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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 feign’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 ; 890
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.
Sams. For want of words no doubt, or lack of breath; 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 910 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 920 Their favourable ear, that I may fetch thee From forth this loathsome prison-house, to abide With me, where
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.
To fence my ear against thy sorceries.
If, in my flower of youth and strength, when all men
Loved, honour'd, fear'd me, thou alone couldst hate me
Thy husband, slight me, sell me, and forego me, 940
How wouldst thou use me now, blind, and thereby
Deceivable, in most things as a child
Helpless, thence easily contemn'd and scorn'd,
And last neglected! How wouldst thou insult,
When I must live uxorious to thy will
In perfect thraldom ! how again betray me,
Bearing my words and doings to the lords
To gloss upon, and, censuring, frown or smile!
This jail I count the house of liberty
To thine, whose doors my feet shall never enter. 950
Dal. Let me approach at least, and touch thy hand.
Sams. Not for thy life, lest fierce remembrance wake My sudden rage to tear thee joint by joint. At distance I forgive thee; go with that; Bewail thy falsehood, and the pious works It hath brought forth to make thee memorable Among illustrious women, faithful wives ! Cherish thy hasten'd widowhood with the gold Of matrimonial treason: so farewell.
Dal. I see thou art implacable, more deaf 960 To
prayers than winds and seas; yet winds to seas
Are reconciled at length, and sea to shore:
Thy anger, unappeasable, still rages,
Eternal tempest, never to be calm’d.
Why do I humble thus myself, and, suing
For peace, reap nothing but repulse and hate ·
go with evil omen, and the brand
Of infamy upon my name denounced ?
To mix with thy concernments I desist
Henceforth, nor too much disapprove my own. 970
Fame, if not double-faced, is double-mouth'd,
And with contrary blast proclaims most deeds;
On both his wings, one black, the other white,
Bears greatest names in his wild aëry flight.
My name, perhaps, among the circumcised
In Dan, in Judah, and the bordering tribes,
To all posterity may stand defamed,
With malediction mention'd, and the blot
Of falsehood most unconjugal traduced.
But in my country, where I most desire,
In Ecron, Gaza, Ashdod, and in Gath,
I shall be named among the famousest
Of women, sung at solemn festivals,
Living and dead recorded, who, to save
Her country from a fierce destroyer, chose
Above the faith of wedlock bands; my tomb
With odours visited and annual flowers;
Not less renown'd than in Mount Ephraim
Jael, who, with inhospitable guile,
Smote Sisera sleeping, through the temples nail'd. 990
Nor shall I count it heinous to enjoy
The public marks of honour and reward,
Conferr’d upon me for the piety
Which to my country I was judged to have shown.
At this whoever envies or repines,
I leave him to his lot, and like my own. [Exit.
Cho. She's gone; a manifest serpent, by her sting
Discover'd in the end, till now conceal'd.
Sams. So let her go; God sent her to debase me,
And aggravate my folly, who committed
To such a viper his most sacred trust
Of secrecy, my safety, and my life.
Cho. Yet beauty, though injurious, hath strange
After offence returning, to regain
Love once possess’d, nor can be easily
Repulsed, without much inward passion felt,
And secret sting of amorous remorse.
Sams. Love-quarrels oft in pleasing concord end,
Not wedlock treachery endangering life.
Cho. It is not virtue, wisdom, valour, wit, Strength, comeliness of shape, or amplest merit, That woman's love can win, or long inherit;