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The foes' derision, captive, poor and blind,
Into a dungeon thrust, to work with slaves ?
Alas, methinks whom God hath chosen once
To worthiest deeds, if he through frailty err,
He should not so o'erwhelm, and as a thrall 370
Subject him to so foul indignities
Be’ it but for honour's sake of former deeds.
SAM. Appoint not heav'nly disposition, Father;
Nothing of all these evils hath befall’n me
But justly; I myself have brought them on,
Sole author I, sole cause : if ought seem vile,
As vile hath been my folly, who have profan'd
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 well I knew, nor was at all surpriz’d, 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 strait 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 sent conceiv'd 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
Lay stord, in what part summ'd, that she might
Thrice I deluded her and turn'd to sport [know;
Her importunity, each time perceiving
How openly, and with what impudence
She purpos'd to betray me, and (which was worse
Than undissembled hate) with what contempt 400
She sought to make me traitor to myself ;
Yet the fourth time, when must'ring all her wiles,
With blandish'd parlies, feminine assaults,
Tongue batteries, she surceas'd not day nor night
To storm me overwatch'd, and weary'd out,
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 resolv'd
Might easily have shook off all her snares ;
But foul effeminacy held me yok'd
Her bond-slave ; O indignity, O blot
To honour and religion ! servile mind
Rewarded well with servile punishment !
The base degree to which I now am fall’n.
These rags, this grinding is not yet so base
As was my former servitude ignoble,
Unmanly, ignominious, infamous,
True slavery, and that blindness worse than this
That saw not how degenerately I serv’d. 419
MAN. I cannot praise thy marriage choices, Son, Rather approv'd 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
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: fear; 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
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, compar'd with idols
Disglorify'd, blasphem’d, and had in scorn
By the idolatrous rout amidst their wine;
Which to have come to pass by means of thee,
Samson of all thy sufferings think the heaviest,
Of all reproach the most with shame that ever,
Could have befall'n thee and thy father's house.
Sam. Father I do acknowledge and confess That I this honor, I this pomp have brought To Dagon, and advanc'd his praises high 450 Among the Heathen’ round; to God have brought Dishonour, obloquy, and op'd the mouths Of idolists, and atheists; have brought scandal
To Israel, diffidence, of God, and doubt
In feeble hearts propense enough before
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.
This only hope relieves me, that the strife 460
With me hath end; all the contest is now
'Twixt God and Dagon; Dagon hath presum'd,
Me overthrown, to enter lists with God,
His deity comparing and preferring
Before the God of Abraham.
Will not connive, or linger, thus provok’d,
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 these boasted trophies won on me,
470 And with confusion blank bis worshippers.
MAN. With cause this hope relieves thee, and I as a prophecy receive; for God, [these words, Nothing more certain, will not long defer To vindicate the glory of his name 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 mean while 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 ransome : well they may by this
Have satisfy'd their utmost of revenge
By pains and slaveries, worse than death inflicted
On thee, who now no more canst do them harm.
Sam. Spare that proposal, Father, sparc the trouOf that solicitation; let me here
[ble 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 hainous had the fact been, how deserving Contempt, and scorn of all, to be excluded All friendship, and avoided as a blab, 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 To their abyss and horrid pains confin'd,
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 ; 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 iinploring mercy sues for life, Than who self-rigorous chooses death as due: