Page images

Beauty is Nature's brag, and must be shown That had the sceptre from his father Brute. 840 In courts, in feasts, and high solemnities,

She, guiltless damsel, flying the mad pursuit Where most may wonder at the workmanship; Of her enraged stepdame Guendolen, It is for homely features to keep home, 760 Cominended her fair innocence to the flood, They had their name thence ; coarse complexions That stay'd her flight with his cross flowing course, And cheeks of sorry grain will serve to ply

The water-nymphs that in the bottom play'd, 845 The sampler, and to tease the housewife's wool. Held up their pearly wrists and took her in, What need a vermil-tinctur'd lip for that,

Bearing her straight to aged Nereus' hall, Love-darting eyes, or tresses like the morn? 765 Who, piteous of her woes, rear'd her lank' head, There was another meaning in these gifts,

And gave her to his daughters to embathe Think what, and be advis'd, you are but young yet.

In nectar'd lavers strow'd with asphodil. 850 Lady. I had not thought to have unlock'd my lips And through the porch and inlet of each sense In this unhallow'd air, but that this juggler Dropp'd in ambrosial oils till she reviv'd, Would think to charm my judgment, as mine eyes,

And underwent a quick inmortal change, Obtruding false rules prank'd in reason's garb. 771 Made goddess of the river; still she retains I hate when vice can bolt her arguments,

Her maiden gentleness, and oft at eve

855 And virtue has no tongue to check her pride. Visits the herds along the twilight meadows, Impostor, do not charge most innocent Nature, Helping all urchin blasts, and ill-luck signs As if she would her children should be riotous 775 That the shrew'd meddling elf delights to make, With her abundance; she, good cateress,

Which she with precious vial'd liquors heals. Means her provision only to the good,

For which the shepherds at their festivals 860 That live according to her sober laws,

Carol her goodness loud in rustic lays, And holy dictate of spare temperance :

And throw sweet garland wreaths into her stream If every just man, that now pines with want, 780 Of pansies, pinks, and gaudy daffodils. Had but a moderate and beseeming share

And, as the old swain said, she can unlock Of that which lewdly pamper'd luxury

The clasping charm, and thaw the numbing spell, Now heaps upon soine few with vast excess,

If she be right invok'd in warbled song,

866 Nature's full blessings would be well dispens'd For maidenhood she loves, and will be swift In unsuperfluous even proportion,


To aid a virgin, such as was herself, And she no whit incumber'd with her store,

In hard besetting need; this will I try, And then the giver would be better thank'd, And add the power of some adjuring verse. 870 His praise due paid; for swinish gluttony Ne'er looks to heaven amidst his gorgeous feast, But with besotted base ingratitude

790 Crams and blasphemes his feeder. Shall I go on?

Or have I said enough? To him that dares
Arm his profane tongue with contemptuous words Sabrina fair,
Against the sun-clad power of chastity,

Listen, where thou art sitting
Fain would I something say, yet to what end? 795 Under the glassy, cool, translucent wave,
Thou hast nor ear nor soul to apprehend

In twisted braids of lilies knitting
The subline notion, and high mystery,

The loose train of thy amber-dropping hair; That must be utter'd to unfold the sage

Listen, for dear honour's sake,

876 And serious doctrine of virginity,

Goddess of the silver lake, And thou art worthy that thou shouldst not know

Listen, and save. More happiness than this thy present lot. 801

Listen, and appear to us Enjoy your dear wit, and gay rhetoric,

In name of great Oceanus,

880 That hath so well been taught her dazzling fence, By th' earth-shaking Neptune's mace, Thou art not fit to hear thyself convinc'd ;

And Tethy's grave majestic pace, Yet should I try, the uncontrolled worth 805

By hoary Nereus' wrinkled look, Of this pure cause would kindle mny rapt spirits

And the Carpathian wizard's hook, To such a flame of sacred vehemence,

By scaly Triton's winding shell,

885 That dumb things would be mov'd to sympathize, And old sooth-saying Glaucus' spell, And the brute earth would lend her nerves and By Leucothea's lovely hands, shake,

And her son that rules the strands, Till all thy magic structures rear'd so high, 810 By Thetis' tinsel-slipper'd feet, Were shatter'd into heaps o'er thy false head.

