It was a desperate kiss.
I could feel you pulling away-
going inside yourself
and I was trying desperately to pull you back to me.
I was kissing your neck,
trying to bring back your pulse.
I was kissing down your breasts,
trying to make it quicken.
All I knew was that I wanted you.
I needed you.
There is an image
Working to free my mind
From violent dawns
It probes at the backs of my eyes
It tells me I am prostituting myself
Here in my bedroom
In incestuous union with myself
I hallucinate and fantasise about
Doctors sons, butchers boys
Teenage thieves, deserters
Drug pushers, scandalous rent boys
Vagrants, pimps, prostitutes
And silk lingerie and don't care.
I sit destitute of thought
An insonce dissonance of macabre music
Playing out melodies of an image in my mind
Freedom is premium priced,
At the casino of the world nations throw the dice,
The tables are rigged by the fat rats and mice,
Girls in curvaceous miniskirts on poles entice,
Opium laced drinks and cancer sticks merrily fleece,
Fizzy burgers are served filled with crucified cheese,
Layers of salt and blood and veins congealing with grease
Are the fillings inside the consumed meat,
Come to the sale of the century and let your life be diseased,
Take whatever you want and still you will never be pleased,
Remember, one day all will be held to account, so all evil immediately cease,
Do not make the mistake of prostituting the glorious deeds of Hercules
Or polluting and selling the message of almighty God so cheaply.
Box fitted vans moving on the prowl.
Waiting for these kids in an easy take
Preteen gangster violence,
With your lovely daughter playing jail bait.
We're all thievish wolves,
All hungry for more, we're hungry for more.
So please tell me that this is under control.
As our sons sniffing the product you were forced to recall.
Please tell me that this is under control
while your misses is prostituting just to feel at home.
Please tell me that this is under control
While my darling little princess is lying tagged by the toe.
Our therapies are burning and our do hearts do swell,
Which has got us in love with these feelings, that we've never felt.
And I'll take these violent words as nothing more then a test.
Try to feed me please for this is nothing more then a crimson mess.
This nuclear family
Right in front of me,
Right in front of me.
Covered by the trace in the hallow moonlight, pack of wolves at our back.
Some one calls out in silence, are fresh killers what we lack?
We're ragged fools, just fear in the fold only to feel at home.
Our therapies are burning as our do hearts do swell,
Which has got us in love with these feelings, that we've never felt.
And I'll take this fermented world, right off my chest.
Then lead you to the ruins, for the better I digress.
Now forgive me, this is how the story goes.
Feeding in the innocent stripped to the bones.
Please tell me that this is under control
While your misses is prostituting just to feel at home.
Please tell me we are under control.
Swinging from the gallows, caught by the throat.
Young people can you feel the suffering?
roca wear, gucci, apple, facebook, mcdonalds, apple bee's,
honda, lamborghini, harvard, Community College
american express, pnc bank, walmart
Wage Slaves, ceos, owners, lenders, renters, indebtedness
Structural dehumanization, systematic mechanization
Exploited labor feeding blood to your hungering consumerism
Young people you are embracing MISANTHROPY!
Embracing the hate of your own humanity! Why the hypocrisy?
Wealthy children, poor children
Trying for enlightenment through education
Parents garnering wealth through the oppression of their victims
Parents garnering debt through the oppression from economic inequality
Still you invest and promote the only legitimization of your being: CAPITALIST UTILITY
Capitalism engineering unrelenting misanthropy
Vicious economic system discarding humanity
Perfecting the concentration and accumulation of wealth
With the expansion of human alienation and murderous competition
Prostituting your body to labor exploitation and consumerism
Where does your wealth end up?
multinational companies? financial corporations? military arms contractors?
Loyalty lies in their pockets, backstabbing everyday tactics
Killing you through the exploitation of your body
Because they know the birth of another proletariat or bourgeoisie can replace you
Entities, not human, how much have they bought you for so that you cannot see!!!
Beware of these misanthropic missionaries granting your body power and agency
When your body can no longer be plundered for profit you will taste tears and blood
Young people will you deliver your forefathers and fathers
From worshiping capitalist misanthropy?
We whore ourselvs out to whoever comes along
Prostituting our morals for pieces of paper
The superfluous pieces of paper that seem to rule the world
Lies upon lies to keep the truth under wraps
Rounded up and slaughtered in what looks to be a serene beautiful place
"It's our culture and our race"
It's population control, we are doing a service
While we slip you mercury at levels of 2000 rpm
Let's disregard all the blood that has seeped into the ground
Those who take a stand, we beat them when they stand
We are the culprits but as well can be the saviors
We are running dry
And the blood is increasing by the minute and soon the sea will be red
We are corrupt and we need to revert
They are crying out but their cries fall on deaf ears
And we don't care
Because haven't you heard?
It's the new fad to be cruel With red water flowing through the currents
Of this red sea
"Sometimes I wish you were dead. All of you. I like you, but these conflicts are getting to me. Your needless, never ending, merciless complaints. My shortcomings. Exaggerated, overrated, pus filled pimples you are. You are annoying and one by one, as major and minor as you may be I feel like shooting each one of you down. Angry? Boom. You are dead. Yelling, crying, laughing, screeching, droning on and on and on like a black and yellow bumblebee under the harsh sweltering summer sun. SPLAT! Off with your head and your neck and your arms too. Black and grimy and disgusting on the fly swatter. Look at me! Whatever. Don’t look at me. Your eyes should be poked out. All of you should die. I want to be alone in this world without you. I love each of you ever much, but you no longer affect me. You walk around me, about me, over my head, under my feet, and through me but I will not hear you. I can not feel you. You walk like corpses, dead and mute, and I do not see you. I keep on walking, ignoring you. Forgetting your existence. I am in this alone and I will stay Alone. Devils eyes. Stop staring at me. Devils eyes. Rotting pig nostrils. Stop staring at me. Lifeless you, rotting in your grave, surrounded by worms and earthen colored bugs. Flirty, Flimsy, Dirty, Red Dress, Flaunting, Flapping, Backless, Strapless. Stop prostituting yourself, you filthy whore. Get off me. Cold, alone, hungry, unsatisfied. Alone only I can sustain myself. I need myself and myself only."
(A rant, more than a poem. Written at age 20- when things got too intense, and I was angry. Thought it couldn't get any worse, but today is proof that I was wrong. At least then, there was hope).
none of you understand what i’m saying is i’m not like any of you never married never parented children never owned real estate don’t believe in government the law hate rich people not afraid to lose everything risk life for the chance at a better life yes i graduated from Philadelphia dental school practiced medicine several years dashing handsome cordial Georgia physician yet knowing i was dying then of tuberculosis i wanted to feel alive know danger taste possibilities fuck you greedy ranch and railroad barons all you cotton gin grist mill moguls loud mouthed Yankee carpetbaggers bounty hunters self-righteous snake oil preachers with your fearful farmstead flocks what the hell do you think Big Nose Kate and me were doing in Tucson why i risked my life at Tombstone’s OK Corral i’ll tell you why because we were desperate beyond your comprehension long-drawn-out careworn hours twisted in desperation insufferably plodding nights so desperate Kate relieved me daily yet in back of each our minds we understood we were both slaves to ancient unfair corrupt economic system that provided enough whiskey to cope desperate for money allegiance shelter frantic enough to face loaded guns aimed firing at me it was hell on earth glaring sun beating down desert dust blowing burning eyes bullets cutting everywhere 1880’s revolvers lacking accuracy even with expert gunsmith modifications young men riddled with bleeding gunshot wounds in 6 years i was dead age 36 hey Kate was no cakewalk she was a bitch who knew how to play me flirting charming admiring exaggerating her strange Hungarian lust encouraging provoking prostituting on her knees back tummy fingers mouth managing somehow to become acquainted with Arizona Governor George Hunt then surviving to age 90 you modern day sleepers who read this rambling cower at airport security passively submit to insidious militarizing culture invasively inspecting camera scanning for cuticle scissors nail file weapons all ludicrous absurdist theatre while real bad guys can easily tape 3 McDonald’s plastic knives together or ball point pen pierce pilots passengers throat arteries skyjack planes hijack bus trains you are no safer than you ever were before Homeland Security Czars foreign wars where we don’t belong riding has grown so weary courage ruthless longing vexing generating entire industry of airport security corporate mall tariff duty free shops inflated restaurant menu prices liter bottle of water $4.99 welcome to America kill me now or kill me later who cares what i look like what i wear if i’m dry shaven smell like goat if i cough up chunks of lung spit tuberculosis germs on polished floors just so long as i pay the toll fee and don’t go shooting off my mouth
Undoubtedly he will relent, and turn
From his displeasure; in whose look serene,
When angry most he seemed and most severe,
What else but favour, grace, and mercy, shone?
So spake our father penitent; nor Eve
Felt less remorse: they, forthwith to the place
Repairing where he judged them, prostrate fell
Before him reverent; and both confessed
Humbly their faults, and pardon begged; with tears
Watering the ground, and with their sighs the air
Frequenting, sent from hearts contrite, in sign
Of sorrow unfeigned, and humiliation meek.
Thus they, in lowliest plight, repentant stood
Praying; for from the mercy-seat above
Prevenient grace descending had removed
The stony from their hearts, and made new flesh
Regenerate grow instead; that sighs now breathed
Unutterable; which the Spirit of prayer
Inspired, and winged for Heaven with speedier flight
Than loudest oratory: Yet their port
Not of mean suitors; nor important less
Seemed their petition, than when the ancient pair
In fables old, less ancient yet than these,
Deucalion and chaste Pyrrha, to restore
The race of mankind drowned, before the shrine
Of Themis stood devout. To Heaven their prayers
Flew up, nor missed the way, by envious winds
Blown vagabond or frustrate: in they passed
Dimensionless through heavenly doors; then clad
With incense, where the golden altar fumed,
By their great intercessour, came in sight
Before the Father’s throne: them the glad Son
Presenting, thus to intercede began.
See$ Father, what first-fruits on earth are sprung
From thy implanted grace in Man; these sighs
And prayers, which in this golden censer mixed
With incense, I thy priest before thee bring;
Fruits of more pleasing savour, from thy seed
Sown with contrition in his heart, than those
Which, his own hand manuring, all the trees
Of Paradise could have produced, ere fallen
From innocence. Now therefore, bend thine ear
To supplication; hear his sighs, though mute;
Unskilful with what words to pray, let me
Interpret for him; me, his advocate
And propitiation; all his works on me,
Good, or not good, ingraft; my merit those
Shall perfect, and for these my death shall pay.
Accept me; and, in me, from these receive
The smell of peace toward mankind: let him live
Before thee reconciled, at least his days
Numbered, though sad; till death, his doom, (which I
To mitigate thus plead, not to reverse,)
To better life shall yield him: where with me
All my redeemed may dwell in joy and bliss;
Made one with me, as I with thee am one.
To whom the Father, without cloud, serene.
All thy request for Man, accepted Son,
Obtain; all thy request was my decree:
But, longer in that Paradise to dwell,
The law I gave to Nature him forbids:
Those pure immortal elements, that know,
No gross, no unharmonious mixture foul,
Eject him, tainted now; and purge him off,
As a distemper, gross, to air as gross,
And mortal food; as may dispose him best
For dissolution wrought by sin, that first
Distempered all things, and of incorrupt
Corrupted. I, at first, with two fair gifts
Created him endowed; with happiness,
And immortality: that fondly lost,
This other served but to eternize woe;
Till I provided death: so death becomes
His final remedy; and, after life,
Tried in sharp tribulation, and refined
By faith and faithful works, to second life,
Waked in the renovation of the just,
Resigns him up with Heaven and Earth renewed.
But let us call to synod all the Blest,
Through Heaven’s wide bounds: from them I will not hide
My judgements; how with mankind I proceed,
As how with peccant Angels late they saw,
And in their state, though firm, stood more confirmed.
He ended, and the Son gave signal high
To the bright minister that watched; he blew
His trumpet, heard in Oreb since perhaps
When God descended, and perhaps once more
To sound at general doom. The angelick blast
Filled all the regions: from their blisful bowers
Of amarantine shade, fountain or spring,
By the waters of life, where’er they sat
In fellowships of joy, the sons of light
Hasted, resorting to the summons high;
And took their seats; till from his throne supreme
The Almighty thus pronounced his sovran will.
O Sons, like one of us Man is become
To know both good and evil, since his taste
Of that defended fruit; but let him boast
His knowledge of good lost, and evil got;
Happier! had it sufficed him to have known
Good by itself, and evil not at all.
