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Yet stay, let me not rashly call in doubt
And buried; but, O yet more miserable! Divine prediction, what if all foretold
Myself my sepulchre, a moving grave; Had been fulfilled but through mine own default, Buried, yet not exempt, Whom have I to complain of but myself, By privilege of death and burial, Who this high gift of strength committed to me, From worst of other evils, pains and wrongs; In what part lodged, how easily bereft me, But made hereby obnoxious more Under the seal of silence could not keep, To all the miseries of life, But weakly to a woman must reveal it,
Life in captivity O'ercome with importunity and tears ?
Among inhuman foes. O impotence of mind, in body strong !
But who are these? for with joint pace I hear
At my affliction, and perhaps to insult,
peace, I must not quarrel with the will Let us not break in upon him: Of highest dispensation, which herein
O change beyond report, thought, or belief! Haply had ends above my reach to know; See how he lies at random, carelessly diffused, Suffices that to me strength is my bane,
With languished head unpropt, And proves the source of all my miseries; As one past hope, abandoned, So many, and so huge, that each apart
And by himself given over; Would ask a life to wail; but chief of all, In slavish habit, ill-fitted weeds O loss of sight, of thee I most complain!
O'erworn and soiled;
That heroic, that renowned,
No strength of man or fiercest wild beast could Annulled, which might in part my grief have withstand; eased,
Who tore the lion, as the lion tears the kid ; Inferior to the vilest now become
Ran on embattled armies clad in iron, Of man or worm; the vilest here excel me; And, weaponless himself, They creep, yet see; I, dark in light, exposed Made arms ridiculous, useless the forgery To daily fraud, contempt, abuse, and wrong, Of brazen shield and spear, the hammered cuirass, Within doors, or without, still as a fool,
Chalybean tempered steel, and frock of mail
In scorn of their proud arms and warlike tools, Without all hope of day!
Spurned them to death by troops. The bold As O first created beam, and thou great Word,
calonite “Let there be light, and light was over all;" Fled from his lion ramp; old warriors turned Why am I thus bereaved thy prime decree? Their plated backs under his heel; The sun to me is dark,
Or, groveling, soiled their crested helmets in the And silent as the moon,
dust. When she deserts the night,
Then with what trivial weapon come to hand, Hid in her vacant interlunar cave.
The jaw of a dead ass, his sword of bone, Since light so necessary is to life,
A thousand foreskins fell, the flower of Palestine, And almost life itself, if it be true
In Rameth-lechi famous to this day, That light is in the soul,
Then by main force pulled up, and on his shoulShe all in every part; why was the sight
ders bore To such a tender ball as the eye confined, The gates of Azza, post, and massy bar, So obvious and so easy to be quenched ?
Up to the hill by Hebron, seat of giants old. And not, as feeling, through all parts diffused, No journey of a Sabbath day, and loaded so; That she might look at will through every pore? Like whom the Gentiles feign to bear up Heaven. Then had I not been thus exiled from light Which shall I first bewail, As in the land of darkness, yet in light, Thy bondage, or lost sight, To live a life half dead, a living death,
Prison within prison
Inseparably dark ?
In me, of wisdom nothing more than mean; Thou art become (О worst imprisonment!) This with the other should, at least, have paired, The dungeon of thyself; thy soul,
These two, proportioned ill, drove me transverse. (Which men enjoying sight oft without cause Chor. Tax not divine disposal; wisest men complain)
Have erred, and by bad women been deceived; Imprisoned now indeed,
And shall again, pretend they ne'er so wise. In real darkness of the body dwells,
Deject not then so overmuch thyself, Shut up from outward light
Who hast of sorrow thy full load besides; To incorporate with gloomy night;
Yet, truth to say, I oft have heard men wonder For inward light, alas!
Why thou should'st wed Philistian woman rather Puts forth no visual beam.
Than of thine own tribe fairer, or as fair, O mirror of our fickle state,
At least of thy own nation, and as noble. Since man on earth unparalleled !
Sams. The first I saw at Timna, and she pleased The rarer thy example stands,
Me, not my parents, that I sought to wed By how much from the top of wondrous glory, The daughter of an infidel: they knew not Strongest of mortal men,
That what I mentioned was of God: I knew To lowest pitch of abject fortune thou art fallen. From intimate impulse, and therefore urged For him I reckon not in high estate
The marriage on; that by occasion hence Whom long descent of birth,
I might begin Israel's deliverance, Or the sphere of fortune, raises;
The work to which I was divinely called. But thee whose strength, while virtue was her She proving false, the next I took to wife mate,
(O that I never had! fond wish too late) Might have subdued the earth,
Was in the vale of Sorec, Dalila, Universally crowned with highest praises. That specious monster, my accomplished snare. Sums. I hear the sound of words; their sense I thought it lawful from my former act, the air
And the same end; still watching to oppress Dissolves unjointed ere it reach my ear.
