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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, and turn
His labours, for thou canst, to peaceful end.

But who is this, what thing of sea or land? 710
Female of sex it seems,
That, so bedeck’d, 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 seent of odorous perfume

720 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.

[me. Sams. My wife! my traitress! let her not come near

Cho. Yet on she moves, nowstands andeyesthee, fix'd, About to have spoke; but now, with head declined, Like a fair flower surcharged with dew, she weeps, And words address'd seem into tears dissolved, Wetting the borders of her silken veil :

730 But now again she makes address to speak.

Enter DALILA. Dal. With doubtful feet and 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, and know of thy estate,
If aught in my ability may serve
To lighten what thou sufferest, 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 arts, And arts of every woman false like thee, To break all faith, all vows, deceive, betray, 750 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 and instructed skill Again transgresses, and again submits; That wisest and best men, full oft beguiled, With goodness principled not to reject

760 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,

770 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, inquisitive, importune Of secrets, then with like infirmity To publish them, both common female faults: Was it not weakness also to make known For importunity, that is, for naught, Wherein consisted all thy strength and safety ? 780 To what I did thou show'dst me first the way. But I to enemies reveal'd, and should not: Nor shouldst thou have trusted that to woman's frailty: Ere I to thee, thou to thyself wast cruel. 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, 790 The jealousy of love, powerful of sway In human hearts, nor less in mine towards thee, Caused what I did ? I saw thee mutable Of fancy, fear'd lest one day thou wouldst 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, reveal'd? I was assured by those Soo

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 woe,
Yet always pity or pardon hath obtained.
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 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.
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 way
To raise in me inexpiable hate,
Knowing, as needs I must, by thee betray'd ?

840 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, Adjured, 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

860 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

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