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Of hornets arm’d, no sooner found alone,
But rush upon me thronging, and present
Times past, what once I was, and what am now.
Oh! wherefore was my birth from heav'n foretold
Twice by an angel, who at last in sight
Of both my parents all in flames ascended
From off the altar, where an off'ring burn’d,
As in a fiery column charioting
His god-like presence, and from some great act
Or benefit reveal'd to Abraham's race?
Why was my breeding order'd and prescribd 30
As of a person separate to God,
Design'd for great exploits, if I must die
Betray’d, captiv’d, and both my eyes put out,
Made of my enemies the scorn and gaze,
To grind in brazen fetters under task
With this heav'n-gifted strength ? O glorious
Put to the labour of a beast, debas'd (strength
Lower than bondslave! Promise was that I
Should Israel from Philistian yoke deliver ;
Ask for this great deliverer now, and find him 40
Eyeless in Gaza at the mill with slaves,
Himself in bonds under Philistian yoke.
Yet stay, let me not rashly call in doubt
Divine prediction : what! if all foretold
Had been fulfill'd but through mine own default,
Whom have I to complain of but myself?
Who this high gift of strength committed to me,
33 captiv'd] 'And captiv’d kings.' Ross's Mel Heliconium,

• Israel captiv’dı' Cowley's Davideis, lib. ii. p. 84.

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In what part lodg’d, how easily bereft me,
Under the seal of silence could not keep,
But weakly to a woman must reveal it,
O'ercome with importunity and tears.
O impotence of mind in body strong!
But what is strength without a double share
Of wisdom? vast, unwieldy, burthensome,
Proudly secure, yet liable to fall
By weakest subtleties, not made to rule,
But to subserve where wisdom bears command.
God, when he gave me strength, to show withal'
How slight 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 source of all my miseries, So

many, and so huge, that each apart Would ask a life to wail ; but chief of all, O loss of sight, of thee I most complain! Blind among enemies, 0 worse than chains, Dungeon, or beggary, or decrepit age! Light the prime work of God to me's extinct, And all her various objects of delight Annull’d, which might in part my grief have eas'd, Inferior to the vilest now become Of man or worm, the vilest here excel me; They creep, yet sce, I dark in light exposed strength] Ovidii Met. xiii. 363.

"Tu vires sine mente geris.' Jortin.

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To daily fraud, contempt, abuse, and wrong.
Within doors, or without, still as a fool
In

power 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 eclipse
Without all hope of day!
O first 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 sun to me is dark
And silent as the moon,
When she deserts the night
Hid in her vacant interlunar cave.
Since light so necessary is to life,
And almost life itself, if it be true
That light is in the soul,
She all in every part; why was the sight
To such a tender ball as th’

eye

consin’d, So obvious and so easy to be quench'd ? And not as feeling through all parts diffus'd,

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87 silent] ' Mediæque silentia lunæ.' Stat. Theb. ii. 58. • tacito sub lumine Phæben. Sil. Ital. xv. 566. Mr. Todd quotes Dante Inferno, c. 1. • Mi ripingeva là dove 'l sol tace.' Mr. Dyce cites Shirley's Bird in a Cage, act iii. sc. 2. “As silent as the moon.'

89 cave] Claudiani Cons. Stilickonis, iii. 268. Concepit luna cavernis.' Iliados Epitome, ed. Korten, ver. 875.

quantum vel in orbe mearet Luna Cava

n' Lucret. iv. 392. "Ætheriis adfixa cavernis.'

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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 buried; but O yet more miserable !
Myself my sepulchre, a moving grave,
Buried, yet not exempt
By privilege of death and burial
From worst of other evils, pains, and wrongs, 105
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 110
The tread of many feet steering this
Perhaps my enemies, who come to stare
At my affliction, and perhaps t’ insult,
Their daily practice to afflict me more.

Chor. This, this is he; softly a while,
Let us not break in upon him;
O change beyond report, thought, or belief!
See how he lies at random, carelessly diffus'd,

way;

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100

102

P. 352.

a living death] Consult the note, in Mr. Todd's edition, or the frequent use of this expression, from Petrarch, and Shakespeare, and the old English Poets.

a moving grave] A living grave.' Sidney's Arcadia,

• A walking grave. Sir R. Howard's Vestal Virgin, 1665.

diffus’d] Sits diffus'd.' Heywood's Troy, p. 314. Mr. Thyer quotes Ovid ex Ponto, iii. 3.7.

Fusaque erant toto languida membra toro.'

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With languish'd head unpropp'd,
As one past hope, abandon'd,
As by himself given over;
In slavish habit, ill-fitted weeds
O'er-worn and soil'd ;
Or do my eyes misrepresent? can this be he,
That heroic, that renown'd,
Irresistible Samson? whom unarm'd (withstand;
No strength of man or fiercest wild beast could
Who tore the lion, as the lion tears the kid,
Ran on imbattled armies clad in iron,
And, weaponless himself,
Made arms ridiculous, useless the forgery
Of brazen shield and spear, the hammer'd cuirass
Chalybean temper'd steel, and frock of mail
Adamantean proof;
But safest he who stood aloof,
When insupportably his foot advanc'd,
In scorn of their proud arms and warlike tools,
Spurn’d them to death by troops. The bold Asca-

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

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135

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133 Chalybean) Virg. Georg. i. 58. Ov. Fast. iv. 405.

Newton. 131 Adamantean] Johnson thinks this word peculiar to Milton. Perhaps he coined it from Ovid. Met. vii. 104. Todd. 136 insupportably] Spens. F. Q. i. vii. 11.

he gan advance With huge force, and insupportable main.' Thyer.

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