, cf. Ex. 15:14-15. 23 Cf. Ezek. 21:17(12). 24 These two words are not here enumerated as a line, since they are the beginning of the poem which follows, consisting of ten rhymed quatrains (six of them single-rhymed, four AABB) written in two columns to be read successively down the page. In the transcription above the columns have been separated, and 11. 9-29 are consequently numbered 9^, 9L etc. 25 75.54:12. 26 Judges 27 Joby.2%. 84</page><page sequence="11">A Hebrew poem on the death of Nelson slaughtered those he chased:28 (nR) though his hands were twisted29 [strained?] he slackened not30 (12R) until he saw victory, and his hands grasped the neck of our foe.31 (13/?) No wounds, no scars,32 nor assault of any evil power (14R) made him quail or tremble, or retreat a single step;33 (15R) nay, he leapt [into the fray], ran, trampled upon his foes in triumph, (16R) though sight was blocked from one of his eyes and his arm out its socket34 broken clear away. (17/?) From the southern front of Egypt's Nile35 (i8i?) to the northern theatre of war and [the battle fought between] the slopes of the horns36 (igR) it was The Lord who sharpened his projectiles, and twice37 did he rout them: (20R) Britain had the upper hand,38 and they cried 'command of the sea is ours'.39 28 Ezek. 22:25. 29 Cf. Ruth 3:8. Possibly a nun is missing, the niph'al form (iriD^) being appropriate; but the meaning is in any case forced. 30 2 Sam. 24:16. 31 Cf. Gen. 49:8. 32 Cf. Is. 1:6. 33 Is. 42:17. 34 Job 31:22. 35 Joshua 15:4; the bw^/i C?TU) of Egypt, probably that to-day called Wadi al-Arish south of Gaza, was the ancient frontier between Egypt and Palestine, cf. 2 Kings 24:7. The identification with the Nile, which not being an intermittent stream cannot be termed a wadi, is forgivable in an eighteenth-century cockney, who cannot be assumed to have ever been taught much geogra? phy, but not in its misrepresentation by propagandists of modern Israel's territorial claims. The battle of the Nile took place on 1-2 August 1798. 36 The battle of Copenhagen was fought on 2 April 1801. The reference in the English note at the foot of the MS to 'the Sound' is explained by the Danish name (0resund) for the (southern part of the) gulf between Denmark and Sweden (marked 'The Sound' in The Times Atlas, 1895). Ashdoth Karnayim, here translated approximately as 'slopes of twin horns', is in spite of appearances not a biblical place-name reapplied. In the channel where the battle took place between the shore and the island of Amag, opposite Copenhagen, manoeuvre was hampered by the shallowness of the water, and it seems that exposed expanses of sand have been imagina? tively transmuted into 'slopes', 'horns', (i.e. crags?) gratuitously added in order to give the name a biblical flavour suggested by Ashteroth Karnayim, likewise the site of a battle (Gen. 14:5) 37 I.e. in both battles. 38 Cf. Deut. 32:27. 39 A deft re-application of the Philistine shepherds' remonstrance in their dispute with Isaac over water rights, Gen. 26:20. The claim would most appropriately follow the destruction of the French fleet off Alexandria; but since the naval action in Baltic waters was fought to assert international navigation rights through the straits, it could also apply to the victory off Copenhagen. 85</page><page sequence="12">Raphael Loewe (21R) What is stronger than a lion?40 The stout heart of Nelson; (22R) What sweeter than honey? Bronte's41 golden tongue. (23R) His clemency prevailed even whilst his hand was stretched forth against the foe,42 (24R) and melodious his voice43 [proclaiming] 'THE ALMIGHTY HAS GRANTED US VICTORY'44 (25/?) In the face of the enemy joyfully he sacrificed his life, (26R) yea, indeed, his blood was presented on the altar45 (27R) and if the sound of his martial pipe is now one of bitter lament,46 (28R) those crushed did he set at liberty, captives he released.47 (qL) The orders he gave his officers they obeyed to the full, (10L) every man of them firing48 at his command, taking careful aim; (1 iL) each keep? ing his place49 in the line with his fellows without losing station, (12L) in death, as in life, never to be separated.50 (13L) On his birthday51 used his friends exultantly make revel; (14L) on the day that he was gathered in, his very enemies made mournful lament.52 40 Judges i^. 