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None off'ring fight; who fingle combatant
Duell'd their Armies rank'd in proud array,
Himself an Army; now unequal match
To fave himself against a coward arm'd
At one fpear's length O ever-failing truft
In mortal ftrength! and oh! what not in man
Deceivable and vain? Nay, what thing good
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,
Such a Son, as all men hail'd me happy;
Who would be now a Father in my ftead?
O wherefore did God grant me my request,
And as a bleffing with fuch pomp adorn'd?
Why are his gifts defirable, to tempt
Our earnest Pray'rs, then giv'n with folemn hand
As Graces, draw a Scorpion's tail behind?
For this did th' Angel twice defcend? 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
Enfnar'd, affaulted, overcome, led bound,
Thy Foes derifion, Captive, Poor and Blind,
Into a Dungeon thruft, to work with Slaves?
Alas! methinks whom God hath chofen once
To worthiest deeds, if he through frailty err,
He fhould not fo o'erwhelm, and as a thrall
Subject him to fo foul indignities,
Be it but for honour's fake of former deeds.
Samf. Appoint not heav'nly difpofition, Father;
Nothing of all these evils hath befall'n me
But juftly: I my felf have brought them on,
Sole Author I, fole caufe: if aught feem vile,
As vile hath been my folly, who have profan'd
The mystery of God, giv'n me under pledge
Of vow, and have betray'd it to a woman,
A Canaanite, my faithless enemy.
This well I knew, nor was at all furpriz'd,
But warn'd by oft experience; did not she
Of Timna first betray me, and reveal
The fecret wrefted from me in her height
Of Nuptial love profeft, carrying it ftreight
To them who had corrupted her, my Spies,
And Rivals? In this other was there found
More Faith? who alfo in her prime of love,
Spoufal embraces, vitiated with Gold,
Though offer'd only, by the fcent conceiv'd
Her fpurious firft born, Treafon against me?
Thrice fhe affay'd with flatt'ring pray'rs and fighs,
And amorous reproaches to win from me
My capital fecret, in what part my strength
Lay ftor'd, in what part fumm'd, that the might know;
Thrice I deluded her, and turn'd to sport
Her importunity, each time perceiving
How openly, and with what impudence
She purpos'd to betray me, and (which was worse
Than undiffembled hate) with what contempt
She thought to make me Traitor to my self;
Yet the fourth time, when muftring all her wiles,
With blandisht parleys, feminine affaults,
Tongue-batteries, fhe furceas'd not day nor night
To ftorm me over-watch'd, and weary'd out.
At times when men feek most repose and rest,
I yielded, and unlock'd her all my heart;
Who, with a grain of manhood well refolv'd,
Might eafily have fhook off all her fnares:
But foul effeminacy held me yok'd
Her bond-flave; O indignity! O blot
To Honour and Religion! fervile mind
Rewarded well with fervile punishment!
The bafe degree to which I now am fall'n,
These rags, this grinding, is not yet so base
As was my former fervitude, ignoble,
Unmanly, ignominious, infamous,
True flavery, and that blindness worse than this,
That faw not how degen'rately I ferv'd.
Man. I cannot praise thy Marriage-choices, Son, 420 Rather approv'd them not; but thou didst plead Divine impulfion prompting how thou might'st Find fome occafion to infeft our Foes.
I ftate not that; this I am fure, our Foes
Found foon occafion thereby to make thee
Their Captive, and their Triumph; thou the fooner
Temptation found'ft, or over-potent charms
To violate the facred trust of filence
Depofited within thee; which to have kept
Tacit, was in thy pow'r: true, and thou bear'ft
Enough, and more the burthen of that fault;
Bitterly haft thou paid, and ftill art paying
That rigid fcore. A worse thing yet remains :
This day the Philiftins a pop'lar Feast
Here celebrate in Gaza; and proclaim
Great Pomp, and Sacrifice, and Praises loud
To Dagon, as their God, who hath deliver'd
Thee, Samfon, bound and blind into their hands,
Them out of thine, who flew'ft them many a flain.
So Dagon fhall be magnify'd, and God,
Befides whom is no God, compar'd with Idols,
Difglorify'd, blafphem'd, and had in fcorn
By the Idolatrous rout amidst their wine;
Which to have come to pafs by means of thee,
Samfon, of all thy fufferings think the heaviest,
Of all reproach the most with shame, that ever
Could have befall'n thee, and thy Father's house.
Samf. Father, I do acknowledge and confefs
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
Difhonour, obloquy, and op'd the mouths
Of Idolifts, and Atheists; have brought scandal
To Ifrael, 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, fhame and forrow,
The anguish of my Soul, that fuffers not
Mine eye to harbour fleep, or thoughts to rest.
This only hope relieves me, that the ftrife
With me hath end; all the contest is now
'Twixt God and Dagon: Dagon hath prefum'd,
Me overthrown, to enter lifts with God,
His Deity comparing and preferring
Before the God of Abraham. He, be fure,
Will not connive, or linger, thus provok'd;
But will arife and his great name affert :
Dagon must stoop, and fhall ere long receive
Such a discomfit as fhall quite defpoil him
Of all these boafted Trophies won on me,
And with confufion blank his Worshippers.
By pains and flav'ries, worse than death, inflicted
On thee, who now no more canít do them harm.
Man. With cause this hope relieves thee, and these 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 miferable loathfome plight Neglected. I already have made way To fome Philiftian Lords, with whom to treat About thy ranfom: well they may by this Have fatisfy'd their utmost of revenge
Samf. Spare that propofal, Father, fpare the trouble Of that follicitation; let me here, As I deferve, pay on my punishment; And expiate, if poffible, my crime,
Shameful garrulity. To have reveal'd
Secrets of men, the fecrets of a friend,
How heinous had the fact been, how deferving
Contempt and fcorn of all, to be excluded
All friendship, and avoided as a blab,
The mark of fool fet on his front? But I
God's counsel have not kept, his holy fecret
Prefumptuously have publifh'd, impiously,
Weakly at leaft, and fhamefully: A Sin
That Gentiles in their Parables condemn,
To their abyfs and horrid pains confin'd.
Man. Be penitent, and for thy fault contrite,
But act not in thy own affliction, Son;
Repent the fin, but if the punishment
Thou canst avoid, felf-prefervation bids:
Or th' execution leave to high disposal,
And let another hand, not thine, exact
Thy penal forfeit from thy felf. Perhaps
God will relent, and quit thee all his debt;
Who ever more approves, and more accepts
(Beft pleas'd with humble and filial fubmiffion)
Him, who imploring mercy fues for life,
Than who felf-rigorous chufes death as due
Which argues over-juft, and felf difpleas'd
For felf-offence, more than for God offended.
Reject not then what offer'd means; who knows
But God hath fet before us, to return thee
Home to thy Country and his facred House,
Where thou may'ft bring thy off'rings, to avert
His farther ire, with pray'rs and vows renew'd?
Samf. His pardon I implore; but as for life,
To what end fhould I feek it? when in ftrength
All mortals I excell'd, and great in hopes,
With youthful courage, and magnanimous thoughts
Of birth from Heav'n foretold and high exploits,
Full of divine inftinct, after fome proof