He sorrows now, repents, and prays contrite,
My motions in him; longer than they move,
His heart I know, how variable and vain,
Self-left. Lest therefore his now bolder hand
Reach also of the tree of life, and eat,
And live for ever, dream at least to live
For ever, to remove him I decree,
And send him from the garden forth to till
The ground whence he was taken, fitter soil.
Michael, this my behest have thou in charge;
Take to thee from among the Cherubim
Thy choice of flaming warriours, lest the Fiend,
Or in behalf of Man, or to invade
Vacant possession, some new trouble raise:
Haste thee, and from the Paradise of God
Without remorse drive out the sinful pair;
From hallowed ground the unholy; and denounce
To them, and to their progeny, from thence
Perpetual banishment. Yet, lest they faint
At the sad sentence rigorously urged,
(For I behold them softened, and with tears
Bewailing their excess,) all terrour hide.
If patiently thy bidding they obey,
Dismiss them not disconsolate; reveal
To Adam what shall come in future days,
As I shall thee enlighten; intermix
My covenant in the Woman’s seed renewed;
So send them forth, though sorrowing, yet in peace:
And on the east side of the garden place,
Where entrance up from Eden easiest climbs,
Cherubick watch; and of a sword the flame
Wide-waving; all approach far off to fright,
And guard all passage to the tree of life:
Lest Paradise a receptacle prove
To Spirits foul, and all my trees their prey;
With whose stolen fruit Man once more to delude.
He ceased; and the arch-angelick Power prepared
For swift descent; with him the cohort bright
Of watchful Cherubim: four faces each
Had, like a double Janus; all their shape
Spangled with eyes more numerous than those
Of Argus, and more wakeful than to drouse,
Charmed with Arcadian pipe, the pastoral reed
Of Hermes, or his opiate rod. Mean while,
To re-salute the world with sacred light,
Leucothea waked; and with fresh dews imbalmed
The earth; when Adam and first matron Eve
Had ended now their orisons, and found
Strength added from above; new hope to spring
Out of despair; joy, but with fear yet linked;
Which thus to Eve his welcome words renewed.
Eve, easily my faith admit, that all
The good which we enjoy from Heaven descends;
But, that from us aught should ascend to Heaven
So prevalent as to concern the mind
Of God high-blest, or to incline his will,
Hard to belief may seem; yet this will prayer
Or one short sigh of human breath, upborne
Even to the seat of God. For since I sought
By prayer the offended Deity to appease;
Kneeled, and before him humbled all my heart;
Methought I saw him placable and mild,
Bending his ear; persuasion in me grew
That I was heard with favour; peace returned
Home to my breast, and to my memory
His promise, that thy seed shall bruise our foe;
Which, then not minded in dismay, yet now
Assures me that the bitterness of death
Is past, and we shall live. Whence hail to thee,
Eve rightly called, mother of all mankind,
Mother of all things living, since by thee
Man is to live; and all things live for Man.
To whom thus Eve with sad demeanour meek.
Ill-worthy I such title should belong
To me transgressour; who, for thee ordained
A help, became thy snare; to me reproach
Rather belongs, distrust, and all dispraise:
But infinite in pardon was my Judge,
That I, who first brought death on all, am graced
The source of life; next favourable thou,
Who highly thus to entitle me vouchsaf’st,
Far other name deserving. But the field
To labour calls us, now with sweat imposed,
Though after sleepless night; for see!the morn,
All unconcerned with our unrest, begins
Her rosy progress smiling: let us forth;
I never from thy side henceforth to stray,
Where’er our day’s work lies, though now enjoined
Laborious, till day droop; while here we dwell,
What can be toilsome in these pleasant walks?
Here let us live, though in fallen state, content.
So spake, so wished much humbled Eve; but Fate
Subscribed not: Nature first gave signs, impressed
On bird, beast, air; air suddenly eclipsed,
After short blush of morn; nigh in her sight
The bird of Jove, stooped from his aery tour,
Two birds of gayest plume before him drove;
Down from a hill the beast that reigns in woods,
First hunter then, pursued a gentle brace,
Goodliest of all the forest, hart and hind;
Direct to the eastern gate was bent their flight.
Adam observed, and with his eye the chase
Pursuing, not unmoved, to Eve thus spake.
O Eve, some further change awaits us nigh,
Which Heaven, by these mute signs in Nature, shows
Forerunners of his purpose; or to warn
Us, haply too secure, of our discharge
From penalty, because from death released
Some days: how long, and what till then our life,
Who knows? or more than this, that we are dust,
And thither must return, and be no more?
Why else this double object in our sight
Of flight pursued in the air, and o’er the ground,
One way the self-same hour? why in the east
Darkness ere day’s mid-course, and morning-light
More orient in yon western cloud, that draws
O’er the blue firmament a radiant white,
And slow descends with something heavenly fraught?
He erred not; for by this the heavenly bands
Down from a sky of jasper lighted now
In Paradise, and on a hill made halt;
A glorious apparition, had not doubt
And carnal fear that day dimmed Adam’s eye.
Not that more glorious, when the Angels met
Jacob in Mahanaim, where he saw
The field pavilioned with his guardians bright;
Nor that, which on the flaming mount appeared
In Dothan, covered with a camp of fire,
Against the Syrian king, who to surprise
One man, assassin-like, had levied war,
War unproclaimed. The princely Hierarch
In their bright stand there left his Powers, to seise
Possession of the garden; he alone,
To find where Adam sheltered, took his way,
Not unperceived of Adam; who to Eve,
While the great visitant approached, thus spake.
Eve$ now expect great tidings, which perhaps
Of us will soon determine, or impose
New laws to be observed; for I descry,
From yonder blazing cloud that veils the hill,
One of the heavenly host; and, by his gait,
None of the meanest; some great Potentate
Or of the Thrones above; such majesty
Invests him coming! yet not terrible,
That I should fear; nor sociably mild,
As Raphael, that I should much confide;
But solemn and sublime; whom not to offend,
With reverence I must meet, and thou retire.
He ended: and the Arch-Angel soon drew nigh,
Not in his shape celestial, but as man
Clad to meet man; over his lucid arms
A military vest of purple flowed,
Livelier than Meliboean, or the grain
Of Sarra, worn by kings and heroes old
In time of truce; Iris had dipt the woof;
His starry helm unbuckled showed him prime
In manhood where youth ended; by his side,
As in a glistering zodiack, hung the sword,
Satan’s dire dread; and in his hand the spear.
Adam bowed low; he, kingly, from his state
Inclined not, but his coming thus declared.
Adam, Heaven’s high behest no preface needs:
Sufficient that thy prayers are heard; and Death,
Then due by sentence when thou didst transgress,
Defeated of his seisure many days
Given thee of grace; wherein thou mayest repent,
And one bad act with many deeds well done
Mayest cover: Well may then thy Lord, appeased,
Redeem thee quite from Death’s rapacious claim;
But longer in this Paradise to dwell
Permits not: to remove thee I am come,
And send thee from the garden forth to till
The ground whence thou wast taken, fitter soil.
He added not; for Adam at the news
Heart-struck with chilling gripe of sorrow stood,
That all his senses bound; Eve, who unseen
Yet all had heard, with audible lament
Discovered soon the place of her retire.
O unexpected stroke, worse than of Death!
Must I thus leave thee$ Paradise? thus leave
Thee, native soil! these happy walks and shades,
Fit haunt of Gods? where I had hope to spend,
Quiet though sad, the respite of that day
That must be mortal to us both. O flowers,
That never will in other climate grow,
My early visitation, and my last
;t even, which I bred up with tender hand
From the first opening bud, and gave ye names!
Who now shall rear ye to the sun, or rank
Your tribes, and water from the ambrosial fount?
Thee lastly, nuptial bower! by me adorned
With what to sight or smell was sweet! from thee
How shall I part, and whither wander down
Into a lower world; to this obscure
And wild? how shall we breathe in other air
Less pure, accustomed to immortal fruits?
Whom thus the Angel interrupted mild.
Lament not, Eve, but patiently resign
What justly thou hast lost, nor set thy heart,
Thus over-fond, on that which is not thine:
Thy going is not lonely; with thee goes
Thy husband; whom to follow thou art bound;
Where he abides, think there thy native soil.
Adam, by this from the cold sudden damp
Recovering, and his scattered spirits returned,
To Michael thus his humble words addressed.
Celestial, whether among the Thrones, or named
Of them the highest; for such of shape may seem
Prince above princes! gently hast thou told
Thy message, which might else in telling wound,
And in performing end us; what besides
Of sorrow, and dejection, and despair,
Our frailty can sustain, thy tidings bring,
Departure from this happy place, our sweet
Recess, and only consolation left
Familiar to our eyes! all places else
Inhospitable appear, and desolate;
Nor knowing us, nor known: And, if by prayer
Incessant I could hope to change the will
Of Him who all things can, I would not cease
To weary him with my assiduous cries:
But prayer against his absolute decree
No more avails than breath against the wind,
Blown stifling back on him that breathes it forth:
Therefore to his great bidding I submit.
This most afflicts me, that, departing hence,
As from his face I shall be hid, deprived
His blessed countenance: Here I could frequent
With worship place by place where he vouchsafed
Presence Divine; and to my sons relate,
‘On this mount he appeared; under this tree
‘Stood visible; among these pines his voice
‘I heard; here with him at this fountain talked:
So many grateful altars I would rear
Of grassy turf, and pile up every stone
Of lustre from the brook, in memory,
Or monument to ages; and theron
Offer sweet-smelling gums, and fruits, and flowers:
In yonder nether world where shall I seek
His bright appearances, or foot-step trace?
For though I fled him angry, yet recalled
To life prolonged and promised race, I now
Gladly behold though but his utmost skirts
Of glory; and far off his steps adore.
To whom thus Michael with regard benign.
Adam, thou knowest Heaven his, and all the Earth;
Not this rock only; his Omnipresence fills
Land, sea, and air, and every kind that lives,
Fomented by his virtual power and warmed:
All the earth he gave thee to possess and rule,
No despicable gift; surmise not then
His presence to these narrow bounds confined
Of Paradise, or Eden: this had been
Perhaps thy capital seat, from whence had spread
All generations; and had hither come
From all the ends of the earth, to celebrate
And reverence thee, their great progenitor.
But this pre-eminence thou hast lost, brought down
To dwell on even ground now with thy sons:
Yet doubt not but in valley, and in plain,
God is, as here; and will be found alike
Present; and of his presence many a sign
Still following thee, still compassing thee round
With goodness and paternal love, his face
Express, and of his steps the track divine.
Which that thou mayest believe, and be confirmed
Ere thou from hence depart; know, I am sent
To show thee what shall come in future days
To thee, and to thy offspring: good with bad
Expect to hear; supernal grace contending
With sinfulness of men; thereby to learn
True patience, and to temper joy with fear
And pious sorrow; equally inured
By moderation either state to bear,
Prosperous or adverse: so shalt thou lead
Safest thy life, and best prepared endure
Thy mortal passage when it comes.—Ascend
This hill; let Eve (for I have drenched her eyes)
Here sleep below; while thou to foresight wakest;
As once thou sleptst, while she to life was formed.
To whom thus Adam gratefully replied.
Ascend, I follow thee, safe Guide, the path
Thou leadest me; and to the hand of Heaven submit,
However chastening; to the evil turn
My obvious breast; arming to overcome
By suffering, and earn rest from labour won,
If so I may attain.—So both ascend
In the visions of God. It was a hill,
Of Paradise the highest; from whose top
The hemisphere of earth, in clearest ken,
Stretched out to the amplest reach of prospect lay.
Not higher that hill, nor wider looking round,
Whereon, for different cause, the Tempter set
Our second Adam, in the wilderness;
To show him all Earth’s kingdoms, and their glory.
