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Besides whom is no god, compar'd with idols,
Disglorified, blasphem'd, and had in scorn
By the idolatrous rout amidst their wine;
Which to have come to pass by means of thee,
Samson, of all thy sufferings think the heaviest,
Of all reproach the most with shame that ever 446
Could have befallen thee and thy father's house.
Sams. Father, I do acknowledge and confess That I this honour, I this pomp have brought To Dagon, and advanc'd his praises high Among the Heathen round; to God have brought Dishonour, obloquy, and op'd the mouths Of idolists, and atheists; have brought scandal To Israel, diffidence of God, and doubt In feeble hearts, propense enough before To waver, or fall off and join with idols; Which is my chief affliction, shame, and sorrow, The anguish of my soul, that suffers not Mine eye to harbour sleep, or thoughts to rest. This only hope relieves me, that the strife With me hath end; all the contest is now Twixt God and Dagon; Dagon hath presum'd, Me overthrown, to enter lists with God, His deity comparing and preferring Before the God of Abraham. He, be sure, Will not connive, or linger, thus provok'd, But will arise and his great name assert: Dagon must stoop, and shall ere long receive Such a discomfit, as shall quite despoil him Of all these boasted trophies won on me, And with confusion blank. his worshippers. Man. With cause this hope relieves thee, these words
I as a prophecy receive; for God,
Nothing more certain, will not long defer
To vindicate the glory of his name
Against all competition, nor will long
Endure it doubtful whether God be Lord,
Or Dagon. But for thee what shall be done?
Thou must not in the meanwhile here forgot
Lie in this miserable loathsome plight
Neglected. I already have made way
To some Philistian lords, with whom to treat
About thy ransom: well they may by this
Have satisfied their utmost of revenge
By pains and slaveries, worse than death inflicted
On thee, who now no more canst do them harm.
Sams. Spare that proposal, father, spare the
Of that solicitation; let me here,
As I deserve, pay on my punishment;
And expiate, if possible, my crime,
Shameful garrulity. To have reveal'd,
Secrets of men, the secrets of a friend,
How heinous had the fact been, how deserving
Contempt and scorn of all, to be excluded
All friendship, and avoided as a blab,
The mark of fool set on his front?
But I 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.
Man. 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 th' 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 due;
Which argues over-just, and self displeas'd
For self-offence, more than for God offended. 515
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 may'st bring thy offerings to avert
His further ire, with prayers and vows renew'd? 520
Sams. 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, 525
Full of divine instinct, after some proof
Of acts indeed heroic, 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 swoln with pride into the snare I fell
His mighty champion, strong above compare,
Whose drink was only from the liquid brook.
Sams. But what avail'd this temp'rance, not
Against another object more enticing?
What boots it at one gate to make defence, 560
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 [quell'd,
My nation, and the work from heaven impos'd, 565
But to sit idle on the household hearth,
A burdenous drone; to visitants a gaze,
Or pitied object, these redundant locks
Robustious to no purpose clust'ring down,
Vain monument of strength; till length of years
And sedentary numbness craze my limbs
To a contemptible old age obscure;
Here rather let me drudge and earn my bread,
Till vermin or the draff of servile food
Consume me, and oft-invocated death
Hasten the welcome end of all my pains.
Man. Wilt thou then serve the Philistines with
Which was expressly given thee to annoy them?
Better at home lie bed-rid, not only idle,
Inglorious, unemploy'd, with age out-worn.
But God who caus'd a fountain at thy prayer
From the dry ground to spring, thy thirst t' 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 wondrous gifts be frustrate thus. 589
Sams. All otherwise to me my thoughts portend,
That these dark orbs no more shall treat with light,
Nor th' 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.
Man. Believe not these suggestions which pro-
But finding no redress ferment and rage, Nor less than wounds inmedicable
Who tempted me, that nothing was design'd
Against thee but safe custody, and hold:
That made for me; I knew that liberty
Would draw thee forth to perilous enterprises,
While I at home sat full of cares and fears,
Wailing thy absence in my widow'd bed;
Here I should still enjoy thee day and night
Mine and love's prisoner, not the Philistines',
Whole to myself unhazarded abroad,
Fearless at home of partners in my love.
