LIBER SECUNDUS REGUM.
[DAVID KILLS THE MESSENGER WHO HAD KILLED SAUL (1:1–15)]
In the Fyrst Boke of Kynges herd have we
how Saul was fyrst crowned kyng,
And how he dyed on Gylboy
with his ost outrayd, old and yyng.
Now in the Secund sall we see
of David and of his doyng.
In Cesilla then sojornd he,
and of that werke wyst he nothyng.
Tyll aftur, on the thryd day,
then come a messynger,
And swylke saws con he say
that chaunged all his chere.
“Ser,” he sayd, “be mery, I rede,
for gud thynges sall I tell thee.
Kyng Saul thin enmy is dede;
I saw hym sloyn and his suns thre.”
Then David hert wex hevy as lede.
He sayd, “How wott thou yt suld so be?”
He sayd, “From Jews in the same sted;
the certan seygne that sall thou see.
Hymself he wold have slayn,
so was he stede in nede.
And for he had no mayn,
he prayd me do that dede.
“I wyst hyt was his awn desyre;
to beyre hym thrugh I was full bownne
And have here that I have to hyre:
hys bees of gold and his gud crownne.
I wott thou sal be lord and syre
and rewle the reme, both towre and town.”
Then David loked on hym with yre
and sayd, “Thou sall have waryson.
He was enoynted kyng,
that thou dyde swylke dyspytte.”
Withowt more doyng
hys hede he dyde of smytt.
deed knew; (t-note)
such news did he tell
his (David’s) mood
be happy, I counsel [you]
slain; sons; (t-note)
David’s heart grew; lead; (t-note)
clear indication [of]; (t-note)
placed in desperation
knew it; own; (t-note)
run him through; entirely ready
what I earned as wages
know; sire; (t-note)
rule the realm; (t-note)
head he did cut off
[DAVID MOURNS SAUL AND JONATHAN (1:16–27)]
Full oft he syghtyd and sayd, “Alas!”
that ever Kyng Saul suld ende so,
Bot more for gentyll Jonatas.
When he yt wyst, then was he woe,
For trewer luf in werld ne was
then ever was betwyx them two.
Therfor slyke care in hert he has
ne he wyst in werld what he myght do.
He swouned, als he wold swelt,
and weped and wrang his hend:
Lang with swylke doyles he delt.
No man myght hym amend
Tyll at the last a duke hym dyght
to bryng his bale in bettur guyse.
He says, “Yt is no semly syght
men forto werke on swylke a wyse.
Yt is well fayrrer forto fyght
and venge us on our yll enmyse.
So suld acord to ylka knyght;
with wepyng sall never wrschepe ryse.
Yt falys wemen of eld
to wepe, when thei have wrang,
And knyghtes to fyght in feld
ther foys with fors to fang.”
he (David) sighed; (t-note)
knew [for certain]
there was not; (t-note)
[that] he knows not
as if; die; (see note)
wept and wrung his hands; (t-note)
sorrows he dealt
present his woe in a better manner; (t-note)
in such a way
agree to each
from weeping; honor
befits old women
foes with force to catch; (t-note)
[DAVID ANOINTED KING OF JUDAH (2:1–4)]
Then sayd thei so on ylka syde
and cachyd myrth so them amell.
He trowed ther tayles in that tyde
and prayd to God that He wold them tell
Whore hym ware best to beld and byd.
And Goddes prophett bad hym go dwell
In Ebron, a cety long and wyd,
with chosyn chylder of Israel.
The kynred of Juda
thor chose hym forto ther kyng
All way well or wo
to lyfe at his ledyng.
Now wex David a man of myght
when he was kyng by comyn crye.
The pure and rych he rewled ryght,
aftur ther werkyng was worthy.
Hys cosyn Joab, a gentyll knyt,
made he chefe of his chevalry
And next hym his two brether, that heyght
Aghaell and Abaghai.
Ay the eldyst of Ebrew
held he of the most counsell,
Qwyll all he trest for trew
and wold not fayntly fayle.
believed their tales
Where it were best for him to live and remain; (t-note)
Hebron, a city
kindred of Judah
there; their; (t-note)
weal or woe
common assent; (see note)
brothers, who were called
Asahel and Abishai; (see note)
Whom; trusted for loyalty
fail for weakness
[ISHBOSHETH’S RIVAL CLAIM TO KINGSHIP (2:8–10)]
We told before, and not full ferre,
how Kyng Saul was feld in feyld.
At home was left Duke Abnarre
his land and his welth to weld
So that none suld with maystry marre
Ysboset, Saul sun unweld.
He and that duke yll angerd arre
that David so was broyght to beld.
Thei hard how he was kyng
of the kynred of Juda;
That toyght them herd hethyng
and kest betwen them twa
How thei myght turne all that entent,
and thus thei ordand them omell:
Thei sembled all to ther assent
that with Saul ware wunt to dwell.
That Ysbosett then have thei hent
and made hym kyng of Israel;
And forto marre so have thei ment
Kyng David and his force to fell.
When Joab herd of tho
and of ther purpase playn,
He and his breyther two
grathed them thor agayn.
and not very far away; (t-note)
killed on the battlefield; (t-note)
Ishbosheth, Saul’s helpless son
they thought a great shame
assembled; their agreement
to harm; intention
prepared themselves against that
[JOAB AND ABNER FIGHT FOR THEIR KINGS (2:12–17)]
Duke Joab hath for David heyght
to feyght on feld and not to flee.
Duke Abnarre says for Ysbotsett
in batell sall he byde and bee.
Bot both ther men, when thei ware mett,
ware Ebrews and of on cuntree.
Therfor to were wyll thei not lett
tyll that thei wytt who sall wyn degré.
Ful fersly then thei fyght.
Bot to tell at the last:
Abnare was put to flyght,
and Joab fowled fast.
fight on the field; (t-note)
remain and endure
Joab [and his army] followed
[ABNER KILLS ASAHEL; THE FIGHT IS BROKEN OFF (2:18–3:5)]
And als thei persewede thore,
ware mony dede withowtyn drede.
Bot Aghaell was ay before,
for thore hade he so wyght a stede.
When Abnare saw he sewed so sore
and to his hele wold take no hede,
He prayd hym to persew no more,
and he suld gyf hym gold to mede.
Therfor he wold not lett,
ne for his spekyng spare.
And Abnare on hym sett
and thrugh his brest hym bare.
When Joab saw that sory syght:
his brother lyg dede on the land,
Then dyde he all his mayn and myght
to venge his ded with hert and hand.
And by that was yt nere the nyght,
and no tyme to be traveland.
Duke Abanare toke a hyll on hyght
and gatt a strengh in forto stand.
And then for peyce he prayd
to Joab and his men.
“We werke all wrang,” he sayd.
“That sall ye clerly kene.
“Joab,” he sayd, “full well I knaw
a feller knyght may no man fynde.
With Phylysteyns to fyght thee aw,
and with paynyms that thei ben pynd.
Bot we that lyf all by a law
and all are Ebrews of on kynd
Ylkon to bryng other a daw,
we suld have God more in our mynd.
Both cosyns and kynred
ar sembled on ayder syde.
The mo that thus ar dede,
the more tene sall us be tyde.
“I prayd thi brother of peyce
when he persewed me with envy.
Bot for my saws he wold not sesse
and fell so thrugh his awn foly.
So myght fall the same messe
thiself to suffur or perchaunce I.
Therfor yt is fayrest forto sese,
and ylk man kepe his cumpany.”
Qwen Joab saw certayn
he sayd reson and ryght,
Hee turned his men agayn
and rested thore that nyght.
Bot on the morn thei morwnd omell
for folke that thei fand fallyn in feld.
Thei beyred the body of Aghaell
with all the wrschep that thei myght weld.
When Kyng David herd how yt fell
that Aghael was schent on feld,
His tene in hert no tong myght tell,
for he was all way hym to beld.
Kyng David had in Ebron
sex wyfes with hym to go,
And sere suns: Absolon,
Adony, and other moo.
ever in front of them
strong a horse; (see note)
pursued so hard; (see note)
But for that; cease
bore [his spear] through his breast
avenge his death
pagans; be put to pain
by one law
Each one; bring the other a day (kill)
assembled on either
killed on the field
many sons: Absalom
[ABNER TURNS AGAINST ISHBOSHETH (3:6–21)]
Sone aftur this then fell debate
betwyx Ysboset and Abnare,
For he had takyn a leman latt
that with Saul before con fare.
He sayd yt fell not for his astate
to use wemen that with kynges ware.
Abnare in hert then con hym hatt,
that chalenged hym fore swylk a chare.
He says, “Evyn als I broyght
the folke to wun hym wyth,
So sall I sett ther toyght
and turne them to David.”
And sone unto the same entent
letturs dyde he to wrytyng.
And messyngers sone hath he sent
unto David, of Juda kyng.
He told hym holy how he ment
under his bundom forto bryng
All the Ebrews that with Saul went,
fro Ysbosett, both old and yyng.
Kyng David was full glade
when thei told this tythyng,
And sayd with sembland sade,
“He sall have his askyng.”
And forto prove be reson ryfe
yf he this purpasse wold persew,
He sayd, “Send Mycoll, my fayrest wyfe,
that homly is of hyd and hew.
I luf hyr lely as my lyfe
sen fyrst that I that cumly knew.
Yf he do this to stynt all stryfe,
then wyll I trest that all be trew.”
The messyngers ar wentt
to Abnare evyn agayn,
And Mycoll sone was sent,
and David then was fayn.
Abnare this forward wold fulfyll.
full sone he gart togeydder call
Lordes of the land, both lowd and styll,
that oght myght govern, grett or small.
He sayd, “Sers, tentes unto my skyll;
the certan soth say yow I sall.
I wott well yt is Goddes wyll
that David be kyng of Ebrews all.
The prophett Samuel
sayd yt suld so be,
And with hym wyll I dwell.”
Thei say, “Ser, so wyll we.
“With hym to pase ware we prest,
had we not bene at thi bydyng.”
Then twenty barons of the best
befor Kyng David con he bryng.
A fyrm sewrty thore thei fest
and made hym homage, old and yyng.
So were all the twelfe kynredes kest
with hym to hold and he ther kyng.
Grett fest than mad he thore
bycause of kynredes twelfe,
Bot Abnare ay before
was honerd next hymselfe.
Because he (Abner); woman recently
did go; (t-note)
He (Ishbosheth); estate (class); (t-note)
such an action; (t-note)
live with (be loyal to)
at once with that very intention
with a resolute countenance
by ample reason
beautiful; skin and complexion; (t-note)
caused to be called together
publicly and privately; (t-note)
attend to my counsel
live were we eager; (t-note)
firm surety there they established
twelve tribes cast
feast then he made there
ever before [everyone]; (see note)
[JOAB’S WRATH AGAINST ABNER (3:22–27)]
When all was wele, thei went ther ways,
ylkon to ther awn cuntré.
Joab, the duke, was all ther days
for errandes fare fro that cety.
When he come and herd how men says
of fest and grett solempnité,
That purpas no thyng to hym pays:
that Abnare suld so neghtbur be.
He hoped he suld be nare
unto the kyng all way.
That mater wyll he marre
in all that ever he may.
Fyrst he told unto the kyng,
“That Abanare dose is all envy.
He feynys frenschepe for nothyng
bot for he wyll this land aspye
How he may best hys ost in bryng
so to persew thee prevely.
And thou wyll trest to his tellyng,
this land may so be lost therby.”
The kyng wyst this was wrang;
the case full well he knew,
And sayd, “Wherever he gang,
I trow Abnare be trew.”
When Joab wyst this wold not be,
sone hath he soyght a sotell gyne.
