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Some other tending ; in his hand
After my great transgression, so requite A sceptre or quaint staff he bears,
Favour renew'd, and add a greater sin Comes on amain, speed in his look.
By prostituting holy things to idols ? By his habit I discern him now
A Nazarite in place abominable A public officer, and now at hand;
Vaunting iny strength in honour to their Dagon! His message will be short and voluble.
Besides, how vile, contemptible, ridiculous,
What act more execrably unclean, prophane ? [Enter] Officer.
Chor. Yet with this strength thou serv'st the Of. Hebrews, the prisoner Samson here I
Idolatrous, uncircumcis'd, unclean. *Chor. His manacles remark him, there he Sams. Not in their idol-worship, but by labout sits.
Honest and lawful to deserve my food Off. Samson, to thee our lords thus bid me Of those who have me in their civil power. This day to Dagon is a solemn feast, (say; Chur. Where the heart joins not, outward acts With sacrifices, triumph, pomp, and games :
defile not. Thy strength they know surpassing human rate, Sams. Where outward force constrains, the And now some public proof thereof require
sentence holds. To honour this great feast, and great assembly : But who coustrains me to the temple of Dagon, Rise therefore with all speed, and come along, Not dragging? the Philistian lords command. Where I will see thee hearten'd, and fresh clad, Commands are no constraints. If I obey them, To appear as fits before the illustrious lords. I do it freely, venturing to displease Sams. Thou know'st I am an Hebrew, there- God for the fear of man, and man prefer, fore tell them,
Set God behind: which in his jealousy Our law forbids at their religiov rites
Shall never, unrepented, find forgiveness. My presence; for that cause cannot come. Yet that he may dispense with me, or thee, Off. This answet, be assurd, will not content Present in temples at idolatrous rites them.
For some important cause, thou need’st not doubt. Sams. Have they not sword-players, and every
Chor. How thou wilt here come off surmounts sort
my reach. Of gymnic artists, wrestlers, riders, runners, Sams. Be of good courage; I begin to feel Juglers, and dancers, antics, mummers, mi- Some rousing motions in me, which dispose mics,
To something extraordinary my thoughts.
Nothing to do, be sure, that may dishonour To make them sport with blind activity?
Our law, or stain my vow of Nazarité.
This day will be remarkable in my life
By some great act, or of my days the last. Return the way thou cam'st, I will not come. Chor. In time thou hast resolv'd, the man reOff. Regard thyself; this will offend them
Off. Samson, this second message from our Sams. Myself? my conscience, and internal
lords peace. .
To thee I am bid say. Art thou our slave, Can they think me so broken, so debas'd Our captive at the public mill, our drudge, With corporal servitude, that my mind ever And dar'st thou at our sending and command Will condescend to such absurd commands? Dispute thy coming ? come without delay; Although their drudge, to be their fool or jester, Or we shall find such engines to assail And in my midst of sorrow and heart-grief And hamper thee, as thou shalt come of force, To show them feats, and play before their god, Though thou wert firmlier fasten'd than a rock The worst of all indignities, yet on me
Sams. I could be well content to try their art, Join'd with extreme contempt ? I will not come. Which to no few of them would prove pernicious. Off My message was impos'd on me with Yet, knowing their advantages too many, speed,
Because they shall not trail me through their Brooks no delay: is this thy resolution ?
streets Sams. So take it with what speed thy message Like a wild beast, I am content to go. needs.
Masters' commands come with a power resistless Of. I am sorry what this stoutness will pro- To such as owe them absolute subjection, duce. (Exit.]
And for a life who will not change his purpose ? Sams. Perhaps thou shalt have cause to sor- (So mutable are all the ways of men ;) row indeed.
Yet this be sure, in nothing to comply Chor. Consider, Samson; matters now Scandalous or forbidden in our law. strain'd
Off. I praise thy resolution : doff these links : Up to the height, whether to hold or break : By this compliance thou wilt win the lords He's gone, and who knows how he may report To favour, and perhaps to set thee free. Thy words by adding fuel to the flame?
