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Though not disordinate, yet causeless suffering
But who is this, what thing of sea or land? 710
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;
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;
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
Sams. How cunningly the sorceress displays
With God or man, will gain thee no remission.
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