J O H N M I L T O N.


Aristot. Poet. Cap. 6.

Tragwdia mimhsiV praxewV vs daiaV, &c.

Tragœdia est imitatio actionis seriæ, &c. per misericordiam et metum

perficiens talium affectuum lustrationem.



Of that sort of Dramatic Poem which is call'd Tragedy.

TRAGEDY, as it was anciently compos'd, bth been ever held the gravest, moralest, and most profitable of all other poems: therefore said by Aristotle to be of pow'r by raising pity and fear, or terror, to purge the mind of those and such like passions, that is, to temper and reduce them to just measure with a kind of delight, stirr'd up by reading or seeing those passions well imitated. Nor is Nature wanting in her own effects to make good his assertion: for so in physic things of melancholic hue and quality are us'd against melancholy, sour against sour, salt to remove salt humors. Hence philosophers and other gravest writers, as Cicero, Plutarch and others, frequently cite out of tragic poets, both to adorn and illustrate their discourse. The Apostle Paul himself thought it not unworthy to insert a verse of Euripides into the text of Holy Scripture, 1 Cor. XV. 33. and Paræus commenting on the Revelation, divides the whole book as a tragedy, into acts distinguish'd each by a chorus of heavenly harpings and song between. Heretofore men in highest dignity have labor'd not a little to be thought able to compose a tragedy. Of that honor Dionysius the elder was no less ambitious, than before of his attaining to the tyranny. Augustus Cæsar also had begun his Ajax, but unable to please his own judgment with what he had begun, left it unfinish'd. Seneca the philosopher is by some thought the author of those tragedies (at least the best of them) that go under that name. Gregory Nazianzen, a Father of the Church, thought it not unbeseeming the sanctity of his person to write a tragedy, which is intitled Christ suffering. This is mention'd to vindicate tragedy from the small esteem, or rather infamy, which in the account of many it undergoes at this day with other common interludes; hap'ning through the poets error of intermixing comic stuff with tragic sadness and gravity; or introducing trivial and vulgar persons, which by all judicious hath been counted absurd; and brought in without discretion, corruptly to gratify the people. And though ancient tragedy use no prologue, yet using sometimes, in case of self-defense, or explanation, that which Martial calls an epistle; in behalf of this tragedy coming forth after the ancient manner, much different from what among us passes for best, thus much before-hand may be epistl'd; that chorus is here introduc'd after the Greek manner, not ancient only but modern, and still in use among the Italians. In the modeling therefore of this p, with good reason, the ancients and Italians are rather follow'd, as of much more authority and fame. The measure of verse us'd in the chorus is of all sorts, call'd by the Greeks Monostrophic, or rather Apolelymenon, without regard had to Strophe, Antistrophe, or Epod, which were a kind of stanza's fram'd only for the music, then us'd with the chorus that sung; not essential to the poem, and therefore not material; or being divided into stanza's or pauses, they may be call'd Allæostropha. Division into act and scene referring chiefly to the stage (to which this work never was intended) is here omitted.

It suffices if the whole drama be found not produc'd beyond the fifth act. Of the stile and unformity, and that commonly call'd the plot, whether intricate or explicit, which is nothing indeed but such œconomy, or disposition of the fable as may stand best with versimilitude and decorum; they only will best judge who are not unacquainted with Æschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides, the three tragic poets unequal'd yet by any, and the best rule to all who endevor to write tragedy. The circumscription of time, wherein the whole drame begins and ends, is according to ancient rule, and best example, within the space of 24 hours.


Samson made captive, blind, and now in the prison at Gaza, there to labor as in a common work-house, on a festival day, in the general cessation from labor, comes forth into the open air, to a place nigh, somewhat retir'd, there to sit a while and bemoan his condition. Where he happens at length to be visited by certain friends and equals of his tribe, which make the Chorus, who seek to comfort him wht they ca; then by his old father Manoah, who endevors the like, and withal tells him his purpose to procure his liberty by ransome; lastly, that this feast was proclam'd by the Philistines as a day of thanksgiving for their deliverance from the hands of Samson, which yet more troubles him. Manoah then departs to prosecute his endevor with the Philistian lords for Samson's redemption; who in the mean while is visited by other persons; and lastly by a public officer to require his coming to the feast before the lords and people, to play or show his strength in their presence; he at first refuses, dismissing the public officer with absolute denial to come; at length persuaded inwardly that this was from God, he yields to go along with him, who came now the second time with great threatnings to fetch him: the Chorus yet remaining on the place, Manoah returns full of joyful hope, to procure ere long his son's deliverance: in the midst of which discourse an Hebrew comes in haste, confusedly at first, and afterward more distinctly relating the catastrophe, what Samson had done to the Philistines, and by accident to himself; wherewith the tragedy ends.










MANOAH, the Father of Samson.

DALILA, his Wife.

HARAPHA of Gath.

Public Officer.


Chorus of Danites.



The SCENE before the Prison in Gaza.



SAMS. A Little onward lend thy guiding hand

To these dark steps, a little further on;

For yonder bank hath choice of sun or shade:

There I am wont to sit, when any chance

Relieves me from my task of servile toil, 5

Daily' in the common prison else injoin'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 Heav'n fresh blowing, pure and sweet, 10

With day-spring born; here leave me to respire.

This day a solemn feast the people hold

To Dagon their sea-idol, and forbid

Laborious works; unwillingly this rest

Their superstition yields me; hence with leave 15

Retiring from the popular 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, 20

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 flames ascended 25

From off the altar, where an offering 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 30

As of a person separate to God,

Design'd for great exploits; if I must die

Betray'd, captív'd, and both my eyes put out,

Made of my enemies the scorn and gaze;

To grind in brazen fetters under task 35

With this Heav'n-gifted strength? O glorious strength

Put to the labor of a beast, debas'd

Lower than bondslave! Promise was that I

Should Israel from Philistian yoke deliver;

Ask for this great deliverer now, and find him 40

Eyeless in Gaza at the mill with slaves,

Himself in bonds under Philistian yoke:

Yet stay, let me not rashly 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 seal of silence could not keep,

But weakly to a woman must reveal it, 50

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, burdensome,

Proudly secure, yet liable to fall 55

By weakest subtleties, not made to rule,

But to subserve where wisdom bears command!

God, when he gave me strength, to show withal

How slight the gift was, hung it in my hair.

But peace, I must not quarrel with the will 60

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 65

Would ask a life to wail, but chief of all,

O loss of sight, 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, 70

And all her various 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 75

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, 80

Irrecoverably dark, total eclipse

Without all hope of day

O first created Beam, and thou greatWord,

Let there be light, and light was over all;

Why am I thus bereav'd thy prime decree? 85

The sun to me is dark

And silent as the moon,

When she deserts the night

Hid in her vacant interlunar cave.

Since light so necessary is to life, 90

And almost life itself, if it be true

That light is in the soul,

She all in every part; why was the sight

To such a tender ball as th' eye confin'd,

So obvious and so easy to be quench'd? 95

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, 100

And bury'd; but O yet more miserable!

Myself, my sepulchre, a moving grave,

Bury'd yet not exempt

By privilege of death and burial

From worst of other evils, pains and wrongs, 105

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 stare

At my affliction, and perhaps t' insult,

Their daily practice to afflict me more.

CHOR. This, this is he; softly a while, 115

Let us not break in upon him;

O change beyond report, thought, or belief!

See how he lies at random, carelesly diffus'd,

With languish'd head unpropt,

As one past hope, abandon'd, 120

And by himself given over;

In slavish habit, ill-fitted weeds

O'er-worn and soil'd;

Or do my eyes misrepresent? Can this be he,

That heroic, that renown'd, 125

Irresistible Samson? whom unarm'd

No strength of man, or fiercest wild beast could withstand;

Who tore the lion, as the lion tears the kid,

Ran on imbattel'd armies clad in iron,

And weaponless himself 130

Made arms ridiculous, useless the forgery

Of brazen shield and spear, the hammer'd cuirass,

Chaly´bean temper'd steel, and frock of mail

Adamantean proof;

But safest he who stood aloof, 135

When insupportably his foot advanc'd,

In scorn of their proud arms and warlike tools,

Spurn'd them to death by troops. The bold Ascalonite

Fled from his lion ramp, old warriors turn'd

Their plated backs under his heel; 140

Or grov'ling soil'd their crested helmets in the dust.

Then with what trivial weapon came to hand,

The jaw of a dead ass, 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 bore

The gates of Azza, post, and massy bar,

Up to the hill by Hebron, seat of giants old,

No journey of a sabbath-day, and loaded so;

Like whom the Gentiles feign to bear up Heaven. 150

Which shall I first bewail,

Thy bondage or lost sight,

Prison within prison

Inseparably dark?

