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Τ Η Ε Α R G U Μ Ε Ν Τ.
Samson made captivc, blind, and now in the prison ac

Gaza, there to labor as in a common workhouse, on
a festival day, in the general ceffation from labor,
comes forth into the open air, to a place nigh, some-
what retir'd, there to fit a while and bemoan his
condition. Where he happens at length to be visited
by certain friends and equals of his tribe, which
make the Chorus, who seek to comfort him what
they can; then by his old father Manoah, who ende-
vors the like, and withal tells him his last purpose to
procure his liberty by ransome ; lastly, that this feast
was proclam’d by the Philistines as a day of thanks-
giving for their deliverance from the hands of Sam-
ton, which yet more troubles him. Manoah then
departs to prosecute his endevor with the Philistine
lords for Samson's redemption; who in the mean
while is visited by other persons; and lastly by a
public officer to require his coming to the feast before
the lords and people, to play or low his strength
in their presence; he at first refuses, dismisling the
public officer with absolute denial to come; at length
persuaded inwardly that this was from God, he
yields to go along with him, who came now the se-
cond time with great threatnings to fetch him : The
Chorus yet remaining on the place, Manoah returns
full of joyful hope, to procure ere long his son's de-
liverance: in the midit of which discourse an Hebrew
comes in hafte, confusedly at first, and afterward
more distinctly relating the catastrophe, what Sam-
fon had done to the Philistines, and by accident to
himself; wherewith the tragedy ends.

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'T HE PERSON S.

SAMSON.
MANO A H, the Father of Samson.
DALIL A, his Wife.
HARAP HA of Gath.
Public Officer.
Messenger.
Chorus of Danites.

The SCENE before the Prison in Gaza,

[ ]

SAMSON AGONISTES.

SAMSON.

A

Little onward lend thy guiding hand

To these dark steps, a little further on; For yonder bank hath choice of sun or fhade: There I am wont to fit, when any

chance Relieves me from my tak of servile toil,

S Daily' in the common prison elfe injoin'd me, Where I, a prisoner chain'd, scarce freely draw The air imprison'd also, close and damp, Unwholesome draught: but here I feel amends, The breath of Heav'n fresh blowing, pure and sweets, With day-spring born; here leave me to respire. This day a folemn feaft the people hold To Dagon their fea-idol, and forbid Laborious works; unwillingly this rest Their fuperftition yields me; hence with leave 15 Retiring from the popular noise, I seek This unfrequented place to find some ease, Ease to the body fome; none to the mind From restless thoughts, that, like a deadly fwarm Of hornets arm’d, no sooner found alone, But rush upon me thronging, and present Times past, what once I was, and what am now.

o wherefore

20

B 4

O wherefore was my birth from Heav'n foretold
Twice by an Angel, who at last in fight
Of both my parents all in flames ascended 25
From off the altar, where an offering burn'd,
As in a fiery column charioting
His god-like presence, and from some great act
Or benefit reveal'd to Abraham's race?
Why was my breeding order'd and prescrib'd

30
As of a person separate to God,
Design'd for great exploits ; if I must die
Betray'd, captív'd, and both my eyes put out,
Made of my enemies the scorn and gaze;
To grind in brazen fetters under talk

35 With this Heav'n-gifted strength? O glorious strength Put to the labor of a beast, debas'd Lower than bond-slave! Promise was that I Should Israel from Philiftian yoke deliver; Ask for this great deliverer now, and find him 40 Eyeless in Gaza at the mill with flaves, Himself in bonds under Philiftian yoke: Yet ftay, let me not rafhly call in doubt Divine prediction; what if all foretold Had been fulfill'd but through mine own default, 45 Whom have I to complain of but myself ? Who this high gift of strength committed to me, In what part lodg'd, how easily bereft me, Under the seal of silence could not keep, But weakly to a woman must reveal it,

50 O’ercome with importunity and tears. O impotence of mind, in body strong!

But

But

60

But what is strength without a double share
Of wisdom, vaft, unwieldy, burdensome,
Proudly secure, yet liable to fall

55
By weakest subtleties, not made to rule,
But to subserve where wisdom bears command !
God, when he gave me strength, to show withal
How slight the gift was, hung it in my hair.

peace, I must not quarrel with the will
Of highest dispensation, which herein
Haply had ends above my reach to know :
Suffices that to me strength is my bane,
And proves the source of all my miseries;
So many, and so huge, that each apart

65
Would ask a life to wail, but chief of all,
O loss of sight, of thee I most complain!
Blind among enemies, O worse than chains,
Dungeon, or beggary, or decrepit age !
Light the prime work of God to me' is extinct,

70 And all her various objects of delight Annull’d, which might in part my grief have easid, Inferior to the vileft now become Of man or worm ; the vileft here excel me, They creep, yet fee, I dark in light expos'd

75 To daily fraud, contempt, abuse, and wrong, Within doors, or without, still as a fool, In pow'r of others, never in my own; Scarce half I seem to live, dead more than half. O dark, dark, dark, amid the blaze cf noon, 80 Irrecoverably dark, total eclipse Without all hope of day!

O first

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