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But thee, whofe ftrength, while Virtue was her mate,
Might have fubdu'd the Earth,

Univerfally crown'd with high.eft praises.


Samf. I hear the found of words; their fenfe the air Diolves unjointed, ere it reach my ear.

Cher. He fpake: let us draw nigh. Matchlefs in might, The g'ory late of Ifrael, now the grief,

We come, thy friends and neighbours not unknown, 180
From Efbtaol and Zora's fruitful Vale

To vifit or bewail thee; or, if better
Counfel or confolation we may bring,

Salve to thy Sores: apt words have pow'r to fwage
The tumours of a troubled mind,

And are as balm to fefter'd wounds.


Samf. Your coming, Friends, revives me; for I learn

Now of my own experience, not by talk,

How counterfeit a coin they are, who friends

Bear in their Superfcription; (of the most


I wou'd be underftood ;) in profp'rous days

They fwarm, but in adverfe withdraw their head,

Not to be found, though fought. Ye fee, O friends,
How many evils have enclos'd me round;
Yet that which was the worst now leaft afflicts me,
Blindness; for had I fight, confus'd with thame,
How could I once look up, or heave the head,
Who like a foolish Pilot have fhipwreck'd
My Veffel, trufted to me from above,
Gloriously rigg'd; and for a word, a tear,
Fool! have divulg'd the fecret gift of God
To a deceitful Woman? tell me, Friends,
Am I not fung and proverb'd for a Fool
In ev'ry ftrest? do they not fay, how well
Are come upon him his deferts? yet why?
Immeasurable strength they might behold
In me, of wisdom nothing more than mean:




This with the other should, at least, have pair'd;
These two, proportion'd ill, drove me transverse.


Chor. Tax not divine difpofal: wisest men
Have err'd, and by bad Women been deceiv'd;
And fhall again, pretend they ne'er fo wife.
Deject not then fo overmuch thyself,
Who haft of forrow thy full load befides.
Yet truth to fay, I oft have heard men wonder
Why thou shouldst wed Philiftian Woman rather
Than of thine own Tribe fairer, or as fair;
At least of thy own Nation, and as noble.

Samf. The first I faw at Timna, and she pleas'd
Me, not my Parents, that I fought to wed
The daughter of an Infidel: they knew not
That what I mention'd was of God; I knew
From intimate impulfe, and therefore urg'd
The marriage on; that by occafion hence
I might begin Ifrael's Deliverance,
The work to which I was divinely call'd.
She proving falfe, the next I took to Wife
(O that I never had! fond wish too late!)
Was in the Vale of Sorec, Dalila,
That fpecious Monfter, my accomplish'd fnare.
I thought it lawful from my former act,
And the fame end; ftill watching to opprefs
Ifrael's Oppreffors: of what now I fuffer
She was not the prime caufe, but I myself,




Who, vanquifh'd with a peal. of words, (O weakness !) Gave up my fort of filence to a Woman.



Chor. In feeking juft occafion to provoke

The Philiftin, thy Country's Enemy,

Thou never waft remifs, I bear thee witnefs:

Yet Ifrael ftill ferves with all his Sons.

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Samf. That fault I take not on me, but transfer


On Ifrael's Governors, and Heads of Tribes ;

Who, feeing thofe great acts which God had done
Singly by me against their Conquerors,
Acknowledg'd not, or not at all confider'd
Deliv'rance offer'd: I on th' other fide
Us'd no ambition to commend my deeds;


The deeds themselves, though mute, spoke loud the doer, But they perfifted deaf, and would not seem

To count them things worth notice; till at length


Their Lords the Philiftins with gather'd pow'rs
Enter'd Judea seeking me, who then
Safe to the rock of Etham was retir'd,
Not flying, but fore-cafting in what place
To fet upon them what advantag'd best,
Mean while the men of Judah, to prevent
The harrass of their Land, befet me round;
I willingly on fome conditions came


Into their hands, and they as gladly yield me
To the uncircumcis'd a welcom prey,


nd with two cords; but cords to me were threads
Toucht with the flame: on their whole Hoft I flew
Unarm'd, and with a trivial weapon fell'd
Their choiceft youth; they only liv'd who fled.
Had Judah that day join'd, or one whole Tribe,
They had by this poffefs'd the tow'rs of Gath,
And lorded over them whom now they ferve:
But what more oft in Nations grown corrupt,.
And by their vices brought to fervitude,
Than to love Bond ge more than Liberty,
Bondag ge with eafe than ftrenuous Liberty ;
And to defpife, or envy, or fufpect
Whom God hath of his special favour rais'd
As their Deliv'rer; if he aught begin,



How frequent to defert him, and at laft


To heap ingratitude on worthieft deeds ?

Chor. Thy words to my remembrance bring

How Succoth and the Fort of Penuel

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Of Madian and her vanquish'd Kings:

And how ingrateful Ephraim

Had dealt with Jephtha, who by argument,
Not worse than by his fhield and fpear,
Defended Ifrael from the Ammonite,
Had not his Prowefs quell'd their pride
In that fore battle, when so many dy'd,
Without Reprieve adjudg'd to death,
For want of well pronouncing Shibboleth.

Samf. Of fuch examples add me to the roll
Me eafily indeed mine may neglect,
But God's propos'd deliverance not so.

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Chor. Juft are the ways of God,

And juftifiable to Men;

Unless there be who think not God at all;


If any be, they walk obfcure :

For of fuch Doctrine never was there School,

But the heart of the Fool,

And no man therein Doctor but himself.

Yet more there be who doubt his ways not juft,


As to his own edicts found contradicting;

Then give the reins to wandring thought,

Regardless of his Glory's diminution;
Till by their own perplexities involv'd,
They ravel more, ftill lefs refolv'd,
But never find self-satisfying solution.


As if they would confine th' interminable,

And tie him to his own prescript,

Who made our Laws to bind us, not himfelf,
And hath full right t'exempt

Whom fo it pleafes him by choice
From National obftriction, without taint


Of fin, or legal debt;

For with his own Laws he can beft difpenfe.

He would not elfe, who never wanted means,


Nor in refpect of th' enemy just cause

To fet his People free,

Have prompted this Heroick Nazarite

Against his vow of strictest purity,

To feek in marriage that fallacious Bride,


Unclean, unchafte.

Down Reason then, at least vain reasonings down,

Though Reafon here aver

That moral verdict quits her of unclean:

Unchafte was subsequent, her stain not his.


But fee! here comes thy rev'rend Sire With careful step, Locks white as down, Old Manca: advise

Forthwith how thou ought'ft to receive him.

Samf. Ah me, another inward grief awak'd With mention of that name renews th' affault.


Man. Brethren and men of Dan, (for fuch ye feem,

Though in this uncouth place ;) if old refpect,

As I fuppofe, tow'rd your once glory'd friend,

My Son, now Captive, hither hath inform'd
Your younger feet, while mine caft back with age,
Came lagging after; fay, if he be here.


Chor. As fignal now in low dejected state, As erft in higheft, behold him where he lies.

Man. O miferable change! is this the man,
That invincible Samfon, far renown'd,
The dread of Ifrael's foes, who with a ftrength
Equivalent to Angels walk'd their streets,



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