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"But, no! Keep back a space,

For I wish his eyes to rest First of all upon my face.

When leaning upon his breast, Come thou then with song and dance, With timbrel and tambourine, That he may know at a glance

How quickly his approach was seen."

The noise of the rattling car,

As on and on it speeds,
The clattering hoofs of war,
The neigh of the prancing steeds,
The bugle's clarion sound,

Drown not the agonized cry,
As, speeding over the ground,
Jephthah's daughter first greets his

"Alas! Oh, alas!" he cries,

And rends his rich garments rare, As towards him she swiftly flies,

Breathing forth a joyous prayer; But at length she hears him sigh,

Bewailing too late his vow, And knows at last she must die,

And seeing how he is brought low.

Oh, then she most sweetly said,

"Do, my father, according
To the vow which thou hast vowed
Unto the Lord. Let this thing
Be done for me. Let thou me
Alone two months, that I may
Bewail my virginity

Upon the mountains far away."


O THOU, the wonder of all days!
O paragon, and pearl of praise!
O Virgin-martyr, ever blest

Above the rest

Of all the maiden-train! We come,
And bring fresh strewings to thy tomb.

Thus, thus, and thus, we compass round
Thy harmless and unhaunted ground;
And as we sing thy dirge, we will
The daffodil,

And other flowers, lay upon
The altar of our love, thy stone.

Thou, wonder of all maids, liest here,
Of daughters all, the dearest dear;
The eye of virgins; nay, the queen
Of this smooth green,

And all sweet meads, from whence we get

The primrose and the violet.

Too soon, too dear did Jephthah buy,
By thy sad loss, our liberty;
His was the bond and cov'nant, yet
Thou paid'st the debt;
Lamented Maid! he won the day:
But for the conquest thou didst pay.
Thy father brought with him along
The olive branch and victor's song;
He slew the Ammonites, we know,
But to thy woe;

And in the purchase of our peace
The cure was worse than the disease.

For which obedient zeal of thine,
We offer here, before thy shrine,
Our sighs for storax, tears for wine;
And to make fine

And fresh thy hearse-cloth, we will here
Four times bestrew thee every year.

Receive, for this thy praise, our tears;
Receive this offering of our hairs;
Receive these crystal vials, fill'd
With tears, distill'd

From teeming eyes; to these we bring,
Each maid, her silver filleting,

To gild thy tomb; besides, these cauls, These laces, ribbons, and these falls, These veils, wherewith we use to hide The bashful bride,

When we conduct her to her groom; All, all we lay upon thy tomb.

No more, no more, since thou art dead,
Shall we e'er bring coy brides to bed;
No more, at yearly festivals,
We, cowslip balls,

Or chains of columbines shall make,
For this or that occasion's sake.

No, no; our maiden pleasures be Wrapt in the winding-sheet with thee; 'Tis we are dead, though not i' th'


Or if we have One seed of life left, 'tis to keep A Lent for thee, to fast and weep.

Sleep in thy peace, thy bed of spice,
And make this place all paradise;
May sweets grow here, and smoke from

Fat frankincense;

Let balm and cassia send their scent
From out thy maiden-monument.

May no wolf howl, or screech owl stir
A wing about thy sepulchre!
No boisterous winds or storms come

To starve or wither

Thy soft sweet earth; but, like a spring, Love keep it ever flourishing.

May all shy maids, at wonted hours, Come forth to strew thy tomb with flowers;

May virgins, when they come to mourn,
Male-incense burn

Upon thine altar; then return,
And leave thee sleeping in thy urn.
ROBERT HERRICK (1591-1674).



AGAINST the sunset's glowing wall
The city towers rise black and tall,
Where Zorah, on its rocky height,
Stands like an armed man in the light.

Down Eshtaol's vales of ripened grain
Falls like a cloud the night amain,
And up the hillsides climbing slow
The barley reapers homeward go.

Look, dearest! how our fair child's head

The sunset light hath hallowèd,
Where at this olive's foot he lies,
Uplooking to the tranquil skies.

Oh, while beneath the fervent heat
Thy sickle swept the bearded wheat,
I've watched with mingled joy and

Our child upon his grassy bed.

Joy, which the mother feels alone Whose morning hope like mine had flown,

When to her bosom, over-blessed, A dearer life than hers is pressed.

Dread, for the future dark and still, Which shapes our dear one to its will; Forever in his large calm eyes,

I read a tale of sacrifice.

The same foreboding awe I felt
When at the altar's side we knelt,
And he, who as a pilgrim came,
Rose, winged and glorious, through the

I slept not, though the wild bees made
A dreamlike murmuring in the shade,
And on me the warm-fingered hours
Pressed with the drowsy smell of

Before me, in a vision, rose

The hosts of Israel's scornful.foes,— Rank over rank, helm, shield, and spear, Glittered in noon's hot atmosphere.

