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From worst of other evils, pains and wrongs ; Or the sphere of fortune, raises ;
But thee whose strength, while virtue was her mate, To all the miseries of life,
Might have subdued the Earth, Life in captivity
Universally crown'd with highest praises. [air Among inhuman foes.
Sams. I hear the sound of words; their sense the
Chor. He speaks, let us draw nigh.—Matchless in Perhaps my enemies, who come to stare
might, At my affliction, and perhaps to insult,
The glory late of Israel, now the grief; Their daily practice to amict me more.
We coine, thy friends and neighbors not unknown,
From Eshtaol and Zora's fruitful vale, (Enter Chorus.)
To visit or bewail thee; or, if better, Chor. This, this is he; softly awhile,
Counsel or consolation we may bring, Let us not break in upon him :
Salve to thy sores; apt words have power to swage O change beyond report, thought, or belief! The tumors of a troubled mind, See how he lies at random, carelessly diffus'd, And are as balm to fester'd wounds. (learn With languish'd head unpropt,
Sams. Your coming, friends, revives me; for I As one past hope, abandon'd,
Now of my own experience, not by talk, And by himself given over;
How counterfeit a coin they are who friends In slavish habit, ill-fitted weeds
Bear in their superscription, (of the most O'er-worn and soil'd ;
I would be understood ;) in prosperous days Or do my eyes misrepresent? Can this be he, They swarm, but in adverse withdraw their head, That heroic, that renown'd,
Not to be found, though sought. Ye see, O friends, Irresistible Samson? whom unarm'd (withstand; How many evils have inclos'd me round: No strength of man, or fiercest wild beast, could Yet that which was the worst now least afflicts me, Who tore the lion, as the lion tears the kid;
Blindness ; for had I sight, confus'd with shame, Ran on embattled armies clad in iron;
How could I once look up or heave the head, And, weaponless himself,
Who, like a foolish pilot, have shipwreck'd
My vessel trusted to me from above,
To a deceitful woman? tell me, friends,
Am I not sung and proverb'd for a fool When insupportably his foot advanc'd,
In every street? do they not say, how well In scorn of their proud arms and warlike tools, Are come upon him his deserts ? yet why? Spurn'd them to death by troops. The bold Asca. Immeasurable strength they might behold lonite
In me, of wisdom nothing more than mean; Fled from his lion ramp; old warriors turn'd This with the other should, at least, have pair'd, Their plated backs under his heel;
These two, proportion'd ill, drove me transverse. Or, groveling, soild their crested helmets in the dust. Chor. Tax not divine disposal ; wisest men Then with what trivial weapon came to hand, Have err'd, and by bad women been deceiv'd; The jaw of a dead ass, his sword of bone,
And shall again, pretend they ne'er so wise.
[bore Who hast of sorrow thy full load besides : Then by main force pulld up, and on his shoulders Yet truth to say, I oft have heard men wonder The gaies of Azza, post, and massy bar,
Why thou shouldst wed Philistian women rather Up to the hill by Hebron, seat of giants old, Than of thine own tribe fairer, or as fair, No journey of a sabbath-day, and loaded so; At least of thy own nation, and as noble. Like whom the Gentiles seign to bear up Heaven. Sams. The first I saw at Timna, and she pleas'd Which shall I first bewail,
Me, not my parents, that I sought to wed Thy bondage or lost sight,
The daughter of an infidel: they knew not Prison within prison
That what I motion'd was of God; I knew Inseparably dark?
From intimate impulse, and therefore urg'd Thou art become (0 worst imprisonment!)
The marriage on; that by occasion hence The dungeon of thyself; thy soul,
(plain) I might begin Israel's deliverance, (Which men enjoying sight oft without cause com- The work to which I was divinely call’d. Imprison'd now indeed,
She proving false, the next I took to wife In real darkness of the body dwells,
(O that I never had! fond wish too late,) Shut up from outward light
Was in the vale of Sorec, Dalila, To incorporate with gloomy night;
That specious monster, my accomplish'd snare. For inward light, alas !
I thought it lawful from my former act, Puts forth no visual beam.
And the same end; still watching to oppress O mirror of our fickle state,
Israel's oppressors : of what now I suffer Since man on Earth unparallel'd!
She was not the prime cause, but I myself, The rarer thy example stands,
Who, vanquish'd with a peal of words, (O weakness !)
Chor. In seeking just occasion to provoke
Thou never wast amiss, I bear thee witness;
Yet Israël still serves with all his sons.
Sams. That fault I take not on me, but transfer And hath full right to exempt
Whom so it pleases him by choice
Of sin, or legal debt ;
For with his own laws he can best dispense. Deliverance offered : I on the other side
He would not else, who never wanted means, Us'd no ambition to commend my deeds :
Nor, in respect of the enemy, just cause,
Have prompted this heroic Nazarite,
Down, reason, then; at least vain reasonings down; Safe to the rock of Ethan was retir’d;
Though reason here aver, Not flying but forecasting in what place
That moral verdict quits her of unclean : To set upon them, what advantag'd best;
Unchaste was subsequent, her stain not his.