41 Nelson was created duke of Bronte (in Sicily) by Ferdinand IV of Naples (III of Sicily) in 1799. The vocalization of the first syllable with apatakh symbol (i.e. Brante) represents contempo? rary London vowelling. My grandfather (born 1851-2) remembered from his childhood the menage of Moses Montefiore, and told me that his wife Judith (died 1862) pronounced the surname as Mwntefiore ? a fact confirmed by an autograph letter to him in my possession beginning 'My dear Mun\ 42 Is. 5:25. 43 Song of Songs 2:14. 44 See the English note at the foot of the MS, confirmed by the text of Nelson's despatch, dated 3 August, to Lord St Vincent at the Admiralty: 'Almighty God has blessed his Majesty's Arms', quoted by Colin White, Nelson the Admiral (London 2005) 36. 45 The technical terms of sacrificial ritual are here applied, cf. Num. 7:19; 'yea, indeed' is a strained rendering of HN(- 'how much more so'), which probably echoes Deut. 31:27. The use of IXl for presentation at the altar is clumsy. 46 Zeph. 1:14. 47 75.58:6,61:1. 48 vbp in biblical Hebrew mean to 'sling' stones, Judges 20:16. "Job 41:9(17). 50 2 Sam. 1:23. 51 29 September. Mr Geoffrey Green tells me that Nelson's officers would have toasted him in wine on his birthday, the lower deck in their daily ration of grog (i.e. diluted rum). 52 75. 3:26. Doubtless a whimsical exaggeration. I think I recall seeing (but cannot now trace) a statement that a French naval officer attended Nelson's funeral, but contemporary records, official and otherwise of the order of proceedings, mention no such thing. It is, however, rele? vant to note that shortly after the return of HMS Victory to Portsmouth with Nelson's body in early December 1805, Admiral Pierre de Villeneuve (1763-1806), the French commander at Trafalgar, and one of his captains named Marchaude arrived there as prisoners of war, and 86</page><page sequence="13">A Hebrew poem on the death of Nelson (15L) Yea, a destructive blow his folk sustained(?),53 as though someone was shooting firebrands:54 (16L) for Victory's timbers let mourning be proclaimed, as of yore for acacia-trees.55 Collingwood and all the admirals here voice their lament ij)L( 'We have witnessed thy glory, O gallant captain, and witnessed, too, thy passing: (18L) the tactics which thy planning yielded are thine own diadem of praise. (19L) Costly, indeed, thy death,56 as thou returnest to thy native soil:57 thy brother-officers declare, (20L) "May we die as die the righteous, and our last end be like thine".'58 Here speak the sailors who fought alongside him (21L) 'Our eyes run down with rivers of water59 for our captain, (22L) the stream has gone over our soul,60 our glory is poured out upon the earth.61 (23L) never shall this word leave our mouth:62 (24L) "Remember the man who took our lives into his hand, nor ever suffered our foot to slip".'63 The chorus of his countrymen (25L) 'May HE WHO DWELLS AMID THE CLOUDS from his holy habitation64 hear our cry; (26L) From out their tranquil homes65 our were taken to reside (presumably on parole) at Bishop's Waltham. Had Villeneuve been at the St Paul's service he would presumably have been allocated a place alongside the six (named) British admirals present, but he is not listed. An Official.. .Detail of the.. .Funeral of.. .Nelson, no date, p. 6; British Library copy 605 b. 21 (5). 