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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, 740
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 suffer'st, and appease
Thy mind with what amends is in my power, 745
Though late, yet in some part to recompense
My rash but more unfortunate misdeed.

Sam. 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, 755
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 pois'nous bosom snake, If not by quick destruction soon cut off As I by thee, to ages an example.

765 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 1 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, iniportune

775 Of secrets, then with like infirmity

748. Hyena ; this animal is known to imitate the human voice so well, as to have deceived travellers with its compluiats.

To publish them, both common female faults:
Was it not weakness also to make known
For importunity, that is for nought,
Wherein consisted all thy strength and safety? 780
To what I did, thou shew'dst me first the way.
But I to enemies reveal'd, and should not : [frailty:
Nor should'st thou have trusted that to woman's
Ere I to thee, thou to thyself wast cruel.
Let weakuess then with weakness come to parle 785
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, powersul of sway
In human hearts, nor less in mind tow'rds thee,
Caused what I did? I saw thee mutable
Of fancy, fear'a lest one day thou would'st leave me
As her at Timna, sought by all means therefore 795
How to endear, and hold thee to me firmest:
No better way I saw than by insportúning
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 800
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, 805
Wailing thy absence in my widow'd bed ;
Jere 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 past for good,
Though fond and reasonless to some perhaps :
And love hath oft, well meaning, wrought much woe,
Yet always pity' or pardon hath obtain'd.
Be not unlike all others, not austere

815 As thou art strong, inflexible as steel. If thou in strength all mortals dost exceed, In uncompassionate anger do not so.

Sam. How cunningly the sorceress displays

Her own transgressions, to upbraid me mine! 820
Tbat malice, not repentance, brought thee bither,
By this appears : I gave, thou say'st, th' example,
I led the way: bitter reproach, but true:
I to niyself was false ere thou to me:
Such pardon therefore as I give my folly, 825
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. 835
But love constrain'd thee; call it furioils rage
To satisfy thy lust; love seeks to' have love;
My love how could'st 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 striv'st to cover shame with shame,
Or by evasions thy crime incover'st more.

Dal. Since thou determin'st weakness for no plea In man or woman, though to thy own condemning, Hear what assaults I had, what snares besides, 845 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 la y’st, That wrought with me: thou know'st the magistrates And princes of my country came in person,

851 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

855 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 insnare an irreligious

860 Dishonourer of Dagon: what had 1 To'

oppose against such j'owerful 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 inust yield, with grave authority
Took full possession of me and prevailid:
Virtue, as I thought, truth, duty, so enjoining. (end;

Sum. I thought where all thy circling wiles would In feign'd religion, smooth hypocrisy. But had thy love, still odiously pretended, Been, as it ought, sincere, it would have taught thee Far other reasonings, brought forth other deeds. 875 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

880 By thy request, who could deny thee nothing; Yet now am judged an enemy. Why then Did'st 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 885 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 898 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. 900 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. 904

Sam. 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 shew what recompense 910 Tow'rds 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

OS Where other senses want not their delights At home in leisure and doinestic ease, Exempt from many a care and chance to which Eye-sight exposes daily inen 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 my redoubled love and care With nursing diligence, to me glad office, May ever tend about thee to old age

925 With all things grateful cheer'd, and so supplied, That what by me thou' hast lost thou least shalt miss.

Sam. No, no, of my condition take no care; It fits not; thou and I long since are twain : Nor think me so unwary or accursed,

930 To bring my feet again into the snare Where once I have been caught; I know thy trains Though dearly to my cost, thy gins and toils; Thy fair enchanted cup, and warbling charms No more on me have power, their force is nullid, So much of adder's wisdom I have learn'd 936 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 could'st hate

me Thy husband, slight me, sell me, and forego me; 910 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 would'st thou insult,

934. There is no particular allusion here, as has tren supposed, to the fable of Circe and her enchanted cup; it is but the common figurative language of poetry, and involves no in propriety or anachronism.

936. Psal. Iviii. 4. 5.

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