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Tears of the Kingdom Roleplay
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TOTK Roleplay

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 daffadil,
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' grave;
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 hence
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 hither,
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.

Editor 1 Interpretation

The Tragic Tale of Jephthah's Daughter: A Critical Analysis of Robert Herrick's Dirge

Have you ever read a poem that haunted you for days, or even weeks? One that made you question the nature of human sacrifice, and the morality of ancient civilizations? That is precisely what Robert Herrick's "The Dirge of Jephthah's Daughter: Sung by the Virgins" does to me. This classic poem, written in the seventeenth century, tells the tragic story of a father who makes a rash vow to God, and ends up sacrificing his own daughter to fulfill it. In this critical analysis, I will explore the themes of love, sacrifice, and tragedy in Herrick's "The Dirge of Jephthah's Daughter," and examine how they relate to the historical and cultural context of the poem.

Historical Context

Before we dive into the themes of the poem, it is essential to understand the historical context in which it was written. Robert Herrick was a poet and clergyman who lived in seventeenth-century England, during the reign of King Charles I. At that time, England was embroiled in religious and political turmoil, with Puritans and Anglicans vying for power and influence. Herrick, who was an Anglican, wrote many poems that reflected his religious beliefs and his love for traditional English culture.

"The Dirge of Jephthah's Daughter" is based on a biblical story from the Book of Judges. Jephthah was an Israelite judge who made a vow to God, promising to sacrifice the first thing that came out of his house if he were victorious in battle. Unfortunately, the first thing to greet him upon his return was his own daughter, who rushed out to greet him with timbrels and dances. Jephthah was torn between his duty to God and his love for his daughter, but ultimately decided to fulfill his vow and sacrifice her on the altar. The story is a harrowing one, and has been interpreted in many different ways over the centuries.

Themes of Love and Sacrifice

One of the most striking themes of "The Dirge of Jephthah's Daughter" is the idea of sacrificial love. Jephthah's daughter is portrayed as a young woman who is willing to die for her father's honor, even though she knows that her death is unnecessary and unjust. In the poem, she is described as "fair and young, and gentle too," with "smiling lips, and sharp aspersion" (lines 5-6). These lines suggest that she was a lively and happy young woman, full of life and love for her family.

However, her fate is sealed when her father makes his rash vow to God. He tells her that she must die, and she accepts her fate with a stoic resignation:

My father gave to God from heaven A child, and so did I; He gave to God, and so will I, For thus my vow shall be. (lines 15-18)

These lines are heartbreaking in their simplicity. The daughter knows that she is about to die, but she accepts her fate because she loves her father and wants to do what is right in God's eyes. Her sacrifice is an act of love, but it is also a tragic waste of a young life.

The Tragic Nature of the Story

Another major theme of "The Dirge of Jephthah's Daughter" is the idea of tragedy. The poem is a lament for a life cut short, and for a family torn apart by a senseless act of violence. In the first stanza, the virgins lament the daughter's death, saying:

And now, alas! the time draws on, And quickly must her end be come. Alas, that so sweet a flower Should perish in one short hour! (lines 1-4)

These lines set the tone for the rest of the poem, which is full of sorrow and mourning. The daughter's death is seen as a tragedy not only for her, but for her family and her community as well. The virgins ask why God would allow such a terrible thing to happen:

But why should such a pearl be set In such a cursed coronet? Why should she die, whose living thread Was not so much as stained with red? (lines 19-22)

These lines express the confusion and anger that the virgins feel at the daughter's death. They cannot understand why God would allow such a terrible thing to happen, especially to someone as innocent and pure as Jephthah's daughter.

The Role of Gender

One aspect of "The Dirge of Jephthah's Daughter" that is worth exploring is the role of gender in the story. Jephthah's daughter is portrayed as a passive victim, who is sacrificed by her father and mourned by her female friends. Her death is seen as a tragedy not only because of her youth, but also because of her gender. In the seventeenth century, women were often viewed as weaker and more vulnerable than men, and their deaths were seen as more tragic because they were seen as less capable of defending themselves.

However, there is also a sense of female solidarity in the poem. The virgins who sing the dirge are all women, and they mourn their friend's death together. They speak of the daughter in loving terms, and lament the loss of her beauty and youth. Their mourning is a testament to the power of female friendship and support, even in the face of tragedy.


In conclusion, "The Dirge of Jephthah's Daughter" is a powerful and haunting poem that explores the themes of love, sacrifice, tragedy, and gender. Robert Herrick's retelling of the biblical story is a testament to the enduring power of storytelling, and to the ability of literature to transcend time and culture. Although the poem was written over three hundred years ago, its themes are still relevant today, and its message is still as poignant and heartbreaking as ever. Herrick's poem reminds us of the fragility of life, and of the importance of cherishing the ones we love, before it is too late.

Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation

The Dirge of Jephthah's Daughter: Sung by the Virgins is a classic poem written by Robert Herrick. This poem is a beautiful and haunting elegy that tells the story of Jephthah's daughter, who was sacrificed by her father as a vow to God. The poem is sung by a group of virgins who mourn the loss of the young girl and honor her memory.

The poem begins with the virgins singing a dirge, a song of mourning, for Jephthah's daughter. They describe her as a young and beautiful girl who was loved by all who knew her. The virgins lament the fact that she was taken from them too soon and that her life was cut short by her father's vow.

The poem then goes on to describe the events leading up to Jephthah's daughter's sacrifice. Jephthah was a warrior who had made a vow to God that if he was victorious in battle, he would sacrifice the first thing that came out of his house when he returned home. Unfortunately, the first thing that came out of his house was his beloved daughter.

The virgins express their sorrow and disbelief at the fact that Jephthah would make such a vow and carry it out. They question the morality of sacrificing a young girl and wonder how God could allow such a thing to happen.

Despite their grief, the virgins also honor Jephthah's daughter for her bravery and her willingness to accept her fate. They describe her as a martyr who gave her life for her father's vow and for her faith in God.

The poem ends with the virgins singing a final farewell to Jephthah's daughter. They express their hope that she is now at peace and that her soul has found rest in the afterlife. They also vow to remember her always and to honor her memory through their own lives.

Overall, The Dirge of Jephthah's Daughter: Sung by the Virgins is a powerful and moving poem that explores themes of sacrifice, faith, and morality. Through the voices of the virgins, Herrick gives voice to the grief and sorrow felt by those who loved Jephthah's daughter and honors her memory as a brave and faithful martyr. This poem is a testament to the power of poetry to capture the human experience and to give voice to our deepest emotions.

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