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The air imprison'd also, close and damp,
Unwholesome draught: but here I feel amends,
The breath of Heav'n fresh blowing, pure and sweet,
With day-spring born ; here leave me to respire. II
This day a solemn feast the people hold
To Dagon their sea-idol, and forbid
Laborious works; unwillingly this rest
Their superstition yields me; hence with leave 15
Retiring from the popular noise, I seek
This unfrequented place to find some ease,
Ease to the body some, none to the mind
From restless thoughts, that like a deadly swarm
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 was my birth from Heav'n foretold
Twice by an angel, who at last in sight
Of both my parents all in flames ascended
From off the altar, where an offering burnd,
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, captiv'd, and both my eyes put out, Made of my enemies the scorn and gaze; To grind in brazen fetters under task
35 With this Heav'n-gifted strength? O glorious Put to the labor of a beast, debas'd (strength
Lower than bond-slave! Promise was that I
Should Israel from Philistian yoke deliver;
Ask for this great deliverer now, and find him 40
Eyeless in Gaza at the mill with slaves,
Himself in bonds under Philistian yoke:
Yet stay, let me not rashly call in doubt
Divine prediction; what if all foretold
Had been fulfill'd but through mine own default,
Whom have I to complain of but myself? 46
Who this high gift of strength comunitted 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,
O’ercome with importunity and tears.
O impotence of mind, in body strong!
But what is strength without a double share
Of wisdom, vast, 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. But peace, I must not quarrel with the will 60 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 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 eas’d,
Inferior to the vilest now become
Of man or worm; the vilest here excel me,
They creep, yet see, I dark in light expos’d 75
To daily fraud, contempt, abuse, and wrong,
Within doors, or without, still as a fool,
power of others, never in my own;
Scarce half I seem to live, dead more than half.
O dark, dark, dark, amid the blaze of noon, 80
Irrecoverably dark, total eclipse
Without all hope of day!
O first created beam, and thou great word,
Let there be light, and light was over all;
Why am I thus bereav'd thy prime decree ?
The sun to me is dark
And silent as the moon,
When she deserts the night
Hid in her vacant interlunar cave.
Since light so necessary is to life,
And almost life itself, if it be true
That light is in the soul,
She all in every part; why was the sight
To such a tender ball as th' eye confin'd,
So obvious and so easy to be quench'd ? 95
And not as feeling through all parts diffus’d,
That she might look at will through every pore?
Then had I not been thus exil'd from light,
As in the land of darkness yet in light,
To live a life half dead, a living death, 199
And bury'd: but O yet more miserable!
Myself my sepulchre, a moving grave,
Bury’d, yet not exempt
By privilege of death and burial
From worst of other evils, pains and wrongs, 105
But made hereby obnoxious more
To all the miseries of life,
Life in captivity
Among inhuman foes.
But who are these? for with joint pace I hear
The tread of many feet steering this way;
Perhaps my enemies who come to stare
At my affliction, and perhaps to' insult,
Their daily practice to afflict me more.
Chor. This, this is he; softly a while, 115
Let us not break in upon him ;
O change beyond report, thought or belief!
See how he lies at random, carelesly diffus’d,
With languish'd head unpropt,
As one past hope, abandon'd,
And by himself given over ;
In slavish habit, ill-fitted weeds
O’er-worn and soil'd;
Or do my eyes misrepresent ? Can this be he,
That heroic, that renown’d,
Irresistible Samson ? whom unarm'd
No strength of man,or fiercest wild beast could with-
Who tore the lion, as the lion tears the kid,
Ran on imbattel'd armies clad in iron,
And weaponless himself,
Made arms ridiculous, useless the forgery
Of brazen shield and spear, the hammer'd cuirass,
Chalybean temper'd steel, and frock of mail
But safest he who stood aloof,
135 When insupportably his foot advanc'd, In scorn of their proud arms and warlike tools, Spurn'd them to death by troops. The bold Ascalo
nite Fled from his lion ramp, old warriors turn'd Their plated backs under his heel;
140 Or grov'ling soild their crested helmets in the dust. Then with what trival weapon came to hand, The jaw of a dead ass, his sword of bone, A thousand fore-skins fell, the flower of Palastine, In Ramath-lechi famous to this day.
145 Then by main force pull'd up, and on his shoulders The gates of Azza, post, and massy bar, [bore Up to the hill by Hebron, seat of giants old, No journey of a sabbath-day, and loaded so; Like whom the Gentiles feign to bear up
Heav'n. Which shall I first bewail,
151 Thy bon,dage or lost sight, Prison wʻthin prison Inseparably dark? Thou art become (О worst imprisonment!) 155 The dungeon of thyself ; thy soul
[plain) (Which men enjoying sight oft without cause com