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Aless. Unwounded of his enemies he fell.
Nan. Wearied with slaughter then, or how? ex-
Aless. By his own hands:
Man. Self-violence? what cause
Brought him so soon at variance with himself
Among his foes ?
Mess. Inevitable cause
At once both to destroy and be destroyed ;
The edifice, where all were met to see him
Upon their heads and on his own he pulld.
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
Are in confusion, give us if thou canst,
Eye-witness of what first or last was done,
Relation more particular and distinct.
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 rumour'd that this day Samson should be brought forth, to show the people Proof of bis 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 Ilalf-round on two main pillars vaulted high, With seats where all the lords and each degree Of sort, might sit in order to behold; The other side was open, where the throng On banks and scaffolds under sky might stand ; I ainong 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 lorought, In their state livery clad; before himn pipes And timbrels, on each side went armed guards Both horse and foot, before him and behind Archers, and slingers, cataphracts and spears. Al sight of him the people with a shout
Rifted the air, clamouring 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 beave, pull, draw, or break, he still performd
All with incredible, stupendous force,
None daring to appear antagonist.
At length for intermission's sake they led him
Between the pillars; he tris guide requested
(For so from such as nearer stood we heard),
As over-tir'd to let bim lean a while
With both his arms on those two massy pillars,
That to the arched roof gave main support.
He unsuspicious led him, which when Samson-
Felt in bis arms, with head a while inclin'd,
And eyes fast fx'd he stood, as one who prayed,
Or some great matter in his mind revolv'd ;
At last with head erect thus cried aloud,
• Hitherto, lords, what your commands impos'd
I have perform’d, as reason was, obeying,
Not without wonder or delight beheld :
Now of my own accord such other trial
mean to show you of my strength, yet greater,
As with amaze shall strike all who behold."
Tbis utter'd, straining all his nerves he bow'd,
As with the force of winds and waters pent,
When mountains tremble: those two massy pillars
With horrible convulsion to and fro,
He tugg'd, he shook, till down they came and drew
The whole roof after them, with burst of thunder
Upon the heads of all who sat beneath,
Lords, ladies, captains, counsellers, or priests,
Their choice nobility and flower, not only
Of this but each Philistian city round
Met from all parts to solemnize this feast..
Samson with these inmix'd inevitably
Pulld down the same destruction on bimself;
The vulgar only scap'd who stood without.
Chor o dearly-bought revenge, yet glorious! Ljxing or dying ihou hast fulfill d.
The work for which thou wast foretold
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 had slain before.
1 Semichor. While their hearts were jocund and
Drunk with idolatry, drunk with wine, [sublime,
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 senta
Who hurt their minds,
And urg'd them on with mad desire
To call in haste for their destroyer ;
They, only set on sport and play,
Their own destruction to come speedy' upon them.
So fond are mortal men
Fallen 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 sighty
Despis'd and thought extinguish'd quite,
With inward eyes 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 fows; but as an eagle
His cloudless thunder bolted on their heads.,
So virtue, given for lost,
Depress’d, and overthrown, as seem'd,
Like that self- begotten bird
In the Arabian woods emboss'd,
That no second knows nor third,
And lay erewhile a holocaust,
From out her ashy womb now teem'd,
Revives, reflonrishes, 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; Somson hath quit himself
Like Samson, and heroicly bath finish'd
A life heroic, on his enemies
Fully reveng'd, hash left them years of mourning,
And lamentations to the sons of Caphtor
Through all Philistian bounds; to Israel
Ilonour hath left, and freedom, let but them
Find courage to lay hold on this occasion ;
To' himself and faiher's house eternal fame;
And which is best and happiest yet, all this
With God not parted from him, as was fear'd,
But favouring and assisting to the end.
Nothing is bere 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
With lavers pure, and cleansing herbs, wash off
The clotted gore. I with what speed the while
(Gaza is not in plight to say us nay)
Will send for all my kindred, all my friends,
To fetch him lrence, and solemnly attend
With silent obsequy and funeral train
Home to his father's house: there will I build him
A monument, and plant it round with shade
Of laurel ever green, and branching palm,
With all his trophies hung, and acts enrolld
In copious legend, or sweet lyric song.
Thither shall all the valiant youth resort,
And from his memory inflame their breasts
'To matchless valour, and adventures high :
The virgins also shall on feastful days -
Visit his tomb with flowers, only bewailing
His lot unfortunate in nuptial choice,
From whence captivity and loss of eyes.
Chor. All is best, though we oft doubt
What the unsearchable dispose
Of highest wisdom brings about
And ever best found in the close.
Oft he seems to hide his face,
But unexpectedly returns,
And to his faithful champion hath in place
Bore witness gloriously; whence Gaza mourns-
And all that band them to resist
His uncontrollable intent;
His servants he with new acquist
Of true experience from this great event
With peace and consolation hath dismiss'd,
And calin of mind, all passion spent.