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Till by their own perplexities involv'd
They ravel more, still less resolv'd,

305 But never find self-satisfying solution.

As if they would confine th' Interminable,
And tie him to his own prescript,
Who made our laws to bind us, not himself,
And hath full right to' 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 bis 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 moral verdict quits her of unclean :
Unchaste was subsequent, her stain not his. 325

But see here comes thy reverend sire
With careful step, locks white as down,
Old Manoah: advise
Forthwith how thou ought'st to receive him.

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

Man. Brethren and men of Dan,for such ye seem, Though in this uncouth place; if old respect,

1

As I suppose, tow’ards 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; say if he be here?

Chor. As signal now in low dejected state,
As erst 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 ?
For this did th' angel twice descend ? for this
Ordain'd thy nurture holy, as of a plant

and sacred, glorious for a while,
Volume III.

I

360

Who tore the lion, as the lion tears the kid,
Ran on imbattel'd armies clad in iron,
And weaponless himself,

130
Made arms ridiculous, useless the forgery
Of brazen shield and spear, the hammer'd cuirass,
Chalybean temper'd steel, and frock of mail
Adamantean proof;
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 soil'd 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 bondage 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

Imprison'd now indeed,
In real darkness of the body dwells,
Shut

up
from outward light

160
To incorporate with gloomy night;
For inward light, alas !
Puts forth no visual beam.
O mirror of our fickle state,
Since man on earth unparallel'd!

165 The rarer thy example stands, By how much from the top of wondrous glory, Strongest of mortal men, To lowest pitch of abject fortune thou art fall'n, For him I reckon not in high estate

70 Whom long descent of birth Or the sphere of fortune raises ; But thee whose strength, while virtue was her mate, Might have subdued the earth, Universally crown’d with highest praises. 175

SAM. I hear the sound of words, their sense the Dissolves unjointed ere it reach my ear.

CHOR. He speaks, let us draw nigh. Matchless The glory late of Israel, now the grief; [in might, We come thy friends and neighbours not unknown From Eshtaol and Zora's fruitful vale, 181 To visit or bewail thee, or if better, Counsel or consolation we may bring, Salve to thy sores; apt words have power to swage The tumors of a troubled mind,

185 And are as balm to fester'd wounds.

(air

200

Sam. Your coming, friends,revives me,for I learn Now of my own experience, not by talk, How counterfeit a coin they are who friends Bear in their superscription, (of the most 190 I would be understood) in prosp'rous days They swarm, but in adverse withdraw their head, Not to be found, though sought. Ye see, O friends, How many evils have inclos'd me round; 194 Yet that which was the worst now least afflicts me, Blindness, for had I sight, confus’d with shame, How could I once look up, or heave the head, Who like a foolish pilot have shipwrack'd My vessel trusted to me from above, Gloriously rigg'd; and for a word, a tear, Fool, have divulg’d the secret gift of God To a deceitful woman? tell me, friends, Am I not sung and proverb’d for a fool In every street? do they not say, how well Are come upon him his deserts ? yet why? 205 Immeasurable strength they inight behold In me, of wisdom nothing more than mean; This with the other should, at least, have pair'd, These two proportion’d ill drove me transverse. 209

Chor. Tax not divine disposal ; wisest men Have err’d, and by bad women been deceiv'd; And shall again, pretend they ne'er so wise. Deject not then so overmuch thyself, Who hast of sorrow thy full load besides; Yet truth to say, I oft have heard men wonder 215

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