Fayr letturs sent he forto se
with the best knyghtes of all his kyn
And prayd Abnare that hast suld he
to the kyng be lyve, for no thyng blyn,
And speke with hym in specialté
for bourdes that thei suld begyn.
Abnare full sone assent
to werke the kynges wyll.
Wyghtly with them he went,
that wold sped hym to spyll.
Then Joab con full grathly spye
and wentt to feld hym forto kepe.
He and his brother Abyghai
welcumd hym with grett wrschepe.
In consell thei cald hym in hy,
ryght als thei for his wo wold wepe.
Joab then spake full specialli
and therwith wroyght hym wowndes depe.
This was an evyll corde
and wroyght with weked trayn.
Alas that swylke a lord
falsly suld be slayn!
each one; own
If; trust in his speech
trust Abner to be faithful
at once; delay; (t-note)
readily look out [for him]
to attend to
just as if they would weep for his woes
[DAVID CONDEMNS JOAB FOR KILLING ABNER (3:28–39)]
So prevely his sword he drogh;
the duke was dede thore sodanly.
Kyng David hath full mekyll woght
when he herd tell this trechery.
Duke Joab made his tale full togh
and sayd he had encheson why:
“My brother Ayghel he slogh,
and then I myght no wyn hym by.”
Bot als men may suppose,
he dyd yt more for drede
The lordschep forto lose
that he had forto lede.
The kyng is so with mornyng mett;
hym gaynes nowder game ne glee.
Unto the duke he dyd his dett:
interyd hym in that same cyté.
Then of this lesson wyll we let
sen of this bale no bott may be,
And say how fell of Ysbosett,
te kyng of Israel cuntré.
When he herd how men sayd
that Duke Abnare was dede
And trayturly betrayd,
he was full wyll of rede.
most arrogant tale; (see note)
cause why he did it
be no joy to him
since; sadness no remedy
[ISHBOSHETH BETRAYED AND KILLED (4:1–12)]
Full grett mornyng he mad amang;
so dyd all that then wore thore.
Bot his lyfe lasted not aftur lang;
swylke falshed was formeld therfore.
To hym was wroyght als mekyll wrang
as to Abnare or ellys more,
Be two tyrandes and trayturs strang:
of Bynjamyns both born thei wore,
Rocab and Baana,
as beyrs wyttenese the Boke.
Thies ware the trayturs two
that treson undertoke.
For none may bettur a man betray
then he in whom his hert is trist,
So prevey with the kyng war thei
to com in and owt at ther lyst.
Als he lay slepand on a day
in place whore non bot thei yt wyst,
His hed thei toke and bare away
full mony myls or thei ware myst.
Thei wend full well have done
qwen thei this falshed fand.
To Kyng David full sone
thei offerd that presand.
With full grett gladnese thei hym grett
and sone rehersed hym ther resown:
“Ser, here the hede of Kyng Ysbosett
that was thi foo in feld and town.
Now lyfes there non thee forto lett.”
He sayd, “Trayturs, full of tresown,
Have ye no mynd how I hym mett
that proferd me Kynges Saul crown?
His hed I gart of schave,
for he dyd that dyspyte.
The same hyre sall ye have.”
Ther hedes he gart of smytt.
mourning he made among [his people]
due to such betrayals mentioned before; (t-note)
Rechab and Baanah
heart is entrusted; (t-note)
thought much good to have accomplished
head I had cut off
[THE TRIBES OF ISRAEL SUBMIT TO DAVID (5:1–2)]
Unto Kyng David than thei draw,
lordes of ylka cuntré cleyne.
And for ther kyng all thei hym knaw
and makes hym homage all be dene.
So was he lord of hegh and law
that langed to the twelfe kynredes kene.
Then loves he God, als he well aw,
that so hath sett hym to be sene.
And full grett sacrafyce
to God thore con he make,
And ylke man on ther wyse
dyde the same for His sake.
every; entirely; (t-note)
high and low (i.e., everyone)
belonged; (i.e., all Israel)
[THE CENSUS OF ISRAEL AND JUDAH (24:1–9)]
Sen that his enmys then ware ded
that lyfand wold have done hym dere,
And all ware sembled in that same stede,
the kyng wyll wytt what folke thei are.
He gart cownt of ylk kynred
all that ware abyll armys to bere,
And that hade force to fend thar hede
and fals Phylysteyns forto fere.
The kynred of Juda:
sex thowsand and faur score,
This was nowmer of tha
that ware ay sett before.
Of the lyne of Levy, lygh als levyn,
faur thowsand sevyn hunderth told.
Of Benjamyn faur thowsand evyn,
and then of Effraym elders old
Were twenty thowsand styrd be stevyn,
and aght hunderth of berns bold.
Of Ysacar two hunderth to nevyn
and twenty thowsand, wytt who wold.
Sevyn thowsand of Symeon
and one hunderth at hand.
And sythyn of Zabulon lygh als
ware fyfty thowsand.
Of Neptalim was so grett plenté,
to nowmer them myght no man com.
Of Aser faurty thowsand free,
of Dan twenty and sevyn thowsand sum.
Of Ruben, Gad, and Manasse,
that ware wunnand beyond the flum,
Sex hunderth thowsand had tho thre.
Of all ther was a thryfty thrum.
And ther ald and yeyng
with wrschyp on ther wyse
Raysed David to be kyng.
then was he ordand thryse.
Because; (see note)
know how many people they are; (t-note)
caused to be counted
able to bear arms
defend their head (leader)
lineage of Levi, quick as lightning; (see note)
moved by speech
800 bold men
whoever would know it
then; quick also
dwelling; river (Jordan)
flourishing body of people
honor in their way
ordained for a third time
[DAVID ANOINTED A THIRD TIME, ATTACKS JERUSALEM (5:3–6)]
The fyrst tym was betwyx them two,
the prophett Samuel and he,
When God bad hym to Bedlem go,
and David keped his fader fee.
The secund was in Cecilla
whore he wonned with his wyfes three.
Thore come the kynred of Juda
and made hym kyng of that cuntré.
The thryd was now hymselfe
in Ebron was made kyng
Of all the kynredes twelfe
that lyfyd to Goddes lykyng,
Qwylke comynly ware cald Cananews
for Canan that thei dwelled in.
And for Abraham thei ware Ebrews
namyd with men, both more and myn.
In Jerusalem then wonned Ghebesews,
the fellest folke of Phylysteyn.
And for thei ware so mekyll schrews,
on them to were he wyll begyn.
The men that thus ware mett
and geydderd in grett rowte
To that cyté ware sett
and segyd yt all abowte.
Who; Canaanites; (t-note)
they lived in; (t-note)
(i.e., all of them)
great villains; (t-note)
gathered in a great force
[DAVID CAPTURES THE CITY OF JERUSALEM (5:6–8)]
The folke within, of felows fame,
saw thei had no force to fyght.
Thei toyght to gare them schon for schame;
this sotelty sone have thei dyght:
All the lepurs and all the lame
and all the blynd that wantyd syght
Apon the walles thei sett tho same
and bad them crye holy on hyght:
“David, that kyng is cald,
for all thi brag and bost,
This cety sall we hald
fro thee and all thin ost.”
The kyng hard how the crepyls cryde
and wyst yt was done in dyspytt.
Therfor he wold no langer byde
bot qwykly fand yt forto qwytt.
Thei seged yt full sadly on ylka syde
so that that cyté toke thei full tytte.
Both man and page for all ther prid
ther heddes full smartly thei of smytte.
The kyng thus and his ost
dystroyd both bred and lengh.
Tho that wore maysturs most
had takyn a towr for strengh.
infamous; (see note)
thought to make them retreat
subtlety immediately; made
those same [people]
ordered; in loud voices
cripples cried out
heads very promptly they cut off
width and length
tower (citadel) for strength
[DAVID CHALLENGES HIS MEN (1 CHRONICLES 11:6)]
When thei had thus that cety wun
and broyght yt all under ther bale,
Unto the towre thei have begun
to sett and sadly yt asale.
Kyng David sayd what moder sun
that enturs fyrst withoutyn fale,
Als most frendly he sal be fun
and most cheve of the kynges consale.
When Duke Joab con here
the kyng gaf this decré,
He wold non were so nere
of his consell os he.
Therfor he dyd his myght and mayn
that wrschep to hymself at wyn.
He cast no perels ne no payn
tyll he that towr was enturd in.
And hastely he hath them slayn;
that boldnes gart his gamys begyn.
For so he was sett as soverayn
of all the kynges men, more and myn,
And most chefe of conselys,
whore so thei gang or ryde,
And ordenare of batellys
to buske or ellys to abyde.
beset; resolutely assail it; (t-note)
mother’s son (i.e., whoever); (see note); (t-note)
held most in friendship
most chief; council
would have none be so near
strength and effort
shunned no perils nor; (t-note)
caused his pleasure to be achieved
more and less (i.e., all of them)
[JERUSALEM RENAMED (5:9–10)]
Sen that place was ther best socour,
to byd thore ware thei not to blame.
The folke then namyd yt David Towre,
and to this day yt beyrs that name.
So was the kyng sett in honour
and over all namyd of nobyll fame.
Phylesteyns that war styfe in stowre,
in this tyme thei war mad full tame
And flemed fro that cyté,
and Ebrews thor ordand.
The kyng bad yt suld be
chefe cyté of that land.
Thos lordes then ther levys hath tane
when he was sett as soveran syre.
For hym to noye then was ther none
bot fals Phylysteyns, fell ose fyre.
Amang all other was ther on,
Aram, that was kyng of Tyre;
Of syder wod had he gud wone.
And that was Kyng David desyre
Forto make howse in hast
his Ebrews in to abyd,
For that cyté was wast
sere tyms befor that tyde.
live there were
the Tower of David; (see note)
were hard in battle
their leaves have taken
cruel as fire
cedar wood; plenty; (t-note)
[HIRAM OF TYRE’S OFFERING TO DAVID; DAVID’S CHILDREN (5:11–16)]
When Aram, kyng of Tyre, herd tell
Kyng David in so grett degré,
And that he dyght hym forto dwell
in Jerusalem, that grett ceté,
Grett syder treyse fast gart he fell,
and bad that wryghtes bown suld be
And the best masons them omel
at wend to Canan cuntré.
“Sekys to the kyng,” he sayd,
“and werkes what he wyll bede.”
Kyng David was well payd,
for of swylke had he nede.
Then made he walles full mekyll of myght
with nobyll towrs and turettes by
And barrys bune with yrn and dyght
forto eschew all yll enmy.
Then mad he halles and howses on heyght
for lordes and lades in to ly
With selers semly unto syght
pavyd and paynted with ymagry.
Of wyfes he had gud wone,
that with hym wonnand ware.
A wyfe bare Absolon
and his suster Thamar.
cedar trees did he chop down; (t-note)
together with them; (t-note)
that would go
very great in strength
bars [on gates] bound with iron; (t-note)
to sleep in
Absalom; (see note); (t-note)
[PHILISTINE ATTACKS (5:17–25)]
Now hath Kyng David power playn
of Ebrews in ylk cuntree.
Bot Phylysteyns ware no thyng fayn
that he suld goverand swylke degré.
Thei sembled men with all ther mayn
to sege Jerusalem cyté.
Bot os God wold, sone was sum slayn,
and sum also ware fayn to flee.
That toyght them grett dyspyte;
therfor thei wold not blyne.
Thei gatt mo folke full tytt
and new were con begyne.
Thei geydderd full grett cumpany
that cyté oft sythys to assayle.
Kyng David wold not feygh forthi
or he of God had sum consayle
Whether he suld have the vyctory
and bettur byd in that batell.