53 I am unable to explain niu; no corresponding stem, in qal or niphal, is found in biblical or rabbinic Hebrew. The context requires something like 'befell'. 54 Prov. 26:18. 55 Abel ha-shittim is a place-name (Num. 33:49), meaning 'meadow of acacias'. But the author here avails himself (no doubt unconsciously) of word-play with ebel, 'mourning' (as in 14L). That the latter had in effect eclipsed the former (which occurs very rarely in the Bible, and later disappears) is indicated by the misunderstanding in Gen. 50:11 of a place-name that clearly meant 'Egypt's meadow'. Since acacia (shittim) wood is known for its hardness, it is an apposite parallel to oak. 56 CLPs. 116:15. 57 Gen. 3:19. 58 Num. 23:10. 59 Lam. 3:48; one may at least hope that rmn is a scribal error for nmn. 60 Ps. 124:4. 61 Lam. 2:11; the biblical text reads TD, 'my liver'. 'Our glory' (iP713D) is probably an inaccurate reminiscence on the author's part rather than a deliberate modification. 62 Cf Joshua 1:8. 63 Ps. 66:9. 64 Ps. 68:6(5). 65 Is. 32:18; since the following lines make it clear that hostilities still continue, the quotation must be understood proleptically, i.e. as presupposing the fulfilment of the prayer that ensues. 87</page><page sequence="14">Raphael Loewe brethren, yea, our enemies too, cry out, (27L) "Let the sword return to its sheath,66 and the hearts of our foemen be changed: (28L) may life, blessing, peace, and righteousness dwell perpetual in our land".'67 Let all the world say: (29L) 'Lord, may thine anger turn back from us, and do Thou comfort us.' APPENDIX (a) N. I. Vallentine's Poem, 1806 To Benjamin Goldsmid, Esq. worthy SIR. PARDON the liberty with which I have presumed to Dedicate this trifling effusion to you, but to whom could it more properly be addressed ! to You who art the honour and prop of our Nation, to You who art the foremost in all acls of benevolence, You who art equally respected by the World at large, as you are revered by the Jewish Nation as their greatest ornament, who on this occasion stand as their repre? sentative at the Patriotic Committee at Lloyds, and who on this occasion have given a spur to the due observ? ance of this Day of Thanksgiving, and its concomitant Collection; You as the bosom friend of the late noble and brave Nelson will surely kindly receive an humble tribute to his memory from Your most ohditnt and obl'ged humble Servant, N. I. VALLENTINE, Plate 2 N. I. Vallentine's Poem, 1806, page 1. 66 Cf. Ezek. 21:35(30). 67 Cf. Ps. 85:10(9). 88</page><page sequence="15">A Hebrew poem on the death of Nelson THE DISCOURSE OF THE THREE SISTERS, Respecting the fell and murder oftheCommander in Chief, the great Hero, Admiral of the great war Fleet of Britain, whose name is famous. LORD VISCOUNT NELSON, tto Conqueror of many Battles, in repealed viaories against the French and Spaniards, and particularly on the a ist of Oftober 1805, when the Battle raged on the waves of the Sea, Fleet aninst Fleet, thirty three Ships of the Line, French and Spaniards combined, against twenty seven British, who engaged and subdued them nearly to annihilation; having captured nineteen and blown up one, with all her men. But in the midst of this successful Battle one of the Spanish warriors aiming a shot at the Admiral, struck him to the Heart, he fell and died. Bbitamia, His s?* i a and Scotia assemble on this occasion to lament; and endeavour by reflexion to comprehend on the basis of wisdom the justice and righteousness of the casualties which occur under the sun. They meet at the tcmb of Ike Admiral and Britania is seated an the prove, her hair disteveld, her Head between her knees* and her hands an her Head, white her fa* Sisters Bibernia and Scotia are standing next her petrified, into silence, until Britama opens her lips \n a low despairing tone uUen forth the following. 