And the songs of Sirens sweet,

890 Com. She fables not, I feel that I do fear

By dead Parthenope's dear tomb,
Her words set off by some superior power;

And fair Ligea's golden comb,
And though not mortal, yet a cold shudd'ring dew Wherewith she sits on diamond rocks,
Dips me all o'er, as when the wrath of Jove 815

Sleeking her soft alluring locks,
Speaks thunder, and the chains of Erebus

By all the nymphs that nightly dance 895 To some of Satan's crew. I must dissemble

Upon thy streams with wily glance, And try her yet more strongly. Come, no more, Rise, rise, and heave thy rosy head This is mere moral babble, and direct

From thy coral-paven bed, Against the canon laws of our foundation; 820 And bridle in thy headlong wave, I must not suffer this, yet 'tis but the lees

Till thou our summons answer'd have. 900 And settlings of a melancholy blood:

Listen, and save. But this will cure all straight, one sip of this Will bathe the drooping spirits and delight 824 Sabrina rises, attended by water-nymphs, and sings. Beyond the bliss of dreams. Be wise, and taste.

By the rushy-fringed bank, The Brothers rush in with swords drawn, wrest his Where grows the willow and the osier dant, glass out of his hand, and break it against the

My sliding chariot stays, ground; his rout make sign of resistance, but are Thick set with agate, and the azure sheen 905 all driven in: The attendunt Spirit comes in.

Of turkois blue, and em'rald green,

That in the channel strays; Spirit. What, have you let the false enchanter

Whilst from off the waters fleet 'scape ?

Thus I set my printless feet Oye mistook, ye should have snatch'd his wand

O'er the cowslip's velvet head,

910 And bound him fast; without his rod revers'd,

That bends not as I tread; And backward mutters of dissevering power,

Gentle Swain, at thy request
We cannot free the Lady that sits here 830

I am here.
In stony Petters fix'd, and motionless :
Yet stay, be not disturb'd; now I bethink me,

Spirit. God less dear,
Some other means I have which may be us'd, We implore thy powerful hand,

915 Which once of Melibæus old I learn'. 834 To undo the charm'd band The soothest shepherd that c'er pip'd on plains. Of true virgin here distress'd,

There is a gentle nymph not far fro.n hence, Through the force, and through the wile
That with moist curb sways the smooth Severi Of unbless'd enchanter vile.
Sa!). Shepherd, 'tis niy office best

920 Sabrina is her name, a virgin pure;

To help ensnared chastity: Whilome she was the daughter of Locrine,

Brightest Lady, look on me;

Thus I sprinkle on thy breast

With the mincing Dryades Drops that from my fountain pure

On the lawns, and on the leas. I have kept of precious cure,

925 Thrice upon thy fingers' tip

This second Song presents them to their Father and Thrice upon thy rubied lip;

Next this marble venom'd seat,
Smeard with gums of glutinous heat,

Noble Lord and Lady bright,
I touch with chaste palms moist and cold : 930

I have brought you new delight, Now the spell hath lost his hold;

Here behold so goodly grown

980 And I must haste ere morning hour

Three fair branches of your own;
To wait in Amphitrite's bower.

Heaven hath timely tried their youth,
Their faith, their patience, and their truth,

And sent them here through hard assays Sabrina descends, and the Lady rises out of seat, With a crown of deathless praise, 985

To triumph in victorious dance Spirit. Virgin, daughter of Locrine,

O'er sensual folly, and intemperance. Sprung of old Anchises' line,

935 May thy brimmed waves for this

The dances ended, the Spirit epilogizes.
Their full tribute never miss
From a thousand petty rills,

Spir. To the ocean now I fly,
That tumble down the snowy hills:

And those happy climes that lie Summer drouth, or singed air 940 Where day never shuts his eye,

990 Never scorch thy tresses fair,

Up in the broad fields of the sky: Nor wet October's torrent flood

There I suck the liquid air Thy molten crystal fill with mud;

All amidst the gardens fair May thy billows roll ashore

Of Hesperus and his daughters three
The beryl, and the golden ore;

That sing about the golden tree:

395 May thy lofty head be crown'd

Along the crispid shades and bowers With many a tower and terrace round,

Revels the spruce and jocund Spring, And here and there thy banks upon

The Graces, and the rosy bosom'd Hours, With groves of myrrh and cinnamon.

