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These, thus degenerate, by themselves enslav'd? | And thou thyself seem'st otherwise inclind
As by that early action may be judg'd, (went'st Spreading and overshadowing all the Earth ; When, slipping from thy mother's eye, thou Or as a stone, that sball to pieces dash
Alone into the temple, there wast found All monarchies besides throughout the world; Among the gravest rabbies, disputant And of my kingdom there shall be no end : On points and questions fitting Moses' chair, Means there shall be to this, but what the means, Teaching, not taught. The childhood shows Is not for thee to know, nor me to tell."
the man, To whom the tempter, impudent, replied. As morning shows the day: be famous then " I see all offers made by me how slight
By wisdom; as thy empire must extend, Thou valuest, because offer'd, and reject'st : So let extend thy mind o'er all the world Nothing will please the difficult and nice,
In knowledge, all things in it comprehend. Or nothing more than still to contradict:
All knowledge is not couch'd in Moses' law, On the other side know also thou, that I
The Pentateuch, or what the prophets wrote; On what I offer set as high esteem,
The Gentiles also know, and write, and teach Nor what I part with mean to give for nought; To admiration, led by Nalure's light, All these, which in a moment thou behold'st, And with the Gentiles much thod must converse, The kingdoms of the world, to thee I give, Ruling them by persuasion, as thou mear'st; (For, given to me, I give to whom I please,) Without their learning, how wilt thou with them, No trifle; yet with this reserve, not else,
Or they with thee, hold conversation meet? On this condition, if thou wilt fall down,
How wilt thou reason with them, how refute And worship me as thy superior lord,
Their idolisms, traditions, paradoxes? (Easily done,) and hold them all of me;
Errour by his own arms is best eviocid. For what can less so great a gift deserve ?" Look once more, ere we leave this specular Whom thus our Saviour answer'd with disdain.
mount, “ I never lik'd thy talk, thy offers less;
Westward; much nearer by southwest, behold;
Athens, the eye of Greece, mother of arts
City or suburban, studious walks and shades.
His whispering stream: within the walls, then Other dovation none thou canst produce.
The schools of ancient sages; his who bred If given, by wbom but by the King of kings, Great Alexander to subdue the world, God over all supreme? if given to thee,
Lyceum there, ani printed 3toa next: By thee how fairly is the giver now
There shalt thou hear and learn the secret power Repaid ! But gratitude in thee is lost
Of harmony, in tones and numbers hit Long since. Wert thou so void of fear or shame, Br voice or hand; and various-measur'd verse, As offer them to me, the Son of God ?
Æolian charms and Dorian lyric odes [sung, To me my own, on such abhorred pact,
And his, who gare them breath, but higher 'I'lat I fall down and worship thee as God? Blind Melesigenes, thence Homer callid, Get thee behind me; plain thou now appear'st Whose poem Phoebus challeng'd for his own: That Evil-one, Satan for ever damn'd."
Thence what the lofty grare tragedians taught To whom the fiend, with fear abash'd, repli In Chorus or lambic, teachers best “ Be not so sore offended, Son of God, sed. Of moral prudence, with delight receivd Though sons of God both angels are and men, In brief sententious precepts, while they treat If i, to try whether in higher sort
Of fate, and chance, and change in human life, Than these thou bear'st that title, have propos'd High actions and high passions best describing : What both from men and angels I receive, 1 Thence to the famous crators repair, Tetrarchs of fire, air, flood, and on the Earth, Those ancient, whose resistiess eloquence Nations beside from all the quarter'd winds, | Wielded at will that fierce deinocratie, God of this world invok'd, and world beneath: Shook the arsenal, and fulmin'd orer Greece Who then thou art, whose coming is foretold To Macedon and Artaxerxes' throne: To me most fatal, me it most concerns;
To sage Philosophy next lend thine ear, The trial hath indamag'd thee no way,
From Heaven descended to the low-roof'd house Rather more honour left and more esteem ; Of Socrates; see there his tenement, Me nought advantag'd, missing what I aim'd. Whom well inspir'd the oracle pronounc'd Therefore let pass, as they are transitory, Wisest of men; from whose ruth issued forth The kingdoms of this world; I shall no more Mellifluous streams, that water'd all the schools Advise thee; gain them as thou canst, or not. Of academics old and yes, with those
Surnatu'd Peripatetics, and the sect
| Will far be found unworthy to compare Epicurean, and the Stoic severe;
With Sion's songs, to all true tastes excelling,
* To whom our Saviour sagely thus replied. By light of Nature, not in all quite lost.
