Samson Agonistes "Irrevocably Dark, Total Eclipse Without All Hope Of Day!"

John Milton

"Irrevocably Dark, Total Eclipse Without All Hope Of Day!"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: Blind Puritan poet John Milton, in writing the dramatic poetic tragedy Samson Agonistes, must have felt particular sympathy for Samson, the blind captive strong-man of Israel, as he toiled in the tread mills of the Philistines, the enemy from which, according to prophecy before his birth, he should deliver his people. While the Philistines celebrate the feast of Dagon, their Sea-Idol, Samson, enjoying a brief rest from his labor, sits on the Gaza prison steps in the sunshine and fresh air and bemoans his sad condition, the most tragic phase of which, says Samson, is his blindness:

O loss of sight, of thee I most complain!
Blind among enemies, O worse then chains,
Dungeon, or beggery, or decrepit age!
Light the prime work of God to me is extinct,
And all her various objects of delight
Annull'd, which might in part my grief have eas'd,
Inferiour to the vilest now become
Of man or worm; the vilest here excel me,
They creep, yet see, I dark in light expos'd
To daily fraud, contempt, abuse and wrong,
Within doors, or without, still as a fool,
In power of others, never in my own;
Scarce half I seem to live, dead more than half.
O dark, dark, dark, amid the blaze of noon,
Irrevocably dark, total Eclipse
Without all hope of day!