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If not by quick destruction soon cut off,
As I by thee, to ages an example.1

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:
But virtue which breaks through all opposition,

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;
Nor from that right to part an hour,

Smile she or lour :

So shall he least confusion draw

On his whole life, not sway'd
By female usurpation, or dismay'd.2

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.


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
May chance to number thee with those
Whom patience finally must crown.1


All is best, though we oft doubt,
What th' unsearchable dispose
Of highest Wisdom brings about,
And ever best found in the close.
Oft He seems to hide His face,

But unexpectedly returns ;

And to His faithful champion hath in place
Bore witness gloriously; whence Gaza mourns,
And all that band them to resist

His uncontrollable intent;

His servants He with new acquist

Of true experience from this great event,
With peace and consolation hath dismist,
And calm of mind, all passion spent.2

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.

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