The top of eloquence; statists indeed, -
Than all the oratory of Greece and Rome.. The first and wisest of them all profess'd
In thein is plainest taught, and easiest learnt, To know this only, that he nothing knew;
What makes a nation happy, and keeps it so, The next to fabling fell, and smooth conceits; What ruins kingdoms, and lays cities Aat; A third sort doubted all things, though plain These only with our law best form a king." Others in virtue plac'd felicity,
| So spake the Son of God; but Satan, now But virtue join'd with riches and long life; Quite at a loss, (for all his darts were spent,) In corporal pleasure he, and careless ease;
Thus to our Saviour with stern brow replied. The Stoic last in philosophic pride,
“ Since neither wealth nor honour, arms nor By him call'd virtue; and his virtuous man,
arts, Wise, perfect in bimself, and all possessing Kingdom nor empire pleases thee, nor aught Egnal to God, oft shames not to prefer,
By me propos'd in life contemplative As fearing God nor man, contemning all
Or active, tended on by glory or fame, Wealth, pleasure, pain or torment, death and life, What dost thou in this world? The wilderness Which, when he lists, he leaves, or boasts he | For thee is fittest place; I found thee there, For all his tedious talk is but vain boast, [can, And thither will return thee; yet remember Or subtle shifts conviction to evade.
What I foretel thee, soon thou shalt have cause Alas! what can they teach and not mislead, To wish thou never hadst rejected, thus Ignorant of themselves, of God much more, Nicely or cautiously, my offer'd aid, sease And how the world began, and how man fell | Which would have set thee in short time with Degraded by himself, on grace depending? On David's throne, or throne of all the world, Much of the soul they talk, but all awry,
Now at full age, fulness of time, thy season And in themselves seek virtue; and to themselves When prophecies of thee are best fulfill'd. All glory arrogate, to God give none;
| Now contrary, if I read aught in Heaven, Rather accuse him under usual names,
Or Heaven write aught of fate, by what the stars Fortune and Fate, as one regardless quite Voluminous, or single characters, Of mortal things. Who therefore seeks in these In their conjunction met, give me to spell, True wisdom, finds her not; or, by delusion, Sorrows, and labours, opposition, hate Par worse, her false resemblance only meets, Attend thee, scorns, reproaches, injuries, An empty cloud. However, many books, . Violence and stripes, and lastly cruel death; Wise men have said, are wearisome; who reads A kingdom they portend thee, but what kingdom, Incessantly, and to his reading brings not Real or allegoric, I discern nots A spirit and judgment equal or superior,
Nor when ; eternal sure, as without end, (And what he brings what needs he elsewhere Without beginning; for no date prefix'd Uncertain and unsettled still remains, (seek?) | Directs me in the starry rubric set.” Deep vers'd in bouks, and shallow in himself, So saying he took, (for still be knew his power Grude or intoxicate, collecting toys
Not yet expir'd,) and to the wilderness And triftes for choice matters, worth a sponge ; Brought back the Son of Gud, and left him there, As children gathering pebbles on the shore. Feigning to disappear. Darkness vow rose, Or, if I would delight my private hours
As day-light sunk, and brought in lowering With music or with poem, where so soon
night, As in our native language, can I find
Her shadowy offspring; unsubstantial both,
After his aery jaunt, though hurried sore, ,
shield The rices of their deities, and their own,
From dews and damps of night his shelter'd head; In fable, bymn, or song, so personating
But, shelter'd, slept in vain ; for at his head Their gods ridiculous, and themselves past shame. The tempter watch'd, and soon with ugly dreams Remove their swelling epithets, thick Jaid Disturb'd his sleep. And either tropic now As varnish on a harlot's cheek, the rest,
'Gan thunder, and both ends of Heavea; lhe Thin sown with aught of profit or delight,
From many a horrid rift, abortive pour'd Not when it must, but when it may be best : «
What I foretold thee, many a hard assay
And staid not, but in brief him answer'd thus : Unshaken ! Nor yet staid the terrour there; “Me worse than wet thou find'st not; other Infernal ghosts and hellish furies round
(none; Environ’d thee, some howl'd, some yell’d, some Those terrours, which thou speak’st of, did me sbriek'd,
I never fear'd they could, though noising loud Some bent at thee their fiery darts, while thou And threatening high: what they can do as signs, Sat'st unappallid in calm and sinless peace! Betokening, or ill-boding, I contemn Thus passed the night so foul, till Morning fair As false portents, not sent from God, but thee; Came forth, with pilgrim steps, in amice gray ; Who, knowing I shall reign past thy preventing, Who with her radiant finger stillid the roar Obtrud'st thy offer'd aid, that I, accepting, of thunder, chas'd the clouds, and laid the At least might seem to hold all power of thee, winds,
Ambitious spirit! and wouldst be thought my And grisly spectres, which the fiend had rais'd
God; To tempt the Son of God with terruurs dire, And storm'st refus'd, thinking to terrify And now the Sun with more effectual beams Me to thy will! deşist, (thou art discern'd Had cheer'd the face of Earth, and dried the wet And toil'st in vain,) nor me in vaip molest." From drooping plant, or dropping tree; the To whom the fiend, now swolo with rage, rebirds,
plied. Who all things now behold more fresh and “. Then bear, O son of David, virgin-boro, After a night of storm so ruinous,
For son uf God to me is yet in doubt; Clear'd up their choicest notes in bush and spray, Ofthe Messiah I had heard foretold To gratulate the sweet return of morn.
