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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 ev'nly as thou rul'st
Th’ angelic orders and inferior creatures mute,
Irrational and brute.
Nor do I name of men the common rout,
That wand'ring loose about,
Grow up and perish as the summer flie,
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,
680 And people's safety, which in part they effect: Yet toward these thus dignify'd, thou oft Amidst their highth of noon Changest thy count'nance, and thy hand with no reOf highest favours past
[gard 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 Unseemly falls in human eye,
[high, Too grievous for the trespass or omission; 691 Oft leav'st them to the hostile sword
Of Heathen and profane, their carcases
To dogs and fowls a prey, or else captiv'd;
Or to the unjust tribunals, under change of tims,
And condemnation of th' ungrateful 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 suff'ring
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 this state calamitous, and turn His labors, for thou cans't, to peaceful end.
But who is this, what thing of sea or land ? 710 Female of sex it seems, That so bedeck’d, ornate and gay, . Comes this way sailing Like a stately ship Of Tarsus, bound for th' iles Of Javan or Gadire With all her bravery on, and tackle trim, Sails fill'd, and streamers waving, Courted by all the winds that hold them play, An amber scent of odorous perfume
720 Her harbinger, a damsel train behind ; Some rich Philistian matron she may seem,
And now at nearer view, no other certain
Than Dalila thy wife.
Sam. My wife, my traitress, let her not come
[thee fix'd, CHOR. Yet on she moves, now stands and eyes About have spoke, but now, with head declin'd Like a fair flow'r surcharg'd with dew, she weeps, And words address'd' seem into tears dissolv'd, Wetting the borders of her silken veil: 730 But now again she makes address to speak.
Dal. With doubtful feet and wavering resolution I came, still dreading thy displeasure, Samson, Which to have merited, without excuse I cannot but acknowledge; yet if tears May expiate (though the fact more evil drew In the perverse event than I foresaw) My penance hath not slackend, though my pardon No way assur’d. But conjugal affection Prevailing over fear, and timorous doubt, 740 Hath led me on desirous to behold Once more thy face, and know of thy estate, If aught in my ability may serve To lighten what thou suffer'st, and appease Thy mind with what amends is in my power, Though late, yet in some part to recompense My rash but more unfortunate misdeed.
Sam. Out, out hyæna; These are thy wonted arts, And arts of every woman false like thee, To break all faith, all vows, deceive, betray, 750 Then as repentant to submit, bescech,
And reconcilement move with feign'd remorse,
Confess, and promise wonders in her change,
Not truly penitent, but chief to try
Her husband, how far urg'd his patience bears,
His virtue or weakness which way to assail :
Then with more cautious and instructed skill
Again transgresses, and again submits :
The wisest and best men full oft beguild
With goodness principled not to reject 760
The penitent, but ever to forgive,'
Are drawn to wear out miserable days,
Intangled with a pois'nous bosom snake,
If not by quick destruction soon cut off
As I by thee, to ages an example.
Dal. Yet hear me, Samson ; not that I endeavor
To lessen or extenuate my offence,
But that on the other side if it be weigh'd
By itself, with aggravations not surcharg'd,
Or else with just allowance counterpoisid, 770
I may, if possible my pardon find
The easier towards me, or thy hatred less.
First granting, as I do, it was a weakness
In me, but incident to all our sex,
Curiosity, inquisitive, importune
Of secrets then with like infirmity
To publish them, both common female faults:
Was it not weakness also to make known
For importunity, that is for nought,
Wherein consisted all thy strength and safety ? 780
To what I did, thou show'd'st me first the way.
But I to enemies reveal'd, and should not:
Nor shouldst thou have trusted that to woman's
Ere I to thee, thou to thyself wast cruel.
Let weakness then with weakness come to parle
So near related, or the same of kind,
Thine forgive mine ; that men may censure thinc
The gentler, if severely thou exact not
More strength from me than in thyself was found.
And what if love which thou interpret'st hate,
The jealous of love powerful of sway 1791
In human hearts, nor less in mind towards thee,
Caus'd what I did ? I saw thee mutable
Of fancy, fear'd lest one day thou would's leave me
As her at Timna, sought by all means therefore
How to indear, and hold thee to me firmest :
No better way I saw than by' importuning
To learn thy secrets, get into my power
The key of strength and safety : thou wilt say.
Why then reveal'd ? I was assur'd by those 800
Who tempted me, that nothing was designed
Against thee but safe custody and hold:
That made for me ; I knew that liberty
Would draw thee forth to perilous enterprises,
While I at home sat full of cares and fears,
Wailing thy absence in my widow'd bed;
Here'I should still enjoy thee day and night
Mine and Love's prisoner, not the Philistines,
Whole to myself, unhazarded abroad,
Fearless at home of partners in my love.