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Sole author I, sole cause : if ought seem vile,
As vile hath been my folly, who' have profan'd
The mystery of God giv'n me under pledge
Of vow, and have betray'd it to a woman,
A Canaanite, my faithless enemy,
This well I knew, nor was at all surpris’d,
But warn’d by oft experience: did not she
Of Timna first betray me, and reveal
The secret wrested from me in her height
Of nuptial love profess'd, carrying it straight
To them who had corrupted her, my spies,
And rivals? In this other was there found
More faith, who also in her prime of love,
Spousal embraces, vitiated with gold,
Though offer'd only, by the scent conceiv'd

590
Her spurious first-born, treason against me?
Thrice she assay'd with flattering pray’rs 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 know;
Thrice I deluded her, and turn’d to sport

396 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 400 She sought to make me traitor to myself ; Yet the fourth time, when must'ring all her wiles, With blandish'd parlies, feminine assaults,

391. –Ireason against me?] 401. She sought] So it is in By our laws called petty treason. Milton's own edition; in most Richardson.

of the others She thoughi.

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Tongue-batteries, she surceas'd not day nor night
To storm me over-watch'd, and wearied out,
At times when men seek most repose and rest,
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 fall’n,
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 serv’d.

MANOAH.
I cannot praise thy marriage choices, son,
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

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411. --O indignity! O blot &c.] there is something vastly grand Nothing could give the reader a and noble in his reflection upon better idea of a great and heroic his present condition on this ocspirit in the circumstances of casion, Samson, than this sudden gust These rags, this grinding is not yet of indignation and passionate so base &c. self-reproach upon the mention

Thyer. ing of his weakness. Besides

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To violate the sacred trust of silence
Deposited within thee; which to have kept
Tacit, was in thy pow's: 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
To Dagon, as their God, who hath deliver'd
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 befall’n 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

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434. This day the Philistines a improved, and with great judg. popular feast &c.] Judg. xvi. 23. ment he hath put this reproach Then the lords of the Philistines of Samson into the mouth of the gathered them together, for to offer father, rather than any other of a great sacrifice unto Dagon their the dramatis personæ. God, and to rejoice ; for they said, 449. —pomp] Public procesOur God hath delivered Samson sion, &c. See note, Par. Lost, our enemy into our hand, &c. viii. 60. and below, ver. 1312. This incident the poet hath finely E.

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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 460 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, 465 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 these words I as a prophecy receive ; for God, Nothing more certain, will not long defer To vindicate the glory of his name

475

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472. and these words Dagon's worshippers is artfully

I as a prophecy receive ;] presignified, as the death of This method of one person's Samson is in other places; but taking an omen from the words Manoah, as it was natural, acof another was frequently prac- cepts the good omen, without tised among the ancients: and thinking of the evil that is to in these words the downfail of follow.

Against all competition, nor will long
Indure 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

480
Neglected. I already have made way
To some Philistian lords, with whom to treat
About thy ransom: well they may by this
Have satisfied their utmost of revenge
By pains and slaveries, worse than death inflicted 485
On thee, who now no more canst do them harm.

SAMSON.
Spare that proposal, father, spare the trouble
Of that solicitation ; let me here,
As I deserve, pay on my punishment ;
And expiate, if possible, my crime,
Shameful garrulity. To have reveal'd
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,

495
The mark of fool set on his front?
But I God's counsel have not kept, his holy secret
Presumptuously have publish’d, impiously,
Weakly at least, and shamefully: a sin
That Gentiles in their parables condemn

500

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500. That Gentiles in their pa- poetæ impendere apud inferos rables condemn &c.] Alluding to saxum Tantalo faciunt ob scethe story of Tantalus, who for lera, animique impotentiam, et revealing the secrets of the gods superbiloquentiam. Euripides as. was condemned to pains in hell. signs the same punishment, and Cicero Tusc. Disp. iv. 16. -- for the same reason. Orestes 8.

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