Francis Quarles

8 May 1592 – 8 September 1644 / Romford, Essex, England

From 'The History Of Samson'

The Argument.

He goes to Timnah : as he went
He slew a lyon by the way;
He sues, obtaines the maid's consent,
And they appoint tlie marriage-day.

When the next day had with his morning light
Redeem'd the East from the dark shades of night,
And with his golden rayes had overspred
The neighb'ring moimtaines, from his loathed bed
Sick-tholighted Samson rose, whose watchfull eyes
Morpheus that night had with his leaden keyes
Not power to close : his thoughts did so incumber
His restlesse soule, his eyes could never slumber;
Whose softer language by degrees did wake
His father's sleep-bedeafned eares, and spake ;
' Sir, let your early blessings light upon
The tender bosome of your prosprous sonne.
And let the God of Israel repay
Those blessings, double, on your head this day:
The long since banisht shadowes make me bold
To let you know the morning waxes old;
The sun-beames are growne strong, their brighter hiew
Have broke the mists and dride the morning dew;
The sweetness of the season does invite
Your steps to visit Timnah, and acquite
Your last night's promise.'
With that the Danite and his wife arose,
Scarce yet resolved ; at last they did dispose
Their doubtfull paces to behold the prize
Of Samson's heart, and pleasure of his eyes.
Tliey went, and when their travell had attain'd
Those fruitfuU hils whose clusters entertain'd
Their thirsty palats with their swelling pride,
The musing lover being stept aside
To gaine the pleasure of a lonely thought,
Appear d a full-ag'd lyon, who had sought
(But could not find) his long-desired prey.
Soone as his eye had given him hopes to pay
His debt to nature, and to mend that fault
His empty stomack found, he made assault
Vpon th' unarm'd lover's breast, whose hand
Had neither staffe nor weapon to withstand
His greedy rage ; but he whose mighty strength
Or sudden death must now appeare, at length
Strecht forth his brawny arme, (his arme supplide
With power from heaven,) and did with ease divide
His body limme from limme, and did betray
His flesh to foules that lately sought his prey.
This done, his quick redoubled paces make
His stay amends ; his nimble steps o'rtake
His leading parents, who by this discover
The smoake of Timnah : now the greedy lover
Thinkes every step a mile, and every pace
A measured league, untill he see that face.
And finde the treasure of his heart that lies
In the fair casket of his mistresse' eyes.
But all this while close Samson made not knowne
Vnto his parents what his hands had done.
By this the gate of Timnah entertaines
The welcome travellers ; the parents' paines
Are now rewarded with their Sonne's best pleasure:
The virgin comes ; his eyes can finde no leisure
To owne another object. O the greeting
Th' impatient lovers had at their first meeting!
The lover speakes ; she answers ; he replies;
She blushes ; he demandeth ; she denies ;
He pleades affection ; she doubts ; hee sues
For nuptiall love ; she questions ; he renewes
His earnest suit: importunes; she relents;
He must have no deniall ; she consents :
They passe their mutuall loves ; their joyned hands
Are equall earnests of the nuptiall bands.
The parents are agreed ; all parties pleas'd;
The daye's set downe ; the lovers hearts are eas'd ;
Nothing displeases now but the long stay
Betwixt th' appointment and the mariage-day.


'Tis too severe a censure : if the sonne
Take him a wife ; the marriage fairely done,
Without consent of parents (who perchance
Had rais'd his higher price, knew where t' advance
His better'd fortunes to one hundred more,)
He lives a fornicator, she, a whore :
Too hard a censure ! and it seems to me
The parent 's most delinquent of the three.
What if the better minded sonne doe aime
At worth ? what if rare vertues doe inflame
His rapt affection ? what if the condition
Of an admired and dainty disposition
Hath won his soule ? whereas the covetous father
Findes her gold light, and recommends him rather
T' an old worne widow, whose more weighty purse
Is filled with gold, and with the orphan's curse;
The sweet exuberance of whose full-mouth'd portion
Is but the cursed issue of extortion;
Whose worth, perchance, lies onely in her weight,
Or in tlie bosome of her great estate.
Wliat if the sonne (that does not care to buy
Abundance at so deare a rate,) deny
The soule-detesting profer of his father,
And, in his better judgement, chooses rather
To match with meaner fortunes and desert ?
I thinke that Mary cliose the better part.
What noble families (that have outgrowne
The best records) have quite bin overthrowne
By wilfuU parents, that will either force
Their sonnes to match, or haunt them with a curse!
That can adapt their humors to rejoyce
And fcincy all things, but their children's choyce!
Which makes them often timorous to reveale
The close desiers of their hearts, and steale
Such matches as perchance their faire advice
Might in the bud have hindred in a trice ;
Which done, and past, then their hasty spirit
Can thinke of nothing under disinherit:
He must be quite discarded and exiled ;
The furious father must renounce his childe;
Nor pray'r nor blessing must he have ; bereiven
Of all ; nor must he live, nor die, forgiven;
When as the father's rashnesse oftentimes
Was the first causer of the children's crimes.
Parents, be not too cruel! ; children doe
Things oft too deepe for us t' inquire into.
What father would not storme if his wilde sonne
Should doe the deed that Samson here had done ?
Nor doe I make it an exemplar act,
Onely let parents not be too exact.
To curse their children, or to dispossesse Qblesse.
Them of their blessings. Heaven may chance to
Be not too strict ; faire language may recure
A fault of youth, whilst rougher words obdure.
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