Infomotions, Inc.Samson Agonistes / Milton, John



Author: Milton, John
Title: Samson Agonistes
Publisher: Eris Etext Project
Tag(s): thir; chor; sam; samson; strength; english literature
Contributor(s): Eric Lease Morgan (Infomotions, Inc.)
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Size: 13,998 words (really short) Grade range: 10-13 (high school) Readability score: 63 (easy)
Identifier: milton-samson-534
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                                      1671
                                SAMSON AGONISTES
                                 by John Milton
     Of that sort of Dramatic Poem which is call'd Tragedy

  TRAGEDY, as it was antiently compos'd, hath been ever held the
gravest, moralest, and most profitable of all other Poems: therefore
said by Aristotle to be of power by raising pity and fear, or
terror, to purge the mind of those and such like passions, that is
to temper and reduce them to just with a kind of delight, stirr'd up
by reading or seeing those passions well imitated. Nor is Nature
wanting in her own effects to make good his assertion: for so in
Physic things of melancholic hue and quality are us'd against
melancholy, sowr against sowr, salt to remove salt humours. Hence
Philosophers and other gravest Writers, as Cicero, Plutarch and
others, frequently cite out of Tragic Poets, both to adorn and
illustrate thir discourse. The Apostle Paul himself thought it not
unworthy to insert a verse of Euripides into the Text of Holy
Scripture, I Cor. 15.33. and Paraeus commenting on the Revelation,
divides the whole Book as a Tragedy, into Acts distinguisht each by
a Chorus of Heavenly Harpings and Song between. Heretofore Men in
highest dignity have labour'd not a little to be thought able to
compose a Tragedy. Of that honour Dionysius the elder was no less
ambitious, then before of his attaining to the Tyranny. Augustus Cesar
also had begun his Ajax, but unable to please his own judgment with
what he had begun, left it unfinisht. Seneca the Philosopher is by
some thought the Author of those Tragedies (at lest the best of
them) that go under that name. Gregory Nazianzen a Father of the
Church, thought it not unbeseeming the sanctity of his person to write
a Tragedy, which he entitl'd, Christ suffering. This is mention'd to
vindicate Tragedy from the small esteem, or rather infamy, which in
the account of many it undergoes at this day with other common
Interludes; hap'ning through the Poets error of intermixing Comic
stuff with Tragic sadness and gravity; or introducing trivial and
vulgar persons, which by all judicious hath bin counted absurd; and
brought in without discretion, corruptly to gratifie the people. And
though antient Tragedy use no Prologue, yet using sometimes, in case
of self defence, or explanation, that which Martial calls an
Epistle; in behalf of this Tragedy coming forth after the antient
manner, much different from what among us passes for best, thus much
before-hand may be Epistl'd; that Chorus is here introduc'd after
the Greek manner, not antient only but modern, and still in use
among the Italians. In the modelling therefore of this Poem, with good
reason, the Antients and Italians are rather follow'd, as of much more
authority and fame. The measure of Verse us'd in the Chorus is of
all sorts, call'd by the Greeks Monostrophic, or rather
Apolelymenon, without regard had to Strophe, Antistrophe or Epod,
which were a kind of Stanza's fram'd only for the Music, then us'd
with the Chorus that sung; not essential to the Poem, and therefore
not material; or being divided into Stanza's or Pauses, they may be
call'd Allaeostropha. 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 produc't beyond the fift
Act, of the style and uniformitie, and that commonly call'd the
Plot, whether intricate or explicit, which is nothing indeed but
such oeconomy, or disposition of the fable as may stand best with
verisimilitude and decorum; they only will best judge who are not
unacquainted with AEschulus, Sophocles, and Euripides, the three
Tragic Poets unequall'd yet by any, and the best rule to all who
endeavour to write Tragedy. The circumscription of time wherein the
whole Drama begins and ends, is according to antient rule, and best
example, within the space of 24 hours.
ARGUMENT
                         The Argument

  Samson made Captive, Blind, and now in the Prison at Gaza, there
to labour as in a common work-house, on a Festival day, in the general
cessation from labour, comes forth into the open Air, to a place nigh,
somewhat retir'd there to sit a while and bemoan his condition.
Where he happens at length to be visited by certain friends and equals
of his tribe, which make the Chorus, who seek to comfort him what they
can; then by his old Father Manoa, who endeavours the like, and withal
tells him his purpose to procure his liberty by ransom; lastly, that
this Feast was proclaim'd by the Philistins as a day of Thanksgiving
for thir deliverance from the hands of Samson, which yet more troubles
him. Manoa then departs to prosecute his endeavour with the Philistian
Lords for Samson's redemption; who in the mean while is visited by
other persons; and lastly by a publick Officer to require his coming
to the Feast before the Lords and People, to play or shew his strength
in thir presence; he at first refuses, dismissing the publick
Officer with absolute denyal to come; at length perswaded inwardly
that this was from God, he yields to go along with him, who came now
the second time great threatnings to fetch him; the Chorus yet
remaining on the place, Manoa returns full of joyful hope, to
procure e're long his Sons deliverance: in the midst of which
discourse an Ebrew comes in haste confusedly at first; and afterward
more distinctly relating the Catastrophe, what Samson had done to
the Philistins, and by accident to himself; wherewith the Tragedy
ends.
                         The Persons
  Samson.
  Harapha of Gath.
  Manoa the Father of Samson.
  Publick Officer. Messenger.
  Dalila his Wife.
  Chorus of Danites.

               The Scene before the Prison in Gaza.

    Sams. A little onward lend thy guiding hand
  To these dark steps, a little further on;
  For yonder bank hath choice of Sun or shade,
  There I am wont to sit, when any chance
  Relieves me from my task of servile toyl,
  Daily in the common Prison else enjoyn'd me,
  Where I a Prisoner chain'd, scarce freely draw
  The air imprison'd also, close and damp,
  Unwholsom draught: but here I feel amends,
  The breath of Heav'n fresh-blowing, pure and sweet,
  With day-spring born; here leave me to respire.
