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of gymnic artists, wrestlers, riders, runners, Phis day will be remarkable in my life
Jugglers, and dancers, antics, mummers, mimics, By some great act, or of my days the last.
But they must pick me out, with shackles tir'd, Chor. In time thou hast resolv'd, the man returns
And over-labor'd at their public mill,

Off. Samson, this second message from our lords To make them sport with blind activity ?

To thee I am bid say. Art thou our slave, Do they not seek occasion of new quarrels, Our captive at the public mill, our drudge, On my refusal to distress me more,

And dar'st thou at our sending and command Or make a game of my calamities?

Dispute thy coming ? come without delay; Return the way thou cam'st: I will not come Or we shall find such engines to assail

Off. Regard thyself; this will offend them highly. And hamper thee, as thou shalt come of force,

Sams. Myself? my conscience, and internal peace. Though thou wert firmlier fasten'd than a rock. Can they think me so broken, so debas'd

Sams. I could be well content to try their art, With corporal servitude, that my mind ever Which to no few of them would prove pernicious Will condescend to such absurd commands ? Yet, knowing their advantages too many, Although their drudge, to be their fool or jester, Because they shall not trail me through their streets And in my midst of sorrow and heart-grief Like a wild beast, I am content to go. To show them seats, and play before their god, Masters' commands come with a power resistless The worst of all indignities, yet on me

To such as owe them absolute subjection; Join'd with extreme contempt? I will not come. And for a life who will not change his purpose ?

Of. My message was impos'd on me with speed, (So mutable are all the ways of men ;) Brooks no delay: is this thy resolution?

Yet this be sure, in nothing to comply Sams. So take it with what speed thy message Scandalous or forbidden in our law. needs.

Off. I praise thy resolution : doff these links: Of. I am sorry what this stoutness will produce. By this compliance thou wilt win the lords

[Erit. To favor, and perhaps to set thee free. Sams. Perhaps thou shalt have cause to sorrow Sams. Brethren, farewell; your company along indeed.

I will not wish, lest it perhaps offend them Chor. Consider, Samson; matters now are strain' To see me girt with friends; and how the sight Up to the height, whether to hold or break: Of me as of a common enemy, He's gone, and who knows how he may report So dreaded once, may now exasperate them, Thy words by adding fuel to the flame?

I know not: lords are lordliest in their wine; Expect another message more imperious,

And the well-feasted priest then soonest fir'd More lordly thundering than thou well wilt bear. With zeal, if aught religion seem concern d ;

Sams. Shall I abuse this consecrated gift No less the people, on their holy-days, Or strength, again returning with my hair

Impetuous, insolent, unquenchable : After my great transgression, so requite

Happen what may, of me expect to hear Favor renew'd, and add a greater sin

Nothing dishonorable, impure, unworthy By prostituting holy things to idols ?

Our God, our law, my nation, or myself,
A Nazarite in place abominable

The last of me or no I cannot warrant.
Vaunting my strength in honor to their Dagon! Chor. Go, and the Holy One
Besides, how vile, contemptible, ridiculous, of Israel be thy guide

What act more execrably unclean, profane ? To what may serve his glory best, and spread his
Chor. Yet with this strength thou serv'st the Great among the Heathen round;

Send thee the angel of thy birth, to stand Idolatrous, uncircumcis'd, unclean.

Fast by thy side, who from thy father's field
Sams. Not in their idol-worship, but by labor Rode up in flames after his message told
Honest and lawful to deserve my food

Of thy conception, and be now a shield
Of those who have me in their civil power. Of fire; that spirit, that first rush'd on thee
Chor. Where the heart joins not, outward acts in the camp of Dan,
defile not.

