Samson

" BRING the captive from the prison, "
Quoth the lordly Philistine,
" To-day we hold high festival
With banquet, and with wine.
Call all Philistia's nobles,
From the sea to the mountain gorge,
Call the maiden from the millstone,
The warrior from the forge;

" From all the rich corn country
'Twixt the hills, and the sandy plain,
Where five great cities ride like ships
Upon a golden main,
From Gaza where the fish-god
Hath many honour'd shrines,
To Ashdod, and to Askelon,
And Jaffa on her wave-wash'd throne,
And Ekron girt with vines;

" From fair pomegranate gardens
Red as the blushing east,
From thickets hung with oranges,
Like gold-lamps at a feast,
Come to the hall of Dagon!
Come throng his temple court!
To-day we bring the strong man forth
To make the people sport. " —

The eagle cast a shadow
As he sail'd to and fro,
On far Lekiah's limestone cliff,
And on the sward below; —
The white clouds flung strange figures
On the corn, and the waving grass,

While the blind man ground in his prison-house,
Bound with his chains of brass.
But shades and lights more wonderful
Were in that lone dark place,
For the shadow of his own great deeds
Was on the blind man's face.

At Timnath in the vineyards
He heard the lion roar,
And the Lord's Spirit mightily
Came on him as of yore;
Three thousand warriors bore him down
From Etam's rock again,
And he cast away their cords like flax,
And slew his thousand men.

Once more he bore the Gazite gates
Up Hebron's weary hill,
And at his side a woman's voice
Was sounding, sounding still.
And ever while his heavy hand
Ground in the prison drear,
" The Philistines be upon thee "
Was sounding in his ear.

In the chambers of its darkness,
When the Christian soul lies low,
Counting o'er his former graces;
And the spiritual foe

Shows his armies without number,
Shows his weapons keenly tried,
Let him look up through his blindness,
For the Lord is on his side.
When the wicked triumph greatly,
And the Dagon of their sin
Hath conquer'd both with guile and sword,
Cast down the servants of the Lord
And quench'd good thoughts within;
Then let them tremble where they stand,
For the Lord's vengeance is at hand,
And He is sure to win.

Come forth, thou blind old champion!
The people call thee now,
The day of wrath is come at length;
For lo! the seven locks of thy strength
Show grisly on thy brow.
A glorious death thou com'st to die,
A nation's wail thy funeral cry;
Lay hand upon the pillars twain,
And as they lean, and bend, and fall,
Lie down beneath the crushing wall,
Upon thy thousands slain.
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