  This day a solemn Feast the people hold
  To Dagon thir Sea-Idol, and forbid
  Laborious works, unwillingly this rest
  Thir Superstition yields me; hence with leave
  Retiring from the popular noise, I seek
  This unfrequented place to find some ease,
  Ease to the body some, none to the mind
  From restless thoughts, that like a deadly swarm
  Of Hornets arm'd, no sooner found alone,
  But rush upon me thronging, and present
  Times past, what once I was, and what am now.
  O wherefore was my birth from Heaven foretold
  Twice by an Angel, who at last in sight
  Of both my Parents all in flames ascended
  From off the Altar, where an Off'ring burn'd,
  As in a fiery column charioting
  His Godlike presence, and from some great act
  Or benefit reveal'd to Abraham's race?
  Why was my breeding order'd and prescrib'd
  As of a person separate to God,
  Design'd for great exploits; if I must dye
  Betray'd, Captiv'd, and both my Eyes put out,
  Made of my Enemies the scorn and gaze;
  To grind in Brazen Fetters under task
  With this Heav'n-gifted strength? O glorious strength
  Put to the labour of a Beast, debas't
  Lower then bondslave! Promise was that I
  Should Israel from Philistian yoke deliver;
  Ask for this great Deliverer now, and find him
  Eyeless in Gaza at the Mill with slaves,
  Himself in bonds under Philistian yoke;
  Yet stay, let me not rashly call in doubt
  Divine Prediction; what if all foretold
  Had been fulfilld but through mine own default,
  Whom have I to complain of but my self?
  Who this high gift of strength committed to me,
  In what part lodg'd, how easily bereft me,
  Under the Seal of silence could not keep,
  But weakly to a woman must reveal it
  O'recome with importunity and tears.
  O impotence of mind, in body strong!
  But what is strength without a double share
  Of wisdom, vast, unwieldy, burdensom,
  Proudly secure, yet liable to fall
  By weakest suttleties, not made to rule,
  But to subserve where wisdom bears command.
  God, when he gave me strength, to shew withal
  How slight the gift was, hung it in my Hair.
  But peace, I must not quarrel with the will
  Of highest dispensation, which herein
  Happ'ly had ends above my reach to know:
  Suffices that to me strength is my bane,
  And proves the sourse of all my miseries;
  So many, and so huge, that each apart
  Would ask a life to wail, but of all,
  O loss of sight, of thee I most complain!
  Blind among enemies, O worse then chains,
  Dungeon, or beggery, or decrepit age!
  Light the prime work of God to me is extinct,
  And all her various objects of delight
  Annull'd, which might in part my grief have eas'd,
  Inferiour to the vilest now become
  Of man or worm; the vilest here excel me,
  They creep, yet see, I dark in light expos'd
  To daily fraud, contempt, abuse and wrong,
  Within doors, or without, still as a fool,
  In power of others, never in my own;
  Scarce half I seem to live, dead more then half.
  O dark, dark, dark, dark, dark, amid the blaze of noon,
  Irrecoverably dark, total Eclipse
  Without all hope of day!
  O first created Beam, and thou great Word,
  Let there be light, and light was over all;
  Why am I thus bereav'd thy prime decree?
  The Sun to me is dark
  And silent as the Moon,
  When she deserts the night
  Hid in her vacant interlunar cave.
  Since light so necessary is to life,
  And almost life itself, if it be true
  That light is in the Soul,
  She all in every part; why was the sight
  To such a tender ball as th' eye confin'd?
  So obvious and so easie to be quench't,
  And not as feeling through all parts diffus'd,
  That she might look at will through every pore?
  Then had I not been thus exil'd from light;
  As in the land of darkness yet in light,
  To live a life half dead, a living death,
  And buried; but O yet more miserable!
  My self, my Sepulcher, a moving Grave,
  Buried, yet not exempt
  By priviledge of death and burial
  From worst of other evils, pains and wrongs,
  But made hereby obnoxious more
  To all the miseries of life,
  Life in captivity
  Among inhuman foes.
  But who are these? for with joint pace I hear
  The tread of many feet stearing this way;
  Perhaps my enemies who come to stare
  At my affliction, and perhaps to insult,
  Thir daily practice to afflict me more.
    Chor. This, this is he; softly a while,
  Let us not break in upon him;
  O change beyond report, thought, or belief!
  See how he lies at random, carelessly diffus'd,
  With languish't head unpropt,
  As one past hope, abandon'd
  And by himself given over;
  In slavish habit, ill-fitted weeds
  O're worn and soild;
  Or do my eyes misrepresent? Can this be hee,
  That Heroic, that Renown'd,
  Irresistible Samson? whom unarm'd
  No strength of man, or fiercest wild beast could withstand;
  Who tore the Lion, as the Lion tears the Kid,
  Ran on embattelld Armies clad in Iron,
  And weaponless himself,
  Made Arms ridiculous, useless the forgery
  Of brazen shield and spear, the hammer'd Cuirass,
  Chaly bean temper'd steel, and frock of mail
  Adamantean Proof;
  But safest he who stood aloof,
  When insupportably his foot advanc't,
  In scorn of thir proud arms and warlike tools,
  Spurn'd them to death by Troops. The bold Ascalonite
  Fled from his Lion ramp, old Warriors turnd
  Their plated backs under his heel;
  Or grovling soiled the crested helmets in the dust.
  Then with what trivial weapon came to hand,
  The jaw of a dead Ass, his sword of bone,
  A thousand fore-skins fell, the flower of Palestin
  In Ramath-lechi famous to this day:
  Then by main force pull'd up, and on his shoulders bore
  The Gates of Azza, Post, and massie Bar
  Up to the Hill by Hebron, seat of Giants old,
  No journey of a Sabbath day, and loaded so;
  Like whom the Gentiles feign to bear up Heav'n.
  Which shall I first bewail,
  Thy Bondage or lost Sight,
  Prison within Prison
  Inseparably dark?
  Thou art become (O worst imprisonment!
  The Dungeon of thy self; thy Soul
  (Which Men enjoying sight oft without cause complain)
  Imprison'd now indeed,
  In real darkness of the body dwells,
  Shut up from outward light
  To incorporate with gloomy night;
  For inward light alas
  Puts forth no visual beam.
