صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

Sole author I, sole cause: if ought seem vile,
As vile hath been my folly, who' have profan'd
The mystery of God giv'n me under pledge
Of vow, and have betray'd it to a woman,
A Canaanite, my faithless enemy.
This well I knew, nor was at all surpris'd,
But warn'd by oft experience: did not she
Of Timna first betray me, and reveal
The secret wrested from me in her height
Of nuptial love profess'd, carrying it straight
To them who had corrupted her, my spies,
And rivals? In this other was there found
More faith, who also in her prime of love,
Spousal embraces, vitiated with gold,
Though offer'd only, by the scent conceiv'd
Her spurious first-born, treason against me?
Thrice she assay'd with flattering pray'rs and sighs,
And amorous reproaches, to win from me

My capital secret, in what part my strength

Lay stor'd, in what part summ'd, that she might know; Thrice I deluded her, and turn'd to sport

396

Her importunity, each time perceiving
How openly, and with what impudence
She purpos'd to betray me, and (which was worse
Than undissembled hate) with what contempt
She sought to make me traitor to myself;
Yet the fourth time, when must'ring all her wiles,
With blandish'd parlies, feminine assaults,

391. treason against me?] By our laws called petty treason. Richardson.

380

385

$90

400

401. She sought] So it is in Milton's own edition; in most of the others She thought.

Tongue-batteries, she surceas'd not day nor night
To storm me over-watch'd, and wearied out,
At times when men seek most repose and rest,
I yielded, and unlock'd her all my heart,
Who with a grain of manhood well resolv'd
Might easily have shook off all her snares :
But foul effeminacy held me yok'd
Her bond-slave; O indignity, O blot
To honour and religion! servile mind
Rewarded well with servile punishment!
The base degree to which I now am fall'n,
These rags, this grinding is not yet so base
As was my former servitude, ignoble,
Unmanly, ignominious, infamous,

True slavery, and that blindness worse than this,
That saw not how degenerately I serv'd.

MANOAH.

I cannot praise thy marriage choices, son, Rather approv'd them not; but thou didst plead Divine impulsion prompting how thou might'st Find some occasion to infest our foes.

I state not that; this I am sure, our foes
Found soon occasion thereby to make thee
Their captive, and their triumph; thou the sooner
Temptation found'st, or over-potent charms

411.-O indignity! O blot &c.] Nothing could give the reader a better idea of a great and heroic pirit in the circumstances of Samson, than this sudden gust of indignation and passionate self-reproach upon the mentioning of his weakness. Besides

405

410

415

420

425

there is something vastly grand and noble in his reflection upon his present condition on this occasion,

These rags, this grinding is not yet so base &e. Thyer.

To violate the sacred trust of silence
Deposited within thee; which to have kept
Tacit, was in thy pow'r: true; and thou bear'st
Enough, and more, the burden of that fault;
Bitterly hast thou paid, and still art paying
That rigid score. A worse thing yet remains,
This day the Philistines a popular feast
Here celebrate in Gaza; and proclaim
Great pomp, and sacrifice, and praises loud
To Dagon, as their God, who hath deliver'd
Thee, Samson, bound and blind into their hands,
Them out of thine, who slew'st them many a slain.
So Dagon shall be magnified, and God,
Besides whom is no God, compar'd with idols,
Disglorified, blasphem'd, and had in scorn
By the idolatrous rout amidst their wine;
Which to have come to pass by means of thee,
Samson, of all thy sufferings think the heaviest,
Of all reproach the most with shame that ever
Could have befall'n thee and thy father's house.
SAMSON.

Father, I do acknowledge and confess

That I this honour, I this pomp have brought
To Dagon, and advanc'd his praises high

434. This day the Philistines a popular feast &c.] Judg. xvi. 23. Then the lords of the Philistines gathered them together, for to offer a great sacrifice unto Dagon their God, and to rejoice; for they said, Our God hath delivered Samson our enemy into our hand, &c. This incident the poet hath finely

430

435

440

445

450

[blocks in formation]

Among the heathen round; to God have brought
Dishonour, obloquy, and op'd the mouths
Of idolists, and atheists; have brought scandal
To Israel, diffidence of God, and doubt
In feeble hearts, propense enough before
To waver, or fall off, and join with idols;
Which is my chief affliction, shame and sorrow,
The anguish of my soul, that suffers not
Mine eye to harbour sleep, or thoughts to rest.
This only hope relieves me, that the strife
With me hath end; all the contést is now
'Twixt God and Dagon; Dagon hath presum'd,
Me overthrown, to enter lists with God,
His deity comparing and preferring
Before the God of Abraham. He, be sure,
Will not connive, or linger, thus provok'd,
But will arise, and his great name assert:
Dagon must stoop, and shall ere long receive
Such a discomfit, as shall quite despoil him
Of all these boasted trophies won on me,
And with confusion blank his worshippers.

MANOAH.

—and these words

472. I as a prophecy receive ;] This method of one person's taking an omen from the words of another was frequently practised among the ancients: and in these words the downfall of

455

460

465

470

With cause this hope relieves thee, and these words I as a prophecy receive; for God, Nothing more certain, will not long defer To vindicate the glory of his name

475

Dagon's worshippers is artfully presignified, as the death of Samso is in other places; but Manoah, as it was natural, accepts the good omen, without thinking of the evil that is to follow.

Against all competition, nor will long
Indure it doubtful whether God be Lord,
Or Dagon. But for thee what shall be done?
Thou must not in the mean while here forgot
Lie in this miserable loathsome plight
Neglected. I already have made way
To some Philistian lords, with whom to treat
About thy ransom: well they may by this
Have satisfied their utmost of revenge
By pains and slaveries, worse than death inflicted 485
On thee, who now no more canst do them harm.

SAMSON.

Spare that proposal, father, spare the trouble
Of that solicitation; let me here,
As I deserve, pay on my punishment;
And expiate, if possible, my crime,
Shameful garrulity. To have reveal'd
Secrets of men, the secrets of a friend,
How heinous had the fact been, how deserving
Contempt, and scorn of all, to be excluded

All friendship, and avoided as a blab,
The mark of fool set on his front?

But I God's counsel have not kept, his holy secret
Presumptuously have publish'd, impiously,
Weakly at least, and shamefully: a sin
That Gentiles in their parables condemn

[merged small][ocr errors]

480

490

495

500

poetæ impendere apud inferos saxum Tantalo faciunt ob scelera, animique impotentiam, et superbiloquentiam. Euripides assigns the same punishment, and for the same reason. Orestes 8.

« السابقةمتابعة »