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Though reafon here aver
That moral verdict quits her of unclean:
Unchafte was subsequent, her stain not his.
But fee here comes thy reverend Sire
With careful step, locks white as down,
Old Manoah: advise
Forthwith how thou oughtft to receive him.
SAMS. Ay me, another inward grief awak'd 330
With mention of that name renews th' affault.
MAN. Brethren and men of Dan, for fuch ye feem,
Though in this uncouth place; if old respect,
As I fuppofe, tow'ards your once glory'd friend,
My fon now captive, hither hath inform'd
Your younger feet, while mine caft back with age
Came lagging after; fay if he be here.
CHO. As fignal now in low dejected state,
As erft in high'eft, behold him where he lies.
MAN. O miferable change! is this the man,
That invincible Samfon, far renown'd,
The dread of Ifrael's foes, who with a strength
Equivalent to Angels walk'd their streets,
None offering fight; who fingle combatant
Duel'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 trust
In mortal strength! 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 fon,
And fuch a fon as all men hail'd me happy;
Who would be now a father in my stead?
O wherefore did God grant me my request,
And as a blessing with such 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 descend? for this
Ordain'd thy nurture holy, as of a plant
Select, and facred, glorious for a while,
The miracle of men; then in an hour
Infnar'd, affaulted, overcome, led bound,
Thy foes derifion, captive, poor and blind,
Into a dungeon thrust, to work with slaves?
Alas methinks whom God hath chofen once
To worthieft deeds, if he through frailty err,
He should not fo o'erwhelm, and as a thrall
Subject him to fo foul indignities,
Be it but for honor's fake of former deeds.
Nothing of all these evils hath befall'n me
SAMS. Appoint not heav'nly difpofition, Father;
But justly; I myself have brought them on,
Sole author I, fole caufe: if ought seem 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 furpris'd,
But warn'd by oft' experience: did not she
Of Timna first betray me, and reveal
The fecret wrefted from me in her highth
Of nuptial love profefs'd, carrying it strait
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 scent conceiv'd
Her fpurious first-born, treason against me?
Thrice fhe affay'd with flattering prayers 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 she 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 worfe
Than undiffembled hate) with what contempt
She fought to make me traitor to myself;
Yet the fourth time, when mustering all her wiles,
With blandish'd parlies, feminine affaults,
Tongue-batteries, fhe furceas'd not day nor night
To storm me over-watch'd, and wearied out,
At times when men feek moft 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 honor 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 fo base
As was my former fervitude, ignoble,
Unmanly, ignominious, infamous,
True slavery, and that blindness worse than this,
That faw not how degenerately I ferv'd.
MAN. I cannot praise thy marriage choices, Son,
Rather approv'd them not; but thou didst plead
Divine impulfion prompting how thou might'st
Find fome occafion to infeft our foes.
I state 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
Deposited within thee; which to have kept
Tacit, was in thy power: true; and thou bear'st 430 Enough, and more, the burden of that fault;
Bitterly haft thou paid, and still art paying
That rigid score. A worse thing yet remains,
This day the Philistines a popular feast
Here celebrate in Gaza; and proclame
Great pomp, and facrifice, and praises loud
To Dagon, as their God who hath deliver'd
Thee, Samson, 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 pass by means of thee,
Samfon, of all thy sufferings think the heaviest, 445
Of all reproach the most with shame that ever
Could have befall'n thee and thy father's house.
SAMS. Father, I do acknowledge and confefs
That I this honor, I this pomp have brought
To Dagon, and advanc'd his praises high
Among the Heathen round; to God have brought
Dishonor, obloquy, and op'd the mouths
Of idolifts, and atheifts; have brought fcandal
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 foul, that fuffers not
Mine eye to harbour fleep, or thoughts to rest.
This only hope relieves me, that the strife
With me hath end; all the contéft is now
'Twixt God and Dagon; Dagon hath presum'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 shall ere long receive
Such a difcomfit, as fhall quite despoil him
Of all these boasted trophies won on me,
And with confufion blank his worshipers.
MAN. With cause this hope relieves thee, and these