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Universally crown'd with highest praises,
Samson. I hear the sound of words; their sense
the air Dissolves unjointed ere it reach my ear. Chorus. He speaks, let us draw nigh. Match
less in might, The glory late of Israel, now the grief, We come, thy friends and neighbours not unknown, 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 power to swage The tumours of a troubled mind, And are as balm to fester'd wounds. Samson. Your coming, Friends, revives me; for I
learn Now of my own experience, not by talk, 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 advérse withdraw their head, Not to be found, though sought. Ye see, O
Friends, How many evils have enclos'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 divulg'd 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
of wisdom nothing more than mean; This with the other should, at least, have pair'd, These two, proportion'd ill, drove me transverse.
Chorus. Tax not divine disposal ; wisest men
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
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.
Samson. The first I saw: at Timna, and she
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 impúlse, 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.
I thought it lawful from my former act,
And the same end ; still watching to oppress
Israel's oppressous: 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.
Chorus. In seeking just occasion to provoke
The Philistine, thy country's enemy,
Thou never wast remiss, I bear thee witness :
Yet Israël still serves with all his sons.
Samson. That fault I take not on me, but transfer
On Israel's governours and heads of tribes,
Who, seeing those great acts which God had done
Singly by me against their conquerours,
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;
The deeds themselves, though mute, spoke loud the
doer: 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 fore-casting in what place
To set upon them, what advantag'd best:
Mean while the men of Judah, to prevent
The harrass of the 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 threads
Touch'd with the flame: on the whole host I flew
Unarm’d, and with a trivial weapon fell’d
Their choicest youth; they only liv'd who fed.
Had Judah that day join’d, or one whole tribe,
They had by this possess'd the towers of Gath,
And lorded over them whom they now 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
As their deliverer? if he anght begin,
How frequent to desert him, and at last
To heap ingratitude on worthiest deeds ?
Chorus. 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
Without reprieve, adjudg’d to death,
For want of well pronouncing Shibboleth.
Samson. Of such examples add me to the roll;
Me easily indeed mine may neglect,
But God's propos’d deliverance not so.
Chorus. 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 edícts found contradicting,
Then give the reins to wandering thought,
Regardless of his glory's diminution
Till, by their own perplexities involvid,
They ravel more, still less resolv'd,
But never find self-satisfying solution.
As if they would confine the Interminable,
And tie him to his own prescript,