1] From 1879 to 1881, pogroms (the Russian term for "devastation") -- systematic anti-semitic riots and expulsions -- killed thousands in Russia and led to massive Jewish emigration from eastern Europe, principally to America. Wilhelm Marr had coined the term "antisemite" with the founding of the League of Antisemites in Germany in 1879. In 1882 the first modern Zionist movement, Hovevei Zion, began. Century (24: 48-56) published Lazarus' article "Russian Christianity versus Modem Judaism" in May 1882.
3] clarion cock: on the eve of his crucifixion, Jesus said to Peter, who would found the Christian church, "Truly, I say to you, this very night, before the cock crows, you will deny me three times" (Matthew 26.34).
4] sword of Christ: Jesus said, "Do not think that I have come to bring peace on earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword" (Matthew 10:34).
Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department
of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.
Original text: The Poems of Emma Lazarus, 2 vols. (Boston and New York: Houghton, Mifflin, and Co., 1889): II, 3-4.
First publication date: 1882
Publication date note: Songs of a Semite (New York: Office of The American Hebrew, 1882).
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition: RPO 2001
Recent editing: 2:2002/2/21
Other poems by Emma Lazarus