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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Asia: Vols. XXI–XXIII. 1876–79.

Syria: Adullam

Cave of Adullam

By Charles Lamb (1775–1834)

DAVID and his three captains bold

Kept ambush once within a hold.

It was in Adullam’s cave,

Nigh which no water they could have,

Nor spring nor running brook was near

To quench the thirst that parched them there.

Then David, King of Israel,

Straight bethought him of a well,

Which stood beside the city gate,

At Bethlem; where, before his state

Of kingly dignity, he had

Oft drunk his fill, a shepherd lad;

But now his fierce Philistine foe

Encamped before it he does know.

Yet ne’er the less, with heat opprest,

Those three bold captains he addrest;

And wished that one to him would bring

Some water from his native spring.

His valiant captains instantly

To execute his will did fly.

The mighty Three the ranks broke through

Of armed foes, and water drew

For David, their beloved king,

At his own sweet native spring.

Back through their armed foes they haste,

With the hard-earned treasure graced.

But when the good King David found

What they had done, he on the ground

The water poured. “Because,” said he,

“That it was at the jeopardy

Of your three lives this thing ye did,

That I should drink it, God forbid.”