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Hasten the welcome end of all my pains.
Manoah. Wilt thou then serve the Philistines
with that gift
Which was expressly given thee to annoy them?
Better at home lie bed-rid, not only idle,
Inglorious, unemploy’d, with age outworn.
But God, who caus'd a fountain at thy prayer
From the dry ground to spring, thy thirst to allay
After the brunt of battle, can as easy
Cause light again within thy eyes to spring,
Wherewith to serve him better than thou bast;
And I persuade me so; why else this strength
Miraculous yet remaining in those locks?
His might continues in thee not for nought,
Nor shall his wonderous gifts be frustrate thus.
Samson. All otherwise to me my thoughts por-
tend, That these dark orbs no more shall treat with light, Nor the other light of life continue long, But yield to double darkness nigh at hand : So much I feel my genial spirits droop, My hopes all flat, Nature within me seems In all her functions weary of herself; My race of glory run, and race of shame, And I shall shortly be with them that rest. Manoah. Believe not these suggestions, which
proceed From anguish of the mind and humours black,
That mingle with thy fancy. I however
Must not omit a father's timely care
To prosecute the means of thy deliverance
By ransom, or how else: mean while be calm,
And healing words from these thy friends admit,
Samson. O that Torment should not be confin'd
To the body's wounds and sores,
With maladies innumerable
In heart, head, breast, and reins;
But must secret passage find
To the inmost mind,
Their exercise all his fierce accidents,
And on her purest spirits prey,
As on entrails, joints, and limbs,
With answerable pains, but more intense,
Though void of corporal sense.
My griefs not only pain me As a lingering disease, But, finding no redress, ferment and rage; Nor less than wounds immedicable Rankle, and fester, and gangrene, To black mortification. Thoughts, my tormenters, arm’d with deadly stings, Mangle my apprehensive tenderest parts, Exasperate, exulcerate, and raise Dire inflammation, which no cooling herb Or medicínal liquour can asswage,
Nor breath of vernal air from snowy Alp,
Sleep hath forsook and given me o’er
To death's benumming opium as my only cure:
Thence faintings, swoonings of despair,
And sense of Heaven's desertion.
I was his nursling once, and choice delight,
His destin’d from the womb,
Promis’d by heavenly message twice descending.
Under his special eye
Abstemious I grew up, and thriv'd amain;
He led me on to mightiest deeds,
Above the nerve of mortal arm,
Against the uncircumcis'd, our enemies :
But now has cast me off as never known,
And to those cruel enemies,
Whom I by his appointment had provok’d,
Left me all helpless with the irreparable loss
Of sight, reserv'd alive to be repeated
The subject of their cruelty or scorn.
Nor am I in the list of them that hope;
Hopeless are all my evils, all remediless :
This one prayer yet remains, might I be heard,
No long petition, speedy death,
The close of all my miseries, and the balm.
Chorus. Many are the sayings of the wise,
In ancient and in modern books inroll’d,
Extolling patience as the truest fortitude;
And to the bearing well of all calamities,
All chances incident to man's frail life,
With studied argument, and much persuasion sought
Lenient of grief and anxious thought :
But with the aíllicted in his pangs their sound
Little prevails, or rather seems a tune
Harsh, and of dissonant mood from his complaint ;
Unless he feel within
Some source of consolation from above,
Secret refreshings, that repair his strength,
And fainting spirits uphold.
God of our fathers, what is man!
That thou towards him with hand so various,
Or might I say contrarious,
Temper’st thy providence through his short course,
Not evenly, as thou rul'st
The angelick Orders, and inferior creatures mute,
Irrational and brute.
Nor do I name of men the common rout,
That wandering loose about
Grow up and perish, as the summer-fly,
Heads without name no more remember’d;
But such as thou hast solemnly elected,
With gifts and graces eminently adorn’d,
To some great work, thy glory,
And people's safety, which in part they effect:
Yet toward these thus dignified, thou oft,
Amidst their highth of noon,
Changest thy countenance, and thy hand, with no
regard Of highest favours past From thee on them, or them to thee of service. .
Nor only dost degrade them, or remit To life obscur'd, which were a fair dismission, But throw'st them lower than thou didst exalt them
high, Unseemly falls in human eye, Too grievous for the trespass or omission; Oft leav'st them to the hostile sword Of Heathen and profane, their carcasses To dogs and fowls a prey, or else captív’d; Or to the unjust tribunals, under change of times, And condemnation of the ingrateful multitude. If these they ’scape, perhaps in poverty With sickness and disease thou bow'st them down, Painful diseases and deform’d, In crude old age : Though not disordinate, yet causeless suffering The punishment of dissolute days : in fine, Just, or unjust, alike seem miserable, For oft alike both come to evil end.
So deal not with this once thy glorious champion, The image of thy strength, and mighty minister. What do I beg? how hast thou dealt already! Behold him in his state calamitous, and turn His labours, for thou canst, to peaceful end.