Anonymous Olde English
Jephthah Judge Of Israel - Poem by Anonymous Olde English
Have you not heard these many years ago,
Jeptha was judge of Israel?
He had one only daughter and no mo,
The which he loved passing well.
And as by lott,
It so came to pass,
As Gods will was,
That great wars there should be,
And none should be chosen chief but he.
And when he was appointed judge,
And chieftain of the company,
A solemn vow to God he made,
If he returned with victory,
At his return,
The first live thing,
That should meet with him then,
Off his house when he should return agen.
It came to pass, the wars was o'er,
And he returned with victory;
His dear and only daughter first of all
Came to meet her father foremostly:
And all the way
She did play
On tabret and pipe,
Full many a stripe,
With note so high,
For joy that her father is come so nigh.
But when he saw his daughter dear
Coming on most foremostly,
He wrung his hands, and tore his hair,
And cryed out most piteously:
'Oh! it's thou,' said he,
'That have brought me Low,
And troubled me so,
That I know not what to do.
'For I have made a vow,' he sed,
'The which must be replenished;'
'What thou hast spoke
Do not revoke,
What thou hast said;
Be not afraid;
Altho' it be I,
Keep promises to God on high.
'But, dear father, grant me one request,
That I may go to the wilderness,
Three months there with my friends to stay;
There to bewail my virginity;
And let there be,'
'Some two or three
Young maids with me.'
So he sent her away,
For to mourn, for to mourn, till her dying day.
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