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[Enter] Officer.

Off. Hebrews, the prisoner Samson here 1 seek.

"Chor. His manacles remark him, there he sits.

Off. Samson, to thee our lords thus bid me This day to Dagon is a solemn feast, [say; With sacrifices, triumph, pomp, and games: Thy strength they know surpassing human rate, And now some public proof thereof require To honour this great feast, and great assembly: Rise therefore with all speed, and come along, Where I will see thee hearten'd, and fresh clad, To appear as fits before the illustrious lords.

Sams. Thou know'st I am an Hebrew, therefore tell them,

Our law forbids at their religiou rites
My presence; for that cause cannot come.
Off. This answet, be assur'd, will not content


Sams. Have they not sword-players, and every


Of gymnic artists, wrestlers, riders, runners, Juglers, and dancers, antics, mummers, mimics,

But they must pick me out, with shackles tir'd,
And over-labour'd at their public mill,
To make them sport with blind activity?
Do they not seek occasion of new quarrels
On my refusal to distress me more,
Or make a game of my calamities?
Return the way thou cam'st, I will not come.
Off. Regard thyself; this will offend them

Sams. Myself? my conscience, and internal

Can they think me so broken, so debas'd
With corporal servitude, that my mind ever
Will condescend to such absurd commands?
Although their drudge, to be their fool or jester,
And in my midst of sorrow and heart-grief
To show them feats, and play before their god,
The worst of all indignities, yet on me
Join'd with extreme contempt? I will not come.
Off. My message was impos'd on me with
Brooks no delay: is this thy resolution?
Sams. So take it with what speed thy message

Of. I am sorry what this stoutness will produce. [Exit.]

Sams. Perhaps thou shalt have cause to sorrow indeed.

Chor. Consider, Samson; matters now are strain'd

Up to the height, whether to hold or break:
He's gone, and who knows how he may report
Thy words by adding fuel to the flame?
Expect another message more imperious,
More lordly thundering than thou well wilt bear.
Sams. Shall I abuse this consecrated gift
Of strength, again returning with my hair


After my great transgression, so requite
Favour renew'd, and add a greater sin
By prostituting holy things to idols ?
A Nazarite in place abominable
Vaunting my strength in honour to their Dagon!
Besides, how vile, contemptible, ridiculous,
What act more execrably unclean, prophane?
Chor. Yet with this strength thou serv'st the

Idolatrous, uncircumcis'd, unclean.

Sams. Not in their idol-worship, but by labour Honest and lawful to deserve my food Of those who have me in their civil power. Chor. Where the heart joins not, outward acts defile not.

Sams. Where outward force constrains, the sentence holds.

But who constrains me to the temple of Dagon,
Not dragging? the Philistian lords command.
Commands are no constraints. If I obey them,
I do it freely, venturing to displease
God for the fear of man, and man prefer,
Set God behind: which in his jealousy
Shall never, unrepented, find forgiveness.
Yet that he may dispense with me, or thee,
Present in temples at idolatrous rites
For some important cause, thou need'st not doubt.
Chor. How thou wilt here come off surmounts
my reach.

Sams. Be of good courage; I begin to feel Some rousing motions in me, which dispose To something extraordinary my thoughts. I with this messenger will go along, Nothing to do, be sure, that may dishonour Our law, or stain my vow of Nazarite. If there be aught of presage in the mind, This day will be remarkable in my life By some great act, or of my days the last. Chor. In time thou hast resolv'd, the man returns.

Off. Samson, this

second message from our

lords To thee I am bid say. Art thou our slave, Our captive at the public mill, our drudge, And dar'st thou at our sending and command Dispute thy coming? come without delay; Or we shall find such engines to assail And hamper thee, as thou shalt come of force, Though thou wert firmlier fasten'd than a rock'

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So dreaded once, may now exasperate them,
I know not: lords are lordliest in their wine;
And the well-feasted priest then soonest fir'd
With zeal, if aught religion seem concern'd;
No less the people, on their holy-days,
Impetuous, insolent, unquenchable:
Happen what may, of me expect to hear
Nothing dishonourable, impure, unworthy
Our God, our law, my nation, or myself,
The last of me or no I cannot warrant.
Chor. Go, and the Holy One
Of Israel be thy guide
To what may serve his glory best, and spread his
Great among the Heathen round;
Send thee the angel of thy birth, to stand
Fast by thy side, who from thy father's field
Rode up in flames after his message told
Of thy conception, and be now a shield
Of fire; that spirit, that first rush'd on thee
In the camp of Dan,


Be efficacious in thee now at need.
For never was from Heaven imparted
Measure of strength so great to mortal seed,
As in thy wondrous actions hath been seen.-
But wherefore comes old Manoah in such haste
With youthful steps? much livelier than ere

He seems; supposing here to find his son, Or of him bringing to us some glad news? [Enter] Manoah.