Sams. Brethren, farewell; your company Expect another message more inperious,
along More lordly thundering than thou well wilt bear. I will not wish, lest it perhaps offend them
Sams. Shall I abuse this consecrated gift To see me girt with friends; and how the sight Of strength, again returning with my hair
Of ine, as of a common enemy, VOL. VII,
So dreaded once, may now exasperate them, And number'd down : much rather I shall choose
For his redemption all my patrimony,
If weed be, I am ready to forego Happen what may, of me expect to hear And quit: not wanting him, I shall want nou Nothing dishonourable, impure, unworthy
thing. Our God, our law, my nation, or myself,
Chor. Fathers are wont to lay up for their sons, The last of me or no I cannot warrant.
Thou for thy son art bent to lay out all ; Chor. Go, and the Holy One
Sons wont to nurse their parents in old age, Of Israel be thy guide
[name Thou in old age car'st how to nurse thy son, To what may serve his glory best, and spread his Made older than thy age through eye-sight lost Great among the Heathen round;
Man. It shall be my delight to tend his eyes, Send thee the angel of thy birth, to stand And view him sitting in the house, ennobled Fast by thy side, who from thy father's field With all those high exploits by him achiev'd, Rode up in flames after his message told And on his shoulders waving down those locks Of thy conception, and be now a shield
That of a nation arm'd the strength contain'd : Of fire ; that spirit, that first rush'd on thee And I persuade me, God had not permitted In the camp of Dan,
His strength again to grow up with his hair, Be efficacious in thee now at need.
Garrison'd round about him like a camp For never was from Heaven imparted
Of faithful soldiery, were not his purpose. Measure of strength so great to mortal seed, To use him further yet in some great service; As in thy wondrous actions hath been seen.- Not to sit idle with so great a gift But wherefore comes old Manoah in such haste Useless, and thence ridiculous about him. (lost, With youthful steps? much livelier than ere And since his strength with eye-sight was not while
God will restore him eye-sight to his strength. He seems; supposing here to find his son,
Chor. Thy hopes are not ill founded, nor seem Or of him bringing to us some glad news? Of his delivery, and the joy thereon
(vain Conceiv'd, agreeable to a father's love, [Enter] Manoah.
In both which we, as next, participate. Man. Peace with you, brethren; my induce- Man. I know your friendly minds andment hither
what noise ! Was not at present here to find my son,
Mercy of Heaven, what hideous noise was that By order of the lords now parted hence
Horribly loud, unlike the former shout. To come and play before them at their feast. Chor. Noise call you it, or universal groan, I heard all as I came, the city rings,
As if the whole inhabitation perish'd ! [noise, And numbers thither flock: I had no will, Blood, death, and deathful deeds, are in that Lest I should see him forc'd to things unseemly. Ruin, destruction at the utmost point. But that, which mov'd my coming now, was Man. Of ruin indeed methought I heard the chiefly
noise : To give ye part with me what hope I have Oh! it continues, they have slain my son. With good success to work his liberty.
Chor. Thy son is rather slaying them: that Chor. That hope would much rejoice us to
From slaughter of one foe could not ascend, With thee; say, reverend sire, we thirst to hear. Man. Some dismal accident it needs must be;
Man. I have attempted one by one the lords What shall we do, stay here or run and see? Either at home, or through the high street pass- Chor. Best keep together here, lest, running ing,
thither, With supplication prope and father's tears, We unawares run into danger's mouth." To accept of ransoin for my son their prisoner. This evil on the Philistines is fall'n: Some much averse I found and wonderous harsh, From whoin could else a general cry be heard ; Contemptuous, proud, set on revenge and spite; The sufferers then will scarce molest us here; That part most reverenc'd Dagon and his priests: From other hands we need not much to fear. Others more moderate seeming, but their aim What if, his eye-sight (for to Israel's God Private reward, for which both God and state Nothing is hard) by miracle restor'd, They easily would set to sale: a third
He now be dealing dole among his foes, More generous far and civil, who confess'd And over heaps of slaughter'd walk his way? They bad enough reveng'd; having reduc'd Man. That were a joy presumptuous to be Their foe to misery beneath their fears,
thought. The rest was magnanimity to remit,
Chor. Yet God hath wrought things as incres If some convenient ransom were propos'd.
dible What wise or shout was that ? it tore the sky. For his people of old; what hinders now?
