Samson Agonistes

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Samson Agonistes (Greek: "Samson the agonist") is a work of blank verse tragedy by John Milton, published in 1671.


  • 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.
    • Lines 38-42
  • O dark, dark, dark, amid the blaze of noon,
    Irrecoverably dark, total eclipse
    Without all hope of day!
    • Lines 80-82.
  • The sun to me is dark
    And silent as the moon,
    When she deserts the night,
    Hid in her vacant interlunar cave.
    • Lines 86-89.
  • To live a life half dead, a living death.
    • Line 100.
  • Ran on embattled armies clad in iron,
    And, weaponless himself,
    Made arms ridiculous.
    • Lines 129-131.
  • Apt words have power to suage
    The tumors of a troubled mind.
    • Lines 184-185.
  • Wisest men
    Have erred, and by bad women been deceived.
    • Lines 210-211.
  • Just are the ways of God,
    And justifiable to men;
    Unless there be who think not God at all.
    • Lines 293-295.
  • What boots it at one gate to make defense,
    And at another to let in the foe?
    • Lines 560-561.
  • My race of glory run, and race of shame,
    And I shall shortly be with them at rest.
    • Lines 597-598.
  • But who is this, what thing of sea or land?
    Female of sex it seems,
    That so bedecked, ornate, and gay,
    Comes this way sailing
    Like a stately ship
    Of Tarsus, bound for th' isles
    Of Javan or Gadire,
    With all her bravery on, and tackle trim,
    Sails filled, and streamers waving,
    Courted by all the winds that hold them play;
    An amber scent of odorous perfume
    Her harbinger?
    • Lines 710-721.
  • Dalila: In argument with men a woman ever
    Goes by the worse, whatever be her cause.
    Samson: For want of words, no doubt, or lack of breath!
    • Lines 903-905.
  • Fame, if not double-faced, is double-mouthed,
    And with contrary blast proclaims most deeds;
    On both his wings, one black, the other white,
    Bears greatest names in his wild airy flight.
    • Lines 971-974.
  • Yet beauty, though injurious, hath strange power,
    After offense returning, to regain
    Love once possessed.
    • Lines 1003-1005.
  • Love-quarrels oft in pleasing concord end;
    Not wedlock-treachery.
    • Lines 1008-1009.
  • The way to know were not to see, but taste.
    • Line 1090.
  • Boast not of what thou would'st have done, but do
    What then thou would'st.
    • Lines 1104-1105.
  • He’s gone, and who knows how he may report
    Thy words by adding fuel to the flame?
    • Lines 1350-51.
  • For evil news rides post, while good news baits.
    • Line 1538.
  • Suspense in news is torture.
    • Line 1569.
  • But he, though blind of sight,
    Despised, and thought extinguished quite,
    With inward eyes illuminated,
    His fiery virtue roused
    From under ashes into sudden flame,

    And as an ev'ning dragon came,
    Assailant on the perched roosts
    And nests in order rang'd
    Of tame villatic fowl.
    So Virtue, given for lost,
    Depressed and overthrown, as seemed,
    Like that self-begotten bird
    In the Arabian woods embost,
    That no second knows nor third,
    And lay erewhile a holocaust,
    From out her ashy womb now teemed,
    Revives, reflourishes, then vigorous most
    When most unactive deemed
    And, though her body die, her fame survives,
    A secular bird, ages of lives.
    • Lines 1687-1707
  • Nothing is here for tears, nothing to wail
    Or knock the breast, no weakness, no contempt,
    Dispraise, or blame, nothing but well and fair,
    And what may quiet us in a death so noble.
    • Lines 1721-1724.
  • All is best, though we oft doubt,
    What the unsearchable dispose
    Of highest Wisdom brings about.
    • Lines 1745-1747.
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