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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
To their abyss and horrid pains confin'd. .
Manoah. Be penitent, and for thy fault contrite;
But act not in thy own affliction, Son:
Repent the sin; but, if the punishment'
Thou canst avoid, self-preservation bids;
Or the execution leave to high disposal, .'.
And let another hand, not thine, exact
Thy penal forfeit from thyself : perhaps
God will relent, and quit thee all his debt;
Who ever more approves, and more accepts,
(Best pleas’d with humble and filial submission,).
Him, who imploring mercy, sues for life,
Than who, self-rigorous, chooses death as dye;
Which argues over-just, and self-displeas'd .
For self-offence, more than for God offended.
Reject not then what offer'd means, who knows :
But God hath set before us, to return thee
Home to thy country and his sacred house,
Where thou mayst bring thy offerings, to avert
His further ire, with prayers and vows renew'd ?
Samson. His pardon I implore; but as for life, To what end should I seek it? when in strength All mortals I excell'd, and great in hopes With youthful courage, and magnanimous thoughts
Of birth from Heaven foretold, and high exploits,
Full of divine instinct, after some proof
Of acts indeed heroick, far beyond ;
The sons of Anak, famous now and blaz’d,
Fearless of danger, like a petty God
I walk'd about admir'd of all and dreaded
On hostile ground, none daring my affront.
Then swollen with pride into the snare I fell
Of fair fallacious looks, venereal trains,
Soften’d with pleasure and voluptuous life;
At length to lay my head and hallow'd pledge .
Of all my strength in the lascivious lap
Of a deceitful concubine, who shore me
Like a tame wether, all my precious fleece,
Then turn'd me out ridiculous, despoil'd,
Shaven, and disarm’d among mine enemies.
Chorus. Desire of wine and all delicious drinks,
Which many a famous warriour overturns,
Thou couldst repress; nor did the dancing ruby
Sparkling, out-pour'd, the flavour, or the smell,
Or taste that cheers the heart of Gods and Men,
Allure thee from the cool crystalline stream.
Samson. Wherever fountain or fresh current
Against the eastern ray, translucent, pure
With touch ethereal of Heaven's fiery rod,
I drank, from the clear milky juice allaying
Thirst, and refresh’d: nor envied them the grape
Whose heads that turbulent liquor fills with fumes. Chorus. O madness, to think use of strongest
wines And strongest drinks our chief support of health, When God with these forbidd’n made choice to
rear His mighty champion, strong above compare, Whose drink was only from the liquid brook. Samson. But what avail'd this temperance, not
Against another object more enticing ?
What boots it at one gate to make defence,
And at another to let in the foe,
Effeminately vanquish'd? by which means,
Now blind, dishearten'd, sham’d, dishonour'd,
To what can I be useful, wherein serve
My nation, and the work from Heaven impos'd,
But to sit idle on the houshold hearth,
A burdenous drone; to visitants a gaze,
Or pitied object, these redundant locks
Robustious to no purpose clustering down,
Vain monument of strength; till length of years
And sedentary numness craze my limbs
To a contemptible old age obscure?
Here rather let me drudge, and earn my bread;
n, or the draff of servile food,
e, and oft-invocated death
Hasten the welcome end of all my pains.
Manoah. Wilt thou then serve the Philistines
with that gift
Which was expressly given thee to annoy them?
Better at home lie bed-rid, not only idle,
Inglorious, unemploy’d, with age outworn.
But God, who caus'd a fountain at thy prayer
From the dry ground to spring, thy thirst to allay
After the brunt of battle, can as easy
Cause light again within thy eyes to spring,
Wherewith to serve him better than thou hast;
And I persuade me so; why else this strength
Miraculous yet remaining in those locks ?
His might continues in thee not for nought,
Nor shall his wonderous gifts be frustrate thus,
Samson. All otherwise to me my thoughts por
tend, That these dark orbs no more shall treat with light, Nor the other light of life continue long, But yield to double darkness nigh at hand : So much I feel my genial spirits droop, ';; My hopes all flat, Nature within me seems In all her functions weary of herself; My race of glory run, and race of shame, And I shall shortly be with them that rest. Manoah. Believe not these suggestions, which
proceed From anguish of the mind and humours black,
That mingle with thy fancy. I however
Must not omit a father's timely care
To prosecute the means of thy deliverance
By ransom, or how else: mean while be calm, ..
And healing words from these thy friends admit,
Samson. ( that Torment should not be confin'd
To the body's wounds and sores,
With maladies innumerable
In heart, head, breast, and reins ;
But must secret passage find
To the inmost mind,
Their exercise all his fierce accidents,
And on her purest spirits prey,
As on entrails, joints, and limbs,
With answerable pains, but more intense,
Though void of corporal sense.
My griefs not only pain me As a lingering disease, But, finding no redress, ferment and rage ; Nor less than wounds immedicable Rankle, and fester, and gangrene, To black mortification. Thoughts, my tormenters, arm’d with deadly stings. Mangle my apprehensive tenderest parts, Exasperate, exulcerate, and raise Dire inflammation, which no cooling herb Or medicínal liquour can asswage,