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O wherefore was my birth from Heav'n foretold
His god-like prefence, and from fome great act
Why was my breeding order'd and prefcrib'd
Defign'd for great exploits; if I muft die
Betray'd, captiv'd, and both my eyes put out,
To grind in brazen fetters under task
With this Heav'n-gifted ftrength? O glorious ftrength Put to the labor of a beast, debas'd
Lower than bond-flave! Promife was that I
Afk for this great deliverer now, and find him
Had been fulfill'd but through mine own default, 45
Who this high gift of ftrength committed to me,
But what is ftrength without a double share
By weakest subtleties, not made to rule,
But to fubferve where wisdom bears command!
God, when he gave me strength, to fhow withal
Annull'd, which might in part my grief have eas'd,
Of man or worm; the vileft here excel me,
Without all hope of day!
O firft created Beam, and thou great Word,
Why am I thus bereav'd thy prime decree ?
And filent as the moon,
When the deferts the night
Hid in her vacant interlunar cave.
Since light fo neceffary is to life,
And almoft life itself, if it be true
That light is in the foul,
She all in every part; why was the fight
To fuch a tender ball as th' eye confin'd,
And bury'd; but O yet more miserable!
By privilege of death and burial
From worst of other evils, pains and wrongs,
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
At my affliction, and perhaps t' infult,
CHOR. This, this is he; foftly a while,
O change beyond report, thought, or belief!
As one paft hope, abandon'd,
And by himself given over ;
In flavish habit, ill fitted weeds
O'er-worn and foil'd;
Or do my eyes mifreprefent? Can this be he,
Irrefiftible Samfon? whom unarm'd
No strength of man, or fierceft wild beaft could withstand;
Who tore the lion, as the lion tears the kid,
Ran on imbattel'd armies clad in iron,
And weaponless himself,
Made arms ridiculous, ufèlefs the forgery
Of brazen shield and fpear, the hammer'd cuirafs,
But fafeft he who stood aloof,
When infupportably his foot advanc'd,
In scorn of their proud arms and warlike tools,
Spurn'd them to death by troops. The bold Ascalonite
Or grov'ling foil'd their crested helmets in the dust.
The jaw of a dead afs, his sword of bone,
A thousand fore-fkins fell, the flower of Palestine,
Then by main force pull'd up, and on his shoulders bore The gates of Azza, post, and maffy bar,
Up to the hill by Hebron, feat of giants old,
No journey of a fabbath-day, and loaded so;
Like whom the Gentiles feign to bear up Heaven. 150 Which fhall I first bewail,
Thy bondage or lost sight,
Prifon within prifon
Thou art become (O worst imprisonment!)
The dungeon of thyself; thy foul
(Which men enjoying fight oft without cause complain)
Imprifon'd now indeed,
In real darkness of the body dwells,
Shut up from outward light
T' incorporate with gloomy night;
Puts forth no vifual beam.
O mirror of our fickle state,
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
Whom long descent of birth
Or the fphere of fortune raises;