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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 thriy'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,
Spousal embraces, vitiated with gold,
Though offer'd only, by the scent conceiv'd
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 stor’d, in what part summ’d, that she might:
Thrice I deluded her, and turn'd to sport
Her importunity, each time perceiving
How openly, and with what impudence
She purpos’d 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 aļi her wiles,
With blandish'd parlies, feminine assaults,
Tongue-batteries, she surceas'd not, day por nights,
To storm me over-watch'd, and wearied out,
At times when men seek most repose
I yielded, and unlock'd her all my heart,
Who, with a grain of manhood, well resolv'd,
Might easily have shook off all her snares;
But foul effeminacy held me yok'd
Her bond-slave; O indignity, O 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 servid.
Manoah. I cannot praise thy marriage-choices,
Rather approv'd 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, :s?
To Dagon, as their God who hath deliver'd 9
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, compar'd with idols,
Disglorified, blasphem’d, 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.
Samson. Father, I do acknowledge and confess That I this honour, I this pomp, have brought To Dagon, and advanc'd his praises high Among the Heathen round; to God have brought Dishonour, obloquy, and op'd 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 presum'd, 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 provok’d, 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.
Manoah. With cause this hope relieves thee, and
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 mean while 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 satified their utmost of revenge
By pains and slaveries, worse than death, inflicted
On thee, who now no more canst do them harm.
Samson. Spare that proposal, Father: spare the
Of that Solicitation ; let me here,
As I deserve, pay on my punishment;
And expiate, if possible, my crime,
Shameful garrulity. To have reveald
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