These reasons in love's law have pass'd for good,
Though fond and reasonless to some perhaps :
And love hath oft, well meaning, wrought much
Yet always pity' or pardon hath obtain'd.
Be not unlike all others, not austere
As thou art strong, inflexible as steel.
If thou in strength all mortals dost exceed,
In uncompassionate anger do not so.
Sams. How cunningly the sorceress displays
Her own transgressions, to upbraid me mine? 820
That malice not repentance brought thee hither,
By this appears; I gave, thou say'st, th' example,
I led the way; bitter reproach, but true;
I to myself was false ere thou to me;
Such pardon therefore as I give my folly,
Take to thy wicked deed; which when thou seest Impartial, self-severe, inexorable,
Thou wilt renounce thy seeking, and much rather
Confess it feign'd; weakness is thy excuse,
And I believe it, weakness to resist
Philistian gold: if weakness may excuse,
What murderer, what traitor, parricide,
Incestuous, sacrilegious, but may plead it?
All wickedness is weakness: that plea therefore
With God or man will gain thee no remission. 835
But love constrain'd thee; call it furious rage
To satisfy thy lust; love seeks to have love;"
My love how couldst thou hope, who took'st the
To raise in me inexpiable hate,
Knowing, as needs I must, by thee betray'd? 840
In vain thou striv'st to cover shame with shame,
Or by evasions thy crime uncover'st more.
Dal. Since thou determin'st weakness for no plea
In man or woman, though to thy own condemning,
Hear what assaults I had, what snares besides, 845
What sieges girt ine round, ere I consented;
Which might have aw'd the best resolv'd of men,
The constantest, to have yielded without blame.
It was not gold, as to my charge thou lay'st,
That wrought with me: thou know'st the magis
Thy country sought of thee, it sought unjustly,
Against the law of nature, law of nations;
No more thy country but an impious crew
Of men conspiring to uphold their state
By worse than hostile deeds, violating the ends
For which our country is a name so dear;
Not therefore to be obey'd. But zeal mov'd thee;
To please thy gods thou didst it; gods unable 896
To' acquit themselves and prosecute their foes
But by ungodly deeds; the contradiction
Of their own deity, gods cannot be;
Less therefore to be pleas'd, obey'd, or fear'd. 900
These false pretexts and varnish'd colours failing,
Bare in thy guilt how foul must thou appear?
Dal. In argument with men a woman ever
Goes by the worse, whatever be her cause.
Sams. For want of words no doubt, or lack of
Witness when I was worried with thy peals.
Dal. I was a fool, too rash, and quite mistaken
In what I thought would have succeeded best.
Let me obtain forgiveness of thee, Samson,
Afford me place to show what recompense
Tow'rds thee I intend for what I have misdone,
Misguided only what remains past cure
Bear not too sensibly, nor still insist
To' afflict thyself in vain: though sight be lost,
Life yet hath many solaces, enjoy'd,
Where other senses want not their delights,
At home, in leisure and domestic ease,
Exempt from many a care and chance to which
Eye-sight exposes daily men abroad.
I to the lords will intercede, not doubting
Their favourable ear, that I may fetch thee
From forth this loathsome prison-house, to abide
With me, where my redoubled love and care
With nursing diligence, to me glad office,
May ever tend about thee to old age
With all things grateful cheer'd, and so supplied,
That what by me thou' hast lost thou least shalt
Sams. No, no, of my condition take no care; It fits not; thou and I long since are twain; Nor think me so unwary or accurs'd, To bring my feet again into the snare Where once I have been caught; I know thy trains Though dearly to my cost, thy gins, and toils; Thy fair enchanted cup, and warbling charms No more on me have power, their force is null'd, So much of adder's wisdom I have learn'd To fence my ear against thy sorceries. If in my flower of youth and strength, when all
Deceivable, in most things as a child
Helpless, thence easily contemn'd, and scorn'd,
And last neglected? How wouldst thou insult,
When I must live uxorious to thy will
In perfect thraldom, how again betray me,
Bearing my words and doings to the lords
To gloss upon, and censuring, frown or smile?