Thou art become (O worst imprisonment!) 155

The dungeon of thyself; thy soul

(Which men enjoying sight oft without cause complain)

Imprison'd now indeed,

In real darkness of the body dwells,

Shut up from outward light 160

T'incorporate with gloomy night;

For inward light alas

Puts forth no visual beam.

O mirror of our fickle state,

Since man on earth unparallel'd! 165

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 170

Whom long descent of birth

Or the sphere of fortune raises;

But thee whose strength, while virtue was her mate,

Might have subdued the earth,

Universally crown'd with highest praises. 175

SAMS. I hear the sound of words, their sense the air

Dissolves unjointed ere it reach my ear.

CHOR. He speaks, let us draw nigh. Matchless in might,

The glory late of Israel, now the grief;

We come thy friends and neighbours not unknown 180

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 pow'r to swage

The tumors of a troubled mind, 185

And are as balm to fester'd wounds.

SAMS. Your coming, Friends, revives me, for I learn

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 prosp'rous days

They swarm, but in adverse withdraw their head,

Not to be found, though sought. Ye see, O Friends,

How many evils have inclos'd me round;

Yet that which was the worst now least afflicts me, 195

Blindness, for had I sight, confus'd with shame,

How could I once look up, or heave the head,

Who like a foolish pilot have shipwrack'd

My vessel trusted to me from above,

Gloriously rigg'd; and for a word, a tear, 200

Fool, have divulg'd the secret gift of God

To a deceitful woman? tell me, Friends,

Am I not sung and proverb'd for a fool

In every street? do they not say, how well

Are come upon him his deserts? yet why? 205

Immeasurable strength they might behold

In me, of wisdom nothing more than mean;

This with the other should, at least, have pair'd,

These two proportion'd ill drove me transverse.

CHOR. Tax not divine disposal; wisest men 210

Have err'd, and by bad women been deceiv'd;

And shall again, pretend they ne'er so wise.

Deject not then so overmuch thyself,

Who hast of sorrow thy full load besides;

Yet truth to say, I oft have heard men wonder 215

Why thou shouldst wed Philistian women rather

Than of thine own tribe fairer, or as fair,

At least of thy own nation, and as noble.

SAMS. The first I saw at Timna, and she pleas'd

Me, not my parents, that I sought to wed 220

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, 225

The work to which I was divinely call'd.

She proving false, the next I took to wife

(O that I never had! fond wish too late,)

Was in the vale of Sorec, Dalila,

That specious monster, my accomplish'd snare. 230

I thought it lawful from my former act,

And the same end; still watching to oppress

Israel's oppressors: of what now I suffer

She was not the prime cause, but I myself,

Who vanquish'd with a peal of words (O weakness!) 235

Gave up my fort of silence to a woman.

CHOR. In seeking just occasion to provoke

The Philistine, thy country's enemy,

Thou never wast remiss, I bear thee witness:

Yet Israël still serves with all his sons. 240

SAMS. That fault I take not on me, but transfer

On Israel's governors, and heads of tribes,

Who seeing those great acts, which God had done

Singly by me against their conquerors,

Acknowledg'd not, or not at all consider'd 245

Deliverance offer'd: I on th' other side

Us'd no ambition to commend my deeds,

The deeds themselves, though mute, spoke loud the doer;

But they persisted deaf, and would not seem

To count them things worth notice, till at length 250

Their lords the Philistines with gather'd pow'rs

Enter'd Judea seeking me, 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: 255

Mean while the men of Judah, to prevent

The harrass of their land, beset me round;

I willingly on some conditions came

Into their hands, and they as gladly yield me

To the uncircumcis'd a welcome prey, 260

Bound with two cords; but cords to me were threds

Touch'd with the flame: on their whole host I flew

Unarm'd, and with a trivial weapon fell'd

Their choicest youth; they only liv'd who fled.

Had Judah that day join'd, or one whole tribe, 265

They had by this possess'd the tow'rs of Gath,

And lorded over them whom now they serve:

But what more oft in nations grown corrupt,

And by their vices brought to servitude,

Than to love bondage more than liberty, 270

Bondage with ease than strenuous liberty;

And to despise, or envy, or suspect

Whom God hath of his special favor rais'd

As their deliverer; if he ought begin,

How frequent to desert him, and at last 275

To heap ingratitude on worthiest deeds?

CHOR. Thy words to my remembrance bring

How Succoth and the fort of Penuel

Their great deliverer contemn'd,

The matchless Gideon in pursuit 280

Of Madian and her vanquish'd kings:

And how ingrateful Ephraim

Had dealt with Jephtha, who by argument,

Not worse than by his shield and spear,

Defended Israel from the Ammonite, 285

Had not his prowess quell'd their pride

In that sore battel, when so many dy'd

Without reprieve adjudg'd to death,

For want of well pronouncing Shibboleth.

SAMS. Of such examples add me to the roll, 290

Me easily indeed mine may neglect,

But God's 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: 295

If any be, they walk obscure;

For of such doctrin 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, 300

As to his own edicts found contradicting,

Then give the reins to wand'ring thought,

Regardless of his glory's diminution;

Till by their own perplexities involv'd

They ravel more, still less resolv'd, 305

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 310

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 dispense.

He would not else who never wanted means, 315

Nor in respect of th' 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, 320

Unclean, unchaste.

Down reason then, at least vain reasonings down,

Though reason here aver

That moral verdict quits her of unclean:

Unchaste was subsequent, her stain not his. 325

But see 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 330

With mention of that name renews th' assault.

MAN. Brethren and men of Dan, for such ye seem,

Though in this uncouth place; if old respect,

As I suppose, tow'ards your once glory'd friend,

My Son now captive, hither hath inform'd 335

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 high'est, behold him where he lies.

MAN. O miserable change! is this the man, 340

That invincible Samson, far renown'd,

The dread of Israel'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, 345

Himself an army, now unequal match

To save himself against a coward arm'd

At one spear'd length. O ever failing trust

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 hail'd me happy;

Who would be now a father in my stead? 355

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 pray'rs, then giv'n with solemn hand

As graces, draw a scorpion's tail behind? 360

For this did th' 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

Insnar'd, assaulted, overcome, led bound, 365

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'erwhelm, and as a thrall 370

Subject him to so foul indignities,

Be it but for honor'd sake 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, 375

Sole author I, sole 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. 380

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 385

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 390

Her spurious first-born, treason against me?

Thrice she assay'd with flattering pray'rs and sighs,

And amorous reproaches, to win from me

My capital secret, in what part my strength

Lay stor'd, in what part summ'd, that she might know; 395

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 sought to make me traitor to myself;

Yet the fourth time, when must'ring all her wiles,

With blandish'd parlies, feminine assaults,

Tongue-batteries, she surceas'd not day nor night

To storm me overwatch'd, and weary'd out, 405

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'd 410

Her bond-slave; O indignity, O blot

To honor and religion! servile mind

Rewarded well with servile punishment!

The base degree to which I now am fall'n,

These rags, this grinding is not yet so base 415

As was my former servitude, ignoble,

Unmanly, ignominious, infamous,

True slavery, and that blindness worse than this,

That saw not how degenerately I serv'd.

MAN. I cannot praise thy marraige choices, Son, 420

Rather approv'd them not; but thou didst plead

Divine impulsion prompting how thou might'st

Find some occasion to infest our foes.

I state not that; this I am sure, our foes

Found soon occasion thereby to make thee 425

Their captive, and their triumph; thou the sooner

Temptation found'st, or over-potent charms

To violate the sacred trust of silence

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 hast thou paid, and still art paying

That rigid score. A worse thing yet remains,

This day the Philistines a popular feast

Here celebrate in Gaza; and proclame 435

Great pomp, and sacrifice, and praises loud

To Dagon, as their God who hath deliver'd

Thee, Samson, bound and blind into their hands,

Them out of thine, who slew'st them many a slain.

So Dagon shall be magnify'd, and God, 440

Besides whom is not God, compar'd with idols,

Disglorify'd, blasphem'd, and had in scorn

By the idolatrous rout amidst their wine;

Which to have come to pass by means of thee,

Samson, of all thy sufferings think the heaviest, 445

Of all reproach the most with shame that ever

Could have befall'n thee and thy father's house.

SAMS. Father, I do acknowledge and confess

That I this honor, I this pomp have brought

To Dagon, and advanc'd his praises high 450

Among the Heathen round; to God have brought

Dishonor, obloquy, and op'd the mouths

Of idolists, and atheists; have brought scandal

To Israel, diffidence of God, and doubt

In feeble hearts, propense enough before 455

To waver, or fall off and join with idols;

Which is my chief affliction, shame and sorrow,

The anguish of my soul, that suffers not

Mine eye to harbour sleep, or thoughts to rest.

This only hope relieves me, that the strife 460

With me hath end; all the contést 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, 465

Will not connive, or linger, thus provok'd,

But will arise and his great name assert:

Dagon must stoop, and shall ere long receive

Such a discomfit, as shall quite despoil him

Of all these boasted trophies won on me, 470

And with confusion blank his worshippers.

