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Sams. 'That fault I take not on me, but transfer Whom so it pleases him by choice
From national obstriction, without taint
For with his own laws he can best dispense.
He would not else, who never wanted means, Deliverance offer'd: I on the other side
Nor, in respect of the enemy, just cause,
(down; Enter'd Judea seeking me, who then
Down, reason, then; at least vain reasonings, Safe to the rock of Etham was retir'd;
Though reason here aver, Not flying, but fore-casting 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. Meanwhile the men of Judah, to prevent
But see, here comes thy reverend sire The harass of their land, beset me round;
With careful step, locks white as down, I willingly on some conditions came
Old Manoah : advise Into their hands, and they as gladly yield me Forthwith how thou ought'st to receive him. To the uncircumcis'd a welcome prey, (threads Sams. Ay me ! another inward grief, awak'd Bound with two cords ; but cords to me were with mention of that name, renews the assault. Touch'd with the flame: on their whole host I flew Unarm d, and with a trivial weapon fellid
[Enter Manoah.) Their choicest youth; they only liv'd who fled. Man. Brethren and men of Dan, for such ye Had Judah that day join'd, or one whole tribe,
seem, They had by this possess'd the towers of Gath, Though in this uncouth place; if old respect, And lorded over them whom they now serve: As I suppose, towards your once gloried friend, But what more oft, in nations grown corrupt, My son, now captive, hither hath inform’d And by their vices brought to servitude,
Your younger feet, while mine cast back with age Than to lose bondage more than liberty,
Came lagging after; say if he be here. Bondage with ease than strenuous liberty;
Chor. As signal now in low dejected state, And to despise, or envy, or suspect
As erst in highest, behold him where he lies. Whom God hath of his special favour rais'd
Man. O miserable change! is this the man, As their deliverer? if he aught begin,
That invincible Samson, far renown'd, How frequent to desert him, and at last
The dread of Israel's foes, who with a strength To heap ingratitude on worthiest deeds!
Equivalent to angels walk'd their streets, Chor. Thy words to my remembrance bring None offering fight; who single combatant How Succoth and the fort of Penuel
Duell’d their armies rank'd in proud array, Their great deliverer contemn’d,
Himself an army, now unequal match The matchless Gideon, in pursuit
To save himself against a coward arm’d Of Madian and her vanquish'd kings:
At one spear's length. O ever-failing trust And how ingrateful Ephraim
In mortal strength and oh! what not in man Had dealt with Jephtha, who by argument,
Deceivable and vain ? Nay, what thing good Not worse than by his shield and spear
Pray'd for, but often proves our bane? Defended Israel from the Ammonite,
I pray'd for children, and thought barrenness Had not his prowess quelld their pride
In wedlock a reproach ; I gain'd a son, la that sore battle, when so many died
And such a son as all men hail'd me happy; Without reprieve, adjudg'd to death,
Who would be now a father in my stead ?
Same Of such examples add me to the roll; And as a blessing with such pomp adorn'a ?
Why are his gifts desirable, to tempt
Our earnest prayers, then, given with solemn band Cher. Just are the ways of God,
As graces, draw a scorpion's tail behind ? And justifiable to men;
For this did the angel twice descend ? for this Unless there be, who think not God at all : Ordain'd thy nurture holy, as of a plant If any be, they walk obscure ;
Select, and sacred, glorious for a while, For of such doctrine never was there school, The miracle of men; then in an hour But the heart of the fool,
Ensnar'd, assaulted, overcome, led bound, And no man therein doctor but himself.
Thy foe's derision, captive, poor, and blind, Yet more there be, who doubt his ways not just, Into a dungeon thrust, to work with slaves? As to his own edícts found contradicting,
Alas! methinks whom God hath chosen once Then give the reins to wandering thought,
To worthiest deeds, if he through frailty err, Regardless of his glory's diminution;
He should not so o'erwhelm, and as a thrall TII , by their own perplexities involv'd,
Subject him to so foul indignities, They ravel more, still less resolv'd,
Be it but for honour's sake
of former deeds. But never find self-satisfying solution.
Sams. Appoint not heavenly disposition, father; As if they would confine the Interminable, Nothing of all these evils hath befall'n me And tie him to his own prescript
But justly; I myself have brought them on,
Sole author I, sole cause : if aught seem vile,
And hath full right to exenpt
The mystery of God given me under pledge
Sams. Father, I do acknowledge and confess Of vow, and have betray'd it to a woman,
That I this honour, 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
Dishonour, obloquy, and op'd the mouths Of Timna first betray me, and reveal
Of idolists, and atheists ; have 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 harbour sleep, or thoughts to rest. Though offer'd only, by the scent conceiv'd This only hope relieves me, that the strife Her spurious first-born, treason against me?
