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O wherefore was my birth from Heav'n foretold
Twice by an Angel, who at last in fight
Of both my parents all in flames afcended
From off the altar, where an offering burn'd,
As in a fiery column charioting


His god-like prefence, and from fome great act
Or benefit reveal'd to Abraham's race?

Why was my breeding order'd and prefcrib'd
As of a perfon separate to God,


Defign'd for great exploits; if I muft die

Betray'd, captiv'd, and both my eyes put out,
Made of my enemies the fcorn and gaze;

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
Should Ifrael from Philistian yoke deliver;

Afk for this great deliverer now, and find him
Eyeless in Gaza at the mill with flaves,
Himself in bonds under Philiftian yoke:
Yet ftay, let me not rafhly call in doubt
Divine prediction; what if all foretold


Had been fulfill'd but through mine own default, 45
Whom have I to complain of but myself?

Who this high gift of ftrength committed to me,
In what part lodg'd, how eafily bereft me,
Under the feal of filence could not keep,
But weakly to a woman must reveal it,
O'ercome with importunity and tears.
O impotence of mind, in body ftrong!



But what is ftrength without a double share
Of wisdom, vaft, unwieldy, burdenfome,
Proudly secure, yet liable to fall


By weakest subtleties, not made to rule,

But to fubferve where wisdom bears command!

God, when he gave me strength, to fhow withal
How flight the gift was, hung it in my hair.
But peace, I must not quarrel with the will
Of highest dispensation, which herein
Haply had ends above my reach to know:
Suffices that to me strength is my bane,
And proves the fource of all my miferies;
So many, and fo huge, that each apart
Would ask a life to wail, but chief of all,
O lofs of fight, of thee I most complain!
Blind among enemies, O worse than chains,
Dungeon, or beggary, or decrepit age!
Light the prime work of God to me' is extinct,
And all her various objects of delight



Annull'd, which might in part my grief have eas'd,
Inferior to the vileft now become

Of man or worm; the vileft here excel me,
They creep, yet see, I dark in light expos'd
To daily fraud, contempt, abuse, and wrong,
Within doors, or without, ftill as a fool,
In pow'r of others, never in my own;
Scarce half I seem to live, dead more than half.
O dark, dark, dark, amid the blaze of noon,
Irrecoverably dark, total eclipfe

Without all hope of day!




O firft

O firft created Beam, and thou great Word,
Let there be light, and light was over all;

Why am I thus bereav'd thy prime decree ?
The fun to me is dark

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,
So obvious and fo eafy to be quench'd?
And not, as feeling, through all parts diffus'd,
That she might look at will through every pore?
Then had I not been thus exil'd from light,
As in the land of darkness yet in light,
To live a life half dead, a living death,

And bury'd; but O yet more miserable!
Myfelf, my fepulchre, a moving grave,
Bury'd, yet not exempt

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
The tread of many feet fteering this way;
Perhaps my enemies who come to stare






At my affliction, and perhaps t' infult,
Their daily practice to afflict me more.

CHOR. This, this is he; foftly a while,
Let us not break in upon him;

O change beyond report, thought, or belief!
See how he lies at random, carelefly diffus'd,
With languish'd head unpropt,

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,
That heroic, that renown'd,

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,
Chalybean temper'd steel, and frock of mail

Adamantean proof;


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
Fled from his lion ramp, old warriors turn'd
Their plated backs under his heel;

Or grov'ling foil'd their crested helmets in the dust.
Then with what trivial weapon came to hand,


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The jaw of a dead afs, his sword of bone,

A thousand fore-fkins fell, the flower of Palestine,
In Ramath-lechi famous to this day.


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

Infeparably dark?

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;
For inward light alas

Puts forth no vifual beam.

O mirror of our fickle state,
Since man on earth unparallel'd!

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;


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