MAN. With cause this hope relieves thee, and these words

I as a prophecy receive; for God,

Nothing more certain, will not long defer

To vindicate the glory of his name 475

Against all competition, nor will long

Indure it doubtful whether God be Lord,

Or Dagon. But for thee what shall be done?

Thou must not in the mean while here forgot

Lie in this miserable loathsome plight 480

Neglected. I already have made way

To some Philistian lords, with whom to treat

About thy ransome: well they may by this

Have satisfy'd their utmost of revenge

By pains and slaveries, worse than death inflicted 485

On thee, who now no more canst do them harm.

SAMS. Spare that proposal, Father, spare the trouble

Of that solicitation; let me here,

As I deserve, pay on my punishment;

And expiate, if possible, my crime, 490

Shameful garrulity. To have reveal'd

Secrets of men, the secrets of a friend,

How hainous had the fact been, how deserving

Contempt, and scorn of all, to be excluded

All friendship, and avoided as a blab, 495

The mark of fool set on his front?

But I God's counsel have not kept, his holy secret

Presumptuously have publish'd, impiously,

Weakly at least, and shamefully: a sin

That Gentiles in their parables condemn 500

To their abyss and horrid pains confin'd.

MAN. Be penitent and for thy fault contrite,

But act not in thy own affliction, Son;

Repent the sin, but if the punishment

Thou canst avoid, self-preservation bids; 505

Or th' execution leave to high disposal,

And let another hand, not thine, exact

Thy penal forfeit from thyself; perhaps

God will relent, and quit thee all his debt;

Who ever more approves and more accepts 510

(Best pleas'd with humble' and filial submission)

Him who imploring mercy sues for life,

Than who self-rigorous chooses death as due;

Which argues over-just, and self-displeas'd

For self-offense, more than for God offended. 515

Reject not then what offer'd means; who knows

But God hath set before us, to return thee

Home to thy country and his sacred house,

Where thou may'st bring thy offerings, to avert

His further ire, with pray'rs and vows renew'd? 520

SAMS. His pardon I implore; but as for life,

To what end should I seek it? when in strength

All mortals I excell'd, and great in hopes

With youthful courage and magnanimous thoughts

Of birth from Heav'n foretold and high exploits, 525

Full of divine instinct, after some proof

Of acts indeed heroic, far beyond

The sons of Anak, famous now and blaz'd,

Fearless of danger, like a petty God

I walk'd about admir'd of all and dreaded 530

On hostile ground, none daring my affront.

The swoll'n with pride into the snare I fell

Of fair fallacious looks, venereal trains,

Soften'd with pleasure and voluptuous life;

At length to lay my head and hallow'd pledge 535

Of all my strength in the lascivious lap

Of a deceitful concubine, who shore me

Like a tame weather, all my precious fleece,

Then turn'd me out ridiculous, despoil'd,

Shav'n, and disarm'd among mine enemies. 540

CHOR. Desire of wine and all delicious drinks,

Which many a famous warrior overturns,

Thou couldst repress, nor did the dancing ruby

Sparkling, out-pour'd, the flavor, or the smell,

Or taste that chears the heart of Gods and men, 545

Allure thee from the cool crystallin stream.

SAMS. Wherever fountain or fresh current flow'd

Against the eastern ray, translucent, pure

With touch ethereal of Heav'n's fiery rod,

I drank, from the clear mildy juce allaying 550

Thirst, and refresh'd; nor envy'd them the grape

Whose heads that turbulent liquor fills with fumes

CHOR. O madness, to think use of strongest wines

And strongest drinks our chief support of health,

When God with these forbidd'n made choice to rear 555

His mighty champion, strong above compare,

Whose drink was only from the liquid brook.

SAMS. But what avail'd this temp'rance, not complete Against another object more enticing?

What boots it at one gate to make defense, 560

And at another to let in the foe,

Effeminately vanquish'd? by which means,

Now blind, dishearten'd, sham'd, dishonor'd, quell'd,

To what can I be useful, wherein serve

My nation, and the work from Heav'n impos'd, 565

But to sit idle on the houshold hearth,

A burd'nous drone; to visitants a gaze,

Or pity'd object, these redundant locks

Robustious to no purpose clustring down,

Vain monument of strength; till length of years 570

And sedentary numness craze my limbs

To a contemptible old age obscure?

Here rather let me drudge and earn my bread,

Till vermin or the draff of servile food

Consume me, and oft-invocated death 575

Hasten the welcome end of all my pains.

MAN. Wilt thou then serve the Philistines with that gift

Which was expresly giv'n thee to annoy them?

Better at home lie bed-rid, not only idle,

Inglorious, unemploy'd, with age out-worn. 580

But God who caus'd a fountain at thy prayer

From the dry ground to spring, they thirst t'allay

After the brunt of battel, can as easy

Cause light again within thy eyes to spring,

Wherewith to serve him better than thou hast; 585

And I persuade me so; why else this strength

Miraculous yet remaining in those locks?

His might continues in thee not for nought,

Nor shall his wondrous gifts be frustrate thus.

SAMS. All otherwise to me my thoughts portend, 590

That these dark orbs no more shall treat with light,

Nor th' other light of life continue long,

But yield to double darkness nigh at hand:

So much I feel my genial spirits droop,

My hopes all flat, nature within me seems 595

In all her functions weary of herself,

My race of glory run, and race of shame,

And I shall shortly be with them that rest.

MAN. Believe not these suggestions which proceed

From anguish of the mind and humors black, 600

That mingle with thy fancy. I however

Must not omit a father's timely care

To prosecute the means of thy deliverance

By ransome, or how else: mean while be calm,

And healing words from these thy friends admit. 605

SAMS. O that torment should not be confin'd

To the body's wounds and sores,

With maladies innumerable

In heart, head, breast and reins;

But must secret passage find 610

To th' inmost mind,

There exercise all his fierce accidents,

And on her purest spirits prey,

As on entrails, joints, and limbs,

With answerable pains, but more intense, 615

Though void of corporal sense.

My griefs not only pain me

As a lingring disease,

But finding no redress, ferment and rage,

Nor less than wounds immedicable, 620

Rankle, and fester, and gangrene,

To black mortification.

Thoughts my tormentors arm'd with deadly stings

Mangle my apprehensive tenderest parts,

Exasperate, exulcerate, and raise 625

Dire inflammation, which no cooling herb

Or medicinal liquor can asswage,

Nor breath of vernal air from snowy Alp.

Sleep hath forsook and giv'n me o'er

To death's benumming opium as my only cure: 630

Thence faintings, swoonings of despair,

And sense of Heav'n's desertion.

I was his nursling once and choice delight,

His destin'd from the womb,

Promis'd by heav'nly message twice descending. 635

Under his special eye

Abstemious I grew up and thriv'd amain;

He led me on to mightiest deeds

Above the nerve of mortal arm

Against th' uncircumcis'd, our enemies: 640

But now hath cast me off as never known,

And to those cruel enemies,

Whom I by his appointment had provok'd,

Left me all helpless with th' irreparable loss

Of sight, reserv'd alive to be repeated 645

The subject of their cruelty or scorn.

Nor am I in the list of them that hope;

Hopeless are all my evils, all remediless;

This one prayer yet remains, might I be heard,

No long petition, speedy death, 650

The close of all my miseries, and the balm.

CHOR. Many are the sayings of the wise

In ancient and in modern books inroll'd,

Extolling patience as the truest fortitude;

And to the bearing well of all calamities, 655

All chances incident to man's frail life,

Consolatories writ

And study'd argument, and much persuasion sought

Lenient of grief and anxious thought:

But with th' afflicted in his pangs their sound 660

Little prevails, or rather seems a tune

Harsh, and of dissonant mood from his complaint;

Unless he feel within

Some source of consolation from above,

Secret refreshings, that repair his strength, 665

And fainting spirits uphold.

God of our fathers, what is man!

That thou tow'ards him with hand so various,

Or might I say contrarious,

Temper'st thy providence through his short course, 670

Not ev'nly, as thou rul'st

Th' angelic orders, and inferior creatures mute,

Irrational and brute.

Nor do I name of men the common rout,

That wand'ring loose about 675

Grow up and perish, as the summer flie,

Heads without name no more remember'd,

But such as thou hast solemnly elected,

With gifts and graces eminently adorn'd

To some great work, thy glory, 680

And people's safety, which in part they' effect:

Yet toward these thus dignify'd, thou oft

Amidst their highth of noon

Changest thy count'nance, and thy hand with no regard

Of highest favors past 685

From thee on them, or them to thee of service.

