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I LOTHE that I did love,

In youth that I thought swete,
As time requires : for my behove

Me thinkes they are not mete.


My lustes they do me leave,

My fansies all are fled;
And tract of time begins to weave

Gray heares upon my hed.

For age with steling steps,

Hath clawde me with his crowch,
And lusty · Youthe away he leapes,

As there had bene none such.


My muse doth not delight

Me, as she did before :
My hand and pen are not in plight,

As they have bene of yore.


For Reason me denies,

• All' youthly idle rime;
And day by day to me she cries,

Leave off these toyes in tyme.


The wrinkles in my brow,
The furrowes in



Ver. 6, be, Pc. (printed copy in 1557.] V. 10, crowch perhaps should be clouch, clutch, grasp. V. 11, life away she. Pc. V. 18, this. PC.

Say, Limping age will · lodge' him now,

Where youth must geve him place.


The harbenger of death,

To me I se him ride,
The cough, the cold, the gasping breath,

Doth bid me to provide


A pikeax and a spade,

And eke a shrowding shete,
A house of clay for to be made

For such a guest most mete.

Me thinkes I hear the clarke,

That knoles the carefull knell,
And bids me leave my 'wearye' warke,

Ere nature me compell.


My kepers * knit the knot,

That youth doth laugh to scorne,
Of me that “shall bee cleane' forgot,

As I had “ ne'er' been borne.


Thus must I youth geve up,

Whose badge I long did weare:

V. 23, sic ed. 1583; 'tis hedge in ed. 1557. hath caught him.MS. V. 30, wyndynge-sheete. MS. V. 34, bell. MS.

V. 35, wofull. PC.

V. 38, did. Pc. V. 39, clene shal be. PC. V. 40, not. PC.

* Alluding perhaps to Eccles. xii. 3.'

To them I yelde the wanton cup,

That better may it beare.


Lo here the bared skull;

By whose bald signe I know,
That stouping age away shall pull

• What' youthful yeres did sow.


For Beautie with her band,

These croked cares had wrought,
And shipped me into the lande,

From whence I first was brought.

And ye that bide behinde,

Have ye none other trust :

ye of claye were cast by kinde,
So shall ye ' turne’ to dust.


V. 45, bare-hedde. MS. and some pcc. V. 48, Which. PC., That. MS. What is conject.

V. 56, wast. Pc.


Jephthah Judge of Israel. In Shakspeare's Hamlet, act ii. sc. 7, the hero of the Play takes occasion to banter Polonius with some scraps of an old ballad, which has never appeared yet in any collection : for which reason, as it is but short, it will not perhaps be unacceptable to the reader; who will also be diverted with the pleasant absurdities of the composition.



It was retrieved from utter oblivion by a lady, who wrote it down from memory as she had formerly heard it sung by her father. I am indebted for it to the friendship of Mr. Steevens.

It has been said that the original ballad, in black-letter, is among Anthony à Wood's Collection, in the Ashmolean Museum. But, upon application lately made, the volume which contained the song was missing, so that it can only now be given as in the former edition.

The banter of Hamlet is as follows:

Hamlet. 0 Jephtha, Judge of Israel,' what a treasure hadst thou !

Polonius. What a treasure had he, my lord ?

Ham. Why, ‘One faire daughter, and no more, The which he loved passing well.'

Pol. Still on my daughter.
Ham. Am not I i'th' right, old Jephtha ?

Pol. If you call me Jephtha, my lord ; I have a daughter, that I love passing well.

Ham. Nay, that follows not.
Pol. What follows then, my lord ?

Ham. Why, “ As by lot, God wot;' and then, you know, “It came to passe, As most like it was.' The first row of the pious chanson will shew you more.”

Edit. 1793, vol. xv. p. 133.


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,

God wot,
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 e; If he returned with victory,

At his return

To burn
The first live thing,



That should meet with him then,
Off his house, when he shoud return agen. 20


It came to pass, the wars was o'er,

And he returnd 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


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