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But peace! I must not quarrel with the will
Light, the prime work of God, to me is extinct,
Annulled, which might in part my grief have eased.
Of man or worm, the vilest here excel me: ✓ They creep, yet see; I, dark in light, exposed
To daily fraud, contempt, abuse, and wrong,
In power of others, never in my own—
Without all hope of day!
O first-created beam, and thou great Word,
And silent as the Moon,
When she deserts the night,
Hid in her vacant interlunar cave.
Since light so necessary is to life,
That light is in the soul,
She all in every part, why was the sight
To such a tender ball as the eye confined,
Buried, yet not exempt,
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
Chor. This, this is he; softly a while;
O change beyond report, thought, or belief!
As one past hope, abandoned,
And by himself given over,
In slavish habit, ill-fitted weeds
O'er-worn and soiled,
Or do my eyes misrepresent? Can this be he,
That heroic, that renowned,
Irresistible Samson? whom, unarmed,
No strength of man, or fiercest wild beast, could withstand;
Who tore the lion as the lion tears the kid;
Made arms ridiculous, useless the forgery
Of brazen shield and spear, the hammered cuirass,
But safest he who stood aloof,
Or grovelling soiled their crested helmets in the dust.
When insupportably his foot advanced,
In scorn of their proud arms and warlike tools,
Spurned them to death by troops. The bold Ascalonite
Thy bondage or lost sight,
Prison within prison
Thou art become (O worst imprisonment!)
The dungeon of thyself; thy soul
(Which men enjoying sight oft without cause complain) Imprisoned now indeed,
In real darkness of the body dwells,
Shut up from outward light
To incorporate with gloomy night;
The jaw of a dead ass, his sword of bone,
A thousand foreskins fell, the flower of Palestine,
In Ramath-lechi, famous to this day:
Then by main force pulled up, and on his shoulders bore,
The gates of Azza, post and massy 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 Heaven. 150 Which shall I first bewail
For inward light, alas!
Since man on earth, unparalleled,
The rarer thy example stands,
By how much from the top of wondrous glory,
To lowest pitch of abject fortune thou art fallen.
Whom long descent of birth,
Or the sphere of fortune, raises;
But thee, whose strength, while virtue was her mate,
Sams. I hear the sound of words; their sense the air Dissolves unjointed ere it reach my ear.
Chor. He speaks: let us draw nigh. Matchless in might, The glory late of Israel, now the grief!
We come, thy friends and neighbours not unknown,
To visit or bewail thee; or, if better,
Salve to thy sores: apt words have power to swage
And are as balm to festered wounds.
Sams. Your coming, friends, revives me; for I learn
Now of my own experience, not by talk,
How counterfeit a coin they are who 'friends'
I would be understood). In prosperous days
Yet that which was the worst now least afflicts me,
Blindness; for, had I sight, confused with shame,
Who hast of sorrow thy full load besides.
Yet, truth to say, I oft have heard men wonder
Sams. The first I saw at Timna, and she pleased