Imatges de pÓgina
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SAMSON AGONISTES.

THE ARGUMENT.

Samson, made captive, blind, and now in the prison at Gaza, there to labour as in a common workhouse, on a feștival day, in a general cessation from labour, comes forth into the open air, to a place nigh, somewhat retired, there to sit awhile and bemoan his condition; where he happens at length to be visited by certain friends and equals of his tribe, which makes the Chorus, who seek to comfort him what they can; then by his old father Manoah, who endeavours the like, and withal tells him his purpose to procure his li berty by ransom: lastly, that this feast was proclaimed by the Philistines as a day of thanksgiving for their deliverance from the hands of Samson, which yet more troubles him. Manoah then departs to prosecute his endeavour with the Philistine lords for Samson's redemption; who, in the meanwhile, is visited by other persons; and lastly by a public officer to require his coming to the feast before the lords and people, to play or show his strength in their presence. He at first refuses, dismissing the public officer with absolute denial to come; at length, persuaded inwardly that this was from God, he yields to go along with him, who came now the second time with great threatenings to fetch him. The Chorus yet remaining on the place, Manoah returns full of joyful hope, to procure ere long his son's deliverance; in the midst of which discourse an Hebrew comes in haste, con-fusedly at first, and afterward more distinctly, relating the catastrophe, what Samson had done to the Philistines, and by accident to himself; wherewith the tragedy ends.

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The Scene, before the Prison in Gaza..

Samson. Attendant leading him.

A LITTLE onward lend thy guiding hand!
To these dark steps, a little further on ;
For yonder bank hath choice of sun or shades
There I am wont to sit, when any chance
Relieves me from my task of servile toil,
Daily in the common prison else enjoin'd me.
Where I, a prisoner chain'd, scarce freely draw
The air imprison'd also, close and damp,

Unwholesome draught but here I feel amends, The breath of heaven fresh blowing, pure and sweet,

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With day-spring born; here leave me to respire.
This day a solemn feast the people hold

To Dagon their sea-idol, and forbid, luta ak
Laborious works; unwillingly this rest
Their superstition yields me; hence with leave
Retiring from the popular noise, I seekinoa
This unfrequented place to find some ease, das vyti
Ease to the body some, none to the mind due of 1
From restless thoughts, that, like a deadly swarranty)
Of hornets arm'd, no sooner found alone, the wol
But rush upon me thronging, and presenta
Times past, what once I was, and what am now.. :)
O, wherefore was my birth from heaven foretold it
Twice by an angel, who at last in sight 1.11 a SUIVA
Of both my parents all in flames ascendedora si d.
From off the altar, where an offering barn'd, noun GË

As in a fiery column charioting

His godlike presence, and from some great act
Or benefit reveal'd to Abraham's race?
Why was my breeding order'd and prescrib'd
As of a person separate to God,

[strength, O gloriou

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 heaven-gifted strength?
Put to the labour of a beast, debas'd
Lower than bond-slave! Promise was, that
Should Israel from Philistian yoke deliver;
Ask for this great deliverer now, and find him
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 defaul.
Whom have I to complain of but myself?
Who this high gift of strength committed to me
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, burdensome,
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:
No many, and so huge, that each apare

Would ask a life to wail; but chief of all,
O loss of sight, of thee I most complain!
Blind among enemies, O worse than chains,
Dungeon, or beggary, or decrepit age!

Light, the prime work of God, to me is 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 see; I, dark in light, expos'd
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 bereaw'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 this sight
To such a tender ball as the

eye

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

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