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So much I feel my genial spirits droop, No long petition, speedy death,
Chor. Many are the sayings of the wise,
All chances incident to man's frail life, From anguish of the mind and humours black, Consolatories writ That mingle with my fancy. I however With studied argument, and much persuasion Must not omit a father's timely care
sought, To prosecute the means of thy deliverance Lenient of grief and anxious thought: By ransom, or how else: meanwhile be calm, But with the afflicted in his pangs their sound And healing words from these thy friends admit. Little prevails, or rather seems a tune
[Exit. Harsh, and of dissonant mood from his complaint; Sams. O that torment should not be confined Unless he feel within To the body's wounds and sores,
Some source of consolation from above, With maladies innumerable
Secret refreshings, that repair his strength, In heart, head, breast, and reins;
And fainting spirits uphold. But must secret passage find
God of our fathers, what is man! To the inmost mind,
That thou towards him with hand so various, There exercise all his fierce accidents,
Or might I say contrarious, And on her purest spirits prey,
Temperest thy providence through his short course As on entrails, joints, and limbs,
Not evenly, as thou rulest With answerable pains, but more intense, The angelic orders, and inferior creatures mute, Though void of corporal sense.
Irrational and brute. My griefs not only pain me
Nor do I name of men the common rout,
That wandering loose about
Heads without name no more remembered;
But such as thou hast solemnly elected, To black mortification,
With gifts and graces eminently adorned, Thoughts, my tormentors, armed with deadly To some great work, thy glory, stings,
And people's safety, which in part they effect: Mangle my apprehensive tenderest parts, Yet toward these thus dignified, thou oft, Exasperate, exulcerate, and raise
Amidst their height of noon, Dire inflammation, which no cooling herb Changest thy countenance, and thy hand, with no Or medicinal liquor can assuage,
regard Nor breath of vernal air from snowy Alp. Of highest favours past Sleep hath forsook and given me o'er
From thee on them, or them to thee of service. To death's benumbing opium as my only cure; Nor only dost degrade them, or remit Thence faintings, swoonings of despair, To life obscured, which were a fair dismission, And sense of Heaven's desertion.
But throwest them lower than thou didst exalt
Unseemly falls in human eye,
Oft leavest them to the hostile sword
To dogs and fowls a prey, or else captived; Above the nerve of mortal arm,
Or to the unjust tribunals, under change of times, Against the uncircumcised, our enemies: And condemnation of the ingrateful multitude. But now hath cast me off as never known, If these they 'scape, perhaps in poverty And to those cruel enemies:
With sickness and disease thou bow'st them down, Whom I by his appointment had provoked, Painful diseases and deformed Left me all helpless with the irreparable loss
In crude old age ; Of sight, reserved alive to be repeated,
Though not disordinate, yet causeless suffering The subject of their cruelty or scorn.
The punishment of dissolute days: in fine Nor am I in the list of them that hope; Just or unjust alike seem miserable, Hopeless are all my evils, all remediless: For oft alike both come to evil end. This once prayer yet remains, might I be heard, so deal not with this once thy glorious champion,
Under his special eye
The image of thy strength, and mighty minister. That wisest and best men, full oft beguiled,
But who is this? what thing of sea or land? Entangled with a poisonous bosom snake,
If not by quick destruction soon cut off, That so bedecked, ornate, and gay,
As I by thee, to ages an example. Comes this way sailing
Dal. Yet hear me, Samson; not that I endeaLike a stately ship Of Tarsus, bound for the isles
To lessen or extenuate my offence, Of Javan or Gadire,
But that on the other side, if it be weighed
Or else with just allowance counterpoised,
The easier toward me, or thy hatred less.
First granting, as I do, it was a weakness
Of secrets, then with like infirmity
Was it not weakness also to make known Chor. Yet on she moves, now stands and eyes For importunity, that is, for nought, thee fixed,
Wherein consisted all thy strength and safety ? About to have spoke; but now, with head declined, To what I did thou showed’st me first the way. Like a fair flower surcharged with dew, she weeps, But I to enemies revealed, and should not: And words addressed seem into tears dissolved, Nor should'st thou have trusted that to woman's Wetting the borders of her silken veil:
frailty; But now again she makes address to speak. Ere I to thee, thou to thyself wast cruel.
Let weakness then with weakness come to parle, (Enter) Dalila.
So near related, or the same of kind, Dal. With doubtful feet and wavering resolution Thine forgive mine; that men may censure thine I came, still dreading thy displeasure, Samson, The gentler, if severely thou exact not Which to have merited, without excuse, More strength from me, than in thyself was found. I can not but acknowledge; yet, if tears, And what if love, which thou interpret'st hate, May expiate, (though the fact more evil drew The jealousy of love, powerful of sway In the perverse event than I foresaw,)
In human hearts, nor less in mine towards thee, My penance hath not slackened, though my par-Caused what I did ? I saw thee mutable don
Of fancy, feared lest one day thou would'st leave No way assured. But conjugal affection, Prevailing over fear and timorous doubt, As her at Timna, sought by all means therefore Hath led me on, desirous to behold
How to endear, and hold thee to me firmest: Once more thy face, and know of thy estate, No better way I saw than by importuning If aught in my ability may serve
To learn thy secrets, get into my power To lighten what thou sufferest, and appease Thy key of strength and safety: thou wilt say, Thy mind with what arnends is in my power, Why then revealed? I was assured by those Though late, yet in some part to recompense Who tempted me, that nothing was designed My rash, but more unfortunate misdeed. Against thee but safe custody, and hold : Sams. Out, out, hyena! these are thy wonted That made for me, I knew that liberty arts,
Would draw thee forth to perilous enterprises; And arts of every woman false like thee, While I at home sat full of cares and fears, To break all faith, all vows, deceive, betray, Wailing thy absence in my widowed bed; Then as repentant to submit, beseech,
Here I should still enjoy thee, day and nigh And reconcilement move with feigned remorse, Mine and love's prisoner, not the Philistines', Confess, and promise wonders in her change; Whole to myself, unhazarded abroad, Not truly penitent, but chief to try
Fearless at home of partners in my love. Her husband, how for urged his patience bears, These reasons in love's law have past for good, His virtue or weakness which way to assail; Though fond and reasonless to some perhaps; Then with more cautious and instructed skill And love hath oft, well meaning, wrought much Agam transgresses, and again submits;
Yet always pity or pardon hath obtained.
Sams. I thought where all thy circling wiles But not like all others, not austere
would end; As thou art strong, inflexible as steel.
In feigned religion, smooth hypocrisy!
Been, as it ought, sincere, it would have taught
Too well; unbosomed all my secrets to thee, Such pardon therefore as I give my folly, Not out of levity, but overpowered Take to thy wicked deed; which when thou seest By thy request, who could deny thee nothing; Impartial, self-severe, inexorable,
Yet now am judged an enemy. Why then Thou wilt renounce thy seeking, and much rather Didst thou at first receive me for thy husband, Confess it feigned: weakness is thy excuse, Then, as since then, thy country's foe professed ? And I believe it; weakness to resist
Being once a wife, for me thou wast to leave Philistian gold: if weakness may excuse, Parents and country; nor was I their subject, What murderer, what traitor, parricide, Nor under their protection, but my own, Incestuous, sacrilegious, but may plead it? Thou mine, not their's: if aught against my life All wickedness is weakness: that plea therefore Thy country sought of thee, it sought unjustly, With God or man will gain thee no remission. Against the law of nature, law of nations; But love constrained thee; call it furious rage No more thy country, but an impious crew To satisfy thy lust: love seeks to have love; Of men conspiring to uphold their state My love how could'st thou hope, who took'st the By worse than hostile deeds, violating the ends way
For which our country is a name so dear; To raise in me inexpiable hate,
Not therefore to be obeyed. But zeal moved thee; Knowing, as needs I must, by thee betrayed ? To please thy gods thou did'st it; gods unable In vain thou strivest to cover shame with shame, To acquit themselves and prosecute their foes Or by evasions thy crime uncoverest more. But by ungodly deeds, the contradiction