Chor. Doubtless the people shouting to behold Man. He can, I know, but doubt to think he Their once great dread, captive, and blind before them,
Yet hope would fain subscribe, and tempts belief, Or at some proof of strength before them shown. A little stay will bring some notice hither.
Man. His ransom, if my whole inheritance Chor. Of good or bad so great, of bad the May compass it, shall willingly be paid
For evil news rides post, while good news bates. More than enough we know; but while things yet
Eye-witness of what first or last was done,
Relation more particular and distinct. (Enter) Messenger.
Mess. Occasions drew me early to this city; Mess. O whither shall I run, or which way fly And, as the gates I enter'd with sun-rise, The sight of this so horrid spectacle,
The morning trumpets festival proclaim'd Which erst my eyes beheld, and yet behold? Through each high street: little I had despatch'd, For dire imagination still pursues me.
When all abroad was rumour'd that this day But providence or instinct of nature seems,
Samson should be brought forth, to show the
I sorrow'd at his captive state, but minded
The building was a spacious theatre
Half-round, on two main pillars vaulted high, Man. The accident was loud, and here before With seats where all the lords, and each degree thee
Of sort, might sit in order to behold; With rueful cry, yet what it was we hear not;
The other side was open, where the throng No preface needs, thou seest we long to know.
On banks and scaffolds under sky might stand; Mess. It would burst forth, but I recover I among these aloof obscurely stood. breath
The feast and noon grew high, and sacrifice And sense distract, to know well what I utter.
Had fill'd their hearts with mirth, high cheer; Man. Tell us the sum, the circumstance defer.
and wine, Mess. Gaza yet stands, but all her súns are When to their sports they turn'd. Immediately fall'n,
Was Samson as a public servant brought, All in a moment overwhelm'd and fall’n.
In their state livery clad; before him pipes, Man. Sad, but thou know'st to Israelites not And timbrels, on each side went armed guards, The desolation of a hostile city. (saddest Both horse and foot, before him and behind Mess. Feed on that first, there may in grief Archers, and slingers, cataphracts and spears. be surfeit.
At sight of him the people with a shout Man. Relate by whom.
Rifted the air, clamouring their God with praise, Mess. By Samsoni.
Who had made their dreadful enemy their thrall. Man.
That still lessens He patient, but untaunted, where they led him, The sorrow, and converts it nigh to joy.
Came to the place; and what was set before him, Mess. Ah ! Manoah, I refrain two snddenly
Which without help of eye might be assay'd,
All with incredible, stupendous force;
Between the pillars; he his guide requested Mess. Take then the worst in brief, Samson is (For so from such as nearer stood we heard) dead.
As over-tir'd to let him lean a while Man. The worst indeed, O all my hopes de- With both his arıns on those two massy pillars, feated
That to the arched roof gave main support. To free him hence! but death, who sets all free, He, unsuspicious, led him; which when Samson Hath paid his ransom now and full discharge. Felt in his arms, with head a while inclin'd, What windy joy this day had I conceiv'd And eyes fast fix'd he stood, as one who pray'd, Hopeful of his delivery, which now proves Or some great matter in his mind revolv'd : Abortive as the first-born bloom of spring
At last with head erect thus cried aloud, Nipt with the lagging rear of winter's frost ! “ Hitherto, lords, what your commands impos'd Yet ere I give the reins to grief, say first, I have perforin'd, as reason was, obeying, How died he; death to life is crown or shame. Not without wonder or delight bebeld: All by him fell, thou say'st; by whom fell he? Now of my own accord such other trial What glorious hand gave Samson his death's I mean to show you of my strength, yet greater, wound?
As with amaze shall strike all who behold.” Mess. Unwounded of his enemies he fell. This utter'd, straining all his nerves he bow'd, Man. Wearied with slaugliter then, or how? As with the force of winds and waters pent, explain.
When mountains tremble, those two massy pila Mess. By his own hands.
With horrible convulsion to and fro
Self-violence? what cause He tugg'd, he shook, till down they came and Brought him so soon at variance with himself
drew Among his foes?