Israel's oppressors: of what now I suffer Chor. He speaks, let us draw nigh. Matchless She was not the prime cause, but I myself, in might,
Who, vanquished with a peal of words, (O weakThe glory late of Israel, now the grief;
ness :) We come thy friends and neighbours not un- Gave up my fort of silence to a woman. known,
Chor. In seeking just occasion to provoke From Eshtaol and Zora's fruitful vale,
The Philistine, thy country's enemy, To visit or bewail thee; or, if better,
Thou never wast reniss, I bear thee witness: Counsel or consolation we may bring,
Yet Israel still serves with all his sons. Salve to thy sores: apt words have power to swage Sams. That fault I take not on me, but transfer The tumours of a troubled mind.
On Israel's governors, and heads of tribes, And are as balm to festered wounds.
Who, seeing those great acts which God had dono Sams. Your coming, friends, revives me, for 1 Singly by me against their conquerors, learn
Acknowledged not, or not at all considered, Now of my own experience, not by talk, Deliverance offered: I on the other side How counterfeit a coin they are who friends Used no ambition to commend my deeds; Bear in their superscription, (of the most The deeds themselves, though mute, spoke loud I would be understood;) in prosperous days
Meanwhile the men of Judah, to prevent
Into their hands, and they as gladly yield me
threads Immeasurable strength they might behold Touched with the flame: on their whole host I flew
Unarmed, and with a trivial weapon felled Down, reason, then; at least, vain reasonings,
But see here comes thy reverend sire
Old Manoah : advise Bondage with ease than strenuous liberty:
Forthwith how thou ought'st to receive him. And to despise, or envy, or suspect
Sams. Ay me, another inward grief, awaked Whom God hath of his special favour raised
With mention of that name, renews the assault. As their deliverer; if he aught begin, How frequent to desert him, and at last
[Enter] Manoah. To heap ingratitude on worthiest deeds ?
Man. Brethren and men of Dan, for such ye Chor. Thy words to my remembrance bring
seem, How Succoth and the fort of Penuel
Though in this uncouth place; if old respect, Their great deliverer contemned,
As I suppose, towards your once gloried friend, The matchless Gideon, in pursuit
My son, now captive, hither hath informed Of Madian and her vanquished kings:
Your younger feet, while mine cast back with age And how ingrateful Ephraim
Came lagging after; say if he be here. Had dealt with Jephtha, who by argument,
Chor. As signal now in low dejected state, Not worse than by his shield and spear,
As erst in highest, behold him where he lies. Defended Israel from the Ammonite,
Man. O miserable change! is this the man, Had not his prowess quelled their pride
That invincible Samson, far renowned, In that sore battle, when so many died
The dread of Israel's foes, who with a strength Without reprieve, adjudged to death,
Equivalent to angels walked their streets, For want of well pronouncing Shibboleth.
None offering fight; who single combatant
Duelled their armies ranked in proud array,
Himself an army, now unequal match
To save himself against a coward armed Chor. Just are the ways of God,
At one spear's length. O everfailing trust And justifiable to men;
In mortal strength! and oh! what not in man Unless there be who think not God at all :
Deceivable and vain? Nay, what thing good If any be, they walk obscure;
Prayed for, but often proves our wo, our bane? For of such doctrine never was their schoot,
I prayed for children, and thought barrenness But the heart of the fool,
In wedlock a reproach; I gained a son, And no man therein doctor but himself.
And such a son as all men hailed me happy; Yet more they be, who doubt his ways not just, Who would be now a father in my stead? As to his own edicts found contradicting,
O wherefore did God grant me my request, Then give the reigns to wandering thought,
And as a blessing with such pomp adorned ? Regardless of his glory’s diminution;
Why are his gifts desirable, to tempt Till by their own perplexities involved,
Our earnest prayers, then, given with solemn hand They ravel more, still less resolved,
As graces, draw a scorpion's tail behind ? But never find self-satisfying solution.
For this did the angel twice descend ? for this As if they would confine the Interminable,
Ordained thy nurture holy, as of a plant And tie him to his own prescript,
Select, and sacred, glorious for awhile, Who made our laws to bind us, not himself,
The miracle of men; then in an hour And hath full right to exempt
Insnared, assaulted, overcome, led bound, Whom so it pleases him by choice
Thy foes' derision, captive, poor, and blind, From national obstriction, without taint
Into a dungeon thrust, to work with slaves ? Of sin, or legal debt;
Alas! methinks whom God hath chosen once For with his own laws he can best dispense.
To worthiest deeds, if he through frailty err, He would not else, who never wanted means,
He should not so o'erwhelm, and as a thrall Nor in respect of the enerny just cause,
Subject him to foul indignities,
Be it but for honour's sake of former deeds. To set his people free, Have prompted this heroic Nazarite,
Sams. Appoint not heavenly disposition, * fa
ther; Against his vow of strictest purity, To seek in marriage that fallacious bride,
* Appoint not heavenly disposition."-Arraign not-sum. Unclean, unchaste.
mon not to answer.
Nothing of all these evils hath befallen me Enough, and more, the burden of that fault
To Dagon as their God, who hath delivered
So Dagon shall be magnified, and God, The secret wrested from me in her height Besides whom is no God, compared with idols, 1 Of nuptial love professed, carry it straight Disglorified, blasphemed, and had in scorn
To them who had corrupted her, my spies, By the idolatrous rout amidst their wine;
Of all reproach the most with shame that ever Though offered only, by the scent conceived Could have befallen thee and thy father's house.