This jail I count the house of liberty
To thine, whose doors my feet shall never enter.
Dal. Let me approach at least, and touch thy
In feign'd religion, smooth hypocrisy.
But had thy love, still odiously pretended,
Been as it ought, sincere, it would have taught thee
Far other reasonings, brought forth other deeds.
I, before all the daughters of my tribe
And of my nation, chose thee from among
My enemies, lov'd thee, as too well thou knew'st,
Too well, unbesom'd all my secrets to thee,
Not out of levity, but over-power'd
Of wisest men, that to the public good
Private respects must yield, with grave authority
Took full possession of me and prevail'd;
Virtue, as I thought, truth, duty so enjoining. 870
Sams. I thought where all thy circling wiles
Sams. Not for thy life, lest fierce remembrance wake
My sudden rage to tear thee joint by joint.
At distance I forgive thee, go with that;
Bewail thy falsehood, and the pious works
It hath brought forth to make thee memorable
Among illustrious women, faithful wives:
Cherish'd by hasten'd widowhood with the gold
Of matrimonial treason: so farewell.
Dal. I see thou art implacable, more deaf To prayers, than winds and seas, yet winds to seas Are reconcil'd at length, and sea to shore; Thy anger, unappeasable, still rages,
Eternal tempest never to be calm'd." Why do I humble thus myself, and suing
By thy request, who could deny thee nothing;
Yet now am judg'd an enemy. Why then
Didst thou at first receive me for thy husband,
Then, as since then, thy country's foe profess'd?
Being once a wife, for me thou wast to leave
Parents and country; nor was I their subject,
Nor under their protection, but my own,
Thou mine not theirs: if ought against my life
Henceforth, nor too much disapprove my own. 970
Fame if not double-fac'd is double-mouth'd,
And with contrary blast proclaims most deeds;
On both his wings, one black, the other white,
For peace, reap nothing but repulse and hate?
Bid go with evil omen and the brand
Of infamy upon my name denounc'd? To mix with thy concernments I desist
Bears greatest names in his wild airy flight.
My name perhaps among the circumcis'd
In Dan, in Judah, and the bordering tribes,
To all posterity may stand defam'd,
With malediction mention'd, and the blot
Of falsehood most unconjugal traduc'd.
But in my country, where I most desire,
In Ecron, Gaza, Asdod, and in Gath,
I shall be nam'd among the famousest
Of women, sung at solemn festivals,
Living and dead recorded, who to save
Her country from a fierce destroyer, chose
Above the faith of wedlock-bands, my tomb
With odours visited, and annual flowers;
Not less renown'd than in mount Ephraim
Jael, who with inhospitable guile
Smote Sisera sleeping thro' the temples nail'd. 990
Nor shall I count it heinous to enjoy
The public marks of honour and reward
Conferr'd upon me, for the piety
Which to my country I was judg'd to' have shown.
At this who ever envies or repines,
I leave him to his lot, and like my own.
Chor. She's gone, a manifest serpent by her sting
Discover'd in the end, till now conceal'd.
Har. I come not, Samson, to condole thy chance, As these perhaps, yet wish it had not been, Though for no friendly' intent. I am of Gath, Men call me Harapha, of stock renown'd As Og or Anak and the Emims old That Kiriathaim held, thou know'st me now If thou at all art known. Much I have heard Of thy prodigious might and feats perform'd Incredible to me, in this displeas'd, That I was never present on the place Of those encounters, where we might have tried Each other's force in camp or listed field: And now am come to see of whom such noise Hath walk'd about, and each limb to survey, If thy appearance answer loud report.