0 man nvriK ?6* *s ? aas *w ? nrw nVwt ran % airroiaci no ? nerton a* afrn ?rwwanxj ?*nn*ro ?rriRn^nrnmai *wtaocmsoi ?yasera Vm ? ronun ttfoSw ? ?Tan ?nnan yuam xrtn ? ran trqjm raw to "uai -TO-ioWn ropn n?ntnrt rra *a 01*1 ? ww-nsorwo ?nortonrrnaTWta c ottofr -urdpr tfo)? trim *TmrartttntnnanBoorrn ?o?*?ty ? jpwiro^raruno-wDO) ?rtmrtmwhvi ? *THkv\ mm nno *tir wi ? crnwn npatf npvn o/iKD * Tip*) * onto tp uuf hi oo*i owtn rtiv) miro* nartr mw ? rtm&gt; mm *w Tvarrn "wraavri ? era uoo tow ^ ? tuo ? Ttto ^moTnR^Rarvn ?nntamnonVon tnrn ?la^vTa^ rtovwpTrn ??mniRn^to rxanRTPn -ntriRtrvTOK'mipnrtR ^ ?ROiww'Rwanit ?jroRona* ? mm torn rarf? ? room noanro ncro ratnnfr : voon/vmrwyn ?rrocnripTan ?wno? ?rowrV noxDi |otn rn6na ropy nr? two ara) ?tf?DjnaD Vs? pro* pror vnaa jnj PJ1^ Hi) Ataandtr, Piiatar, WUtcdupd. Plate 3 N. I. Vallentine's Poem, 1806, pages 2-3. 89</page><page sequence="16">Raphael Loewe AH, a voice has overwhelmed my heart, and Cite a shaft of lightning has bruised its inwanl parts?1 am struck dumb?my ears are stunned? my veins are shrunk up?my eyes are dimmed? and the whole earth is a waste desart before me. Henceforth let the pipe and harp be silent, all song and revelry cease, the sweet warbling of birds, the lowing of cattle be still; 1 will not listen to the soothing words of men to console me, but 1 will revel in all luxury of grief. Assemble hither all ye who know to lament, who are full of grief and trouble; attend to me all ye Islands both for and near, rend your cloaths as your hearts are rent and cloath your? selves in sackcloth, cast off your gay garments your silken cloathing, put on black and quit all gayer colours. Weep with me in bitterness, for the powerful champion is fallen, the mighty chief, the shield of Heroes is cast down; the bold archers are sunk in powerful waters. May no light ever illumine the place, but fogs, dark? ness, sorrow and misfortune be ever there: And the murderer who pointed at him as at a target, may he never be named among men, or ever meet with pardon. Stand, by me all ye of broken spirit, ye owls and all ye croaking crew, lament with yelling tones all ye who. bear the mischief; alas! alas! the Hero is fallen. Who will now go forth for us ? who fight our battles ? who humble our foes ? who crown our country with glory-Oh NELSON ! on my death bed shall 1 remember thee, and the last spark of life will vanish at the thought. To Heaven alone 1 cry, is there a hope for my misfortune, or remedy for my wound! * v*3d? m pep odd pum M w p9*o ?to msno OlpD 'imp Piro? iisp to pnopp* roftro ?? oca r ?pci TO*) to 0*7* SOTP 0919 f 9 900? 00*1 9*90 001101 ?450 0701* 0000 ?01 Ahjtop *0 009 onn$90 PPVPP 0*0 00 0?#D*19 90P0 t* 70 o'Jtf) 009 P00T71 P991P00 t P10101 PTOU pSV'P TW &gt;lj&gt;9 WTTTp i bv i n Kl*&gt; Obfl TfTi bp ^vm?nnroipnywoatxuo ?ranvvfou "id? in rbmt ? tits) ?jmwnn?! ? rovn rwi *p3 Vp to vxtn tsbxy jant rtwn xnons 1** Wn3lXUit&gt;&gt;QTTM133/1aUrTJ/UVRM^ VTVQH nuu !]jj2? ?rcvxy yyvn *3 *o* nratntooawten ?iirniyn,ta*7iB0it oppvrn tramp octt to *^ damp trabtttRjrittD^n1 * ow vob onp* dtq ithj?* *WI*Rfpna1CD^S319 * TDTTDWT01 msfl npflot taw icnrt mna jtfnn ^tt nvtonpon^tt mob&gt; iro* or/i ira rrna tbk ?rwm msD t&gt; Tior to ov&amp;t w tu toi * rm? nn? naw yaw to lWn wp ? wiontoorry*a ? xnnhfTVanw idiot pynr Tt *prmr t\? w* dm Plate 4 N. I. Vallentine's Poem, 1806, pages 4-5. 