With me hath end : all the contest is now Thrice she assay'd with flattering prayers and sighs, 'Twixt God and Dagon; Dagon hath presum'd, And amorous reproaches, to win from me
Me overthrown, to enter lists with God, My capital secret, in what part my strength
His deity comparing and preferring Lay stor'd, in what part summ’d, that she might know; Before the God of Abraham. He, be sure, Thrice I deluded her, and turn'd to sport
Will not connive, or linger, thus provok'd, Her importunity, each time perceiving
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 lim 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.
To vindicate the glory of his name
Against all competition, nor will long Who, with a grain of manhood well resolvid,
Endure it doubtful whether God be Lord, Might easily have shook off all her snares : Or Dagon. But for thee what shall be done? But foul effeminacy held me yok'd
Thou must not, in the meanwhile here forgot. Her bond-slave; O indignity, O blot
Lie in this miserable loathsome plight, To honour 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 These rags, 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 serv'd.
trouble Man. I cannot praise thy marriage-choices, so
Of that solicitation ; let me here, Rather approv'd them not; but thou didst plead
As I deserve, pay on my punishment; Divine impulsion prompting how thou might'st
And expiate, if possible, my crime, Find some occasion to infest our foes.
Shameful garrulity. To have reveal'd I state not that ; this I am sure, our foes
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 published, 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 :
Thy penal forfeit from thyself : perhaps
Who ever more 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 renewd ? Miraculous yet remaining in those locks ?
Sams. His pardon I implore; but as for life, His might continues in thee not for nought,
Nor shall his wonderous 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, The sons of Anak, famous now and blaz'd,
My hopes all flat, Nature within me seems Fearless of danger, like a petty god
In all her functions weary of herself; I walk'd about admir'd of all, and dreaded My race of glory run, and race of shame, On hostile ground, none daring my affront. And I shall shortly be with them that rest. (ceed Then swoll'n with pride into the snare I fell
Man. Believe not these suggestions, which proOf fair fallacious looks, venereal trains,
From anguish of the mind and humours black, Soften'd with pleasure and voluptuous life.
That mingle with thy fancy. I however
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,
(Erit.] Shaven, and disarm'd among mine enemies.
Sams. O that torment should not be confin'd
With maladies innumerable
There exercise all his fierce accidents,
As on entrails, joints, and limbs,
With answerable pains, but more intense,
Chor. O madness, to think use of strongest wines But, finding no redress, ferment and rage ;
To black mortification.
Exasperate, exulcerate, and raise Against another object more enticing?
Dire inflammation, which no cooling herb What boots it at one gate to make defence,
Or med'cinal liquor can assuage, And at another to let in the foe,
Nor breath of vernal air from snowy Alp. Effenninately vanquish'd ? by which means, Sleep hath forsook and given me o'er Now blind, dishearten'd, sham'd, dishonour'd, To death's benumbing opium as my only cure : quellid,
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 : Here rather let me drudge, and earn my bread; But now hath cast me off as never known, Till vermin, or the draft of servile food,
And to those cruel enemies, Consuine 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 Mar. Wilt thou then serve the Philistines with Of sight, reserv'd alive to be repeated
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, Prom 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 inroll'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 incidents 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 Chur. 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 : Some source of consolation from above,
But now again she makes address to speak. Secret refreshings, that repair his strength,
[Enter DALILA.] And fainting spirits uphold. 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, hyæna! 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 favours 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 thern Her husband, how far urg'd his patience bears, high,
His virtue or weakness which way to assail : Unseemly falls in human eye,
Then with more cautious and instructed skill Too grievous for the trespass or omission ;
Again transgresses, and again submits ; Oft leav'st them to the hostile sword
That wisest and best men, full oft beguil'd,
With goodness principled not to reject
If not by quick destruction soon cut off,
Dal. Yet hear me, Samson ; not that I endeavour In crude old age;
To lessen or extenuate my offence, Though not disordinate, yet causeless suffering But that on the other side, if it be weigh'd The punishment of dissolute days : in fine,
By itself, with aggravations not surcharg'd, Just, or unjust, alike seem miserable,
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: Female of sex it seems,
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'd’st me first the way. Of Tarsus, bound for the isles
But I to enemies reveal'd, and should not : Of Javan or Gadire
Nor should'st 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,
So near related, or the same of kind.
