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From The Monk's Tale, lines 119-126:
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From The Canterbury Tales:
The Monk's Tale
lines 127-206: Sampson


Sampson

       Loo Sampson, which that was annunciat
By th' angel, longe er his nativitee,
And was to God almyghty consecrat,
130And stood in noblesse whil he myghte see,
Was nevere swich another as was hee,
To speke of strengthe and therwith hardynesse;
But to hise wyves toolde he his secree,
Thurgh which he slow hymself for wrecchednesse.
       Lo, Samson, whose birth was annunciated
By angel, long before his nativity,
And was to God Almighty consecrated,
130And had nobility while he could see.
Was never such another as was he
For body's strength, and therewith hardiness;
But to his wives he told his privity,
Whereby he slew himself for wretchedness.

135 Sampsoun, this noble almyghty champioun,
Withouten wepene, save his handes tweye,
He slow and al torente the leoun
Toward his weddyng walkynge by the weye.
His false wyf koude hym so plese and preye
140Til she his conseil knew, and she untrewe
Unto hise foos his conseil gan biwreye,
And hym forsook, and took another newe.
135Samson, this noble mighty champion,
Without a weapon in his hands, I say,
He slew and rent in two a young lion,
While to his wedding walking in the way.
His false wife could so please him, she did pray
140Till she his secret held, when she, untrue,
Unto his foes that secret did betray
And him forsook for other loves and new.

Thre hundred foxes took Sampson for ire,
And alle hir tayles he togydre bond,
145And sette the foxes tayles alle on fire;
For he on every tayl had knyt a brond,
And they brende alle the cornes in that lond,
And alle hir olyveres, and vynes eke.
A thousand men he slow eek with his hond,
150And hadde no wepene but an asses cheke.
Three hundred foxes Samson took, for ire,
And bound their brushes well together, and
145Then set those foxes' tails alight with fire,
For he to every one had fixed a brand;
And they burned all the corn of all that land
And all the olive trees and vines, each one.
A thousand men he slew with his own hand,
150With no weapon save an ass's jaw-bone.

Whan they were slayn, so thursted hym, that he
Was wel ny lorn, for which he gan to preye
That God wolde on his peyne han som pitee,
And sende hym drynke, or elles moste he deye;
155And of this asses cheke, that was dreye,
Out of a wang-tooth sprang anon a welle
Of which he drank anon, shortly to seye,
Thus heelp hym God, as Judicum can telle.
When they were slain, he thirsted so that he
Was well nigh lost, for which he prayed, say I,
That God would on his pain have some pity
And send him drink, or must he surely die;
155And from that ass's jaw-bone, then but dry,
Out of a tooth there sprang at once a well,
Whereof he drank his fill and laid it by.
Thus helped him God, as Judges, fifteen, tell.

By verray force at Gazan, on a nyght,
160Maugree Philistiens of that citee,
The gates of the toun he hath up plyght,
And on his bak ycaryed hem hath he
Hye on an hille, that men myghte hem see.
O noble almyghty Sampson, lief and deere,
165Had thou nat toold to wommen thy secree,
In all this world ne hadde been thy peere.
By true force at Gaza, on a night,
160Maugre Philistines of that said city,
The great gates of the town he took with might,
And on his shoulders carried them, did he,
High on a hill where every man might see.
O noble mighty Samson, lief and dear,
165Had'st thou not woman told thy privity,
In all this world had never been thy pear.

This Sampson nevere ciser drank, ne wyn,
Ne on his heed cam rasour noon, ne sheere,
By precept of the messager divyn,
170For alle hise strengthes in hise heeres weere.
And fully twenty wynter, yeer by yeere,
He hadde of Israel the governaunce.
But soone shal he wepen many a teere,
For wommen shal hym bryngen to meschaunce!
This Samson never liquor drank, nor wine.
Nor on his head came razor, nor a shear,
Obeying thus the angel's word divine,
170For all his forces in his long locks were;
And fully twenty winters, year by year,
He held of Israel the governance.
But all too soon should he weep many a tear,
For women should betray him to mischance!

175 Unto his lemman Dalida he tolde
That in hise heeres al his strengthe lay,
And falsly to hise fooman she hym solde;
And slepynge in hir barme upon a day
She made to clippe or shere hise heres away,
180And made hise foomen al this craft espyn.
And whan that they hym foond in this array,
They bounde hym faste, and putten out hise eyen.
175Delilah being his darling, her he told
That in his unshorn locks all his strength lay,
And him to foemen then she falsely sold.
For, sleeping in her bosom, on a day,
She clipped and sheared all his long hair away,
180Then showed his state unto his enemies,
And when they found him lying in this array
They bound him fast and put out both his eyes.

But er his heer were clipped or yshave,
Ther was no boond with which men myght him bynde;
185But now is he in prison in a cave,
Where as they made hym at the queerne grynde.
O noble Sampson, strongest of mankynde,
O whilom juge in glorie and in richesse,
Now maystow wepen with thyne eyen blynde,
190Sith thou fro wele art falle in wrecchednesse!
Before his hair was sheared and shaven close,
There were no bonds wherewith men might him bind;
185But now he lies in prison cell, morose,
And labours, when at mill they make him grind.
O noble Samson, strongest of mankind,
O judge, but late, in glory measureless,
Now may'st thou shed hot tears from thine eyes blind,
190For thou from wealth art fallen to wretchedness.

The ende of this caytyf was as I shal seye;
Hise foomen made a feeste upon a day,
And made hym as hir fool biforn hem pleye.
And this was in a temple of greet array;
195But atte laste he made a foul affray,
For he two pilers shook, and made hem falle,
And doun fil temple and al, and ther it lay, -
And slow hymself, and eek his foomen alle.
This captive's end was as I now shall say;
His foes they made a feast upon a day,
And made him as their fool before them play,
All in a temple great, of rich array.
195But at the last he made a stern affray;
For he two pillars took and caused them fall,
And down came roof and all, and there it lay,
Killing himself and enemies, each and all.

This is to seyn, the prynces everichoon,
200And eek thre thousand bodyes, were ther slayn
With fallynge of the grete temple of stoon.
Of Sampson now wol I namoore sayn:
Beth war by this ensample oold and playn
That no men telle hir conseil til hir wyves
205Of swich thyng as they solde han secree fayn,
If that it touche hir lymmes or hir lyves.
That is to say, those princes, every one,
200And full three thousand others who were slain
By falling of that temple built of stone.
To Samson now I'll not revert again.
Be warned by this example old and plain.
Men should not tell their business to their wives
205In such things as of secrecy they're fain,
And if it touch their limbs or touch their lives.




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From The Monk's Tale, lines 207-254:
Hercules
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