Sams. The way to know were not to see but taste. Har. Dost thou already single me? I thought Gyves and the mill had tam'd thee. O that for
Had brought me to the field, where thou art fam'd
To have wrought such wonders with an ass's jaw;
I should have forc'd thee soon with other arms, 1096
Or left thy carcass where the ass lay thrown:
So had the glory' of prowess been recover'd
To Palestine, won by a Philistine
From the unforeskin'd race, of whom thou bear'st
The highest name for valiant acts; that honour 1101
Certain to' have won by mortal duel from thee,
I lose, prevented by thy eyes put out.
Sams. Boast not of what thou wouldst have done, but do
What then thou wouldst, thou seest it in thy hand.
Har. To combat with blind man I disdain,1106
And thou hast need much washing to be touch'd.
Sams. Such usage as your honourable lords
Afford me' assassinated and betray'd,
Who durst not with their whole united powers
In fight withstand me single and unarm❜d,
Nor in the house with chamber ambushes
Close-banded durst attack me, no not sleeping,
Till they had hir'd a woman with their gold 1114
Breaking her marriage faith to circumvent me.
Therefore without feign'd shifts let me be' assign'd
Some narrow place inclos'd, where sight may give
Or rather flight, no great advantage on me;
Then put on all thy gorgeous arms, thy helmet
And brigandine of brass, thy broad habergeon,1120
Vant-brass and greaves, and gauntlet, add thy
A weaver's beam, and seven-times-folded shield,
I only with an oaken staff will meet thee
And raise such outcries on thy clatter'd iron, 1124
Which shall not long withhold me from thy head,
That in a little time while breath remains thee,
Thou oft shalt wish thyself at Gath to boast
Again in safety what thou wouldst have done
To Samson, but shalt never see Gath more.
Har. Thou durst not thus disparage glorious
Which greatest heroes have in battle worn,
Their ornament and safety, had not spells
And black enchantments, some magician's art,
Arm'd thee, or charm'd thee strong, which thou
Feign'st at thy birth was given thee in thy hair, Where strength can least abide, though all thy hairs Were bristles rang'd like those that ridge the back Of chaf'd wild boars, or ruffled porcupines.
Therefore God's universal law
Gave to the man despotic power
Over his female in due awe,
Not from that right to part an hour,
So shall he least confusion draw
On his whole life, not sway'd
By female usurpation, or dismay'd.
Sams. I know no spells, use no forbidden arts; My trust is in the living God, who gave me At my nativity this strength, diffus'd
But had we best retire, I see a storm?
No less through all my sinews, joints and bones,
With solemnest devotion, spread before him How highly it concerns his glory now
To frustrate and dissolve these magic spells,
Which I to be the power of Israel's God
Avow, and challenge Dagon to the test,
Offering to combat thee his champion bold
With th' utmost of his godhead seconded:
Then thou shalt see, or rather to thy sorrow 1154
Soon feel, whose God is strongest, thine or mine.
Har. Presume not on thy God, what'er he be,
Thee he regards not, owns not, hath cut off
Quite from his people, and deliver'd up
Into thy enemies' hand, permitted them
To put out both thine eyes, and fetter'd send thee
Into the common prison, there to grind
Among the slaves and asses thy comrades,
As good for nothing else, no better service
With those thy boist'rous locks no worthy match
For valour to assail, nor by the sword
Of noble warrior, so to stain his honour,
But by the barber's razor best subdued.
Sams. All these indignities, for such they are From thine, these evils I deserve and more, Acknowledge them from God inflicted on me 1170 Justly, yet despair not of his final pardon, Whose ear is ever open, and his eye Gracious to re-admit the suppliant ; In confidence whereof I once again Defy thee to the trial of mortal fight,
By combat to decide whose god is God,
Thine or whom I with Israel's sons adore.
Har. Fair honour that thou dost thy God, in
He will accept thee to defend his cause
A Murderer,a Revolter, and a Robber.
Sams. Tongue-doughty Giant, how dost thou
prove me these?
Har. Is not thy nation subject to our lords?