A common enemy, who had destroy'd
Was not behind, but ever at my ear,
Dishonourer of Dagon : what had I
Only my love of thee held long debate, Of fancy, fear'd lest one day thou would'st leave me And combated in silence all these reasons As her at Timna, sought by all means therefore With hard contést : at length that grounded maxim, How to endear, and hold thee to me firmest : So rife and celebrated in the mouths No better way I saw than by impórtuning Of wisest men, that to the public good To learn thy secrets, get into my power
Private respects must yield, with grave authority Thy key of strength and safety : thou wilt say, Took full possession of me, and prevailid; Why then reveal'd? I was assur'd by those Virtue, as I thought, truth, duty, so enjoining. Who tempted me, that nothing was design'd
Sams. I thought where all thy circling wiles Against thee but safe custody, and hold :
would end; That made for me; I knew that liberty
In feign'd religion, smooth hypocrisy ! Would draw thee forth to perilous enterprises, But had thy love, still odiously pretended, [thee While I at home sat full of cares and fears, Been, as it ought, sincere, it would have taught Wailing thy absence in my widow'd bed ;
Far other reasonings, brought forth other deeds. Here I should still enjoy thee, day and night, I, before all the daughters of my tribe Mine and love's prisoner, not the Philistines', And of my nation, chose thee from among Whole to myself, unhazarded abroad,
My enemies, lov'd thee, as too well thou knew'st; Fearless at home of partners in my love.
Too well; unbosom'd all my secrets to thee, These reasons in love's law have past for good, Not out of levity, but overpower'd Though fond and reasonless to some perhaps : By thy request, who could deny thee nothing: And love hath oft, well meaning, wrought much woe, Yet now am judg’d an enemy. Why then Yet always pity or pardon hath obtain'd.
Did'st thou at first receive me for thy husband, Be not unlike all others, not austere
Then, as since then, thy country's foe profess'd ? As thou art strong, inflexible as steel.
Being once a wife, for me thou wast to leave If thou in strength all mortals dost exceed, Parents and country; nor was I their subject, In uncompassionate anger do not so.
Nor under their protection but my own, Sams. How cunningly the sorceress displays Thou mine, not theirs; if aught against my life Her own transgressions, to upbraid me mine! Thy country sought of thee, it sought unjustly, That malice, not repentance, brought thee hither, Against the law of nature, law of nations; By this appears: I gave, thou say’st, the example, No more thy country, but an impious crew I led the way: bitter reproach, but true;
Of men conspiring to uphold their state I to myself was false ere thou to me;
By worse than hostile deeds, violating the ends Such pardon therefore as I give my folly,
For which our country is a name so dear; Take to thy wicked deed; which when thou seest Not therefore to be obey'd. But zeal moved thee; Impartial, self-severe, inexorable,
To please thy gods thou didst it; gods, unable Thou wilt renounce thy seeking, and much rather To acquit themselves and prosecute their foes Confess it feign'd: weakness is thy excuse, But by ungodly deeds, the contradiction And I believe it; weakness to resist
Of their own deity, gods cannot be ; Philistian gold: if weakness may excuse,
Less therefore to be pleas'd, obey'd or fear'd. What murderer, what traitor, parricide,
These false pretexts, and varnish'd colours failing, Incestuous, sacrilegious, but may plead it ? Bare in thy guilt, how foul must thou appear? All wickedness is weakness : that plea therefore Dal. In argument with men a woman ever With God or man will gain thee no remission. Goes by the worse whatever be her cause. [breath ; But love constrain'd thee ; call it furious rage Sams. For want of words no doubt, or lack of To satisfy thy lust: love seeks to have love; Witness when I was worried with thy peals. My love how could'st thou hope, who took'st the way Dal. I was a fool, too rash, and quite mistaken To raise in me inexpiable hate,
In what I thought would have succeeded best. Knowing, as needs I must, by thee betray'd ? Let me obtain forgiveness of thee, Samson ; Ia vain thou striv'st to cover shame with shame, Afford me place to show what recompense Or by evasions thy crime uncover'st more.
Towards thee I intend for what I have misdone, Dal. Since thou determin'st weakness for no plea Misguided; only what remains past cure la man or woman, though to thy own condemning, Bear not too sensibly, nor still insist Hear what assaults I had, what snares besides, To afflict thyself in vain : though sight be lost, What sieges girt me round, ere I sented; Life yet hath many solaces, enjoy'd Which might have aw'd the best resolv'd of men, Where other senses want not their delights The constantest, to have yielded without blame At home in leisure and domestic ease, It was not gold, as to my charge thou lay'st, Exempt from many a cure and chance, to which That wrought with me: thou know'st the magistrates Eye-sight exposes daily men abroad. And princes of my country came in person, I to the lords will intercede, not doubting Solicited, commanded, threaten'd, urg'd,
Their favourable ear, that I may fetch thee Adjur'd by all the bonds of civil duty
From forth this loathsome prison-house to abide And of religion, press'd how just it was,
With me, where my redoubled love and care How honourable, how glorious, to entrap
With nursing diligence, to me glad office,