[tence holds. Be efficacious in thee now at need.
Sams. Where outward force constrains, the sen- For never was from Heaven imparted
But who constrains me to the temple of Dagon, Measure of strength so great to mortal seed,
Not dragging? the Philistian lords command. As in thy wondrous actions hath been seen.-
Commands are no constraints. If I obey them, But wherefore comes old Manoah in such haste
I do it freely, venturing to displease

With youthful steps ? much livelier than erewhile God for the fear of man, and man prefer,

He seems ; supposing here to find his son,
Set God behind ; which in his jealousy

Or of him bringing to us some glad news?
Shall never, unrepented, find forgiveness.
Yet that he may dispense with me, or thee,

(Enter MANOAH.] Present in temples at idolatrous rites

Man. Peace with you, brethren; my inducement For some important cause, thou need'st not doubt.

Chor. How thou wilt here come off surmounts my Was not at present here to find my son,

By order of the lords now parted hence
Sams. Be of good courage; I begin to feel To come and play before them at their feast.
Some rousing motions in me, which dispose I heard all as I came, the city rings,
To something extraordinary my thoughts.

And numbers thither flock: I had no will,
I with this messenger will go along,

Lest I should see him forc'd to things unseemly. Nothing to do, be sure, that may dishonor

But that, which mov'd my coming now, was chiefly Our law, or stain my vow of Nazarite.

To give ye part with me what hope I have If there be aught of presage in the mind,

With good success to work his liberty.

Chor. That hope would much rejoice us to partake This evil on the Philistines is fallin : With thee; say, reverend sire, we thirst to hear. From whom could else a general cry be heard ?

Man I have attempted one by one the lords, The sufferers then will scarce molest us here; Either at home, or through the high street passing, From other hands we need not much to fear. With supplication prone and father's tears, What if, his eye-sight (for to Israel's God To accept of ransom for my son their prisoner. Nothing is hard) by miracle restor’d, Some much averse I found, and wondrous harsh, He now be dealing dole among his foes, Contemptuous, proud, set on revenge and spite ; And over heaps of slaughter'd walk his way? That part most reverenc'd Dagon and his priests : Man. That were a joy presumptuous to be thought. Others more moderate seeming, but their aim Chor. Yet God hath wrought things as incredible Private reward, for which both God and state For his people of old; what hinders now? They easily would set to sale : a third

Man. He can, I know, but doubt to think he will, More generous far and civil, who confess'd Yet hope would fain subscribe, and tempts belief. They had enough reveng'd; having reduc'd A little stay will bring some notice bither. Their foe to misery beneath their fears,

Chor. Of good or bad so great, of bad the sooner; The rest was magnanimity to remit,

For evil news rides post, while good news bates. If some convenient ransom were propos'd.

And to our wish I see one hither speeding, What noise or shout was that? it tore the sky. An Hebrew, as I guess, and of Our tribe.

Chor. Doubtless the people shouting to behold Their once great dread, captive, and blind before

[Enter MESSENGER.] them,

Mess. O whither shall I run, or which way fly Or at some proof of strength before them shown. The sight of this so horrid spectacle,

Man. His ransom, if my whole inheritance Which erst my eyes beheld, and yet behold, May compass it, shall willingly be paid

For dire imagination still pursues me. And number'd down: much rather I shall choose But providence or instinct of nature seems, To live the poorest in my tribe, than richest, Or reason though disturb’d, and scarce consulted, And he in that calamitous prison left.

To have guided me aright, I know not how, No, I am fix'd not to part hence without him. To thee first, reverend Manoah, and to these For his redemption all my patrimony,

My countrymen, whom here I knew remaining, If need be, I am ready to forego

As at some distance from the place of horror,
And quit: not wanting him, I shall want nothing. So in the sad event too much concern'd.
Chor. Fathers are wont to lay up for their song,

Man. The accident was loud, and here before thee Thou for thy son art bent to lay out all;

With rueful cry, yet what it was we hear not; Sons wont to nurse their parents in old age, No preface needs, thou seest we long to know. Thou in old age car'st how to nurse thy son,

Mess. It would burst forth, but I recover breath Made older than thy age through eye-sight lost. And sense distract, to know well what I utter.