Thither all their bounties bring; Come, Lady, while heaven lends us grace, 950 That there eternal Summer dwells

1000 Let us fly this cursed place,

And west-winds with musky wing Lest the sorcerer us entice

About the cedarn alleys fling, With some other new device.

Nard and Cassia's balmy smells. Not a waste, or needless sound,

Iris there with humid bow
Till we come to holier ground;

Waters the odorous banks, that blow

1005 I shall be your faithful guide

Flowers of more mingled hue Through this gloomy covert wide,

Than her purfled scarf can show. And not many furlongs thence

and drenches with Elysian dew Is your Father's residence,

(List mortals, if your ears be true) Where this night are met in state


Beds of hyacinth and roses, Many a friend to gratulate

Where young Adonis oft reposes, His wish'd presence, and beside

Waxing well of his deep wound All the swains that near abide,

In slumber soft, and on the ground With jigs, and rural dance resort;

Sadly sits th' Assyrian queen;
We shall catch them at their sport,

But far above in spangled sheen

1015 And our sudden coming there

Celestial Cupid her fam'd son advanc'd, Will double all their mirth and cheer;

Holds his dear Psyche sweet intranc'd, Come let us haste, the stars grow high,

After her wand'ring labours long
But night sits monarch yet in the mid-sky.

Till free consent the gods among
Make her his eternal bride,


And from her fair unspotted side The scene changes, presenting Ludlon town and the Two blissful twins are to be bom,

President's castle; then come in country dancers, Youth and Joy; so Jove hath sworn. after them the attendant Spirit, with the two But now my task is smoothly done, Brothers and the Lady.

I can fly, or I can run

1025 Quickly to the green earth's end,

Where the bow'd welkin slow doth bend,

And from thence can soar as soon

To the corners of the moon. Spir. Back, Shepherds, back, enough your play,

Mortals that would follow me,

1030 Till next sun-shine holiday:

971 Love virtue, she alone is free, Here be without duck or nod

She can teach you how to climb Other trippings to be trod

Higher than the sphery chime; Of lighter toes, and such court guise

Or if virtue feeble were, As Mercury díd first devise

Heaven itself would stoop to her.




[merged small][ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]

THE ARGUMENT. Samson made captive, blind, and non' in the prison at Gaza, there to labour as in a common work-house, on 1 festival day, in the general cessation from labour, comes

forth into the open air, to a place nigh, somewhat retired, there to sit awhile and bemoan his condition. Where he happens at length to be visited by cer. tain friends and equals of his tribe, which make the Chorus, who seek to comfort him what they can then by his old father Manoah, who endeavours the like, and withal tells him his purpose to procure his liberty by ransom; lastly, that this feast was proclaimed by the Philistines as a day of thanksgiving for their deliverance from the hands of Samson, which yet more troubles him. Manoah then departs to prosecute his endeavour with the Philistian lords for Samson's redemption; who in the meanwhile is visited by other persons; and lastly by a public officer to require his coming to the feast before the lords and people, to play and show his strength in their presence; he at first refuses, dismissing the public of ficer with absolute denial to come; at length persuaded inwardly that this was from God, he yields to go along with him, who came now the second time with great threatenings to fetch him: the Chorus yet romaining on the place, Manoath returns full of joyful hope, to procure erelong his son's deliverance : in the midst of which discourse a Hebrew comes in haste, confusedły at first, and afterwards more distinctly relating the catastrophe, what Samson had done to the Philistines, and by accident to himself; where. with the tragedy ends.


