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Samson Agonistes.

Sams. A Tochefe dark steps, alitule

farther ons

Little onward lend thy guiding hand

To these dark steps, a little farther on; For yonder bank hath choice of Sun or shade, There I am wont to fit, when

any

chance Relieves me from my task of servile toil, Daily in the common Prison else enjoin'd me, Where I a Prisoner chain'd, scarce freely draw The air imprison'd also, close and damp, Unwholesome draught: but here I feel amends, The breath of Heay'n fresh blowing, pure and sweet, With day-spring born; here leave me to respire. This day a solemn Feast the people hold To Dagon their Şea-Idol, and forbid Laborious works, unwillingly this rest Their Superstition yields mc; hence with leave

Retiring

H 4

Retiring from the pop'lar noise, I seek
This unfrequented place to find some ease,
Ease to the body some, none to the mind
From restless thoughts, that like a deadly swarm
Of Hornets arm’d, no sooner found alone,
But rush upon me thronging, and present
Times past, what once I was, and what am now,
O wherefore was my birth from Heav'n foretold
Twice by an Angel who' at last in sight
Of both my

Parents all in fames ascended :.
From off the Altar, where an Off'ring burn'd,
As in a fiery column charioting
His God-like presence, and from some great act
Or benefit reveal'd to Abraham's race?
Why was my breeding order'd and prescrib'd
As of a person separate to God,
Design'd for great exploits; if I must die
Betray'd, Captiy'd, and both my Eyes put out,
Made of my Enemies the scorn and gaze; ;.
To grind in Brazen Fetters under task
With this Heav'n-gifted strength? O glorious
Put to the labour of a Beaft, debas'd [ftrength
Lower than bondslave! Promise was that I

Should

Should Israel from Philiftian yoke deliver ;
Ask for this great deliv’rer now, and find him
Eyeless in Gaza at the Mill with slaves,
Himself in bonds under Philiftian yoke;
Yet stay, let me not ralhly call in doubt
Divine Prediction: what if all foretold
Had been fulfill'd but thro' mine own default,
Whom have I to complain of but my self?
Who this high gift of strength committed to me,
In what part lodg'd, how easily bereft me,
Under the Seal of filence could not keep,
But weakly to a Woman must reveal it
O’ercome with importunity and tears.
O impotence of mind, in body strong!
But what is strength without a double share
Of wisdom, vast, unwieldy, burthensome,
Proudly secure; yet liable to fall
By weakest subtleties, not made to rule,
But to subserye where wifdom bears command.
God, when he gave me strength, to shew wicha!
How slight the gift was, hung it in my Hair.
But Peace, I must not quarrel with the will

Of

Of highest dispensation, which herein
Haply had ends above my reach to know:
Suffices that to me strength is my bane,
And proves the source of all my miseries;
So many, and so huge, that each apart
Would ask a life to wail, but chief of all,
O lofs of sight, of thee I most complain!
Blind among Enemies, O worse than chains,
Dungeon, or beggary, decrepit age!
Light the prime work of God to me is extinct,
And all her yarious 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.
In pow'r 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,
Irrecov'rably dark, total Eclipse
Without all hope of day!
O first created Beam, and thou great Word,

Let

1

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 the deserts the night
Hid in her vacant interlunar cave.
Since light so necessary is to life,
And almost life it felf, if it be true
That light is in the Soul,
She all in ev'ry part; why was the light
To such a tender ball as th'eye confin'd?
So obvious and so easie to be quenchd,
And not as feeling through all parts diffus'd,
That she might look at will through ev'ry pore?
Then had I not been thus exild from light;
As in the land of darkness yet in light,
To live a life half dead, a living death,
And bury'd; but yet more miserable !
My self, my Sepulchre, a moving Grave,
Bury'd, yet not exempt
By privilege of death and burial
From worit of other evils, pains and wrongs,
But n:ade hereby obnoxious more

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