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400

To them who had corrupted her, my spies,
And rivals? In this other was there found
More faith, who, also in her prime of love,
Spousal embraces, vitiated with gold,
Though offer'd only, by the scent conceived 390
Her spurious first-born, treason against me?
Thrice she assay’d, with flattering prayers and sighs,
And amorous reproaches, to win from me
My capital secret; in what part my strength
Lay stored, in what part summ'd, that she might know;
Thrice I deluded her, and turn'd to sport
Her importunity, each time perceiving
How openly and with what impudence
She purposed to betray me, and (which was worse
Than undissembled hate) with what contempt
She sought to make me traitor to myself;
Yet the fourth time, when, mustering all her wiles,
With blandish'd parleys, feminine assaults,
Tongue-batteries, she surceased not, day nor night,
To storm me, over-watch'd and wearied out,
At times when men seek most repose and rest,
I yielded, and unlock'd her all my heart,
Who, with a grain of manhood well resolved,
Might easily have shook off all her snares;
But foul effeminacy held me yoked
Her bond-slave! O indignity, O blot
To honour and religion! servile mind
Rewarded well with servile punishment !
The base degree to which I now am fallen,
These rags, this grinding, is not yet so base
As was my former servitude, ignoble,
Unmanly, ignominious, infamous,
True slavery; and that blindness worse than this,
That saw not how degenerately I served.

410

Man. I cannot praise thy marriage choices, son, 420
Rather approved them not; but thou didst plead
Divine impulsion prompting how thou might'st
Find some occasion to infest our foes.
I state not that; this I am sure, our foes
Found soon occasion thereby to make thee
Their captive, and their triumph; thou the sooner
Temptation found'st, or over-potent charms,
To violate the sacred trust of silence
Deposited within thee; which to have kept
Tacit was in thy power: true; and thou bear’st 430
Enough, and more, the burden of that fault;
Bitterly hast thou paid, and still are paying,
That rigid score. A worse thing yet remains :
This day the Philistines a popular feast
Here celebrate in Gaza, and proclaim
Great pomp, and sacrifice, and praises loud, ,
To Dagon, as their god, who hath deliver'd
Thee, Samson, bound and blind, into their hands;
Them out of thine, who slew'st them many a slain.
So Dagon shall be magnified, and God,
Besides whom is no god, compared with idols,
Disglorified, blasphemed, and had in scorn
By the idolatrous rout amidst their wine;
Which to have come to pass by means of thee,
Samson, of all thy sufferings think the heaviest,
Of all reproach the most with shame that ever
Could have befallen thee and thy father's house.

Sams. Father, I do acknowledge and confess
That I this honour, I this pomp, have brought
To Dagon, and advanced his praises high
Among the heathen round: to God have brought
Dishonour, obloquy, and oped the mouths
Of idolists and atheists; have brought scandal
VOL. II.

H

440

450

460

To Israel, diffidence of God, and doubt
In feeble hearts, propense enough before
To waver, or fall off and join with idols ;
Which is

my

chief affliction, shame and sorrow,
The anguish of my soul, that suffers not
Mine eye to harbour sleep, or thoughts to rest.
This only hope relieves me, that the strife
With me hath end: all the contest is now
'Twixt God and Dagon; Dagon hath presumed,
Me overthrown, to enter lists with God,
His deity comparing and preferring
Before the God of Abraham. He, be

sure,
Will not connive, or linger, thus provoked;
But will arise, and his great name assert:
Dagon must stoop, and shall ere long receive
Such a discomfit, as shall quite despoil him
Of all these boasted trophies won on me,

470 And with confusion blank his worshippers.

Man. With cause this hope relieves thee, and these I as a prophecy receive; for God,

[words Nothing more certain, will not long defer To vindicate the glory of his name Against all competition, nor will long Endure it doubtful whether God be Lord, Or Dagon. But for thee what shall be done? Thou must not, in the meanwhile here forgot, Lie in this miserable loathsome plight, Neglected. I already have made way To some Philistian lords, with whom to treat About thy ransom: well they may by this Have satisfied their utmost of revenge By pains and slaveries, worse than death, inflicted On thee, who now no more canst do them harm.

Sams. Spare that proposal, father; spare the trouble

480

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Of that solicitation ; let me here,
As I deserve, pay on my punishment,
And expiate, if possible, my crime,
Shameful garrulity. To have reveal'd
Secrets of men, the secrets of a friend,
How heinous had the fact been, how deserving
Contempt and scorn of all, to be excluded
All friendship, and avoided as a blab,
The mark of fool set on his front! But I
God's counsel have not kept; his holy secret
Presumptuously have publish'd, impiously,
Weakly at least, and shamefully: a sin
That Gentiles in their parables condemn

500 To their abyss and horrid pains confined.

Man. Be penitent, and for thy fault contrite; But act not in thy own affliction, son: Repent the sin; but, if the punishment Thou canst avoid, self-preservation bids; Or the execution leave to high disposal, And let another hand, not thine, exact Thy penal forfeit from thyself: perhaps God will relent, and quit thee all his debt; Who ever more approves, and more accepts 510 (Best pleased with humble and filial submission) Him who, imploring mercy, sues for life, Than who, self-rigorous, chooses death as due; Which argues over-just, and self-displeased For self-offence, more than for God offended. Reject not, then, what offer'd means; who knows But God hath set before us, to return thee Home to thy country and his sacred house, Where thou may'st bring thy offerings, to avert His further ire, with prayers and vows renew'd 520

Sams. His pardon I implore; but as for life

To what end should I seek it? "When in strength
All mortals I excell'd, and great in hopes
With youthful courage and magnanimous thoughts
Of birth from heaven foretold, and high exploits,
Full of divine instinct, after some proof
Of acts, indeed, heroic, far beyond
The sons of Anak, famous now and blazed,
Fearless of danger, like a petty god
I walk'd about, admired of all, and dreaded

530

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