The Glorious Vanquished

The first verse is Robert Graves' angry Samson. The rest is a personal reflection on an encounter with three muggers on the Regent's towpath in West London. Of course in a real folk song they would have been idealised as footpads and cutpurses

Are they blind these lords of Gaza in their strong towers
Who declare Samson pillow smothered and stripped of his powers
O stolid Philistines stare now in amaze
At my foxes running in your cornfields with their tales ablaze
At swung jawbone and bees swarming in the stark lion’s hide
At these the gates of well-walled Gaza a-clank to my stride
At these the gates of well-walled Gaza

Are we blind these days or am I blinder still
That would bend their rule of iron to my weaker will
Now fine flung phrases and stumbling disbelief
At the jagged stone embrasures and the broken teeth
Of fallen angels across the spiked cannon in the gun pits splayed
Won’t chase the eager ravens from the open grave
Then the barracks rang with laughter I’m the fool
Who sought to chase the lamprey from the lily pool
Who went to tilt at windmills but only fire breathing dragons found
That singed the laurel branches from the hero’s brow
Who from the saddle crashing through briar patches to the ground
Cast aside my colours and made good my rout

Now the giant’s armour flashing and the wild jackal’s bark
Make David cast his slingshot missiles wide of the mark
Sportsmen wager as Daniel meets his end
Forsaken by his maker in the lion’s den
And Christ our Saviour bloody in the tomb still lay
When Mary knelt beside him on the third day
Christ our Saviour bloody in the tomb was lain
Nor rose He thereafter but died in vain

Intro. G
Verse G C G C D G
Final Verse A D A D A F#m E