His eye might there command wherever stood
City of old or modern fame, the seat
Of mightiest empire, from the destined walls
Of Cambalu, seat of Cathaian Can,
And Samarchand by Oxus, Temir’s throne,
To Paquin of Sinaean kings; and thence
To Agra and Lahor of great Mogul,
Down to the golden Chersonese; or where
The Persian in Ecbatan sat, or since
In Hispahan; or where the Russian Ksar
In Mosco; or the Sultan in Bizance,
Turchestan-born; nor could his eye not ken
The empire of Negus to his utmost port
Ercoco, and the less maritim kings
Mombaza, and Quiloa, and Melind,
And Sofala, thought Ophir, to the realm
Of Congo, and Angola farthest south;
Or thence from Niger flood to Atlas mount
The kingdoms of Almansor, Fez and Sus,
Morocco, and Algiers, and Tremisen;
On Europe thence, and where Rome was to sway
The world: in spirit perhaps he also saw
Rich Mexico, the seat of Montezume,
And Cusco in Peru, the richer seat
Of Atabalipa; and yet unspoiled
Guiana, whose great city Geryon’s sons
Call El Dorado. But to nobler sights
Michael from Adam’s eyes the film removed,
Which that false fruit that promised clearer sight
Had bred; then purged with euphrasy and rue
The visual nerve, for he had much to see;
And from the well of life three drops instilled.
So deep the power of these ingredients pierced,
Even to the inmost seat of mental sight,
That Adam, now enforced to close his eyes,
Sunk down, and all his spirits became entranced;
But him the gentle Angel by the hand
Soon raised, and his attention thus recalled.
Adam, now ope thine eyes; and first behold
The effects, which thy original crime hath wrought
In some to spring from thee; who never touched
The excepted tree; nor with the snake conspired;
Nor sinned thy sin; yet from that sin derive
Corruption, to bring forth more violent deeds.
His eyes he opened, and beheld a field,
Part arable and tilth, whereon were sheaves
New reaped; the other part sheep-walks and folds;
I’ the midst an altar as the land-mark stood,
Rustick, of grassy sord; thither anon
A sweaty reaper from his tillage brought
First fruits, the green ear, and the yellow sheaf,
Unculled, as came to hand; a shepherd next,
More meek, came with the firstlings of his flock,
Choicest and best; then, sacrificing, laid
The inwards and their fat, with incense strowed,
On the cleft wood, and all due rights performed:
His offering soon propitious fire from Heaven
Consumed with nimble glance, and grateful steam;
The other’s not, for his was not sincere;
Whereat he inly raged, and, as they talked,
Smote him into the midriff with a stone
That beat out life; he fell;and, deadly pale,
Groaned out his soul with gushing blood effused.
Much at that sight was Adam in his heart
Dismayed, and thus in haste to the Angel cried.
O Teacher, some great mischief hath befallen
To that meek man, who well had sacrificed;
Is piety thus and pure devotion paid?
To whom Michael thus, he also moved, replied.
These two are brethren, Adam, and to come
Out of thy loins; the unjust the just hath slain,
For envy that his brother’s offering found
From Heaven acceptance; but the bloody fact
Will be avenged; and the other’s faith, approved,
Lose no reward; though here thou see him die,
Rolling in dust and gore. To which our sire.
Alas! both for the deed, and for the cause!
But have I now seen Death? Is this the way
I must return to native dust? O sight
Of terrour, foul and ugly to behold,
Horrid to think, how horrible to feel!
To whom thus Michael. Death thou hast seen
In his first shape on Man; but many shapes
Of Death, and many are the ways that lead
To his grim cave, all dismal; yet to sense
More terrible at the entrance, than within.
Some, as thou sawest, by violent stroke shall die;
By fire, flood, famine, by intemperance more
In meats and drinks, which on the earth shall bring
Diseases dire, of which a monstrous crew
Before thee shall appear; that thou mayest know
What misery the inabstinence of Eve
Shall bring on Men. Immediately a place
Before his eyes appeared, sad, noisome, dark;
A lazar-house it seemed; wherein were laid
Numbers of all diseased; all maladies
Of ghastly spasm, or racking torture, qualms
Of heart-sick agony, all feverous kinds,
Convulsions, epilepsies, fierce catarrhs,
Intestine stone and ulcer, colick-pangs,
Demoniack phrenzy, moaping melancholy,
And moon-struck madness, pining atrophy,
Marasmus, and wide-wasting pestilence,
Dropsies, and asthmas, and joint-racking rheums.
Dire was the tossing, deep the groans; Despair
Tended the sick busiest from couch to couch;
And over them triumphant Death his dart
Shook, but delayed to strike, though oft invoked
With vows, as their chief good, and final hope.
Sight so deform what heart of rock could long
Dry-eyed behold? Adam could not, but wept,
Though not of woman born; compassion quelled
His best of man, and gave him up to tears
A space, till firmer thoughts restrained excess;
And, scarce recovering words, his plaint renewed.
O miserable mankind, to what fall
Degraded, to what wretched state reserved!
Better end here unborn. Why is life given
To be thus wrested from us? rather, why
Obtruded on us thus? who, if we knew
What we receive, would either no accept
Life offered, or soon beg to lay it down;
Glad to be so dismissed in peace. Can thus
The image of God in Man, created once
So goodly and erect, though faulty since,
To such unsightly sufferings be debased
Under inhuman pains? Why should not Man,
Retaining still divine similitude
In part, from such deformities be free,
And, for his Maker’s image sake, exempt?
Their Maker’s image, answered Michael, then
Forsook them, when themselves they vilified
To serve ungoverned Appetite; and took
His image whom they served, a brutish vice,
Inductive mainly to the sin of Eve.
Therefore so abject is their punishment,
Disfiguring not God’s likeness, but their own;
Or if his likeness, by themselves defaced;
While they pervert pure Nature’s healthful rules
To loathsome sickness; worthily, since they
God’s image did not reverence in themselves.
I yield it just, said Adam, and submit.
But is there yet no other way, besides
These painful passages, how we may come
To death, and mix with our connatural dust?
There is, said Michael, if thou well observe
The rule of Not too much; by temperance taught,
In what thou eatest and drinkest; seeking from thence
Due nourishment, not gluttonous delight,
Till many years over thy head return:
So mayest thou live; till, like ripe fruit, thou drop
Into thy mother’s lap; or be with ease
Gathered, nor harshly plucked; for death mature:
This is Old Age; but then, thou must outlive
Thy youth, thy strength, thy beauty; which will change
To withered, weak, and gray; thy senses then,
Obtuse, all taste of pleasure must forego,
To what thou hast; and, for the air of youth,
Hopeful and cheerful, in thy blood will reign
A melancholy damp of cold and dry
To weigh thy spirits down, and last consume
The balm of life. To whom our ancestor.
Henceforth I fly not death, nor would prolong
Life much; bent rather, how I may be quit,
Fairest and easiest, of this cumbrous charge;
Which I must keep till my appointed day
Of rendering up, and patiently attend
My dissolution. Michael replied.
Nor love thy life, nor hate; but what thou livest
Live well; how long, or short, permit to Heaven:
And now prepare thee for another sight.
He looked, and saw a spacious plain, whereon
Were tents of various hue; by some, were herds
Of cattle grazing; others, whence the sound
Of instruments, that made melodious chime,
Was heard, of harp and organ; and, who moved
Their stops and chords, was seen; his volant touch,
Instinct through all proportions, low and high,
Fled and pursued transverse the resonant fugue.
In other part stood one who, at the forge
Labouring, two massy clods of iron and brass
Had melted, (whether found where casual fire
Had wasted woods on mountain or in vale,
Down to the veins of earth; thence gliding hot
To some cave’s mouth; or whether washed by stream
From underground;) the liquid ore he drained
Into fit moulds prepared; from which he formed
First his own tools; then, what might else be wrought
Fusil or graven in metal. After these,
But on the hither side, a different sort
From the high neighbouring hills, which was their seat,
Down to the plain descended; by their guise
Just men they seemed, and all their study bent
To worship God aright, and know his works
Not hid; nor those things last, which might preserve
Freedom and peace to Men; they on the plain
Long had not walked, when from the tents, behold!
A bevy of fair women, richly gay
In gems and wanton dress; to the harp they sung
Soft amorous ditties, and in dance came on:
The men, though grave, eyed them; and let their eyes
Rove without rein; till, in the amorous net
Fast caught, they liked; and each his liking chose;
And now of love they treat, till the evening-star,
Love’s harbinger, appeared; then, all in heat
They light the nuptial torch, and bid invoke
Hymen, then first to marriage rites invoked:
With feast and musick all the tents resound.
Such happy interview, and fair event
Of love and youth not lost, songs, garlands, flowers,
And charming symphonies, attached the heart
Of Adam, soon inclined to admit delight,
The bent of nature; which he thus expressed.
True opener of mine eyes, prime Angel blest;
Much better seems this vision, and more hope
Of peaceful days portends, than those two past;
Those were of hate and death, or pain much worse;
Here Nature seems fulfilled in all her ends.
To whom thus Michael. Judge not what is best
By pleasure, though to nature seeming meet;
Created, as thou art, to nobler end
Holy and pure, conformity divine.
Those tents thou sawest so pleasant, were the tents
Of wickedness, wherein shall dwell his race
Who slew his brother; studious they appear
Of arts that polish life, inventers rare;
Unmindful of their Maker, though his Spirit
Taught them; but they his gifts acknowledged none.
Yet they a beauteous offspring shall beget;
For that fair female troop thou sawest, that seemed
Of Goddesses, so blithe, so smooth, so gay,
Yet empty of all good wherein consists
Woman’s domestick honour and chief praise;
Bred only and completed to the taste
Of lustful appetence, to sing, to dance,
To dress, and troll the tongue, and roll the eye:
To these that sober race of men, whose lives
Religious titled them the sons of God,
Shall yield up all their virtue, all their fame
Ignobly, to the trains and to the smiles
Of these fair atheists; and now swim in joy,
Erelong to swim at large; and laugh, for which
The world erelong a world of tears must weep.
To whom thus Adam, of short joy bereft.
O pity and shame, that they, who to live well
Entered so fair, should turn aside to tread
Paths indirect, or in the mid way faint!
But still I see the tenour of Man’s woe
Holds on the same, from Woman to begin.
From Man’s effeminate slackness it begins,
Said the Angel, who should better hold his place
By wisdom, and superiour gifts received.
But now prepare thee for another scene.
He looked, and saw wide territory spread
Before him, towns, and rural works between;
Cities of men with lofty gates and towers,
Concourse in arms, fierce faces threatening war,
Giants of mighty bone and bold emprise;
Part wield their arms, part curb the foaming steed,
Single or in array of battle ranged
Both horse and foot, nor idly mustering stood;
One way a band select from forage drives
A herd of beeves, fair oxen and fair kine,
From a fat meadow ground; or fleecy flock,
Ewes and their bleating lambs over the plain,
Their booty; scarce with life the shepherds fly,
But call in aid, which makes a bloody fray;
With cruel tournament the squadrons join;
Where cattle pastured late, now scattered lies
With carcasses and arms the ensanguined field,
Deserted: Others to a city strong
Lay siege, encamped; by battery, scale, and mine,
Assaulting; others from the wall defend
With dart and javelin, stones, and sulphurous fire;
On each hand slaughter, and gigantick deeds.
In other part the sceptered heralds call
To council, in the city-gates; anon
Gray-headed men and grave, with warriours mixed,
Assemble, and harangues are heard; but soon,
In factious opposition; till at last,
Of middle age one rising, eminent
In wise deport, spake much of right and wrong,
Of justice, or religion, truth, and peace,
And judgement from above: him old and young
Exploded, and had seized with violent hands,
Had not a cloud descending snatched him thence
Unseen amid the throng: so violence
Proceeded, and oppression, and sword-law,
Through all the plain, and refuge none was found.
Adam was all in tears, and to his guide
Lamenting turned full sad; O!what are these,
Death’s ministers, not men? who thus deal death
Inhumanly to men, and multiply
Ten thousandfold the sin of him who slew
His brother: for of whom such massacre
Make they, but of their brethren; men of men
But who was that just man, whom had not Heaven
Rescued, had in his righteousness been lost?
To whom thus Michael. These are the product
Of those ill-mated marriages thou sawest;
Where good with bad were matched, who of themselves
Abhor to join; and, by imprudence mixed,
Produce prodigious births of body or mind.
Such were these giants, men of high renown;
For in those days might only shall be admired,
And valour and heroick virtue called;
To overcome in battle, and subdue
Nations, and bring home spoils with infinite
Man-slaughter, shall be held the highest pitch
Of human glory; and for glory done
Of triumph, to be styled great conquerours
Patrons of mankind, Gods, and sons of Gods;
Destroyers rightlier called, and plagues of men.
Thus fame shall be achieved, renown on earth;
And what most merits fame, in silence hid.