By all the prophets; of thy birth at length, Nor yet, amidst this joy apd brightest morn, Announc'd by Gabriel, with the first I knew, Was absent, after all his mischief done,
And of the angelic song in Bethlehem field, The prince of darkness; glac would also seem On thy birth-night that sung chee Saviour born. Of this fair change, and to our Saviour camne; From that time seldom bave I ceas'd to eye Yet with no new device, (tbey all were spent,) Thy infancy, thy childhood, and thy youth, Rather by this his last aflrunt resolv'd,
Thy manhood last, though yet in private bred; Desperate of better course, to vent his rage Till at the ford of Jordan, whither all And mad despite to be so oft repell’d.
Flock to the Baptist, I, among the rest, Him walking on a sunny bill be found,
(Though not to be baptiz'd,) by voice from Back'd on the north and west by a thick wood;
Heaven Out of the wood he starts in wonted shape, Heard thee pronounc'd the Son of God belor'd. And in a careless mood thus to him said.
Thenceforth I thought thee worth my nearer vier " Fajr morning yet betides thee, Son of God, And narrower scrutiny, that I might learn After a dismal night; I beard the wrack, | In what degree or meaning thou art callid As earth and sky would mingle; but inyself The Son of God; which bears no single sense. Was distant; and these fans, though mortals The Son of God i also am, or was; fear thein
And if I was, I am ; relation stands; As dangerous to the pillard frame of Heaven, All men are sons of God; yet thee I thought Or to the Earth's dark basis underneath,
In some respect far higher so declard : Are to the main as inconsiderable
Therefore I watch'd thy footsteps from that hour, And harmless, if not wholesome, as a sneeze And follow'd thee still on to this waste wild; To man's less universe, and soun are gone ; Where, by all best conjectures, I collect Yet, as being ost times noxious where they light Thou art to be my fatal enemy: On man, beast, plant, wasteful and turbulent, Good reason then, if I before-hand seek Like tarbulencies in the attairs of men,
To understand my adversary, who
By parl or coinposition, truce or league,
To try thee, sift thee, and confess have found thee, The perfect season ffer'd with my aid
Proof against all temptation, as a rock To win thy destin'l seat, but wilt prolong
Of adamant, and, as a centre, firm; All to the push of fae, pursue thy way
To the utmost of mere man both wise and good, Of gaining David's throne, no man knows then, Not more; for honours, riches, kingdoins, glory, For both the when and how is no where told? | Have been before contema'd, and inay again, Thou shalt be what thon art ordain'd, no doubt; | Therefore, to know what more thou art than man, For angels bave proclaim'd it, but concealing Worth naming Son of God by voice from Heaven, The time and incans. Each act is rightliest done Another method I must know begin."
