The last is based, fairly loosely, on a very old English ballad.
How far away am I
from heaven's stars;
beyond the day they fly,
but I am barred:
no wings of light have I,
no rising flame,
that brave and bold may rise
to holy name.
Though I may grieve and sigh,
my feet are clay --
can clay achieve the sky,
or find the way?
Zion He set on the holy hill with love,
with love far greater than for Jacob's houses,
a city of God to be spoken of.
Among the nations she is renowned,
among the Philistines, in Tyre and Cush;
her name in Egypt and Babylon sounds.
'He was born there', they say,
the rumor travelling everywhere,
the word going out in every place
to say: 'They were born there.'
The Lord records their name in registers,
These and those and this one, too,
they all were born there. Credit her!
My source, O Zion, is you.
Fairest of God's Creatures
Fairest of God's creatures is a woman who will listen.
The world has enough of eyes that glisten,
of lips pink like coral and cheeks blushing red,
of soft glossy manes like crowns on the head.
And yes, men who listen might well be more rare --
but than a woman who listens is nothing more fair.
Christ looked to the time of day; he looked with sigh and frown,
and said to Judas, Make my way, and buy a room in Zion-town.
And Judas said, A splendid room I'll buy for us to feast;
our purse with money rings like bells with silver, thirty piece.
Then Judas searched him high and low, he searched him broad and deep,
but, tired from his finding none, he found some shade to sleep
and napped he but a little while, though deeply, on the lawn,
and when he woke a bit past noon, he found the purse was gone.
What shall I do? then Judas said, as tears filled up his eyes,
For I have failed my Rabbi's trust, and will now be despised.
Came by a young man dressed in white, who shouted, Have you heard?
The priests and scribes will give reward to one who gives the word
of trouble-making Nazorean, Joshua by name,
for he has raised the rabble up by doing things of blame!
And so he shouted up and down, and shouted without cease,
and, asked what was this fine reward, said, Silver, thirty piece.
Then straightway Satan in the ear of Judas spoke a thought:
The Rabbi, he eludes them all and never has been caught!
The man can heal the blind and lame, and raise to life the dead,
and walk on wave, turn water wine, and multiply the bread;
through crowd he passes without harm -- and if he off temple height
were ever to fall, angel-hosts would soar to him in flight!
Then Judas to the scribes and priests made promise to betray;
they promised him his thirty piece and sent him then away.
Then Judas came again to Christ, and said there was no place --
none their thirty piece could buy -- though he had chased and chased.
Then to Peter and to John Christ said with sigh and frown:
This Passover we must prepare, so go to Zion-town,
and when you enter in the gate, you will water-bearer find,
and when he journeys to his homw, then follow him behind,
and ask the master of house, Where is the special room
for which the Rabbi now has need? -- Thus Christ spoke with sigh and gloom.