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Then give the reins to wand'ring thought,
Regardless of his glory's diminution;
Till by their own perplexities involv'd
They ravel more, ftill less resolv'd,
But never find self-satisfying solution.
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 t'exempt
Whom so it pleases him by choice
From national obftriction, without taint
Have prompted this heroic Nazarite,
Against his vow of stricteft purity,
To seek in marriage that fallacious bride,
Of fin, or legal debt;
For with his own laws he can beft difpenfe.
He would not elfe who never wanted means, 315 Nor in respect of th' enemy just cause To fet his people free,
Down reafon then, at least vain reasonings down, Though reason here aver That moral verdict quits her of unclean: Unchafte was fubfequent, her stain not his. But fee here comes thy reverend Sire With careful step, locks white as down, Old Manoah: advise
Forthwith how thou oughtst to receive him.
Sams. Ay me, another inward grief awak'd With mention of that name renews th' affault. Man. Brethren and men of Dan, for fuch ye feem, Though in this uncouth place; if old respect, As I fuppofe, tow'ards your once glory'd friend, My Son now captive, hither hath inform'd Your younger feet, while mine cast back with Came lagging after; say if he be here.
Chor. As fignal now in low dejected state, As earst in high'eft, behold him where he lies. Man. O miserable change! is this the man, That invincible Samson, far renown'd, The dread of Ifrael's foes, who with a strength Equivalent to Angels walk'd their streets, None offering fight; who single combatant Duel'd their armies rank'd in proud array, Himself an army, now unequal match To fave himself against a coward arm'd At one fpear's length. O ever failing trust In mortal ftrength! 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 fon, And such a son as all men hail'd me happy; Who would be now a father in my ftead? O wherefore did God grant me my request, And as a blessing with fuch pomp adorn'd?
Why are his gifts desirable, to tempt
Our earnest pray'rs, then giv'n with folemn hand
As graces, draw a scorpion's tail behind?
For this did th' Angel twice descend? for this
Ordain'd thy nurture holy, as of a plant
Select, and facred, glorious for a while,
The miracle of men; then in an hour
Infnar'd, affaulted, overcome, led bound,
Thy foes derifion, captive, poor and blind,
Into a dungeon thrust, to work with slaves?
Alas methinks whom God hath chofen once
To worthiest deeds, if he through frailty err,
He should not fo o'erwhelm, and as a thrall
Subject him to fo foul indignities,
Be it but for honor's fake of former deeds.
Sams. 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, fole 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.
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 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,
Spoufal embraces, vitiated with gold,
Though offer'd only, by the fent conceiv'd
Her spurious first-born, treason against me?
Thrice she affay'd with flattering pray'rs and fighs,
And amorous reproaches, to win from me
My capital fecret, in what part my strength
Lay ftor'd, in what part fumm'd, that she might know;
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
Than undissembled hate) with what contempt 400
She fought to make me traitor to myself;
Yet the fourth time, when must'ring all her wiles,
With blandish'd parlies, feminine assaults,
Tongue-batteries, fhe furceas'd not day nor night
To ftorm me over-watch'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 refolv'd
Might easily have shook off all her snares:
But foul effeminacy held me yok'd
Her bond-flave; O indignity, O blot
To honor and religion! fervile mind
Rewarded well with fervile punishment!
The base degree to which I now am fall'n,
These rags, this grinding is not yet fo base
As was my former fervitude, ignoble,
Unmanly, ignominious, infamous,
True slavery, and that blindness worse than this,
That faw not how degenerately I ferv'd.
Man. I cannot praise thy marriage choices, Son,
Rather approv'd them not; but thou didst plead 421
Divine impulfion prompting how thou might'ft
Find fome occafion to infeft our foes.
I ftate not that; this I am fure, our foes
Found foon occafion thereby to make thee
Their captive, and their triumph; thou the fooner
Temptation found'st, or over-potent charms
To violate the facred truft of filence
Deposited within thee; which to have kept
Tacit, was in thy pow'r: true; and thou bear'st 430
Enough, and more, the burden of that fault;
Bitterly haft thou paid, and still art paying
That rigid fcore. A worse thing yet remains,
This day the Philiftines a popular feast
Here celebrate in Gaza; and proclame
Great pomp, and facrifice, and praises loud
To Dagon, as their God who hath deliver'd
Thee, Samfon, bound and blind into their hands,
Them out of thine, who flew'ft them many a flain.
So Dagon fhall be magnify'd, and God,
Besides whom is no God, compar'd with idols,