Man. Peace with you, brethren; my induce

ment hither

And number'd down: much rather I shall choose
To live the poorest in my tribe, than richest,
And he in that calamitous prison left.

No, I am fix'd not to part hence without him.
For his redemption all my patrimony,
If need be, I am ready to forego

And quit: not wanting him, I shall want no❤

Was not at present here to find my son,
By order of the lords now parted hence
To come and play before them at their feast.
I heard all as I came, the city rings,
And numbers thither flock: I had no will,
Lest I should see him forc'd to things unseemly.
But that, which mov'd my coming now, was
To give ye part with me what hope I have
With good success to work his liberty.

Chor. That hope would much rejoice us to

With thee; say, reverend sire, we thirst to hear. Man. I have attempted one by one the lords Either at home, or through the high street passing,

With supplication prone and father's tears,
To accept of ransom for my son their prisoner.
Some much averse I found and wonderous harsh,
Contemptuous, proud, set on revenge and spite;
That part most reverenc'd Dagon and his priests:
Others more moderate seeming, but their aim
Private reward, for which both God and state
They easily would set to sale: a third
More generous far and civil, who confess'd
They had enough reveng'd; having reduc'd
Their foe to misery beneath their fears,
The rest was magnanimity to remit,
If some convenient ransom were propos'd.
What noise or shout was that? it tore the sky.

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

Or at some proof of strength before them shown. Man. His ransom, if my whole inheritance May compass it, shall willingly be paid


Chor. Fathers are wont to lay up for their sons, Thou for thy son art bent to lay out all; Sons wont to nurse their parents in old age, Thou in old age car'st how to nurse thy son, Made older than thy age through eye-sight lost. Man. It shall be my delight to tend his eyes, And view him sitting in the house, ennobled With all those high exploits by him achiev'd, And on his shoulders waving down those locks That of a nation arm'd the strength contain❜d: And I persuade me, God had not permitted His strength again to grow up with his hair, Garrison'd round about him like a camp Of faithful soldiery, were not his purpose To use him further yet in some great service; Not to sit idle with so great a gift Useless, and thence ridiculous about him. [lost, And since his strength with eye-sight was not God will restore him eye-sight to his strength.

Chor. Thy hopes are not ill founded, nor seem Of his delivery, and the joy thereon [vain Conceiv'd, agreeable to a father's love, In both which we, as next, participate.

Man. I know your friendly minds and-O what noise!

Mercy of Heaven, what hideous noise was that Horribly loud, unlike the former shout.

Chor. Noise call you it, or universal groan, As if the whole inhabitation perish'd ! [noise, Blood, death, and deathful deeds, are in that Ruin, destruction at the utmost point.

Man. Of ruin indeed methought I heard the noise:

Oh! it continues, they have slain my son. Chor. Thy son is rather slaying them: that outcry

From slaughter of one foe could not ascend.

Man. Some dismal accident it needs must be; What shall we do, stay here or run and see?

Chor. Best keep together here, lest, running thither,

We unawares run into danger's mouth."
This evil on the Philistines is fall'n:
From whom could else a general cry be heard;
The sufferers then will scarce molest us here;
From other hands we need not much to fear.
What if, his eye-sight (for to Israel's God
Nothing is hard) by miracle restor'd,
He now be dealing dole among his foes,
And over heaps of slaughter'd walk his way?
Man. That were a joy presumptuous to be

Chor. Yet God hath wrought things as incre

For his people of old; what hinders now? Man. He can, I know, but doubt to think he will;

Yet hope would fain subscribe, and tempts belief, A little stay will bring some notice hither.

Chor. Of good or bad so great, of bad the


For evil news rides post, while good news bates.
And to our wish I see one hither speeding,
An Hebrew, as I guess, and of our tribe.

[Enter] Messenger.

