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Defy thee to the trial of mortal fight,
Har. This insolence other kind of answer fits, By combat to decide whose God is God,
Sams. Go, baffled coward ! lest I run upon Thine, or whom I with Israel's sons adore. Har. Fair honour that thou dost thy God, in Though in these chains, bulk without spicit vast, trusting
And with one buffet lay thy structure low, He will accept thee to defend this cause, Or swing thee in the air, then dash thee down A murderer, a revolter, and a robber!
To the hazard of thy brains and shatter'd sides. Sams. Tongue-doughty giant, how dost thou Har. By Astaroth, ere long thou shalt lament prove me these?
These braveries, in irons loaden on thee. (Exit.] Har. Is not thy nation subject to our lords ? Chor. His giantship is gone somewbat crestTheir magistrates confess'd it when they took
Stalking with less unconscionable strides, As a league-breaker, and deliver'd bound And lower looks, but in a sultry cbafe. Into our hands : for hadst thou not committed Sams. I dread him nor, not all bis giant-brood, Notorious murder on those thirty men
Though fame divulge him father of five sons, At Ascalon, who never did thee harm,
All of gigantic size, Goliah chief. Then like a robber stripp'dst them of their robes ? ! Chor. He will directly to the lords, I fear, The Philistines, when thou badst broke "the And with malicious counsel stir them up league,
Some way or other yet further to affict thee. Went up with armed powers thee only seeking, Sams. He must allege some cause, and offerd To others did no violence nor spoil.
fight Sams. Among the daughters of the Philistines Will not dare mention, lest a question rise I chose a wife, which argued me no foe;
Whether he durst accept the offer or not ; And in your city held my nuptial feast : | And, that he durst not, plain enough appear'd. But your ill-meaning politician lords,
Much more affliction than already felt Under pretence of bridal friends and guests, They cannot well impose, nor I sustain ; Appointed to await me thirty spies, bride if they intend advantage of my labours, Who, threatening cruel death, constraind the The work of many hands, which earns my To wring from me, and tell to them, my secret,
keeping That solv'd the riddle which I had propos d. With no small profit daily to my owners.. When I perceiv'd all set on enmity,
But come what will, my deadliest foe will prove As on my enemies, wherever chanc'd,
My speediest friend, by death to rid me hence; I ns'd hostility, and took their spoil,
The worst that he can give to me the best. To pay my underminers in their coin.
Yet so it may fall out, because their end My nation was subjected to your lords ;
Is hate, not help to me, it may with mine It was the force of corquest; force with force Draw their own ruin who atteinpt the deed. Is well ejected when the conquer'd can.
Chor. Oh how comely it is, and how reviving But I a private person, whorn my country
To the spirits of just men long oppress'd! As a league-breaker gave up bound, presum'd When God into the bands of their deliverer Single rebellion, and did hostile acts.
Puts invincible might
And feats of war defeats,
And celestial vigour arm’d;
Their armouries and magazines contemps, These shifts refuted, answer thy appellant,
Renders them useless; while Though by his blindness maim'd for high at- With winged expedition, tempts,
Swift as the lightning glance, he executes Who now defies thee thrice to single fight, His errand on the wicked, who, surpris'd, As a petty enterprise of small enforce.
Lose their defence, distracted and amaz'd. Har. With thee! a man condemn'd, a slave But patience is more oft the exercise enroll’d,
Of saints, the trial of their fortitude,
Makiug them each his own deliverer,
Either of these is in thy lot,
Har. O Baal-zebub! can my ears unus'd Whoin patience finally must crown.
This idol's day hath been to thee no day of rest, Sams. No man with holds thee, nothing from Labouring thy mind thy hand
More than the working day thy bands. Fear I incurable ; bring up thy van,
And yet perbaps more trouble is behind, My heels are setter'd, but my fist is free.
I for I descry this way
Sotne other tending ; in his hand
After my great transgression, so requite
Farour 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,
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.
Honest and lawful to deserve my food
Set God behind: which in his jealousy
Shall never, unrepented, find forgiveness.
