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On hostile ground, none daring my affront;
Then, swollen with pride, into the snare I fell
Of fair fallacious looks, venereal trains,
Soften'd with pleasure and voluptuous life,
At length to lay my head and hallow'd pledge
Of all my strength in the lascivious lap
Of a deceitful concubine, who shore me,
Like a tame wether, all my precious fleece,
Then turn'd me out ridiculous, despoil'd,
Shaven, and disarm'd among mine enemies.
Cho. Desire of wine, and all delicious drinks,
Which many a famous warrior overturns,
Thou couldst repress ; nor did the dancing ruby,
Sparkling out-pour'd, the flavour or the smell,
Or taste that cheers the heart of gods and men,
Allure thee from the cool crystalline stream.
Sams. Wherever fountain or fresh current flow'd
Against the eastern ray, translucent, pure
With touch ethereal of heaven's fiery rod,
I drank, from the clear milky juice allaying 550
Thirst, and refresh'd; nor envied them the grape
Whose heads that turbulent liquor fills with fumes.
Cho. O madness, to think use of strongest wines, And strongest drinks, our chief support of health, When God, with these forbidden, made choice to rear His mighty champion, strong above compare, Whose drink was only from the liquid brook!
Sams. But what avail'd this temperance, not comAgainst another object more enticing ? [plete What boots it at one gate to make defence, 560 And at another to let in the foe, Effeminately vanquish'd ? by which means, Now blind, dishearten'd, shamed, dishonour'd, puell'd To what can I be useful, wherein serve
My nation, and the work from Heaven imposed,
But to sit idle on the household hearth,
A burdenous drone ; to visitants a gaze,
Or pitied object, these redundant locks,
Robustious to no purpose, clustering down,
Vain monument of strength; till length of years 570
And sedentary numbness craze my limbs
To a contemptible old age obscure ?
Here rather let me drudge, and earn my bread,
Till vermin, or the draff of servile food,
Consume me, and oft-invocated death
Hasten the welcome end of all my pains. [gift
Man. Wilt thou then serve the Philistines with that
Which was expressly given thee to annoy them?
Better at home lie bed-rid, not only idle,
Inglorious, unemploy'd, with age outworn. 580
But God, who caused a fountain, at thy prayer,
From the dry ground to spring, thy thirst to allay
After the brunt of battle, can as easy
Cause light again within thine eyes to spring,
Wherewith to serve him better than thou hast :
And I persuade me so; why else this strength
Miraculous yet remaining in those locks ?
His might continues in thee not for naught,
Nor shall his wondrous gifts be frustrate thus.
Sams. All otherwise to me my thoughts portend,590 That these dark orbs no more shall treat with light, Nor the other light of life continue long, But yield to double darkness nigh at hand: So much I feel my genial spirits droop, My hopes all flat, nature within me seems In all her functions weary of herself; My race of glory run, and race of shame. And I shall shortly be with them that rest.
Man. Believe not these suggestions which proceed
From anguish of the mind and humours black, 600
That mingle with thy fancy. I, however,
Must not omit a father's timely care
To prosecute the means of thy deliverance
By ransom, or how else; meanwhile be calm,
And healing words from these thy friends admit. [Exit.
Sams. O, that torment should not be confined
To the body's wounds and sores,
With maladies innumerable
In heart, head; breast, and reins ;
But must secret passage find
To the inmost mind,
There exercise all his fierce accidents,
And on her purest spirits prey,
As on entrails, joints, and limbs,
With answerable pains, but more intense,
Though void of corporal sense.
My griefs not only pain me,
As a lingering disease,
But, finding no redress, ferment and rage;
Nor less than wounds immedicable
Rankle, and fester, and gangrene,
To black mortification.
Thoughts, my tormentors, arm’d with deadly stings,
Mangle my apprehensive tenderest parts,
Exasperate, exulcerate, and raise
Dire inflammation, which no cooling herb
Or medicinal liquor can assuage,
Nor breath of vernal air from snowy Alp.
Sleep hath forsook and given me o'er
To death’s benumbing opium as my only cure: 630
Thence faintings, swoonings of despair,
And sense of Heaven's desertion.
I was his nursling once, and choice delight,“
His destined from the womb,
Promised by heavenly message twice descending.
Under his special eye
Abstemious I grew up, and thrived amain;
IIe led me on to mightiest deeds,
Above the nerve of mortal arm,
Against the uncircumcised, our enemies :
But now hath cast me off as never known,
And to those cruel enemies,
Whom I, by his appointment, had provoked,
Left me all helpless, with the irreparable loss
Of sight, reserved alive to be repeated
The subject of their cruelty or scorn.
Nor am I in the list of them that hope;
Hopeless are all my evils, all remediless :
This one prayer yet remains, might I be heard,
No long petition; speedy death,
The close of all my miseries, and the balm. -
Cho. Many are the sayings of the wise,
In ancient and in modern books enrollid,
Extolling patience as the truest fortitude;
And to the bearing well of all calamities,
All chances incident to man's frail life,
Consolatories writ !
With studied argument, and much persuasion sought,
Lenient of grief and anxious thought:
But with the 'afflicted, in his pangs, their sound 660
Little prevails, or rather seems a tune
Harsh, and of dissonant mood from his complaint:
Unless he feel within
Some source of consolation from above,
Secret refreshings, that repair his strength,
And fainting spirits uphold.
God of our fathers! what is man, That thou, towards him, with hand so various, Or might I say contrarious, Temper’st thy providence through his short course,670 Not evenly, as thou rulest The angelic orders, and inferior creatures mute, Irrational and brute ? Nor do I name of men the common rout, That, wandering loose about, Grow up and perish, as the summer fly, Heads without name, no more remembered; But such as thou hast solemnly elected, With gifts and graces eminently adorn'd, To some great work, thy glory, And people's safety, which in part they effect : Yet toward these, thus dignified, thou oft, Amidst their height of noon, Changest thy countenance, and thy hand, with no regard Of highest favours past From thee on them, or them to thee of service.
Nor only dost degrade them, or remit To life obscured, which were a fair dismission, But throw'st them lower than thou didst exalt them Unseemly falls in human eye,
- [high; Too grievous for the trespass or omission; : 690 Oft leavest them to the hostile sword Of heathen and profane, their carcasses To dogs and fowls a prey, or else captived; Or to the unjust tribunals, under change of times, And condemnation of the ungrateful multitude. If these they 'scape, perhaps in poverty, With sickness and disease, thou bow'st them down, Painful diseases and deform’d, In crude old age;