Man. It shall be my delight to tend his eyes, Man. Tell us the sum, the circumstance defer. And view him sitting in the house, ennobled Mess. Gaza yet stands, but all her sons are fall'n, With all those high exploits by him achiev'd, All in a moment overwhelm'd and fall'n. And on his shoulders waving down those locks Man. Sad, but thou know'st to Israelites not saddest That of a nation arm'd the strength contain'd: The desolation of a hostile city.

(surfeit And I persuade me, God had not permitted

Mess. Feed on that first: there may in grief bo His strength again to grow up with his hair,

Man. Relate by whom. Garrison'd round about him like a camp


By Samson. of faithful soldiery, were not his purpose


That still lessens To use him further yet in some great service; The sorrow, and converts it nigh to joy. Not to sit idle with so great a gift

Mess. Ah! Manoah, I refrain too suddenly
Useless, and thence ridiculous about him.

To utter what will come at last too soon ;
And since his strength with eye-sight was not lost, Lest evil tidings with too rude irruption
God will restore him eye-sight to his strength. Hitting thy aged ear should pierce too deep.

Chor. Thy hopes are not ill-founded, nor seem vain Man. Suspense in news is torture, speak them out. Of his delivery, and the joy thereon

Mess. Take then the worst in brief, Samson is dead. Conceiv'd, agreeable to a father's love,

Man. The worst indeed, 0 all my hopes de In both which we, as next, participate.


feated Man. I know your friendly minds and what To free him hence! but death, who sets all free, Mercy of Heaven, what hideous noise was that, Hath paid his ransom now and full discharge. Horribly loud, unlike the former shout.

What windy joy this day had I conceiv'd Chor. Noise call you it, or universal groan, Hopeful of his delivery, which now proves As if the whole inhabitation perish'd!

Abortive as the first-born bloom of spring Blood, death, and deathful deeds, are in that noise, Nipe with the lagging rear of winter's frost ! Ruin, destruction at the utmost point.

Yet ere I give the reins to grief, say first, Man. Of ruin indeed methought I heard the noise : How died he ; death to life is crown or shame. Oh! it continues, they have slain my son.

All by him fell, thou say’st: by whom fell he ? Chor. Thy son is rather slaying them: that outcry What glorious hand gave Samson his death's wound ! From slaughter of one foe could not ascend.

Mess. Unwounded of his enemies he fell. (plain. Man. Some dismal accident it needs must be ; Man. Wearied with slaughter then, or how ? er. What shall we do, stay here or run and see?

Mess. By his own hands. Chor. Best keep together here, lest, running Man.

Self-violence ? what cause thither,

Brought him so soon at variance with himself We unawares run into danger's mouth.

Among his foes ?


Inevitable cause,
At once both to destroy, and be destroy'd;
The edifice, where all were met to see him,
Upon their heads and on his own he pull'd.

Man. O lastly over-strong against thyself!
A dreadful way thou took'st to thy revenge.
More than enough we know; but while things yet The work for which thou wast foretold
Are in confusion, give us, if thou canst,
Eye-witness of what first or last was done,
Relation more particular and distinct.

To Israel, and now liest victorious
Among thy slain self-kill'd,

Not willingly, but tangled in the fold

Of dire necessity, whose law in death conjoin'd
Thee with thy slaughter'd foes, in number more
Than all thy life hath slain before.


Mess. Occasions drew me early to this city;
And, as the gates I enter'd with sun-rise,
The morning trumpets festival proclaim'd
Through each high street: little I had dispatch'd,
When all abroad was rumor'd that this day
Samson should be brought forth, to show the people
Proof of his mighty strength in feats and games;
I sorrow'd at his captive state, but minded
Not to be absent at that spectacle.
The building was a spacious theatre
Half-round, on two main pillars vaulted high,
With seats where all the lords, and each degree
Of sort, might sit in order to behold!