Mess. O whither shall I run, or which way fly The sight of this so horrid spectacle, Which erst my eyes beheld, and yet behold? For dire imagination still pursues me. But providence or instinct of nature seems, Or reason though disturb'd, and scarce consulted, To have guided me aright, I know not how, To thee first, reverend Manoah, and to these My countrymen, whom here I knew remaining, As at some distance from the place of horrour, So in the sad event too much concern'd.

Man. The accident was loud, and here before


With rueful cry, yet what it was we hear not; No preface needs, thou seest we long to know. Mess. It would burst forth, but I recover breath

And sense distract, to know well what I utter.

Man. Tell us the sum, the circumstance defer. Mess. Gaza yet stands, but all her sons are fall'n,

All in a moment overwhelm'd and fall'n.

Man. Sad, but thou know'st to Israelites not The desolation of a hostile city. [saddest Mess. Feed on that first; there may in grief

be surfeit.

Man. Relate by whom.
By Samson.

That still lessens
The sorrow, and converts it nigh to joy.
Mess. Ah! Manoah, I refrain too suddenly
To utter what will come at last too soon;
Lest evil tidings with too rude irruption
Hitting thy aged ear should pierce too deep.
Man. Suspense in news is torture, speak them


Mess. Take then the worst in brief, Samson is dead.

Man. The worst indeed, O all my hopes defeated

To free him hence! but death, who sets all free,
Hath paid his ransom now and full discharge.
What windy joy this day had I conceiv'd
Hopeful of his delivery, which now proves
Abortive as the first-born bloom of spring
Nipt with the lagging rear of winter's frost !
Yet ere I give the reins to grief, say first,
How died he; death to life is crown or shame.
All by him fell, thou say'st; by whom fell he?
What glorious hand gave Samson his death's
Mess. Unwounded of his enemies he fell.
Man. Wearied with slaughter then, or how?

Mess. By his own hands.
Self-violence? what cause
Brought him so soon at variance with himself
Among his foes?

Mess. Inevitable canse 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
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 despatch'd,
When all abroad was rumour'd that this day
Samson should be brought forth, to show the

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;
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
Had fill'd their hearts with mirth, high cheer,
and wine,


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
Archers, and slingers, cataphracts and spears.
At 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 heave, pull, draw, or break, he still perform'd
All with incredible, stupendous force;
Note daring to appear antagonist.
At length for intermission 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 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 his arms, with head a while inclin'd,
And eyes fast fix'd he stood, as one who pray'd,
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

I mean to show you of my strength, yet greater,
As with amaze shall strike all who behold."
This utter'd, straining all his nerves he bow'd,
As with the force of winds and waters pent,
When mountains tremble, those two massy pil
With horrible convulsion to and fro [lars
He tugg'd, he shook, till down they came and

The whole roof after them, with burst of thunder
Upon the heads of all who sat beneath,
Lords, ladies, captains, counsellors, 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 immix'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
The work for which thou wast foretold
To Israel, and now ly'st victorious
Among thy slain self-kill'd,

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 hence, 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,

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.

1. Semichor. While their hearts were jocund With all his trophies hung, and acts inroll'd

and sublime,
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 phrenzy sent,
Who hurt their minds,

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.

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

Chor. All is best, though we oft doubt
What the unsearchable dispose
Of highest Wisdom brings about,
And ever best found in the close,

Their own destruction to come speedy upon them. Oft he seems to hide his face,
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 eyes illuminated,
His fiery virtue rous'd

From under ashes into sudden flame,
And as an evening dragon came,
Assailant on the perched roosts
Aud 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 seem'd,

Like that self-begotten bird

In the Arabian woods embost,

That no second knows nor third,
And lay ere while 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


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
Honour 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 favouring 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.

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 dismist,
And calm of mind, all passion spent.

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xii. Achan. Joshue vii and viii. xiii. Josuah in Gibeon, Josh. x.

xiv. Gideon Idoloclastes. Judg. vi, vii. xv. Gideon pursuing. Judg. viii. xvi. Abimelech the Usurper. Judg. ix. xvii. SAMSON MARRIING, or in Ramach Lechi.