Nor only dost degrade them, or remit

To life obscur'd, which were a fair dismission,

But throw'st them lower than thou didst exalt them high,

Unseemly falls in human eye, 690

Too grievous for the trespass or omission;

Oft leav'st them to the hostile sword

Of Heathen and profane, their carcases

To dogs and fowls a prey, or else captív'd;

Or to th' unjust tribunals, under change of times, 695

And condemnation of th' ingrateful multitude.

If these they scape, perhaps in poverty

With sickness and disease thou bow'st them down,

Painful diseases and deform'd,

In crude old age; 700

Though not disordinate, yet causless suff'ring

The punisment of dissolute days: in fine,

Just or unjust alike seem miserable,

For oft alike both come to evil end.

So deal not with this once thy glorious champion, 705

The image of thy strength, and mighty minister.

What do I beg? how hast thou dealt already?

Behold him in this state calamitous, and turn

His labors, for thou canst, to peaceful end.

But who is this, what thing of sea or land? 710

Female of sex it seems,

That so bedeck'd, ornate, and gay,

Comes this way sailing

Like a stately ship

Of Tarsus, bound for th' iles 715

Of Javan or Gadire

With all her bravery on, and tackle trim,

Sails fill'd, and streamers waving,

Courted by all the winds that hold them play,

An amber sent of odorous perfume 720

Her harbinger, a damsel train behind;

Some rich Philistian matron she may seem,

And now at nearer view, no other certain

Than Dalila thy Wife.

SAMS. My Wife, my Trait'ress, let her not come near me.725

CHOR. Yet on she moves, now stands and eyes thee fix'd,

About t'have spoke, but now, with head declin'd

Like a fair flow'r surcharg'd with dew, she weeps,

And words address'd seem into tears dissolv'd,

Wetting the borders of he silken veil: 730

But now again she makes address to speak.

DAL. With doubtful feet and wavering resolution

I came, still dreading thy displeasure, Samson,

Which to have merited, without excuse,

I cannot but acknowledge; yet if tears 735

May expiate (though the fact more evil drew

In the perverse event than I foresaw)

My penance hath not slacken'd, though my pardon

No way assur'd. But conjugal affection

Prevailing over fear, and timorous doubt, 740

Hath led me on desirous to behold

Once more thy face, and know of thy estate,

If ought in my ability may serve

To lighten what thou suffer'st, and appease

Thy mind with what amends is in my power, 745

Though late, yet in some part to recompense

My rash but more unfortunate misdeed.

SAMS. Out, out Hyæna; these are thy wonted arts,

And arts of every woman false like thee,

To break all faith, all vows, deceive, betray, 750

Then as repentant to submit, beseech,

And reconcilement move with feign'd remorse,

Confess, and promise wonders in her change,

Not truly penitent, but chief to try

Her husband, how far urg'd his patience bears, 755

His virtue or weakness which way to assail:

Then with more cautious and instructed skill

Again transgresses, and again submits;

That wisest and best men full oft beguil'd,

With goodness principled not to reject 760

The penitent, but ever to forgive,

Are drawn to wear out miserable days,

Intangled with a pois'nous bosom snake,

If not by quick destruction soon cut off

As I by thee, to ages an example. 765

DAL. Yet hear me, Samson; not that I endevor

To lessen or extenuate my offense,

But that on th' other side if it be weigh'd

By' itself, with aggravations not surcharg'd,

Or else with just allowance counterpois'd, 770

I may, if possible, thy pardon find

The easier towards me, or thy hatred less.

First granting, as I do, it was a weakness

In me, but incident to all our sex,

Curiosity, inquisitive, importune 775

Of secrets, then with like infirmity

To publish them, both common female faults:

Was it not weakness also to make known

For importunity, that is for nought,

Wherein consisted all thy strength and safety? 780

To what I did thou showd'st me first the way.

But I to enemies reveal'd, and should not:

Nor should'st thou have trusted that to woman's frailty:

Ere I to thee, thou to thyself wast cruel.

Let weakness then with weakness come to parle 785

So near related, or the same of kind,

Thine forgive mine; that men may censure thine

The gentler, if severely thou exact not

More strength from me, than in thyself was found.

And what if love, which thou interpret'st hate, 790

The jealousy of love, pow'rful of sway

In human hearts, nor less in mine tow'rds thee,

Caus'd what I did? I saw thee mutable

Of fancy, fear'd lest one day thou would'st leave me

As her at Timna, sought by all means therefore 795

How to indear, and hold thee to me firmest:

No better way I saw then by impórtuning

To learn thy secrets, get into my power

Thy key of strength and safety: thou wilt say,

Why then reveal'd? I was assur'd by those 800

Who tempted me, that nothing was design'd

Against thee but safe custody, and hold:

That made for me; I knew that liberty

Would draw thee forth to perilous enterprises,

While I at home sat full of cares and fears, 805

Wailing thy absence in my widow'd bed;

Here I should still enjoy thee day and night

Mine and love'd prisoner, not the Philistines,

Whole to myself, unhazarded abroad,

Fearless at home of partners in my love. 810

These reasons in love's law have past for good,

Though fond and reasonless to some perhaps;

And love hath oft, well meaning, wrought much woe,

Yet always pity' or pardon hath obtain'd.

Be not unlike all others, not austere 815

As thou art strong, inflexible as steel.

If thou in strength all mortals dost exceed,

In uncompassionate anger do not so.

SAMS. How cunningly the soreceress displays

Her own transgression, to upbraid me mine? 820

That malice not repentance brought thee hither,

By this appears: I gave, thous say'st, th' example,

I led the way; bitter reproach, but true;

I to myself was false ere thou to me;

Such pardon therefore as I give my folly, 825

Take to thy wicked deed; which when thou seest

Impartial, self-severe, inexorable,

Thou wilt renounce thy seeking, and much rather

Confess it feign'd: weakness is thy excuse,

And I believe it, weakness to resist 830

Philistian gold: if weakness may excuse,

What murderer, what traitor, parricide,

Incestuous, sacrilegious, but may plead it?

All wickedness is weakness: that plea therefore

With God or Man will gain thee no remission. 835

But love constrain'd thee; call it furious rage

To satisfy thy lust: love seeks to' have love;

My love how could'st thou hope, who took'st the way

To raise in me inexpiable hate,

Knowing, as needs I must, by thee betray'd? 840

In vain thou striv'st to cover shame with shame,

Or by evasions thy crime uncover'st more.

DAL. Since thou determin'st weakness for no plea

In man or woman, though to thy own condemning,

Hear what assaults I had, what snares besides, 845

What sieges girt me round, ere I consented;

Which might have aw'd the best resolv'd of men,

The constantest, to' have yielded without blame.

It was not gold, as to my charge thou lay'st,

That wrought with me: thou know'st the magistrates 850

And princes of my country came in person,

Solicited, commanded, threaten'd, urg'd,

Adjur'd by all the bonds of civil duty

And of religion, press'd how just it was,

How honorable, how glorious to intrap 855

A common enemy, who had destroy'd

Such numbers of our nation: and the priest

Was not behind, but ever at my ear,

Preaching how meritorious with the Gods

It would be to insnare an irreligious 860

Dishonorer of Dagon: what had I

T' oppose against such pow'rful arguments?

Only my love of thee held long debate,

And combated in silence all these reasons

With hard contest: at length that grounded maxim 865

So rife and celebrated in the mouths

Of wisest men, that to the public good

Private respects must yield, with grave authority

Took full possession of me and prevail'd;

Virtue, as I thought, truth, duty so injoining. 870

SAMS. I thought where all thy circling wiles would end;

In feign'd religion, smooth hypocrisy.

But had thy love, still odiously pretended,

Been as it ought, sincere, it would have taught thee

Far other reasonings, brought forth other deeds. 875

I before all the daughters of my tribe

And of my nation chose thee from among

My enemies, lov'd thee, as too well thou knew'st,

Too well, unbosom'd all my secrets to thee,

Not out of levity, but over-power'd 880

By thy request, who could deny thee nothing;

Yet now am judg'd an enemy. Why then

Didst thou at first receive me for thy husband,

Then, as since then, thy country's foe profess'd?

Being once a wife, for me thou wast to leave 885

Parents and country; nor was I their subject,

Nor under their protection but my own,

Thou mine, not theirs: if ought against my life

Thy country sought of thee, it sought unjustly,

Against the law of nature, law of nations, 890

No more thy country, but an impious crew

Of men conspiring to uphold their state

By worse than hostile deeds, violating the ends

For which our country is a name so dear;

Not therefore to be' obey'd. But zeal mov'd thee; 895

To please thy Gods thou didst it; Gods unable

T' acquit themselves and prosecute their foes

But by ungodly deeds, the contradiction

Of their own deity, Gods cannot be;

Less therefore to be pleas'd, obey'd, or fear'd. 900

These false pretexts and varnish'd colors failing,

Bare in thy guilt how foul must thou appear?

DAL. In argument with men a woman ever

Goes by the worse, whatever be her cause.

