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Manoah, the Father of Samson.
Dalila, his Wife.
Harapha of Gath.
Chorus of Danites.
The Scene before the Prison in Gaza.
Samson, [Attendant leading him.]
A LITTLE onward lend thy guiding hand
To Dagon their sea-idol, and forbid
Their superstition yields me; hence with leave
Retiring from the popular noise, I seek
This unfrequented place to find some ease,
From restless thoughts, that, like a deadly swarm
His God-like presence, and from some great act
As of a person separate to God,
Design'd for great exploits; if I must die
With this heav'n-gifted strength? O glorious strength,
Lower than bond-slave! Promise was that I
Had been fulfill'd but through mine own default,
By weakest subtleties, not made to rule,
But to subserve where wisdom bears command!
Light, the prime work of God, to me' is extinct,
And all her various objects of delight
Of man or worm; the vilest here excel me;
Without all hope of day!
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?
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 easy to be quench'd?
And not, as feeling, through all parts diffus'd,
That she might look at will through every pore?
Then had I not been thus exil'd from light,
As in the land of darkness, yet in light,
By privilege 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 steering this way;
Chor. This, this is he; softly a while,
Let us not break in upon him:
O change beyond report, thought, or belief!
As one past hope, abandon'd,
O'er-worn and soil'd;
Or do my eyes misrepresent? Can this be he,
Irresistible Samson? whom unarm'd
No strength of man or fiercest wild beast could with
Who tore the lion, as the lion tears the kid;
Ran on embattled armies clad in iron,
And, weaponless himself,
Made arms ridiculous, useless the forgery
Of brazen shield and spear, the hammer'd cuirass,
But safest he who stood aloof,
When insupportably his foot advane'd,
In scorn of their proud arms and warlike tools, Spurn'd them to death by troops. The bold Ascalo
Fled from his lion ramp; old warriors turn'd
Their plated backs under his heel;
Or, grov'ling, soil'd their crested helmets in the dust.
Then with what trivial weapon came to hand,
A thousand fore-skins fell, the flow'r of Palestine,