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Then give the reins to wand'ring thought,

Regardless of his glory's diminution;

Till by their own perplexities involvd

They ravel more, still less resolv'd, 305

But never find self-satisfying solution.

As is they would consine th' Interminable,
And tie him to his own prescript,
Who made our laws to bind us, not himself,
And hath full right t' exempt 310

Whom so it pleases him by choice
From national obstriction without taint
Of sin, or legal debt;
For with his own laws he can best dispense.

He would not else who never wanted means, 315
Nor in respect of th' enemy just cause
To set his people free,
Have prompted this heroic Nazarite,
Against his vow of strictest purity,
To seek in marriage that fallacious bride, 320
Unclean, unchaste.

Down reason then, at least vain reasonings down,
Though reason here aver
That mortal verdict quits her of unclean:
Unchaste was subsequent, her stain not his. 325

But fee here comes thy reverend Sire
With careful step, locks white as down,
Old Manoah: advise
Forthwith how thou oughtst to receive him.


Sams. Ay me, another inward grief awak'd 330 With mention of that name renews th' afsault.

Man. Brethren and men of Dan, for such ye seem, Though in this uncouth place; if old respect, As I suppose, towards your once glory'd friend, My Son now captive, hither hath inform'd 335 Your younger feet, while mine cast back with age Came lagging after; fay if he be here.

Chor. As signal now in low dejected state, As earst in high'est, behold him where he lies.

Man. O miserable change! is this the man, 340 That invincible Samson, far renown'd, The dread of Israel's foes, who with a strength Equivalent to Angels walk'd their streets, None offering fight; who single combatant Duel'd their armies rank'd in proud array, 345 Himself an army, now unequal match To save himself against a coward arm'd At one spear's length. O ever failing trust In mortal strength! and oh what not in man Deceivable and vain? Nay what thing good 350 Pray'd for, but often proves our woe, our bane? I pray'd for children, and thought barrenness In wedlock a reproach; I gain'd a son, And such a son as all men hail'd me happy; Who would be now a father in my stead? 355 O wherefore did God grant me my request, And as a blessing with such pomp adorn'd?


Why are his gifts desirable, to tempt

Our earnest pray'rs, then giv'n with solemn hand

As graces, draw a scorpion's tail behind? ' 360

For this did th' Angel twice descend? for this

Ordain'd thy nurture holy, as of a plant

Select, and sacred, glorious for a while,

The miracle of men; then in an hour

Insnar'd, afsaulted, overcome, led bound, 365

Thy foes derision, captive, poor and blind,

Into a dungeon thrust, to work with staves?

Alas methinks whom God hath chosen once

To worthiest deeds, if he through frailty err,

He should not so o'erwhelm, and as a thrall 370

Subject him to so foul indignities,

Be it but for honor's fake of former deeds.

Sams. Appoint not heav'nly disposition, Father;
Nothing of all these evils hath befall'n me
But justly; I myself have brought them on, 375
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. 380

This well I%knew, nor was at all furpriz'd,
But warn'd by oft experience: did not she
Of Timna first betray me, and reveal
The secret wrested from me in her highth
Of nuptial love prosess'd, carrying it strait 385

To 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 osfer'd only, by the sent conceiv'd 390

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 394

Lay stor'd, in what part summ'd, that she might

Thrice I deluded her, and turn'd to sport (know;

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,

Tongue-batteries, she surceas'd not day nor night

To storm me over-watch'd, and weary'd out, 405

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 410

Her bond-flave; O indignity, O blot

To honor and religion! servile mind

Rewarded well with servile punishment!

P The


The base degree to which I now am fall'n,
These rags, this grinding is not yet so base 415
As was my former servitude, ignoble,
Unmanly, ignominious, infamous,
True flavery, and that blindness worse than this,
That saw not how degenerately I serv'd.

Man. I cannot praise thy marriage choices, Son,
Rather approv'd them not; but thou didst plead 421
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 425
Their captive, and their triumph; thou the sooner
Temptation found'st, or over-potent charms
To violate the sacred trust of silence
Deposited within thee; which to have kept
Tacit, was in thy pow'r: true; and thou bear'st
Enough, and more, the burden of that fault; 431
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 proclame 435

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 flew'st them many a flain.
So Dagon shall be magnify'd, and God, 440

Besides whom is no God, compar'd with idols,

- Dis

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