Sams. Father, I do acknowledge and confess Thrice she assayed with flattering prayers and That I this honour, I this pomp have brought sighs,
To Dagon, and advanced his praises high And amorous reproaches, to win from me Among the Heathen round; to God have brought My capital secret, in what part my strength Dishonour, obloquy, and oped the mouths Lay stored, in what part summed, that she might Of idolists and atheists; have brought scandal know
To Israel, diffidence of God, and doubt Thrice I deluded her, and turned to sport In feeble hearts, propense enough before Her importunity, each time perceiving
To waver, or fall off and join with idols; How openly, and with what impudence
Which is my chief affliction, shame and sorrow She purposed to betray me, and (which was worse The anguish of my soul, that suffers not Than undissembled hate) with what contempt
Mine eye to harbour sleep, or thoughts to rest. She sought to make me traitor to myself; This only hope relieves me, that the strife Yet the fourth time, when, mustering all her wiles, With me hath end; all the contest is now With blandished parleys, feminine assaults.
'Twixt God and Dagon; Dagon hath presumed, Tongue batteries, she surceased not, day nor night Me overthrown, to enter lists with God, To storm me overwatched, and wearied out, His deity comparing and preferring At times when men seek most repose and rest
Before the God of Abraham. He, be sure, 1 yielded, and unlocked her all my heart, Will not connive, or linger, thus provoked, Who, with a grain of manhood well resolved,
But will arise, and his great name assert: Might easily have shook off all her snares: Dagon must stoop, and shall ere long receive But foul effeminacy held me yoked
Such a discomfit as shall quite despoil him Her bondslave; O indignity, O blot,
Of all these boasted trophies won on me, To honour and religion! servile mind
And with confusing blank his worshippers. Rewarded well with servile punishment!
Man. With cause this hope relieves thee, and The base degree to which I now am fallen,
these words These rags, this grinding is not yet so base I as a prophecy receive; for God, As was my former servitude ignoble,
Nothing more certain, will not long defer
To vindicate the glory of his name
Man. I can not praise thy marriage choices, son, Or Dagon. But for thee what shall be done?
Neglected. I already have made way
On thee, who now no more canst do them harm. Deposited within thee; which to have kept Sams. Spare that proposal, father; spare the Tacit
, was in thy power: true; and thou bearest trouble
Of that solicitation; let me here,
Sparkling, outpoured, the flavour or the smell, As I deserve, pay on my punishment;
Or taste that cheers the heart of gods and men, And expiate, if possible, my crime,
Allure thee from the cool crystalline stream. Shameful garrulity. To have revealed
Sams. Wherever fountain or fresh current Secrets of men, the secrets of a friend,
I drank, from the clear milky juice allaying
Thirst, and refreshed: nor envied them the grape But I God's counsel have not kept, his holy secret Whose heads that turbulent liquor fills with Presumptuously have published, impiously,
fumes. Weakly at least, and shamefully; a sin
Chor. O madness, to think use of strongest That Gentiles in their parables condemn
wines To their abyss and horrid pains confined. And strongest drinks, our chief support of health,
Man. Be penitent, and for thy fault contrit When God with these forbidden made choice to But act not in thy own aMiction, son: Repent the sin; but, if the punishment His mighty champion, strong above compare, Thou canst avoid, self preservation bids; Whose drink was only from the liquid brook. Or the execution leave to high disposal,
Sams. But what availed this temperance, not And let another hand, not thine, exact
Sams. His pardon I implore; but as for life And sedentary numbness craze thy limbs
Here rather let me drudge and earn my bread;
Hasten the welcome end of all my pains. Of acts indeed heroic, far beyond
Man. Wilt thou then serve the Philistines with The sons of Anak, famous now and blazed
that gift Fearless of danger, like a petty god
Which was expressly given thee to annoy them? I walked about admired of all and dreaded Better at home lie bedrid, not only idle, On hostile ground, none daring my affront.* Inglorious, unemployed, with age outworn. Then swollen with pride into the snare I fell But God, who caused a fountain at thy prayer Of fair fallacious looks, venereal trains, From the dry ground to spring, thy thirst to allay Softened with pleasure and voluptuous life; After the brunt of battle, can as easy At length to lay my head and hallowed pledge Cause light again within thy eyes to spring, Of all my strength in the lascivious lap
Wherewith to serve him better than thou hast; Of a deceitful concubine, who shore me And I persuade me so; why else this strength Like a tame wether, all my precious fleece, Miraculous yet remaining in those locks ? Then turned me out ridiculous, despoiled, His might continues in thee not for naught, Shaven, and disarmed among mine enemies. Nor shall his wondrous gifts be frustrate thus.
Chor. Desire of wine and all delicious drinks, Sams. All otherwise to me my thoughts porWhich many a famous warrior overturns,
tend, Thou could'st repress; nor did the dancing ruby That these dark orbs no more shall treat with
light, "None daring my affront—10 front or face in a hostile Nor the other light of life continue long,
But yield to double darkness nigh at hand: