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Sams. Thou know'st I am a Hebrew, therefore | Yet knowing their advantages too many, tell them,
Our law forbids at their religious rites
Sams. Have they not sword-players, and every
Of gymnic artists, wrestlers, riders, runners, 1324
Can they think me so broken, so debas'd
Sams. So take it with what speed thy message needs.
1401 Because they shall not trail me through their streets Like a wild beast, I am content to go, Masters' commands come with a power resistless To such as owe them absolute subjection; And for a life who will not change his purpose? (So mutable are all the ways of men) Yet this be sure, in nothing to comply Scandalous or forbidden in our law.
Off. I praise thy resolution: doff these links:
Sams, Brethren, farewell; your company along
So dreaded once, may now exasperate them
Send thee the Angel of thy birth to stand
Off. I am sorry what this stoutness will produce. Sams. Perhaps thou shalt have cause to sorrow'
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 1350 Thy words by adding fuel to the flame? Expect another message more imperious, More loudly thund'ring 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, 1361 What act more execrably unclean, profane? Chor. Yet with this strength thou serv'st the Philistines,
Idolatrous, uncircumcis'd, unclean.
But who constrains me to the temple' of Dagon,
Sams. Be of good courage, I begin to feel
Nothing to do, be sure, that may dishonour 1385
Be efficacious in thee now at need.
Was not at present here to find my son,
Chor. That hope would much rejoice us to partake 1455
With thee; say, reverend Sire, we thirst to hear.
Man. It shall be my delight to tend his eyes, And view him sitting in the house, ennobled 1491 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 1 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. And since his strength with eye-sight was not lost, God will restore his eye-sight to his strength. Chor. Thy hopes are not ill founded, nor seem Of his delivery, and thy joy thereon Conceiv'd agreeable to a father's love, In both which we, as next, participate. Man. I know your friendly minds and-O what
Chor. Noise call you it or universal groan, As if the whole inhabitation perish'd! Blood, death, and deathful deeds are in that noise, Ruin, destruction at the utmost point. Man. Of ruin indeed, methought I heard the noise: 1515
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? 1520 Chor. Best keep together here, lest running We unawares run into danger's mouth. This evil on the Philistines is fallen; From whom could else a general cry be heard? The sufferers then will scarce molest us here, 1525 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? 1530 Man. That were a joy presumptuous to be
Chor. Yet God hath wrought things as incredible 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 sooner; For evil news rides post, while good news baits. And to our wish I see one hither speeding, A Hebrew, as I guess, and of our tribe.
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 horror, 1550 So in the sad event too much concern'd.
Man. The accident was loud, and here before thee
With rueful cry, yet what it was we hear not;
Mess. It would burst forth, but I recover breath And sense distract, to know well what I utter. 1556 Man. Tell us the sum, the circumstance defer. Mess. Gaza yet stands, but all her sons are fallen, All in a moment overwhelm'd and fallen.
Man. Sad, but thou know'st to Israelites not saddest
The desolation of a hostile city.
Mess. Feed on that first, there may in grief be surfeit.
Man. The worst indeed, O all my hope's 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 Nipp'd 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, 1580 What glorious hand gave Samson his death wound? Mess. Unwounded of his enemies he fell.
Man. Wearied with slaughter then or how ? ex
At once both to destroy and be destroy'd;
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 dispatch'd, When all abroad was rumour'd that this day 1601 Samson should be brought forth, to show the people 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
When to their sports they turn'd. Immediately
At length for intermission' sake they led him 1650
He tugg'd, he shook, till down they came and drew
Nor much more cause; Samson hath quit himself
The work for which thou wast foretold
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 had slain before.
Semichor. While their hearts were jocund and 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 phrensy sent Who hurt their minds,
Their own destruction to come speedy' upon them.
Semichor. But he though blind of sight,
Fully reveng'd, hath left them years of mourning,
Or knock the breast, no weakness, no contempt,
Soak'd in his enemies' blood, and from the stream
Home to his father's house: there will I build him
With all his trophies hung, and acts inroll'd
So fond are mortal men
And with blindness internal struck.
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,
And nests in order rang'd
Of tame villatic fowl; but as an eagle
His cloudless thunder bolted on their heads.
Chor. All is best, though we oft doubt What th' unsearchable dispose
So virtue given for lost,
Of highest wisdom brings about,
Depress'd, and overthrown, as seem'd,
And ever best found in the close.
Like that self-begotten bird
In the Arabian woods imboss'd,
But unexpectedly returns,
That no second knows nor third,
And to his faithful champion hath in place
And lay erewhile a holocaust,
From out her ashy womb now teem'd,
Bore witness gloriously; whenee Gaza mouras And all that band them to resist
Revives, reflourishes, then vigorous most When most unactive deem'd.
His uncontrolable intent;
His servants 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.
END OF SAMSON AGONISTES.
L'Allegro is the cheerful, merry man; and in this poem he describes the course of mirth in the country and in the city from morning to noon, and from noon till night.
HENCE, #ain deluding joys,
The brood of Folly without father bred!
Or fill the fixed mind with all your toys!
Dwell in some idle brain,
And fancies fond with gaudy shapes possess,
Or let my lamp at midnight hour
But, O sad Virgin, that thy power
Prince Memnon's sister might beseem,
Or that starr'd Ethiop queen that strove
Yet thou art higher far descended,
Thee bright-hair'd Vesta long of yore
To solitary Saturn bore;
And made hell grant what love did seek.
The story of Cambuscan bold,
Of Camball, and of Algarsife,
And who had Canace to wife,
While yet there was no fear of Jove.
That own'd the virtuous ring and glass,
Over thy decent shoulders drawn.
Where more is meant than meets the ear.
Thus, Night, oft see me in thy pale career,
With even step, and musing gait,
Till civil-suited Morn appear,
And looks commercing with the skies,
Not trick'd and frounc'd as she was wont
Thy rapt soul sitting in thine eyes:
With the Attic boy to hunt,
There held in holy passion still,
But kerchieft in a comely cloud,
Forget thyself to marble, till
While rocking winds are piping loud,
With a sad leaden downward cast,
Or usher'd with a shower still
*Il Penseroso is the thoughtful, melancholy man; and this poem, both in its model and principal circumstances, is taken from a song in praise of melancholy, in Beaumont and Fletcher's comedy, called The Nice Valour, or Passionate Madman.