But he, the seventh from thee, whom thou beheldst
The only righteous in a world preverse,
And therefore hated, therefore so beset
With foes, for daring single to be just,
And utter odious truth, that God would come
To judge them with his Saints; him the Most High
Rapt in a balmy cloud with winged steeds
Did, as thou sawest, receive, to walk with God
High in salvation and the climes of bliss,
Exempt from death; to show thee what reward
Awaits the good; the rest what punishment;
Which now direct thine eyes and soon behold.
He looked, and saw the face of things quite changed;
The brazen throat of war had ceased to roar;
All now was turned to jollity and game,
To luxury and riot, feast and dance;
Marrying or prostituting, as befel,
Rape or adultery, where passing fair
Allured them; thence from cups to civil broils.
At length a reverend sire among them came,
And of their doings great dislike declared,
And testified against their ways; he oft
Frequented their assemblies, whereso met,
Triumphs or festivals; and to them preached
Conversion and repentance, as to souls
In prison, under judgements imminent:
But all in vain: which when he saw, he ceased
Contending, and removed his tents far off;
Then, from the mountain hewing timber tall,
Began to build a vessel of huge bulk;
Measured by cubit, length, and breadth, and highth;
Smeared round with pitch; and in the side a door
Contrived; and of provisions laid in large,
For man and beast: when lo, a wonder strange!
Of every beast, and bird, and insect small,
Came sevens, and pairs; and entered in as taught
Their order: last the sire and his three sons,
With their four wives; and God made fast the door.
Mean while the south-wind rose, and, with black wings
Wide-hovering, all the clouds together drove
From under Heaven; the hills to their supply
Vapour, and exhalation dusk and moist,
Sent up amain; and now the thickened sky
Like a dark cieling stood; down rushed the rain
Impetuous; and continued, till the earth
No more was seen: the floating vessel swum
Uplifted, and secure with beaked prow
Rode tilting o’er the waves; all dwellings else
Flood overwhelmed, and them with all their pomp
Deep under water rolled; sea covered sea,
Sea without shore; and in their palaces,
Where luxury late reigned, sea-monsters whelped
And stabled; of mankind, so numerous late,
All left, in one small bottom swum imbarked.
How didst thou grieve then, Adam, to behold
The end of all thy offspring, end so sad,
Depopulation! Thee another flood,
Of tears and sorrow a flood, thee also drowned,
And sunk thee as thy sons; till, gently reared
By the Angel, on thy feet thou stoodest at last,
Though comfortless; as when a father mourns
His children, all in view destroyed at once;
And scarce to the Angel utter’dst thus thy plaint.
O visions ill foreseen! Better had I
Lived ignorant of future! so had borne
My part of evil only, each day’s lot
Enough to bear; those now, that were dispensed
The burden of many ages, on me light
At once, by my foreknowledge gaining birth
Abortive, to torment me ere their being,
With thought that they must be. Let no man seek
Henceforth to be foretold, what shall befall
Him or his children; evil he may be sure,
Which neither his foreknowing can prevent;
And he the future evil shall no less
In apprehension than in substance feel,
Grievous to bear: but that care now is past,
Man is not whom to warn: those few escaped
Famine and anguish will at last consume,
Wandering that watery desart: I had hope,
When violence was ceased, and war on earth,
All would have then gone well; peace would have crowned
With length of happy days the race of Man;
But I was far deceived; for now I see
Peace to corrupt no less than war to waste.
How comes it thus? unfold, celestial Guide,
And whether here the race of Man will end.
To whom thus Michael. Those, whom last thou sawest
In triumph and luxurious wealth, are they
First seen in acts of prowess eminent
And great exploits, but of true virtue void;
Who, having spilt much blood, and done much wast
Subduing nations, and achieved thereby
Fame in the world, high titles, and rich prey;
Shall change their course to pleasure, ease, and sloth,
Surfeit, and lust; till wantonness and pride
Raise out of friendship hostile deeds in peace.
The conquered also, and enslaved by war,
Shall, with their freedom lost, all virtue lose
And fear of God; from whom their piety feigned
In sharp contest of battle found no aid
Against invaders; therefore, cooled in zeal,
Thenceforth shall practice how to live secure,
Worldly or dissolute, on what their lords
Shall leave them to enjoy; for the earth shall bear
More than enough, that temperance may be tried:
So all shall turn degenerate, all depraved;
Justice and temperance, truth and faith, forgot;
One man except, the only son of light
In a dark age, against example good,
Against allurement, custom, and a world
Offended: fearless of reproach and scorn,
The grand-child, with twelve sons encreased, departs
From Canaan, to a land hereafter called
Egypt, divided by the river Nile;
See where it flows, disgorging at seven mouths
Into the sea: To sojourn in that land
He comes, invited by a younger son
In time of dearth; a son, whose worthy deeds
Raise him to be the second in that realm
Of Pharaoh: There he dies, and leaves his race
Growing into a nation, and now grown
Suspected to a sequent king, who seeks
To stop their overgrowth, as inmate guests
Or violence, he of their wicked ways
Shall them admonish; and before them set
The paths of righteousness, how much more safe
And full of peace; denouncing wrath to come
On their impenitence; and shall return
Of them derided, but of God observed
The one just man alive; by his command
Shall build a wonderous ark, as thou beheldst,
To save himself, and houshold, from amidst
A world devote to universal wrack.
No sooner he, with them of man and beast
Select for life, shall in the ark be lodged,
And sheltered round; but all the cataracts
Of Heaven set open on the Earth shall pour
Rain, day and night; all fountains of the deep,
Broke up, shall heave the ocean to usurp
Beyond all bounds; till inundation rise
Above the highest hills: Then shall this mount
Of Paradise by might of waves be moved
Out of his place, pushed by the horned flood,
With all his verdure spoiled, and trees adrift,
Down the great river to the opening gulf,
And there take root an island salt and bare,
The haunt of seals, and orcs, and sea-mews’ clang:
To teach thee that God attributes to place
No sanctity, if none be thither brought
By men who there frequent, or therein dwell.
And now, what further shall ensue, behold.
He looked, and saw the ark hull on the flood,
Which now abated; for the clouds were fled,
Driven by a keen north-wind, that, blowing dry,
Wrinkled the face of deluge, as decayed;
And the clear sun on his wide watery glass
Gazed hot, and of the fresh wave largely drew,
As after thirst; which made their flowing shrink
From standing lake to tripping ebb, that stole
With soft foot towards the deep; who now had stopt
His sluces, as the Heaven his windows shut.
The ark no more now floats, but seems on ground,
Fast on the top of some high mountain fixed.
And now the tops of hills, as rocks, appear;
With clamour thence the rapid currents drive,
Towards the retreating sea, their furious tide.
Forthwith from out the ark a raven flies,
And after him, the surer messenger,
A dove sent forth once and again to spy
Green tree or ground, whereon his foot may light:
The second time returning, in his bill
An olive-leaf he brings, pacifick sign:
Anon dry ground appears, and from his ark
The ancient sire descends, with all his train;
Then with uplifted hands, and eyes devout,
Grateful to Heaven, over his head beholds
A dewy cloud, and in the cloud a bow
Conspicuous with three lifted colours gay,
Betokening peace from God, and covenant new.
Whereat the heart of Adam, erst so sad,
Greatly rejoiced; and thus his joy broke forth.
O thou, who future things canst represent
As present, heavenly Instructer! I revive
At this last sight; assured that Man shall live,
With all the creatures, and their seed preserve.
Far less I now lament for one whole world
Of wicked sons destroyed, than I rejoice
For one man found so perfect, and so just,
That God vouchsafes to raise another world
From him, and all his anger to forget.
But say, what mean those coloured streaks in Heaven
Distended, as the brow of God appeased?
Or serve they, as a flowery verge, to bind
The fluid skirts of that same watery cloud,
Lest it again dissolve, and shower the earth?
To whom the Arch-Angel. Dextrously thou aimest;
So willingly doth God remit his ire,
Though late repenting him of Man depraved;
Grieved at his heart, when looking down he saw
The whole earth filled with violence, and all flesh
Corrupting each their way; yet, those removed,
Such grace shall one just man find in his sight,
That he relents, not to blot out mankind;
And makes a covenant never to destroy
The earth again by flood; nor let the sea
Surpass his bounds; nor rain to drown the world,
With man therein or beast; but, when he brings
Over the earth a cloud, will therein set
His triple-coloured bow, whereon to look,
And call to mind his covenant: Day and night,
Seed-time and harvest, heat and hoary frost,
Shall hold their course; till fire purge all things new,
Both Heaven and Earth, wherein the just shall dwell.
Of that sort of Dramatic Poem which is call’d Tragedy.
Tragedy, as it was antiently compos’d, hath been ever held the
gravest, moralest, and most profitable of all other Poems:
therefore said by Aristotle to be of power by raising pity and fear,
or terror, to purge the mind of those and such like passions, that is
to temper and reduce them to just measure with a kind of delight,
stirr’d up by reading or seeing those passions well imitated. Nor is
Nature wanting in her own effects to make good his assertion: for
so in Physic things of melancholic hue and quality are us’d against
melancholy, sowr against sowr, salt to remove salt humours.
Hence Philosophers and other gravest Writers, as Cicero, Plutarch
and others, frequently cite out of Tragic Poets, both to adorn and
illustrate thir discourse. The Apostle Paul himself thought it not
unworthy to insert a verse of Euripides into the Text of Holy
Scripture, I Cor. 15. 33. and Paraeus commenting on the
Revelation, divides the whole Book as a Tragedy, into Acts
distinguisht each by a Chorus of Heavenly Harpings and Song
between. Heretofore Men in highest dignity have labour’d not a
little to be thought able to compose a Tragedy. Of that honour
Dionysius the elder was no less ambitious, then before of his
attaining to the Tyranny. Augustus Caesar also had begun his
Ajax, but unable to please his own judgment with what he had
begun. left it unfinisht. Seneca the Philosopher is by some thought
the Author of those Tragedies (at lest the best of them) that go
under that name. Gregory Nazianzen a Father of the Church,
thought it not unbeseeming the sanctity of his person to write a
Tragedy which he entitl’d, Christ suffering. This is mention’d to
vindicate Tragedy from the small esteem, or rather infamy, which
in the account of many it undergoes at this day with other common
Interludes; hap’ning through the Poets error of intermixing Comic
stuff with Tragic sadness and gravity; or introducing trivial and
vulgar persons, which by all judicious hath bin counted absurd; and
brought in without discretion, corruptly to gratifie the people. And
though antient Tragedy use no Prologue, yet using sometimes, in
case of self defence, or explanation, that which Martial calls an
Epistle; in behalf of this Tragedy coming forth after the antient
manner, much different from what among us passes for best, thus
much before-hand may be Epistl’d; that Chorus is here introduc’d
after the Greek manner, not antient only but modern, and still in
use among the Italians. In the modelling therefore of this Poem
with good reason, the Antients and Italians are rather follow’d, as
of much more authority and fame. The measure of Verse us’d in
the Chorus is of all sorts, call’d by the Greeks Monostrophic, or
rather Apolelymenon, without regard had to Strophe, Antistrophe
or Epod, which were a kind of Stanza’s fram’d only for the Music,
then us’d with the Chorus that sung; not essential to the Poem, and
therefore not material; or being divided into Stanza’s or Pauses
they may be call’d Allaeostropha. Division into Act and Scene
referring chiefly to the Stage (to which this work never was
intended) is here omitted.
It suffices if the whole Drama be found not produc’t beyond the
fift Act, of the style and uniformitie, and that commonly call’d the
Plot, whether intricate or explicit, which is nothing indeed but such
oeconomy, or disposition of the fable as may stand best with
verisimilitude and decorum; they only will best judge who are not
unacquainted with Aeschulus, Sophocles, and Euripides, the three
Tragic Poets unequall’d yet by any, and the best rule to all who
endeavour to write Tragedy. The circumscription of time wherein
the whole Drama begins and ends, is according to antient rule, and
best example, within the space of 24 hours.