1. Semichor. While their hearts were jocund and
Drunk with idolatry, drunk with wine,
And fat regorg'd of bulls and goats,
Chanting their idol, and preferring
Before our living Dread who dwells
In Silo, his bright sanctuary:
Among them he a spirit of frenzy sent,
Who hurt their minds,

The other side was open, where the throng
On banks and scaffolds under sky might stand;
I among these aloof obscurely stood.
The feast and noon grew high, and sacrifice [wine,
Had fill'd their hearts with mirth, high cheer, and
When to their sports they turn'd. Immediately
Was Samson as a public servant brought,
In their state livery clad; before him pipes,
And timbrels, on each side went armed guards,
Both horse and foot, before him and behind
A rchers, and slingers, cataphracts and spears.
At sight of him the people with a shout
Rifted the air, clamoring their god with praise,
Who had made their dreadful enemy their thrall.
He patient, but undaunted, where they led him,
Came to the place; and what was set before him,
Which without help of eye might be assay'd,
To heave, pull, draw, or break, he still perform'd
All with incredible, stupendous force;
None daring to appear antagonist.
At length for intermission's sake they led him
Between the pillars; he his guide requested
(For so from such as nearer stood we heard)
As over-tir'd to let him lean awhile

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Met from all parts to solemnize this feast.
Samson, with these inmix'd, inevitably
Pull'd down the same destruction on himself;
The vulgar only 'scap'd who stood without.

Chor. O dearly-bought revenge, yet glorious! Living or dying thou hast fulfill'd

And urg'd them on with mad desire
To call in haste for their destroyer;
They, only set on sport and play,
Unweetingly impórtun'd

Their own destruction to come speedy upon them.
So fond are mortal men,
Fall'n into wrath divine,

As their own ruin on themselves to invite,
Insensate left, or to sense reprobate,
And with blindness internal struck.

2. Semichor. But he, though blind of sight,
Despis'd and thought extinguish'd quite,
With inward yes illuminated,
His fiery virtue rous'd

From under ashes into sudden flame,
And as an evening dragon came,
Assailant on the perched roosts
And nests in order rang'd

Of tame villatic fowl; but as an eagle
His cloudless thunder bolted on their heads.
So virtue, given for lost,
Depress'd, and overthrown, as seera'd,
Like that self-begotten bird

In the Arabian woods embost,
That no second knows nor third,
And lay erewhile a holocaust,
From out her ashy womb now teem'd,
Revives, reflourishes, then vigorous most
When most unactive deem'd;

And, though her body die, her fame survives
A secular bird ages of lives.

Man. Come, come; no time for lamentation now,
Nor much more cause; Samson hath quit himself
Like Samson, and heroicly hath finish'd

A life heroic, on his enemies

Fully reveng'd, hath left them years of mourning,
And lamentation to the sons of Caphtor
Through all Philistian bounds, to Israel
Honor hath left, and freedom, let but them
Find courage to lay hold on this occasion;
To himself and father's house eternal fame;
And, which is best and happiest yet, all this
With God not parted from him, as was fear'd,
But favoring and assisting to the end.
Nothing is here for tears, nothing to wail

Or knock the breast; no weakness, no contempt,
Dispraise, or blame; nothing but well and fair,
And what may quiet us in a death so noble.
Let us go find the body where it lies

Soak'd in his enemies' blood ; and from the stream The idle spear and shield were high up hung ;
With lavers pure, and cleansing herbs, wash off The hooked chariot stood
The clotted gore. I, with what speed the while, Unstain'd with hostile blood;
(Gaza is not in plight to say us nay,)

The trumpet spake not to the armed throng ;
Will send for all my kindred, all my friends, And kings sat still with awful eye,
To fetch him hence, and solemnly attend

As if they surely knew their sovran Lord was by.
With silent obsequy, and funeral train,
Home to his father's house : there will I build him But peaceful was the night,
A monumeni, and plant it round with shade Wherein the Prince of light
Of laurel ever-green, and branching palm,

His reign of peace upon the Earth began :
With all his trophies hung, and acts enrolld The winds, with wonder whist,
In copious legend, or sweet lyric song.