  O mirror of our fickle state,
  Since man on earth unparallel'd!
  The rarer thy example stands,
  By how much from the top of wondrous glory,
  Strongest of mortal men,
  To lowest pitch of abject fortune thou art fall'n.
  For him I reckon not in high estate
  Whom long descent of birth
  Or the sphear of fortune raises;
  But thee whose strength, while vertue was her mate
  Might have subdu'd the Earth,
  Universally crown'd with highest praises.
    Sam. I hear the sound of words, thir sense the air
  Dissolves unjointed e're it reach my ear.
    Chor. Hee speaks, let us draw nigh. Matchless in might,
  The glory late of Israel, now the grief;
  We come thy friends and neighbours not unknown
  From Eshtaol and Zora's fruitful Vale
  To visit or bewail thee, or if better,
  Counsel or Consolation we may bring,
  Salve to thy Sores, apt words have power to swage
  The tumors of a troubl'd mind,
  And are as Balm to fester'd wounds.
    Sam. Your coming, Friends, revives me, for I learn
  Now of my own experience, not by talk,
  How counterfeit a coin they are who friends
  Bear in their Superscription (of the most
  I would be understood) in prosperous days
  They swarm, but in adverse withdraw their head
  Not to be found, though sought. Yee see, O friends,
  How many evils have enclos'd me round;
  Yet that which was the worst now least afflicts me,
  Blindness, for had I sight, confus'd with shame,
  How could I once look up, or heave the head,
  Who like a foolish Pilot have shipwrack't,
  My Vessel trusted to me from above,
  Gloriously rigg'd; and for a word, a tear,
  Fool, have divulg'd the secret gift of God
  To a deceitful Woman: tell me Friends,
  Am I not sung and proverbd for a Fool
  In every street, do they not say, how well
  Are come upon him his deserts? yet why?
  Immeasurable strength they might behold
  In me, of wisdom nothing more then mean;
  This with the other should, at least, have paird,
  These two proportiond ill drove me transverse.
    Chor. Tax not divine disposal, wisest Men
  Have err'd, and by bad Women been deceiv'd;
  And shall again, pretend they ne're so wise.
  Deject not then so overmuch thy self,
  Who hast of sorrow thy full load besides;
  Yet truth to say, I oft have heard men wonder
  Why thou shouldst wed Philistian women rather
  Then of thine own Tribe fairer, or as fair,
  At least of thy own Nation, and as noble.
    Sam. The first I saw at Timna, and she pleas'd
  Mee, not my Parents, that I sought to wed,
  The daughter of an Infidel: they knew not
  That what I motion'd was of God; I knew
  From intimate impulse, and therefore urg'd
  The Marriage on; that by occasion hence
  I might begin Israel's Deliverance,
  The work to which I was divinely call'd;
  She proving false, the next I took to Wife
  (O that I never had! fond wish too-late)
  Was in the Vale of Sorec, Dalila,
  That specious Monster, my accomplisht snare.
  I thought it lawful from my former act,
  And the same end; still watching to oppress
  Israel's oppressours: of what now I suffer
  She was not the prime cause, but I my self,
  Who vanquisht with a peal of words (O weakness!)
  Gave up my fort of silence to a Woman.
    Chor. In seeking just occasion to provoke
  The Philistine, thy Countries Enemy,
  Thou never wast remiss, I bear thee witness:
  Yet Israel still serves with all his Sons.
    Sam. That fault I take not on me, but transfer
  On Israel's Governours, and Heads of Tribes,
  Who seeing had great acts which God had done
  Singly by me against their Conquerours
  Acknowledg'd not, or not at all consider'd
  Deliverance offerd: I on th' other side
  Us'd no ambition to commend my deeds,
  The deeds themselves, though mute, spoke loud the dooer;
  But they persisted deaf, and would not seem
  To count them things worth notice, till at length
  Thir Lords the Philistines with gather'd powers
  Enterd Judea seeking mee, who then
  Safe to the rock of Etham was retir'd,
  Not flying, but fore-casting in what place
  To set upon them, what advantag'd best;
  Mean while the men of Judah to prevent
  The harrass of thir Land, beset me round;
  I willingly on some conditions came
  Into thir hands, and they as gladly yeild me
  To the uncircumcis'd a welcom prey,
  Bound with two cords; but cords to me were threds
  Toucht with the flame: on thir whole Host I flew
  Unarm'd, and with a trivial weapon fell'd
  Thir choicest youth; they only liv'd who fled.
  Had Judah that day join'd, or one whole Tribe,
  They had by this possess'd the Towers of Gath,
  And lorded over them whom now they serve;
  But what more oft in Nations grown corrupt,
  And by thir vices brought to servitude,
  Then to love Bondage more then Liberty,
  Bondage with case then strenuous liberty;
  And to despise, or envy, or suspect
  Whom God hath of his special favour rais'd
  As thir Deliverer; if he aught begin,
  How frequent to desert him, and at last
  To heap ingratitude on worthiest deeds?
    Chor. Thy words to my remembrance bring
  How Succoth and the Fort of Penuel
  Thir great Deliverer contemn'd,
  The matchless Gideon in pursuit
  Of Madian and her vanquisht Kings:
  And how ingrateful Ephraim
  Had dealt with Jephtha, who by argument,
  Not worse then by his shield and spear
  Defended Israel from the Ammonite,
  Had not his prowess quell'd thir pride
  In that sore battel when so many dy'd
  Without Reprieve adjudg'd to death,
  For want of well pronouncing Shibboleth.
    Sam. Of such examples adde mee to the roul,
  Mee easily indeed mine may neglect,
  But Gods propos'd deliverance not so.
    Chor. Just are the ways of God,
  And justifiable to Men;
  Unless there be who think not God at all,
  If any be, they walk obscure;
  For of such Doctrine never was there School,
  But the heart of the Fool,
  And no man therein Doctor but himself.
