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thee,

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

fallen, thee

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
I was no private, but a person rajs'd [Heaven, To quell the mighty of the Earth, the oppressor,
With strength sufficient, and command from The brute and boisterous force of violent men,
To free my country ; if their servile minds Hardy and industrious to support
Me, their deliverer sent, would not receive, Tyrannic power, but raging to pursue
But to their masters gave me up for nought, The righteous and all such as honour truth;
The unworthier they; whence to this day they He all their ammunition
. serve.

And feats of war defeats,
I was to do my part from Heaven assign’d, With plain heroic magnitude of mind
And had perforin'd it, if my known offence

And celestial vigour arm’d;
Had not disabled me, not all your force :

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,
Due by the law to capital punishment !

Makiug them each his own deliverer,
To fight with thee no man of arms will deign. And victor over all
Sams. Cam'st thou for this, vain boaster, to That tyranny or fortune can inflict.
survey me,

Either of these is in thy lot,
To descant on my strength, and give thy verdict ? | Samson, with might endued.
Come nearer ; part not bence so slight inform'd ; | Above the sons of men ; but sight bereav'd
But take good heed my band survey not thee. | May chance to number thee with those

Har. O Baal-zebub! can my ears unus'd Whoin patience finally must crown.
Hear these dishonours, and not render death?

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

der

20

.

Este

Sotne other tending ; in his hand

After my great transgression, so requite
A sceptre or quaint staff he bears,

Farour 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 my 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

Philistines, seek.

Idolatrous, uncircumcis'd, unclean.
Chor. His manacles remark him, there he Sams. Not in their idol-worship, but by labour
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; | Chor. 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,
Of. This answer, be assur'd, 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, mie Some rousing motions in me, which dispose
mics,

To something extraordinary my thoughts.
But they must pick me out, with shackles tir’d, I with this messenger will go along,
And over-labour'd at their public mill,

Nothing to do, be sure, that may dishonour
To make them sport with blind activity?

Our law, or stain my vow of Nazarite.
Do they not seek occasion of new quarrels If there be aught of presage in the mind,
On my refusal to distress me more,

This day will be remarkable in my life
Or make a game of my calamities?

By some great act, or of my days the last.
Return the way thou cam'st, I will not come. Chor. In time thou bast resolv'd, the man re-
Off. Regard thyself; this will offend them

turns. highly.

Off. Samson, this second message from our Sams. Myself? my conscience, and internal

lords peace,

To thee I ain 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.
Of. 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
off. I am sorry what this stoutness will pro To such as owe them absoluie 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 are 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 imperious,

along
More lordly thundering than thon well wilt bear. I will not wish, lest it perhaps offend them

Sams. Shall I abuse this consecrate gift To see me girt with friends; and how the sight
Of strength, again returning with my hair

Of me, as of a commun enemy,
VOL. VII,

cres

imate na

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So dreaded once, may now exasperate them, And number'd down : much rather I shall choose
I know not : lords are lordliest in their wine; To live the poorest in my tribe, than richest,
And the well-feasted priest then soonest fir'd And he in that calamitous prison left.
With zeal, if aught religion seem concern'd; No, I am fix'd not to part hence without him.
No less the people, on their holy-days,

For his redemption all my patrimony,
Impetuous, insolent, unquenchable :

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

outcry partake

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

sooner;

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For evil news rides post, while good news bates. More than enough we know; but while things yet
And to our wish I see one hither speeding, Are in confusion, give us, if thou canst,
An Hebrew, as I guess, and of our tribe.

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
My countrymen, whom here I knew remaining. Not to be absent at that spectacle,
As at some distance from the place of horrour,

The building was a spacious theatre
So in the sad event too much concern'd.

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;
Hitting thy aged ear should pierce toɔ deep. None daring to appear antagonist:
Man. Suspense in news is torture, speak them At length for intermission sake they led him
out.

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

lars Man.

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
The vulgar only 'scap'd who stood without. Soak'd in his enemies blood; and from the streana

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,
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. 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,
His fiery virtue rous'd

And calm of mind, all passion spent.
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

APPENDIX
His cloudless thunder bolted on their heads.
So virtue, given for lost,

το
Depress'd, and overthrown, as seem'd,
Like that self-begotten bird

SAMSON AGONISTES,
In the Arabian woods embost,
That no second knows nor third,

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-
Revives, reflourishes, then vigorous most

LEGE, CAMBRIDGE. -
When most unactive deem'd;
And, though her body die, her fame survives
A secular bird ages of lives.

SCRIPTURE SUBJECTS."
Man. Come, come; no time for lamentation
now,

OTHER TRAGEDIES.:
Nor much more cause; Samson hath quit himself
Like Samson, and heroicly hath finish'd

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

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