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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




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,
At least of thy own nation, and as noble.


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
I thought it lawful from my former act,
And the same end, still watching to oppress
Israel's oppressors. 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 silence to a woman.

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


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;
The deeds themselves, tho' mute, spoke loud the
But they persisted deaf, and would not seem
To count them things worth notice, till at length
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 forecasting in what place
To set upon them, what advantag'd best.
Meanwhile the men of Judah, to prevent
The harass 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,

Bound with two cords: but cords to me were




Touch'd with the flame. On their whole host I flew
Unarm'd, and with a trivial weapon fell❜d

Their choicest youth; they only liv'd who fled.
Had Judah that day join'd, or one whole tribe, 265
They had by this possess'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 despise, or envy, or suspect

Whom God hath of his special favour rais'd

253 Etham] Judges xv. 8.





As their deliverer? If he aught begin,
How frequent to desert him, and at last
To heap ingratitude on worthiest deeds?

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

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 Israel from the Ammonite,
Had not his prowess quell'd their pride
In that sore battle, when so many died
Without reprieve adjudg'd to death,
For want of well pronouncing Shibboleth.
SAMS. Of such examples add me to the roll, 20
Me easily indeed mine may neglect,

But God's propos'd deliverance not so.
CHOR. Just are the ways of God,

And justifiable to men ;

Unless there be who think not God at all:


If any be, they walk obscure;

For of such doctrine 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, As to his own edicts found contradicting, Then give the reins to wand'ring thought, Regardless of his glory's diminution;

Till, oy their own perplexities involv❜d,
They ravel more, still less resolv'd,
But never find self-satisfying 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 to exempt

Whom so it pleases him by choice

From national obstriction, 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,
Unclean, unchaste.


Down reason then, at least vain reasonings Though reason here aver


That moral verdict quits her of unclean:
Unchaste was subsequent, her stain not his.
But, see! here comes thy reverend sire
With careful step, locks white as down,
Old Manoah; advise

Forthwith how thou ought'st to receive him.


SAMS. Aye me! another inward grief awak'd 330 With mention of that name renews th' assault. MAN. Brethren and men of Dan, for such ye


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