    Yet more there be who doubt his ways not just,
  As to his own edicts, found contradicting,
  Then give the rains to wandring thought,
  Regardless of his glories diminution;
  Till by thir own perplexities involv'd
  They ravel more, still less resolv'd,
  But never find self-satisfying solution.
    As if they would confine th' interminable,
  And tie him to his own prescript,
  Who made our Laws to bind us, not himself,
  And hath full right to exempt
  Whom so it pleases him by choice
  From National obstriction, without taint
  Of sin, or legal debt;
  For with his own Laws he can best dispence.
    He would not else who never wanted means,
  Nor in respect of the enemy just cause
  To set his people free,
  Have prompted this Heroic Nazarite,
  Against his vow of strictest purity,
  To seek in marriage that fallacious Bride,
  Unclean, unchaste.
    Down Reason then, at least vain reasonings down,
  Though Reason here aver
  That moral verdit quits her of unclean:
  Unchaste was subsequent, her stain not his.
    But see here comes thy reverend Sire
  With careful step, Locks white as doune,
  Old Manoah: advise
  Forthwith how thou oughtst to receive him.
    Sam. Ay me, another inward grief awak't,
  With mention of that name renews th' assault.
    Man. Brethren and men of Dan, for such ye seem,
  Though in this uncouth place; if old respect,
  As I suppose, towards your once gloried friend,
  My Son now Captive, hither hath inform'd
  Your younger feet, while mine cast back with age
  Came lagging after; say if he be here.
    Chor. As signal now in low dejected state,
  As earst in highest, behold him where he lies.
    Man. O miserable change! is this the man,
  That invincible Samson, far renown'd,
  The dread of Israel's foes, who with a strength
  Equivalent to Angels walk'd thir streets,
  None offering fight; who single combatant
  Duell'd thir Armies rank't in proud array,
  Himself an Army, now unequal match
  To save himself against a coward arm'd
  At one spears length. O ever failing trust
  In mortal strength! and oh what not in man
  Deceivable and vain! Nay what thing good
  Pray'd for, but often proves our woe, our bane?
  I pray'd for Children, and thought barrenness
  In wedlock a reproach; I gain'd a Son,
  And such a Son as all Men hail'd me happy;
  Who would be now a Father in my stead?
  O wherefore did God grant me my request,
  And as a blessing with such pomp adorn'd?
  Why are his gifts desirable, to tempt
  Our earnest Prayers, then giv'n with solemn hand
  As Graces, draw a Scorpions tail behind?
  For this did the Angel twice descend? for this
  Ordain'd thy nurture holy, as of a Plant;
  Select, and Sacred, Glorious for a while,
  The miracle of men: then in an hour
  Ensnar'd, assaulted, overcome, led bound,
  Thy Foes derision, Captive, Poor, and Blind
  Into a Dungeon thrust, to work with Slaves?
  Alas methinks whom God hath chosen once
  To worthiest deeds, if he through frailty err,
  He should not so o'rewhelm, and as a thrall
  Subject him to so foul indignities,
  Be it but for honours sake of former deeds.
    Sam. Appoint not heavenly disposition, Father,
  Nothing of all these evils hath befall'n me
  But justly; I my self have brought them on,
  Sole Author I, sole cause: if aught seem vile,
  As vile hath been my folly, who have profan'd
  The mystery of God givn me under pledge
  Of vow, and have betray'd it to a woman,
  A Canaanite, my faithless enemy.
  This well I knew, nor was at all supris'd,
  But warn'd by oft experience: did not she
  Of Timna first betray me, and reveal
  The secret wrested from me in her highth
  Of Nuptial Love profest, carrying it strait
  To them who had corrupted her, my Spies,
  And Rivals? In this other was there found
  More Faith? who also in her prime of love,
  Spousal embraces, vitiated with Gold,
  Though offer'd only, by the sent conceiv'd
  Her spurious first-born; Treason against me?
  Thrice she assay'd with flattering prayers and sighs,
  And amorous reproaches to win from me
  My capital secret, in what part my strength
  Lay stor'd in what part summ'd, that she might know:
  Thrice I deluded her, and turn'd to sport
  Her importunity, each time perceiving
  How openly, and with what impudence
  She purpos'd to betray me, and (which was worse
  Then undissembl'd hate) with what contempt
  She sought to make me Traytor to my self;
  Yet the fourth time, when mustring all her wiles,
  With blandisht parlies, feminine assaults,
  Tongue-batteries, she surceas'd not day nor night
  To storm me over-watch't, and wearied out.
  At times when men seek most repose and rest,
  I yielded, and unlock'd her all my heart,
  Who with a grain of manhood well resolv'd
  Might easily have shook off all her snares:
  But foul effeminacy held me yok't
  Her Bond-slave; O indignity, O blot
  To Honour and Religion! servil mind
  Rewarded well with servil punishment!
  The base degree to which I now am fall'n,
  These rags, this grinding, is not yet so base
  As was my former servitude. ignoble,
  Unmanly, ignominious, infamous,
  True slavery, and that blindness worse then this,
  That saw not how degeneratly I serv'd.
    Man. I cannot praise thy Marriage choises, Son,
  Rather approv'd them not; but thou didst plead
  Divine impulsion prompting how thou might'st
  Find some occasion to infest our Foes.
  I state not that; this I am sure; our Foes
  Found soon occasion thereby to make thee
  Thir Captive, and thir triumph; thou the sooner
  Temptation found'st, or over-potent charms
  To violate the sacred trust of silence
  Deposited within thee; which to have kept
  Tacit, was in thy power; true; and thou hear'st
  Enough, and more the burden of that fault;
  Bitterly hast thou paid, and still art paving
  That rigid score. A worse thing yet remains,
  This day the Philistines a popular Feast
  Here celebrate in Gaza; and proclaim
  Great Pomp, and Sacrifice, and Praises loud
  To Dagon, as their God who hath deliver'd
  Thee Samson bound and blind into thir hands,
  Them out of thine, who slew'st them many a slain.
  So Dagon shall be magnifi'd, and God,
  Besides whom is no God, compar'd with Idols,
  Disglorifi'd, blasphem'd, and had in scorn
  By th' Idolatrous rout amidst thir wine;
  Which to have come to pass by means of thee,
  Samson, of all thy sufferings think the heaviest,
  Of all reproach the most with shame that ever
  Could have befall'n thee and thy Fathers house.
