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But justly; I myself have brought them on, 375
Sole author I, sole cause : if aught seem vile,
As vile hath heen my folly, who have profaned
The mystery of God giv'n me under pledge
Of vow, and have betray'd it to a woman,
A Canaanite, my faithless enemy.

380
This wer: I knew, nor was at all surprised,
But warn'd by oft experience : did not she
Of Timna first betray me, and reveal
The secret wrested from me in her highth
Of nuptial love profess'd, carrying it straight 385
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 pray’rs and sighs,
And amorous reproaches, to win from me
My capital secret, in what part my strength [know;
Lay stored, in wliat part summ'd, that she might
Thrice I deluded her, and turn'd to sport

396 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 400 She sought make me traitor to myself; Yet the fourth time, when must'ring all her wiles, With blandish'd parleys, feminine assaults, Tongue-batteries, she surceased not day nor night To storm me over-watch'd, and weary'd out, 405 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

410 Her bond-slave; () 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 baso 413 As was iny former servitude iguoble, Unmanly, ignominious, infamous,

True slavery, and that blindness worse than this, That saw not how degenerately I served. 419 Man. I cannot praise thy marriage choices, Son, 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 420 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 art paying That rigid score. A worse thing yet remains: This day the Philistines a popular feast Here celebrate in Gaza; and proclaim 435 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, 440 Besides whom is no god, compared with idols Disglorified, blasphemed, and had in scorn By the idolatrous rout annidst their wine; Which to have come to pass by means of thee, Samson, of all thy sufferings think the heaviest, 4.15 Of all reproach the most with shame that ever Could have befallen thee and thy father's house. Sam. Father, I do acknowledge and confess That I this honour, I this pomp, have brought To Dagon, and advanced his praises high 450 Among the Heathen 'round; to God have brought Dishonour, obloquy, and oped the mouths Of idolists, and atheists; have brought scandal To Israel, diffidence of God, and doubt

In feeble hearts, propense enough before 455
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.

400

This only hope relieves me, that the strife

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With me bath end, all tlie contést is now
'Twixt God and Dagon; Dagon hath. presumed,
Me overthrown, to enter lists with God,
His deitv comparing and preferring
Before the God of Abraham. He, be sure, 406
Will not connive, ur 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 boast d trophies wou on me,

470 And with confusion blank his worshippers.

Mun. 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

475 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

480 Neglected. I already have made way To some Philistian lords, with whom to treat About thy ransum : 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 can't do them harm. 186

Sum. Spare that proposal, Father, spare the trouble Of that solicitation ; let me here, As I deserve, pay on my punishment; And expiate, if possible, my crime,

490 Shameful garrulity. To have reveal'd Secrets of men, the secrets of a friend, How heinous had the fact beeu, how deserving Contenipt, and scorn of all, to be excluded All friendship, and avoided as a blab,

495 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

500. The a'lusion is to the story of Tantalus, who it is said revealed the secrrts of the gods, and was for that condemned to punishment in the infernal regions.

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 ;

305
Or th' 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. 515
Reject not then what offer'd means; who knows
But God hath sent before us, to return thee
Home to thy country and his sacred house,
Where thou mayst bring thy offerings, to avert
His further ire, with pray’rs and vows renew'd ? 520

Sam. 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 Heav'n foretold and high exploits, 525 Full of divine instinct, after some proof Or 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 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 535 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.

540 Chor. Desire of wine and all delicious drinks,

538. OS is to be understood before all, &c. 541. Allusion is here made to the strictness of living imposed

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, 545
Allure thee from the cool crystalline stream,

Sam. Wherever fountain or fresh current flow'd
Against the eastern ray, translucent, pure
With touch ethereal of Heav'n's fiery rod,
I drank, from the clear milky juice allaying 550
Thirst, and refresh'd ; nor envy'd them the grape
Whose heads that turbulent liquor fills with fumes.

Chor. 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, 556 Whose drink was only from the liquid brook.

Sam. But what avail'd this temp'rance, not comAgainst another object more enticing ? [plete What boots it at one gate to make defence,

560 Aud at another to let in the foe, Effeminately vanquish'd ? by which means, Now blind, dishearten’d, shamed, dishonour'd, quell’d, To what can I be useful, wherein serve My nation, and the work from Heav'n imposed, 565 But to sit idle on the household hearth, A burdenous drone ; to visitants a gaze, Or pitied object, these redundant locks Robustious to o purpose clust'ring 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

575 Hasten the welcome end of all my pains. Man. Wilt thou then serve the Philistines with

that gift Which was expressly given thee to annoy them ? by the Nazarite's vow, which Samsou kept in all respects, but in bis marriage with a strange woman.

545. Judges is. 13. Gods here means the false gods of the head then cities, or the conquerors and great men, so called in honour of Useir famous deeds. 571. Craze, so used Par. Lost, xii. 210.

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