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SAMSON AGONISTES.

103 Which argues over-just, and self-displeas'd For self-offense, more than for God offended. 515 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 mayst bring thy offerings, to avert His further ire, with pray’rs and vows renewid ? 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, Full of divine instinct, after some proof Of acts indeed heroic, far beyond The sons of Anak, famous now and blaz’d, Fearless of danger, like a petty god I walk'd about admir'd of all and dreaded

530 On hostile ground, none daring my affront. Then swoll'n 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, despoild, Shav'n, and disarm’d among mine enemies. 540

Chor. 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 flavor, or the smell,
Or taste that cheers the heart of gods and men, 545
Allure thee from the cool crystallin 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 forbidd’n 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 defense, 560 And at another to let in the foe, Effeminately vanquish’d? by which means, Now blind,dishearten'd, sham’d, dishonor’d, quell’d, To what can I be useful, wherein serve My nation, and the work from Heav'n impos’d, 565 But to sit idle on the houshold hearth, A burd'nous drone; to visitant's a gaze, Or pity'd object, these redundant locks Rohustious to no purpose clustring down, Vain monument of strength ; till length of years 570 And sedentary numness craze my limbs To a contemptible old age obscure ? Here rather let me drudge and earn my bread,

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my pains.

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Till vermin or the draff of servile food
Consume me, and oft-invoked death
Hasten the welcome end of all

Man. Wilt thou then serve the Philistines with that
Which was expressly giv’n thee to annoy them?[gift
Better at home lie bed-rid, not only idle,
Inglorious, unemploy’d, with age outworn. 580
But God who caus’d a fountain at thy prayer
From the dry ground to spring, thy thirst to' allay
After the brunt of battel, 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 be frustrate thus.

SAM.Allotherwise to me my thoughts portend, 590
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 595
In all her functions weary of herself,
My race of glory run, and race of shame,
And I shall shortly be with thein that rest.

Man. Believe not these suggestions which proceed
From anguish of the mind and humors black, 600
That mingle with thy fancy. I however
Must not omit a father's timely care
To prosecute the means of thy deliverance

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By ransome, or how else: mean while be calm, And healing words froin these thy friends admit,

SAM. O that Torment should not be confin'd To the body's wounds and sores, With maladies innumerable In heart, head, breast and reins; But must secret passage find

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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,
Though void of corporal sense.

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

620
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 asswage,
Nor breath of vernal air from snowy Alp.
Sleep hath forsook and giv’n me o'er
To death’s benumming opium as my only cure : 630
Thence faintings, swoonings of despair,
And sense of Heay'n's desertion.

625

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I was his nursling once and choice delight, His destin'd from the womb, Promis’d by heav'nly message twice descending. Under his special eye

636 Abstemious I grew up and thriv'd amain; He led me on to mightiest deeds Above the nerve of mortal arm Against th’uncircumcis’d, our enemies : 640 But now hath cast me off as never known, And to those cruel enemies, Whom I by his appointment had provok'd, Left me all helpless with th' irreparable loss Of sight, reserv'd 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,

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, All chances incident to man's frail life, Consolitaries writ With study'd argument, and much persuasion

sought Lenient of grief and anxious thought: But with th’afflicted in his pangs their sound 660 Little prevails, or rather seems a tune

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