Dal. Since thou determin'st weakness for no plea Of their own deity, gods can not be; In man or woman, though to thy own condemning, Less therefore to be pleased, obeyed, or feared Hear what assaults I had, what snares besides, These false pretexts and varnished colours failing, What sieges girt me round, ere I consented; Bare in thy guilt, how foul must thou appear! Which might have awed the best resolved of men, Dal. In argument with men a woman ever The constantest, to have yielded without blame. Goes by the worse, whatever be her cause. It was not gold, as to my charge thou lay'st, Sams. For want of words no doubt, or lack of That wrought with me: thou know'st the magis- breath;
Witness when I was worried with thy peals. And princes of my country came in person, Dal. I was a fool, too rash, and quite mistaken Solicited, commanded, threatened, urged, In what I thought would have succeeded best. Adjured by all the bonds of civil duty
Let me obtain forgiveness of thee, Samson;
Misguided; only what remains past cure
To afflict thyself in vain: though sight be lost,
Where other senses want not their delights Dishonourer of Dagon: what had I
At home in leisure and domestic ease, To oppose against such powerful arguments ? Exempt from many a care and chance, to which Only my love of thee held long debate,
Eyesight exposes daily men abroad. And combated in silence all these reasons I to the lords will intercede, not doubting With hard contest: at length that grounded maxim, Their favourable ear, that I may fetch thee So rife and celebrated in the mouths
From forth this loathsome prison-house, to abide Of wisest men, that to the public good
With me, where my redoubled love and care Private respects must yield, with grave authority With nursing diligence, to me glad office, Took full possession of me, and prevailed; May ever tend about thee to old age, Virtue, as I thought, truth, duty, so enjoining. With all things grateful cheered, and so supplied.
That what by me thou hast lost thou least shalt In Ecron, Gaza, Asdod, and in Gath,
I shall be named among the famousest
Her country from a fierce destroyer, chose
Above the faith of wedlock bands; my tomb Where once I have been caught: I know thy trains, With odours visited and annual flowers; Though dearly to my cost, thy gins, and toils; Not less renowned than in mount Ephraim Thy fair enchanted cup, and warbling charms, Jael, who with inhospitable guile No more on me have power; their force is nulled; Smote Sisera sleeping, through the temples nailed. So much of adder's wisdom I have learned, Nor shall I count it heinous to enjoy To fence my ear against thy sorceries.
The public marks of honour and reward, If in my flower of youth and strength, when all Conferred upon me for the piety
Which to my country I was judged to have shown. Loved, honoured, feared me, thou alone could'st At this whoever envies or repines,
I leave him to his lot, and like my own. (Erit.) Thy husband, slight me, sell me, and forego me;
Chor. She's gone, a manifest serpent by her sting How would'st thou use me now, blind and thereby Discovered in the end till now concealed. Deceivable, in most things as a child
Sams. So let her go; God sent her to debase me, Helpless, thence easily contemned and scorned, And aggravate my folly, who committed And last neglected! How wouldst thou insult, To such a viper his most secret trust When I must live uxorious to thy will
Of secrecy, my safety, and
life. In perfect thraldom; how again betray me, Chor. Yet beauty, though injurious, hath strange Bearing my words and doings to the lords
power, To gloss upon, and, censuring, frown or smile! After offence returning, to regain This jail I count the house of liberty
Love once possessed, nor can be easily To thine, whose doors my feet shall never enter. Repulsed, without much inward passion felt Dal. Let me approach at least and touch thy And secret sting of amorous remorse. hand.
Sams. Love-quarrels oft in pleasing concord end, Sams. Not for thy life, Jest fierce remembrance Not wedlock treachery endangering life. wake
Chor. It is not virtue, wisdom, valour, wit, My sudden rage to tear thee joint by joint. Strength, comeliness of shape, or amplest merit, At distance I forgive thee; go with that ; That woman's love can win or long inherit; Bewail thy falsehood, and the pious works But what it is, hard is to say, It hath brought forth to make thee memorable Harder to hit, Among illustrious women, faithful wives! (Which way soever men refer it) Cherish thy hastened widowhood with the gold Much like thy riddle, Samson, in one day Of matrimonial treason! so farewell.