God warnd hym then full wyttly
by a sygne that he suld not fayle.
God bad he suld take tent
and on the evynyng-tyd
Lay his men in buschement
under a forest syde:
“On the morn then sall ye fynd
this tokyn trew that I yow tell.
When the wod wages withoutyn wynd,
wend thou then be lyve; no langer dwell.
Your enmys sall ye bette and bynd
and make them flee over fyrth and fell.
Thei sal be lorn that levys behynd,
and maystry leve thi men omell.”
Os God demed, David dyde.
His men sone he arayde.
And all to hym betyd,
als God Hymself had sayd.
When thei to batell bremly breyst,
Phylysteyns ware full fayn to flee.
The kyng with his folke foled fast
and putt them down, full grett plenté.
With ther pursewyt so ar thei past
to Gessore, that was ther cyté.
That thei conquerd and down yt cast
and gat gret gud of gold and fee.
Thei wan thor welth enogh,
that wold to tresour tent.
Hamward then thei drogh
and stroyd ever as thei wentt.
The godes of gold that thei gat thore,
that ware made for ther mawmentry,
Kyng David toke them to tresour
and forto menske God Allmighty.
So fals Phylysteyns wasted wore
that thei myght make no more maystry.
Kyng David wex ay more and more
with wrschep, als he was worthy.
God wroyght for hym allway
and made hym mekyll in price.
And he honerd God ay
with suyt and sacrafyce.
in no way glad
their strength; (t-note)
at once were some slain
war did begin
fight at that point
in the evening
go; quickly; (t-note)
field and forest
killed who are left
fiercely broke; (t-note)
great in glory
[DAVID FETCHES THE ARK OF GOD (6:1–5)]
Then toke he purpase forto ta
into Jerusalem cyté
The Arke of gold fra Gabatha
and sett yt up in grett degré.
Thryty milia gart he ga
with sang and grett solempnité
Withoutyn prestes and dekyns ma
that abowt yt agh to be.
All maner of mynstralsy
was ordand for this thyng,
And full fayre cumpany
went before with the kyng.
30,000 caused he to go
Beyond the priests and other deacons
around it ought
[UZZAH TOUCHES THE ARK AND IS STRUCK DOWN (6:6–8)]
All loved thei God both loud and styll
that His Arke suld lend in ther land.
The Arke, als thei went down a hyll,
for als yt suld be falland.
On Osay went with full gud wyll
to hald yt up layd on his hand.
Sone sodan ded was sent hym tyll,
for he therfor was not ordand.
This lesson wyll us lere:
non suld neght howled thyng
Bot thei that have power
grauntyd of Goddes gyfyng.
outwardly and inwardly
seemed as if it would be falling
Uzzah; good intention
hold it up
At once sudden death
for that was not ordained
learn; (see note)
no one should approach a hallowed
[THE ARK IN JERUSALEM (6:12–15, 17–19)]
To Jerusalem that Arke is broyght
with prelettes and with prophettes of price.
A tabernakyll therto was wroyght,
als well os werkemen cowd avyse.
On ylka syde therto thei soyght
with sense and solempne sacrafyce.
Als thei had God Hymself thei toyght;
so fayn was ylkon on ther wyse.
Kyng David was full glad
that hym was sent swylke seyle;
Gud hope in hert he hade
that God dyd ever ylk dele.
As if; thought
joyful was each one in their ways
such good fortune
[DAVID’S PROPOSAL TO BUILD A TEMPLE DENIED (7:1–29)]
And because he swylke wrschep wan
and gat to govern swylke degré,
To honer God, yf that he can,
in all his myght ymagyns hee.
He told to the prophett Nathan
that he wold make of ston and tree
A chyrch that was cald tempyls then
whorein the Arke of God myght be,
That folke may call and knell
to be assoiled of ther syn.
Tho prophett prayssed hym well
swylke gud werke to begyn.
Bot aftur, os I understode,
God cald unto hym on a nyght,
“David, my servand myld of mode,
a howse to Me sall thou non dyght,
Bycause thi handes ar full of blod
of thos that thou hath feld in fyght.
I thanke thee that thi wyll is gud,
and therfor sall thou reyng be ryght.
And aftur thee thin hayre,
that sal be Salamon,
He sall make well and fayre
my howse of tree and ston.”
The prophett sayd the kyng certayn,
als God had told hym under teld.
Then was Kyng David ferly fayn
that his heyre suld his welthis weld.
He honerd God with all his mayn
that hym had broyght unto swylke beld
And mad hym kyng with power playn
fro hyrd that keped fee in feld.
He governd ald and yyng
allway by consell clere;
So lyfyd he in lykyng
in myrth full mony a yere.
such honor won
called a temple at that time
him (i.e., Nathan)
killed in battle
just as; under [his] tent
heir; wield his wealth
from a shepherd who kept the flock in the field
[DAVID’S GOOD RULE; HIS KINDNESS TO JONATHAN’S SON (8:15; 9:1–13)]
Kyng David both be nyght and days
full dewly demys of ylka dede.
For on poynt was he worthy to prayse:
that he wold herkyn and take hede
In ryght and reverence them to arase
that helped hym when he had nede.
For Jonatas waytt he allways
yf any sewtt ware of his sede,
For whyls he lyfed in land,
his luf myght nothyng lett.
A sun of his thei fand
that heygh Mifibosett.
This Mifebozett was of age,
bot mayned and halt was he.
Kyng David putt hym into perage
of bacheler, os aght to be.
In Jerusalem a certayn stage
was made for hym and his meneye.
He held wyght men for ther wage
to serve hym in sere degré.
His steward con he make
Cyba, that soveran was;
All for his fader sake,
duly judges every deed
Jonathan he watched always
offspring were; seed
who was called Mephibosheth
crippled and lame
bachelor, as it ought; (t-note)
[HANUN BECOMES KING OF THE AMMONITES (10:1–2)]
When this was done sone aftur this
a duke, that David trysted apon,
Heyght Naas, kyng of Amonys,
and had an heyre, that heyght Anon.
The fader was wytty and wyse,
bot sythyn the sun was fon a fown.
Kyng David held hym mekyll of price
evyn as his awn son Absolon.
Sone when he herd of this
that Kyng Naas was dede,
He sent wysmen of his
the chyld to wysch and rede.
He bad them tell hym how he wold
mayntein hym with all his myght
And the same frendchep with hym hold
that he had to his fader hyght.
The messyngers, herdy and bold,
to wend this way thei war full wyght.
And to the yyng kyng have thei told
ther resons all; thei rehershed ryght
How Kyng David had sayd
his frenschepe suld not faylle.
The princes ware not payd
and cald the kyng in consayle.
Called Nahash; Ammonites
afterwards; found [to be] a fool
held him in much worth
into private council
[THE TREATMENT OF DAVID’S MESSENGERS (10:3–5)]
Thei say, “Ser, beware and wytty;
this is the falshed of thi foo.
Thies lordans comys thi land to spy
and wayte how thei may werke thee wo.
Therfor, ser, sett nothyng therby,
bot sen thou sees that yt is so,
Lett us waytt them sum velany
and send them furth wher thei com fro.”
The kyng was yyng of eld,
that was sone aftur sene.
He lost his bygest beld,
and so yt turned to tene.
Be this consell the kynges meneye
this messyngers both bett and band
And cutt ther cloghes up at the the,
als foles wer served in that land;
Sythyn mad ther berdes half-chavyn be
and the other half styll to stand
And send them so to ther cuntré
and bad thei suld go tell thythand.
Yf Kyng David for this
be wroth, no wonnder yt ys,
To see so mekyll of mys
agayns his grett gudnes.
falsehood of your foe
little lords come
young in maturity
these; beat and bound; (see note)
their clothes up to the thigh
as fools were presented; (t-note)
Then caused their beards half-shaven to be
[DAVID RAISES ARMS AGAINST HANUN (10:6–19)]
He bad them venge this velany
that under hym had his power.
Joab, his steward stalworthy,
sayd yt suld be boyght full dere.
And his brother Abbysay
sembled folk from sydes sere
Anon, the kyng of Amonys,
and his cuntré forto conquere.
When Kyng Anon herd say
of Joab entent that tyd,
His folke he gart aray
in batell hym to abyd.
Duke Joab furth his folke he led
unto thei come in Amonys cuntré.
He stroyd and brent all that was bred
and nawder spared folke ne fee.
And als sone os thei batell bed
to loke who suld the bettur bee,
Phylysteyns full fast thei fled
and toke to Rabatt, thare ryche cyté.
That cyté was so strong
with guns and other geyre,
Fro thei that force myght fang,
thei dowtt no dedes of were.
returned in full measure
at that time
caused to be arrayed; (t-note)
until they came
destroyed and burned; abroad
spared neither people nor livestock
Rabbah, their; (t-note)
ballistae; equipment [of war]
feared no deeds of war
[DAVID FALLS INTO ADULTERY WITH BATHSHEBA (11:1–5)]
Duke Joab dyght hym forto dwell
and wyn that cyté, yf he myght.
And in this meyntyme that I tell,
Kyng David rewled hym all unryght.
In awowtry fowle he fell
with Ury wyf, that was his knyght.
Swylke medyturs was mad omell
that with hym was scho all nyght.
Dame Barsabé scho hatt,
that was tane under teld.
Ser Urré at Rabat
lay forto fyght in feld.
Sone on the morn Dame Barsabé
supposed to be with chyld in hy.
And costom was in that cuntré:
whoso was tan in avowtry
Suld be stoned in the same cyté.
Therfor scho past full prevely
And prayd the kyng hertly that he
suld ordan therfor remedy.
The kyng sayd, “Dred thee noyght.
Thor sall no folke thee fyle.”
Sone then he hym betoyght
of a full wekyd wyle.
ruled himself; (t-note)
Such mediation was made between [them]
Bathsheba she was called
taken under tent
on the battlefield; (t-note)
learned at once that she was with child
taken in adultery
very wicked trick
[DAVID PLOTS TO BRING URIAH AND BATHSHEBA TOGETHER (11:6–13)]
He thynkes in his awn entent
how he suld fell all fowle defame.
Aftur Ser Urré hath he sent
and bad that he suld hast hym hame.
And in this message hath he ment
so forto scheld the wyfe fro schame.
Fro he with hyr alon ware lent,
of that barne suld he bere the blame.
Syr Urré hast hym sone
and com the kyng untyll.
He wyst not what was done
and askyd what was his wyll.
The kyng says, “Full fayn wold I fele
how frendes faryn sen thei ferd us fro,
And for thin awn sake, ser, sum dele
that thou may rest a day or two.
Thi wyfe thynkes lang, I wott full well;
therfor to hyr I red thou go
And make hyr solace for your sele.
Yt is semly that thou do so.”
Syr Urry sayd not nay,
bot furth he wendys his ways,
And all that nyght he lay
within the kynges palys.
Sone on the morn the kyng beheld
he was not gone his wyfe to glose,
And askyd hym why he wold not yeld
chere to his wyfe sen he had chose.
The knyght sayd he suld byde no beld,
ne be uncled of cotte ne hose,
Whyls all his felows lay in feld
to wyn wrschep or lyfes lose.
The kyng saw his for-toyght
myght nothyng stand in stede.
A lettur be lyve he wroyght,
qwylke sayd he suld be dede.
do away with all foul rumor
child should he bear
hastened himself immediately
gladly would I learn
fared since they fared from us
know; (see note); (t-note)
your own sake
copulate with; (see note)
comfort; since he had chosen it
abide no comfort
nor be unclad of tunic nor
in the field
honor or lose their lives; (t-note)
[DAVID SENDS URIAH TO HIS DEATH IN BATTLE (11:14–17)]
That lettur he toke the knyght untyll
and sayd, “Ser, sen thou wyll not rest,
Unto Duke Joab bere this byll,
as man on lyve that I lufe best,
And byd hym faythfully yt fulfyll.”