Put to the labour of a beast, debas'd

Lower than bondslave! Promise was that I A LITTLE cnward lend thy guiding hand

Should Israel from Philistian yoke deliver : To these dark steps, a little farther on;

Ask for this great deliverer now, and find him 40 For yonder bank hath choice of sun or shade: Eyeless in Gaza at the mill with slaves, There I am wont to sit, when any chance

Himself in bonds under Philistian yoke; Relieves me from my task of servile toil,

5 Yet stay, let me not rashly call in doubt Daily' in the common prison else injoin'd me, Divine prediction; what if all foretold Where I a prisoner chain'd, scarce freely draw Had been fulfill'd but through mine own default 45 The air imprison'd also, close and damp,

Whom have I to complain of but myself? Unwholesome draught: but here I feel amends, Who this high gift of strength committed to me, The breath of heaven fresh blowing, pure and In what part lodg'd, how easily bereft me, sweet,

10 Under the seal of silence could not keep, With day-spring born; here leave me to respire. But weakly to a woman must reveal it,

50 This day a solemn feast the people hold

O'ercome with importunity and tears. To Dagon their sea-idol, and forbid

O impotence of mind, in body strong! Laborious works; unwillingly this rest

But what is strength without a double share Their superstition yields me; hence with leave 15 Of wisdom, vast, unwieldy, burdensome, Retiring from the popular noise, I seek

Proudly secure, yet liable to fall

55 This unfrequented place to find some ease,

By weakest subtleties, not made to rule, Ease to the body some, none to the mind

But to subserve where wisdom bears command! From restless thoughts, that like a deadly swarm God, when he gave me strength, to show withal Of hornets arm'd, no sooner found alone, 20

How slight the gift was, hung it in my hair. But rush upon me thronging, and present

But peace, I must not quarrel with the will 60 Times past, what once I was, and what am now. Of highest dispensation, which herein

wherefore was my birth from heaven foretold Haply had ends above my reach to know: Twice by an angel, who at last in sight

Suffices that to me strength is my bane, of both my parents all in flames ascended 25 And proves the source of all my miseries From off the altar, where an offering burn'd, So many, and so huge, that each apart

63 As in a fiery column charioting

Would ask a life to wail, but chief of all,
His godlike presence, and from some great act O loss of sight, of thee I'most complain!
Or benefit reveal'd to Abraham's race?

Blind among enemies, O worse than chains,
Why was my breeding order'd and prescrib'd 30 Dungeon, or beggary, or decrepit age!
As of a person separate to God,

Light, the prime work of God, to me is extinct, 70 Design'd for great exploits; if I must die

And all

her various objects of delight Betray'd, captiv'd, and both my eyes put out, Annull'd, which might in part my grief have eas d, Made of my enemies the scorn and gaze;

Inferior to the vilest now become To grind in brazen fetters under task

35 Of man or worm; the vilest here excel me, With this heaven-gifted strength ? O glorious They creep, yet see, I dark in light expos'd strength

To daily fraud, contempt, abuse, and wrong,

* Samson Agonistes, that is, Samson an actor, Samson represented in a play.

Within doors, or without, still as a fool,

By how much from the top of wondrous glory, In power of others, never in my own;

Strongest of mortal men, Scarce half I seem to live, dead more than half. To lowest pitch of abject fortune thou art fallen. O dark, dark, dark, amid the blaze of noon, 80 For him I reckon not in high estate

170 Irrecoverably dark, total eclipse

Whom long descent of birth Without all hope of day!

Or the sphere of fortune raises; O first created Beam, and thou great Word, But thee whose strength, while virtue was her mate, Let there be light, and light was over all;

Might have subdued the earth, Why am I thus bereav'd ihy prime decree ? 85 Universally crown'd with highest praises. 175 The sun to me is dark,

Sams. I hear the sound of words, their sense the And silent as the moon,

Dissolves unjointed ere it reach my ear.

(air When she deserts the night

Chor. He speaks, let us draw nigh. Matchless in Hid in her vacant, interlunar cave.

might, Since light so necessary is to life,

90 The glory late of Israel, now the grief; And almost life itself, if it be true

We come thy friends and neighbours not unknown That Light is in the soul,

From Eshtaol and Zora's fruitful vale

181 She all in every part; why was the sight

To visit or bewail thee, or if better, To such a tender ball as th' eye confin'd,

Counsel or consolation we may bring, So obvious and so easy to be quench'd ?