Smoothly the waters kist,
Thither shall all the valiant youth resort,

Whispering new joys to the mild ocean, And from his memory inflame their breasts

Who now hath quite forgot to rave,

(wave. To matchless valor, and adventures high:

While birds of calm sit brooding on the charmed
The virgins also shall, on feastful days,
Visit his tomb with flowers; only be wailing The stars, with deep amaze,
His lot unfortunate in nuptial choice,

Stand fix'd in stedfast gaze,
From whence captivity and loss of eyes.

Bending one way their precious influence; Chor. All is best, though we oft doubt

And will not take their flight, What the unsearchable dispose

For all the morning light, Of highest Wisdom brings about,

Or Lucifer that often warn'd them thence; And ever best found in the close,

But in their glimmering orbs did glow,
Oft he seems to hide his face,

Until their Lord himself bespake, and bid them go.
But unexpectedly returns,
And to his faithful champion hath in place

And, though the shady gloom
Bore witness gloriously; whence Gaza mourns, Had given day her room,
And all that band them to resist

The Sun himself withheld his wonted speed,
His uncontrollable intent;

And hid his head for shame, His servants he, with new acquist

As his inferior flame Of true experience, from this great event

The new-enlighten'd world no more should need : With peace and consolation hath dismist.

He saw a greater Sun appear

[bear. And calm of mind, all passion spent.

Than his bright throne, or burning axletree, could

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The shepherds on the lawn,
Or e'er the point of dawn,

Sat simply chatting in a rustic row;

Full little thought they then,

That the mighty Pan

Was kindly come to live with them below; It was the winter wild,

Perhaps their loves, or else their sheep,
While the Heaven-born child

Was all that did their silly thoughts so busy keep
All meanly wrapt in the rude manger lies;
Nature in awe to him,

When such music sweet
Had doff'd her gaudy trim,

Their hearts and ears did greet, With her great Master so to sympathize :

As never was by mortal finger strook ;
It was no season then for her

Divinely-warbled voice
To wanton with the Sun, her lusty paramour. Answering the stringed noise,

As all their souls in blissful rapture took :
Only with speeches fair

The air, such pleasure loth to lose,

(close. She wooes the gentle air

With thousand echoes still prolongs each heavenly
To hide her guilty front with innocent snow;
And on her naked sharne,

Nature that heard such sound,
Pollute with sinful blame,

Beneath the hollow round
The saintly veil of maiden white to throw; Of Cynthia's seat, the aery region thrilling,
Confounded, that her Maker's eyes

Now was almost won
Should look so near upon her foul deformities. To think her part was done,

And that her reign had here its last fulfilling; But he, her fears to cease,

She knew such harmony alone
Sent down the meek-ey'd Peace;

Could hold all Heaven and Earth in happier union.
She, crown'd with olive-green, came softly sliding
Down through the turning sphere,

At last surrounds their sight
His ready harbinger,

A globe of circular light,
With turtle wing the amorous clouds dividing; That with long beams the shamefac'd night array'd;
And, waving wide her myrtle wand,

The helmed Cherubim,
She strikes an universal peace through sea and land. And sworded Seraphim,

Are seen in glittering ranks with wings display'd, No war, or battle's sound,

Harping in loud and solemn quire, Was heard the world around :

With unexpressive notes, to Heaven's new-born Heir.

