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And condemnation of the ingrateful multitude.
If these they 'scape, perhaps in poverty,
With sickness & disease, thou bow'st them down,
Painful diseases, and deform'd,
In crude old age;
Though not disordinate, yet causeless suffering,
The punishment of dissolute days: in fine,
Just or unjust alike seem miserable,
For oft alike both come to evil end.

So deal not with, this once, thy glorious champion,
The image of thy strength, and mighty minister.
What do I beg ? how hast thou dealt already ?
Behold him in this state, calamitous; & turn
His labours, for thou canst, to peaceful end.

But who is this, what thing of sea or land ?
Female of sex it seems,
That so bedeck's, ornate, and gay,
Comes this way sailing,
Like a stately ship
Of Tarsus, bound for the isles
Of Javan or Gadire,
With all her bravery on, and tackle trim,
Sails fill’d, and streamers waving.
Courted by all the winds that hold them play,
An amber scent, of odorous perfume,
Her harbinger, a damsel train behind ;
Some rich Philistian matron she may seem;
And now at nearer view, no other, certain,
Than Dalila, thy wife.

[near me. Sams. My wife! my traitress! let her not come Chor. Yet on she moves, now stands, and

eyes

thee About to have spoke; but now, with head declined, (fix’d, Like a fair flower surcharged with dew, she weeps, And words addressed seem into tears dissolved, Wetting the borders of her silken veil : But now again she makes address to speak.

Enter Dalila. Dal. With doubtful feet, & wavering resolution, I came, still dreading thy displeasure, Samson, Which to have merited, without excuse, I cannot but acknowledge ; yet, if tears May expiate, though the fact more evil drew, In the perverse event, than I foresaw, My penance hath not slacken'd, though my pardon No way assured. But conjugal affection, Prevailing over fear, and timorous doubt,

Hath led me on, desirous to behold,
Once more, thy face, & know of thy estate ;
If aught, in my ability, may serve
To lighten what thou suffer’st, and appease
Thy mind, with what amends is in my power,
Though late, yet in some part to recompense
My rash, but more unfortunate, misdeed.

Sams. Out, out, hyæna! these are thy wonted
And arts of every woman, false like thee, [arts,
To break all faith, all vows, deceive, betray;
Then as repentant, to submit, beseech,
And reconcilement move with feign'd remorse,
Confess, and promise wonders in her change;
Not truly penitent, but chief to try
Her husband, how far urged his patience bears,
His virtue, or weakness, which way to assail :
Then, with more cautious & instructed skill,
Again transgresses, and again submits ;
That wisest and best men, full oft beguiled,
With goodness, principled not to reject
The penitent, but ever to forgive,
Are drawn to wear out miserable days,
Entangled with a poisonous bosom snake,
If not by quick destruction soon cut off,
As I by thee, to ages an example.

Dal. Yet hear me, Samson ; not that I endeavour To lessen, or extenuate my offence, But that, on the other side, if it be weigh'd By itself, with aggravations not surcharged, Or else with just allowance counterpoised, I may, if possible, thy pardon find The easier towards me, or thy hatred less. First granting, as I do, it was a weakness In me, but incident to all our sex, Curiosity inquisitivo, importune Of secrets, then, with like infirmity, To publish them ; buth common female faults. Was it not weakness also to make known, For importunity, that is for nought, Wherein consisted all thy strength and safety ? To what I did, thou show'd’st me first the way But I to enemies reveal’d, and should not : Nor should'st thou have trusted that to woman's Ere I to thee, thou to thyself wast cruel. [frailty : Let weakness then with weakness come to parle, So near related, or the same of kind, Thine forgive mine; that men may censure thine

The gentler, if severely thou exact not
More strength from me, than in thyself was found.
And what if love, which thou interpret'st hate,
The jealousy of love, powerful of sway
In human hearts, nor less in mind towards thee,
Caused what I did ? I saw thee mutable
Of fancy, fear'd lest one day thou would’st leave me,
As her at Timna, sought by all means, therefore,
How to endear, and hold thee to me firmest;
No better way I saw, than, by importuning,
To learn thy secrets, get into my power
Thy key of strength and safety; thou wilt say,
Why then reveald ? I was assured by those
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 obtained. [woe,
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!
That malice, not repentance, brought thee hither,
By this appears: I gave, thou say'st, the 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
Impartial, self-severe, inexorable, (seest,
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.
But love constrain'd thee: call it furious rage
To satisfy thy lust : love seeks to have love ;
My love how could'st thou hope, who tookst the
To raise in me inexpiable hate,

way
Knowing, as needs I must, by thee betray'd ?
In vain thou strivest to cover shame, with shame,
Or, by evasions, thy crime uncover’st more.

Dal. Since thou determinest weakness for no plea,
In man or woman, though to thy own condemning,
Hear what assaults I had, what snares besides,
What sieges girt me round, ere I consented;
Which might have awed the best-resolved 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 magistrates,
And princes of my country, came in person,
Solicited, commanded, threaten'd, urged,
Adjur'd, by all the bonds of civil duty,
And of religion, press'd, how just it was,
How honourable, how glorious, to entrap
A common enemy, who had destroy'd
Such numbers of our nation : and the priest
Was not behind, but ever at my ear,
Preaching, how meritorious with the gods
It would be, to ensnare an irreligious
Dishonourer of Dagon : what had I
To oppose, against such powerful arguments ?
Only my love of thee held long debate,
And combated, in silence, all these reasons,
With hard contest : at length, that grounded maxim,
So rife and celebrated in the mouths
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.

Sams. I thought where all thy circling wiles would In feigu'd religion, smooth hypocrisy. [end; 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, loved thee, as too well thou knew'st. Too well; unbosom'd all my secrets to thee, Not out of levity, but overpower'd By thy request, who could deny thee nothing;

Yet now am judged 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 aught against my life
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 moved thee;
To please thy gods thou didst it; gods unable
To acquit themselves, and prosecute their foes,
But by ungodly deeds, the contradiction
Of their own deity, gods cannot be ;
Less therefore to be pleased, obey'd, or fear'd.
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. [breath ;

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, Towards 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 Eyesight 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 shall miss.

Sams. No, no; of my condition take no care;

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