Verse > Anthologies > Joseph Friedlander, comp. > The Standard Book of Jewish Verse
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Joseph Friedlander, comp.  The Standard Book of Jewish Verse.  1917.
 
Jephthah’s Daughter
By Jehoash (Trans. Alter Brody)
 
   “And it became a custom in Israel that the daughters of Israel went from year to year to lament for the daughter of Jephthah, the Gileadite, four days in the year.”—Judges xi.

THERE is a lonely mountain-top,
  A curse upon it lies;
No blade of grass upon it grows,
  No flowers greet the eyes.
 
But cold, bare cliffs of granite stand,        5
  Like sentinels of stone,
Year after year, through wind and snow,
  Around a craggy throne.
 
And on the topmost, coldest peak
  There is a spot of woe—        10
A little tomb, an old gray tomb,
  Raised centuries ago.
 
For there within her grave she lies
  Plucked in an evil hour—
The martyred daughter of her race,        15
  Israel’s fairest flower!
 
There Jephthah’s maid forever sleeps—
  The victim that he vowed—
But, four days in the dreary year,
  The loneliness is loud.        20
 
And Gilead’s mourning daughters
  Up from the valley throng—
The mountain glens reverberate
  With sorrow and with song!
 
Oh, loud and long and wild they wail        25
  The light untimely spent,
And dance upon the mountain-top
  A choral of lament.
 
And as they dance they seem to see
  Another dancer, too,        30
And hear, amidst the measure rise,
  The voice of her they rue!
 
 
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