The knyght knew not his ded was kest,
Bot furth he yode with full gud wyll;
to plese Joab was he full prest.
That boke to hym he bede
and bad hym serve yt sone.
When Joab had yt rede,
he saw what suld be done.
And on the morn maystrys he mays
als he Phylysteyns wold fere.
Syr Urré sett he in swylke place
whore he wyst thei suld do hym dere.
And sone away fro hym he gays.
Then thei within were wyse of were
And sees that he no help hays;
thrugh the body thei con hym bere.
Thus was he saklese slayn,
that shaply under scheld.
The kyng therfor was fayn
his wyf that he myght weld.
death was established; (t-note)
such a place
knew they would do him harm
wise of war (i.e., veteran soldiers)
in innocence; (t-note)
fit man with a shield
[DAVID MARRIES BATHSHEBA (11:27)]
He wedyd hyr with mekyll wyn
and mad hyr to be crowned qwene:
All forto cover that cursyd syn
that thei had done them two betwen,
For the grett state God sett hym in
mad hym kyng with crown clene.
To greyve hym thus he con begyne,
and that was on hymselfe sene.
God toke not sone vengiance,
bot fyrst he wyll assay
Yf he with repentance
wyll mend whyls he may.
revealed on himself
[GOD SENDS NATHAN TO TEST AND REBUKE DAVID (12:1–15)]
The prophett Natan sone he sent
to Jerusalem, that ryche cyté.
Als God wold, wyghly he wentt
both to Kyng David and Barsabé.
“Ser kyng,” he says, “sen God hath lentt
that thou sall deme in ylke degré,
A thyng that falys to thi jugment
am I comyn forto aske of thee.
Als the partys hath prayd,
so sall I say thee sone.
And ser, when I have sayd,
os thou demys, sal be done.
“A myghty man and mekyll drede
wuned heyr besyd down in a dale.
His catell was so wyd spred
that of them cowth he not tale.
A pure man was besyd hym sted
that had no catell, grett ne small,
Owt takyn a schep that he had fed
upon a lamb with corne and cale.
This rych man mad a fest
at home in his awn hall
And sloght the pure mans best
to glad his gestes with all.
“This question that I of thee crave
how this rych man is worthy mede.”
The kyng sayd, “Ser, so God me save,
this thynke me ryght to rede:
I deme thus that the pure man have
fowr for on for his nede;
And the rych man that so wold rave
to suffer ded for that same dede.”
The prophett sayd, “Certan,
to be so best yt semyd.
This dome ys noyght in vayn;
thin awn ded hath thou demed,
“Bycawse thou gart kyll thi knyght —
so semly er full seldom sawyn —
And haldes his wyf agayns the ryght
because your syns suld not be knawn,
And hath enow both day and nyght
lades and lemmans of thin awn.
A sodan deth suld on thee lyght,
bot God has bedyn yt be withdrawn.
And thus therfor sall fall,
os I sall say on one,
On of thin awn suns sall
defowle thi wyfes ylk on.
“And that same sun sal be slyke,
thrugh helpe and myght of other mo,
To cache thee owt of thi kyngryke
and make thee fayn to fle therfro.
And that ylke chyld that now is like
to be broyght furth betwyx yow two
Dede with his strengh sall sone yt stryke
that gain therof thou sall forgo.
This harme hath God thee hyght
forto be sent unsoyght,
For thou dyssaved thi knyght
that to thee trespast noyght.
desired it to be, promptly
parties have asked
as you judge, so shall it
lived near here
gladden his guests
four to one
your own death
such seemly [men] are very seldom seen
lovers of your own
ought on you alight
desired that it be
One of your own sons
glad to flee
Death; soon; (t-note)
[DAVID COMPOSES THE MISERERE (VULGATE PSALM 50:1)]
“And other baylys abyd thee bus
bot thou to God fast cry and call.”
When the kyng herd yt bus be thus,
down on the grownd flatt con he fall
And made Miserere mei Deus
with other psalmys, sum grett, sum small,
Qwylke ar now evydence to us
at say to God that goverans all
Forgyfnes forto geyte,
yf we in care be cast,
Als David dyd pennance grett
and prayd to God full fast.
punishments must await you
heard that it must
“Have mercy on me, O God”; (see note)
who say [them]
In order to get forgiveness
[DAVID’S SORROW FOR HIS CHILD (12:16–23)]
Sone aftur then by cowrse of kynd,
when Barsabé delyvered was,
A fayrer fode myght no man fynd
of hyd ne hew then scho now has.
Kyng David was then mery in mynd,
bot aftur sone he sayd alas,
When that he saw the chyld was pynd
with payns of dede and myght not pase.
Bot in his hert he toyght
that he to God wold pray
And mowrn all that he moght
to mend yt, yf he may.
He dyde away his garmentes gud,
and in a seke he sett hym down.
He weped als he wold be wod
and kest powder apon his crown.
Be sex days wold he fang no fode
for spech of bacheler ne barown.
Ther myght no myrth amend his mode
to tyme the barne to bere was bown.
On the sevynt day, als swyth
as the chyld lyf was ende,
He bad all men be blyth
sen mowrnyng made no mende.
more beautiful child
skin nor complexion
mortal pains; live
he could manage
as if he would go mad
For; take no food
until; child to bier was taken
as swiftly; (t-note)
[BIRTH OF SOLOMON (12:24–25)]
Of David sonnes before sayd we.
The first of all that hight Amon,
A semely man in sight to se,
and the secund hight Absalon.
Now gate he anothre of Barsabee,
and he was named Salamon:
As wyse a man in his degree
as ever God layd life upon.
As Absalon was fair,
so was Salamon wyse
And after his fadir hair
and kyng pereles of price.
those was called Amnon
unequaled in worth
[JOAB DEFEATS RABBAH FOR DAVID (12:26–31)]
In all this tyme Duke Joab lay
the cyté of Rabaat forto wyn.
For fawt of fode thei fell down fay,
Phylysteyns that ware within.
When Duke Joab saw certayn day
that thei thare fro suld nedly twyn,
Hee sent to Kyng David forto say
that himself suld com and begyn.
Heyrof well payd was he,
and ydder he wendes on one.
Thei wan sun that cyté
and gatt ther welth grett wone.
Anon, the kyng of Amonys,
was thore owtrad and al to shent.
His crown that was of grett price
Kyng David has on his hed hent.
The lordschepes that abowt hym lyse
and burghes brode be lyve ware brent.
And when all was wrogh on this wyse,
to Jerusalem with joy thei wentt.
The kyng made all men glade
with grett gyftes or thei gang.
Grett joy in hert he had,
bot yt last not lang.
lack of food; dead; (see note)
necessarily leave [the city]; (t-note)
in great amounts
Ammon; (see note)
towns; quickly were burnt
before they departed
[TAMAR RAPED BY AMNON (13:1–19)]
He had a doyghtur his hert was on,
heygh Thamar, os I told beforne.
Scho was systur to Absolon;
thei both ware of a moyder born.
Hyr eldest brother, that heygh Amon,
he mad mornyng myday and morn.
And fowle he began to fon
to have hyr lufe, or els to be lorn.
Hyre on so con he thynke,
and for he durst not say,
He myght not ette ne drynke
bot peryst and wast away.
A servant that was to hym nere
and most of all his counsels knew,
He saw his maystur make yll chere
and oft sythys chaunged his hyd and hew.
He sayd, “Ser, tell unto me heyre
what thyng thee noys now of new.
Full gud legians I sall thee lere,
or ellys trest never that I be trew.”
He sayd, “Thus evyll I fare,
and bot I sped, I spyll,
My systur, fayr Thamar,
bot I hyr weld at wyll.”
“A ser,” he sayd, “Take myrth omell
and for this ded be not adred.
Feyn yow seke ose so befell,
and say thou may not pase thi bed.
The kyng, thi fader, when he heyrys tell,
wyll come to se how thou ert sted.
Pray hym Thomar may with thee dwell,
for of hyr lyst thee best be fed.
Full sone he wyll thee graunt
or thou thi myrthes myst.
And so thou sall hyr hawnt
and luf evyn os thou lyst.”
Thys purpase was well to his pay,
and sone all this was was done in ded.
So Thamar was comyn on a day
hyr brother frendly forto fede.
Then wysed he all his men away
and bad them spere all as thei yede.
And to his systur con he say:
“My ded ys dyght withoutyn dred.
No bettur boyt may be,
bot thou this grace wyll gyfe:
To werke my wyll with thee,
I may no langer lyfe.
“We ar heyr in our howse at hame,
and non sall wytt this, I warrand.”
When Thamar hard, hyr hert was tame,
and for ferd tremled fotte and hand.
Scho sayd, “Brother, lett be for schame
and for wreth of God all-weldand.
Well leuer me ware of lyfe be lame
and lordschep lose and lefe this land.
No more this mote thou nevyn,
that sory and synfull ys,
Bot heyve thi hert to Hevyn
and aske God forgyfnes.
“And have in mynd, dere brother Amone,
how men wold marvell, both more and myn,
To here thou suld so fowly fon:
thi systur forto seke with syn.
Grett vengians wold be tan theron
both with the kyng and our kyn.
For wyst my brother Absolon,
full mekyll wo yt wold begyn.”
Amon wyst all was sperd;
hyr sawys he sett not by.
Fowle with hyr he ferd
and forst hyr felously.
The maydyn was full maysed and mate,
bot of hyr bale no butt may be.
Son os a hownd he con hyr hatte
and sayd he wold not on hyr see.
That scho suld go wyghtly hyr gate
owt of his hows then commawnd he.
Scho prayd of leve tyll yt ware latte
that scho myght pase in preveté.
For spech he wold not spare,
no lenger suffer hyr lend.
Evyll hurled hed and hare;
sore wepand con scho wend.
named Tamar; (t-note)
love; lost; (t-note)
because he dared; (t-note)
perished and wasted; (t-note)
unless I succeed, I die
Pretend you are sick
hears tell [of this]
are in an ill plight
from her you desire most to be
ordered; (see note)
lock everything as they went
death is near without doubt
know of this, I promise
heard; faint; (see note)
fear [she] trembled
I would rather in life
may you mention
Sinfully; dealt [with her]
forced her wickedly; (t-note)
dazed and dejected
As soon as a dog; hate
(i.e., quickly leave)
her to remain
[ABSALOM AVENGES TAMAR (13:20–36)]
So went scho furth with mekyll wo
tyll Absolon, hyr brother, hall.
And when he saw hyr gretand go,
he had ferly what suld befall.
“Systur,” he sayd, “how ys it so?
Who hath thee greved, grett or small?” —
“My brother Amon and no mo.”
Then how betyde scho told hym all.
No mervell was to mene
yf he in mynd ware mevyd.
Bot sembland non was sene
in hert how he was greved.
Thamar thus tuke he hym tyll
and made hyr myrth with all his mayn.
He leytte Amon have all his wyll
os he had noyght wyst of the trayn.
So all this stryfe was haldyn styll
unto two yeres was past playn.
And then als end comys of all yll,
befell in the seson certayn
That men suld clype ther schepe,
and whore ther catell lendes
Suld ylk man take kepe
ther for to fest ther frendes.
Fell Absolon for this same thyng
ordand a grett mangery.
He bad therto his fader the kyng,
bot he excused hym skylfully.
He bad hym take both old and yyng
of his breyther to be hym by,
And frendes, als fallys for swylke doyng.