95 Salve to thy sores; apt words have power to 'swage And not as feeling through all parts diffus'd, The tumours of a troubled mind,

185 That she might look at will through every pore? And are as balm to fester'd wounds. Then had I not been thus exil'd from light,

Sams. Your coming, friends, revives me, for I As in the land of darkness yet in light;

learn To live a life half dead, a living death,

100 Now of my own experience, not by talk, And buried; but yet more miserable!

How counterfeit a coin they are who friends Myself my sepulchre, a moving grave,

Bear in their superscription, (of the most

190 Buried, yet not exempt

I would be understood) in prosp'rous days By privilege of death and burial

They swarm, but in adverse withdraw their head, From worst of other evils, pains and wrongs, 105 Not to be found, though sought. Ye see, O friends, But made hereby obnoxious more

How many evils have enclos'd me round; 194 To all the miseries of life,

Yet that which was the worst now least afflicts me, Life in captivity

Blindness, for had I sight, confus'd with shame, Among inhuman foes.

How could I once look up, or heave the head, But who are these ? for with joint pace I hear 110 Who like a foolish pilot have shipwreck'd The tread of many feet steering this way;

My vessel trusted to me from above, Perhaps my enemies who come to stare

Gloriously rigg'd; and for a word, or a tear, 200 At my affliction, and perhaps t' insult,

Fool, have divulg'd the secret gift of God Their daily practice to afflict me more.

To a deceitful woman? tell me, friends, Chor. This, this is he; softly awhile

115 Am I not sung and proverb'd for a fool Let us not break in upon him;

In every street? do they not say, how well O change beyond report, thought, or belief! Are come upon him his deserts ? yet why? 205 See how he lies at random, carelessly diffus'd, Immeasurable strength they might behold With languish'd head unpropp'd,

In me, of wisdom nothing more than mean; As one past hope, abandon'd,

120 This with the other should, at least, have pair'd, And by himself given over;

These two, proportion'd ill, drove me transverse. In slavish habit, ill-fitted weeds

Chor. Tax not divine disposal ; wisest men 210 O'er-worn and soil'd ;

Have err'd, and by bad women been deceiv'd; Or do my eyes misrepresent? Can this be he, And shall again, pretend they ne'er so wise. That heroic, that renown'd,

125 Deject not then so overmuch thyself, Irresistible Samson ? whom unarm'd

Who hast of sorrow thy full load besides ; No strength of man, or fiercest wild beast could Yet truth to say, I oft have heard men wonder 215 withstand;

Why thou shouldst wed Philistian women rather Who tore the lion, as the lion tears the kid,

Than of thy own tribe fairer, or as fair, Ran on imbattled armies clad in iron,

At least of thy own nation, and as noble. And weaponless himself,

130 Sams. The first I saw at Timna, and she pleas'd Made arms ridiculous, useless the forgery.

Me, not my parents, that I sought to wed 220 Of brazen shield and spear, the hammer'd cuirass, The daughter of an infidel; they knew not Chalybean temper'd steel, and frock of mail That what I motion'd was of God; I knew Adamantean proof;

From intimate impulse, and therefore urg'd But safest he who stood aloof,

135 The marriage on; that by occasion hence When insupportably his foot advanc'd,

I might begin Israel's deliverance,

225 In scorn of their proud arms and warlíke tools, The work to which I was divinely call'd. Spurn'd them to death by troops. The bold As- She proving false, the next I took to wife calonite

(O that I never had ! fond wish too late,) Fled from his lion ramp, old warriors turn'd Was in the vale of Sorec, Dalila, Their plated backs under his heel;

140 That specious monster, my accomplish'd snare. 230 Or grov'ling soil'd their crested helmets in the dust, I thought it lawful from my former act, Then with what trivial weapon came to hand, And the same end : still watching to oppress The jaw of a deal ass, his sword of bone,

Israel's oppressors: of what now I suffer A thousand foreskins fell, the

flower of Palestine,

She was not the prime cause but I myself, In Ramath-lechi famous to this day.

145 Who vanquish'd with a peal of words (o weakness! Then

by main force pull'd up, and on his shoulders Gave up my fort of silence to a woman. 236 The gates of Azza, post, and massy, bar,


Chor. In seeking just occasion to provoke Up to the hill by Hebron, seat of giants old,

The Philistine, thy country's enemy, No journey of a sabbath-day, and loaded so; Thou never wast remiss, I bear thee witness : Like whom the Gentiles feign to bear up heaven.

Yet Israel still serves with all his sons.

