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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
But what is strength without a double share The tread of many feet steering this way;
Of wisdom? vast, unwieldy, burdensome, Perhaps my enemies, who come to stare
Proudly secure, yet liable to fall

At my affliction, and perhaps to insult,
By weakest subtleties; not made to rule, Their daily practice to afflict me more.
But to subserve where wisdom bears command !
God, when he gave me strength, to show withal

[Enter] Chorus.
How slight the gift was, hung it in my hair. Chor. This, this is he: softly awhile,
But

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;
Blind among enemies, O worse than chains, Or do my eyes misrepresent? Can this be he,
Dungeon, or beggary, or decrepit age!

That heroic, that renowned,
Light, the prime work of God, to me is extinct, Irresistible Samson? whom unarmed
And all her various objects of delight

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 power of others, never in my own;

Adamantean proof?
Scarce half I seem to live, dead more than half. But safest he who stood aloof,
O dark, dark, dark, amid the blaze of noon, When insupportably his foot advanced,
Irrecoverably dark, total eclipse

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

the doer:
They swarm, but in adverse withdraw their head, But they persisted deaf, and would not seem
Not to be found, though sought. Ye see, O friends, To count them things worth notice, till at length
How many evils have enclosed me round: Their lords the Philistines with gathered powers
Yet that which was the worst now least afflicts me, Entered Judea seeking me, who then
Blindness; for had I sight, confused with shame, Safe to the rock of Etham was retired;
How could I once look up, or heave the head, Not flying, but forecasting in what place
Who, like a foolish pilot, have shipwrecked To set upon them, what advantaged best:
My vessel trusted to me from above,

Meanwhile the men of Judah, to prevent
Gloriously rigged; and for a word, a tear, The harass of their land, beset me round:
Fool! have divulged the secret gift of God I willingly on some conditions came
To a deceitful woman? tell me, friends,

Into their hands, and they as gladly yield me
Am I not sung and proverbed for a fool To the uncircumcised a welcome prey,
In every street ? do they not say, how well Bound with two cords; but cords to me were
Are come upon him his deserts ? yet why?

threads Immeasurable strength they might behold Touched with the flame: on their whole host I flew

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Unarmed, and with a trivial weapon felled Down, reason, then; at least, vain reasonings,
Their choicest youth; they only lived who fled.

down;
Had Judah that day joined, or one whole tribe, Though reason here aver,
They had by this possessed the towers of Gath, That moral verdict quits her of unclean:
And lorded over them whom they now serve: Unchaste was subsequent, her stain not his.
But what more oft, in nations grown corrupt,

But see here comes thy reverend sire
And by their vices brought to servitude, With careful step, locks white as down,
Than to love bondage more than liberty,

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,
Sams. Of such example add me to the roll;
Me easily indeed mine may neglect,

Himself an army, now unequal match
But God's proposed deliverance not so.

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
But justly: I myself have brought them on, Bitterly hast thou paid, and still art paying,
Sole author I, sole cause: if aught seem vile, That rigid score. A worse thing yet remains;
As vile hath been my folly, who have profaned This day the Philistines a popular feast
The mystery of God given me under pledge Here celebrate in Gaza; and proclaim
Of vow, and have betrayed it to a woman, Great pomp, and sacrifice, and praises loud,
A Canaanite, my faithless enemy.

To Dagon as their God, who hath delivered
This well I knew, nor was at all surprised, Thee, Samson, bound and blind into their hands,
But warned by oft experience: did not she Them out of thine, who slewest them many a slain,
Of Timna first betray me, and reveal

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;
And rivals? In this other was there found Which to have come to pass by means of thee,
More faith, who also in her prime of love, Samson, of all thy sufferings, think the heaviest,
Spousal embraces, vitiated with gold,

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
Unmanly, ignominious, infamous,

To vindicate the glory of his name
True slavery, and that blindness worse than this, Against all competition, nor will long
That saw not how degenerately I served. Endure it doubtful whether God be Lord,

Man. I can not praise thy marriage choices, son, Or Dagon. But for thee what shall be done?
Rather approved them not; but thou didst plead Thou must not, in the meanwhile, here forgot,
Divine impulsion prompting how thou might'st Lie in this miserable loathsome plight,
Find some occasion to infest our foes.

Neglected. I already have made way
* I state not that; this I am sure, our foes To some Philistian lords, with whom to treat
Found soon occasion thereby to make thee About thy ransom: well they may by this
Their captive, and their triumph; thou the sooner Have satisfied their utmost of revenge
Temptation foundest, or over potent charms, By pains and slaveries, worse than death, inflicted
To violate the sacred trust of silence

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

rear

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,

flowed
How heinous had the fact been, how deserving Against the eastern ray, translucent, pure,
Contempt, and scorn of all, to be excluded With touch ethereal of Heaven's fiery rod,
All friendship, and avoided as a blab,

I drank, from the clear milky juice allaying
The mark of fool set on his front?

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

complete
Thy penal forfeit from thyself: perhaps Against another object more enticing?
God will relent, and quit thee all his debt; What boots it at one gate to make defence,
Who ever more approves, and more accepts, And at another to let in the foe,
(Best pleased with humble and filial submission,) Effeminately vanquished ? by which means,
Him, who, imploring mercy, sues for life, Now blind, disheartened, shamed, dishonoured,
Than who, self-rigorous, chooses death as due; quelled,
Which argues overjust, and self-displeased, To what can I be useful, wherein serve.
For self-offence, more than for God offended. My nation, and the work from Heaven imposed,
Reject not then what offered means, who knows But to sit idle on the household hearth,
But God hath set before us, to return thee A burdenous drone; to visitants a gaze,
Home to thy country and his sacred house, Or pitied object, these redundant locks
Where thou may'st bring thy offerings, to avert Robustious to no purpose clustering down,
His further ire, with prayers and vows renewed ? Vain monument of strength; till length of years

Sams. His pardon I implore; but as for life And sedentary numbness craze thy limbs
To what end should I seek it? when in strength To a contemptible old age obscure ?
All mortals I excelled, and great in hopes

Here rather let me drudge and earn my bread;
With youthful courage, and magnanimous thoughts. Till vermin or the draff of servile food,
Of birth from Heaven foretold, and high exploits, Consume me, and oft invocated death
Full of divine instinct, after some proof

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:

manner.

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