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Didst thou at first receive me for thy husband, Then, as since then, thy country's foe profess'd? Being once a wife, for me thou wast to leave 835 Parents and country; nor was I their subject, Nor under their protection, but my own, Thou mine, not theirs; if aught against my life Thy country sought of thee, it sought unjustly, Against the law of nature, law of nations; 890 No more thy country, but an impious crew , Of men conspiring to uphold their state By worse than hostile deeds, violating the ends For which our country is a name so dear; Not therefore to be obey'd. But zeal mov’d thee; 895 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, 900 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. Sams. For want of words no doubt, or lack of breath;905 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. Tet me obtain forgiveness of thee, Samson; Afford me place to show what recompense 910 Towards thee I intend for what I have misdone, Misguided; only what remains past cure Bear not too sensibly, nor still insist To afflict thyself 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 920 Their favourable ear, that I may fetch thee From forth this loathsome prison-house to abide With me, where my redoubled love and care With nursing diligence, to me glad office, May ever tend about thee to old age, 925 With all things grateful cheer'd, and so supplied, That, what by me thou hast lost, thou least shalt miss. Sams. No, no; of my condition take no care; It fits not; thou and I long since are twain: Nor think me so unwary or accurs'd, 930 To bring my feet again into the snare Where once I have been caught: I know thy trains, Though dearly to my eost, thy gins, and toils; Thy fair enchanted cup, and warbling charms, No more on me have pow'r; their force is null'd; 935 So much of adder's wisdom I have learn'd, 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 couldst hate me
Thy husband, slight me, sell me, and forego me; 940
How wouldst thou use me now, blind, and thereby
Deceivable, 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 945
In perfect thraldom P how again betray me,
Bearing my words and doings to the lords
To gloss upon, and, censuring, frown or smile?
This jail I count the house of liberty
To thine, whose doors my feet shall never enter. 950
Dal. Let me approach at least, and touch thy hand.
Sams. 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 falsehood, and the pious works 955
It hath brought forth to make thee memorable
Among illustrious women, faithful wives!
Cherish thy hasten’d widowhood with the gold
Of matrimonial treason! so farewell.
Dal. I see thou art implacable, more deaf 96.O
To pray'rs than 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 calin'd.
Why do I humble thus myself, and, suing 965
For peace, read nothing but repulse and hate;
Bid go with evil omen, and the brand
Of infamy upon my name denounc'd?
To mix with thy concernment I desist
Henceforth, nor too much disapprove my own. 970
Fame, if no double-fac'd, is double-mouth'd,
And with contráry blast proclaims most deeps;
On both his wings, one black, the other white,
Bears greatest names in his wild aery slight.
My name perhaps among the circumcis'd 975
In Dan, in Judah, and the bordering tribes,
To all posterity may stand defam’d,
With malediction mention'd and the blot,
Of falsehood most unconjugal traduc’d.
But in my country, where I most desire, 980
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 country from a fierce destroyer, chose 985
Above the faith of wedlock-bands; my tomb
With odours visited and annual flowers;
Not less renown'd than in mount Ephraim
Jael, who with inhospitable guile
Smoto Sisera sleeping, through the temples nail'd. 990
Nor shall I count it heinous to enjoy
The public marks of humour and reward,
Conferr'd upon me, for the piety
Which to my country I was judg’d to have shown.
At this whoever envies or repines; 995
I leave him to his lot, and like my own. [Exit.
Chor. She's gone, a manifest serpent by her sting
iscover'd in the end, till now conceal’d.
Sams. So let her go; God sent her to debase me,
And aggravate my folly, who committed 1000
To such a viper his most sacred trust
Of secrecy, my safety, and my life.
Chor. Yet beauty, though injurious, hath strange power,
After offence returning, to regain
Love once possess'd, nor can be easily 1005
Repuls'd without much inward passion felt,
And secret sting of amorous remorse.
Sams. Love-quarrels oft in pleasing concord end,
Not wedlock-treachery endang'ring life.