SAMS. For want of words no doubt, or lack of breath;905

Witness when I was worried with thy peals.

DAL. I was a fool, too rash, and quite mistaken

In what I thought would have succeeded best.

Let me obtain forgiveness of thee, Samson,

Afford me place to show what recompense 910

Tow'ards thee I intend for what I have misdone,

Misguided; only what remains past cure

Bear not too sensibly, nor still insist

T' afflict thyself in vain: though sight be lost,

Life yet hath many solaces, enjoy'd 915

Where other senses want not their delights

At home in leisure and domestic ease,

Exempt from many a care and chance to which

Eye-sight exposes daily men abroad.

I to the lords will intercede, not doubting 920

Their favorable ear, that I may fetch thee

From forth this loathsome prison-house, to abide

With me, where my redoubled love and care

With nursing diligence, to me glad office,

May ever tend about thee to old age 925

With all things grateful chear'd, and so supply'd,

That what by me thou' hast lost thou least shalt miss.

SAMS. No, no, of my condition take no care;

It fits not; thou and I long since are twain;

Nor think me so unwary or accurs'd, 930

To bring my feet again into the snare

Where once I have been caught; I know thy trains

Though dearly to my cost, thy gins, and toils;

Thy fair inchanted cup, and warbling charms

No more on me have pow'r, their force is null'd, 935

So much of adder's wisdom I have learn'd

To fence my ear against thy sorceries.

If in my flower of youth and strength, when all men

Lov'd, honor'd, fear'd me, thou alone could'st hate me

Thy husband, slight me, sell me, and forgo me; 940

How wouldst thou use me now, blind, and thereby

Deceivable, in most things as a child

Helpless, thence easily contemn'd, and scorn'd,

And last neglected? How wouldst thou insult,

When I must live uxorious to thy will 945

In perfect thraldom, how again betray me,

Bearing my words and doings to the lords

To gloss upon, and censuring, frown or smile?

This jail I count the house of liberty

To thine, whose doors my feet shall never enter. 950

DAL. Let me approach at least, and touch thy hand.

SAMS. Not for thy life, lest fierce remembrance wake

My sudden rage to tear thee joint by joint.

At distance I forgive thee, go with that;

Bewail thy falshood, and the pious works 955

It hath brought forth to make thee memorable

Among illustrious women, faithful wives:

Cherish thy hasten'd widowhood with the gold

Of matrimonial treason: so farewel.

DAL. I see thou art implacable, more deaf 960

To pray'rs, than winds and seas, yet winds to seas

Are reconcil'd at length, and sea to shore:

Thy anger, unappeasable, still rages,

Eternal tempest never to be calm'd.

Why do I humble myself, and suing 965

For peace, reap nothing but repulse and hate?

Bid go with evil omen and the brand

Of infamy upon my name denounc'd?

To mix with thy concernments I desist

Henceforth, nor too much disapprove my own. 970

Fame if not double-fac'd is double-mouth'd,

And with contrary blast proclames most deeds;

On both his wings, one black, the other while

Bears greatest names in his wild aery flight.

My name perhaps among the circumcis'd 975

In Dan, in Judah, and the bordering tribes,

To all posterity may stand defam'd,

With malediction mention'd, and the blot

Of falshood most unconjugal traduc'd.

But in my country where I most desire, 980

In Ecron, Gaza, Asdod, and in Gath,

I shall be nam'd among the famousest

Of women, sung at solemn festivals,

Living and dead recorded, who to save

Her country from a fierce destroyer, chose 985

Above the faith of wedlock-bands, my tomb

With odors visited and annual flowers;

Not less renown'd than in mount Ephraim

Jael, who with inhospitable guile

Smote Sisera sleeping through the temples nail'd. 990

Nor shall I count it hainous to enjoy

The public marks of honor and reward

Conferr'd upon me, for the piety

Which to my country I was judg'd to' have shown.

At this who ever envies or repines, 995

I leave him to his lot, and like my own.

CHOR. She's gone, a manifest serpent by her sting

Discover'd in the end, till now conceal'd.

SAMS. So let her go, God sent her to debase me,

And aggravate my folly, who committed 1000

To such a viper his most sacred trust

Of secresy, my safety, and my life.

CHOR. Yet beauty, though injurious, hath strange power,

After offense returning, to regain

Love once possess'd, nor can be easily 1005

Repuls'd, without much inward passion felt

And secret sting of amorous remorse.

SAMS. Love-quarrels oft in pleasing concord end,

Not wedlock-treachery indang'ring life.

CHOR. It is not virtue, wisdom, valor, wit, 1010

Strength, comeliness of shape, or amplest merit

That woman's love can win or long inherit;

But what it is, hard is to say,

Harder to hit,

(Which way soever men refer it) 1015

Much like thy riddle, Samson, in one day

Or sev'n, though one should musing sit.

If any of these or all, the Timnian bride

Had not so soon preferr'd

Thy paranymph, worthless to thee compar'd, 1020

Successor in thy bed,

Nor both so loosly disally'd

Their nuptials, nor this last so treacherously

Had shorn the fatal harvest of thy head.

Is it for that such outward ornament 1025

Was lavish'd on their sex, that inward gifts

Were left for haste unfinish'd, judgment scant,

Capacity not rais'd to apprehend

Or value what is best

In choice, but oftest to affect the wrong? 1030

Or was too much of self-love mix'd,

Of constancy no root infix'd,

That either they love nothing, or not long?

Whate'er it be, to wisest men and best

Seeming at first all heav'nly under virgin veil, 1035

Soft, modest, meek, demure,

Once join'd, the contrary she proves, a thorn

Intestin, far within defensive arms

A cleaving mischief, in his way to virtue

Adverse and turbulent, or by her charms 1040

Draws him awry inslav'd

With dotage, and his sense deprav'd

To folly' and shameful deeds which ruin ends.

What pilot so expert but needs must wreck

Imbark'd with such a steers-mate at the helm? 1045

Favor'd of Heav'n who finds

One virtuous rarely found,

That in domestic good combines:

Happy that house! his way to peace is smooth:

But virtue which breaks through all opposition, 1050

And all temptation can remove,

Most shines and most is acceptable above.

Therefore God's universal law

Gave to the man despotic power

Over his female in due awe, 1055

Nor from that right to part an hour,

Smile she or lour:

So shall he least confusion draw

On his whole life, not sway'd

By female usurpation, or dismay'd. 1060

But had we best retire, I see a storm?

SAMS. Fair days have oft contracted wind and rain.

CHOR. But this another kind of tempest brings.

SAMS. Be less abstruse, my riddling days are past.

CHOR. Look now for no inchanting voice, nor fear 1065

The bait of honied words; a rougher tongue

Draws hitherward, I know him by his stride,

The giant Harapha of Gath, his look

Haughty as is his pile high-built and proud.

Comes he in peace? what wind hath blown him hither 1070

I less conjecture than when first I saw

The sumptuous Dalila floting this way:

His habit carries peace, his brow defiance.

SAMS. Or peace or not, alike to me he comes.

CHOR. His fraught we soon shall know, he now arrives.1075

HAR. I come not, Samson, to condole thy chance,

As these perhaps, yet wish it had not been,

Though for no friendly' intent. I am of Gath,

Men call me Harapha, of stock renown'd

As Og or Anak and the Emims old 1080

That Kiriathaim held, thou know'st me now

If thou at all art known. Much I have heard

Of thy prodigious might and feats perform'd

Incredible to me, in this displeas'd,

That I was never present on the place 1085

Of those encounters, where we might have try'd

Each other's force in camp or listed field:

And now am come to see of whom such noise

Hath walk'd about, and each limb to survey,

If thy appearance answer loud report. 1090

SAMS. The way to know were not to see but taste.

HAR. Dost thou already single me? I thought

Gyves and the mill had tam'd thee. O that fortune

Had brought me to the field, where thou are fam'd

To' have wrought such wonders with an asses jaw; 1095

I should have forc'd thee soon wish other arms,

Or left thy carcass where the ass lay thrown:

So had the glory' of prowess been recover'd

To Palestine, won by a Philistine

From the unforeskin'd race, of whom thou bear'st 1100

The highest name for valiant acts; that honor

Certain to' have won by mortal duel from thee,

I lose, prevented by thy eyes put out.

SAMS. Boast not of what thou wouldst have done, but do

What then thou wouldst, thou seest it in thy hand. 1105

HAR. To combat with a blind man I disdain,

And thou hast need much washing to be touch'd.

