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Would ask a life to wail, but chief of all,
O loss of sight, of thee I must complain!
Blind among enemies, O worse than chains,
Dungeon, or beggary, or decrepit age !
Light the prime work of God to me is extinct, 70
And all her various objects of delight
Annull’d, which might in part my grief have eas'd
Inferior to the vilest now become
Of man or worm; the vilest here excel me,
They creep, yet see, I dark in light expos'd
To daily fraud, contempt, abuse, and wrong,
Within doors, or without, still as a fool,
power of others, never in my own;
Scarce half I seem to live, dead more than half.
O dark, dark, dark, amid the blaze of noon, 80
Irrecoverably dark, total eclipse
Without all hope of day!
O first created beam, and thou great word,
Let there be light, and light was over all ;
Why am I thus bereav'd thy prime decree ?
The sun to me is dark
And silent as the moon,
When she deserts the night
Hid in her vacant interlunar cave.
Since light so necessary is to life,
90 And almost life itself, if it be true That light is in the soul, She all in ev'ry part ; why was the sight To such a tender ball as the eye confin'd, So obvious and so easy to be quench'd ?
And not as feeling through all parts diffus'd,
That she might look at will through every pore ?
Then had I not been thus exil'd from light,
As in the land of darkness yet in light,
To live a life half dead, a living death, 100
And bury'd: but yet more miserable !
Myself my sepulchre, a moving grave,
Bury'd, yet not exempt
By privilege of death and burial
From worst of other evils, pains and wrongs,
But made hereby obnoxious more
To all the miseries of life,
Life in captivity
Among inhuman foes.
But who are these ? for with joint pace I hear 110
The tread of many feet steering this way;
Perhaps my enemies who come to stare
At my afflietion, and perhaps to insult,
Their daily practice, to afflict me more.
CHOR. This, this is he ; softly awhile,
Let us not break in upon him ;
O change beyond report, thought or belief!
See how he lies at random, earelessly diffus'd,
With languish'd head unpropt,
As one past hope, abandon'd,
And by himself given over;
In slavish ḥabit, ill-fitted weeds
O’er-worn and soil'd;
Or do my eyes misrepresent? Can this be he,
That he heroic, that renown'd,
Irresistible Samson? whom unarm'd
No strength of man, or fiercest wild beast could
Who tore the lion, as the lion tears the kid,
Ran on imbattled armies clad in iron,
And weaponless himself,
Made arms rediculous, useless the forgery
Of brazen shield and spear, the hammer'd cuirass,
Chalybean temper'd steel, and frock of mail
Adamantean proof ;
But safest he who stood aloof,
When insupportably his foot advanc'd,
In scorn of their proud arms and warlike tools,
Spurn'd them to death by troops. The bold Asca.
Fled from his lion ramp, old warriors turn'd (lonite
Their plated backs under his heel;
140 Or grov'ling soild their crested helmets in the dust. Then with what trivial weapon came to hand, The jaw of a dead ass, his sword of bone, A thousand fore-skins fell, the flower of Palastine, Iu Ramath-lechi famous to this day. Then by main force pull'd up, and on his shoulders The gates of Azza, post, and massy bar, [bore Up to the hill by Hebron, seat of Giants old, No journey of a sabbath-day, and loaded so; Like whom the Gentiles feign to bear up Heav'n. 150 Which shall I first bewail, Thy bondage or lost sight, Prison within prison Inseparably dark ?
Thou art become (О worst imprisonment !)
The dungeon of thyself; thy soul [plain)
(Which men enjoying sight oft without cause com-
Imprison'd now indeed,
In real darkness of the body dwells,
Shut up from outward light
To incorporate with gloomy night;
For inward light, alas!
Puts forth no visual beam.
O mirror of our fickle state,
Since man on earth unparalleld!
The rarer thy example stands,
By how much from the top of wond'rous glory,
Strongest of mortal men,
To lowest pitch of abject fortune thou art fall'n,
For him I reckon not in high estate
170 Whom long descent of birth Or the sphere of fortune raises ; But thee whose strength, while virtue was her mate, Might have subdued the earth, Universally crown'd with highest praises.
SAM. I hear the sound of words, their sense the air Dissolves unjointed ere it reach my
ear, CHOR. He speaks, let us draw nigh. Matchless in The glory late of Israel, now the grief; (might, We come thy friends and neighbours not unknown From Eshtaol and Zora's fruitful vale,
181 To visit or bewail thee, or if better, Counsel or consolation we may bring, Salve to thy søres ; apt words have power to swage
The tumors of a troubled mind,
And are as balm to fester'd wounds.
SAM. Your coming, friends, revives me, for I
Now of my own experience, not by talk, (learn
How counterfeit a coin they are who friends,
Bear in their superscription, (of the most 190
I would be understood) in prosp’rous days
They swarm, but in adverse withdraw their head,
Not to be found, though sought. Ye see, O friends,
How many evils have inclos'd me round;
Yet that whieh was the worst now least afflicts me,
Blindness, for had I sight, confus’d with shame,
How could I once look np, or heave the head
Who like a foolish pilot have shipwrack'd
My vessel trusted to me from above,
Gloriously riggd; and for a word, a tear, 200
Fool, have divulg'd the secret gift of God
To a deceitful woman? tell me, friends,
Am I not sung and proverbid for a fool
every street ? do they not say, how well
Are come upon him his deserts ? yet why?
Immeasurable strength they might behold
In me, of wisdom nothing more than man;
This with the other should, at least have pair’d,
These two proportion’d ill drove me transverse. 209
Cuor. Tax not divine disposal ; wisest men
Have err'd, and by bad women been deceiv'd ;
And shall again, pretend they ne'er so wise.
Deject not then so over much thyself,
Who hast of sorrow thy full load besides ;