And als he demed, he dyd in hy.
He bad his brother Amon
to se how frendes suld fare.
The ded ay thynkes he on
that was done to Thamar.
The fest was ordand fayr and fyne
and purvayd in ylk poynt perfyt.
Sone Absolon sayd unto his hyne
how Amon had done hym dyspytt,
“When ye se hym well dronkyn of wyne,
his hed then smertly ye of smytt.
For he mysded to me and myne,
now sall I fand yt forto qwytt.”
Thei dyd als he commawnd,
and sone was Amon slayn.
So for fowle luf in land
ar men oft put to payn.
His brether, when thei saw this syght,
and all his frendes ware fowle afrayd.
To Jerusalem thei went full wyght
and told how Amon was betrayd.
Kyng David, qwen this dole was dyght,
“Alas, both ware my suns,” he sayd,
“Bot Absolon by reson ryght
sall dere aby this byttur brayd.”
He mornyd and mad grett mone
for both thoo brether sake.
So dyd his frendes ylkon
and wered weked wrake.
into Absalom[’s], her brother[’s]
what had happened
It is no surprise
moved [to action]
outward sign; seen
as if; no knowledge; betrayal
kept quiet; (see note)
until two years
clip their sheep
feast their friends
arranged; banquet; (t-note)
He (i.e., David)
you must swiftly cut off; (t-note)
Thus for foul love
dearly atone for; evil
prepared wicked vengeance; (t-note)
[ABSALOM FLEES TO GESHUR; JOAB BRINGS HIM BACK (13:37–14:24)]
Then Absolon was fayn to fle
and sojornnd for certan tyde
In Jessor with the kyng of Cirre,
his syb man on his moyder syde.
And thore he bod by yeres thre
his fader frenschep to abyd.
Then Joab toyght asay wold he
to make acord, all harmys to hyd.
He soyght a sotell gyn
and ordand of this thyng:
A woman suld begyn
forto carpe with the kyng.
He gart a lady go and grette
and ryve hyr hare full rewfully.
Scho fell before the kynges fette,
and “Mercy, lord!” lowd con scho cry.
He sayd, “My help heyr I thee hette;
tell unto me thi harmys in hy.”
“A mercy, lord, my bale thou bete,
for dred of thi law lorn am I.
I had two suns certayn;
both ware full fayr of face.
On hath that other slayn
as thei playd in a place.
“My sun that dyd yt con hym withdraw
to wyldernese, full wyll of wone,
For men says that he sall by law
be turment, and he may be tone,
And suffer ded; this is thar saw
that makes me morne and make this mone.
That ware to me a weked thraw,
ther I had two, forto have none.
Therfor this grace me gyfe
sen thou all sydes may save.
Say that my sun sall lyfe,
I kepe noyght els to crave.”
The kyng in hert then had pety.
He comforth hyr that men myght here.
“Dame, thi sun sall lyf,” says he.
“Therfor of mornyng mend thi chere.”
Then yt was solace to see.
Scho sayd, “Ser kyng, with crown clere,
Sen thou hath grawnt mercy to me,
graunt thi sun on the same manere.
Sen myn sall mercy have
and grace on ground to gang,
Thin awn sun bot thou save,
men wyll deme thou dose wrang.”
Kyng David to this tale toke hede.
he wyst well what this woman ment,
And that yt was Duke Joab dede,
and therfor aftur hym sone he sent.
He bad that he suld go gud sped
and tell to Absolon his entent
Forto com home and have no dred.
The messeg wyghtly is he went.
Then ware thei frendes fast,
the kyng and Absolon.
So was tho plenyng past
for the ded of Amon.
Geshur; Syria; (see note)
kinsman; (see note)
thought he would try
tear her hair
here; assure; (t-note)
completely without hope; (t-note)
be tortured; taken
walk (i.e., to live)
own son unless
deem you do wrong; (t-note)
[ON ABSALOM’S BEAUTY (14:25–33)]
Of Absolon is ferly fare
to fynd how fayr he was to syght,
And of his makyng mekyll mare;
he past all other men in myght.
Of twenty libri wegh was his hare
that he had on his hed on heyght.
And als clerkes con yt declare,
like to gold wyre so was it bryght.
To no maystrys he meved
whyls men dyd his desyre,
Bot and he ware oght greved,
then was he fell os fyre.
pounds weight; (see note)
he stirred up no violence
But if; in any way grieved; (see note)
fierce as fire; (t-note)
[ABSALOM’S CONSPIRACY (15:1–9)]
He hath geydderd of gold and fee
for hym and mony other moo,
And therof gafe he grett plenté
and mad them frendes that ware his foo,
That soverance of that same cyté
and other cetys sere also.
And the most of the kynges meneye
ware wylly with hym forto go.
So be faur yeres ware past,
he had so wysly wroght:
All folke ware with hym fast
and to his socour soght.
So when he wyst both old and yyng
wold holly at his ledyng lende,
He asked leve at his lord the kyng
unto Ebron forto wende
His sacrafyce thor forto bryng,
als he had heyght with hert and hende.
The kyng sayd, “Sun, in my blessyng.”
Bot of his cast nothyng he kend.
Of charys and chyvalry
grett plenté war purvayde,
And furth he wendes in hy
tyll Ebron, als he sayd.
Thus by [the time that]; (see note)
Hebron to journey
Son, [go] with; (t-note)
treacherous plan he knew nothing; (t-note)
chariots and horses
goes in haste
[ABSALOM’S REVOLT AND DAVID’S FLIGHT (15:10–16:14)]
Cytes and towns, when thei herd tell
that Absolon so was assent,
At home them lyst no langer dwell,
bot with hym holy ar thei went.
And mervell had thei them omell
what thyng he had in his entent.
Bot his cheve counsell, Archyttofell,
ther wyst no mo men what he ment.
When he come in Ebron,
whor hym lyked best to be,
He gart tho men ylkon
to hymself make sewrté.
Thei ware full bown to his bedyng,
both knyght, swyer, knave, and page.
Thei honerd hym over all thyng
and sett hym up in certan stage.
Then all the cuntré, old and yyng,
com to hym and made homage
And heyght to hald hym for ther kyng
and werke his wyll withoutyn wage.
When all ware same assent
and mad sewrty certayn,
Then told he his entent
and all his purpase playn.
“Sers,” he sayd, “Sene ye deme
me to be kyng and were the crown,
Your land and yow well sall I yeme
and maynten yow in all reson.
My fader ys fayrest forto fleme,
or yf he byde, to bryng hym down.”
Thei say, “Ser, sertes so wyll yt seme;
to make this bargan ar we bown.”
This was a curssed cummand
his fader forto spyll.
And yett feyll foyles he fand
that falshed to fulfyll.
Then Kyng David herd tythyng tell
that his awn sun with sytt hym soght,
And how that fals Archytofell,
his counsellar, was with hym broyght.
He ordand sone his men omell
to remeve in all that thei moght.
He sayd, “We be ded and we dwell;
I knaw so wele ther wekyd toyght.
And yf thei here us toke
or seged this ceté,
Then war over latte to loke
to qwylke syd we suld flee.”
He bad the byschop Abyathar
and his wyfes with drere mode
And other clerkes that with them ware
in ther sere state als thei stude
To dwell ther styll for any care,
to kepe the Arke of God full gud,
And send hym word ay how thei fare
unto the flome or beyond the flode.
Ten wyfes with other frendes
thor leves he sojorand so.
And furth then with hym wendes
sex hunderth and no moo.
Als he went apon a heght hyll,
he saw the cyté and burghis by,
Qwylke he was wunt at weld at wyll
and was dyssavyd fro sodanly.
Then loved he God with stevyn full styll
and sayd, “This wo am I worthy.”
So come a man mornand hym tyll,
that cosyn was and heyght Cusy.
Kyng David sayd, “I trest
to thee that thou be trew.
Full fayn I wold thou frayst
yf that thou may remewe
“Archytofell, that fals is ay,
oute of the counsell of my sun.
He is abowt both nyght and day
to werke that we in bale ware bun.”
Then Cusy says, “I sall asay,
for all this falshed hath he fun.”
And with this word he went his way
to the ceté ward, as he was wun.
This mater sal be ment
more furth, als yt befell;
Bot how Kyng David went
is fyrst now forto tell.
Sone on the morn with David mett
fro the same cyté on Cyba,
Was stewerd to Mifbosett,
that was the sun of Jonatha.
Both bred and wyn furth has he fett,
a presand to that pepyll and ma.
David asked sone, when thei ware sett,
“How farys our frend that thou com fra?”
He says, “Ser, sen thou went,
he is abowt to bryng
Sere folke to his assent
and says he wyll be kyng.”
Kyng David says, “Sertes, that ware schame;
thou wott well he may do no dede.
For he is lytyll, and he is lame
and nothyng lyke a land to lede.
Me thynke that boy is forto blame;
therfor sone sall I spyll his spede.
Syba, thou sall have that same
that I gaf hym when he had nede.”
Then Syba went agayn;
in hert he was full glade
And toke all power playn
that Myfbosett hade.
Kyng David cowd no comforth ken
bot cayred furth with his cumpany.
A grett mysdoer mett hym then,
Kyng Saul cosyn Semey.
He werred David and all his men
and spytt on hym dyspytfully
And stones kest and fowles fene
and oft sythys sayd apon hym “Fy!”
Knyghtes com fast hym to kyll,
bot David bad them blyn.
“I wott yt is Goddes wyll;
I suffer yt for my syn.
“What mervel ys yt of this dede
a hethyn hownd me forto hatte,
Sen myn awn sun wyll have no dred
me forto brew all this debate?”
Bot aftur sone, os men may rede,
this grome that greved hym in the gate
Be David dome he had his mede
and lost his lyf, yf yt ware late.
In this tym Absolon,
as kyng with playn power,
Was comyn owt of Ebron
to Jerusalem ryght nere.
determined [to go]
curiosity they had all together
Except for his chief; Ahithophel
prepared to [do]
squire; (see note); (t-note)
Since you deem
many fools he found; (t-note)
son with trouble
if we remain
Then would it be too late to look
there he leaves
accustomed to control
[Of] these woes
close friend; Hushai
glad I would [be if] you try
who is ever false
towards the city
one [man named] Ziba
soon; end his success
chicken shit; (t-note)
soon after; read; (see note)
By David’s judgment; reward
[HUSHAI DEFEATS AHITHOPHEL’S COUNSEL (16:15–17:23)]
When thei ware in that cyté sett,
Archytofell, that curssed knyght,
He sayd, “Ser, and thou do thi dett,
to David sall thou doles dyght;
Gar all his wyfes furth fast be fette
hym to reprove by reson ryght,
And lyg by them — for no thyng lett —
playnly in the pepyll syght.
And therby sall thei wytt
and be exempyll se
That luf sall never be knytt
betwyx thi fader and thee.
Yf any gabbers wold hym glose
to say that he suld come agayn,
By this syght sall thei well suppose
that he sall never have myrth ne mayn.
So sall he all his lordschep lose
and forto flee farre be full fayn.
Then of the chefe sall thou have chose
that now ar to his bedyng bayn.”
Full wo the wemen wore
when he so wekydly wroght.
That Natan told before
bud unto end be broght.
Cusy com, Kyng David frend,
to Absolon, os I sayd ayre.
He haylsed hym with wordes hend
and loved God fast for his welefare.
Absolon asked what he mende
and sayd, “Swylke spekyng suld thou spare.
With David was thou wunt to wende,
chefe of his counsell to declare.”
He sayd, “Ser, so I was
whyls he stud in degré;
Now lyst me lett hym pase
and lede my lyf with thee.
“I wott well yt is Godes wyll
that thou be kyng with crown clere,
And at all pepyll come thee untyll
to serve thee in servyce sere.
That forward wyll I fayn fulfyll
with hert and hand, I hett thee here.”
Absolon trowed of non yll
and toke hym of his counsell nere.
Cusy in cowrt sall dwell;
ys non so grett to geysse
All for Archytofell
to make his lordschep lesse.
That wekyd man then went full wyght
to Absolon and says his toyght:
“Ser, thou sall have no rest ne ryght
tyll David unto ded be broyght.
Take me ten thowsand men of myght;
we sall not sesse or he be soyght.
We sall be nere this ylk nyght,
and bot I take hym, trow me noyght.”
Absolon says, “Sawyns fayle,
a fayr profer thou mase.”
Bot fyrst he asked counsell
of Cusy in this case.
Cusy hath mynd both morn and noyne
to helpe David in his nede.
And wele he wyst, yf this ware done,
he suld be dede withoutyn drede.
To Absolon thus says he sone,
“Ser, this spekyng may not spede;
Ten thowsand folke wold be full fone
into a fere land forto lede.
Thi fader is wunt to fyght,
and his folke er full fell.
Ordand thou have more myght
or thou of swylke maters mell.
“Send aftur all thi knyghtes kene
and aftur keyn men of thi kyn,
And wend thiself thore to be sene.
Lett non other that wrschep wyn.”
Archytofell herd how that thei mene
that Cusy consell was cald in.
In hert he had so mekyll teyne
that langer he wold not byd ne blyn.
Bot herd he con hym hy
untyll his howse at hame.
In anger and in envy
he hanged hymself with schame.
On this wyse was the lordan lorn;
we hope he hasted sone to Hell.
And Cusy wentt sone on the morn
to the Tempyll tythynges forto tell.
Abyathar he fand hym beforn
with mony mo mowrnand omell.
He told all how he had hym born,
that hanged was Archytofell.
And he was of consell
to byde at bed and borde.
This tale fro tope to tale
he told them ylka word.
“Werkes now,” he sayd, “by your wysdom
that Kyng David may here in hy
How I have ordand all and sum
— I wott he wyl be fayn forthi —
And byde hym flee beyond the flum
for beldyng of his awn body.
For Absolon his sun sall come
agayns hym with grett cumpany.”
Letturs be lyve thei sent;
this sand was for ther sele.
Wyse men so warly went;
Kyng David wot ylk dele.
lie by them; delay
gossipmongers; flatter; (t-note)
far be very glad
I desire to
that; unto; (t-note)
unless; trust me not
Without doubt; (t-note)
too few; (t-note)
terrible [in might]
See to it that you; (t-note)
before; speak; (t-note)
wait or remain
hard he did hasten himself
beginning to end; (t-note)
hear at once
message; good fortune
knows each part
[DAVID’S ARMY DEFEATS ABSALOM (17:24–18:18)]
When David had the letturs rede,
well comforth in his hert was he.
Furth over the flum his folke he led
to Manahym, a grett cyté.
The folke that in that sted ware sted
welcumd hym with mekyll glee.
And all ther beld to hym thei bed
to byd whore so hymself wold be.
That cyté was walled so wele,
ther myght no man yt myne.
Ne thei dowt no dele
for gune ne grett ingyne.
Kyng David thore with blyse con byde
and had at wyll what so he wald.
Faur barons wuned ther besyde
that send hym vytell all unsald.
Ther helpe fro hym thei wold not hyde,
bot hertly hetes with hym to hold,
So that he had to tell that tyde
faur thowsand, that ware knytes cald.
In this tyme Absolon
had geydderd grett plenté
Of knyghtes that cough theron
his fader bayn to be.
Thei rested nawder day ne nyght
to thei the flum ware passed playn.
When thei had of that cyté a syght,
whore David wuned, then ware thei fayn.
Bot he wyst wele thei had no myght
to towch hym, bot yf it wer with trayn.
Therfor his men arays he ryght
them forto mare with all his mayn.
A parte to hymself toke he
and unto Joab another,
And the thryd he bad suld be
to Abysay, Joab brother.
Full fayn he wold with them have went,
bot sone thei sayd hym this myschefe:
“Yf thou ware in ther handes hent,
then had thei gam us all to greve.
And, ser, yf sum of us be shent,
the remland then may thou releve.
Therfor yt is not our assent
that thou owt of this cyté meve.”
He thanked them oft sith
that shewed ther luf so large.
Bot he sayd, “Lordynges lith,
of a thyng I yow charge.
“Yf grace fall, when ye have begun,
that ye the vyctory may geyte,
Loke ye save Absolon, my sun,
that he be nawder bun ne bette.”
Thei say, “And he in feld be fun,
we sall full dewly do our dette.
He sal be in no bandes bun.”
I hope thei held all that thei hette!
Joab with cumpany
os principall furth past.
His brother Abysay
folod on full fast.
Absolon on that other syd
come with his folke, fell os the fend.
And with them was arayd to ryde
Cusy, that was Kynges David frend.
Then was no bote to byd abyde,
bot ylkon shope other to shend.
Of all ther tolyng in that tyd
ware lang to tell bot loke the ende.
When David men had slayn
twenty milia and moo,
The remland ware full fayn
with lyfes ther way to go.
Absolon, when he saw that syght:
how that his folke ware fayn to flee,
Into a wod he rydes ryght;
thor trowd he best beldyd to be.
The wynd heyved up his hare on hyght
so that yt cached into a tre.
His sted went furth his way full wyght,
and by the hare so hang he.
Folke fowled hym to fere
and fand hym in the fryd.
Bot non durst do hym no dere
for dred of Kyng David.
When Joab herd tell this tythyng
how Absolon hang by the hare,
He bede a boy fyfty schylyng
to sla hym, or he farre fare.
Bot no man durst do swylke a thyng
for David dred, als I sayd ayre.
Then Joab toyght yt hard hethyng
and thrugh the body ther hym bare.
Thus had this man myschaunce
and for non other thyng
Bot for myse-governance
and unlefull lyfyng.
Sone Joab herkynd and beheld
all his enmys away wore gone.
To geydder his men agayn to beld
bugyls gart he blaw gud wone.
Unto his hand all con thei held.
That body down then have thei toyn
And beyred yt fayre in the feld
and mad a hyll of mony a ston.
Thus ended Absolon
so dyd Archytofell,
And hedyd was Amon
for Thamar, so we tell.
place were in difficulty
[and] welcomed; much
their protection; gave
Nor need they fear a bit; (see note)
ballista; siege engine
bliss did await
dwelled; (see note); (t-note)
victuals for free
knights; (see note)
would cause; (t-note)
often times; (t-note)
love so freely
Gentle lords; (t-note)
If by grace it happens, once
neither bound nor beaten
If he on the field is taken
hold [to]; promise; (see note); (t-note)
fierce as the devil
King David’s friend
planned the other to destroy
their fighting; time
[to] the end [of the battle]
remnant; glad; (t-note)
to leave with their lives
believed; protected; (t-note)
hair aloft; (see note)
quickly; (see note)
followed; defeat; (t-note)
found; forest; (t-note)
gave; shillings; (see note); (t-note)
thought it very scornful
trumpets he caused; in abundance
beheaded; (see note)
[DAVID MOURNS ABSALOM (18:19–19:10)]
When this batell was done ylk dele,
Joab sent sone a messynger:
Cusy, that lufed Kyng David well,
was full mery to mend his chere.
He told hym all fro hed to hele
how that thies folke ware hale in fere.
The kyng sayd, “Say me for my sele,
ys my sun hole? That wold I here.”
He sayd, “Ser, I wald byd
thine enmys be tyd ylkon,
Als thi sun is be tyd.”
Then wyst he that he was sloyn.
He syghyd sore and sayd, “Alas!
In werld is none so wyll of rede.
The wurthest wyght that ever was
this day with dole is done to ded.
Wold God that I with payn myght pase
and to be styked thor in his stede.
Whoso my sun dyssayved hath
sall dere aby that doylefull dede.”
He drowped day and nyght
with sorow sore and sad.
No myrth amend hym myght;
so wex he mased and made.
Duke Joab and Abysay,
when God to them this grace had sent,
Went home with ryall cumpany,
and wele thei trawed in ther entent
Forto be welcumd worthyly
sen thei for the kynges wrschep went.
Bot ever he drowped and was drery,
and for thei wyst not what he ment,
Thei ware full evyll apayd;
and becawse of this tythyng
Ylk on tyll other sayd,
“He sall not be our kyng.”
When Joab wyst, he was full wo;
be lyfe wentt whore the kyng lendes.
“Ser kyng,” he says, “why dose thou so?
Thiself full shamely thou shendes.
Had thou lever the lyf of thi foo
then the frenschep of all thi frendes?
Bot yf thou gladly to them go,
all this folk fast fro thee wendes.
Lett thi kyndnese be kyd
and make mery chere.”
Att his cownsell he dyde;
so ware all fayn in fere.
beginning to end; (t-note)
strong together; (t-note)
there in his place
atone for; (t-note)
dazed and mad
since; king’s honor had gone
very much disconcerted
quickly he went
dishonor (injure); (t-note)
Would you prefer
[DAVID RETURNS TO JERUSALEM IN VICTORY (19:11–43)]
The gud byschop Abythiar
and Sadoch, that wytty prest be name,
Thei ordand clerkes that with them ware
the Arke of God to kepe fro blame
And also wysmen, non wold them mare,
to kepe ther kyng when he comys hame.
The kynred of Juda furth con fare;
thei war the fyrst soght to that same.
For thei fyrst made hym kyng
at home in ther cuntré,
Thei went fyrst furth to bryng
hym to his awn cité.
Unto the flom have thei soyght,
thousandes mo then neyn or ten.
A bryg full wysly have thei wroyt
for Kyng David and all his men.
Furth over the flode thei have hym broyght,
and for ther kyng all thei hym kene.
Thei that before faverd hym noyght
ware all full fayn to folow hym then.
The kynred of Juda
ware next in cumpany.
Therfor full mony ma
ware greved with grett envy.
Dukes, erlys, and knythys kene,
that went with Absolon, his sun,
When that thei wyst withoutyn wene
Kyng David suld in welthis wun,
Unto hym then thei come clene
and bed in bandes to be bun
And mendes make, als he wold meyne,
for grevans that thei had begun.
He forgaf all ther gylt,
when that thei mercy craved.
He wold that non ware spylt
that wold themself be sayved.
So als thei ryde rychly arayd,
sodanly that man thei mett,
Semey, that had hym myssayd
and stoned with stonys in the strette.
He knelyd on knese and mercy prayd,
and his frendes fell before ther fette.
Joab wold full fayn have hym aflayd,
bot the kyng sayd, “Hele I hym hete.
Sen God forgyfes us tyll
and rychly us releves,
So sall we with gud wyll
forgyf them that us greves.”
Furth in ther pase, als thei con passe,
sone Mifbosett hath thei mett.
He was the sun of Jonatas,
that David lufed deuly be dett.
In febyll wede arayd he was,
and all his face with hare umsett.
The kyng sone hym resond has
yf any lede his lykyng lett:
“Thou hath catell and corne
unto thi bedyng broyght.”
He sayd, “Lord, all ys lorn
and me ys leved ryght noyght.
“Lord, my stewerd, ser Cyba,
thou toke to me, as man most wyse;
My lordschep hath he tane me fra,
ay redy agayns me to ryse.”
The kyng sayd, “Sen I see yt sa
that he hath wun lordschep with lyyse,
Yt sal be parted betwyx yow two
to tyme that we may us avyse.”