SAMS. Such usage as your honorable lords

Afford me' assassinated and betray'd,

Who durst not with their whole united powers 1110

In fight withstand me single and unarm'd,

Nor in the house with chamber ambushes

Close-banded durst attack me, no not sleeping,

Till they had hir'd a woman with their gold

Breaking her marriage faith to circumvent me. 1115

Therefore without feign'd shifts let be assign'd

Some narrow place inclos'd, where sight may give thee,

Or rather flight, no great advantage on me;

Then put on all thy gorgeous arms, thy helmet

And brigandine of brass, thy broad habergeon, 1120

Vant-brass and greves, and gauntlet, add thy spear,

A weaver's beam, and sev'n-times-folded shield,

I only with an oaken-staff will meet thee,

And raise such outcries on thy clatter'd iron,

Which long shall not withhold me from thy head, 1125

That in a little time while breath remains thee,

Thou oft shalt wish thyself at Gath to boast

Again in safety what thou wouldst have done

To Samson, but shalt never see Gath more.

HAR. Thou durst not thus disparage glorious arms, 1130

Which greatest heroes have in battel worn,

Their ornament and safety, had not spells

And black inchantments, some magician's art,

Arm'd thee or charm'd thee strong, which thou from Heaven

Feign'dst at thy birth was giv'n thee in thy hair, 1135

Where strength can least abide, though all thy hairs

Were bristles rang'd like those that ridge the back

Of chaf'd wild boars, or ruffled porcupines.

SAMS. I know no spells, use no forbidden arts;

My trust is in the living God, who gave me 1140

At my nativity this strength, diffus'd

No less through all my sinews, joints and bones.

Than thine, while I preserv'd these locks unshorn,

The pledge of my unviolated vow.

For proof hereof, if Dagon by thy God, 1145

Go to his temple, invocate his aid

With solemnest devotion, spread before him

How highly it concerns his glory now

To frustrate and dissolve these magic spells,

Which I to be the power of Israel's God 1150

Avow, and challenge Dagon to the test,

Offering to combat thee his champion bold,

With th' utmost of his Godhead seconded:

Then thou shalt see, or rather to thy sorrow

Soon feel, whose God is strongest, thine or mine. 1155

HAR. Presume not on thy God, whate'er he be,

Thee he regards not, owns not, hath cut off

Quite from his people, and deliver'd up

Into thy enemies hand, permitted them

To put out both thine eyes, and fetter'd send thee 1160

Into the common prison,there to grind

Among the slaves and asses thy comrádes,

As good for nothing else, no better service

With those thy boist'rous locks, no worthy match

For valor to assail, not by the sword 1165

Of noble warrior, so to stain his honor,

But by the barber's razor best subdued.

SAMS. All these indignities, for such they are

From thine, these evils I deserve and more,

Acknowledge them from God inflicted on me 1170

Justly, yet despair not of his final pardon

Whose ear is ever open, and his eye

Gracious to re-admit the suppliant;

In confidence whereof I once again

Defy thee to the trial of mortal fight, 1175

By combat to decide whose God is God,

Thine or whom I with Israel's sons adore.

HAR. Fair honor that thou dost thy God, intrusting

He will accept thee to defend his cause,

A Murderer, a Revolter, and a Robber. 1180

SAMS. Tongue-doughty Giant, how dost thou prove me these?

HAR. Is not thy nation subject to our lords?

Their magistrates confess'd it, when they took thee

As a league-breaker and deliver'd bound

Into our hands: for hadst thou not committed 1185

Notorious murder on those thirty men

As Ascalon, who never did thee harm,

Then like a robber stripp'dst them of their robes?

The Philistines, when thou hadst broke the league,

Went up with armed pow'rs thee only seeking, 1190

To others did no violence nor spoil.

SAMS. Among the daughters of the Philistines

I chose a wife, which argues me no foe;

And in your city held my nuptial feast:

But your ill-meaning politician lords, 1195

Under pretence of bridal friends and guests,

Appointed to await me thirty spies,

Who threatning cruel death constrain'd the bride

To wring from me and tell to them my secret,

That solv'd the riddle which I had propos'd. 1200

When I perceiv'd all set on enmity,

As on my enemies, wherever chanc'd,

I us'd hostility, and took their spoil

To pay my underminers in their coin.

My nation was subjected to your lords. 1205

It was the force of conquest; force with force

Is well ejected when the conquer'd can.

But I a private person, whom my country

As a league-breaker gave up bound, presum'd

Single rebellion and did hostile acts. 1210

I was no private but a person rais'd

With strength sufficient and command from Heaven

To free my country; if their servile minds

Me their deliverer sent would not receive,

But to their masters gave me up for nought, 1215

Th' unworthier they; whence to this day they serve.

I was to do my part from Heav'n assign'd,

And had perform'd it, if my known offense

Had not disabled me, not all your force:

These shifts refuted, answer thy appellant 1220

Though by his blindness maim'd for high attempts,

Who now defies thee thrice to single fight,

As a petty enterprise of small enforce.

HAR. With thee a man condemn'd, a slave inroll'd,

Due by the law to capital punishment? 1225

To fight with thee no man of arms will deign.

SAMS. Cam'st thou for this, vain boaster, to survey me,

To descant on my strength, and give thy verdict?

Come nearer, part not hence so slight inform'd;

But take good heed my hand survey not thee. 1230

HAR. O Baal-zebub! can my ears unus'd

Hear these dishonors, and not render death?

SAMS. No man withholds thee, nothing from thy hand

Fear I incurable; bring up thy van,

My heels are fetter'd, but my fist is free. 1235

HAR. This insolence other kind of answer fits.

SAMS. Go baffled coward, lest I run upon thee,

Though in these chains, bulk without spirit vast,

And with one buffet lay thy structure low,

Or swing thee in the air, then dash thee down 1240

To th' hazard of thy brains and shatter'd sides.

HAR. By Astaroth ere long thou shalt lament

These braveries in irons loaden on thee.

CHOR. His giantship is gone somewhat crest-fall'n,

Stalking with less unconscionable strides, 1245

And lower looks, but in a sultry chafe.

SAMS. I dread him not, nor all his giant-brood,

Though fame divulge him father of five sons,

All of gigantic size, Goliah chief.

CHOR. He will directly to the lords, I fear, 1250

And with malicious counsel stir them up

Some way or other yet further to afflict thee.

SAMS. He must allege some cause, and offer'd fight

Will not dare mention, lest a question rise

Whether he durst accept the' offer or not, 1255

And that he durst not plain enough appear'd.

Much more affliction than already felt

They cannot well impose, nor I sustain;

If they intend advantage of my labors,

The work of many hands, which earns my keeping 1260

With no small profit daily to my owners.

But come what will, my deadliest foe will prove

My speediest friend, by death to rid me hence,

The worst that he can give, to me the best.

Yet so it may fell out, because their end 1265

Is hate, not help to me, it may with mine

Drawn their own ruin who attempt the deed.

CHOR. Oh how comely it is, and how reviving

To the spirits of just men long oppress'd!

When God into the hands of their deliverer 1270

Puts invincible might

To quell the mighty of the earth, th' oppressor,

The brute and boist'rous force of violent men

Hardy and industrious to support

Tyrannic pow'r, but raging to pursue 1275

The righteous and all such as honor truth;

He all their ammunition

And feats of war defeats

With plain heroic magnitude of mind

And celestial vigor arm'd, 1280

Their armories and magazines contemns,

Renders them useless, while

With winged expedition

Swift as the lightning glance he executed

His errand on the wicked, who surpris'd 1285

Lose their defense distracted and amaz'd.

But patience is more oft the exercise

Of saints, the trial of their fortitude,

Making them each his own deliverer,

And victor over all 1290

That tyranny or fortune can inflict.

Either of these is in thy lot,

Samson, with might indued

Above the sons of men; but sight bereav'd

May chance to number thee with those 1295

Whom patience finally must crown.

This idol's day hath been to thee no day of rest,

Laboring thy mind

More than the working day thy hands.

And yet perhaps more trouble is behind, 1300

For I descry this way

Some other tending, in his hand

A scepter or quaint staff he bears,

Comes on amain, speed in his look.

By his habit I discern him now 1305

A public Officer, and now at hand.

His message will be short and voluble.

OFF. Hebrews, the pris'ner Samson here I seek.

CHOR. His manacles remark him, there he sits

OFF. Samson, to thee our lords thus bid me say; 1310

This day to Dagon is a solemn feast,

With sacrifices, triumph, pomp, and games;

Thy strength they know surpassing human rate,

And now some public proof thereof require

To honor this great feast, and great assembly; 1315

Rise therefore with all speed and come along,

Where I will see thee hearten'd and fresh clad

To' appear as fits before th' illustrious lords.

SAMS. Thou know'st I am an Hebrew, therefore tell them,

Our Law forbids at their religious rites 1320

My presence; for that cause I cannot come.

OFF. This answer, be assur'd, will not content them.

SAMS. Have they not sword-players, and every sort

Of gymnic artists, wrestlers, riders, runners,

Juglers and dancers, antics, mummers, mimics, 1325

But they must pick me out with shackles tir'd,

And over-labor'd at their public mill,

To make them sport with blind activity?