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
To something extraordinary my thoughts.
Nothing to do, be sure, that may dishonour
Our law, or stain my vow of Nazarite.
This day will be remarkable in my life
By some great act, or of my days the last.
Off. Samson, this second message from our Sams. Myself? my conscience, and internal
To thee I ain bid say. Art thou our slave,
Our captive at the public mill, our drudge,
And hamper thee, as thou shalt come of force,
Sams. I could be well content to try their art,
Because they shall not trail me through their
Masters' commands come with a power resistless
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
Off. I praise thy resolution : doff these links :
Sams. Brethren, farewell; your company
Sams. Shall I abuse this consecrate gift To see me girt with friends; and how the sight
Of me, as of a commun enemy,
So dreaded once, may now exasperate them, And number'd down : much rather I shall choose
For his redemption all my patrimony,
If ueed be, I am ready to forego Happen what may, of me expect to hear
And quit: not wanting him, I shall want noNothing 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, ennobleil Fast by thy side, who from thy father's field With all those high exploits by bim 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 containd: 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 wberefore comes old Manvah 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 and-O ment hither
wbat 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 fock: 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- Chur. Best keep together here, lest, running ing,
thither, With supplication prone and father's tears, We unawares run into danger's mouth.' To accept of ransom for my son their prisoner. This evil on the Philistines is fallin: Some much averse I found and wonderous harsh, From whom 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 pricsts: From other hands we peed not much to fear. Otliers 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 casily 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 had 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 increIf some convenient ransou were propos'd.
dible What noise or shout was that? it tore the sky. For bis 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, siiall 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 bebeld, 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 brougbt forth, to show the Or reason though disturb’d, and scarce consulted,
people To have guided me aright, I know not how,
| Proof of his mighty strength in feats and games; To thee first, reverend Manoah, and to these
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. I
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 sons 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 Samsou.
Who had made their dreadful enemy their thrall. Man.
That still Jessens He patient, but undaunted, where they led him, The sorrow, and converts it nigh to jov.
Came to the place; and what was set before him, Mess. Ah ! Manoah, I refrain too suddenly Which without help of eye might be assay'd, To utter what will come at last too soon;
To heave, pull, draw, or break, he still perform'd Lest evil tidings with too rude irruption
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, 0 all my hopes de With both his arms 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 wbile 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 performn'd, as reason was, obeying, How died he; death to life is crown or shame. Not without wonder or delight beheld: 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 be bow'd, Man. Wearied with slaughter then, or how? As with the force of winds and waters pent, explain.
When mountains tremble, those two massy pil. 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 Mess. Inevitable cause
Upon the heads of all who sat beneath, At once both to destroy, and be destroy'd; Lords, ladies, captains, counsellors, or priests, The edifice, where all were met to see him, | Their choice nobility and flower, not only Upon their heads and on his own he pull'd. Of this but each Philistian city round,
Man. O lastly over-strong against thyself! Met from all parts to solemoize this feast. A dreadful way thou took'st to thy revenge. Samson, with these immix'd, inevitably
Puli'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 fulfillid
The clotted gore. 1, 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 Hometo 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. Semichor. While their hearts were jocund With all his trophies hung, and acts inroll's 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,
And ever best found in the close.
But unexpectedly returns,
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. Semichor. 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 bath disinist,
And calm of mind, all passion spent.
CONTAINING PLANS OF OTHER SUBJECTS, ISAnd lay ere while a holocaust,
TENDED FOR TRAGEDIES BY MILTON: From out her ashy womb now teem',
FROM HIS OWN MS, IN TRINITY COL-
LEGE, CAMBRIDGE. -
i. The Flood. (See No. jij. below.) A life heroic, on his enemics
jj. Abram in Ægypt. Fully reveng'd, hath left them years of mourning,
iii. 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.
wisited to turn the drama into the scriptural Nothing is here for tears, nothing to wail channel : he accorcingly, in his Reason of Ch. Or knock the breast ; no 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 Soluinon's Song; and adds, that "the