On knese then con he fall
and sayd, “So wyll not he.
Gud lord, lett hym have all,
I wyll wende with thee.”
So went thei furth withoutyn more,
all that ware to his bydyng bown,
To Jerusalem, and when thei come thore,
thei raysed hym up with grett renown.
In his astate con thei hym restore
to reyn os ryall kyng with crown.
Folke of Juda ware ever before
to forther hym in feld and town.
His wo was waryschyd then
and end mad of all,
As the prophett Natan
sayd that yt suld befall.
Unto the Tempyll then con he fare;
grett sacrafyce thei have begun.
Prestes and clerkes, that then ware thore,
thei ware full fayn that he was fun.
His ten wyfes, that I told of ayre,
ordand he wrschypfully to wun.
Bot with them wold he mell no mare
bycause of Absolon his sun.
Thus was he gettyn agayn
and sesyd in his kyngdom.
His frendes ware ferly fayn,
bot enmys had he sum.
bridge; (see note)
asked in feudal obligation; bound
Life I promise him
loved truly dutifully
was covered (i.e., his beard was untrimmed)
soon asked him; (t-note)
man hindered his happiness
to me is left nothing
ever ready against
[SHEBA’S REVOLT AGAINST DAVID (20:1–26)]
Syr Cyba, that I of ayre sayd,
was lord of Myfbosett land.
Full ryally he hym arayd
and full grett felnes furth he fand.
A grett geydderyng sone hath he grayd
of Ebrews, that he had at hand.
And felous poyntes hath he purvayd
that David in strengh suld not stand.
“Was he not Gesse sun
and of Bedlem bredyng?
Whore has his fader fun
that he suld be kyng?
“Sat he not als a sympyll page
on feld to fede his fader fee?
And aftur when he come of age
cayred abowt in sere cuntree?
And sythyn in were for his wage
wrogh mekyll woo, this wele wott we,
Yf yt suld go by herytage,
then am I neghbour nere then hee.
Therfor I wold we wentt
his forsce sone forto shend.”
Thei sayd all, “We assent
evyn as thou wyll to wende.”
Kyng David herd tell tythyng then
how Cyba soght to do hym dere,
And all on what wyse he began
to gedder folke hym forto fere.
He cald his cosyn Amasan,
a duke that was full wyse of were.
“Wende furth,” he sayd, “full wele thou can,
to the folke that our frendes ere,
The kynred of Juda,
that ever wyll us releve,
And say them how Cyba
ys ordand us to greve.
“Bot loke thou be by thre days end
with all thi men at me agayn
That thou then with my men may wende
to mare that traytur of his trayn.”
Amasan wold no lenger lend;
he soyght on ylk syd certayn
Folke that he wyst was David frend;
to fech them furth he was full fayn.
In all that ever he moght
that space he sped and spend,
Bot agayn com he noght
when thre days was ende.
The kyng toygh he dweltt full lang
and dowt Cyba suld them schame.
He bad Joab, his stewerd strang,
take the knyghtes he had at hame
Agayn Cyba fast forto gang:
“Duke Amasan, he dose the same.
When ye ar mett your men amang,
gos both togeydder in Goddes name!”
Duke Joab sone was dyght
in all that he myght hy,
And furth he rydes full ryght
with full clene cumpany.
So in his way, as he was sett,
Duke Amasan sone can he see
With full fayr folke that he had fett
and samned owt of sere cuntré.
He toyght, “Bot I this lordschep lett
the kyng sall prays hym more then me.”
Therfor he menys, when thei ar mett,
with sum debate his bane to be.
Duke Amasan lyght down
to com his cosyn untyll.
Duke Joab mad hym bown
his falshed to fulfyll.
In a fayr medew con thei mete.
Joab fard all with faygyng fare.
His sword owt of his sheth he lete,
ryght os yt noyght his wytyng ware.
To Amasan spake he wordes swete,
and com als he suld kyse hym thare.
He toke the sword up at his fette,
and throgh the body so he hym bare.
Two dughty dukes of dede
so had he murtherd than,
And all for erthly mede:
Abnar and Amasan.
When folke fand this felous thyng,
thei weped and had full mekyll wo.
Duke Joab fenyd a fals lesyng
and bad thei suld not sorow so:
“He was traytur unto the kyng;
and I was sent hym forto sloo.
To beryall lett his men hym bryng,
and hast we fast to fell our foo.”
He gart a man of his
hyde the cors owt of the way,
So that men suld hym myse
and make no more daray.
So went thei furth to seke Cyba
and with ther forse to fell his pryd.
Thei soght in towns to and fra
and in cytys on ylka syde.
In a cyté, that heygh Abelay,
thore had he beld hym to abyd.
For yt was wardyd and wallyd swa,
thei dred no tene that myght betyde.
Joab and his meneye
to wyn yt ware in no dowt.
Thei seged that ceté
with bold men all abowt.
Thei sett a sawtt with gunys gud,
with bowes and with alablawsters blend.
The folk within sone faled fode
and had no forse them to dyffend.
A lady that was myld of mode
thore in that same cyté con lend.
Apon the walles yeply scho yode
and carped to Joab, that scho kend:
“Ser, thou suld with reson
the kynges folke fend fro noe,
And here thou makes thee bown
with strengh them to dystroye,
“Forto dere thies here thou dwelles
that suld maynteyn theym morne and none.”
Joab takes tent how scho hym tellys,
and to hyr thus says he sone:
“Madame, to mare yow no man mellys.
This is our wyll with wordes foyne:
Forto noy Cyba and non ellys.
Delyver hym us, then have we done.”
That lady wysly wroyght;
scho saw qwat suld befall.
Weyle lese perell, hyr toyght,
to lose oon then all.
A commyn consell cald scho tyte
and told them holy as scho ment,
And how Cyba was worthy to wyte
of all the harme thei had thore hent.
Smertly thei gart his hed of smytt,
and unto Joab thei yt sent.
Hee remeved then withowt respytt,
and to Jerusalem sone he went.
The kynred of Juda,
that were ay frendes of old,
Went whore thei com fro
and wrogh whatever thei wold.
Sheba, whom I spoke of before; (see note)
steward of Mephibosheth’s
then in war
we well know; (t-note)
power soon to destroy; (t-note)
desire to do
harm; for his treachery
assembled; various countries
discovered this wicked
[to] hide the corpse
lodged; to dwell
began an assault; ballistae
lacked food; (t-note)
moderate of cheer; (see note)
quickly she went
Far less peril, she thought
[FAMINE IN ISRAEL (21:1–14)]
Now is Kyng David broyght to rest
and rewlys his reme with ryalté.
He ordand all thyng at the best,
os gud consell bad yt suld be.
For hym and his court he kest
gud servytours semly to see
And for his land by est and west
gud governers in sere degree.
All folke ware fayn to plese
and heyld unto his hand.
Bot sone fell sodan dysese
over all in his land.
Brede and wyn both wex so dere
that sympyll men myght no socur gete.
The pure perysched fare and nere
both for defawt of drynke and mete.
The kyng of God oft con inquere
the cause of all that hungur grete.
Natan the prophett con apere
and sayd for forfaders forfett,
“The gud Duke Josue
heyght and ensured theron
That peyse suld holdyn be
with the folke of Gabaon.
“For he ensured them on swylke wyse,
all ware thei folke Phylisteyn.
He fended them from ther enmys,
evyn als thei Ebrews had beyne.
He sayd no man suld them surpryse
agayns the trews tan them betwen.
Kyng Saul savyd not that assyse;
therfor now comys the hungur keyne.
And, ser, it sall not sesse
bot rayke abowt be ryght
Tyll thei be sett in pese
and mendes therfor be dyght.”
Kyng David, when he herd of this,
sent fast for the folke of Gabaon
And sayd, “Sers, I wyll mend all myse
that ye wyll rekyn by reson.”
“Syr Josue heyght for hym and his
to send us pese in all seson,
And Kyng Saul, the sun of Cys,
with his batels he bare us down.
That was noyght lafull thyng;
therfor vengance we crave.”
Therto answers the kyng,
“What vengance wold ye have?”
Thei say, “Us nedes noyght of thi gud,
ne of thi catell kepe we none.
Bot that ar born of Saul blod,
delyver us them ylk on.”
When Kyng David this understud,
thei soyght and sone gate gud wone.
Tho folke, that were in wyll full wode,
sessyd noyght tyll thei were sloyn.
Ther cause then thei relessed
and hyed them home agayn.
And so the hungur sessyd,
and then the folke ware fayn.
sudden famine; (t-note)
grew so rare
Joshua; (see note)
peace should be held
as [if] they had been Hebrews
those [who] are
a good number; (see note)
[WARS AGAINST THE PHILISTINES AND DAVID’S HYMN OF PRAISE (21:15–22:51)]
Then in the Bybyll may men see
the kyng was oft in careys kest.
And sythyn when he had playn pawste
and all his perels war over past,
Diligam te, Domine,
this salme he sett and sayd yt fast.
That menes: “Lord, I sall luf thee
lelly whyls my lyf may last.”
With swylke prayers of price
he honerde God ever more
And with sere sacrafyce,
os costom was then thore.
later; full power
(see note), (t-note)
[DAVID’S CENSUS AND GOD’S PUNISHMENT (24:1–25)]
Bot afturward he dyd a dede
that was full grett for Goddes aw:
To nowmber, when he had no nede,
the folke of God agayns His law.
For Moyses told, yf he toke hede,
that no man suld the nowmber knaw
Of Goddes folke for dowt and drede
that God suld vengance schaw.
For that law lett he noyght
bot gart seke on ylka syd,
Joab the nowmber broyght
and told to hym that tyde.
He told hym of the kynred ten,
that so many were sett in that syght:
Aght hunderth milia feyghyng men
that ware in armys wyse and wyght.
Of the kynd of Juda myght he ken
fyfty milia rekynd ryght;
Of Levy ware non rekynd then,
for thei ware no folke forto fyght.
For orderd all ware thei
unto the Tempyll at tent
And for the pepyll at pray
that thei no harme suld hent.
When this was done, the kyng sone knew
that God was greved in this degree;
That rekynyng suld hym full sore rew,
and mercy oft sythys asked hee.
Bot Gad, that was Goddes prophett trew,
he sayd hym sone how yt suld bee,
For he had nowmberd so on new.
God bad he suld chese on of thre:
Enmys on sydes sere
sevyn yere to were allways,
Or have hungur thre yere,
or pestalence thre days.
Kyng David toyght here full herd chose,
for all thei grathed folke unto grave.
Full loth he was his land to lose,
and fro hungur hymself myght he save.
And ded, he wyst wele, wold not glose,
ne take reward to knyght ne knave.
And in God con he grace suppose;
therfor ded asked he forto have.
Sone on the morn was told
amang the kynredes twelfe:
The folke dyed so thyke fold
that non myght other delve.
Kyng David in his towre con stand,
and sone he saw a selcowth syght:
An angell in the ayre fleand,
that feld the folk withowtyn fyght.
He hasted hym with hert and hand
to save the cyté at all his myght.
Full low he kneled down on that land,
wheron he saw that angell lyght.
He prayd to God of Hevyn
to byd that vengance blyne,
And sayd, with sympyll stevyn,
“Lord, I dyd all this syne.
“The pepyll unto Thee trespast noyght
that suffers ded thus sodanly.
Bot I am he that wrang hath wroyght,
and all this wo I am worthy.
Let all the bale on me be broyght
and spare them that ar not gylty.”
Then God of Hevyn, os Hym gud toyght,
gaf them grace and graunt mercy.
He sent His prophett Gad
to say what he suld do,
And evyn os God hym bad,
he told Kyng David to.