Samson made Captive, Blind, and now in the Prison at Gaza, there
to labour as in a common work-house, on a Festival day, in the
general cessation from labour, comes forth into the open Air, to a
place nigh, somewhat retir’d there to sit a while and bemoan his
condition. Where he happens at length to be visited by certain
friends and equals of his tribe, which make the Chorus, who seek
to comfort him what they can ; then by his old Father Manoa, who
endeavours the like, and withal tells him his purpose to procure his
liberty by ransom; lastly, that this Feast was proclaim’d by the
Philistins as a day of Thanksgiving for thir deliverance from the
hands of Samson, which yet more troubles him. Manoa then
departs to prosecute his endeavour with the Philistian Lords for
Samson’s redemption; who in the mean while is visited by other
persons; and lastly by a publick Officer to require coming to the
Feast before the Lords and People, to play or shew his strength in
thir presence; he at first refuses, dismissing the publick officer with
absolute denyal to come; at length perswaded inwardly that this
was from God, he yields to go along with him, who came now the
second time with great threatnings to fetch him; the Chorus yet
remaining on the place, Manoa returns full of joyful hope, to
procure e’re long his Sons deliverance: in the midst of which
discourse an Ebrew comes in haste confusedly at first; and
afterward more distinctly relating the Catastrophe, what Samson
had done to the Philistins, and by accident to himself; wherewith
the Tragedy ends.
Manoa the father of Samson.
Dalila his wife.
Harapha of Gath.
Chorus of Danites
The Scene before the Prison in Gaza.
Sam: A little onward lend thy guiding hand
To these dark steps, a little further on;
For yonder bank hath choice of Sun or shade,
There I am wont to sit, when any chance
Relieves me from my task of servile toyl,
Daily in the common Prison else enjoyn’d me,
Where I a Prisoner chain’d, scarce freely draw
The air imprison’d also, close and damp,
Unwholsom draught: but here I feel amends,
The breath of Heav’n fresh-blowing, pure and sweet,
With day-spring born; here leave me to respire.
This day a solemn Feast the people hold
To Dagon thir Sea-Idol, and forbid
Laborious works, unwillingly this rest
Thir Superstition yields me; hence with leave
Retiring from the popular noise, I seek
This unfrequented place to find some ease,
Ease to the body some, none to the mind
From restless thoughts, that like a deadly swarm
Of Hornets arm’d, no sooner found alone,
But rush upon me thronging, and present
Times past, what once I was, and what am now.
O wherefore was my birth from Heaven foretold
Twice by an Angel, who at last in sight
Of both my Parents all in flames ascended
From off the Altar, where an Off’ring burn’d,
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,
Design’d for great exploits; if I must dye
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 Heav’n-gifted strength? O glorious strength
Put to the labour of a Beast, debas’t
Lower then bondslave! Promise was that I
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 fulfilld but through mine own default,
Whom have I to complain of but my self?
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’recome with importunity and tears.
O impotence of mind, in body strong!
But what is strength without a double share
Of wisdom, vast, unwieldy, burdensom,
Proudly secure, yet liable to fall
By weakest suttleties, not made to rule,
But to subserve where wisdom bears command.
God, when he gave me strength, to shew 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
Happ’ly had ends above my reach to know:
Suffices that to me strength is my bane,
And proves the sourse of all my miseries;
So many, and so huge, that each apart
Would ask a life to wail, but chief of all,
O loss of sight, of thee I most complain!
Blind among enemies, O worse then chains,
Dungeon, or beggery, 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,
Inferiour 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 then 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 bereav’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 the sight
To such a tender ball as th’ eye confin’d?
So obvious and so easie to be quench’t,
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!
My self, my Sepulcher, a moving Grave,
Buried, yet not exempt
By priviledge of death and burial
From worst of other evils, pains and wrongs,
But made hereby obnoxious more
To all the miseries of life,
Life in captivity
Among inhuman foes.
But who are these? for with joint pace I hear
The tread of many feet stearing this way;
Perhaps my enemies who come to stare
At my affliction, and perhaps to insult,
Thir daily practice to afflict me more.
Chor: This, this is he; softly a while,
Let us not break in upon him;
O change beyond report, thought, or belief!
See how he lies at random, carelessly diffus’d,
With languish’t head unpropt,
As one past hope, abandon’d
And by himself given over;
In slavish habit, ill-fitted weeds
O’re worn and soild;
Or do my eyes misrepresent? Can this be hee,
That Heroic, that Renown’d,
Irresistible Samson? whom unarm’d
No strength of man, or fiercest wild beast could withstand;
Who tore the Lion, as the Lion tears the Kid,
Ran on embattelld Armies clad in Iron,
And weaponless himself,
Made Arms ridiculous, useless the forgery
Of brazen shield and spear, the hammer’d Cuirass,
Chalybean temper’d steel, and frock of mail
But safest he who stood aloof,
When insupportably his foot advanc’t,
In scorn of thir proud arms and warlike tools,
Spurn’d them to death by Troops. The bold Ascalonite
Fled from his Lion ramp, old Warriors turn’d
Thir plated backs under his heel;
Or grovling soild thir 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 Palestin
In Ramath-lechi famous to this day:
Then by main force pull’d up, and on his shoulders bore
The Gates of Azza, Post, and massie Bar
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.
Which shall I first bewail,
Thy Bondage or lost Sight,
Prison within Prison
Thou art become (O worst imprisonment!)
The Dungeon of thy self; thy Soul
(Which Men enjoying sight oft without cause complain)
Imprison’d now indeed,
In real darkness of the body dwells,
Shut up from outward light
To incorporate with gloomy night;
For inward light alas
Puts forth no visual beam.
O mirror of our fickle state,
Since man on earth unparallel’d!
The rarer thy example stands,
By how much from the top of wondrous glory,
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 sphear of fortune raises;
But thee whose strength, while vertue was her mate
Might have subdu’d the Earth,
Universally crown’d with highest praises.
Sam: I hear the sound of words, thir sense the air
Dissolves unjointed e’re it reach my ear.
Chor: Hee speaks, let us draw nigh. Matchless 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 tumors of a troubl’d mind,
And are as Balm to fester’d wounds.
Sam: 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 adverse withdraw their head
Not to be found, though sought. Wee 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 shipwrack’t,
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 proverbd 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 then mean;
This with the other should, at least, have paird,
These two proportiond ill drove me transverse.
Chor: Tax not divine disposal, wisest Men
Have err’d, and by bad Women been deceiv’d;
And shall again, pretend they ne’re so wise.
Deject not then so overmuch thy self,
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
Then of thine own Tribe fairer, or as fair,
At least of thy own Nation, and as noble.
Sam: The first I saw at Timna, and she pleas’d
Mee, 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 accomplisht snare.
I thought it lawful from my former act,
And the same end; still watching to oppress
Israel’s oppressours: of what now I suffer
She was not the prime cause, but I my self,
Who vanquisht 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 Countries Enemy,
Thou never wast remiss, I hear thee witness:
Yet Israel still serves with all his Sons.
Sam: 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 offerd : I on th’ other side
Us’d no ambition to commend my deeds,
The deeds themselves, though mute, spoke loud the dooer;
But they persisted deaf, and would not seem
To count them things worth notice, till at length
Thir Lords the Philistines with gather’d powers
Enterd Judea seeking mee, 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 thir Land, beset me round;
I willingly on some conditions came
Into thir hands, and they as gladly yield me
To the uncircumcis’d a welcom prey,
Bound with two cords; but cords to me were threds
Toucht with the flame: on thir whole Host I flew
Unarm’d, and with a trivial weapon fell’d
Thir choicest youth; they only liv’d who fled.
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 now they serve;
But what more oft in Nations grown corrupt,
And by thir vices brought to servitude,
Then to love Bondage more then Liberty,
Bondage with ease then strenuous liberty;
And to despise, or envy, or suspect
Whom God hath of his special favour rais’d
As thir 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
Thir great Deliverer contemn’d,
The matchless Gideon in pursuit
Of Madian and her vanquisht Kings;
And how ingrateful Ephraim
Not worse then by his shield and spear
Had dealt with Jephtha, who by argument,
Defended Israel from the Ammonite,
Had not his prowess quell’d thir pride
In that sore battel when so many dy’d
Without Reprieve adjudg’d to death,
For want of well pronouncing Shibboleth.
Sam: Of such examples adde mee to the roul,
Mee easily indeed mine may neglect,
But Gods 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 rains to wandring thought,
Regardless of his glories diminution;
Till by thir 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 dispence.
He would not else who never wanted means,
Nor in respect of the 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,
Down Reason then, at least vain reasonings down,
Though Reason here aver
That moral verdit quits her of unclean :
Unchaste was subsequent, her stain not his.
But see here comes thy reverend Sire
With careful step, Locks white as doune,
Old Manoah: advise
Forthwith how thou oughtst to receive him.
Sam: Ay me, another inward grief awak’t,
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, towards your once gloried friend,
My Son now Captive, hither hath inform’d
Your younger feet, while mine cast back with age
Came lagging after; say if he be here.
Chor: As signal now in low dejected state,
As earst in highest; behold him where be lies.
Man: O miserable change! is this the man,
That invincible Samson, far renown’d,
The dread of Israel’s foes, who with a strength
Equivalent to Angels walk’d thir streets,
None offering fight; who single combatant
Duell’d thir Armies rank’t in proud array,
Himself an Army, now unequal match
To save himself against a coward arm’d
At one spears length. O ever failing trust
In mortal strength! and oh what not in man
Deceivable and vain! Nay what thing good
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?
O wherefore did God grant me my request,
And as a blessing with such pomp adorn’d?
Why are his gifts desirable, to tempt
Our earnest Prayers, then giv’n with solemn hand
As Graces, draw a Scorpions tail behind?
For this did the 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
Ensnar’d, assaulted, overcome, led bound,
Thy Foes derision, Captive, Poor, and Blind
Into a Dungeon thrust, to work with Slaves?
Alas methinks whom God hath chosen once
To worthiest deeds, if he through frailty err,
He should not so o’rewhelm, and as a thrall
Subject him to so foul indignities,
Be it but for honours sake of former deeds.
Sam: Appoint not heavenly disposition, Father,
Nothing of all these evils hath befall’n me
But justly; I my self have brought them on,
Sole Author I, sole cause: if aught 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
Of Timna first betray me, and reveal
The secret wrested from me in her highth
Of Nuptial Love profest, carrying it strait
To them who had corrupted her, my Spies,
And Rivals? In this other was there found
More Faith? who also in her prime of love,
Spousal embraces, vitiated with Gold,
Though offer’d only, by the sent conceiv’d
Her spurious first-born; Treason against me?
Thrice she assay’d with flattering prayers and sighs,
And amorous reproaches to win from me
My capital secret, in what part my strength
Lay stor’d in what part summ’d, that she might know:
Thrice I deluded her, and turn’d to sport
Her importunity, each time perceiving
How openly, and with what impudence
She purpos’d to betray me, and (which was worse
Then undissembl’d hate) with what contempt
She sought to make me Traytor to my self;
Yet the fourth time, when mustring all her wiles,
With blandisht parlies, feminine assaults,
Tongue-batteries, she surceas’d not day nor night
To storm me over-watch’t, and wearied out.
At times when men seek most repose and rest,
I yielded, and unlock’d her all my heart,
Who with a grain of manhood well resolv’d
Might easily have shook off all her snares :
But foul effeminacy held me yok’t
Her Bond-slave; O indignity, O blot
To Honour and Religion! servil mind
Rewarded well with servil punishment!
The base degree to which I now am fall’n,
These rags, this grinding, is not yet so base
As was my former servitude, ignoble,
Unmanly, ignominious, infamous,
True slavery, and that blindness worse then this,
That saw not how degeneratly I serv’d.
Man: I cannot praise thy Marriage choises, Son,
Rather approv’d them not; but thou didst plead
Divine impulsion prompting how thou might’st
Find some occasion to infest our Foes.
I state not that; this I am sure; our Foes
Found soon occasion thereby to make thee
Thir Captive, and thir triumph; thou the sooner
Temptation found’st, or over-potent charms
To violate the sacred trust of silence
Deposited within thee; which to have kept
Tacit, was in thy power; true; and thou hear’st
Enough, and more the burden of that fault;
Bitterly hast thou paid, and still art paying
That rigid score. A worse thing yet remains,
This day the Philistines a popular Feast
Here celebrate in Gaza, and proclaim
Great Pomp, and Sacrifice, and Praises loud
To Dagon, as their God who hath deliver’d
Thee Samson bound and blind into thir hands,
Them out of thine, who slew’st them many a slain.
So Dagon shall be magnifi’d, and God,
Besides whom is no God, compar’d with Idols,
Disglorifi’d, blasphem’d, and had in scorn
By th’ Idolatrous rout amidst thir wine;
Which to have come to pass by means of thee,
Samson, of all thy sufferings think the heaviest,
Of all reproach the most with shame that ever
Could have befall’n thee and thy Fathers house.
