Samson Agonistes "Love-quarrels Oft In Pleasing Concord End"

John Milton

"Love-quarrels Oft In Pleasing Concord End"

Context: Samson, blinded and disgraced, is visited while lying on a sunny bank in the city of Gaza, first by his father and then by Delilah, who, according to Milton, was his wife, but who, according to Judges 16:4, was merely a woman of Sorek whom he loved. Delilah first tries to explain her betrayal of Samson to the Philistines by saying that she mistakenly did it all because she loved him. When Samson will not accept this excuse, she explains that she was deceived by the Philistines, who averred that they had no evil designs on Samson; she performed her act of treachery for the public good, setting aside for the time her private concerns. Samson will not accept this reason either. He asks her why she married him if she did not intend to be a faithful wife, leaving parents and country to be with him: being his wife, she owed nothing to the Philistines. Delilah still tries to be reconciled with Samson, but he continues to spurn her advances. She then tells him that, although the Jews may hate her for all time, she will be one of the most famous of her own race for having conquered an enemy of her people. When she dies, her tomb will be a shrine. She then departs, but the Chorus says that her beauty may overwhelm him if she returns. To this Samson says that frequently love-quarrels end in joy and satisfaction, but her act was treachery.

She's gone, a manifest serpent by her sting
Discovered in the end, till now concealed.
So let her go; God sent her to debase me,
And aggravate my folly who committed
To such a viper his most sacred trust
Of secrecy, my safety, and my life.
Yet beauty, though injurious, hath strange power,
After offence returning, to regain
Love once possessed, nor can be easily
Repulsed, without much inward passion felt
And secret sting of amorous remorse.
Love-quarrels oft in pleasing concord end,
Not wedlock-treachery, endangering life.