Do they not seek occasion of new quarrels

On my refusal to distress me more, 1330

Or make a game of my calamities?

Return the way thou cam'st, I will not come.

OFF. Regard thyself, this will offend them highly.

SAMS. Myself? my conscience and internal peace.

Can they think me so broken, so debas'd 1335

With corporal servitude, that my mindever

Will condescend to such absurd commands?

Although their drudge, to be their fool or jester,

And in my midst of sorrow and heart-grief

To show them feats, and play before their God, 1340

The worst of all indignities, yet on me

Join'd with extreme contempt? I will not come.

OFF. My message was impos'd on me with speed,

Brooks no delay: is this thy resolution?

SAMS. So take it with what speed thy message needs. 1345

OFF. I am sorry what this stoutness will produce.

SAMS. Perhaps thou shalt have cause to sorrow' indeed.

CHOR. Consider, Samson; matters now are strain'd

Up to the highth, whether to hold or break;

He's gone, and who knows how he may report 1350

Thy words by adding fuel to the flame?

Expect another message more imperious,

More lordly thund'ring than thou well wilt bear.

SAMS. Shall I abuse this consecrated gift

Of strength, again returning with my hair 1355

After my great transgression, so requite

Favor renew'd, and add a greater sin

By prostituting holy things to idols;

A Nazarite in place abominable

Vaunting my strength in honor to their Dagon? 1360

Besides how vile, contemptible, ridiculous,

What act more execrably unclean, profane?

CHOR. Yet with this strength thou serv'st the Philistines,

Idolatrous, uncircumcis'd, unclean.

SAMS. Not in their idol-worship, but by labor 1365

Honest and lawful to deserve my food

Of those who have me in their civil power.

CHOR. Where the heart joins not, outward acts defile not.

SAMS. Where outward force constrains, the sentence holds.

But who constrains me to the temple' of Dagon, 1370

Not dragging? the Philistian lords command.

Commands are no constraints. If I obey them,

I do it freely, vent'ring to displease

God for the fear of Man, and Man prefer,

Set God behind: which in his jealousy 1375

Shall never,unrepented, find forgiveness.

Yet that he may dispense with me or thee

Present in the temples at idolatrous rites

For some important cause, thou need'st not doubt.

CHOR. How thou wilt here come off surmounts my reach.1380

SAMS. Be of good courage, I begin to feel

Some rousing motions in me which dispose

To something extraordinary my thoughts.

I with this messenger will go along,

Nothing to do, be sure, that may dishonor 1385

Our Law, or stain my vow of Nazarite.

If there be ought of presage in the mind,

This day will be remarkable in my life

By some great act, or of my days the last.

CHOR. In time thou hast resolv'd, the man returns. 1390

OFF. Samson, this second message from our lords

To thee I am bid say. Art thou our slave,

Our captive, at the public mill our drudge,

And dar'st thou at our sending and command

Dispute thy coming? come without delay; 1395

Or we shall find such engins to assail

And hamper thee, as thou shalt come of force,

Though thou wert firmlier fasten'd than a rock.

SAMS. I could be well content to try their art,

Which to no few of them would prove pernicious. 1400

Yet knowing their advantages too many,

Because they shall not trail me through their streets

Like a wild beast, I am content to go.

Masters commands come with a pow'r resistless

To such as own them absolute subjection; 1405

And for a life who will not change his purpose?

(So mutable are all the ways of men)

Yet this be sure, in nothing to comply

Scandalous or forbidden in our Law.

OFF. I praise thy resolution: doff these links: 1410

By this compliance thou wilt win the lords

To favor, and perhaps to set thee free.

SAMS. Brethren farewel; your company along

I will not wish, lest it perhaps offend them

To see me girt with friends; and how the sight 1415

Of me as of a common enemy,

So dreaded once, may now exasperate them

I know not; lords are lordliest in their wine;

And the well-feasted priest then soonest fir'd

With zeal, if ought religion seem concern'd; 1420

No less the people on their holy-days

Impetuous, insolent, unquenchable:

Happen what may, of me expect to hear

Nothing dishonorable, impure, unworthy

Our God, our Law, my Nation, or myself, 1425

The last of me or no I cannot warrant.

CHOR. Go, and the Holy One

Of Israel be thy guide

To what may serve his glory best, and spread his name

Great among the Heathen round; 1430

Send thee the Angel of thy birth, to stand

Fast by thy side, who from thy father's field

Rode up in flames after his message told

Of thy conception, and be now a shield

Of fire; that Spirit that first rush'd on thee 1435

In the camp of Dan

Be efficacious in thee now at need.

For never was from Heav'n imparted

Measure of strength so great to mortal seed,

As in thy wondrous actions hath been seen. 1440

But wherefore comes old Manoah in such haste

With youthful steps? much livelier than ere while

He seems: supposing here to find his son,

Or of him bringing to us some glad news?

MAN. Peace with you, Brethren; my inducement hither1445

Was not at present here to find my son,

By order of the lords new parted hence

To come and play before them at their feast.

I heard all as I came, the city rings,

And numbers thither flock, I had no will, 1450

Lest I should see him forc'd to things unseemly.

But that which mov'd my coming now, was chiefly

To give ye part with me what hope I have

With good success to work his liberty.

CHOR. That hope would much rejoice us to partake 1455

With thee; say, reverend Sire, we thirst to hear.

MAN. I have attempted one by one the lords

Either at home, or through the high street passing,

With supplication prone and father's tears,

T'accept of ransome for my son their pris'ner. 1460

Some much averse I found and wondrous harsh,

Contemptuous, proud, set on revenge and spite;

That part most reverenc'd Dagon and his priests:

Others more moderate seeming, but their aim

Private reward, for which both God and State 1465

They easily would set to sale: a third

More generous far and civil, who confess'd

They had enough reveng'd, having reduc'd

Their foe to misery beneath their fears,

The rest was magnanimity to remit, 1470

If some convenient ransome were propos'd.

What noise or shout was that? it tore the sky.

CHOR. Doubtless the people shouting to behold

Their once great dread, captive, and blind before them,

Or at some proof of strength before them shown. 1475

MAN. His ransome, if my whole inheritance

My compass it, shall willingly be paid

And number'd down: much rather I shall choose

To live the poorest in my tribe, than richest,

And he in that calamitous prison left. 1480

No, I am fix'd not to part hence without him.

For his redemption all my patrimony,

If need be, I am ready to forgo

And quit: not wanting him, I shall want nothing.

CHOR. Fathers are wont to lay up for their sons, 1485

Thou for thy son art bent to lay out all;

Sons wont to nurse their parents in old age,

Thou in old age car'st how to nurse thy son

Made older than thy age through eye-sight lost.

MAN. It shall be my delight to tend his eyes, 1490

And view him sitting in the house, ennobled

With all those high exploits by him achiev'd,

And on his shoulders waving down those locks,

That of a nation arm'd the strength contain'd:

And I persuade me God had not permitted 1495

His strength again to grow up with his hair

Garrison'd round about him like a camp

Of faithful soldiery, were not his purpose

To use him further yet in some great service,

Not to sit idle with so great a gift 1500

Useless, and thence ridiculous about him.

And since his strength with eye-sight was not lost,

God will restore him eye-sight to his strength.

CHOR. Thy hopes are not ill founded nor seem vain

Of his delivery, and thy joy thereon 1505

Conceiv'd, agreeable to a father's love,

In both which we, as next, participate.

MAN. I know your friendly minds and --- O what noise!

Mercy of Heav'n, what hideous noise was that!

Horribly loud, unlike the former shout. 1510

CHOR. Noise call you it or universal groan,

As if the whole inhabitation perish'd!

Blood, death, and deathful deeds are in that noise,

Ruin, destruction at the utmost point.

MAN. Of ruin indeed methought Iheard the noise: 1515

Oh it continues, they have slain my son.

CHOR. Thy son is rather slaying them, that outcry

From slaughter of one foe could not ascend.

MAN. Some dismal accident it needs must be;

What shall we do, stay here or run and see? 1520

CHOR. Best keep together here, lest running thither

We unawares run into danger's mouth.

This evil on the Philistines is fall'n;

From whom could else a general cry be heard?

The sufferers then will scarce molest us here, 1525

From other hands we need not much to fear.

What if his eye-sight (for to Israel's God

Nothing is hard) by miracle restor'd,

He now be dealing dole among his foes,

And over heaps of slaughter'd walk his way? 1530

MAN. That were a joy presumptuous to be thought.

CHOR. Yet God hath wrought things as incredible

For his people of old; what hinders now?

MAN. He can I know, but doubt to think he will;

Yet hope would fain subscribe, and tempts belief. 1535

A little stay will bring some notice hither.

CHOR. Of good or bad so great, of bad the sooner;

For evil news rides post, while good news baits.