Sam: Father, I do acknowledge and confess
That I this honour, I this pomp have brought
To Dagon, and advanc’d his praises high
Among the Heathen round; to God have brought
Dishonour, obloquie, and op’t the mouths
Of Idolists, and Atheists; have brought scandal
To Israel diffidence of God, and doubt
In feeble hearts, propense anough before
To waver, or fall off and joyn with Idols:
Which is my chief affliction, shame and sorrow,
The anguish of my Soul, that suffers not
Mine eie to harbour sleep, or thoughts to rest.
This only hope relieves me, that the strife
With me hath end; all the contest is now
‘Twixt God and Dagon; Dagon hath presum’d,
Me overthrown, to enter lists with God,
His Deity comparing and preferring
Before the God of Abraham. He, he sure,
Will not connive, or linger, thus provok’d,
But will arise and his great name assert:
Dagon must stoop, and shall e’re long receive
Such a discomfit, as shall quite despoil him
Of all these boasted Trophies won on me,
And with confusion blank his Worshippers.
Man: With cause this hope relieves thee, and these words
I as a Prophecy receive: for God,
Nothing more certain, will not long defer
To vindicate the glory of his name
Against all competition, nor will long
Endure it, doubtful whether God be Lord,
Or Dagon. But for thee what shall be done?
Thou must not in the mean while here forgot
Lie in this miserable loathsom plight
Neglected. I already have made way
To some Philistian Lords, with whom to treat
About thy ransom: well they may by this
Have satisfi’d thir utmost of revenge
By pains and slaveries, worse then death inflicted
On thee, who now no more canst do them harm.
Sam: Spare that proposal, Father, spare the trouble
Of that sollicitation; let me here,
As I deserve, pay on my punishment;
And expiate, if possible, my crime,
Shameful garrulity. To have reveal’d
Secrets of men, the secrets of a friend,
How hainous had the fact been, how deserving
Contempt, and scorn of all, to be excluded
All friendship, and avoided as a blab,
The mark of fool set on his front?
But I Gods counsel have not kept, his holy secret
Presumptuously have publish’d, impiously,
Weakly at least, and shamefully: A sin
That Gentiles in thir Parables condemn
To thir abyss and horrid pains confin’d.
Man: Be penitent and for thy fault contrite,
But act not in thy own affliction, Son,
Repent the sin, but if the punishment
Thou canst avoid, selfpreservation bids;
Or th’ execution leave to high disposal,
And let another hand, not thine, exact
Thy penal forfeit from thy self; perhaps
God will relent, and quit thee all his debt;
Who evermore approves and more accepts
(Best pleas’d with humble and filial submission)
Him who imploring mercy sues for life,
Then who selfrigorous chooses death as due;
Which argues overjust, and self-displeas’d
For self-offence, more then for God offended.
Reject not then what offerd means, who knows
But God hath set before us, to return thee
Home to thy countrey and his sacred house,
Where thou mayst bring thy off’rings, to avert
His further ire, with praiers and vows renew’d.
Sam: His pardon I implore; but as for life,
To what end should I seek it? when in strength
All mortals I excell’d, and great in hopes
With youthful courage and magnanimous thoughts
Of birth from Heav’n foretold and high exploits,
Full of divine instinct, after some proof
Of acts indeed heroic, far beyond
The Sons of Anac, famous now and blaz’d,
Fearless of danger, like a petty God
I walk’d about admir’d of all and dreaded
On hostile ground, none daring my affront.
Then swoll’n with pride into the snare I fell
Of fair fallacious looks, venereal trains,
Softn’d with pleasure and voluptuous life;
At length to lay my head and hallow’d pledge
Of all my strength in the lascivious lap
Of a deceitful Concubine who shore me
Like a tame Weather, all my precious fleece,
Then turn’d me out ridiculous, despoil’d,
Shav’n, and disarm’d among my enemies.
Chor. Desire of wine and all delicious drinks,
Which many a famous Warriour overturns,
Thou couldst repress, nor did the dancing Rubie
Sparkling; out-pow’rd, the flavor, or the smell,
Or taste that cheers the heart of Gods and men,
Allure thee from the cool Crystalline stream.
Sam. Where ever fountain or fresh current flow’d
Against the Eastern ray, translucent, pure,
With touch aetherial of Heav’ns fiery rod
I drank, from the clear milkie juice allaying
Thirst, and refresht; nor envy’d them the grape
Whose heads that turbulent liquor fills with fumes.
Chor. O madness, to think use of strongest wines
And strongest drinks our chief support of health,
When God with these forbid’n made choice to rear
His mighty Champion, strong above compare,
Whose drink was only from the liquid brook.
Sam. But what avail’d this temperance, not compleat
Against another object more enticing?
What boots it at one gate to make defence,
And at another to let in the foe
Effeminatly vanquish’t? by which means,
Now blind, disheartn’d, sham’d, dishonour’d, quell’d,
To what can I be useful, wherein serve
My Nation, and the work from Heav’n impos’d,
But to sit idle on the houshold hearth,
A burdenous drone; to visitants a gaze,
Or pitied object, these redundant locks
Robustious to no purpose clustring down,
Vain monument of strength; till length of years
And sedentary numness craze my limbs
To a contemptible old age obscure.
Here rather let me drudge and earn my bread,
Till vermin or the draff of servil food
Consume me, and oft-invocated death
Hast’n the welcom end of all my pains.
Man. Wilt thou then serve the Philistines with that gift
Which was expresly giv’n thee to annoy them?
Better at home lie bed-rid, not only idle,
Inglorious, unimploy’d, with age out-worn.
But God who caus’d a fountain at thy prayer
From the dry ground to spring, thy thirst to allay
After the brunt of battel, can as easie
Cause light again within thy eies to spring,
Wherewith to serve him better then thou hast;
And I perswade me so; why else this strength
Miraculous yet remaining in those locks?
His might continues in thee not for naught,
Nor shall his wondrous gifts be frustrate thus.
Sam: All otherwise to me my thoughts portend,
That these dark orbs no more shall treat with light,
Nor th’ other light of life continue long,
But yield to double darkness nigh at hand:
So much I feel my genial spirits droop,
My hopes all flat, nature within me seems
In all her functions weary of herself;
My race of glory run, and race of shame,
And I shall shortly be with them that rest.
Man. Believe not these suggestions which proceed
From anguish of the mind and humours black,
That mingle with thy fancy. I however
Must not omit a Fathers timely care
To prosecute the means of thy deliverance
By ransom or how else: mean while be calm,
And healing words from these thy friends admit.
Sam. O that torment should not be confin’d
To the bodies wounds and sores
With maladies innumerable
In heart, head, brest, and reins;
But must secret passage find
To th’ inmost mind,
There exercise all his fierce accidents,
And on her purest spirits prey,
As on entrails, joints, and limbs,
With answerable pains, but more intense,
‘Though void of corporal sense.
My griefs not only pain me
As a lingring disease,
But finding no redress, ferment and rage,
Nor less then wounds immedicable
Ranckle, and fester, and gangrene,
To black mortification.
Thoughts my Tormenters arm’d with deadly stings
Mangle my apprehensive tenderest parts,
Exasperate, exulcerate, and raise
Dire inflammation which no cooling herb
Or rnedcinal liquor can asswage,
Nor breath of Vernal Air from snowy Alp.
Sleep hath forsook and giv’n me o’re
To deaths benumming Opium as my only cure.
Thence faintings, swounings of despair,
And sense of Heav’ns desertion.
I was his nursling once and choice delight,
His destin’d from the womb,
Promisd by Heavenly message twice descending.
Under his special eie
Abstemious I grew up and thriv’d amain;
He led me on to mightiest deeds
Above the nerve of mortal arm
Against the uncircumcis’d, our enemies.
But now hath cast me off as never known,
And to those cruel enemies,
Whom I by his appointment had provok’t,
Left me all helpless with th’ irreparable loss
Of sight, reserv’d alive to be repeated
The subject of thir cruelty, or scorn.
Nor am I in the list of them that hope;
Hopeless are all my evils, all remediless;
This one prayer yet remains, might I be heard,
No long petition, speedy death,
The close of all my miseries, and the balm.
Chor: Many are the sayings of the wise
In antient and in modern books enroll’d;
Extolling Patience as the truest fortitude;
And to the bearing well of all calamities,
All chances incident to mans frail life
With studied argument, and much perswasion sought
Lenient of grief and anxious thought,
But with th’ afflicted in his pangs thir sound
Little prevails, or rather seems a tune,
Harsh, and of dissonant mood from his complaint,
Unless he feel within
Some sourse of consolation from above;
Secret refreshings, that repair his strength,
And fainting spirits uphold.
God of our Fathers, what is man!
That thou towards him with hand so various,
Or might I say contrarious,
Temperst thy providence through his short course,
Not evenly, as thou rul’st
The Angelic orders and inferiour creatures mute,
Irrational and brute.
Nor do I name of men the common rout,
That wandring loose about
Grow up and perish, as the summer flie,
Heads without name no more rememberd,
But such as thou hast solemnly elected,
With gifts and graces eminently adorn’d
To some great work, thy glory,
And peoples safety, which in part they effect:
Yet toward these thus dignifi’d, thou oft
Amidst thir highth of noon,
Changest thy countenance, and thy hand with no regard
Of highest favours past
From thee on them, or them to thee of service.
Nor only dost degrade them, or remit
To life obscur’d, which were a fair dismission,
But throw’st them lower then thou didst exalt them high,
Unseemly falls in human eie,
Too grievous for the trespass or omission,
Oft leav’st them to the hostile sword
Of Heathen and prophane, thir carkasses
To dogs and fowls a prey, or else captiv’d:
Or to the unjust tribunals, under change of times,
And condemnation of the ingrateful multitude.
If these they scape, perhaps in poverty
With sickness and disease thou bow’st them down,
Painful diseases and deform’d,
In crude old age;
Though not disordinate, yet causless suffring
The punishment of dissolute days, in fine,
Just or unjust, alike seem miserable,
For oft alike, both come to evil end.
So deal not with this once thy glorious Champion,
The Image of thy strength, and mighty minister.
What do I beg? how hast thou dealt already?
Behold him in this state calamitous, and turn
His labours, for thou canst, to peaceful end.
But who is this, what thing of Sea or Land?
Femal of sex it seems,
That so bedeckt, ornate, and gay,
Comes this way sailing
Like a stately Ship
Of Tarsus, bound for th’ Isles
Of Javan or Gadier
With all her bravery on, and tackle trim,
Sails fill’d, and streamers waving,
Courted by all the winds that hold them play,
An Amber sent of odorous perfume
Her harbinger, a damsel train behind;
Some rich Philistian Matron she may seem,
And now at nearer view, no other certain
Than Dalila thy wife.
Sam: My Wife, my Traytress, let her not come near me.
Cho: Yet on she moves, now stands & eies thee fixt,
About t’have spoke, but now, with head declin’d
Like a fair flower surcharg’d with dew, she weeps
And words addrest seem into tears dissolv’d,
Wetting the borders of her silk’n veil:
But now again she makes address to speak.
Dal: With doubtful feet and wavering resolution
I came, still dreading thy displeasure, Samson,
Which to have merited, without excuse,
I cannot but acknowledge; yet if tears
May expiate (though the fact more evil drew
In the perverse event then I foresaw)
My penance hath not slack’n'd, though my pardon
No way assur’d. But conjugal affection
Prevailing over fear, and timerous doubt
Hath led me on desirous to behold
Once more thy face, and know of thy estate.
If aught in my ability may serve
To light’n what thou suffer’st, and appease
Thy mind with what amends is in my power,
Though late, yet in some part to recompense
My rash but more unfortunate misdeed.
Sam: Out, out Hyaena; these are thy wonted arts,
And arts of every woman false like thee,
To break all faith, all vows, deceive, betray,
Then as repentant to submit, beseech,
And reconcilement move with feign’d remorse,
Confess, and promise wonders in her change,
Not truly penitent, but chief to try
Her husband, how far urg’d his patience bears,
His vertue or weakness which way to assail:
Then with more cautious and instructed skill
Again transgresses, and again submits;
That wisest and best men full oft beguil’d
With goodness principl’d not to reject
The penitent, but ever to forgive,
Are drawn to wear out miserable days,
Entangl’d with a poysnous bosom snake,
If not by quick destruction soon cut off
As I by thee, to Ages an example.
