Synopsis[ edit ] Samson, Judge of Israel, married a Philistine woman, Dalila, who discovered that his supernatural strength derived from his never cutting his hair. Dalila sheared his hair while he was sleeping and betrayed him to her people, the Philistines, enemy of the Israelites. The Philistines captured Samson and put his eyes out. The scene is set in front of the prison in Gaza. Since it is a festival day in honour of the Philistine god Dagon Samson is allowed to come out of his prison cell, albeit in chains, and receive visitors.

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Samson, Manoah, Micah, and Israelites. Recitative Despair not thus! Manoah Trust yet in God! Air Just are the ways of God to man, Let none his secret actions scan; For all is best, though oft we doubt, Of what his wisdom brings about.

Still his unsearchable dispose Blesses the righteous in the close. Recitative My evils hopeless are! Micah Relieve Thy champion, image of Thy strength, And turn his labours to a peaceful end! Air and Chorus Return, O God of hosts! Behold Thy servant in distress, Nor by the heathen be it told. Israelites To dust his glory they would tread, And number him amongst the dead.

Scene 2 Samson, Micah. Enter Dalila, attended by her Virgins. With all her streamers waving in the winds, An odorous perfume her harbinger, A damsel train behind. Samson My wife, my traitress? Let her not come near me! These are the arts of women false like thee, To break all vows, repent, deceive, submit, Then with instructed skill again transgress. Dalila I would not lessen my offence, yet beg To weigh it by itself.

What is it then But curiosity? A small female fault, Greedy of secrets, but to publish them. A mutual weakness mutual pardon claims. Samson How cunningly the sorceress displays Her own transgressions, to upbraid me mine!

I to myself was false, ere thou to me; Bitter reproach, but true! The pardon, then, I to my folly give, take thou to thine! Recitative Alas! Samson Did love constrain thee? Love seeks for love; thy treason sought my hate. Air and duet My faith and truth, O Samson, prove, But hear me, hear the voice of love! Air To fleeting pleasures make your court, No moment lose, for life is short!

Chorus repeated] How charming is domestic ease! Life is not lost, though lost your sight; Let other senses taste delight. Chorus of Virgins Her faith and truth, oh Samson, prove, But hear her, hear the voice of love! I know thy warbling charms, Thy trains, thy wiles, and fair enchanted cup. These chains, this prison-house, I count the house of liberty to thine.

Dalila Let me approach, at least, and touch thy hand. Samson Not for thy life, lest fierce remembrance wake My sudden rage to tear thee limb from limb. At distance I forgive: depart with that. Now triumph in thy falsehood; so farewell!

Thy anger rages an etemal tempest. When in this land I ever shall be held The first of womankind, living or dead. Duet Traitor to love! Samson Traitress to love! Exeunt Dalila and Virgins.


Samson, HWV 57 (Handel, George Frideric)



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