The whole roof after them, with burst of thunder
Upon the heads of all who sat beneath,
Man. O lastly over-strong against thyself ! Met from all parts to solemnize this feast. A dreadful way thou took's to thy revenge. Samson, with these immix'd, inevitably
Půll’d down the same destruction on himself ; Let us go find the body where it lies
Chor. O dearly-bought revenge, yet glorious! With lavers pure, and cleansing herbs, wash off Living or dying thou hast fulfill
The clotted gore. I, with what speed the while, The work for which thou wast foretold
(Gaza is not in plight to say us nay,) To Israel, and now ly'st victorious
Will send for all my kindred, all my friends, Among thy slain self-kill'd,
To fetch him hence, and solemnly attend Not willingly, but tangled in the fold
With silent obsequy, and funeral train, Of dire necessity, whose law in death conjoin'd Home to his father's house: there will I build him Thee with thy slaughter'd foes, in number more A monument, and plant it round with shade Than all thy life hath slain before.
Of laurel ever green, and branching palm, 1. Semickor. While their hearts were jocund With all his trophies hung, and acts inrollid and sublime,
In copious legend, or sweet lyric song. Drunk with idolatry, drunk with wine,
Thither shall all the valiant youth resort, And fat regorg'd of bulls and goats,
And from his memory inflame their breasts Chanting their idol, and preferring
To matchless valour, and adventures high : Before our living Dread who dwells
The virgins also shall, on feastful days, In Silo, his bright sanctuary :
Visit his tomb with flowers; only bewailing Among them he a spirit of phrenzy sent, His lot unfortunate in nuptial choice, Who hurt their minds,
From whence captivity and loss of eyes. And urg'd them on with mad desire
Chor. All is best, though we oft doubt To call in haste for their destroyer ;
What the unsearchable dispose * They, only set on sport and play,
Of highest Wisdom brings about, Unweetingly importun'd
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,
But unexpectedly returns, Fall'n into wrath divine,
And to his faithful champion hath in place As their own ruin on themselves to invite, Bore witness gloriously; whence Gaza mourns, Insensate left, or to sense reprobate,
And all that band them to resist And with blindness internal struck,
His uncontrollable intent; 2. Sernichor. But he, though blind of sight, His servants he, with new acquist Despis'd and thought extinguish'd quite,
Of true experience, from this great event With inward eyes illuminated,
With peace and consolation hath dismist His fiery virtue rous'd
And calm of mind, all passion spent.
CONTAINING PLANS OF OTHIR SUBJECTS, IN-
FROM HIS OWN MS, IN TRINITY COL-
i. The Flood. (See No. iii. below.] A life heroic, on his enemies
ii. Abram in Ægypt. Fully reveng'd, hath left them years of mourning,
iï. The Deluge. And lamentation to the sons of Caphtor
iv. Sodom. Through all Philistian bounds, to Israel
v. Dinah, Vide Euseb. Præparat. Evangel. Honour hath left, and freedom, let but them lib. ix. cap. xxii. Find courage to lay hold on this occasion; To himself and father's house eternal fame; · These numerous scripture subjects justify a And, which is best and happiest yet, all this remark made by Mr. Warton, that Milton early With God not parted from him, as was fear'd, leaned towards religious subjects for plays, and But favouring and assisting to the end.
wished to turn the drama into the scriptural Nothing is here for tears, nothing to wail channel : he accordingly, in his Reason of Ch. Or knock the breast; 10 weakness, no contempt, Gov. against Prelacy, written in 1641, tempers Dispraise, or blame; nothing but well and fair, his praise of Sophocles and Euripides with recomAnd what may quiet us in a death so noble. mending Solomon's Song ; and adds, that "the
The former part is spent in bringing the
sick prince forth as it were desirous to Dine,
shjft his chamber and couch, as dying Debora, Rebecca's nurse. Sichem.
men use; bis father telling him what Jacob.
sacrifize he had sent for his health to Simeon.
Bethel and Dan; his fearlessnesse of Levi,
death, and putting bis father in mind
to set (send] to Ahiah. The Chorus of vi. Thamar Cuophorusa. Where Juda is
the Elders of Israel bemoning his virfound to have been the author of that
tues bereft them, and at another time crime, which he condemned in Tamar:
wondring why Jeroboam, being bad Tamar excus'd in what she attempt
himself, should so grieve for his son ed.
that was good, &c. vii. The golden Calfe, or The Massacre in xxxiv. Imbres, or The Showers. I Reg. xviii, Horeb.
xix. viji. The Quails. Num. xi.
