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But what it is, hard is to say,
Harder to hit
(Which way soever men refer it),
Much like thy riddle, Samson, in one day
Or seven, though one should musing sit.
If any of these, or all, the Timnian bride
Had not so soon preferr'd
Thy paranymph, worthless to thee compared,
Successor in thy bed,
Nor both so loosely disallied
Their nuptials, nor this last so treacherously
Had shorn the fatal harvest of thy head.
Is it for that such outward ornament
Was lavish'd on their sex, that inward gifts
Were left for haste unfinish’d, judgment scant,
Capacity not raised to apprehend
Or value what is best
In choice, but oftest to affect the wrong ?
Or was too much of self-love mix'd,
Of constancy no root infix'd,
That either they love nothing, or not long ?
Whate'er it be, to wisest men and best
Seeming, at first, all heavenly under virgin veil,
Soft, modest, meek, demure,
Once join'd, the contrary she proves, a thorn
Intestine, far within defensive arms
A cleaving mischief, in his way to virtue
Adverse and turbulent; or by her charms
Draws him awry, enslaved
With dotage, and his sense depraved
To folly and shameful deeds, which ruin ends.
What pilot so expert but needs must wreck,
Embark'd with such a steers-mate at the helm ?
Favour'd of Heaven, who finds
One virtuous, rarely found,
That in domestic good combines;
Happy that house! his way to peace is smooth:
But virtue, which breaks through all opposition, 1050
And all temptation can remove,
Most shines, and most is acceptable above.
Therefore God's universal law
Gave to the man despotic power
Over his female in due awe,
Nor from that right to part an hour,
Smile she or lour :
So shall he least confusion draw
On his whole life, not sway'd
By female usurpation, or dismay'd.
1060 But had we best retire? I see a storm.
Sams. Fair days have oft contracted wind and rain.
Cho. But this another kind of tempest brings.
Sams. Be less abstruse; my riddling days are past.
Cho. Look now for no enchanting voice, nor fear
The bait of honey'd words; a rougher tongue
Draws hitherward; I know him by his stride,
The giant Harapha of Gath, his look
Haughty, as is his pile high-built and proud.
Comes he in peace ? what wind hath blown him hither
I less conjecture, than when first I saw
The sumptuous Dalila floating this way:
His habit carries peace, his brow defiance.
Sams. Or peace, or not, alike to me he comes.
Cho. His fraught we soon shall know, he now arrives.
Har. I come not, Samson, to condole thy chance,
As these, perhaps, yet wish it had not been,
Though for no friendly intent. I am of Gath
Men call me Harapha, of stock renown'd
As Og, or Anak, and the Emims old
That Kiriathaim held; thou know'st me now
If thou at all art known. Much I have heard
Of thy prodigious might, and feats perform'd,
Incredible to me, in this displeased,
That I was never present on the place
Of those encounters, where we might have tried
Each other's force in camp or listed field;
And now am come to see of whom such noise
Hath walk'd about, and each limb to survey,
If thy appearance answer loud report.
1090 Sams. The way to know were not to see, but taste.
Har. Dost thou already single me? I thought Gyves and the mill had tamed thee. O, that fortune Had brought me to the field where thou art famed To have wrought such wonders with an ass's jaw! I should have forced thee soon with other arms, Or left thy carcass where the ass lay thrown: So had the glory of prowess been recover'd To Palestine, won by a Philistine, From the unforeskinn'd race, of whom thou bear'st The highest name for valiant acts; that honour, Certain to have won by mortal duel from thee, I lose, prevented by thy eyes put out. [but do
Sams. Boast not of what thou wouldst have done, What then thou wouldst; thou seest it in thy hand.
Har. To combat with a blind man I disdain,
And thou hast need much washing, to be touch'd.
Sams. Such usage as your honourable lords
Afford me, assassinated and betray'd,
Who durst not with their whole united powers
In fight withstand me, single and unarm’d,
Nor in the house, with chamber-ambushes
Close-banded, durst attack me, no, not sleeping,
Till they had hired a woman with their gold,
Breaking her marriage-faith, to circumvent me.
Therefore, without feign'd shifts, let be assign'd
Some narrow place enclosed, where sight may give thee,
Or rather flight, no great advantage on me;
Then put on all thy gorgeous arıns, thy helmet
And brigandine of brass, thy broad habergeon,
Vant-brace and greaves, and gaụntlet, add thy spear,
A weaver's beam, and seven-times folded shield :
I only with an oaken staff will meet thee,
And raise such outcries on thy clatter'd iron,
Which long shall not withhold me from thy head,
That in a little time, while breath remains thee,
Thou oft shall wish thyself at Gath, to boast
Again in safety what thou wouldst have done
To Samson, but shalt never see Gath more.
Har. Thou durst not thus disparage glorious arms,
Which greatest heroes have in battle worn, 113
Their ornament and safety, had not spells
And black enchantments, some magician's art, [heaven
Arm'd thee or charm’d thee strong, which thou from
Feign'dst at thy birth was given thee in thy hair,
Where strength can least abide, though all thy hairs
Were bristles ranged like those that ridge the back
Of chafed wild boars, or ruffled porcupines.
Sams. I know no spells, use no forbidden arts ; My trust is in the living God, who gave me, At my nativity, this strength, diffused No less through all my sinews, joints, and bones, Than thine, while I preserved these locks unshorn, The pledge of my unviolated vow. For proof hereof, if Dagon be thy god, Go to his temple, invocate his aid
With solemnest devotion, spread before him
How highly it concerns his glory now
To frustrate and dissolve these magic spells,
Which I to be the power of Israel's God
Avow, and challenge Dagon to the test,
Offering to combat thee, his champion bold,
With the utmost of his godhead seconded :
Then thou shalt see, or rather, to thy sorrow,
Soon feel, whose God is strongest, thine or mine.
Har. Presume not on thy God, whate'er he be; Thee he regards not, owns not, hath cut off Quite from his people, and deliver'd up Into thy enemies' hand; permitted them To put out both thine eyes, and, fetter'd, send thee Into the common prison, there to grind
TIÓr Among the slaves and asses, thy comrades, As good for nothing else; no better service With those thy boisterous locks, no worthy match For valour to assail, nor by the sword Of noble warrior, so to stain his honour, But by the barber's razor best subdued.
Sams. All these indignities, for such they are From thine, these evils I deserve, and more, Acknowledge them from God inflicted on me
1170 Justly, yet despair not of his final pardon, Whose ear is ever open, Gracious to re-admit the suppliant: In confidence whereof I once again Defy thee to the trial of mortal fight, By combat to decide whose god is God, Thine, or whom I with Israel's sons adore.
Har. Fair honour that thou dost thy God, in He will accept thee to defend his cause, [trusting A murderer, a revolter, and a robber!