Lo Adam, in the feld of Damassene
With Goddes oune fynger wrought was he,
And nought bigeten of
mannes seed unclene,
And had al paradys, savyng oon tree.
Hadde never worldly man suche a degree
Adam, til he for mysgovernance
Was dryven out of high prosperitee,
To labour, and to helle, and to meschaunce.
Lo Samson, whiche that was annunciate
By the angel, long ere his nativitee,
And was to God Almighty
And stood in noblesse whil that he mighte see.
Was never such another as was he,
of strength, and therto hardynesse;
But to his wyfes told he his secree,
Thurgh which he slew himself for
Samson, this noble and myhty champioun,
Withouten wepon save his hondes tueye,
He slew and al to-
rente the lyoún
To-ward his weddynge walkinge be the waie.
The false wif coude him wel plese and preie
she his counseile knewe, and she, untrewe,
Unto his foos his counsel gan betreye,
And him for-soke, and
toke another newe.
Thre hundred foxis took Samson for ire,
And alle their tayles he togider bond;
And sette the foxes tailes
alle on fyre,
For he in every tail hath knyt a brond;
And thay brent alle the cornes of that lond,
their olyves and their vynes eeke.
A thousand men he slew eek with his hond,
And hadde no wepon but
an asses cheeke.
Whan thay were slayn, so thursted him that he
Was wel nigh ded, for which he gan to preye
wolde of his peyne have som pitee,
And send him drynk, and else most he deye.
And out of this asses
cheke, that was so dry,
Out of a side-toth sprong anon a welle,
Of which he dronk ynough, shortly to
Thus halp him God, as Judicum can telle.
By verray fors at Algason, on a night,
In spite of Philistiens of that citee,
The gates of the toun he hath up
And on his bak carièd them hath he,
High on an hil, wher al men might them see.
O noble almighty
Samson, leef and deere,
Haddest thou nought to wommen told thy secree,
In al the world hadde not been
This Samson neyther cyder dronk nor wyn,
Nor on his heed com rasour noon ne shere,
By precept of
the messager divyn,
For alle his strengthes in his heres were.
And fully twenty wynter, yer by yere,
hadde of Israel the governaunce.
But soone shal he wepe many a teere,
For wymmen shal him bringe
Unto his lemman Dalida he tolde
That in his heres al his strengthe lay;
And falsly to his foomen she him
And slepyng in hir bosom upon a day
She made to clippe or shere his heres away,
And made his
foomen al his craft espien.
And whan thay found him in this weak array,
They bound him fast, and put out
bothe his eyen.
But ere his heer was clippèd or i-shave,
Ther was no bond with which men might him bynde;
But now is he
in prisoun in a cave,
Ther as thay made him at the mille grynde.
O noble Samson, strengest of al mankynde!
whilom judge in glory and in richesse!
Now mayst thou wepe with thine eyen blynde,
Since thou fro wele
art falle in wrecchednesse!
Thend of this caytif was, as I shal say,
His foomen made a fest upon a day,
And made him as there fool
bifor them play;
And this was in a temple of gret array;
But atte last he made a foul affray.
For he two pilers
shook, and made them falle,
And doun fel temple and al, and ther it lay,
And slew himsilf and eek his
That is to sayn, the princes every one;
And eek thre thousand bodies were ther slayn
With fallyng of the
grete temple of stoon.
Of Samson now wil I no more sayn;
Be war by these ensamples, olde and playn,