XXXV. Naboth orrvparróutros. I Reg. xxi. ix, The Murmurers. Num. xiv,
Xxxvi. Ahab. I Reg. xxii. Beginning at the x. Corah, Dathan, &c. Num. xvi, xvii.
synod of fals profets : ending with re. xi. Moabitides. Num, xxv. [See No. lv.
lation of Ahab's death: his bodie below.]
brought. Zedechiah slain by Ahab's xii. Achan. Joshue vii and viii,
friends for his seducing. (See Lavater, xiü. Josuah in Gibeon, Josh, x.
II Chron. xviii.) xiv. Gideon Idoloclastes. Judg. vi, vii. Xxxvii. Elias in the morent. II Reg. i. 'Optißátus. xv. Gideon pursuing. Judg. vii.
Or, better, Elias Polemustes. xvi. Abimelech the Usurper. Judg. ix. Xxxviii. Elisæus Hudrochóos. Il Reg, üi. Hudroxvii. SAMSON MARRING, or in Ramach Lechi.
phantes. Aquator. Judg. xv.
xxxix. Elismus Adorodocétas.
xlii. Achabæi Cunoborwmeni. II Reg. ix. XX. Theristria, a Pastoral, oùt of Ruth.
The Scene, Jesrael. Beginning, from xxi. Eliade, Hophni and Phinehas. 1 Sam.
the watchman's discovery of Jehu, till i, ii, iii, iv. Beginning with the first
he go out. In the mean while, message overthrow of Israel by the Philistines;
of things passing brought to Jesebel, interlac't with Samuel's vision concern
&c. Lastly, the 70 heads of Ahab's ing Elie's family.
sons brought in, and message brought of Xxii. Jonathan rescued. I Sam. xiv.
Ahaziah's brethren slain on the way. xxiii. Doeg slandering. I Sam, xxii.
xliv, Athaliah. II Reg. xi.
xlv. Amaziah Doryalotus. II Reg. xiv. II xxvi. David revolted. I Sam. from the xxvij
Chron. xxv, chap. to the xxxi.
xlvi. Hezechias nodrogué pecoç. II Reg. xviii, xxvii. David adulterous, II Sam. c. xi, xii.
xix. Hesechia beseiged. The wicked hyxxviii. Tamar, II Sam. xiii.
pocrisy of Shebpa, (spoken of in the xi. xxix. Achitophel. II Sam. xv, xvi, xvii, xviii.
or thereabout of Isaiah,) and the comxxx, Adoniah. I Reg. ii.
mendation of Eliakim, will afford &póguas xxxi, Solomon Gynæcocralumenus, or Idolo
abys, together with a faction that sought margus, aut Thysiazusa. I Reg. xi.
help from Eyypt.
xlviii. Zedechia veoteçir. II Reg. But the Xxxiii. Abias Thersæus. I Reg. xiv. The queen,
story is larger in Jeremiah, after much dispute, as the last refuge, xlix. Salymay Halosis.
Which may begin sent to the profet Ahias of Shilo; re
from a message brought to the city, of ceavs the message, The Epitasis, in
the judgement upon Zedechiah and his that shee, hearing the child shall die,
children in Ribla : and so seconded as she comes home, refuses to return,
with the burning and destruction of city thinking thereby to elude the oracle.
and temple by Nebuzaradan; lamented
by Jeremiah. Apocalypse of Saint John is the majestic image
1. Asa, or Æthiopes. II Chron. xiv. with of a high and stately tragedy, shutting up and in
the deposing his mother, and burning
her idol. termingling her solemn scenes and, acts with a
li. The three children. Dan. iji. seven-fold chorus of hallelujahs and harping sym
lii. Abram from Morea, or Isaac redeem. phonies.” Prose-Works, edit. 1698, vol. i. 61.
The oiconomie may be thus. The 2 So they are termed in Milton's MS. Those,
fift or sixt day after Abraham's deparwhich relate to Paradise Lost, have been given at
ture. Eleazar (Abram's steward) first the end of that poem.
alone, and then with the Chorus, disa