Dal: Yet hear me Samson; not that I endeavour
To lessen or extenuate my offence,
But that on th’ other side if it be weigh’d
By it self, with aggravations not surcharg’d,
Or else with just allowance counterpois’d
I may, if possible, thy pardon find
The easier towards me, or thy hatred less.
First granting, as I do, it was a weakness
In me, but incident to all our sex,
Curiosity, inquisitive, importune
Of secrets, then with like infirmity
To publish them, both common female faults:
Was it not weakness also to make known
For importunity, that is for naught,
Wherein consisted all thy strength and safety?
To what I did thou shewdst me first the way.
But I to enemies reveal’d, and should not.
Nor shouldst thou have trusted that to womans frailty
E’re I to thee, thou to thy self wast cruel.
Let weakness then with weakness come to parl
So near related, or the same of kind,
Thine forgive mine; that men may censure thine
The gentler, if severely thou exact not
More strength from me, then in thy self was found.
And what if Love, which thou interpret’st hate,
The jealousie of Love, powerful of sway
In human hearts, nor less in mine towards thee,
Caus’d what I did? I saw thee mutable
Of fancy, feard lest one day thou wouldst leave me
As her at Timna, sought by all means therefore
How to endear, and hold thee to me firmest:
No better way I saw then by importuning
To learn thy secrets, get into my power
Thy key of strength and safety: thou wilt say,
Why then reveal’d? I was assur’d by those
Who tempted me, that nothing was design’d
Against thee but safe custody, and hold:
That made for me, I knew that liberty
Would draw thee forth to perilous enterprises,
While I at home sate full of cares and fears
Wailing thy absence in my widow’d bed;
Here I should still enjoy thee day and night
Mine and Loves prisoner, not the Philistines,
Whole to my self, unhazarded abroad,
Fearless at home of partners in my love.
These reasons in Loves law have past for good,
Though fond and reasonless to some perhaps:
And Love hath oft, well meaning, wrought much wo,
Yet always pity or pardon hath obtain’d.
Be not unlike all others, not austere
As thou art strong, inflexible as steel.
If thou in strength all mortals dost exceed,
In uncompassionate anger do not so.
Sam: How cunningly the sorceress displays
Her own transgressions, to upbraid me mine!
That malice not repentance brought thee hither,
By this appears : I gave, thou say’st, th’ example,
I led the way; bitter reproach, but true,
I to my self was false e’re thou to me,
Such pardon therefore as I give my folly,
Take to thy wicked deed: which when thou seest
Impartial, self-severe, inexorable,
Thou wilt renounce thy seeking, and much rather
Confess it feign’d, weakness is thy excuse,
And I believe it, weakness to resist
Philistian gold: if weakness may excuse,
What Murtherer, what Traytor, Parricide,
Incestuous, Sacrilegious, but may plead it?
All wickedness is weakness : that plea therefore
With God or Man will gain thee no remission.
But Love constrain’d thee; call it furious rage
To satisfie thy lust: Love seeks to have Love;
My love how couldst thou hope, who tookst the way
To raise in me inexpiable hate,
Knowing, as needs I must, by thee betray’d ?
In vain thou striv’st to cover shame with shame,
Or by evasions thy crime uncoverst more.
Dal: Since thou determinst weakness for no plea
In man or woman, though to thy own condemning,
Hear what assaults I had, what snares besides,
What sieges girt me round, e’re I consented;
Which might have aw’d the best resolv’d of men,
The constantest to have yielded without blame.
It was not gold, as to my charge thou lay’st,
That wrought with me: thou know’st the Magistrates
And Princes of my countrey came in person,
Sollicited, commanded, threatn’d, urg’d,
Adjur’d by all the bonds of civil Duty
And of Religion, press’d how just it was,
How honourable, how glorious to entrap
A common enemy, who had destroy’d
Such numbers of our Nation : and the Priest
Was not behind, but ever at my ear,
Preaching how meritorious with the gods
It would be to ensnare an irreligious
Dishonourer of Dagon : what had I
To oppose against such powerful arguments?
Only my love of thee held long debate;
And combated in silence all these reasons
With hard contest: at length that grounded maxim
So rife and celebrated in the mouths
Of wisest men; that to the public good
Private respects must yield; with grave authority’
Took full possession of me and prevail’d;
Vertue, as I thought, truth, duty so enjoyning.
Sam: I thought where all thy circling wiles would end;
In feign’d Religion, smooth hypocrisie.
But had thy love, still odiously pretended,
Bin, as it ought, sincere, it would have taught thee
Far other reasonings, brought forth other deeds.
I before all the daughters of my Tribe
And of my Nation chose thee from among
My enemies, lov’d thee, as too well thou knew’st,
Too well, unbosom’d all my secrets to thee,
Not out of levity, but over-powr’d
By thy request, who could deny thee nothing;
Yet now am judg’d an enemy. Why then
Didst thou at first receive me for thy husband?
Then, as since then, thy countries foe profest:
Being once a wife, for me thou wast to leave
Parents and countrey; nor was I their subject,
Nor under their protection but my own,
Thou mine, not theirs: if aught against my life
Thy countrey sought of thee, it sought unjustly,
Against the law of nature, law of nations,
No more thy countrey, but an impious crew
Of men conspiring to uphold thir state
By worse than hostile deeds, violating the ends
For which our countrey is a name so dear;
Not therefore to be obey’d. But zeal mov’d thee;
To please thy gods thou didst it; gods unable
To acquit themselves and prosecute their foes
But by ungodly deeds, the contradiction
Of their own deity, Gods cannot be:
Less therefore to be pleas’d, obey’d, or fear’d,
These false pretexts and varnish’d colours failing,
Bare in thy guilt how foul must thou appear?
Dal: In argument with men a woman ever
Goes by the worse, whatever be her cause.
Sam: For want of words no doubt, or lack of breath,
Witness when I was worried with thy peals.
Dal: I was a fool, too rash, and quite mistaken
In what I thought would have succeeded best.
Let me obtain forgiveness of thee, Samson,
Afford me place to shew what recompence
Towards thee I intend for what I have misdone,
Misguided: only what remains past cure
Bear not too sensibly, nor still insist
To afflict thy self in vain: though sight be lost,
Life yet hath many solaces, enjoy’d
Where other senses want not their delights
At home in leisure and domestic ease,
Exempt from many a care and chance to which
Eye-sight exposes daily men abroad.
I to the Lords will intercede, not doubting
Thir favourable ear, that I may fetch thee
From forth this loathsom prison-house, to abide
With me, where my redoubl’d love and care
With nursing diligence, to me glad office,
May ever tend about thee to old age
With all things grateful chear’d, and so suppli’d,
That what by me thou hast lost thou least shalt miss.
Sam: No, no, of my condition take no care;
It fits not; thou and I long since are twain;
Nor think me so unwary or accurst
To bring my feet again into the snare
Where once I have been caught; I know thy trains
Though dearly to my cost, thy ginns, and toyls;
Thy fair enchanted cup, and warbling charms
No more on me have power, their force is null’d,
So much of Adders wisdom I have learn’t
To fence my ear against thy sorceries.
If in my flower of youth and strength, when all men
Lov’d, honour’d, fear’d me, thou alone could hate me
Thy Husband, slight me, sell me, and forgo me;
How wouldst thou use me now, blind, and thereby
Deceiveable, in most things as a child
Helpless, thence easily contemn’d, and scorn’d,
And last neglected? How wouldst thou insult
When I must live uxorious to thy will
In perfet thraldom, how again betray me,
Bearing my words and doings to the Lords
To gloss upon, and censuring, frown or smile?
This Gaol I count the house of Liberty
To thine whose doors my feet shall never enter.
Dal: Let me approach at least, and touch thy hand.
Sam: Not for thy life, lest fierce remembrance wake
My sudden rage to tear thee joint by joint.
At distance I forgive thee, go with that;
Bewail thy falshood, and the pious works
It hath brought forth to make thee memorable
Among illustrious women, faithful wives:
Cherish thy hast’n'd widowhood with the gold
Of Matrimonial treason: so farewel.
Dal: I see thou art implacable, more deaf
To prayers, then winds and seas, yet winds to seas
Are reconcil’d at length, and Sea to Shore:
Thy anger, unappeasable, still rages,
Eternal tempest never to be calm’d.
Why do I humble thus my self, and suing
For peace, reap nothing but repulse and hate?
Bid go with evil omen and the brand
Of infamy upon my name denounc’t?
To mix with thy concernments I desist
Henceforth, nor too much disapprove my own.
Fame if not double-fac’t is double-mouth’d,
And with contrary blast proclaims most deeds,
On both his wings, one black, th’ other white,
Bears greatest names in his wild aerie flight.
My name perhaps among the Circumcis’d
In Dan, in Judah, and the bordering Tribes,
To all posterity may stand defam’d,
With malediction mention’d, and the blot
Of falshood most unconjugal traduc’t.
But in my countrey where I most desire,
In Ecron, Gaza, Asdod, and in Gath
I shall be nam’d among the famousest
Of Women, sung at solemn festivals,
Living and dead recorded, who to save
Her countrey from a fierce destroyer, chose
Above the faith of wedlock-bands, my tomb
With odours visited and annual flowers.
Not less renown’d then in Mount Ephraim,
Jael who with inhospitable guile
Smote Sisera sleeping through the Temples nail’d.
Nor shall I count it hainous to enjoy
The public marks of honour and reward
Conferr’d upon me, for the piety
Which to my countrey I was judg’d to have shewn.
At this who ever envies or repines
I leave him to his lot, and like my own.
Chor: She’s gone, a manifest Serpent by her sting
Discover’d in the end, till now conceal’d.
Sam: So let her go, God sent her to debase me,
And aggravate my folly who committed
To such a viper his most sacred trust
Of secresie, my safety, and my life.
Chor: Yet beauty, though injurious, hath strange power,
After offence returning, to regain
Love once possest, nor can be easily
Repuls’t, without much inward passion felt
And secret sting of amorous remorse.
Sam: Love-quarrels oft in pleasing concord end,
Not wedlock-trechery endangering life.
Chor: It is not vertue, wisdom, valour, wit,
Strength, comliness of shape, or amplest merit
That womans love can win or long inherit;
But what it is, hard is to say,
Harder to hit,
(Which way soever men refer it)
Much like thy riddle, Samson, in one day
Or seven, though one should musing sit;
If any of these or all, the Timnian bride
Had not so soon preferr’d
Thy Paranymph, worthless to thee compar’d,
Successour in thy bed,
Nor both so loosly disally’d
Thir nuptials, nor this last so trecherously
Had shorn the fatal harvest of thy head.
Is it for that such outward ornament
Was lavish’t on thir Sex, that inward gifts
Were left for hast unfinish’t, judgment scant,
Capacity not rais’d to apprehend
Or value what is best
In choice, but oftest to affect the wrong?
Or was too much of self-love mixt,
Of constancy no root infixt,
That either they love nothing, or not long?
What e’re it be, to wisest men and best
Seeming at first all heavenly under virgin veil,
Soft, modest, meek, demure,
Once join’d, the contrary she proves, a thorn
Intestin, far within defensive arms
A cleaving mischief, in his way to vertue
Adverse and turbulent, or by her charms
Draws him awry enslav’d
With dotage, and his sense deprav’d
To folly and shameful deeds which ruin ends.
What Pilot so expert but needs must wreck
Embarqu’d with such a Stears-mate at the Helm?
Favour’d of Heav’n who finds
One vertuous rarely found,
That in domestic good combines:
Happy that house! his way to peace is smooth:
But vertue which breaks through all opposition,
And all temptation can remove,
Most shines and most is acceptable above.
Therefore Gods universal Law
Gave to the man despotic power
Over his female in due awe,
Nor from that right to part an hour,
Smile she or lowre:
So shall he least confusion draw
On his whole life, not sway’d
By female usurpation, nor dismay’d.
But had we best retire, I see a storm?
Sam: Fair days have oft contracted wind and rain.
Chor: But this another kind of tempest brings.
Sam: Be less abstruse, my riddling days are past.
Chor: Look now for no inchanting voice, nor fear
The bait of honied words; a rougher tongue
Draws hitherward, I know him by his stride,
The Giant Harapha of Gath, his look
Haughty as is his pile high-built and proud.
Comes he in peace? what wind hath blown him hither
I less conjecture then when first I saw
The sumptuous Dalila floating this way:
His habit carries peace, his brow defiance.
Sam: Or peace or not, alike to me he comes.
Chor: His fraught we soon shall know, he now arrives.
