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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 'scaped who stood without.
Cho. O dearly bought revenge, yet glorious! 1660
Living or dying thou 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 hath slain before.
1 Semicho. While their hearts were jocund and
Drunk with idolatry, drunk with wine, [sublime,
And fat regorged 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,
And urged 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 eternal struck.
2 Semicho. But he, though blind of sight,
Despised, and thought extinguish'd quite,
With inward eyes illuminated,
His fiery virtue roused
From under ashes into sudden flame;
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.
So virtue, given for lost,
Depress’d and overthrown as seem’d,
Like that selt-begotten bird
In the Arabian woods embost,
1700 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
1710 A life heroic on his enemies Fully revenged; hath left them years of mourning, And lamentation to the sons of Caphtor Through all Philistian bounds; to Israel Honour bath 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.
1720 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, 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,
1730 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,
With all his trophies hung, and acts enroll'd
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.
Cho. 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 rvants he, with new acquist
Of true experience from this great event,
With peace and consolation hath dismiss'd,
And calm of mind, all passion spent.