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But thee, whofe ftrength, while Virtue was her mate,
Might have fubdu'd the Earth,
Univerfally crown'd with higheft praises.
Samf. I hear the found of words; their fenfe the air Diolves unjointed, ere it reach my ear.
Cher. He fpake: let us draw nigh. Matchlefs in might,
The g'ory late of Ifrael, now the grief,
We come, thy friends and neighbours not unknown, 180
From Efhtaol and Zora's fruitful Vale
To vifit or bewail thee; or, if better
Counfel or confolation we may bring,
Salve to thy Sores: apt words have pow'r to fwage
The tumours of a troubled mind,
And are as balm to fefter'd wounds.
Samf. 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 Superfcription; (of the most
I wou'd be underftood ;) in profp'rous days
They fwarm, but in adverfe withdraw their head,
Not to be found, though fought. Ye fee, O friends,
How many evils have enclos'd me round;
Yet that which was the worst now least afflicts me,
Blindnefs; for had I fight, confus'd with fhame,
How could I once look up, or heave the head,
Who like a foolish Pilot have fhipwreck'd
My Veffel, trufted to me from above,
Gloriously rigg'd; and for a word, a tear,
Fool! have divulg'd the fecret gift of God
To a deceitful Woman? tell me, Friends,
Am I not fung and proverb'd for a Fool
In ev'ry ftrect? do they not fay, how well
Are come upon him his deferts? yet why?
Immeasurable strength they might behold
In me, of wisdom nothing more than mean:
This with the other fhould, at least, have pair'd;
These two, proportion'd ill, drove me transverse.
Chor. Tax not divine difpofal: wifeft men
Have err'd, and by bad Women been deceiv'd;
And shall again, pretend they ne'er fo wise.
Deject not then fo overmuch thyself,
Who haft of forrow thy full load befides.
Yet truth to fay, I oft have heard men wonder
Why thou shouldst wed Philiftian Woman rather
Than of thine own Tribe fairer, or as fair;
At least of thy own Nation, and as noble.
Chor. In feeking just occafion to provoke
The Philiftin, thy Country's Enemy,
Thou never waft remifs, I bear thee witnefs:
Yet Ifrael ftill ferves with all his Sons.
Samf. The first I faw at Timna, and she pleas'd
Me, not my Parents, that I fought to wed
The daughter of an Infidel: they knew not
That what I mention'd was of God; I knew
From intimate impulfe, and therefore urg'd
The marriage on; that by occafion hence
I might begin Ifrael's Deliverance,
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 Monfter, my accomplish'd fnare.
I thought it lawful from my former act,
And the fame end; ftill watching to opprefs
Ifrael's Oppreffors: of what now I fuffer
She was not the prime caufe, but I myself,
Who, vanquifh'd with a peal. of words, (O weakness!)
Gave up my
fort of filence to a Woman.
Samf. That fault I take not on me, but transfer
On Ifrael's Governors, and Heads of Tribes;
Who, feeing thofe great acts which God had done
Singly by me against their Conquerors,
Acknowledg'd not, or not at all confider'd
Deliv'rance offer'd: I on th' other fide
Us'd no ambition to commend my deeds;
The deeds themselves, though mute, fpoke loud the doer,
But they perfifted deaf, and would not seem
To count them things worth notice; till at length
Their Lords the Philiftins with gather'd pow'rs
Enter'd Judea feeking me, who then
Safe to the rock of Etham was retir'd,
Not flying, but fore-cafting in what place
To fet upon them what advantag'd best,
Mean while the men of Judah, to prevent
The harrafs of their Land, befet me round;
I willingly on fome conditions came
Into their hands, and they as gladly yield me
To the uncircumcis'd a welcom prey,
Chor. Thy words to my remembrance bring How Succoth and the Fort of Penuel
nd with two cords; but cords to me were threads
'Toucht with the flame: on their whole Hoft I flew
Unarm'd, and with a trivial weapon fell'd
Their choiceft youth; they only liv'd who fled.
Had Judah that day join'd, or one whole Tribe,
They had by this poffefs'd the tow'rs of Gath,
And lorded over them whom now they ferve:
But what more oft in Nations grown corrupt,.
And by their vices brought to fervitude,
Than to love Bond ge more than Liberty,
Bondage with eafe than ftrenuous Liberty;
And to defpife, or envy, or fufpect
Whom God hath of his special favour rais'd
As their Deliv'rer; if he aught begin,
How frequent to defert him, and at laft
To heap ingratitude on worthieft deeds?
Their great Deliverer contemn'd,
The matchlefs Gideon, in purfuit
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 fpear,
Defended Ifrael from the Ammonite,
Had not his Prowefs quell'd their pride
In that fore battle, when fo many dy'd,
Without Reprieve adjudg'd to death,
For want of well pronouncing Shibboleth.
Samf. Of fuch examples add me to the roll;
Me eafily indeed mine may neglect,
But God's propos'd deliverance not fo.
Chor. Juft are the ways of God,
And juftifiable to Men;
Unless there be who think not God at all;
If any be, they walk obfcure :
For of fuch Doctrine 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 juft,
As to his own edicts found contradicting;
Then give the reins to wandring thought,
Regardless of his Glory's diminution;
Till by their own perplexities involv'd,
They ravel more, ftill lefs refolv'd,
But never find self-fatisfying folution.
As if they would confine, th' interminable,
And tie him to his own prefcript,
Who made our Laws to bind us, not himfelf,
And hath full right t'exempt
Whom fo it pleases him by choice
From National obftriction, without taint
Of fin, or legal debt;
For with his own Laws he can best dispense.
He would not elfe, who never wanted means,
Nor in refpect of th' enemy juft cause
To fet his People free,
Have prompted this Heroick Nazarite
Against his vow of strictest purity,
To feek in marriage that fallacious Bride,
Down Reason then, at least vain reasonings down,
Though Reafon here aver
That moral verdict quits her of unclean:
Unchafte was fubfequent, her stain not his.
But fee! here comes thy rev'rend Sire
With careful step, Locks white as down,
Old Manca: advise
Forthwith how thou ought'ft to receive him.
Samf. Ah me, another inward grief awak'd With mention of that name renews th' affault.
Chor. As fignal now in low dejected state, As erft in highest, behold him where he lies.
Man. Brethren and men of Dan, (for fuch ye feem,
Though in this uncouth place ;) if old refpect,
As I fuppofe; tow'rd your once glory'd friend,
My Son, now Captive, hither hath inform'd
Your younger feet, while mine caft back with age,
Came lagging after; fay, if he be here.
Man. O miferable change! is this the man,
That invincible Samlon, far renown'd,
The dread of Ifrael's foes, who with a ftrength
Equivalent to Angels walk'd their streets,