Chor. It is not virtue, wisdom, valour, wit, 1010
Strength, comeliness of shape, or amplest merit
That woman's love can win, or long inherit;
But what it is, hard is to say,
Harder to hit
(Which way soever men refer it), 1015
Much like thy riddle, Samson, in one day
Or sev'n, 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, 1020
Successor in thy bed,
Nor both so loosely disallied
Their nuptials, nor this last so treacherously
Had shorn the fatal harvest of thy head.
Is it for that such outward ornament 1025
Was lavish'd on their sex, that inward gifts
Were left for haste unfinish'd, judgment scant,
Capacity not rais'd to apprehend
Or value what is best
In choice, but oftest to affect the wrong? 1030
Or was too much of self-love mix’d,
Of constancy no root infix’d,
That either they love nothing, or not long?
Whate'er it be, to wisest men and best
Seeming at first all heav'nly under virgin veil, 1035
Soft, modest, meek, demure,
Once join'd, the contrary she proves, a thorn
Intestine, far within defensive arms
A cleaving mischief, in his way to virtue
Adverse and turbulent; or by her charms 1040
Draws him awry enslav'd
With dotage, and his sense deprav'd
To folly aud shameful deeds which ruin ends.
What pilot so expert but needs must wreck
Imbark'd with such a steers-mate at the helpm P 1045
Favour'd of Heav'n, who finds
One virtuous, rarely found,
That in domestic good combines:
Happy that house! his way to peace is smooth:
But virtue, which breaks through all opposition, 1050
And all temptation can remove,
Most shines, and most is acceptable above.
Therefore God's universal law
Gave to the man despotic power
Over his female in due awe, 1055
Nor from that right to part an hour,
Smile she or lour:
So shall he least confusion draw
On his whole life, not sway’d
By female usurpation, or dismay’d. 1060
But had we best retire? I see a storm.
Sams. Fair days have oft contracted wind and rain.
Chor. But this another kind of tempest brings.
Sams. Be less abstruse; my riddling days are past.
Chor. Look now for no enchanting voice, nor fear 1065
The bait of honey'd 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 1070
I less conjecture, than when first I saw
The sumptuous Dalila floating this way:
His habit carries peace, his brow defiance.
Sams. Or peace, or not, alike to me he comes.
Chor. His fraught we soon shall know, he now
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 0g, or Anak, and the Emims old 1080 That Kiriathaim held; thou know'st 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 1085 Of those encounters, where we might have tried Each other's 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. 1090
Sams. The way to know were not to see but taste.
Har. Dost thou already single me? I thought Gyves 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 ass's jaw 1095 I should have forc'd thee soon with other arms, Or left thy carcass 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 bear'st 1100
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.
Sams. Boast not of what thou wouldst have done, but do
What then thou wouldst; thou seest it in thy hand. 1105
* Har. To combat with a blind man I disdain,
And thou hast need much washing to be touch'd.
Sams. Such usage as your honourable lords
Afford me, assassinated and betray'd,
Who durst not with their whole united powers 1110
In fight withstand me single and unarm’d,
Nor in the house with chamber-ambushes
Close-banded durst attack me, no, not sleeping,
Till they had hir'd a woman with their gold,
Breaking her marriage—faith, to circumvent me. 1115
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, 1120
Want-brace and greaves, and gauntlet, add thy spear,
A weaver's beam, and seven-times-folded shield;
I only with an oaken staff will meet thee,
And raise such outcries on thy clatter'd iron,
Which long shall not withhold me from thy head, 1125
That in a little time, while breath remains thee,
Thou oft shalt wish thyself 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, 1130
Which greatest heroes have in battle worn,
Their ornament and safety, had not spells
And black enchantments, some magician's art, -
Arm'd thee or charm'd thee strong, which thou from heaven
Feign'dst at thy hirth was giv'n thee in thy hair, , 1135
Where strength can least abide, though all thy hairs
Were bristles rang'd like those that ridge the back
Of chaf'd wild boars, or ruffled porcupines.
Sams. I know no spells, use no forbidden arts;
My trust is in the living God, who gave me 1140
At my nativity this strength, diffus'd
No less through all my sinews, joints, and bones,
Than thine, while I preserv'd these locks unshorn,
The pledge of my unviolated vow.
For proof hereof, if Dagon be thy god, 1145
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 1150
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,