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Ifrael's oppressors : of what now I suffer
She was not the prime cause, but I myself,
Who vanquilh'd with a peal of words (O weakness !)
Gave up my fort of filence to a woman.
Cho. In feeking just occasion to provoke
The Philitine, thy country's enemy,
Thou never wast remiss, I bear thee witness :
Yet Ifraël Itill ferves with all his fons.
Sams. That fault I take not on me, but transfer
On Ifrael'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
245 Deliverance offer'd : I on th' other side Us'd no ambition to commend my deeds, [doer; The deeds themselves, though mute, spoke loud the But they persisted deaf, and would not seem To count them things worth notice, till at length 250 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: 255 Mean while the men of Judah, to prevent The harrass 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,
260 Bound with two cords; but cords to me were threads , Touch'd with the flame; on their whole host I flew
Unarm’d, and with a trivial weapon felld
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 fervitude,
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 favor rais'd
As their deliverer; if he ought begin,
How frequent to desert him, and at laft
To heap ingratitude on worthiest deeds ?
Cho. Thy words to my remembrance bring
How Succoth and the fort of Penuel
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 battel when so many dy'd
Without reprieve adjudg’d to death,
For want of well pronouncing Shibboleth.
Sams. Of such examples add me to the roll, 290
Me easily indeed mine may neglect,
But God's propos’d deliverance not so.
Cho. 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 doctrin 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, 300 As to his own edicts found contradiéting, Then give the reins to wandering thought, Regardless of his glory's diminution; Till by their own perplexities involv'd They ravel more, itill less resolv’d,
308. But never find self-fatisfying 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 t'exempt
Whom so it pleases him by chcice
From national obftriction, without taint
Of fin, or legal debt;
For with his own laws he can beft difpenfe.
He would not elfe who never wanted means, 315
Nor in respect of th’ enemy just caufe
To set his people free,
Have prompted this heroic Nazarite,
Against his vow of stricteft purity,
To leek in marriage that fallacious bride, 320
Down reason then, at least vain reasonings down,
Though reason here aver
That moral verdict quits her of unclean :
Unchaste was subsequent, her stain not his. 32-5
But see 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' assault.
Man. Brethren and men of Dan, for such ye seem, Though in this uncouth place; if old respect, As I suppose, tow’ards your once glory'd friend, My son now captive, hither hath inform’d
33:5 Your younger feet, while mine cast back with age Came lagging after; fay if he be here.
Cho. As signal now in low dejected state, As erst in high’est, behold him where he lies.
MAN. O miserable change! is this the man, 34.0 That invincible Samson, far renown'd, The dread of Israel's foes, who with a strength Equivalent to Angels walk'd their streets, None offering fight; who single combatant Duel'd their armies rank'd in proud array, 345 Himself an army, now unequal match To save himself against a coward arm’d At one spear's length. O ever-failing trust In mortal strength! and oh what not in man Deceivable and .vain? Nay what thing good 350 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 son,
And such a son as all men hail'd me happy;
Who would be now a father in my stead? 355
O wherefore did God grant me my request,
And as a blessing with such pomp adornd ?
Why are his gifts desirable, to tempt
Our earnest pray’rs, then, giv'n with solemn 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 sacred, glorious for a while,
The miracle of men; then in an hour
Infnar'd, assaulted, overcome, led bound, 365
Thy foes derision, captive, poor and blind,
Into a dungeon thrust, to work with Naves ?
Alas methinks whom God hath chosen once
To worthiest deeds, if he through frailty err,
He Mould not so o'erwhelm, and as a thrall
Subject him to so foul indignities,
Be it but for honor's sake of former deeds.
SAMs. Appoint not heav'nly disposition, Father;
Nothing of all these evils hath befall'n me
But juftly; I myself have brought them on,
Sole author I, fole cause: 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 surpris'd,
But warn’d by oft' experience: did not she