And to our wish I see one hither speeding,

An Hebrew, as I guess, and of our tribe. 1540

MESS. O whither shall I run, or which way fly

The sight of this so horrid spectacle,

Which erst my eyes beheld and yet behold?

For dire imagination still pursues me.

But providence or instinct of nature seems, 1545

Or reason though disturb'd, and scarce consulted,

To' have guided me aright, I know not how,

To thee first reverend Manoah, and to these

My countrymen, whom here I knew remaining,

As at some distance from the place of horror, 1550

So in the sad event too much concern'd.

MAN. The accident was loud, and here before thee

With rueful cry, yet what it was we hear not;

No preface needs, thou seest we long to know.

MESS. It would burst forth, but I recover breath 1555

And sense distract, to know well what I utter.

MAN. Tell us the sum, the circumstance defer.

MESS. Gaza yet stands, but all her sons are fall'n,

All in a moment overwhelm'd and fall'n.

MAN. Sad, but thou know'st to Israelites not saddest 1560

The desolation of a hostile city.

MESS. Feed on that first, there may in grief be surfeit.

MAN. Relate by whom. MESS. By Samson.

MAN. That still lessens the sorrow, and converts it nigh to joy.

MESS. Ah Manoah, I refrain, too suddenly 1565

To utter what will come at last too soon;

Lest evil tidings with too rude irruption

Hitting thy aged ear should pierce too deep.

MAN. Suspense in news is torture, speak them out.

MESS. Take then the worst in brief, Samson is dead. 1570

MAN. The worst indeed, O all my hope's defeated

To free him hence! but death who sets all free

Hath paid his ransome now and full discharge.

What windy joy this day had I conceiv'd

Hopeful of his delivery, which now proves 1575

Abortive as the first-born bloom of spring

Nipt with the lagging rear of winter's frost!

Yet ere I give the reins to grief, say first,

How dy'd he; death to life is crown or shame.

All by him fell thou say'st, by whom fell he, 1580

What glorious hand gave Samson his death's wound?

MESS. Unwounded of his enemies he fell.

MAN. Wearied with slaughter then or how? explain.

MESS. By his own hands. MAN. Self-violence? what cause

Brought him so soon at variance with himself 1585

Among his foes? MESS. Inevitable cause

At once both to destroy and be destroy'd;

The edifice, where all were met to see him,

Upon their heads and on his own he pull'd.

MAN. O lastly over-strong against thyself! 1590

A dreadful way thou took'st to thy revenge.

More than enough we know; but while things yet

Are in confusion, give us if thou canst,

Eye-witness of what first or last was done,

Relation more particular and distinct. 1595

MESS. Occasions drew me early to this city,

And as the gates I enter'd with sun-rise,

The morning trumpets festival proclam'd

Through each high street: little I had dispatch'd,

When all abroad was rumor'd that this day 1600

Samson should be brought forth, to show the people

Proof of his mighty strength in feats and games;

I sorrow'd at his captive state, but minded

Not to be absent at that spectacle.

The building was a spacious theatre 1605

Half-round on two main pillars vaulted high,

With seats where all the lords and each degree

Of sort, might sit in order to behold;

The other side was open, where the throng

On banks and scaffolds under sky might stand; 1610

I among these aloof obscurely stood.

The feast and noon grew high, and sacrifice

Had fill'd their hearts with mirth, high chear, and wine,

When to their sports they turn'd. Immediately

Was Samson as a public servant brought, 1615

In their state livery clad; before him pipes

And timbrels, on each side went armed guards,

Both horse and foot, before him and behind

Archers, and slingers, cataphracts and spears.

At sight of him the people with a shout 1620

Rifted the air, clamoring their God with praise,

Who' had made their dreadul enemy their thrall.

He patient but undaunted where they led him,

Came to the place, and what was set before him,

Which without help of eye might be assay'd, 1625

To heave, pull, draw, or break, he still perform'd

All with incredible, stupendious force,

None daring to appear antagonist.

At length for intermission sake they led him

Between the pillars; he his guide requested 1630

(For so from such as nearer stood we heard)

As over-tir'd to let him lean a while

With both his arms on those two massy pillars,

That to the arched roof gave main support.

He unsuspicious led him; which when Samson 1635

Felt in his arms, with head a while inclin'd,

And eyes fast fix'd he stood, as one who pray'd,

Or some great matter in his mind revolv'd:

At last with head erect thus cry'd aloud,

Hitherto, Lords, what your commands impos'd 1640

I have perform'd, as reason was, obeying,

Not without wonder or delight beheld:

Now of my own accord such other trial

I mean to show you of my strength, yet greater;

As with amaze shall strike all who behold. 1645

This utter'd, straining all his nerves he bow'd,

As with the force of winds and waters pent,

When mountains tremble, those two massy pillars

With horrible convulsion to and fro,

He tugg'd, he shook, till down they came and drew 1650

The whole roof after them, with burst of thunder

Upon the heads of all who sat beneath,

Lords, ladies, captains, counsellors, or priests,

Their choice nobility and flow'r, not only

Of this but each Philistian city round 1655

Met from all parts to solemnize this feast.

Samson with these immix'd, inevitably

Pull'd down the same destruction on himself;

The vulgar only scap'd who stood without.

CHOR. O dearly-bought revenge, yet glorious! 1660

Living or dying thou hast fulfill'd

The work for which thou wast foretold

To Israel, and now ly'st victorious

Among thy slain self-kill'd

Not willingly, but tangled in the fold 1665

Of dire necessity, whose law in death conjoin'd

Thee with thy slaughter'd foes in number more

Than all thy life had slain before.

SEMICHOR. While their hearts were jocond and sublime,

Drunk with idolatry, drunk with wine 1670

And fat regorg'd of bulls and goats,

Chaunting their idol, and preferring

Before our living Dread who dwells

In Silo his bright sanctuary:

Among them he a spi'rit of phrenzy sent, 1675

Who hunt their minds,

And urg'd them on with mad desire

To call in haste for their destroyer;

They only set on sport and play

Unweetingly importun'd 1680

Their own destruction to come speedy upon them.

So fond are mortal men

Fall'n into wrath divine,

As their own ruin on themselves t'invite,

Insensate left, or to sense reprobate, 1685

And with blindness internal struck.

SEMICHOR. But he though blind of sight,

Despis'd and thought extinguish'd quite,

With inward eyes illuminated,

His fiery virtue rous'd 1690

From under ashes into sudden flame,

And as an evening dragon came,

Assailant on the perched roosts,

And nests in order rang'd

Of tame villatic fowl' but as an eagle 1695

His cloudless thunder bolted on their heads.

So virtue giv'n for lost,

Depress'd, and overthrown, as seem'd,

Like that self-begotten bird

In the Arabian woods imbost, 1700

That no second knows nor third,

And lay ere while a holocaust,

From out her ashy womb now teem'd,

Revives, reflorishes, then vigorous most

When most unactive deem'd, 1705

And though her body die, he fame survives

A secular bird ages of lives.

MAN. Come, come, no time for lamentation now,

Nor much more cause; Samson hath quit himself

Like Samson, and heroicly hath finish'd 1710

A life heroic, on his enemies

Fully reveng'd, hath left them years of mourning,

And lamentation to the sons of Caphtor

Through all Philistian bounds; to Israel

Honor hath left, and freedom, let but them 1715

Find courage to lay hold on this occasion;

To' himself and father's house eternal fame;

And which is best and happiest yet, all this

With God not parted from him, as was fear'd,

But favoring and assisting to the end. 1720

Nothing is here for tears, nothing to wail

Or knock the breast, no weakness, no contempt,

Dispraise, or blame, nothing but well and fair,

And what may quiet us in a death so noble.

Let us go find the body where it lies 1725

Sok'd in his enemies blood, and from the stream

With lavers pure and cleansing herbs wash off

The clotted gore. I with what speed the while

(Gaza is not in plight to say us nay)

Will send for all my kindred, all my friends, 1730

To fetch him hence, and solemnly attend

With silent obsequy and funeral train

Home to his father's house: there will I build him

A monument, and plant it round with shade

Of laurel ever green, and branching palm, 1735

With all his trophies hung, and acts inroll'd

In copious legend, or sweet lyric song.

Thither shall all the valiant youth resort,

And from his memory inflame their breasts

To matchless valor, and adventures high: 1740

The virgins also shall on feastful days

Visit his tomb with flow'rs, only bewailing

His lot unfortunate in nuptial choice,

From whence captivity and loss of eyes.

CHOR. All is best, though we oft doubt, 1745

What th' unsearchable dispose

Of highest wisdom brings about,

And ever best found in the close.

Oft he seems to hide his face,

But unexpectedly returns, 1750

And to his faithful champion hath in place

Bore witness gloriously; whence Gaza mourns

And all that band them to resist

His uncontrollable intent;

His servants he with new acquist 1755

Of true experience from this great event

With peace and consolation hath dismist,

And calm of mind all passion spent.