I heard their boast and bitter word,
Their mockery of the Hebrew's Lord;
I saw their hands His ark assail,
Their feet profane His holy veil.

No angel down the blue space spoke,
No thunder from the still sky broke;
But in their midst, in power and awe,
Like God's waked wrath, our child I

A child no more!-harsh-browed and strong,

He towered a giant in the throng, And down his shoulders, broad and bare,

Swept the black terror of his hair.

He raised his arm-he smote again;
As round the reaper falls the grain,
So the dark host around him fell,
So sank the foes of Israel!

Again I looked. In sunlight shone
The towers and domes of Askelon;
Priest, warrior, slave, a mighty crowd
Within her idol temple bowed.

Yet one knelt not; stark, gaunt, and blind,

His arms the massive pillars twined,—
An eyeless captive, strong with hate,
He stood there like an evil Fate.

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(From "Samson Agonistes.")

O WHEREFORE was my birth from heaven foretold

Twice by an angel, who at last, in sight Of both my parents, all in flames as


From off the altar, where an offering burned,

As in a fiery column charioting

His God-like presence, and from some great act

Or benefit revealed to Abraham's race? Why was my breeding ordered and prescribed

As of a person separate to God, Destined for great exploits; if I must die

Betrayed, captived, and both my eyes put out,

Made of mine enemies the scorn and gaze:

To grind in brazen fetters under task With this Heaven-gifted strength? O glorious strength

Put to the labor of a beast, debased Lower than bond-slave! Promise was that I

Should Israel from Philistian yoke deliver;

Ask for this great deliverer now, and find him

Eyeless in Gaza, at the mill with slaves, Himself in bonds under Philistine yoke. JOHN MILTON (1608-1674).


(From "Samson Agonistes.")

O LOSS of sight, of thee I most complain!

Blind among enemies, O worse than chains,

Dungeon, or beggary, or decrepit age! Light, the prime work of God, to me

is extinct,

And all her various objects of delight Annulled, which might in part my grief have eased.

Inferior to the vilest now become

Of man or worm; the vilest here excel


They creep, yet see; I, dark in light, exposed

To daily fraud, contempt, abuse, and


Within doors or without, still as a fool, In power of others, never in my own; Scarce half I seem to live, dead more

than half.

O dark, dark, dark, amid the blaze of noon,

Irrecoverably dark, total eclipse,
Without all hope of day!

JOHN MILTON (1608-1674).


THE strength of Samson has became a

STRONG Samson, of the Tribe of Dan, whose arm

Seemed wrought from finest of selected steel,

Whose love of country burned forever bright,

Whose bravery was never in dispute; Yet whose sad weakness when by women tempted

Admirers of the man must e'er regret. And yet whose weakness, tho' so marked at times,

Proved yet a blessing in his tragic death;

For from that wondrous, suicidal deed Came to all Israel fifty years of peace, Which sent to generations yet unborn The friendly thought that Samson's great oblation

Showed plainly his unselfish bent within,

Had merely slept to wake in native strength,

Heroic manhood had but dormant lain. And so the life of this strange man is told

So weak at times; in peril always bold. And through all time 'mong worthies stands his name;

His life was weak; his death a deathless fame.

Yet noble and how godlike are the


In whom the love of country, strength of will,

With hearts and souls staid on their Maker, God,

Are able to withstand temptations sore,

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Of blessed Manoah, who dwelt in Zorah,
Whose birth was heralded by angel fair,
Foretelling he a Nazarite should be;
No razor e'er should come upon his

From birth should touch not wine, nor even grapes.

Lest in them lurk a few fermented drops Of some intoxicating liquid there concealed,

Which would make void his consecrated life,

And render him the slave of appetite, And by and by, inflamed by mocking wine,

Would wallow in the mire like filthy swine.

Such was the famous Samson whose

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When Samson had to manhood's state attained

He one day took a journey into Tamnath,

And feasted there his eyes on damsels fair,

Of proud Philistia whose noted maids Were wondrous lovely and with winning ways;

Among them of surpassing beauty, one To whom at sight his heart and soul were drawn.

He told his parents that he wished the maid

To be his wife and bring her to his


For tho' a damsel of a heathen race, Within his heart she had a welcome place.

At this his parents made remonstrance strong,

For slighting his own godly tribal maids, Among whom virtue was a heritage. His parents strongly plead, but all in vain,

Their pleadings could not Samson's bent restrain.

"My son," the mother said, "her steps take hold

On sheol's pit; yea, in all other climes Our stricter virtues are but sins and crimes!

Our righteous laws forbid in strongest


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