Har: I come not Samson, to condole thy chance,
As these perhaps, yet wish it had not been,
Though for no friendly intent. I am of Gath,
Men call me Harapha, of stock renown’d
As Og or Anak and the Emims old
That Kiriathaim held, thou knowst me now
If thou at all art known. Much I have heard
Of thy prodigious might and feats perform’d
Incredible to me, in this displeas’d,
That I was never present on the place
Of those encounters, where we might have tri’d
Each others force in camp or listed field:
And now am come to see of whom such noise
Hath walk’d about, and each limb to survey,
If thy appearance answer loud report.
Sam: The way to know were not to see but taste.
Har: Dost thou already single me; I thought
Gives and the Mill had tam’d thee? O that fortune
Had brought me to the field where thou art fam’d
To have wrought such wonders with an Asses Jaw;
I should have forc’d thee soon with other arms,
Or left thy carkass where the Ass lay thrown:
So had the glory of Prowess been recover’d
To Palestine, won by a Philistine
From the unforeskinn’d race, of whom thou hear’st
The highest name for valiant Acts, that honour
Certain to have won by mortal duel from thee,
I lose, prevented by thy eyes put out.
Sam: Boast not of what thou wouldst have done, but do
What then thou would’st, thou seest it in thy hand.
Har: To combat with a blind man I disdain
And thou hast need much washing to be toucht.
Sam: Such usage as your honourable Lords
Afford me assassinated and betray’d,
Who durst not with thir whole united powers
In fight withstand me single and unarm’d,
Nor in the house with chamber Ambushes
Close-banded durst attaque me, no not sleeping,
Till they had hir’d a woman with their gold
Breaking her Marriage Faith to circumvent me.
Therefore without feign’d shifts let be assign’d
Some narrow place enclos’d, where sight may give thee.
Or rather flight, no great advantage on me;
Then put on all thy gorgeous arms, thy Helmet
And Brigandine of brass, thy broad Habergeon.
Vant-brass and Greves, and Gauntlet, add thy Spear
A Weavers beam, and seven-times-folded shield.
I only with an Oak’n staff will meet thee,
And raise such out-cries on thy clatter’d Iron,
Which long shall not with-hold mee from thy head,
That in a little time while breath remains thee,
Thou oft shalt wish thy self at Gath to boast
Again in safety what thou wouldst have done
To Samson, but shalt never see Gath more.
Har: Thou durst not thus disparage glorious arms
Which greatest Heroes have in battel worn,
Thir ornament and safety, had not spells
And black enchantments, some Magicians Art
Arm’d thee or charm’d thee strong, which thou from Heaven
Feigndst at thy birth was giv’n thee in thy hair,
Where strength can least abide, though all thy hairs
Were bristles rang’d like those that ridge the back
Of chaf’t wild Boars, or ruffl’d Porcupines.
Sam: I know no Spells, use no forbidden Arts;
My trust is in the living God who gave me
At my Nativity this strength, diffus’d
No less through all my sinews, joints and bones,
Then thine, while I preserv’d these locks unshorn,
The pledge of my unviolated vow.
For proof hereof, if Dagon be thy god,
Go to his Temple, invocate his aid
With solemnest devotion, spread before him
How highly it concerns his glory now
To frustrate and dissolve these Magic spells,
Which I to be the power of Israel’s God
Avow, and challenge Dagon to the test,
Offering to combat thee his Champion bold,
With th’ utmost of his Godhead seconded:
Then thou shalt see, or rather to thy sorrow
Soon feel, whose God is strongest, thine or mine.
Har: Presume not on thy God, what e’re he be,
Thee he regards not, owns not, hath cut off
Quite from his people, and delivered up
Into thy Enemies hand, permitted them
To put out both thine eyes, and fetter’d send thee
Into the common Prison, there to grind
Among the Slaves and Asses thy comrades,
As good for nothing else, no better service
With those, thy boyst’rous locks, no worthy match
For valour to assail, nor by the sword
Of noble Warriour, so to stain his honour,
But by the Barbers razor best subdu’d.
Sam: All these indignities, for such they are
From thine, these evils I deserve and more,
Acknowledge them from God inflicted on me
Justly, yet despair not of his final pardon
Whose ear is ever open; and his eye
Gracious to re-admit the suppliant;
In confidence whereof I once again
Defie thee to the trial of mortal fight,
By combat to decide whose god is God,
Thine or whom I with Israel’s Sons adore.
Har: Fair honour that thou dost thy God, in trusting
He will accept thee to defend his cause,
A Murtherer, a Revolter, and a Robber.
Sam: Tongue-doubtie Giant, how dost thou prove me these?
Har: Is not thy Nation subject to our Lords?
Thir Magistrates confest it, when they took thee
As a League-breaker and deliver’d bound
Into our hands: for hadst thou not committed
Notorious murder on those thirty men
At Askalon, who never did thee harm,
Then like a Robber stripdst them of thir robes?
The Philistines, when thou hadst broke the league,
Went up with armed powers thee only seeking,
To others did no violence nor spoil.
Sam: Among the Daughters of the Philistines
I chose a Wife, which argu’d me no foe;
And in your City held my Nuptial Feast:
But your ill-meaning Politician Lords,
Under pretence of Bridal friends and guests,
Appointed to await me thirty spies,
Who threatning cruel death constrain’d the bride
To wring from me and tell to them my secret,
That solv’d the riddle which I had propos’d.
When I perceiv’d all set on enmity,
As on my enemies, where ever chanc’d,
I us’d hostility, and took thir spoil
To pay my underminers in thir coin.
My Nation was subjected to your Lords.
It was the force of Conquest; force with force
Is well ejected when the Conquer’d can.
But I a private person, whom my Countrey
As a league-breaker gave up bound, presum’d
Single Rebellion and did Hostile Acts.
I was no private but a person rais’d
With strength sufficient and command from Heav’n
To free my Countrey; if their servile minds
Me their Deliverer sent would not receive,
But to thir Masters gave me up for nought,
Th’ unworthier they; whence to this day they serve.
I was to do my part from Heav’n assign’d,
And had perform’d it if my known offence
Had not disabl’d me, not all your force:
These shifts refuted, answer thy appellant
Though by his blindness maim’d for high attempts,
Who now defies thee thrice to single fight,
As a petty enterprise of small enforce.
Har: With thee a Man condemn’d, a Slave enrol’d,
Due by the Law to capital punishment?
To fight with thee no man of arms will deign.
Sam: Cam’st thou for this, vain boaster, to survey me,
To descant on my strength, and give thy verdit?
Come nearer, part not hence so slight inform’d;
But take good heed my hand survey not thee.
Har: O Baal-zebub! can my ears unus’d
Hear these dishonours, and not render death?
Sam: No man with-holds thee, nothing from thy hand
Fear I incurable; bring up thy van,
My heels are fetter’d, but my fist is free.
Har: This insolence other kind of answer fits.
Sam: Go baffl’d coward, lest I run upon thee,
Though in these chains, bulk without spirit vast,
And with one buffet lay thy structure low,
Or swing thee in the Air, then dash thee down
To the hazard of thy brains and shatter’d sides.
Har: By Astaroth e’re long thou shalt lament
These braveries in Irons loaden on thee.
Chor: His Giantship is gone somewhat crestfall’n,
Stalking with less unconsci’nable strides,
And lower looks, but in a sultrie chafe.
Sam: I dread him not, nor all his Giant-brood,
Though Fame divulge him Father of five Sons
All of Gigantic size, Goliah chief.
Chor: He will directly to the Lords, I fear,
And with malitious counsel stir them up
Some way or other yet further to afflict thee.
Sam: He must allege some cause, and offer’d fight
Will not dare mention, lest a question rise
Whether he durst accept the offer or not,
And that he durst not plain enough appear’d.
Much more affliction then already felt
They cannot well impose, nor I sustain;
If they intend advantage of my labours
The work of many hands, which earns my keeping
With no small profit daily to my owners.
But come what will, my deadliest foe will prove
My speediest friend, by death to rid me hence,
The worst that he can give, to me the best.
Yet so it may fall out, because thir end
Is hate, not help to me, it may with mine
Draw thir own ruin who attempt the deed.
Chor: Oh how comely it is and how reviving
To the Spirits of just men long opprest!
When God into the hands of thir deliverer
Puts invincible might
To quell the mighty of the Earth, th’ oppressour,
The brute and boist’rous force of violent men
Hardy and industrious to support
Tyrannic power, but raging to pursue
The righteous and all such as honour Truth;
He all thir Ammunition
And feats of War defeats
With plain Heroic magnitude of mind
And celestial vigour arm’d,
Thir Armories and Magazins contemns,
Renders them useless, while
With winged expedition
Swift as the lightning glance he executes
His errand on the wicked, who surpris’d
Lose thir defence distracted and amaz’d.
But patience is more oft the exercise
Of Saints, the trial of thir fortitude,
Making them each his own Deliverer,
And Victor over all
That tyrannie or fortune can inflict,
Either of these is in thy lot,
Samson, with might endu’d
Above the Sons of men; but sight bereav’d
May chance to number thee with those
Whom Patience finally must crown.
This Idols day hath bin to thee no day of rest,
Labouring thy mind
More then the working day thy hands,
And yet perhaps more trouble is behind.
For I descry this way
Some other tending, in his hand
A Scepter or quaint staff he bears,
Comes on amain, speed in his look.
By his habit I discern him now
A Public Officer, and now at hand.
His message will be short and voluble.
Off: Ebrews, the Pris’ner Samson here I seek.
Chor: His manacles remark him, there he sits.
Off: Samson, to thee our Lords thus bid me say;
This day to Dagon is a solemn Feast,
With Sacrifices, Triumph, Pomp, and Games;
Thy strength they know surpassing human rate,
And now some public proof thereof require
To honour this great Feast, and great Assembly;
Rise therefore with all speed and come along,
Where I will see thee heartn’d and fresh clad
To appear as fits before th’ illustrious Lords.
Sam: Thou knowst I am an Ebrew, therefore tell them,
Our Law forbids at thir Religious Rites
My presence; for that cause I cannot come.
Off: This answer, be assur’d, will not content them.
Sam: Have they not Sword-players, and ev’ry sort
Of Gymnic Artists, Wrestlers, Riders, Runners,
Juglers and Dancers, Antics, Mummers, Mimics,
But they must pick me out with shackles tir’d,
And over-labour’d at thir publick Mill,
To make them sport with blind activity?
Do they not seek occasion of new quarrels
On my refusal to distress me more,
Or make a game of my calamities?
Return the way thou cam’st, I will not come.
Off: Regard thy self, this will offend them highly.
Sam: My self? my conscience and internal peace.
Can they think me so broken, so debas’d
With corporal servitude, that my mind ever
Will condescend to such absurd commands?
Although thir drudge, to be thir fool or jester,
And in my midst of sorrow and heart-grief
To shew them feats, and play before thir god,
The worst of all indignities, yet on me
Joyn’d with extream contempt? I will not come.
Off: My message was impos’d on me with speed,
Brooks no delay: is this thy resolution?
Sam: So take it with what speed thy message needs.
Off : I am sorry what this stoutness will produce.
Sam: Perhaps thou shalt have cause to sorrow indeed.
Chor: Consider, Samson; matters now are strain’d
Up to the highth, whether to bold or break;
He’s gone, and who knows how he may report
Thy words by adding fuel to the flame?
Expect another message more imperious,
More Lordly thund’ring then thou well wilt bear.
Sam: Shall I abuse this Consecrated gift
Of strength, again returning with my hair
After my great transgression, so requite
Favour renew’d, and add a greater sin
By prostituting holy things to Idols;
A Nazarite in place abominable
Vaunting my strength in honour to thir Dagon?
Besides, how vile, contemptible, ridiculous,
What act more execrably unclean, prophane?
Chor: Yet with this strength thou serv’st the Philistines,
Idolatrous, uncircumcis’d, unclean.
Sam: Not in thir Idol-worship, but by labour
Honest and lawful to deserve my food
Of those who have me in thir civil power.
Chor: Where the heart joins not, outward acts defile not
Sam: Where outward force constrains, the sentence holds:
But who constrains me to the Temple of Dagon,
Not dragging? the Philistian Lords command.
Commands are no constraints. If I obey them,
I do it freely; venturing to displease
God for the fear of Man, and Man prefer,
Set God behind: which in his jealousie
Shall never, unrepented, find forgiveness.
Yet that he may dispense with me or thee
Present in Temples at Idolatrous Rites
For some important cause, tho