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But thee whose strength, while virtue was her mate,
Might have subdued the earth,
Universally crown'd with highest praises.

Sams. I hear the sound of words, their sense the air Diffolves unjointed ere it reach my ear.

Cho. He speaks, let us draw nigh. Matchless in The glory late of Israel, now the grief; [might, We come thy friends and neighbours not unknown 180 From Eshtaol and Zora's fruitful vale, To visit or bewail thee, or if better, Counsel or consolation we may bring, Salve to thy sores; apt words have pow'r to swage The tumors of a troubled mind,

185 And are as balm to fester'd wounds.

SAMs. Your coming, Friends, revives me, for I Now of my own experience, not by talk, [learn How counterfeit a coin they are who friends Bear in their superscription (of the most

190 I would be understood); in prosp’rous days They swarm, but in adverse withdraw their head, Not to be found, though fought. Ye see, O Friends, How many

evils have inclos'd me round; Yet that which was the worst now least affiets me, 195 Blindness, for had I sight, confus’d with shame, How could I once look up, or heave the head, Who like a foolish pilot have shipwrack'd My vessel trusted to me from above, Gloriously rigg'd; and for a word, a tear, Fool, have divulg'd the secret gift of God To a deceitful woman ? tell Friends,

Am

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me,

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Am I not sung and proverb’d for a fool
In every street? do they not say, how well
Are come upon him his deserts ? yet why?
Immeasurable strength they might behold
In me, of wisdom nothing more than mean;
This with the other should, at least, have pair'd,
These two proportion’d ill drove me transverse.

Cho. Tax not divine disposal; wisest men
Have err'd, and by bad women been deceiv'd;
And shall again, pretend they ne'er fo wise.
Deject not then so overmuch thyself,
Who hast of sorrow thy full load besides;
Yet truth to say, I oft have heard men wonder 215
Why thou shouldft wed Philiftian women rather
Than of thine own tribe fairer, or as fair,
At least of thy own nation, and as noble.

Sams. The first I saw at Timna, and the pleas'd Me, not my parents, that I sought to wed The daughter of an infidel: they knew not That what I motion'd was of God; I knew From intimate impulse, and therefore urg'd The marriage on; that by occasion hence I might begin Ifrael's deliverance,

225 The work to which I was divinely call’d. She proving false, the next I took to wife (O that I never had! fond with too late,) Was in the vale of Sorec, Dalila, That specious monster, my accomplish'd snare.

230 I thought it lawful from my former act, And the fame end; still watching to oppress

Ifrael's

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Israel's oppreffors : of what now I suffer
She was not the prime cause, but I myself,
Who vanquish'd with a peal of words (O weakness!)
Gave up my fort of filence to a woman.

Cho. In seeking just occasion to provoke
The Philistine, thy country's enemy,
Thou never wast remiss, I bear thce witness :
Yet Israël still serves with all his sons.

240
SAMs. That fault I take not on me, but transfer
On Ifrael's governors, and heads of tribes,
Who seeing those great acts, which God had done
Singly by me against their conquerors,
Acknowledg'd not, or not at all consider'd
Deliverance offer'd: I on th' other side
Us'd no ambition to commend my

deeds, [doer; The deeds themselves, though mute, spoke loud the But they persisted deaf, and would not seem To count them things worth notice, till at length 250 Their lords the Philistines with gather'd powers Enter'd Judea seeking me, who then Safe to the rock of Etham was retir’d, Not flying, but fore-casting in what place To set upon them, what advantag'd best: 255 Mean while the men of Judah, to prevent The harrass of their land, beset me round; I willingly on some conditions came Into their hands, and they as gladly yield me To the uncircumcis'd a welcome

prey,

260 Bound with two cords; but cords to me were threads Touch'd with the flame; on their whole host I flew

Unarm'd,

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Unarm'd, and with a trivial weapon fellid
Their choicest youth; they only liv'd who fled.
Had Judah that day join'd, or one whole tribe, 265
They had by this posless’d the towers of Gath,
And lorded over them whom now they serve :
But what more oft in nations grown corrupt,
And by their vices brought to servitude,
Than to love bondage more than liberty,
Bondage with ease than strenuous liberty;
And to defpife, or envy, or suspect
Whom God hath of his special favor rais’d
As their deliverer ; if he ought begin,
How frequent to desert him, and at last

275 To heap ingratitude on worthiest deeds ?

Cho. Thy words to my remembrance bring
How Succoth and the fort of Penuel
Their great deliverer contemn’d,
The matchless Gideon in pursuit

280
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 spear,
Defended Ifrael from the Ammonite,

285 Had not his prowess quell'd their pride In that fore battel when so many dy'd Without reprieve adjudg’d to death, For want of well pronouncing Shibboleth.

Sams. Of such examples add me to the roll, 290 Me easily indeed mine may neglect, But God's propos'd deliverance not fo.

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Cho. Just are the ways of God,
And justifiable to men;
Unless there be who think not God at all : 295
If any be, they walk obscure;
For of such doctrin 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 just, 309
As to his own edicts found contradicting,
Then give the reins to wandering thought,
Regardless of his glory’s diminution;
Till by their own perplexities involv'd
They ravel more, ftill less resolv’d,

305 But never find self-fatisfying solution.

As if they would confine th' Interminable,
And tie him to his own prescript,
Who made our laws to bind us, not himself,
And hath full right t'exempt
Whom so it pleases him by chcice
From national obftriction, without taint
Of sin, or legal debt;
For with his own laws he can best dispense.

He would not else who never wanted means, 315
Nor in respect of th’ enemy just cause
To set his people free,
Have prompted this heroic Nazarite,
Against his vow of strictest purity,
To seek in marriage that fallacious bride, 320
Unclean, unchafte.

Down reason then, at least vain reasonings down,
VOL. III,

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