So saying he caught him up, and, without wing Supplanted Adam, and, by vanquishing f hippogrif, bore through the air sublime, Temptation, hast regain'd lost Paradise, Over the wilderness and o'er the plain,
And frustrated the conquest fraudulent. Till underneath them fair Jerusalem,
He never more henceforth will dare set foot . The holy city, lifted high her towers,
In Paradise to tempt; his snares are broke : And higher yet the glorious temple rear'd
For, though that seat of earthly bliss be fail'd, Her pile, far off appearing like a mount
A fairer Paradise is founded now Of alabaster, topt with golden spires :
For Adam and his chosen sons, whom thou, There, on the highest pinnacle, he set
A Saviour, art come down to re-install, The Son of God; and added thus in scorn. Where they shall dwell secure, when time shall “There stand, if thou wilt stand; to stand Of tempter and temptation without fear. [be, upright
But thou, infernal serpent ! shalt not long Will ask thee skill; I to thy Father's house Rule in the clouds like an autumnal star, Have brought thee, and highest plac'd : highest Or lightning, thou shalt fall from Heaven, trod is best:
down Now show thy progeny; if not to stand,
Under his feet : for proof, ere this thou feel'st Cast thyself down; safely, if Son of God : | Thy wound, (yet not thy last and deadliest For it is written, *He will give command
wound,) Concerning thee to his angels, in their hands By this repulse receir'd, and hold'st in Hell They shall ap lift thee, lest at any time
No triumph : in all her gates Abaddon rues Thoa chance to dash thy foot against a stone.' ” Thy bold attempt. Hereafter learn with awe
To whom thus Jesus: “ Also it is written, To dread the Son of God : he, all unarm'd, * Tempt not the Lord thy God." He said, and Shall chase thee, with the terrour of his voice, stood :
From thy demoniac bolds, possession foul, But Satan, smitten with amazement fell.
Thee and thy legions : yelling they shal} fly, As when Earth's son Antæus, (to compare And beg to hide them in a herd of swine, Small things with greatest,) in Irassa strove Lest he command them down into the deep, With Jove's Alcides, and, oft foil'd, still rose, Bound, and to torment sent before their time. Receiving from his mother Earth new strength, Hail, Son of the Most High, heir of both worlds, Fresh from his fall, and fiercer grapple join'd, Queller of Satan! on thy glorious work Throttled at length in the air, expird and fell; Now enter; and begin to save mankind.” So, after many a foil, the tempter proud,
Thus they the Son of God, our Saviour meek, Renewing fresh assaults, amidst his pride, Sung victor, and, from heavenly feast refresh'd, Pell whenee he stood to see his victor fall : Brought on his way with joy; he, unobserv'd, And as that Theban monster, that propos'd Home to his mother's house private return'd. Her riddle, and him who solv'd it not devour'd, That once found out and solvd, for grief and spite Cast herself headlong from the Ismenian steep; So, struck with dread and anguish, fell the fiend, And to his crew, that sat consulting, brought
SAMSON AGONISTES, (Joyless triumphals of his hop'd success,)
A DRAMATIC POEM
Aristot. Poet. cap. 6.
Tpayoodía painuous mpáčews owudacias, m. 7. X. Who on their plumy vans receiv'd him soft From his uneasy station, and upbore, As on a floating couch, through the blithe air;
Tragoedia 'est imitatio actionis seriæ, &c. per "ay
misericordiam et meteum perficiens talium Then, in a flowery valley, set him down On a green bank, and set before him spread
TRAGEDY, as it was anciently composed, Or thirst; and, as he fed, angelic quires
hath been ever held the gravest, moralest, and Sung heavenly anthems of his victory
most profitable of all other poems: therefore said Over temptation and the tempter proud.
“ True image of the Father ; whether throu'd Of that sort of dramatic poem, called Tragedy.) In the bosom of bliss, and light of light
Milton, who was inclin'd to Puritanism, had good Conceiving, or, remote from Heaven, enshrin'd reason to think, that the publication of his Sam. Tu fleshly tabernacle, and human form,
son Agonistes would be very offensive to his bre. Wandering the wilderness; whatever place, thren, who held poetry, and particularly that of Habit, or state, or motion, still expressing
the dramatic kind, in the greatest abhorrence. The Son of God, with God-like force endued And, upon this account, it is probable, that, in Against the attempter of thy Father's throne, order to excuse bimself from having engaged in And thief of Paradise ! him long of old
this proscribed and forbidden species of writing, Thou did'st debel, and down from Heaven cast he thought it expedient to prefix to his play a with all his army; now thou tast aveng'd format defence of tragedy. WARTON.
