The Canterbury tales
Geoffrey Chaucer
F.N. Robinson

Sampson

Loo sampsoun, which that was annunciat
     2015
By th' angel, longe er his nativitee,
     2016
And was to God almyghty consecrat,
     2017
And stood in noblesse whil he myghte see.
     2018
Was nevere swich another as was hee,
     2019
To speke of strengthe, and threwith hardynesse; Page  190
     2020
But to his wyves toolde he his secree,
     2021
Thurgh which he slow hymself for wrecchednesse.
     2022
Sampsoun, this noble almyghty champioun,
     2023
Withouten wepen, save his handes tweye,
     2024
He slow and al torente the leoun,
     2025
Toward his weddyng walkynge by the weye.
     2026
His false wyf koude hym so plese and preye
     2027
Til she his conseil knew; and she, untrewe,
     2028
Unto his foos his conseil gan biwreye,
     2029
And hym forsook, and took another newe.
     2030
Thre hundred foxes took sampson for ire,
     2031
And alle hir tayles he togydre bond,
     2032
And sette the foxes tayles alle on fire,
     2033
For he on every tayl had knyt a brond;
     2034
And they brende alle the cornes in that lond,
     2035
And alle hire olyveres, and vynes eke.
     2036
A thousand men he slow eek with his hond,
     2037
And hadde no wepen but an asses cheke.
     2038
Whan they were slayn, so thursted hym that he
     2039
Was wel ny lorn, for which he gan to preye
     2040
That God wolde on his peyne han some pitee,
     2041
And sende hym drynke, or elles moste he deye;
     2042
And of this asses cheke, that was dreye,
     2043
Out of a wang-tooth sprang anon a welle,
     2044
Of which he drank ynogh, shortly to seye;
     2045
Thus heelp hym god, as judicum telle.
     2046
By verray force at gazan, on a nyght,
     2047
Maugree philistiens of that citee,
     2048
The gates of the toun he hath up plyght,
     2049
And on his bak ycaryed hem hath hee
     2050
Hye on an hill whereas men myghte hem see.
     2051
O noble, almyghty sampsoun, lief and deere,
     2052
Had thou nat toold to wommen thy secree,
     2053
In al this world ne hadde been thy peere!
     2054
This sampson nevere ciser drank ne wyn,
     2055
Ne on his heed cam rasour noon ne sheere,
     2056
By precept of the messager divyn,
     2057
For alle his strengthes in his heeres weere.
     2058
And fully twenty wynter, yeer by yeere,
     2059
He hadde of israel the governaunce.
     2060
But soone shal he wepe many a teere,
     2061
For wommen shal hym bryngen to meschaunce!
     2062
Unto his lemman dalida he tolde
     2063
That in his heeris al his strengthe lay,
     2064
And falsly to his foomen she hym solde.
     2065
And slepynge in hir barm, upon a day,
     2066
She made to clippe or shere his heres away,
     2067
And made his foomen al his craft espyen;
     2068
And whan that they hym foond in this array,
     2069
They bounde hym faste and putten out his yen.
     2070
But er his heere were clipped or yshave,
     2071
Ther was no boond with which men myghte him bynde;
     2072
But now is he in prison in a cave,
     2073
Were-as they made hym at the queerne grynde.
     2074
O noble sampsoun, strongest of mankynde,
     2075
O whilom juge, in glorie and in richesse!
     2076
Now maystow wepen with thyne eyen blynde,
     2077
Sith thou fro wele art falle in wrecchednesse.
     2078
The ende of this caytyf was as I shal seye.
     2079
His foomen made a feeste upon a day,
     2080
And made hym as hire fool biforn hem pleye;
     2081
And this was in a temple of greet array.
     2082
But atte laste he made a foul affray;
     2083
For he two pilers shook and made hem falle,
     2084
And doun fil temple and al, and ther it lay, --
     2085
And slow hymself, and eek his foomen alle.
     2086
This is to seyn, the prynces everichoon,
     2087
And eek thre thousand bodyes, were ther slayn
     2088
With fallynge of the grete temple of stoon.
     2089
Of sampson now wol I namoore sayn.
     2090
Beth war by this ensample oold and playn
     2091
That nomen telle hir conseil til hir wyves
     2092
Of swich thyng as they wolde han secree fayn,
     2093
If that it touche hir lymes or hir lyves.
     2094