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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 flames ascended
From off the altar, where an offering burn'd,
As in a fiery column charioting
His god-like presence, and from fome 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, captiv'd, and both my eyes put out,
Made of my enemies the fcorn and gaze;
To grind in brazen fetters under task
With this Heav'n-gifted strength? O glorious ftrength
Put to the labor of a beast, debas'd
Lower than bondslave! Promise was that I
Should Ifrael from Philiftian yoke deliver;
Ask for this great deliverer now, and find him
Eyeless in Gaza at the mill with flaves,
Himself in bonds under Philistian yoke:
Yet stay, let me not rafhly call in doubt
Divine prediction; what if all foretold
Had been fulfill'd but through mine own default, 45
Whom have I to complain of but myself?
Who this high gift of strength committed to me,
In what part lodg'd, how easily bereft me,
Under the feal 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 ftrength without a double share
Of wisdom, vast, unwieldy, burdensome,
Proudly fecure, yet liable to fall
By weakest subtleties, not made to rule,
But to fubferve where wisdom bears command!
God, when he gave me ftrength, to fhow withal
How flight the gift was, hung it in my hair.
peace, I must not quarrel with the will
Of highest dispensation, which herein
Haply had ends above my reach to know:
Suffices that to me ftrength is
And proves the fource of all my miseries;
So many, and fo huge, that each apart
Would afk a life to wail, but chief of all,
O lofs of fight, of thee I most complain!
Blind among enemies, O worse than chains,
Dungeon, or beggery, or decrepit age!
Light the prime work of God to me' is extinct,
And all her various objects of delight
Annull'd, which might in part my grief have eas'd,
Inferior to the vileft now become
Of man or worm; the vileft here excel me,
They creep, yet fee, I dark in light expos'd
To daily fraud, contempt, abuse and wrong,
Within doors, or without, ftill as a fool,
In pow'r of others, never in my own;
Scarce half I feem to live, dead more than half.
O dark, dark, dark, amid the blaze of noon,
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 fun to me is dark
And filent as the moon,
When she deserts the night
Hid in her vacant interlunar cave.
Since light so necessary is to life,
And almost life itself, if it be true
That light is in the foul,
She all in every part; why was the fight
To fuch a tender ball as th' 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,
And bury'd; but O yet more miserable!
Myself, my fepulchre, a moving grave,
Bury'd, yet not exempt
By privilege of death and burial
From worft 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 flare
At my affliction, and perhaps t'infult,
Their daily practice to afflict me more.
Chor. This, this is he; foftly a while,
Let us not break in upon him;
O change beyond report, thought, or belief!
See how he lies at random, carelefly diffus'd,
With languish'd head unpropt,
As one past hope, abandon'd,
And by himself given over;
In flavish habit, ill-fitted weeds
O'er-worn and foil'd;
Or do my eyes misrepresent? Can this be he,
That heroic, that renown'd,
Irresistible Samfon? whom unarm'd
No strength of man, or fiercest wild beast could with-
Who tore the lion, as the lion tears the kid, (sland;
Ran on imbattel'd armies clad in iron,
And weaponless himself,
Made arms ridiculous, ufelefs the forgery
Of brazen shield and spear, the hammer'd cuirass,
Chalybean temper'd steel, and frock of mail
But fafeft he who ftood aloof,
When insupportably his foot advanc'd,
In fcorn of their proud arms and warlike tools,
Spurn'd them to death by troops. The bold Afcalo-
Fled from his lion ramp, old warriors turn'd (nite
Their plated backs under his heel;
Or grov❜ling foil'd their crested helmets in the duft.
Then with what trivial weapon came to hand,
The jaw of his dead afs, his sword of bone,
A thousand fore-skins fell, the flow'r of Palestine, In Ramath-lechi famous to this day.
145 Then by main force pull'd up, and on his shoulders The gates of Azza, post, and maffy bar, (bore
Up to the hill by Hebron, feat of giants old,
No journey of a fabbath-day, and loaded fo;
Like whom the Gentiles feign to bear up Heaven. 150
Which fhall I first bewail,
Thy bondage or loft fight,
Prison within prison
Thou art become (O worst imprisonment!)
The dungeon of thyself;, thy soul
(Which men enjoying fight oft without cause com
Imprison'd now indeed,
In real darkness of the body dwells,
Shut up from outward light
T'incorporate with gloomy night;