    Sam. Father, I do acknowledge and confess
  That I this honour, I this pomp have brought
  To Dagon, and advanc'd his praises high
  Among the Heathen round; to God have brought
  Dishonour, obloquie, and op't the mouths
  Of Idolists, and Atheists; have brought scandal
  To Israel, diffidence of God, and doubt
  In feeble hearts, propense anough before
  To waver, or fall off and joyn with Idols:
  Which is my chief affliction, shame and sorrow,
  The anguish of my Soul, that suffers not
  Mine eie to harbour sleep, or thoughts to rest.
  This only hope relieves me, that the strife
  With me hath end; all the contest is now
  'Twixt God and Dagon; Dagon hath presum'd,
  Me overthrown, to enter lists with God,
  His Deity comparing and preferring
  Before the God of Abraham. He, be sure,
  Will not connive, or linger, thus provok'd,
  But will arise and his great name assert:
  Dagon must stoop, and shall e're long receive
  Such a discomfit, as shall quite despoil him
  Of all these boasted Trophies won on me,
  And with confusion blank his Worshippers.
    Man. With cause this hope relieves thee, and these words
  I as a Prophecy receive: for God,
  Nothing more certain, will not long defer
  To vindicate the glory of his name
  Against all competition, nor will long
  Endure it, doubtful whether God be Lord,
  Or Dagon. But for thee what shall be done?
  Thou must not in the mean while here forgot
  Lie in this miserable loathsom plight
  Neglected. I already have made way
  To some Philistian Lords, with whom to treat
  About thy ransom: well they may by this
  Have satisfi'd thir utmost of revenge
  By pains and slaveries, worse then death inflicted
  On thee, who now no more canst do them harm.
    Sam. Spare that proposal, Father, spare the trouble
  Of that sollicitation; let me here,
  As I deserve, on my punishment;
  And expiate, possible, my crime,
  Shameful garrulity. To have reveal'd
  Secrets of men, the secrets of a friend,
  How hainous had the fact been, how deserving
  Contempt, and scorn of all, to be excluded
  All friendship, and avoided as a blab,
  The mark of fool set on his front?
  But I Gods counsel have not kept, his holy secret
  Presumptuously have publish'd, impiously,
  Weakly at least, and shamefully: A sin
  That Gentiles in thir Parables condemn
  To thir abyss and horrid pains confin'd.
    Man. Be penitent and for thy fault contrite,
  But act not in thy own affliction, Son,
  Repent the sin, but if the punishment
  Thou canst avoid, self-preservation bids;
  Or th' execution leave to high disposal,
  And let another hand, not thine, exact
  Thy penal forfeit from thy self; perhaps
  God will relent, and quit thee all his debt;
  Who evermore approves and more accepts
  (Best pleas'd with humble and filial submission)
  Him who imploring mercy sues for life,
  Then who self-rigorous chooses death as due;
  Which argues over-just, and self-displeas'd
  For self-offence, more then for God offended.
  Reject not then what offerd means, who knows
  But God hath set before us, to return the
  Home to thy countrey and his sacred house,
  Where thou mayst bring thy off'rings, to avert
  His further ire, with praiers and vows renew'd.
    Sam. His pardon I implore; but as for life,
  To what end should I seek it? when in strength
  All mortals I excell'd, and great in hopes
  With youthful courage and magnanimous thoughts
  Of birth from Heav'n foretold and high exploits,
  Full of divine instinct, after some proof
  Of acts indeed heroic, far beyond
  The Sons of Anac, famous now and blaz'd,
  Fearless of danger, like a petty God
  I walk'd about admir'd of all and dreaded
  On hostile ground, none daring my affront.
  Then swoll'n with pride into the snare I fell
  Of fair fallacious looks, venereal trains,
  Softn'd with pleasure and voluptuous life;
  At length to lay my head and hallow'd pledge
  Of all my strength in the lascivious lap
  Of a deceitful Concubine who shore me
  Like a tame Weather, all my precious fleece,
  Then turn'd me out ridiculous, despoil'd,
  Shav'n, and disarm'd among my enemies.
    Chor. Desire of wine and all delicious drinks,
  Which many a famous Warriour overturns,
  Thou couldst repress, nor did the dancing Rubie
  Sparkling, out-pow'rd, the flavor, or the smell,
  Or taste that cheers the heart of Gods and men,
  Allure thee from the cool Crystalline stream.
    Sam. Where ever fountain or fresh current flow'd
  Against the Eastern ray, translucent, pure,
  With touch aetherial of Heav'ns fiery rod
  I drank, from the clear milkie juice allaying
  Thirst, and refresht; nor envy'd them the grape
  Whose heads that turbulent liquor fills with fumes.
    Chor. O madness, to think use of strongest wines
  And strongest drinks our chief support of health,
  When God with these forbid'n made choice to rear
  His mighty Champion, strong above compare,
  Whose drink was only from the liquid brook.
    Sam. But what avail'd this temperance, not compleat
  Against another object more
  What boots it at one gate to make defence
  And at another to let in the foe
  Effeminatly vanquish't? by which means,
  Now blind, disheartn'd, sham'd, dishonour'd, quell'd,
  To what can I be useful, wherein serve
  My Nation, and the work from Heav'n impos'd,
  But to sit idle on the houshold hearth,
  A burdenous drone; to visitants a gaze,
  Or pitied object, these redundant locks
  Robustious to no purpose clustring down,
  Vain monument of strength; till length of years
  And sedentary numness craze my limbs
  To a contemptible old age obscure.
  Here rather let me drudge and earn my bread,
  Till vermin or the draff of servil food
  Consume me, and oft-invocated death
  Hast'n the welcom end of all my pains.
    Man. Wilt thou then serve the Philistines with that gift
  Which was expresly giv'n thee to annoy them?
  Better at home lie bed-rid, not only idle,
  Inglorious, unimploy'd, with age out-worn.
