Page images

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.

Better at home lie bed-rid, not only idle,
Inglorious, unemploy'd, with age out-worn. 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 thy eyes to spring,
Wherewith to serve him better than thou hast; 585
And I persuade me so ; why else this strength
Miraculous yet remaining in those locks ?
His might continues in thee not for nought,
Nor shall his wondrous gifts he frustrate thus. 589

Sam. All otherwise to me my thou:hts portend,
That these dark orbs no more shall treat with light,
Nor th' 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 505
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.

Mun. 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. 605

Sam. 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 th’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, 615

[ocr errors]

581. There is a difference between this account of the fountain which rose in answer to Samson's prayer, and that which is given in our translation of the Scripture. In the latter it is said the water sprang from the cleft jaw, but by most of the commentators it is said, that as the word translated jaw is the proper nanie of a spot of ground, it should not in this rlace be translated in the Sense given in our version.

Though void of corporal sense.

My griefs not only pain ine
As a lingering disease,
But, finding no redress, ferment and rage;
Nor less than wounds immedicable

Raukle, and fester, and gangrene,
To black mortification.
Thoughts my tormentors arm'd with deadly stings
Mangle my apprehensive tenderest parts,
Exasperate, exulcerate, and raise

625 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 Heav'n's desertion.

I was his nursling once and choice delight, His destined from the womb, Promised by heav'nly message twice descending. 635 Under his special eye Abstemious I grew up and thrived amain ; He led me on to mightiest deeds Above the nerve of mortal arm Against th' uncircumcised, our enemies :

640 But now hath cast me off as never known, And to those cruel enemies, Whom I by his appointment had provoked, Left une all helpless with th' irreparable loss Of sight, reserved alive to be repeated

645 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,

650 The close of all my miseries, and the balm.

Chor. Many are the sayings of the wise In ancient and in modern books inrollid, Extolling patience as the truest fortitude : And to the bearing well of all calamities, 655 All chances incident to man's frail life, 628. Alp, here used as a general name for mountains :

see also Par. Lost, ii. 628.

Corisolatories writ
With studied argument, and much persuasion sought
Lenient of grief and anxious thought:
But with th' afdicted in his pangs their sound 600
Little prevails, or rather seems a tune
Harsh, and of dissonant mood from his complaint;
Unless he feel within
Sone source of consolation from above,
Secret refreshings, that repair his strength, 605
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,
Not evenly, as thou rul'st

671 Th' angelic orders and inferior creatures mute, Irrational and brute ? Nor do I name of men the common rout, That, wand'ring loose about,

675 Grow up and perish as the summer fly, Heads without name no more remember'd; But such as thou hast solemnly elected, With gifts and graces eminently adorn'd To some great work, thy glory,

660 And people's safety, which in part they effect: Yet toward these thus dignified, thou oft Amidst their highth of noon Changest thy count'nance, and thy hand with no Of highest favours past

(regard From thee on them, or them to thee of service. 686 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 cye,

[high, Too grievous for the trespass or omission;

691 Oft leavest them to the hostile sword Of Heathen and profane, their carcases To dogs and fowls a prey, or else captived ; • Or to the unjust tribunals, under change of times, And condemnation of th' ungrateful multitude. 696 If these they 'scape, perhaps in poverty 658. Franght is proposed by Warburton, instead of sought.

661. Ecclus. xxii. 6.

With sickness and disease thou bow'st them down, Painful diseases and deform'd, crude old age :

700 Though not disordinate, yet causeless suffering The punishment of dissolute days; in fine, Just or unjust alike seem miserable, For oft alike both come to evil end.

So deal not with this once thy glorious champion The image of thy strength, and mighty minister. 700 What do I beg ? how hast thou dealt already? Behold him in this state calamitous, and turn His labours, for thou canst, to peaceful end.

But who is this, what thing of sea or land? 710 Female of sex it seems, That so bedeck’d, ornate and gay, Comes this way sailing Like a stately ship Of Tarsus, bound for th' isles

715 Of Javan or Gadire With all her bravery an, and tackle trim, Sails fill'd, and streamers waving, Courted by all the winds that hold them play, An amber scent of odorous perfume

720 Her harbinger, a damsel train behind ? Some rich Philistian matron she may seem, And now at nearer view, no other certain Than Dalila thy wife. Sam. My wife, my traitress, let her not come near me.

725 Chor. Yet on she moves, now stands and eyes thee

fix'd, About to have spoke, but now,

with head declined Like a fair flower surcharged with dew, she weeps, And words address'd seem into tears dissolved, Wetting the borders of her silken veil :

730 But now again she makes address to speak.

Dal. With doubtful feet and wavering resolution I came, still dreading thy displeasure, Samson, Which to have merited, without excuse, I cannot but acknowledge; yet if tears


700. Crude, premature. 714. This comparison is to be found in several of the older poets, Shakspeare, Beaumont and Fletcher, &c.

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »