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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, Of all reproach the most with shame that ever Could have befallen thee and thy father's house.
Samson. Father, I do acknowledge and confess That I this honour, I this pomp, have brought To Dagon, and advanc'd his praises high Among the Heathen round; to God have brought Dishonour, 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 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 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, 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,
And with confusion blank his worshippers.
Manoah. With cause this hope relieves thee, and
I as a prophecy receive; for God,
Nothing more certain, will not long defer
To vindicate the glory of his Name
Against all competition, nor will long
Endure 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,
Neglected. I already have made way
To some Philistian lords, with whom to treat
About thy ransom: well they may by this
Have satified their utmost of revenge
By pains and slaveries, worse than death, inflicted
On thee, who now no more canst do them harm.
Samson. Spare that proposal, Father : spare the
Of that Solicitation ; let me here,
As I deserve, pay on my punishment;
And expiate, if possible, my crime,
Shameful garrulity. To have reveal'd
Secrets of men, the secrets of a friend,
How heinous had the fact been, how deserving
Contempt, and scorn of all, to be excluded
All friendship, and avoided as a blab,
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
To their abyss and horrid pains confin'd.
Manoah. 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 ;
Or the 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,
(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-offence, more than for God offended.
Reject not then what offer'd means, who knows
But God hath set before us, to return theç
Home to thy country and his sacred house,
Where thou mayst bring thy offerings, to avert
His further ire, with prayers and vows renew'd ?
Samson. 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 Heaven foretold, and high exploits,
Full of divine instinct, after some proof
Of acts indeed heroick, 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
On hostile ground, none daring my affront.
Then swollen 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
Of all my strength in the lascivious lap
Of a deceitful concubine, who shore me
Like a tame wether, all my precious fleece,
Then turn'd me out ridiculous, despoil'd,
Shaven, and disarm’d among mine enemies.
Chorus. Desire of wine and all delicious drinks,
Which many a famous warriour overturns,
Thou couldst repress ; nor did the dancing ruby
Sparkling, out-pour’d, the flavour, or the smell,
Or taste that cheers the heart of Gods and Men,
Allure thee from the cool crystalline stream.
Samson. Wherever fountain or fresh current
Against the eastern ray, translucent, pure
With touch ethereal of Heaven's fiery rod,
I drank, from the clear milky juice allaying
Thirst, and refresh'd: nor envied them the grape
Whose heads that turbulent liquor fills with fumes, Chorus. 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
His miglity champion, strong above compare, Whose drink was only from the liquid brook. Samson. But what avail'd this temperance, not
Against another object more enticing ?
What boots it at one gate to make defence,
And at another to let in the foe,
Effeminately vanquish’d? by which means,
Now blind, dishearten'd, sham'd, dishonour'd,
To what can I be useful, wherein serve
My nation, and the work from Heaven impos’d,
But to sit idle on the houshold hearth,
A burdenous drone; to visitants a gaze,
Or pitied object, these redundant looks
Robustious to no purpose clustering down,
Vain monument of strength; till length of years
And sedentary numness craze my
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