  But God who caus'd a fountain at thy prayer
  From the dry ground to spring, thy thirst to allay
  After the brunt of battel, can as easie
  Cause light again within thy eies to spring,
  Wherewith to serve him better then thou hast;
  And I perswade me so; why else this strength
  Miraculous yet remaining in those locks)
  His might continues in thee not for naught,
  Nor shall his wondrous gifts be frustrate thus.
    Sam. All otherwise to me my thoughts portend,
  That these dark orbs no more shall treat with light,
  Nor th' other light of life continue long,
  But yield to double darkness nigh at hand:
  So much I feel my genial spirits droop,
  My hopes all flat, nature within me seems
  In all her functions weary of herself;
  My race of glory run, and race of shame,
  And I shall shortly be with them that rest.
    Man. Believe not these suggestions which proceed
  From anguish of the mind and humours black,
  That mingle with thy fancy. I however
  Must not omit a Fathers timely care
  To prosecute the means of thy deliverance
  By ransom or how else: mean while be calm,
  And healing words from these thy friends admit.
    Sam. O that torment should not be confin'd
  To the bodies wounds and sores
  With maladies innumerable
  In heart, head, brest, and reins;
  But must secret passage find
  To th' inmost mind,
  There exercise all his fierce accidents,
  And on her purest spirits prey,
  As on entrails, joints, and limbs,
  With answerable pains, but more intense,
  Though void of corporal sense.
    My griefs not only pain me
  As a lingring disease,
  But finding no redress, ferment and rage,
  Nor less then wounds immedicable
  Ranckle, and fester, and gangrene,
  To black mortification.
  Thoughts my Tormenters arm'd with deadly stings
  Mangle my apprehensive tenderest parts,
  Exasperate, exulcerate, and raise
  Dire inflammation which no cooling herb
  Or medcinal liquor can asswage,
  Nor breath of Vernal Air from snowy Alp.
  Sleep hath forsook and giv'n me o're
  To deaths benumming Opium as my only cure.
  Thence faintings, swounings of despair,
  And sense of Heav'ns desertion.
    I was his nursling once and choice delight,
  His destin'd from the womb,
  Promisd by Heavenly message twice descending.
  Under his special eie
  Abstemious I grew up and thriv'd amain;
  He led me on to mightiest deeds
  Above the nerve of mortal arm
  Against the uncircumcis'd, our enemies.
  But now hath cast me off as never known,
  And to those cruel enemies,
  Whom I by his appointment had provok't,
  Left me all helpless with th' irreparable loss
  Of sight, reserv'd alive to be repeated
  The subject of thir cruelty, or scorn.
  Nor am I in the list of them that hope;
  Hopeless are all my evils, all remediless;
  This one prayer yet remains, might I be heard,
  No long petition, speedy death,
  The close of all my miseries, and the balm.
    Chor. Many are the sayings of the wise
  In antient and in modern books enroll'd;
  Extolling Patience as the truest fortitude;
  And to the bearing well of all calamities,
  All chances incident to mans frail life
  Consolatories writ
  With studied argument, and much perswasion sought
  Lenient of grief and anxious thought,
  But with th' afflicted in his pangs thir sound
  Little prevails, or rather seems a tune,
  Harsh, and of dissonant mood from his complaint,
  Unless he feel within
  Some sourse of consolation from above;
  Secret refreshings, that repair his strength,
  And fainting spirits uphold.
    God of our Fathers, what is man!
  That thou towards him with hand so various,
  Or might I say contrarious,
  Temperst thy providence through his short course,
  Not evenly, as thou rul'st
  The Angelic orders and inferiour creatures mute,
  Irrational and brute.
  Nor do I name of men the common rout,
  That wandring loose about
  Grow up and perish, as the summer flie,
  Heads without name no more rememberd,
  But such as thou hast solemnly elected,
  With gifts and graces eminently adorn'd
  To some great work, thy glory,
  And peoples safety, which in part they effect:
  Yet toward these thus dignifi'd, thou oft
  Amidst thir highth of noon,
  Changest thy countenance, and thy hand with no regard
  Of highest favours past
  From thee on them, or them to thee of service.
    Nor only dost degrade them, or remit
  To life obscur'd, which were a fair dismission,
  But throw'st them lower then thou didst exalt them high,
  Unseemly falls in human eie,
  Too grievous for the trespass or omission,
  Oft leav'st them to the hostile sword
  Of Heathen and prophane, thir carkasses
  To dogs and fowls a prey, or else captiv'd:
  Or to the unjust tribunals, under change of times,
  And condemnation of the ingrateful multitude.
  If these they scape, perhaps in poverty
  With sickness and disease thou bow'st them down,
  Painful diseases and deform'd,
  In crude old age;
  Though not disordinate, yet causless suffring
  The punishment of dissolute days, in fine,
  just or unjust, alike seem miserable,
  For oft alike, both come to evil end.
    So deal not with this once thy glorious Champion,
  The Image of thy strength, and mighty minister.
  What do I beg? how hast thou dealt already?
  Behold him in this state calamitous, and turn
  His labours, for thou canst, to peaceful end.
    But who is this, what thing of Sea or Land?
  Femal of sex it seems,
  That so bedeckt, ornate, and gay,
  Comes this. way sailing
  Like a stately Ship
  Of Tarsus, bound for th' Isles
  Of Javan or Gadier
  With all her bravery on, and tackle trim,
  Sails fill'd, and streamers waving,
  Courted by all the winds that hold them play,
  An Amber sent of odorous perfume
  Her harbinger, a damsel train behind;
  Some rich Philistian Matron she may seem,
  And now at nearer view, no other certain
  Than Dalila thy wife.
    Sam. My Wife, my Traytress, let her not come near me.
    Cho. Yet on she moves, now stands & eies thee fixt,
  About t' have spoke, but now, with head declin'd
  Like a fair flower surcharg'd with dew, she weeps
  And words addrest seem into tears dissolv'd,
  Wetting the borders of her silk'n veil:
  But now again she makes address to speak.
