صور الصفحة

Whom so it pleases him by choice
From national obstriction, without taint
Of sin, or legal debt;
For with his own laws he can best dispense.
He would not else, who never wanted means,

Nor in respect of the enemy just cause,
To set his people free,
Have prompted this heroick Nazarite,
Against his vow of strictest purity,
To seek in marriage that fallacious bride,

320 Unclean, unchaste.

Down, reason, then; at least, vain reasonings, down; Though reason here aver, That moral verdict quits her of unclean: Unchaste was subsequent; her stain not his.

325 But see, here comes thy reverend sire With careful steps, locks white as down, Old Manoah: advise Forthwith how thou ought'st to receive him.

Sams. Ay me! Another inward grief, awaked 330 With mention of that name, renews the assault.

Enter Mandal.
Man. Brethren and men of Dan, for such ye seem,
Though in this uncouth place; if old respect
As I suppose, towards your once gloried friend,
My son, now captive, hither hath inform’d
Your younger feet, while mine cast back with ago
Came lagging after; say if he be here.

Cao. As signal now in low dejected state,
As erst in highest, behold him where he lies.
Man. O miserable change! is this the man,

340 That invincible Samson, far renown'd, The dread of Israel's foes, who with a strength Equivalent to angels, walk'd their streets, None offering fight; who single combatant Duell’d their armies rank'd in proud array, Himself an army, now unequal match To save himself against a coward arm'd At one spear's length! O ever-failing trust In mortal strength! and, 0, what not in man Deceivable and vain? Nay, what thing good Pray'd for, but often proves our woe, our bane? I pray'd for children, and thought barrenness In wedlock a reproach; I gain'd a son, And such a son as all men bail'd me happy:-Who would be now a father in my stead ? 0, wherefore did God grant me my request,

[ocr errors]

324. Quits her of unclean. That is, by held her to be so, as the best means to the law of nature a Philistine woman prevent intermarriages with them.was not unclean, yet the law of Moses WARBURTON.


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

And as a blessing with such pomp adorn'd?
Why are his gifts desirable, to tempt
Our earnest prayers; then, given with solemn hand
As graces, draw a scorpion's tail behind ?
For this did the angel twice descend? for this
Ordain'd thy nurture holy, as of a plant
Select and sacred, glorious for a while,
The miracle of men; then in an hour
Ensnared, assaulted, overcome, led bound,
Thy foes' derision, captive, poor, and blind,
Into a dungeon thrust, to work with slaves ?
Alas! methinks whom God hath chosen once
To worthiest deeds, if he through frailty err,
He should not so o'erwhelm, and as a thrall
Subject him to so foul indignities,
Be it but for honour's sake of former deeds.

Sams. Appoint not heavenly disposition, father:
Nothing of all these evils hath befallen me
But justly; I myself have brought them on,

Sole authour I, sole cause: if aught seem vile,
As vile hath been my folly, who have profaned
The mystery of God given 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 surprised,
But warn’d by oft experience: did not she
Of Timna first betray me, and reveal
The secret wrested from me in her highth
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 conceived
Her spurious first-born, treason against me?
Thrice she assay'd with flattering prayers and sighs,
And amorous reproaches, to win from me
My capital secret; in what part my strength
Lay stored, in what part summ’d, that she might know:
Thrice I deluded her, and turn'd to sport
Her importunity, each time perceiving
How openly, and with what impudence
She purposed 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, mustering all her wiles,
With blandish'd parlies, feminine assaults,
Tongue-batteries, she surceased not, day nor night,

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


360. Scorpion's tail. He has raised this ! 404. Tongue-batteries. Soe Judges xvi. beautiful imarery on Luke xi. 12.

16. 17. 373. Appoint not: Do not point to it for censure--lny not the fault upon.

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 resolved,
Might easily have shook off all her snares :
But foul effeminacy held me yoked
Her bond-slave; O indignity, 0 blot
To honour and religion! servile mind
Rewarded well with servile punishment!
The base degree to which I now am fallen,
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 served.

Man. I cannot praise thy marriage-choices, son,
Rather approved 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,
To violate the sacred trust of silence
Deposited within thee; which to have kept
Tacit, was in thy power: 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, compared with idols,
Disglorified, blasphemed, 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 befallen thee and thy father's house.

Sams. Father, I do acknowledge and confess,
That I this honour, I this pomp, have brought
To Dagon, and advanced his praises high


411. O indignity, &e. Nothing could Besides, there is something vastly grand give the reader a better idea of a great and noble in his reflection upon his and heroic spirit in the circumstances present condition on this occasion.of Samson, than this sudden gust of in- THYER. dignation and passionate self-reproach, 434. This day, &c. See Judges xvi. 23. upra the mentioning of his weakness. 442. Disglorified: Deprived of glory.

Among the heathen round; to God have brought
Dishonour, obloquy, and oped 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 presumed,
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 provoked ;
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.

Man. 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
Against all competition, nor will long
Endure it doubtful whether God be Lord,
Or Dagon. But for thee what shall be done?
Thou must not in the meanwhile 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 486
On thee, who now no more canst do them harm.

Sams. 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

471. Blank : That is, confound.

499. A sin that Gentiles. Alluding to the story of Tautalus, who, for revealing

the secrets of the gods, was condemned to the pains of Hell.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

That Gentiles in their parables condemn

500 To their abyss and horrid pains confined.

Man. Be penitent, and for thy fault contrite;
But act not in thy own affliction, son;
Repent the sin; but, if the punishment
Thou canst avoid, self-preservation bids ;
Or the execution leave to high disposal,
And let another hand, not thine, exact
Thy penal forfeit from thyself: perhaps
God will relent, and quit thee all his debt;
Who ever more approves, and more accepts,
(Best pleased with humble and filial submission)
Him, who, imploring mercy, sues for life,
Than who, self-rigorous, chooses death as due;
Which argues over-just, and self-displeased
For self-offence, more than for God offended.
Reject not then what offer'd means, who knows
But God hath set before us, to return thee
Home to thy country and his sacred house,
Where thou may'st bring thy offerings, to avert
His further ire, with prayers and vows renew'd? 520

Sams. His pardon I implore; but as for life,
To what end should I seek it? when in strength
All mortals I excell’d, and great in hopes,
With youthful courage, and magnanimous thoughts
Of birth from Heaven foretold, and high exploits,
Full of divine instinct, after some proof
Of acts indeed heroick, far beyond
The sons of Anak, famous now and blazed ;
Fearless of danger, like a petty god
I walk'd about, admired of all, and dreaded
On hostile ground, none daring my affront;
Then swollen with pride, into the snare I fell
Of fair fallacious looks, venereal trains,
Soften’d with pleasure and voluptuous life;
At length to lay my head and hallow'd pledge

Of all my strength in the lascivious lap
Of a deceitful concubine, who shore me,
Like a tame wether, all my precious fleece;
Then turn'd me out ridiculous, despoil'd,
Shaven, and disarm’d among mine enemies.

Cao. Desire of wine, and all delicious drinks,
Which many a famous warriour overturns,
Thou couldst repress; nor did the dancing ruby,
Sparkling, out-pour'd, the flavour, or the smell,
Or taste that cheers the heart of gods and men,

645 Allure thee from the cool crystalline stream. 516. Reject not then, &c. The expres.: 543. Dancing ruby. Alluding to Prov. sion is a little hard, but to this effect: xxiii. 31. * Reject not these means of ransom, 545. Heart of gods: Meaning the her which, for any thing we can tell, God gods of the Heathen. may have set before us, or suggested to i us, in order to return thee,” &c.-HURD. |

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
« السابقةمتابعة »