Judg. xv.

xviii, SAMSON PURSOPHORUS, or Hybristes, or Dagonalia. Judg. xvi,

xix. Comazontes, or The Benjaminites, or The
Rioters. Judg. xix, xx, xxi.

xx, Theristria, a Pastoral, out of Ruth.
xxi. Eliade, Hophni and Phinehas. I Sam.
i, ii, iii, iv. Beginning with the first
overthrow of Israel by the Philistines;
interlac't with Samuel's vision concern-
ing Elie's family.

xxii. Jonathan rescued. I Sam. xiv. xxiii. Doeg slandering. I Sam, xxii. xxiv. The sheep-shearers in Carmel, a Pastoral, I Sam. xxv.

xxv. Saul in Gilboa. I Sam. xxviji, xxxi. xxvi. David revolted, I Sam. from the xxvii chap. to the xxxi.

xxvii. David adulterous, II Sam. c. xi, xii. xxviii. Tamar, II Sam. xiii.

xxix. Achitophel. II Sam. xv, xvi, xvii, xviii. Xxx. Adoniah. I Reg. ii.

xxxi. Solomon Gynæcocratumenus, or Idolomargus, aut Thysiazusa. I Reg. xi. xxxii. Rehoboam. I Reg. xii. Wher is disputed of a politic religion, xxxiii. Abias Thersæus. I Reg. xiv. The queen,

after much dispute, as the last refuge, sent to the profet Ahias of Shilo; receavs the message. The Epitasis, in that shee, hearing the child shall die, as she comes home, refuses to return, thinking thereby to elude the oracle.

Apocalypse of Saint John is the majestic image of a high and stately tragedy, shutting up and intermingling her solemn scenes and, acts with a seven-fold chorus of hallelujahs and harping symphonies." Prose-Works, edit. 1698, vol. i. 61.


2 So they are termed in Milton's MS. Those, which relate to Paradise Lost, have been given at the end of that poem. TODD.

The former part is spent in bringing the sick prince forth as it were desirous to shift his chamber and couch, as dying men use; his father telling him what sacrifize he had sent for his health to Bethel and Dan; his fearlessnesse of death, and putting his father in mind to set [send] to Ahiah. The Chorus of the Elders of Israel bemoning his virtues bereft them, and at another time wondring why Jeroboam, being bad himself, should so grieve for his son that was good, &c.

xxxiv. Imbres, or The Showers. I Reg. xviii, xix.

xxxv. Naboth unvparrμevoç. I Reg. xxi. xxxvi. Ahab. I Reg. xxii. Beginning at the

synod of fals profets: ending with relation of Ahab's death: his bodie brought. Zedechiah slain by Ahab's friends for his seducing. (See Lavater, II Chron. xviii.)

xxxvii. Elias in the mount. II Reg. i. 'Opeißárns. Or, better, Elias Polemistes.

xxxviii. Elisaus Hudrochóos. II Reg, iii. Hudrophantes. Aquator.

xxxix. Elisaus Adorodocétas.

xl. Elisæus Minutes, sive in Dothaimis. II Reg. vi.

xli. Samaria Liberata. II Reg. vii. xlii. Achabai Cunoboremeni. II Reg. ix.

The Scene, Jesrael. Beginning, from the watchman's discovery of Jehu, till he go out. In the mean while, message of things passing brought to Jesebel, &c. Lastly, the 70 heads of Ahab's sons brought in, and message brought of Ahaziah's brethren slain on the way. Chap. x.

xliii. Jehu Belicola. II Reg. x. xliv. Athaliah. II Reg. xi.

xlv. Amaziah Doryalotus. II Reg. xiv. II Chron. xxv.

xlvi. Hezechias πολιορκώμενος. II Reg. xviii, xix. Hesechia beseiged. The wicked hypocrisy of Shebna, (spoken of in the xi. or thereabout of Isaiah,) and the commendation of Eliakim, will afford apóguas Aéys, together with a faction that sought help from Egypt.

xlvii. Josiah Asalomenos. II Reg. xxiii. xlviii. Zedechia VEOTEgiv. II Reg. But the story is larger in Jeremiah.

xlix. Salymay Halosis. Which may begin

from a message brought to the city, of the judgement upon Zedechiah and his children in Ribla: and so seconded with the burning and destruction of city and temple by Nebuzaradan; lamented by Jeremiah.

1. Asa, or Æthiopes. II Chron. xiv. with the deposing his mother, and burning her idol.

li. The three children. Dan. iii.

lii. Abram from Morea, or Isaac redeemThe oiconomie may be thus. The fift or sixt day after Abraham's departure, Eleazar (Abram's steward) first alone, and then with the Chorus, dis

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