But see, here comes thy reverend sire
Old Manoah : advise
Sams. Ay me! another inward grief, awak'd
[Enter Manoan.) Their choicest youth ; they only liv'd who fled. Man. Brethren and men of Dan, for such ye seem, Had Judah that day join'd, or one whole tribe, Though in this uncouth place; if old respect, They had by this possess'd the towers of Gath, As I suppose, towards your once gloried friend, And lorded over them whom they now serve: My son, now captive, hither hath inform'd But what more oft, in nations grown corrupt, Your younger feet, while mine cast back with age And by their vices brought to servitude,
Came lagging after; say if he be here. Than to love bondage more than liberty,
Chor. As signal now in low dejected state, Bondage with ease than strenuous liberty ;
As erst in highest, behold him where he lies. And to despise, or envy, or suspect
Man. O miserable change! is this the man, Whom God hath of his special favor rais'd That invincible Samson, far renown'd, As their deliverer ? if he aught begin,
The dread of Israel's foes, who with a strength How frequent to desert him, and at last
Equivalent to angels walk'd their streets, To heap ingratitude on worthiest deeds!
None offering fight; who single combatant Chor. Thy words to my remembrance bring Duell’d their armies rank'd in proud array, How Succoth and the fort of Penuel
Himself an army, now unequal match Their great deliverer contemn'd,
To save himself against a coward arm'd The matchless Gideon, in pursuit
At one spear's length? O ever-failing trust Of Madian and her vanquish'd kings:
In mortal strength! and oh! what not in man And how ingrateful Ephraim
Deceivable and vain? Nay, what thing good
I pray'd for children, and thought barrenness
In wedlock a reproach ; I gain'd a son, Had not his prowess quell’d their pride
And such a son as all men hail'd me happy;In that,sore battle, when so many died
Who would be now a father in my stead ? Without reprieve, adjudg’d to death,
O wherefore did God grant me my request, For want of well pronouncing Shibboleth. And as a blessing with such pomp adorn’d ?
Sams. Of such examples add me to the roll; Why are his gifts desirable, to tempt Me easily indeed mine may neglect.
Our earnest prayers, then, given with solemn hand But God's propos'd deliverance not so.
As graces, draw a scorpion's tail behind ? Chor. Just are the ways of God,
For this did the angel twice descend? for this And justifiable to men;
Ordain'd thy nurture holy, as of a plant
The miracle of men; then in an hour
Thy foes' derision, captive, poor, and blind,
Into a dungeon thrust, to work with slaves ? Yet more there be, who doubt his ways not just, Alas! methinks whom God hath chosen once As to his own edícts found contradicting, To worthiest deeds if he through frailty err, Then give the reins to wandering thought, He should not so o'erwhelm, and as a thrall Regardless of his glory's diminution;
Subject him to so foul indignities, Till, by their own perplexities involvid,
Be it but for honor's sake of former deeds. They ravel more, still less resolvid,
Sams. Appoint not heavenly disposition, father; But never find self-satisfying solution.
Nothing of all these evils hath befall'n me As if they would confine the Interminable, But justly: I myself have brought them on, And tie him to his own prescript
Sole author I, sole cause : if aught seem vile, Who made our laws to bind us, not himself, As vile hath been my folly, who have profan'd
The mystery of God given me under pledge
Sam. Father, I do acknowledge and confess Of vow, and bave betray'd it to a woman, That I this honor, I this pomp, have brought A Canaanite, my faithless enemy.
To Dagon, and advanc'd his praises high This well I knew, nor was at all surpris'd,
Among the heathen round: to God have brought But warn'd by oft experience: did not she
Dishonor, obloquy, and op'd the mouths Of Timna first betray me, and reveal
Of idolists, and atheists : lave brought scandal The secret wrested from me in her height
To Israel, diffidence of God, and doubt Of nuptial love profess'd, carrying it straight In feeble hearts, propense enough before To them who had corrupted her, my spies, To waver, or fall off and join with idols ; And rivals? In this other was there found Which is my chief affliction, shame and sorrow, More faith, who also in her prime of love,
The anguish of my soul, that suffers not Spousal embraces, vitiated with gold,
Mine eye to harbor sleep, or thoughts to rest.
Me overthrown, to enter lists with God,
Will not connive, or linger, thus provok’d,
But will arise, and his great name assert : How openly, and with what impudence
Dagon must stoop, and shall ere long receive She purpos’d to betray me, and (which was worse Such a discomfit, as shall quite despoil him Than undissembled hate) with what contempt
Of all these boasted trophies won on me, She sought to make me traitor to myself;
And with confusion blank his worshippers.