Such music (as 'tis said)

The lonely mountains o'er, Before was never made,

And the resounding shore, But when of old the sons of morning sung, A voice of weeping heard and loud lament; While the Creator great

From haunted spring and dale,
His constellations set,

Edg'd with poplar pale,
And the well-balanc'd world on hinges hung ; The parting genius is with sighing sent;
And cast the dark foundations deep, (keep. With flower-inwoven tresses torn,

(mourn And bid the weltering waves their cozy channel The nymphs in twilight shade of tangled thickets Ring out, ye crystal spheres,

In consecrated earth, Once bless our human ears,

And on the holy hearth,

[plaint ; If ye have power to touch our senses so; The Lars, and Lemures, moan with midnight And let your silver chime

In urns, and altars round, More in melodious time;

A drear and dying sound And let the base of Heaven's deep organ blow; Affrights the Flamens at their service quaint ; And with your ninefold harmony,

And the chill marble seems to sweat, Make up full consort to the angelic symphony. While each peculiar Power foregoes his wonted seat. For, if such holy song

Peor and Baälim
Enwrap our fancy long,

Forsake their temples dim,
Time will run back, and fetch the age of gold; With that twice-batter'd god of Palestine ;
And speckled Vanity

And mooned Ashtaroth,
Will sicken soon and die,

Heaven's queen and mother both,
And leprous Sin will melt from earthly mould; Now sits not girt with taper's holy shine ;
And Hell itself will pass away,

The Libyc Hammon shrinks his horn, (mourn. And leave her dolorous mansions to the peering day. In vain the Tyrian maids their wounded Thammuz Yea, Truth and Justice then

And sullen Moloch, fled,
Will down return to men,

Hath left in shadows dread
Orb'd in a rainbow; and, like glories wearing, His burning idol all of blackest hue;
Mercy will sit between,

In vain with cymbals' ring
Thron'd in celestial sheen,

They call the grisly king,
With radiant feet the tissued clouds down steering; In dismal dance about the furnace blue:
And Heaven, as at some festival,

The brutish gods of Nile as fast,
Will open wide the gates of her high palace hall. Isis, and Orus, and the dog Anubis, haste.
Bat wisest Fate says no,

Nor is Osiris seen
This must not yet be so,

In Memphian grove or green,

[loud. The babe yet lies in smiling infancy,

Trampling the unshower'd grass with lowings That on the bitter cross

Nor can he be at rest Must redeem our loss;

Within his sacred chest; So both himself and us to glorify:

Nought but profoundest Hell can be his shroud ; Yet first, to those ychain'd in sleep, (the deep; In vain with timbrell'd anthems dark The wakeful trump of doom must thunder through The sable-stoled sorcerers bear his worshipt ark. With such a horrid clang

He feels from Judah's land As on mount Sinai rang,

[brake: The dreaded infant's hand, While the red fire and smouldering clouds out- The rays of Bethlehem blind his dusky eyn; The aged Earth, aghast

Nor all the gods beside With terror of that blast,

Longer dare abide, Shall from the surface to the centre shake; Not Typhon huge, ending in snaky twine : When, at the world's last session, [throne. Our babe, to show his Godhead true, (crew The dreadful Judge in middle air shall spread his Can in his swaddling bands control the damned And then at last our bliss

So, when the Sun in bed,
Full and perfect is,

Curtain’d with cloudy red,
But now begins; for, from this happy day, Pillows his chin upon an orient wave,
The old Dragon, under ground

The flocking shadows pale
In straiter limits bound,

Troop to the infernal jail, Not half so far casts his usurped sway;

Each fetter'd ghost slips to his several grave; And, wroth to see his kingdom fail,

And the yellow-skirted Fayes

(maze. Swinges the scaly horror of his folded tail. Fly after the night-steeds, leaving their moon-lov'd The oracles are dumb,

But sce, the Virgin blest No voice or hideous hum

Hath laid her babe to rest; Runs through the arched roof in words deceiving. Time is, our tedious song should here have ending: Apollo from his shrine

Heaven's youngest-teemed star Can no more divine,

Hath fix'd her polish'd car, With hollow shriek the steep of Delphos leaving. Her sleeping Lord with handmaid lamp attending No nightly trance, or breathed spell,

And all about the courtly stable Inspires the pale-ey'd priests from the prophetic cell. Bright-harness'el angels sit in order serviceable.

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