The Canterbury tales
Geoffrey Chaucer
F.N. Robinson

De Oloferno

Was nevere capitayn under a kyng
That regnes mo putte in subjeccioun,
Ne strenger was in feeld of alle thyng,
As in his tyme, ne gretter of renoun,
Ne moore pompous in heigh presumpcioun
Than oloferne, which fortune ay kiste
So likerously, and ladde hym up and doun,
Til that his heed was of, er that he wiste.
Nat oonly that this world hadde hym in awe
For lesynge of richesse or libertee,
But he made every man reneyen his lawe.
Nabugodonosor was god, seyde hee;
Noon oother God sholde adoured bee.
Agayns his heeste no wight dar trespace,
Save in bethulia, a strong citee,
Where eliachim a preest was of that place.
But taak kep of the deth of oloferne:
Amydde his hoost he dronke lay a-nyght,
Withinne his tente, large as is a berne,
And yet, for al his pompe and al his myght,
Judith, a womman, as he lay upright
Slepynge, his heed of smoot, and from his tente
Ful pryvely she stal from every wight,
And with his heed unto hir toun she wente.