240 Which shall I first bewail,

151 Sams. That fault I take not on me, but transfer Thy bondage or lost sight,

On Israel's governors, and heads of tribes, Prison within prison

Who seeing those great acts, which God had done Inseparably dark?

Singly by me against their conquerors, Thou art become (0 worst imprisonment!) 155 Acknowledg'd not, or not at all consider'd 245 The dungeon of thyself; thy soul

Deliverance offer'd: I on th' other side (Which men enjoy ing sight oft without cause com- Us'd no ambition to commend my deeds, Imprison'd now indeed,

[plain) The deeds themselves, though mute, spoke loud the In real darkness of the body dwells,

doer; Shut up from outward light

160 But they persisted deaf, and would not seem 249 To' incorporate with gloomy night;

To count them things worth notice, till at length For inward light, alas!

Their lords the Philistines with gather'd powers Puts forth no visual beam.

Enter'd Judea seeking me, who then O mirror of our fickle state,

Safe to the rock of Etham was retir'd, Since man on earth unparallel'd!

165 Not flying, but fore-casting in what place The rarer thy example stands,

To set upon them, what advantag'a best : 235 Meanwhile the men of Judah, to prevent

In mortal strength! and oh what not in man The harass of their land, beset me round;

Deceivable and vain! Nay what thing good 350 I willingly on some conditions came

Pray'd for, but often proves our wo, our bane? Into their hands, and they as gladly yield me I pray'd for children, and thought barrenness To the uncircumcised a welcome prey, 260 In wedlock a reproach ; I gain'd a son, Bound with two cords: but cords to me were threads And such a son as all men

hail'd me happy; Touch'd with the flame: on their whole host I flew Who would be now a father in my stead? 355 Unarm'd, and with a trivial weapon fellid

O wherefore did God grant me my request;
Their choicest youth; they only liv'd who fled. And as a blessing with such pomp adorn'd?
Had Judah that day join'd, or one whole tribe, 265 Why are his gifts desirable, to tempt
They had by this possess'd the towers of Gath,
And lorded over them whom now they serve:

Our earnest prayers, then given with solemn hard


As graces, draw a scorpion's tail behind ? But what more oft in nations grown corrupt For this did th' angel twice descend ? for this And by their vices brought to servitude,

Ordain'd thy nurture holy, as of a plant Than to love bondage more than liberty, 270 Select, and sacred, glorious for awhile Bondage with ease than strenuous liberty;

The miracle of men; then in a hour And to despise, or envy, or suspect

Insnar'd, assaulted, overcome, led bound, 365 Whom God hath of his special favour rais'd Thy foes' derision, captive, poor, and blind, As their deliverer ; if he ought begin,

Into a dungeon thrust, to work with slaves? How frequent to desert him, and at last 275 Alas! methinks whom God hath chosen once To heap ingratitude on worthiest deeds ?

To worthiest deeds, if he through frailty err, Chor. Thy words to my remembrance bring He should not so o'erwhelm, and as a thrall 370 How Succoth and the fort of Penuel

Subject him to such foul indignities, Their great deliverer contemn'd,

Be it but for honour's sake of former deeds. The matchless Gideon in pursuit

280 Sams. Appoint not heavenly disposition, father ; Of Madian and her vanquish'd kings:

Nothing of all these evils hath befallen iné And how ingrateful Ephraim

But justly; I myself have brought them on, 375 Had dealt with Jephtha, who by argument, Sole author I, sole cause : if aught seem vile, Not worse than by his shield and spear,

As vile hath been my folly, who have profan'd Defended Israel from the Ammonite

285 The mystery of God given me under pledge Had not his prowess quell'd their pride

Of vow, and have betray'd it to a woman, In that sore battle, when so many died

A Canaanite, my faithless enemy.

380 Without reprieve adjudgd to death,

This well I knew, nor was at all surpris'd,
For want of well pronouncing Shibboleth.

But war'd by oft experience: did not she
Sams. Of such examples add me to the roll, 290 Of Timna first betray me, and reveal
Me easily indeed mine may neglect,

The secret wrested from me in her height
But God's proposed deliverance not so.