by Aristotle to be of power by raising pity and ( fable as may stand best with versimilitude and fear, or terrour, to purge the inind of those and decorum ; they only will best judge who are not such like passions, that is, to temper and reduce unacquainted with Æschylus, Sophocles, and Eu, them to just measure with a kind of delight, ripides, the three tragic poets unequalled set by stirred up by reading or seeing those passions any, and the best rule to all who endeavour to well imitated. Nor is Nature wanting in her write tragedy. The circumscription of time, own effects to make good his assertiou: for so, in wherein the whole drama begins and ends, is acphysic, things of melancholic hue and quality cording to ancient rule, and best example, within are used against melancholy, sour against sour, the space of twenty-four hours. salt to remove salt humours. Hence philosophers and other gravest writers, as Cicero, Plutarch,
THE ARGUMENT. and others, frequently cite out of tragic poets, both to adorn and illustrate their discourse. The Samson, made captive, blind, and now in the Apostle Paul bimself thought it not unworthy prison at Gaza, there to labour as in a comto insert a verse of Euripides into the text of mon workhouse, on a festival day, in the geHoly Scripture, 1 Cor. xv. 33; and Paræus, neral cessation from labour, comes forth into Bommenting on the Revelation, divides the whole the open air, to a place nigh, somewhat retir. book as a tragedy, into acts distinguished each ed, there to sit a while and bemoan his condiby a chorus of heavenly harpings and song be tion. Where be happens at length to be vi. tween. Heretofore men in highest dignity have sited by certain friends and equals of his tribe, laboured not a little to be thought able to com which makes the Chorus, who seek to compose a tragedy. Of tbat honour Dionysius the fort bim what they can; then by bis old fa. elder was no less ambitious, than before of his ther Manoah, who endeavours the like, and attaining to the tyranny. Augustus Cæsar also withal tells him his purpose to procure his lihad begun his Ajax, but unable to please his berty by ransom; lastly, that this feast was own judgment with what he had begun, left it proclaimed by the Philistines as a day of unfinished. Seneca, the philosopher, is by some thanksgiving for their deliverance from the thought the author of those tragedies (at least the hands of Samson, which vet more troubles best of them) that go under that name. Gregory bim. Manoah then departs to prosecute bis Nazianzen, a father of the church, thought it endeavour with the Philistine Jords for Samnot unbeseeming the sanctity of his person to son's redemption; who in the mean while is write a tragedy,which is entitled Christ suffering. visited by other persons; and lastly by a pube
This is mentioned to vindicate tragedy from the lic officer to require bis coming to the feast small esteem, or rather infamy, wbich in the before the lords and people, to play or show his account of many it undergoes at this day with strength in their presence; he at first refuses, other common interludes; happening, through dismissing the public officer with absolute de the poet's erTour of intermixing comic stuff with nial to come; at length, persuaded inwardly tragic sadness and gravity; or introducing tri that this was from God, be yields to go along vial and vulgar persons, which by all judicious with him, who came now the second time with hath been counted absurd; and brought in with great threatenings to fetch him : the Chorus out discretion, corruptly to gratify the people. yet remaining on the place, Manoab returns And though ancient tragedy use no prologue, full of joyful hope, to procure ere long his son's yet using sometimes, in case of self-defence, or deliverance: in the midst of which discourse explanation, that which Martial calls an episile; an Hebrew comes in baste, confusedly at first, in behalf of this tragedy coming forth after the and afterward more distinctly, relating the ancient manner, much different from what among catastrophe, what Samson had done to the us passes for best, thus much before-hand may Philistines, and by accident to himself; where: be epistled; that Chorus is here introduced with the tragedy ends. after the Greek manner, not ancient only but modern, and still in use among the Italians. In the modelling therefore of this poem, with good reason, the ancients and Italians are rather fol
THE PERSONS, lowed, as of much more authority and fame. SANSON. The measure of verse used in the Chorus is of all MANOAH, the father of Samson. sorts, called by the Greeks Monostrophic, or Dalila, his wife, rather Apolelymenon, without regard had to Harapha of Gath, Strophe, Antistropbe, or Epode, which were a Public Officer. kind of stanzas framed only for the music, then Messenger. used with the Chorus that sung; not essential to Chorus of Danites. the poem, and therefore not material; or, being divided into stanzas or pauses, they may be called
The Scene before the Prison in Gaza, Allæostropha. Division into act and scene referring chiefly to the stage (to which this work never was intended) is here omitted. It suffices if the whole drama be found not
Samson, [Attendant leading him.} produced beyond the fifih act. Of the style and A LITTLE onward lend thy guiding hand uniformity, and that commonly called the plot, | To these dark steps, a little further on; whether intricate or explicit, which is nothing for yonder bank hath choice of sun or shade: indeed but such economy, or disposition of the There I am wont to sit, when any chance