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If not by quick destruction soon cut off,
Favour'd of Heav'n! who finds One virtuous, rarely found,
That in domestic good combines :
Happy that house! his way to peace is smooth:
And all temptation can remove,
Most shines, and most is acceptable above.
Therefore God's universal law
Gave to the man despotic power
Over his female in due awe;
Smile she or lour :
So shall he least confusion draw
On his whole life, not sway'd
But patience is more oft the exercise Of saints, the trial of their fortitude, Making them each his own deliverer,
1 Samson Agonistes, 725, 748-765. Milton chose Samson out of the more than ninety dramatic pieces he had planned because of the resemblance of his own fortunes to Samson's; and shall we compare Mary Powell to Dalila? We should not be far wrong. He forgave her, but could not well forget the ill-usage he had received. As he wrote, his own matrimonial disturbances must have often come into his mind.
2 Ibid. 1046-1060.
MORE THAN CONQUEROR.
And victor over all
That tyranny or fortune can inflict.
Either of these (invincible might or invincible patience)
is in thy lot,
Samson, with might endu'd
Above the sons of men! but sight bereav'd
All is best, though we oft doubt,
But unexpectedly returns ;
And to His faithful champion hath in place
His uncontrollable intent;
His servants He with new acquist
Of true experience from this great event,
1 Samson Agonistes, 1287-1296. First and foremost in the roll of those wearing the crown of patience must be ranked Milton himself, over fate and fortune more than conqueror.
2 Ibid. 1749-1762. How beautiful are these last words of his last poem, written three years before his death, fitly and forcibly
winding up his laborious and eventful life-words as applicable to the conclusion of his own chequered career, as to that of Samson Agonistes, in whose fortunes he seems to have seen a resemblance to his own. And thus concludes this noble, but in some respects melancholy, autobiography. The prayer expressed in the lines 708 and 709 is now fully answered. His labours have been turned to peaceful end. His best and noblest works are his last. is best found in the close. Patience has her perfect work, and All finally crowns Truth's glorious champion, dismissing him to his reward and rest with peace, and consolation, and calm of mind, all passion spent.