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The Gates of Azza, Post, and massie Bar
Up to the Hill by Hebron, seat of Giants old,
No journey of a Sabbath day, and loaded so; 149
Like whom the Gentiles feign to bear up Heav'n.
Which shall I first bewail,
Thy Bondage or lost Sight,
Prison within Prison
Inseparably dark?
Thou art become (О worst imprisonment !)
The Dungeon of thy self; thy Soul
(Which Men enjoying fight oft without cause com-
Imprison'd now indeed,

(plain) 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 wondrous glory, Strongest of mortal men, To lowest pitch of abject fortune thou art fall’n. For him I reckon not in high estate Whom long descent of birth Or the sphear of fortune raises ; But thee whose strength, while vertue was her mate, Might have subdu'd the Earth, Universally crown’d with highest praises.

Sam. I hear the sound of words, thir sense the air Diffolves unjointed e're it reach my ear. Chor. Hee speaks, let us draw nigh. Matchless

in might,

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179

The glory late of Israel, now the grief;
We come thy friends and neighbours not unknown
From Eshtaol and Zora's fruitful Vale
To visit or bewail thee, or if better,
Counsel or Consolation we may bring,
Salve to thy Sores, apt words have power to swage
The tumors of a troubl'd mind,
And are as Balm to fester'd wounds.

Sam. Yourcoming, Friends, revives me, for Ilearn
Now of my own experience, not by talk,
How counterfeit a coin they are who friends
Bear in their Superscription (of the most 190
I would be understood) in prosperous days
They swarm, but in adverse withdraw their head
Not to be found, though sought. Yee see, O friends,
How many evils have enclos'd me round;
Yet that which was the worst now least afflicts me,
Blindness, for had I fight, confus'd with shame,
How could I once look up, or heave the head,
Who like a foolish Pilot have shipwrack't,
My Vessel trusted to me from above,
Gloriously rigg'd; and for a word, a tear,
Fool, have divulg'd the secret gift of God
To a deceitful Woman: tell me Friends,
Am I not sung and proverbd for a Fool
In 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 then mean;
This with the other should, at least, have paird,
These two proportiond ill drove me transverse.

Chor. Tax not divine disposal, wisest Men

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Have err’d, and by bad Women been deceiv'd;
And shall again, pretend they ne're so wise.
Deject not then so overmuch thy self,
Who hast of sorrow thy full load besides ;
Yet truth to say, I oft have heard men wonder
Why thou shouldst wed Philistian women rather
Then of thine own Tribe fairer, or as fair,
At least of thy own Nation, and as noble.

Sam. The first I saw at Timna, and the pleas'd
Mee, not my Parents, that I sought to wed,
The daughter of an Infidel : they knew not
That what I motion'd was of God; I knew
From intimate impulse, and therefore urg'd
The Marriage on; that by occasion hence
I might begin Israel's Deliverance,
The work to which I was divinely callid;
She proving false, the next I took to Wife
(O that I never had ! fond with too late.)
Was in the Vale of Sorec, Dalila,
That specious Monster, my accomplisht snare. 230
I thought it lawful from my former act,
And the same end; still watching to oppress
Israel's oppreffours: of what now I suffer
She was not the prime cause, but I
Who vanquisht with a peal of words (O weakness!)
Gave up my fort of silence to a Woman.

Chor. In seeking just occasion to provoke
The Philistine, thy Countries Enemy,
Thou never wast remiss, I bear thee witness :
Yet Israel still serves with all his Sons.

Sam. That fault I take not on me, but transfer On Israel's Governours, and Heads of Tribes,

my self,

240

Who seeing those great acts which God had done
Singly by me against their Conquerours
Acknowledg'd not, or not at all consider'd
Deliverance offerd : I on th' other side
Us'd no ambition to commend my deeds, [dooer ;
The deeds themselves, though mute, spoke loud the
But they persisted deaf, and would not seem

249
To count them things worth notice, till at length
Thir Lords the Philistines with gather'd powers
Enterd Judea seeking mee, who then
Safe to the rock of Etham was retir'd,
Not flying, but fore-casting in what place
To set upon them, what advantag'd best ;
Mean while the men of Judah to prevent
The harrass of thir Land, beset me round;
I willingly on some conditions came
Into thir hands, and they as gladly yield me
To the uncircumcis’d a welcom prey,
Bound with two cords; but cords to me were threds
Toucht with the flame : on thir whole Host I flew
Unarm’d, and with a trivial weapon felld
Their choicest youth; they only liv'd who fled.
Had Judah that day join’d, or one whole Tribe,
They had by this possess’d the Towers of Gath,
And lorded over them whom now they serve;
But what more oft in Nations grown corrupt,
And by thir vices brought to servitude,
Then to love Bondage more then Liberty,
Bondage with ease then strenuous liberty ;
And to despise, or envy, or suspect
Whom God hath of his special favour rais’d
As thir Deliverer ; if he aught begin,

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270

How frequent to desert him, and at last
To heap ingratitude on worthiest deeds ?

Chor. Thy words to my remembrance bring
How Succoth and the Fort of Penuel
Thir
great

Deliverer contemn’d,
The matchless Gideon in pursuit

280 Of Madian and her vanquisht Kings : And how ingrateful Ephraim Had dealt with Jephtha, who by argument, Not worse then by his shield and spear Defended Ifrael from the Ammonite, Had not his prowess quell’d thir pride In that sore battel when so many dy'd Without Reprieve adjudg’d to death, For want of well pronouncing Shibboleth.

Sam. Of such examples adde mee to the roul, Mee easily indeed mine may neglect, But Gods propos'd deliverance not so. Chor. Just are the

ways

of God,
And justifiable to Men;
Unless there be who think not God at all,
If any be, they walk obscure;
For of such Doctrine never was there School,
But the heart of the Fool,
And no man therein Doctor but himself.

Yet more there be who doubt his ways not just,
As to his own edicts, found contradicting,
Then give the rains to wandring thought,
Regardless of his glories diminution ;
Till by thir own perplexities involv'd
They ravel more, still less resolv'd,
But never find self-satisfying solution.

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