Against all competition, nor will long
Thou must not, in the meanwhile here forgot, Her bond-slave; O indignity, O blot
Lie in this miserable lothesome plight, To honor and religion ! servile mind
Neglected. I already have made way Rewarded well with servile punishment !
To some Philistian lords, with whom to treat The base degree to which I now am fall'n, About thy ransom: well they may by this this grinding, is not yet so base
Have satisfied their utmost of revenge As was my former servitude, ignoble,
By pains and slaveries, worse than death, inflicted Unmanly, ignominious, infamous,
On thee, who now no more canst do them harm. True slavery, and that blindness worse than this Sams. Spare that proposal, father; spare the That saw not how degenerately I servid.
Shameful garrulity. To have reveal'd
Secrets of men, the secrets of a friend, Found soon occasion thereby to make thee How heinous had the fact been, how deserving Their captive, and their triumph; thou the sooner Contempt and scorn of all, to be excluded Temptation found'st, or over-potent charms, All friendship, and avoided as a blab, To violate the sacred trust of silence
The mark of fool set on his front? But I Deposited within thee; which to have kept God's counsel have not kept, his holy secret Tacit was in thy power: true; and thou bear'st Presumptuously have publish’d, impiously, Enough, and more the burthen of that fault; Weakly at least, and shamefully; a sin Bitterly hast thou paid, and still art paying, That Gentiles in their parables condemn That rigid score. A worse thing yet remains ; To their abyss and horrid pains confin'd. This day the Philistines a popular feast
Man. Be penitent, and for thy fault contrite; Here celebrate in Gaza ; and proclaim
But act not in thy own affliction, son; Great pomp, and sacrifices, and praises loud, Repent the sin; but, if the punishment To Dagon, as their god who hath deliver'd
Thou canst avoid, self-preservation bids; Thee, Samson, bound and blind into their hands. Or the execution leave to high disposal, Them out of thine, who slew’st them many a slain. And let another hand, not thine, exact So Dagon shall be magnified, and God,
Thy penal forfeit from thyself: perhaps Besides whom is no God, coinpar'd with idols, God will relent, and quit thee all his debt; Disglorified, blasphem’d, and had in scorn
Who evermore approves, and more accepts, By the idolatrous rout amidst their wine ;
(Best pleas'd with humble and filial submission, Which to have come to pass by means of thee, Him, who, imploring mercy, sues for life, Samson, of all thy sufferings think the heaviest, Than who, self-rigorous, chooses death as due; Of all reproach the most with shame that ever Which argues over-just, and self-displeased Could have befall’n thee and thy father's house. For self-offence, more than for God offended.
Reject not then what offer'd means; who knows After the brunt of battle, can as easy
Cause light again within thy eyes to spring, Home to thy country and his sacred house, Wherewith to serve him better than thou hast : Where thou may’st bring thy offerings, to avert And I persuade me so ; why else this strength His further ire, with prayers and vows renew'd ? Miraculous yet remaining in those locks ?
Sams. His pardon I implore; but as for life, His might continues in thee not for nought, To what end should I seek it? when in strength Nor shall his wondrous gifts be frustrate thus. All mortals I excell’d, and great in hopes
Sams. All otherwise to me my thoughts portend, With youthful courage, and magnanimous thoughts, That these dark orbs no more shall treat with light, Of birth from Heaven foretold, and high exploits, Nor the other light of life continue long, Full of divine instinct, after some proof
But yield to double darkness nigh at hand : Of acts indeed heroic, far beyond
So much I feel my genial spirits droop,
In all her functions weary of herself;
Man. Believe not these suggestions, which proceed Of fair fallacious looks, venereal trains,
From anguish of the mind and humors black,
To prosecute the means of thy deliverance
By ransom, or how else : meanwhile be calm, Like a tame wether, all my precious fleece, And healing words from these thy friends admit. Then turn'd me out ridiculous, despoil'd,
[Exit. Shaven, and disarm'd among mine enemies.
Sams. O that torment should not be confin'd
With maladies innumerable
Sams. Wherever fountain or fresh current flow'd And on her purest spirits prey,
As on entrails, joints, and limbs,
Chor. O madness, to think use of strongest wines But, finding no redress, ferment and rage;
To black mortification.
Dire inflammation, which no cooling herb Against another object more enticing ?
Or med'cinal liquor can assuage, What boots it at one gate to make defence,
Nor breath of vernal air from snowy Alp. And at another to let in the foe,
Sleep hath forsook and given me o'er Effeminately vanquish'd ? by which means, To death's benumbing opium as my only cure : Now blind, dishearten'd, sham'd, dishonor'd, quell’d, Thence faintings, swoonings of despair, To what can I be useful, wherein serve
And sense of Heaven's desertion. My nation, and the work from Heaven impos'd, I was his nurseling once, and choice delight, But to sit idle on the household hearth,
His destin'd from the womb, A burdenous drone; to visitants a gaze,
Promis'd by heavenly message twice descending. Or pitied object, these redundant locks
Under his special eye
Above the nerve of mortal arm,
Against the uncircumcis'd, our enemies : llere rather let me drudge, and earn my bread; But now hath cast me off as never known, Till vermin, or the draff of servile food,
And to those cruel enemies, Consume me, and oft-invocated death
Whom I by his appointment had provok’d, Hasten the welcome end of all my pains.
Left me all helpless, with the irreparable loss Man. Wilt thou then serve the Philistines with of sight, reserv'd alive to be repeated that gift
The subject of their cruelty or scorn. Which was expressly given thee to annoy them? Nor am I in the list of them that hope; Better at home lie bed-rid, not only idle,
Hopeless are all my evils, all remediless : Inglorious, unemploy'd, with age outworn. This one prayer yet remains, might I be heard But God, who caus'd a fountain at thy prayer No long petition, speedy death, From the dry ground to spring, thy thirst to allay The close of all my miseries, and the balm.
Chor. Many are the sayings of the wise, An amber scent of odorous perfume In ancient and in modern books enroll’d,
Her harbinger, a damsel train behind ; Extolling patience as the truest fortitude ; Some rich Philistian matron she may seem; And to the bearing well of all calamities,
And now at nearer view, no other certain All chances incident to man's frail life,
Than Dalila thy wife.
[near me. Consolatories writ
Sams. My wife! my traitress : let her not come With studied argument, and much persuasion sought, Chor. Yet on she moves, now stands and eyes Lenient of grief and anxious thought:
thee fix'd, But with the afflicted in his pangs their sound About to have spoke ; but now, with head declin'd, Little prevails, or rather seems a tune
Like a fair flower surcharg'd with dew, she weeps, Harsh, and of dissonant mood from his complaint; And words address'd seem into tears dissolvid, Unless he feel within
Wetting the borders of her silken veil :
But now again she makes address to speak.
[Enter Dalila.] God of our fathers, what is man!
Dal. With doubtful feet and wavering resolution That thou towards him with hand so various, I came, still dreading thy displeasure, Samson, Or might I say contrarious,
Which to have merited, without excuse, Temper'st thy providence through his short course, I cannot but acknowledge ; yet, if tears Not evenly, as thou rul'st
May expiate, (though the fact more evil drew The angelic orders, and inferior creatures mute, In the perverse event than I foresaw,) Irrational and brute.
My penance hath not slacken'd, though my pardon Nor do I name of men the common rout, No way assur’d. But conjugal affection, That, wandering loose about,
Prevailing over fear and timorous doubt,
Hath led me on, desirous to behold
If aught in my ability may serve
To lighten what thou suffer'st, and appease To some great work, thy glory,
Thy mind with what amends is in my power, And people's safety, which in part they effect : Though late, yet in some part to recompense Yet toward these thus dignified, thou oft, My rash, but more unfortunate, misdeed. Amidst their height of noon,
Sams. Out, out, hyena! these are thy wonted arts, Changest thy countenance, and thy hand, with no And arts of every woman false like thee, regard
To break all faith, all vows, deceive, betray, Of highest favors past
Then as repentant to submit, beseech, From thee on them, or them to thee of service. And reconcilement move with feign'd remorse, Nor only dost degrade them, or remit
Confess, and promise wonders in her change ; To life obscur’d, which were a fair dismission, Not truly penitent, but chief to try But throw'st them lower than thou didst exalt them Her husband, how far urg'd his patience bears, high,
His virtue or weakness which way to assail :
Then with more cautious and instructed skill
That wisest and best men, full oft beguild,
With goodness principled not to reject
If not by quick destruction soon cut off,
Dal. Yet hear me, Samson; not that I endeavor In crude old age ;
To lessen or extenuate my offence,
Or else with just allowance counterpois'd,
I may, if possible, thy pardon find
But who is this, what thing of sea or land? To publish them, both common female faults :
Was it not weakness also to make known That so bedeck’d, ornate, and gay,
For importunity, that is, for nought, Comes this way sailing
Wherein consisted all thy strength and safety ? Like a stately ship
To what I did thou show'dst me first the way. Of Tarsus, bound for the isles
But I to enemies reveal'd, and should not : Of Javan or Gadire
Nor shouldst thou have trusted that to woman's With all her bravery on, and tackle trim,
frailty : Sails fill'd, and streamers waving,
Ere I to thee, thou to thyself wast cruel. Courted by all the winds that hold them play, Let weakness then with weakness come to parle,