90</page><page sequence="17">A Hebrew poem on the death of Nelson HIBERNIA. ALAS my titter, if the tears of the a?i&amp;ed can solace and comfort theet take to thy wounded toul the drops that mil from my lacerated Heart, indeed had not the uterflerence of Heavens high throne evinced hit kind grace tout, we had all been inevitably lost; but thanks to hit holy name it it not to at present, we have tread the high road of vi?ory, Heavens wrath it poured out on our Enemiet. We have conquered with ?mr highland,--fifteen thousand of our feet are alien ; by water, by fire, by storm, by battle, tome blown up in air, tome tunk in water as a atone in deepest abyss. Sixteen hundred guns both brass and iron are shattered to atoms and destroyed. Nineteen proud ttately ships of war hare we taken from them with all their imple? ments and furniture, and their swords have we turned to scythes. Attend I pray to this, has ever tuch things been heard since nations have waged Battles ? could man born of woman have accomplished this, unless the hand of God had been there? Tnjn ^pro1 opw rowi or vttfi Vtat %troB "ish yxto urtwii xn jvb np vuyb i Vroy^ rod ^^rfo trVatnaRirnit nrfan vtja ^to xtsrn ^ &amp;xi m nra? p vh Towp * pon raw toi vf/g non *f9 uruu MmtaoTtvtna ono 'oruDm' rrroono n71BuPR3TTT 7UwV DTI DnO /wto) bra aan /twd *wy *wv DflRD Wp^OnOTfrO JTIRDnJ^TOflTWIt^nPVtf) QVWb 13ATD DDVUn Vjl U UJIDJT9TI wr!rara^^nrfniHovTtt rMAttr6RVu^iw}vri!p^uH now rum ttA * ro "oSo Plate 5 N. I. Vallentine's Poem, 1806, pages 6-7. 91</page><page sequence="18">Raphael Loewe BklTANI?. ALAS, alas I my sister thou hast extemferf and increased the weight of my grief, the prattle of thy tongue is as one of the unworthy, like/ nnto the chattering of the magpye. Didst thou* then imagine me ignorant of the works of the all i~ust God,* and that every thing is ordained by lim both good and evil; and that since the in? habitants of the earth have been formed,- they must feel and know that to God alone is Glory and strength, that the supreme Providence in one instant ordains to sink from the highest Heaven to the bottomless abyss, and raises up again;?reduces the valiant to- debility and strenghens the feeble to the Lyons strength reserves for his enemies the day of retribution? His, is the salvation r?His, the comfort ??if he cause destroclion with darts of fire?His, is the remedy ;?His, the cure;?without a possibility to escape his power, without a shield he shelters those in his care'. No bounds can be set to the relation of his holiness, not even all the earth and its inhabitants, nor the whole expanse of heaven ; for the extent of bis grace is immeaaur able and hidden from all living* But if his wonders have been thus evinced, and by his will has NELSON beat his tens of thousands ; wherefore was not I allowed one of his blessings! to have returned unto me the beloved of my heart alive, with bis host of spoil, as much as my soul longed to embrace him, to reward him and to crown1 him with golden honours accord ing to his merit and the meed of his deserts* whilst yet the pure delight of my heart woulo; have offered a grateful sacrifice to God. * TtrnsarruTmteut vb mm p *ra nwnaw vrtoi wp ?vAn Too d? k*i ykh pan ^arfriTD to* ? *jron 'ybrty o ?sru nriao na o^D3 nrraw Tpioto *w Nttrin vb tj? 'nanA Tvnn?K? anon Dybn'tTii* ofcoa prta jn o ? /tin 'to oron xtxh oVo? r"tq xn?tinoD * ?bvite nprr nwawio mi hp rhm rath trn hut ? irtrnson iftah O Sjjj* -seit toi tnut% i toV ? *bn n?m to^ Gtf tea xhn t&gt; twit n? rrm iw'iktjk *xrn v* irtyn dki onp/i Kvn n*n * nof ? tnput i tftjA Ktonn ynbi u r/nnuti toa ntoa o 'onpon im aa***1) "j?* ?I? 'rix* ovrmooen mr* jrn wiNtoiwrrnprttumHTu*^^ TwnnwittTra nan * rm ?ym onw* ttk bpm kti ujiin rn 'tonnir ?s&gt; K?nrn itnn rrrrriK?Vr? ?miKfc*r*i3 to on rrn vtb ?pa trorniw UflTl TWO *?F DM ja X&gt; ? "ab'iA trth trp iftrtps icx nw tttjo to wtVk ^asfrnai^ruroa n*2K pir? yrrv ttvn wrocsa to? hs&lt; kti Plate 6 N. I. Vallentine's Poem, 1806, pages 8-9. 