Their magistrates confess'd it, when they took thee
As a league-breaker, and deliver'd bound
Into our hands: for hadst thou not committed 1185
Notorious murder on those thirty men
At Ascalon, who never did thee harm,
Then like a robber stripp'dst them of their robes ?
The Philistines, when thou hadst broke the league, Went up with armed powers thee only seeking, 1190 To others did no violence nor spoil.
To descant on my strength, and give thy verdict?
Come nearer, part not hence so slight inform'd;
But take good heed my hand survey not thee. 1230
Har. O Baal-zebub! can my ears unus'd
Hear these dishonours, and not render death?
Sams. No man withholds thee, nothing from thy
Fear I incurable; bring up thy van,
My heels are fetter'd, but my fist is free.
Har. This insolence other kind of answer fits. Sams. Go, baffled coward, lest I run upon thee, Though in these chains, bulk without spirit vast, And with one buffet lay thy structure low, Or swing thee in the air, then dash thee down 1240 To the hazard of thy brains and shatter'd sides. Har. By Astaroth ere long thou shalt lament These braveries in irons loaden on thee.
Chor. His giantship is gone somewhat crestfallen,
Stalking with less unconscionable strides,
And lower looks, but in a sultry chafe.
Sams. I dread him not, nor all his giant-brood,
Though fame divulge him father of five sons,
All of gigantic size, Goliah chief.
Chor. He will directly to the lords, I fear, 1250
And with malicious counsel stir them up
Some way or other yet further to afflict thee.
Sams. He must allege some cause, and offer'd
Will not dare mention, lest a question rise
Whether he durst accept th' offer or not,
And that he durst not plain enough appear'd.
Much more affliction than already felt
They cannot well impose, nor I sustain,
If they intend advantage of my labours,
The work of many hands, which earns my keeping
With no small profit daily to my owners.
But come what will, my deadliest foe will prove
My speediest friend, by death to rid me hence,
The worst that he can give, to me the best.
Yet so it may fall out' because their end
Is hate, not help to me, it may with mine
Draw their own ruin who attempt the deed.
Chor. O how comely it is, and how reviving
To the spirits of just men long oppress'd!
When God into the hands of their deliverer 1270
Puts invincible might
1o quell the mighty of the earth, th' oppressor,
The brute and boist'rous force of violent men
Hardy and industrious to support
Tyrannic power, but raging to pursue
The righteous and all such as honour truth;
He all their ammunition
And feats of war defeats
Their armouries and magazines contemns, Renders them useless, while
Sams. Among the daughters of the Philistines
I chose a wife, which argued me no foe;
And in your city held my nuptial feast:
But your ill-meaning politician lords,
Under pretence of bridal friends and guests,
Appointed to await me thirty spies,
Who threat'ning cruel death constrain'd the bride
To wring from me and tell to them my secret,
That solv'd the riddle which I had propos'd. 1200
When I perceiv'd all set on enmity,
As on my enemies, wherever chanc'd
I us'd hostility, and took their spoil
To pay my underminers in their coin.
My nation was subjected to your lords.
It was the force of conquest; force with force
Is well ejected when the conquer'd can.
But I a private person, whom my country
As a league-breaker gave up bound, presum'd
Single rebellion and did hostile acts.
I was no private but a person rais'd
Swift as the lightning glance he executes His errand on the wicked, who surpris'd Lose their defence distracted and amaz'd. But patience is more oft the exercise Of saints, the trial of their fortitude, Making them each his own deliverer, And victor over all
Off. Hebrews, the pris'ner Samson here I seek. Chor. His manacles remark him, there he sits. Off. Samson, to thee our lords thus bid me say; This day to Dagon is a solemn feast, With sacrifices, triumph, pomp, and games; Thy strength they know surpassing human rate, And now some public proof thereof require To honour this great feast, and great assembly; Rise therefore with all speed and come along, 1316 Where I will see thee hearten'd and fresh clad To appear as fits before th' illustrious lords.