    Dal. With doubtful feet and wavering resolution
  I came, still dreading thy displeasure, Samson,
  Which to have merited, without excuse,
  I cannot but acknowledge; yet if tears
  May expiate (though the fact more evil drew
  In the perverse event then I foresaw)
  My penance hath not slack'n'd, though my pardon
  No way assur'd. But conjugal affection
  Prevailing over fear, and timerous doubt
  Hath led me on desirous to behold
  Once more thy face, and know of thy estate.
  If aught in my ability may serve
  To light'n what thou suffer'st, and appease
  Thy mind with what amends is in my power,
  Though late, yet in some part to recompense
  My rash but more unfortunate misdeed.
    Sam. Out, out Hyaena; these are thy wonted arts,
  And arts of every woman false like thee,
  To break all faith, all vows, deceive, betray,
  Then as repentant to submit, beseech,
  And reconcilement move with feign'd remorse,
  Confess, and promise wonders in her change,
  Not truly penitent, but chief to try
  Her husband, how far urg'd his patience bears,
  His vertue or weakness which way to assail:
  Then with more cautious and instructed skil
  Again transgresses, and again submits;
  That wisest and best men full oft beguil'd
  With goodness principl'd not to reject
  The penitent, but ever to forgive,
  Are drawn to wear out miserable days,
  Entangl'd with a poysnous bosom snake,
  If not quick destruction soon cut off
  As I by thee, to Ages an example.
    Dal. Yet hear me Samson; not that I endeavour
  To lessen or extenuate my offence,
  But that on th' other side if it be weigh'd
  By it self, with aggravations not surcharg'd,
  Or else with just allowance counterpois'd
  I may, if possible, thy pardon find
  The easier towards me, or thy hatred less.
  First granting, as I do, it was a weakness
  In me, but incident to all our sex,
  Curiosity, inquisitive, importune
  Of secrets, then with like infirmity
  To publish them, both common female faults:
  Was it not weakness also to make known
  For importunity, that is for naught,
  Wherein consisted all thy strength and safety?
  To what I did thou shewdst me first the way.
  But I to enemies reveal'd, and should not.
  Nor shouldst thou have trusted that to womans frailty
  E're I to thee, thou to thy self wast cruel.
  Let weakness then with weakness come to parl
  So near related, or the same of kind,
  Thine forgive mine; that men may censure thine
  The gentler, if severely thou exact not
  More strength from me, then in thy self was found.
  And what if Love, which thou interpret'st hate,
  The jealousie of Love, powerful of sway
  In human hearts, nor less in mine towards thee,
  Caus'd what I did? I saw thee mutable
  Of fancy, feard lest one day thou wouldst leave me
  As her at Timna, sought by all means therefore
  How to endear, and hold thee to me firmest:
  No better way I saw then by importuning
  To learn thy secrets, get into my power
  Thy key of strength and safety: thou wilt say,
  Why then reveal'd? I was assur'd by those
  Who tempted me, that nothing was design'd
  Against thee but safe custody, and hold:
  That made for me, I knew that liberty
  Would draw thee forth to perilous enterprises,
  While I at home sate full of cares and fears
  Wailing thy absence in my widow'd bed;
  Here I should still enjoy thee day and night
  Mine and Loves prisoner, not the Philistines,
  Whole to my self, unhazarded abroad,
  Fearless at home of partners in my love.
  These reasons in Loves law have past for good,
  Though fond and reasonless to some perhaps:
  And Love hath oft, well meaning, wrought much wo,
  Yet always pity or pardon hath obtain'd.
  Be not unlike all others, not austere
  As thou art strong, inflexible as steel.
  If thou in strength all mortals dost exceed,
  In uncompassionate anger do not so.
    Sam. How cunningly the sorceress displays
  Her own transgressions, to upbraid me mine!
  That malice not repentance brought thee hither,
  By this appears: I gave, thou say'st, th' example,
  I led the way; bitter reproach, but true,
  I to my self was false e're thou to me,
  Such pardon therefore as I give my folly,
  Take to thy wicked deed: which when thou seest
  Impartial, self-severe, inexorable,
  Thou wilt renounce thy seeking, and much rather
  Confess it feign'd, weakness is thy excuse,
  And I believe it, weakness to resist
  Philistian gold: if weakness may excuse,
  What Murtherer, what Traytor, Parricide,
  Incestuous, Sacrilegious, but may plead it?
  All wickedness is weakness: that plea therefore
  With God or Man will gain thee no remission.
  But Love constrain'd thee; call it furious rage
  To satisfie thy lust: Love seeks to have Love;
  My love how couldst thou hope, who tookst the way
  To raise in me inexpiable hate,
  Knowing, as needs I must, by thee betray'd?
  In vain thou striv'st to cover shame with shame,
  Or by evasions thy crime uncoverst more.
    Dal. Since thou determinst weakness for no plea
  In man or woman, though to thy own condemning,
  Hear what assaults I had, what snares besides,
  What sieges girt me round, e're I consented;
  Which might have aw'd the best resolv'd of men,
  The constantest to have yielded without blame.
  It was not gold, as to my charge thou lay'st,
  That wrought with me: thou know'st the Magistrates
  And Princes of my countrey came in person,
  Sollicited, commanded, threatn'd, urg'd,
  Adjur'd by all the bonds of civil Duty
  And of Religion, press'd how just it was,
  How honourable, how glorious to entrap
  A common enemy, who had destroy'd
  Such numbers of our Nation: and the Priest
  Was not behind, but ever at my ear,
  Preaching how meritorious with the gods
  It would be to ensnare an irreligious
  Dishonourer of Dagon: what had I
  To oppose against such powerful arguments?
  Only my love of thee held long debate;
  And combated in silence all these reasons
  With hard contest: at length that grounded maxim
  So rife and celebrated in the mouths
  Of wisest men; that to the public good
  Private respects must yield; with grave authority
  Took full possession of me and prevail'd;
  Vertue, as I thought, truth, duty so enjoyning.
    Sam. I thought where all thy circling wiles would end;
  In feign'd Religion, smooth hypocrisie.
  But had thy love, still odiously pretended,
  Bin, as it ought, sincere, it would have taught thee
  Far other reasonings, brought forth other deeds.