92</page><page sequence="19">A Hebrew poem on the death of Nelson SCOTIA.. MY soul is at variance with life, I cannot be longer silent, but must speak with bitterness of spiit. Like you I sicken-my surface is chilled and shuddering, my tonguecleaves to my palate. Yet close thou thy lips nor sin any more with thy tongue, by uttering words void of wisdom, for anger rests only in the breast of fools. Hast thou a seat in the councils of God ? or searched with earnest love the true basis of the fear of God ? bast thou Understood the accidents of life, and known which is the good and which thehbd t.i or are thy thoughts superior to those ofthe worlds Creator ? surely he hs set bounds to all the creatures of the earth, to those who am and those who will be born, and if the Creator draws his sword surely he knows its destination. Where fore then dost thou presume to case the place ? 'tis the ordination of God and it will obtain. Blessed be the place where his wonders have been exhibited, may the sun ever shine smilingly on it and never be withdrawn ; all those who pass it will adore it, and confess the Gods righteousness and relate his wonders. Attend to what I say, it is the spirit of God that speaks within me; which will direit thy ways aright. If thou sinnest and committest evil before the Creator, and followest the crooked ways of the wicked ; then if thy whole host of warriors were boldly to pour forth their blood like NELSON, yet would they be driven before the Enemy like chaff before the wind. Not so if thy conduCt he just and righteous before God I then every one of thy Sailors would become a NELSON, and not one would shrink. Let as therefore humble ourselves before the Lord, and give thanks to him on our parts, for be has fought our Battles. May he yet go forth in our host and overcomo our Enemies. ywnnrwunmna .6 abin la sp en 5n a wh'Mi cop r*n *votn *la 'we tt 7t p21 n*rv wran tny as ise62 m rin abty **pwnsIm *ON alo V2t2 'IV Mtn .6 - $fl* TThmw O" C"nm 6o pif p t *u2 amn nth anr wi* p in *rm*&amp;t un o2 O?flDW * nrn rt alots iftb ritan r w %13navfrran s* t*n a &gt;&gt;t ns ta trn * "n rin urn amw ovflh *1pn wisn' n -a 5hbiM 1m * r M *pm 5 man5 Wncv Swlxn va a in o'z n n a moo d ga at * rrcmWOn MrV t*r %rwarmmin* rns 73o va nit 7 rwmnv r"tIn rIn%m:nn w.n m rm xm whm 1=45 l= anwcm qem f.%P'n'um vp %25rnt?~ =vkh' tih la itt*" )us vvrrr5 *it 16bWbTnt n n s TnNrran Plate 7 N. I. Vallentine's Poem, i8o6, pages io-i i. 93</page><page sequence="20">Raphael Loewe See above, plates 2-7. Reproduced from the copy in the Jewish Museum, catalogue no. 660 (which includes also a MS Hebrew poem, with an English translation, in honour of Queen Adelaide). The library of Jews' College (now styled the London School of Jewish Studies), also contains a copy, in poorer condition, of Vallentine's piece (pressmark A766 V34 M5). (b) H. Dimock's Odes, 1806 See above page 76. H[enry] Dimock, Eight Sermons on the Nativity ...of Christ ...Several Hebrew Odes, literally translated... London, 1806. pp. 111-14. No copy in the British Library; reproduced, without adverting to misprints etc in the Hebrew, from a copy in Dr Williams's Library, London, press? mark 1101. G. 9. (1) A sacred Ode on the ever-memorable VICTORY obtained over the combined fleets of France and Spain, on October 21, 1805, off Cape Trafalgar, by Lord Viscount NELSON, who gloriously fell in the battle. - A literal translation. Britannia s Triumph Rejoice greatly, O happy isle! ? or Je? hovah hath not yet forgotten thee. Let all the people of the land sing, for God is still gracious unto us. Bless Jehovah for all his mercies, which he hath continually done for us. Declare his goodness in the house of his holiness in delivering us from the hand of the enemies. From the rising of the sun unto the going down thereof, the arm of Jehovah hath wrought salvation. From the north even to the south, his hand hath given us the victory. They, that go down to the sea in ships and have jeoparded their lives in the great waters, have this day seen the works of Jehovah', they have seen his wonders towards us. 94 mxwnnn nxa