Of nuptial love profess'd, carrying it straight 385 Chor. Just are the ways of God,

To them who had corrupted her, my spies, And justifiable to men;

And rivals ? In this other was there found Unless there be who think not God at all : 295 More faith, who also in her prime of love, If any be, they walk obscure;

Spousal embraces, vitiated with gold, For of such doctrine never was there school, Though offer'd only, by the sent conceiv'd 390 But the heart of the fool,

Her spurious first born, treason against me? And no man therein doctor but himself.

Thrice she assay'd with flatt'ring prayers and sighs, Yet more there be who doubt his ways not just, And amorous reproaches, to win from me As to his own edicts found contradicting, 301 My capital secret, in what part my strength Then give the reins to wand'ring thought,

Lay stor'd, in what part summ'd, that she might Regardless of his glory's diminution ;


395 Till by their own perplexities involv'd

Thrice I deluded her, and turn'd to sport They ravel more, still less resolv'd,

305 Her importunity, each time perceiving But never find self-satisfying solution.

How openly, and with what impudence As if they would confine th Interminable, She purpos'd to betray me, and (which was worse And tie him to his own prescript,

Than undissembled hate) with what contempt 400 Who made our laws to find us, not himself, She sought to make me traitor to myself: And hath full right t'exempt

310 Yet the fourth time, when mustering all her wiles, Whom so it pleases him by choice

With blandish'd parleys, feminine assaults, From national obstriction, without taint

Tongue-batteries, she surceas'd not day nor night Of sin or legal debt:

To storm me, over-watch'd, and wearied out, 406 For with his own laws he can bect dispense.

At times when men seek most repose and rest,
He would not else who never wanted means, 315 I yielded, and unlock'd her all my heart,
Vor in respect of th' enemy just cause

Who with a grain of manhood well resolvid
To set his people free,

Might easily have shook off all her snares : Have prompted this heroic Nazarite,

But foul effeminacy held me yok'd

410 Against his vow of strictest purity,

Her bond slave; O indignity, o blot To seek in marriage that fallacious bride, 320 To honour and religion servile mind Unclean, unchaste.

Rewarded well with servile punishment ! Down reason then, at least vain reasonings down, The base degree to which I now am fallen, Though reason here aver

These rags, this grinding is not yet so base 415 That moral verdict quits her of unclean;

As was my former servitude, ignoble, Unchaste was subsequent, her stain not his. 325 Unmanly, ignominious, infamous, But see here comes thy reverend sire

True slavery, and that blindness worse than this, With careful step, locks white as down,

That saw not how degenerately I serv'd.

419 Old Manoah : advise

Man. I cannot praise thy marriage choices, son, Forthwith how thou ought'st to receive him. Rather approv'd them not; but thou didst plead

Sams. Ay me, another inward grief awak'd 330 Divine impulsion prompting how thou might'st With mention of that name renews th' assault. Find some occasion to infest our foes.

Man. Brethren and men of Dan, for such ye seem, I state not that; this I am sure, our foes Though in this uncouth place; if old respect, Found soon occasion thereby to make thee 425 As I suppose, towards your once gloried friend, Their captive, and their triumph; thou the sooner My son now captive, hither hath inform'd 335 Temptation found'st, or over-potent charms Your younger feet, while mine cast back with age To violate the secret trust of silence Came lagging after; say if he be here.

Deposited within thee; which to have kept 429 Chor. As signal now in low dejected state, Tacit, was in thy power: true; and thou bear'st As erst in highest, behold him where he lies. Enough, and more, the burden of that fault;

Man. O miserable change! is this the man, 340 Bitterly hast thou paid, and still art paying,
That invincible Samson, far renown'd,

That rigid score. A worse thing yet remains,
The dread of Israel's foes, who with a strength This day the Philistines a popular feast
Equivalent to angels walk'd their streets,

Here celebrate in Gaza; and proclaim 435 None offering fight; who single combatant Great pomp, and sacrifice, and praises loud Duel'd their armies rank'd in proud array,

To Dagon, as their god who hath deliver'd Himself an army, now unequal inatch

Thee, Samson, bound and blind into their hands, To save himself against a coward arm'd

Them out of thine, who slew'st them many a slain. At one spear's length. O ever failing trust So Dagon shall be magnified, and God, 440


« PreviousContinue »