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As if they would confine th' interminable,
And tie him to his own prescript,
Who made our Laws to bind us, not himself,
And hath full right to exempt
Whom so it pleases him by choice
From National obstriction, without taint
Of sin, or legal debt;
For with his own Laws he can best dispence.

He would not else who never wanted means,
Nor in respect of the enemy just cause
To set his people free,
Have prompted this Heroic Nazarite,
Against his vow of strictest purity,
To seek in marriage that fallacious Bride,
Unclean, unchaste.

Down Reason then, at least vain reasonings down,
Though Reason here aver
That moral verdit quits her of unclean:
Unchaste was subsequent, her stain not his.

But see here comes thy reverend Sire
With careful step, Locks white as doune,
Old Manoah : advise
Forthwith how thou oughtst to receive him.

Sam. Ay me, another inward grief awak't, 330 With mention of that name renews th' assault.

Man. Brethren nad men of Dan, for such ye seem, Though in this uncouth place; if old respect, As I suppose, towards your once gloried friend, My Son now Captive, hither hath inform’d Your younger feet, while mine cast back with age Came lagging after ; say if he be here.

Chor. As signal now in low dejected state,


As earst in highest, behold him where he lies.

Man. O miserable change! is this the man, That invincible Samson, far renown'd, The dread of Israel's foes, who with a strength Equivalent to Angels walk'd thir streets, None offering fight; who fingle combatant Duelld thir Armies rank’t in proud array, Himself an Army, now unequal match To save himself against a coward arm'd At one spears length. O ever failing In mortal strength! and oh what not in man Deceivable and vain! Nay what thing good 350 Pray'd for, but often proves our woe, our bane? I pray'd for Children, and thought barrenness In wedlock a reproach ; I gain’d a Son, And such a Son as all Men haild me happy; Who would be now a Father in my stead? O wherefore did God grant me my request, And as a blessing with such pomp

adorn'd? Why are his gifts desirable, to tempt Our earnest Prayers, then giv’n with solemn hand As Graces, draw a Scorpions tail behind ? 360 For this did the Angel twice descend? for this Ordain'd thy nurture holy, as of a Plant; Select, and Sacred, Glorious for a while, The miracle of men : then in an hour Ensnar'd, assaulted, overcome, led bound, Thy 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’rewhelm, and as a thrall

370 380

Subject him to so foul indignities,
Be it but for honours sake of former deeds.

Sam. Appoint not heavenly disposition, Father,
Nothing of all these evils hath befall’n me
But justly; I my

self have brought them on, Sole Author I, sole cause ; if aught 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. This well I knew, nor was at all surpris’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 profest, 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 Her spurious first-born; Treason against me? Thrice she assay'd with flattering prayers and fighs, And amorous reproaches to win from me My capital secret, in what part my strength Lay stor’d, in what part summ’d, thatshemightknow: Thrice I deluded her, and turn’d to sport Her importunity, each time perceiving How openly, and with what impudence She purpos’d to betray me, and (which was worse Then undifsembld hate) with what contempt 400 She sought to make me Traytor to my self; Yet the fourth time, when mustring all her wiles,


With blanditht parlies, feminine assaults
Tongue-batteries, she surceas'd not day nor night
To storm me over-watch't, and wearied 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't

Her Bond-llave ; O indignity, O blot
To Honour and Religion ! servil mind
Rewarded well with servil punishment!
The base degree to which I now am fall’n,

rags, this grinding, is not yet so base As was my former servitude, ignoble, Unmanly, ignominious, infamous, True llavery, and that blindness worse then this, That saw not how degeneratly I serv’d.

Man. I cannot praise thy Marriage choises, Son, Rather approv'd them not; but thou didît plead Divine impulsion prompting how thou might'st Find fome occasion to infest our Foes. I state not that; this I am sure; our Foes Found soon occasion thereby to make thee Thir Captive, and thir triumph; thou the sooner Temptation found'st, or over-potent charms To violate the sacred trust of filence Deposited within thee; which to have kept Tacit, was in thy power ; true; and thou bear'st 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


431 440

Here celebrate in Gaza ; and proclaim
Great Pomp, and Sacrifice, and Praises loud
To Dagon, as their God who hath deliver'd
Thee Samson bound and blind into thir hands,
Them out of thine, who slew'st them many a slain.
So Dagon shall be magnifi’d, and God,
Besides whom is no God, compar'd with Idols,
Disglorifi’d, blasphem'd, and had in scorn
By th' Idolatrous rout amidst thir 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 Fathers house.

Sam. Father, I do acknowledge and confess
That I this honour, I this pomp have brought
To Dagon, and advanc'd his praises high
Among the Heathen round; to God have brought
Dishonour, obloquie, and op't the mouths
Of Idolists, and Atheists; have brought scandal
To Ifrael, diffidence of God, and doubt
In feeble hearts, propense anough before
To waver, or fall off and joyn with Idols;
Which is


chief affliction, shame and sorrow, The anguish of my Soul, that suffers not Mine eie to harbour sleep, or thoughts to rest. This only hope relieves me, that the strife 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. He, be sure, Will not connive, or linger, thus provok’d,



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