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Or grov'ling soil'd their crested helmets in the dust. Then with what trivial weapon came to hand, The jaw of a dead ass, his sword of bone,
A thousand fore-skins fell, the flower of Palestine In Ramath-lechi, famous to this day:
Then by main force pull'd up, and on his shoulders The gates of Azza, post, and massy bar,
[bore Up to the hill by Hebron, seat of giants old, No journey of a Sabbath day, and loaded so;
Like whom the Gentiles feign to bear up heav'n.
Thy bondage or lost sight,
Inseparably dark ?
Thou art become, O worst imprisonment !
The dungeon of thyself; thy soul,
Which men enjoying sight oft without cause com
Imprison'd now indeed,
In real darkness of the body dwells,
Shut up from outward light,
T' incorporate with gloomy night!
Puts forth no visual beam.
O mirror of our fickle state,
The rarer thy example stands,
By how much from the top of wondrous glory,
147 gates of Azza] Beaumont's Psyche, c. v. st. 71. With statelier might his brawnie shoulders bare Did Gaza's gates up Hebron's mountains wear.'
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 sphere of fortune raises:
But thee, whose strength, while virtue was her mate, Might have subdued the earth,
Universally crown'd with highest praises. 175
To visit or bewail thee, or, if better,
Salve to thy sores: apt words have power to swage
And are as balm to fester'd wounds.
179 glory] Fletcher's Pisc. Eclogues, 1633, p. 27. his glory late, but now his shame.' Todd.
184 Salve to thy sores] This is one of the most common expressions in old English poetry. See Southwell's Mæonia, p. 21. Park's note to Heliconia, Part 1, p. 186. Billingsley's Divine Raptures, p. 67. Smith's Chloris, 1597. Byrd's Psalms, p. 11. Lydgate's Troy, p. 220. Gascoigne's Works, p. 14. 177. 230. 247. Beaumont's Psyche, c. xiii. st. 225; and Ellis's Specimens, ii. p. 15.
184 apt words] Esch. Prom. Vinct. ver. 377. Hor. Epist. i.
'Sunt verba et voces, quibus hunc lenire dolorem
Possis, et magnam morbi deponere partem.'
Thyer and Newton.
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 I would be understood; in prosperous days They swarm, but in adverse withdraw their head, Not to be found, though sought. Ye see, O friends, How many evils have inclos'd me round; Yet that which was the worst now least afflicts me, 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 shipwreck'd My vessel trusted to me from above, Gloriously rigg'd; and for a word, a tear, Fool, have divulged the secret gift of God To a deceitful woman? tell me, friends, 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.
CHOR. Tax not divine disposal: wisest men 210 Have err'd, and by bad women been deceiv'd; And shall again, pretend they ne'er so 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 shouldst wed Philistian women rather
Than of thine own tribe fairer, or as fair,
SAMS. The first I saw at Timna, and she 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 Israel's deliverance, The work to which I was divinely call'd. She proving false, the next I took to wife, O that I never had! fond wish too late! Was in the vale of Sorec, Dalila,
That specious monster, my accomplish'd snare. 230
CHIOR. In seeking just occasion to provoke
Thou never wast remiss, I bear thee witness:
SAMS. That fault I take not on me, but transfer On Israel'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 the other side
Us'd no ambition to commend my deeds, [doer;
Safe to the rock of Etham was retir'd,
Touch'd with the flame. On their whole host I flew
253 Etham] Judges xv. 8. Newton.