Or seven, though one should musing sit. Dal. I see thou art implacable, more deaf If any of these or all the Timnian bride To prayers than winds and seas; yet winds to seas Had not so soon preferred Are reconciled at length, and sea to shore; Thy paranymph, worthless to thee compared, Thy anger, unappeasable, still rages,
Successor in thy bed,
Nor both so loosely disallied
Is it for that such outward ornament
Seeeming at first all heavenly under virgin veil, With malediction mentioned, and the blot Soft, modest, meek, demure. Of falschood most unconjugal traduced. Once joined, the contrary she proves, a thorn But in my country where I most desire, Intestine, far within defensive arms
A cleaving mischief, in his way to virtue
Sams. The way to know were not to see, but Adverse and turbulent, or by her charms
taste. Draws him awry enslaved
Har. Dost thou already single me? I thought With dotage, and his sense depraved
Gyves and the mill had tamed thee. O that fortune To folly, and shameful deeds which ruin ends. Had brought me to the field, where thou art famed What pilot so expert but needs must wreck, To have wrought such wonders with an ass's jaw! Embarked with such a steer’s-mate at the helm? I should have forced thee soon with other arms, Favoured of Heaven, who finds
Or left thy cascass where the ass lay thrown: One virtuous, rarely found,
So had the glory of prowess been recovered That in domestic good combines :
To Palestine, won by a Philistine, Happy that house! his way to peace is smooth: From the unforeskinned race, of whom thou bearest But virtue, which breaks through all opposition, The highest name for valiant acts; that honour, And all temptation can remove,
Certain to have won by mortal duel from thee, Most shines, and most is acceptable above. I lose, prevented by thy eyes put out. Therefore God's universal law
Sams. Boast not of what thou would'st have Gave to the man despotic power
done, but do Over his female in due awe,
What then thou would'st; thou secst it in thy hand. Nor from that right to part an hour,
Har. To combat with a blind man I disdain, Smile she or lower:
And thou hast need much washing to be touched. So shall he least confusion draw
Sams. Such usage as your honourable lords, On his whole life, not swayed
Afford me, assassinated and betrayed, By female usurpation, or dismayed.
Who durst not with their whole united powers But had we best retire? I see a storm. In fight withstand me single and unarmed, Sams. Fair days have oft contracted wind and Nor in the house with chamber-ambushes rain.
Close-banded durst attack me, no, not sleeping, Chor. But this another kind of tempest brings. Till they had hired a woman with their gold Sams. Be less obstruse, my riddling days are Breaking her marriage faith to circumvent me. past.
Therefore, without feigned shifts, let be assigned Chor. Look now for no enchanting voice, nor Some narrow place enclosed, where sight may give fear
thee, The bait of honied words; a rougher tongue Or rather flight, no great advantage on me; Draws hitherward; I know him by his stride, Then put on all thy gorgeous arms, thy helmet The giant Harapha of Gath, his look
And brigandine of brass, thy broad habergeon, Haughty, as is his pile high-built and proud. Vantbrass and greaves, and gauntlet, add thy Cornes he in peace? what wind hath blown him
A weaver's beam, and seven-times folded shield; I less conjecture than when first I saw
I only with an oaken staff will meet thee, The sumptuous Dalila floating this way: And raise such outcries on thy clattered iron, His habit carries peace, his brow defiance. Which long shall not withhold me from thy head,
Sams. Or peace or not, alike to me he comes. That in a little time, while breath remains thee, Chor. His fraught we soon shall know, he now Thou oft shalt wish thyself at Gath, to boast arrives.
Again in safety what thou wouldst have done
To Samson, but shalt never see Gath more. (Enter) Harapha.
Har. Thou durst not thus disparage glorious Har. I come not, Samson, to condole thy chance, arms, As these perhaps, yet wish it had not been, Which greatest heroes have in battle worn, Though for no friendly intent. I am of Gath; Their ornament and safety, had not spells, Men call me Harapha, of stock renowned And black enchantments, some magician's art, As Og, or Anak, and the Emims old
Armed thee or charmed thee strong, which thou That Kiriathaim held; thou knowest me now, from Heaven If thou at all art known. Much I have heard Feigned'st at thy birth was given thee in thy hair, Of thy prodigious might and feats performed, Where strength can least abide, though all thy Incredible to me, in this displeased,
hairs That I was never present on the place
Were bristles ranged like those that ridge the back Of those encounters, where we might have tried Of chafed wild boars, or ruffled porcupines. Each other's force in camp or listed field;
Sams. I know no spells, use no forbidden arts, And now am come to see of whom such noise My trust is in the living God, who gave me Hath walked about, and each limb to survey, At my nativity this strength, diffused .f thy appearance answer loud report.
No less through all my sinews, joints and bones,