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Dungeon, or beggery, or decrepit age !
Light the prime work of God, to me is extinct,
And all her various objects of delight
Annull’d, which might in part my grief have eas'd,
Inferiour to the vilest now become
Of man or worm; the vilest here excel me;
They creep, yet see; I, dark in light, expos’d
To daily fraud, contempt, abuse, and wrong,
Within doors, or without, still as a fool,
In power of others, never in my own; ;
Scarce half I seem to live, dead more than half.
O dark, dark, dark, amid the blaze of noon,
Irrecoverably dark, total eclipse
Without all hope of day!
O first created Beam, and thou great Word,
“Let there be light, and light was over all;"
Why am I thus bereav'd thy prime decree?
The sun to me is dark
And silent as the moon,
When she deserts the night,
Hid in her vacant interlunar cave.
Since light so necessary is to life,
And almost life itself, if it be true
'That light is in the soul,
She all in every part; why was the sight
To such a tender ball as the eye confin'd,
So obvious and so easy to be quench'd ?
And not, as feeling, through all parts diffus’d,
That she might look at will through every pore?
Then had I not been thus exíld from light,
To live a life half dead, a living death,
And buried; but, O yet more miserable !
Myself my sepulchre, a moving grave;
Buried, yet not exempt,
By privilege of death and burial,
From worst of other evils, pains and wrongs ;
But made hereby obnoxious more
To all the miseries of life.
Life in captivity
Among inhuman foes.
But who are these ? fór with joint pace I hear
The tread of many feet steering this way;
Perhaps my enemies, who come to stare
At my affliction ! and perhaps to insult,
Their daily practice to afflict me more.
Chorus. This, this is he; softly a while, Let us not break in upon him: O change beyond report, thought, or belief! See how he lies at random, carelessly diffus'd, With languish'd head unpropt, As one past hope, abandon’d, And by himself given over ; In slavish habit, ill-fitted weeds O'er worn and soil'd;
Or do my eyes misrepresent? Can this be he,
That heroick, that renown'd,
Irresistible Samson? whom unarm’d
No strength of man, or fiercest wild beast, could
Who tore the lion, as the lion tears the kid ;
Ran on embattled armies clad in iron;
And, weaponless himself,
Made arms ridiculous, useless the forgery
Of brazen shield and spear, the hammer'd cuirass,
Chalybean temper'd steel, and frock of mail
But safest he who stood aloof,
When insupportably his foot advanc'd,
In scorn of their proud arms and warlike tools,
Spurn’d them to death by troops. The bold Asca-
lonite Fled from his lion
old warriours turn'd Their plated backs under his heel ; Or groveling, soil'd their crested helmets in the
dust. Then with what trivial weapon came to hand, The jaw of a dead ass, his sword of bone, A thousand fore-skins fell, the flower of Palestine, In Ramath-le chi, famous to this day. Then by main force pull'd up, and on his shoulders
bore The gates of Azza, post, and massy bar,
Up to the hill by Hebron, seat of giants old,
No journey of a sabbath-day, and loaded so,
Like whom the Gentiles feign to bear up Heaven.
Which shall I first bewail,
Thy bondage or lost sight,
Prison within prison
Thou art become (0 worst imprisonment !)
The dungeon of thyself; thy soul,
(Which men enjoying sight oft without cause com-
Imprison'd now indeed,
In real darkness of the body dwells,
Shut up from outward light
To incorporate with gloomy night;
For inward light alas !
Puts forth no visual beam.
O mirrour of our fickle state,
Since man on earth unparallell’d!
The rarer thy example stands,
By how much from the top of wonderous glory,
Strongest of mortal men,
To lowest pitch of abject fortune thou art fallen.
For him I reckon not in high estate
Whom long descent of birth,
Or the sphere of fortune, raises;
But thee whose strength, while virtue was her mate,
Might have subdued the earth,
Universally crown'd with highest praises.
Samson. I hear the sound of words; their sense
the air Dissolves unjointed ere it reach my ear. Chorus. He speaks, let us draw nigh. Match
less in might, The glory late of Israel, now the grief, We come, thy friends and neighbours not unknown, From Eshtaol and Zora's fruitful vale, To visit or bewail thee; or if better, Counsel or consolation we may bring, Salve to thy sores; apt words have power to swage The tumours of a troubled mind, And are as balm to fester'd wounds. Samson. Your coming, Friends, revives me; for I
learn Now of my own experience, not by talk, How counterfeit a coin they are who friends Bear in their superscription, (of the most I would be understood) in prosperous days They swarm, but in advérse withdraw their head, Not to be found, though sought. Ye see, 0
Friends, How many evils have enclos'd me round; Yet that which was the worst now least afflicts me, Blindness; for had I sight, confus'd with shame, How could I once look up, or heave the head, Who, like a foolish pilot, have shipwreck'd