He sayd, “Thi myse forto amend
God wyll that thou werke on this wyse:
In the feld, wher the angell dyscend,
thore sall thi ryghtwysnese upryse.
Thou sall do make thore with thi hend
an auter for prayers of price.”
In the same place, ose clerkes have kend,
made Abraham fyrst his sacrafyce.
And sythyn in that same stede,
as boke wytnese therby,
Was Jesus done to dede
and cald the Mownt of Calvery.
And in that same place fyrst was fun
a tempyll folke in forto pray,
For the qwylke Kyng David hath begun
in ylka poynt forto purvay
And sythyn Kyng Salamon, his sun,
raysed yt up in ryght aray
And was cald Tempyll of Salomon
and yett is so, os we here say.
Forther who likes to loke
how all that werke was wroyght,
Go to the Bybyll boke;
thor may thei see unsoght.
take a census; (t-note)
Because; hindered him not
ten tribes; (t-note)
50,000; (see note)
many; (see note)
years to war against
thought; hard; (t-note)
death, he knew well; comfort; (t-note)
death (i.e., pestilence)
[DAVID GROWS OLD AND FRAIL (3 KINGS [1 KINGS] 1:1–4)]
And for Kyng David had warnyng
by sere exempyls forto see
That Salamon his sun suld be kyng,
on mony wyse hym warned hee
To honer God over all thyng
and to his bydyng bowsom be,
And forto governd old and yyng
ylkon dewly in ther degree,
And sayd his lordes ylkon,
fro tyme that he ware dede,
To socour Salamon
at stand furth in his sted.
Kyng David wex then all unweld,
no wounder was withowtyn wene,
For he was gone in full grett eld
and bressed in batels ther he had bene.
Of kynd was his compleccion keled,
and cold come on hym wonder kene
That in bed myght he have no beld
for no kepyng with cloghes clene.
Physissiens com hym tell
be all the wytt thei wote
That a yong damsell
ware best to hald hym hote.
And sone unto that same entent
to hym was soyght a madyn swete.
On nyghtes he hyr in armis hent,
and unto hym scho held gud hette.
In that maner no myse thei ment,
for unto myrth was he not mete.
Bot lenger lyf was to hym lent
and fuller forse fro face to fete.
That byrd was not to blame,
for fawt myght no folke fynd.
Abysag was hyr name
and comyn of gentyll kynd.
everyone befitting their status
wisdom they knew
keep him hot
sin they intended (i.e., they did not have sex)
from [his] face to [his] feet
[ADONIJAH’S STRUGGLE TO BE HEIR (3 KINGS [1 KINGS] 1:5–53)]
He had a sun, heygh Adonay,
that fast begane a fowle debate.
To his brother he had envy
that he suld come to kynges astate.
He chese to hym grett chevalry,
qwylke he hoped wold his brother hate,
And sayd to them, “Next hayr am I,
for I am elder, all men wele wate.”
Of his assent then war
Duke Joab, that gentyll Jew,
And the byschop Abyathar
that David trest for trew.
Sadoc never to them assent,
ne Natan, ne Naomy and other ma,
Bot with Kyng David ay thei went;
so dyd the kynred of Juda.
Adonay to fulfyll his entent
made a grett fest not fare ther fra,
And all that of that mater ment
war fayn unto that fest to ga.
And thore assented thei
all holy to this thyng,
In all that ever thei may,
that Adonay suld be kyng.
When Natan herd ther werkes wyld,
he went belyve to Barsabé
And sayd, “Thi sun sal be begylyd
bot thou hym helpe by red of me.
Go tell the kyng with wordes myld
how Adonay ordance kyng to be
And how he heyght unto thi chyld
that non suld have the crown bot he.”
Scho went and asked this bowne
as woman full affrayd,
And he come aftur sone
unto the kyng and sayd.
He sayd, “Ser, is this with thi wyll
that Adonay be kyng on dese?
All yf thou wold that fare fulfyll,
thou wot that God another chese.”
The kyng lyked his lesson yll
and sayd, “Go sone, no lenger sesse.
Tak Salamon my sun yow tyll
with all my knyghtes hym to encrese.
Rydes throwgh this cyté
and says with solempne crye
That Salamon sal be
kyng of all the Jury!
“Anoynt hym to that same entent
at the well that is named Wyon.
Then Adonay and his convent
sall fynd how that thei fowly fon.”
When Natan herd how that he ment,
he mad no poyntyng ther apon,
Bot aftur Sadok sone he sent
forto anoynt kyng Salamon.
Barons and knyghtes kene
that of that cowrt ware kende
And burgeys all be dene
full sone war aftur send.
Thurghoute that cety solemply
thei went with cumpany full clene.
At ylke corner gart thei cry
that Salamon suld kyng be sene.
When tho that ete with Adonay
herd nakers, trompes, and clarions keyne,
Thei sent fast forto spyre and spy
what all that melody myght be meyne.
When Salamon was led
and sett in the kynges stede,
That feleschep fast fled
for dred forto be dede.
Duke Joab then that fest forsoke
and wyst wele that thei rudly rave.
Abyathar, byschope with boke,
was then set os a sympyll knave.
And Adonay the Tempyll toke
for sewrty so hymselfe to save.
He held hym be the auter noke,
for thor he hoped his hele to have.
Salamon then he knew
for his kyng and his lord
And send fast to persew
for frenschep and acorde.
He sayd he wold amendes make
for that wrang that he had wroght.
Then Salamon for Goddes sake
sayd no vengance suld be soyght;
Bot unto trews he con hym take
be this assent that he suld noyght
Wayte hym with more wrangwyse wrake,
ne do hym dere in ded ne toyght.
So Salamon was sett
in cowrse, os kyng suld be,
And all ware frendes mett,
both his brether and he.
know it well
Nathan; Benaiah; others more; (see note); (t-note)
feast not far there from; (t-note)
glad; go; (t-note)
quickly to Bathsheba
Gihon; (see note)
Solomon as king
those who ate; (t-note)
drums; trumpets; sound
health (i.e., life)
Ambush; unjust vengeance
harm in deed nor thought; (t-note)
[DAVID’S DEATH (3 KINGS [1 KINGS] 2:1–12)]
Kyng David then full clerly kend
how that he chaunged hew and hyd.
His messyngers full sone he send
to cetys sere on ylka syd.
The lordes that in his land can lend,
he bad thei suld not blyn ne byd
Bot hast to hym befor his end
to here hym tell what suld be tyd.
The messyngers ar gone
this forward to fulfyll.
And sone thei come ylkon
and thus he told them tyll.
“Sers,” he sayd, “the suthe ye see:
day of my ded begynys to draw.
I have yow governyd in degree
lely to lyf after your law,
And ye have bene gud men to me
and dewly done in dede and saw.
Now wyll I consell here that ye
luf ylkon other os ye aw.
Yf ye be fast in fere,
foyce sall ye fynd bot foyn.
And yf ye sonder sere,
sone sall ye be for done.
“With bandes of ded so am I bun
that both me fayles flesch and bone.
Ye sall have Salamon, my sun,
to govern yow when I am gone.
And as I have yow frendly fun,
so, sers, beseke I yow ylkon
That ye wyll with hym wend and wun
so that he wax not wyll of wone.
God hath ordand hym kyng,
therfor I pray yow all
To bow to his bedyng
and com unto his call.
“He sal be wyse in werld allways
dewly to deme of ever ylk dede,
And peyse sall be in all his days;
therfor to helpe hym, sers, take hede
The Tempyll of God ryght forto raise,
als I have layd the lenght and brede.
I have ordand what so men says
that of no thyng sall he have nede.
Of metall, tre, and stone
is purvayd grett plenté
And werke men full gud wone
to sett in sere degree.
“He sall fynd all ordand at onys
so that no more nedes to be boyght:
Gold enogh ryght for the noyns,
and sylver sall he have unsoght.
Besandes, pyrry, and prescius stonys
ar plenté to that bygyng broyght;
Swylke welth os sal be in that wonys
ayre in this werld was never wroyght.
Both wryghys and masons fyne
therto have tane ther merkes
And taylurs of engyne
and joners gentyll of werkes.”
When he had warned them on this wyse
and ordand all in gud degree,
To God thei mad gret sacrafyce
of bestes and gyftes full grett plenté.
And Salamon, that prince of price,
then sett thei in his fader see,
And mad to hym sewt and servyce
and homage, als yt aght to be.
Kyng Salamon mad that day
grett fest to folke in fere,
And then thei went ther way
and parted to placeys sere.
Then David in his bed con ly;
he had no forse to flytt ther fro.
He cald his sun to byde hym by
and sayd to hym betwyx them two,
“Sun, I sall wend heyn in hy
the gate that all our elders go,
Whor we sall have, both thei and I,
als we ar worthy, wele or wo.
The law that God hath lent
loke thou never yt forsake,
And trewly, sun, take tent
His hows fayr forto make.
“Sen God wold noyght gyf leve to me
at make His howse and have my med,
Bot sayd thou suld the maker be
and lely lyf His laws to lede,
And I have ordand in all degré
that specially the werke may spede,
Layt no defawt be fun in thee
forto make endyng of that dede.
And fand forto socour
thi men with all thi myght.
Then wyll thei thee honowr
and reverence in all ryght.”
Also, he sayd, “My sun, beware
for Joab that with fals envy
Slogh Amasan and Duke Abnar,
the gentylest of all Jury,
The fals byschope Abathyar,
that forsoke me for Adonay.
Take vengance, dere sun, when thou dare,
of them and als of Symei
That agayns me con com
and dyd me grett dyspyte
Before I past the flome.
Fand thou yt forto qwyte!
“And, sun, loke thou that thi fayth be fyne
to oon that I then fand my frend.
That was the baron Bersylyne.
When I in this land durst not lende,
He maynteyned then both me and myne
agayns my sun that wold me shend.
And, sun, yf that he be ded sythyn,
to the ayrs of hym loke thou be hend.
When I was fled and flemed
and all this myrth con myse,
No socur to me semed
bot only of hym and his.
“And hertly, sun, that thou thee hast
to helpe all that of helpe has nede,
So that thies wordes be not in wast
that I have spokyn here for thi sped.”
In bandes of ded then was he brast
that unto Hele he toke no hede.
So unto God he gaf the gast
furt at His lykyng forto lede.
For he of mercy ment
and end in trawth trewly,
We trow his sawle went
unto clene cumpany.
Then the lordes and lades dere
and all his meneye grett mornyng makes.
For he was prince withoutyn peyre
wher so he past in ylka place.
God was ay hend hym forto here,
for yf he spend of myse his space,
He syghyd ever with sympyll chere
tyll he had grauntyng of sum grace.
Whyls he in lyf can lend,
he ordan ylk thyng,
Begynnyng, myddes, and ende,
alon to Goddes lovyng.
A feller knyght was never before,
ne that fro yre so sone wold slake,
Ne never man gat so grett thressour
as he geydderd for Goddes sake.
Now of hym wyll we make no more;
on mold he was withoutyn make.
Of Salamon werkes how thei wore,
sum sall we tell who sotent wyll take.
And heyre our story twynes
with the Secund Boke of Kynges,
And the Thryd Boke heyre begynnys.
God graunt us gud endyngys!
deed and word
love; ought; (t-note)
the bonds of death; bound; (t-note)
I fail in both
live and dwell
grows not dismayed
strength to flee there from
bid him goodbye
weal or woe
to make; reward; (t-note)
loyally live; (t-note)
Let; be found
[the] bonds of death; bound
gave up the ghost; (t-note)
on earth; peer
whoever will take heed
here; ends; (t-note)