nws *?xn nxo ^ :tw *]3ts? x*? mrr ^ pxn Di?n Va nnn :pn to a&gt;nVx ?a man Va bv mrr? iaia rnrw ran law iunp&gt; rraa rwa : a^x to u^aa ixiao tpou? mtaa : ntrro w mm iHT mn aaa paxo liV ]H3 IT D'a rmxa omvn a^ai a*?aa au?a3 lsim mm nrwo atri ixi mV vrnxVsj ixn</page><page sequence="21">A Hebrew poem on the death of Nelson Although the force of the enemies was greater than ours, and their ships many in number; behold! as in a moment, they submitted to us: behold! our ships triumphed gloriously. Howl! Ye ships of Tarshishl let your sails be sackcloth instead of fine linen. Mourn bitterly, O fleet of Gallia! thy mast is broken, thy tackling is loosed: thy admiral and captains are gone into captivity. Not unto us, but unto Jehovah, be the glory; for he teacheth our hands to war. Not unto us, but unto his name, be the praise; for he hath given us hearts of oak. Vm ia&amp; o^rrx V&gt;n *a iDoa mma onraxi naV "mmna twas nan :nxa nxa ia*m*pax jn uwin nwax nV?Vn *:0*tznsa wa w *ax ma t1sd f^an i^DJ mwa -pin :iVa a^nVai mu? tod nm^i 13b x1? naVa aipV 'a nVnn lawVi mV xV :]na iaV nVx maV *a (2) An elegiac Ode on the ever-to-be-lamented death of Lord Viscount NELSON, who fell, on the day of victory, by a shot. - A literal translation. Instead of the voice of triumph for a victory, which God hath this day wrought, and there hath never yet been any like it, why do I hear a great mourning? In the midst of the exultation and joy of heart which was seen in all the fleet, why do I see, on a sudden, trouble and sorrow on every countenance ? Alas! alas! a voice is heard, the brave Nelson is slain in battle! Alas! alas! this mighty man first conquered and then died! From the days of his youth, even until now, he fought the enemy more than a hundred times. How many times hath he put them to flight, and by the might of his strong hand hath subdued them! x^xtman nrp nvwn bv nsmn rmw orn Vxn iwx nrvm *ra inaa x1? :i?du?K VtU IQDO hd1? a5? nnaim ^nn "pna nxia **3k Vaa axna nxvi nx naV :*?3d Va |in is mm Vipn *&gt;ix nx :nn n?nVoa naa paV3 V?nn tzrxn *ix nx :hd txt hs3 rWXia anV orrx d*?ss nxaa orn annx trays naa :orcna ts? it Vtto * See Isai. xxiii. i; Ezek. xxvii. 7. f See Isai. xxxiii. 23. 95</page><page sequence="22">Raphael Loewe From the north even to the south his name was a great terror to our enemies. From Aboukir even to Trafalgar, what mighty deeds his counsel hath wrought! But, of all the many wonders which his ships have performed, this last is by far the greatest; although the death of the commander was the price of the victory. When he had received the fatal wound, and our good success was told to him, he gave thanks to the mighty God, that he had crowned his death with victory. How is this mighty one fallen! how is this wea? pon of war perished! Behold Britannia mourning over his grave, in the bitterness of her soul, Alas, my son! alas, my son! Would to God my life had been for the life of thee! Hear this brave man answering, O! my dear mother! weep not for me; for thy glory was the joy of my life, and I rejoice in death for thy salvation. While I was yet alive, my name was a terror to all thine enemies round about: now I am dead, I shall live for ever in all the hearts of thy people. An honour far greater than all others, except the honour from God above. iou? au -nn paso :Vra xno msV ixaVxaxio 13? mpiaxo :rrc?i? nn^v mnaa no main mx^a *?aoi itz?3? vmx^x wx ixo nVm minx m ?.n*3 mno mso mo *a nion 3?ss np1? xm -o i3mt: Vau? idd iVi ]D3 ii3:\ VxV nmn :it&gt;3? imo n*33 *o Vd3 mn nsan "px :iax nonVo ??Van -px nnao x^axona ]n nwa3 ion napn by ??33 'in '33 "?in :T?n nnn ?n jm &gt;o niny nann nx i?ou? naa xV ^ mp* 'OX ??n nnow i,naa ^ t-jnywiV moa Vuxi xmo 'own *n ^ns? : 3*300 i^x VdV a^ii?*? 13; wo nni? :mnx 1,03? ma1? Vaa 1X0 bm *?30 1133H :*?3?00 *?X0 1133 xVfr 96</page></plain_text>