Samson

Original Text: 
Frederick George Scott, Poems (London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 1936): 31-34. PS 8487 C63 P6 1936 Robarts Library (signed by the author).
2Eyeless on this dungeon stone,
3Naked, shaggy, and unkempt,
4Dreaming dreams no soul hath dreamt.
5Rats and vermin round my feet
6Play unharmed, companions sweet;
7Spiders weave me overhead
8Silken curtains for my bed.
9Day by day the mould I smell
10Of this fungus-blistered cell;
11Nightly in my haunted sleep
12O'er my face the lizards creep.
14Wrists and ankles when I turn,
15And my collared neck is raw
16With the teeth of brass that gnaw.
17God of Israel, canst Thou see
18All my fierce captivity?
19Do Thy sinews feel my pains?
20Hearest Thou the clanking chains?
21Thou who madest me so fair,
22Strong and buoyant as the air,
23Tall and noble as a tree,
24With the passions of the sea,
25Swift as horse upon my feet,
26Fierce as lion in my heat,
27Rending, like a wisp of hay,
28All that dared withstand my way,
29Canst Thou see me through the gloom
30Of this subterranean tomb, --
31Blinded tiger in his den,
32Once the lord and prince of men?
33Clay was I; the potter Thou
34With Thy thumb-nail smooth'dst my brow,
35Rolltdst the spittle-moistened sands
36Into limbs between Thy hands.
37Thou didst pour into my blood
38Fury of the fire and flood,
39And upon the boundless skies,
40Thou didst first unclose my eyes.
41And my breath of life was flame,
42God-like from the source it came,
43Whirling round like furious wind,
44Thoughts upgathered in the mind.
45Strong Thou mad'st me, till at length
46All my weakness was my strength;
47Tortured am I, blind and wrecked,
48For a faulty architect.
49From the woman at my side,
50Was I woman-like to hide
51What she asked me, as if fear
52Could my iron heart come near?
53Nay, I scorned and scorn again
54Cowards who their tongues restrain;
55Cared I no more for Thy laws
56Than a wind of scattered straws.
57When the earth quaked at my name
58And my blood was all aflame,
59Who was I to lie, and cheat
60Her who clung about my feet?
61From Thy open nostrils blow
62Wind and tempest, rain and snow;
63Dost Thou curse them on their course,
64For the fury of their force?
65Tortured am I, wracked and bowed,
66But the soul vvithin is proud;
67Dungeon fetters cannot still
68Forces of the tameless will.
69Israel's God, come down and see
70All my fierce captivity;
71Let Thy sinews feel my pains,
72With Thy fingers lift my chains,
73Then, with thunder loud and wild,
74Comfort Thou Thy rebel child,
75And with lightning split in twain
76Loveless heart and sigthtless brain.
77Give me splendour in my death --
78Not this sickening dungeon breath,
79Creeping down my blood like slime,
80Till it wastes me in my prime.
81Give me back for one blind hour,
82Half my former rage and power,
83And some giant crisis send,
84Meet to prove a hero's end.
85Then, O God, Thy mercy show --
86Crush him in the overthrow
87At whose life they scorn and point,
88By its greatness out of joint.

Notes

1] "Written at Drummondville. The inner meaning is revolt against the law of heredity. The poem was written at one setting" (Collected Poems [Vancouver: Clarke and Stuart, 1934]: 178).
For Samson's story, see Judges 16; and John Milton's tragic poem, Samson Agonistes. Back to Line
13] Gyves: chains. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
1894
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
RPO 1998.
Rhyme: