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1 Semichor. While their hearts were jocund & sublime, Drunk with idolatry, drunk with wine And fat, regorged of bulls and goats,
1675 Chaunting 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,
1680 And urged them on, with mad desire, To call in haste for their destroyer : They, only set on sport and play, Unweetingly importuned Their own destruction to come speedy upon them 1685 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.
1690 2 Semichor. But he, though blind of sight, Despised and thought extinguished quite, With inward eyes illuminated, His fiery virtue roused, From under ashes, into sudden flame,
169 And, as an evening dragon, came Assailant on the perched roosts, And nests, in order ranged, Of tame villatic fowl; but, as an eagle, His cloudless thunder bolted on their heads.
1700 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,
1705 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,
1710 A secular bird, ages of lives.
Man. Come, come, no time for lamentation now,
Find courage to lay hold on this occasion ;
Chor. All is best, though we oft doubt,
THE END OF SAMSON AGONISTES.
PRESENTED AT LUDLOW Castle, 1634.
JOHN, EARL OF BRIDGEWATER,
THEN PRESIDENT OF WAIBS.
TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE*
JOHN, LORD VISCOUNT BRACKLY,1 Son and Heir Apparent to the Earl of Bridgewater.
&c. MY LORD, This Poem, which received its first occasion of birth from yourself and others of your noble family, and much honour from your own person in the performance, now returns again to make a final Dedication of itself to you. Although not openly acknowledged by the Author,t yet it is a legitimate offspring, so lovely and so much desired, that the often copying of it hath tired my pen to give my several friends satisfaction, and brought me to a necessity of producing it to the public view; and now to offer it up in all rightful devotion to those fair hopes, and rare endowments of your much promising youth, which give a full assurance, to all that know you, of a future excellence. Live, sweet Lord, to be the honour of your name, and receive this as your own, from the hands of him who hath by many favours been long obliged to your most honoured parents, and as in this representation your attendant Thyrsis, so now in all real expression, Your faithful and most humble servant,
• This is the dedication to Lawes's edition of the Mask, 1637.