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Beauty is Nature's brag, and must be shown That had the sceptre from his father Brutu. 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 Commended 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 immortal 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 shrewd 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,
785 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?
Listen, where thou art sitting
In twisted braids of lilies knitting
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,
And fair Ligea's golden comb,
Sleeking her soft alluring locks,
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.
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 dank, glass out of his hand, and breuk 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
I am here.
915 Which once of Melibæus old I learn'd.
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 froin hence, Through the force, and through the wile
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
On the lawns, and on the leas.
This second Song presents them to their Father and
Noble Lord and Lady bright,
I have brought you new delight,
Here behold so goodly grown
980 And I must haste ere morning hour
Three fair branches of your own;
Heaven hath timely tried their youth,
And sent them here through hard assays
To triumph in victorious dance
O'er sensual folly, and intemperance.
The dances ended, the Spirit epilogizes.
Spir. To the ocean now I fly,
And those happy climes that lie
990 Never scorch thy tresses fair,
Up in the broad fields of the sky:
There I suck the liquid air
All amidst the gardens fair
Of Hesperus and his daughters three
395 May thy lofty head be crown'd
Along the crispid shades and bowers
Revels the spruce and jocund Spring,
The Graces, and the rosy bosom'd Hours,
Thither all their bounties bring;
1000 Let us fly this cursed place,
And west-winds with musky wing
About the cedarn alleys fling
Nard and Cassia's balmy smells.
Iris there with humid bow
Waters the odorous banks, that blow
1005 I shall be your faithful guide
Flowers of more mingled hue
Than her purfled scarf can show.
And drenches with Elysian dew
(List mortals, if your ears be true)
1010 Many a friend to gratulate
Where young Adonis oft reposes,
Waxing well of his deep wound
In slumber soft, and on the ground
Sadly sits th' Assyrian queen;
1015 And our sudden coming there
Celestial Cupid her fam'd son advanc'd,
Holds his dear Psyche sweet intrancd,
After her wand'ring labours long
Till free consent the gods among
And from her fair unspotted side
President's castle; then come in country dancers, Youth and Joy; so Jove hath sworn.
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.
Mortals that would follow me,
She can teach you how to climb
Higher than the sphery chime;
Or if virtue feeble were,
975 As Mercury did first devise
1035 Heaven itself would stoop to her.
END OF THE MASK.
Samson made captive, blind, and now in the prison at Gaza, there to labour as in a common work-house, o
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 :
Ask for this great deliverer now, and find him 40
Himself in bonds under Philistian yoke;
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?
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,
But to subserve where wisdom bears coinmand !
But peace, I must not quarrel with the will 60
Suffices that to me strength is my bane,
63 As in a fiery column charioting
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, 0 worse than chains,
Light, the prime work of God, to me is extinct, 70
And all her various objects of delight
Inferior to the vilest now become
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 775 strength
To daily fraud, contempt, abuse, and wrong,
* Samson Agonistes, tnat 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 thy 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. Lair 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 O 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 shoula, 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 wom 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 warlike 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 dead 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,
Sams. That fault I take not on me, but transfer Thy bondage or lost sighty
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'd best: 255
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 Into their hands, and they as gladly yield me
Pray'd for, but often proves our wo, our bane ? To the uncircumcised a welcome prey,
I pray'd for children, and thought barrenness
260 In wedlock a reproach ; I gain'd a son,
O wherefore did God grant me my request,
Our earnest prayers, then given with solemn hard
As graces, draw a scorpion's tail behind ? 360 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
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 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
Sams. Appoint not heavenly disposition, father ; Of Madian and her vanquish'd kings:
Nothing of all these evils hath befallen mne 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 adjudg‘d to death,
This well I knew, nor was at all surpris'd,
But warn'd by oft experience: did not she
The secret wrested from me in her height
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
Spousal embraces, vitiated with gold,
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;
393 Till by their own perplexities involvid
Thrice I deluded her, and tum'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 bind 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,
Who with a grain of manhood well resolv'd
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 : ad vise
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
Man. Brethren and men of Dan, for such ye seem, I state not that; this I am sure, our foes
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 rigid score. A worse thing yet remains,
Here celebrate in Gaza ; and proclaim 435 None offering fight; who single combatant Duel'd their armies rank'd in proud array,
Great pomp, and sacrifice, and praises loud 345
To Dagon, as their god who hath deliver'd Himself an army, now unequal match
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