  I before all the daughters of my Tribe
  And of my Nation chose thee from among
  My enemies, lov'd thee, as too well thou knew'st,
  Too well, unbosom'd all my secrets to thee,
  Not out of levity, but over-powr'd
  By thy request, who could deny thee nothing;
  Yet now am judg'd an enemy. Why then
  Didst thou at first receive me for thy husband?
  Then, as since then, thy countries foe profest:
  Being once a wife, for me thou wast to leave
  Parents and countrey; nor was I their subject,
  Nor under their protection but my own,
  Thou mine, not theirs: if aught against my life
  Thy countrey sought of thee, it sought unjustly,
  Against the law of nature, law of nations,
  No more thy countrey, but an impious crew
  Of men conspiring to uphold thir state
  By worse than hostile deeds, violating the ends
  For which our countrey is a name so dear;
  Not therefore to be obey'd. But zeal mov'd thee;
  To please thy gods thou didst it; gods unable
  To acquit themselves and prosecute their foes
  But by ungodly deeds, the contradiction
  Of their own deity, Gods cannot be:
  Less therefore to be pleas'd, obey'd, or fear'd,
  These false pretexts and varnish'd colours failing,
  Bare in thy guilt how foul must thou appear?
    Dal. In argument with men a woman ever
  Goes whatever the her whatever be her cause.
    Sam. For want of words no doubt, or lack of breath,
  Witness when I was worried with thy peals.
    Dal. I was a fool, too rash, and quite mistaken
  In what I thought would have succeeded best.
  Let me obtain forgiveness of thee, Samson,
  Afford me place to shew what recompence
  Towards thee I intend for what I have misdone,
  Misguided: only what remains past cure
  Bear not too sensibly, nor still insist
  To afflict thy self in vain: though sight be lost,
  Life yet hath many solaces, enjoy'd
  Where other senses want not their delights
  At home in leisure and domestic ease,
  Exempt from many a care and chance to which
  Eye-sight exposes daily men abroad.
  I to the Lords will intercede, not doubting
  Thir favourable ear, that I may fetch thee
  From forth this loathsom prison-house, to abide
  With me, where my redoubl'd love and care
  With nursing diligence, to me glad office,
  May ever tend about thee to old age
  With all things grateful chear'd, and so suppli'd,
  That what by me thou hast lost thou least shalt miss.
    Sam. No, no, of my condition take no care;
  It fits not; thou and I long since are twain;
  Nor think me so unwary or accurst
  To bring my feet again into the snare
  Where once I have been caught; I know thy trains
  Though dearly to my cost, thy ginns, and toyls;
  Thy fair enchanted cup, and warbling charms
  No more on me have power, their force is null'd,
  So much of Adders wisdom I have learn't
  To fence my ear against thy sorceries.
  If in my flower of youth and strength, when all men
  Lov'd, honour'd, fear'd me, thou alone could hate me
  Thy Husband, slight me, sell me, and forgo me;
  How wouldst thou use me now, blind, and thereby
  Deceiveable, in most things as a child
  Helpless, thence easily contemn'd, and scorn'd,
  And last neglected? How wouldst thou insult
  When I must live uxorious to thy will
  In perfet thraldom, how again betray me,
  Bearing my words and doings to the Lords
  To gloss upon, and censuring, frown or smile?
  This Gaol I count the house of Liberty
  To thine whose doors my feet shall never enter.
    Dal. Let me approach at least, and touch thy hand.
    Sam. Not for thy life, lest fierce remembrance wake
  My sudden rage to tear thee joint by joint.
  At distance I forgive thee, go with that;
  Bewail thy falshood, and the pious works
  It hath brought forth to make thee memorable
  Among illustrious women, faithful wives:
  Cherish thy hast'n'd widowhood with the gold
  Of Matrimonial treason: so farwel.
    Dal. I see thou art implacable, more deaf
  To prayers, then winds and seas, yet winds to seas
  Are reconcil'd at length, and Sea to Shore:
  Thy anger, unappeasable, still rages,
  Eternal tempest never to be calm'd.
  Why do I humble thus my self, and suing
  For peace, reap nothing but repulse and hate?
  Bid go with evil omen and the brand
  Of infamy upon my name denounc't?
  To mix with thy concernments I desist
  Henceforth, nor too much disapprove my own.
  Fame if not double-fac't is double-mouth' d,
  And with contrary blast proclaims most deeds,
  On both his wings, one black, th' other white,
  Bears greatest names in his wild aerie flight.
  My name perhaps among the Circumcis'd
  In Dan, in Judah, and the bordering Tribes,
  To all posterity may stand defam'd,
  With malediction mention'd, and the blot
  Of falshood most unconjugal traduc't.
  But in my countrey where I most desire,
  In Ecron, Gaza, Asdod, and in Gath
  I shall be nam'd among the famousest
  Of Women, sung at solemn festivals,
  Living and dead recorded, who to save
  Her countrey from a fierce destroyer, chose
  Above the faith of wedlock-bands, my tomb
  With odours visited and annual flowers.
  Not less renown'd then in Mount Ephraim,
  Jael, who with inhospitable guile
  Smote Sisera sleeping through the Temples nail'd.
  Nor shall I count it hainous to enjoy
  The public marks of honour and reward
  Conferr'd upon me, for the piety
  Which to my countrey I was judg'd to have shewn.
  At this who ever envies or repines
  I leave him to his lot, and like my own.
    Chor. She's gone, a manifest Serpent by her sting
  Discover'd in the end, till now conceal'd.
    Sam. So let her go, God sent her to debase me,
  And aggravate my folly who committed
  To such a viper his most sacred trust
  Of secresie, my safety, and my life.
    Chor. Yet beauty, though injurious, hath strange power,
  After offence returning, to regain
  Love once possest, nor can be easily
  Repuls't, without much inward passion felt
  And secret sting of amorous remorse.
    Sam. Love-quarrels oft in pleasing concord end,
  Not wedlock-trechery endangering life.
    Chor. It is not vertue, wisdom, valour, wit,
  Strength, comliness of shape, or amplest merit
  That womans love can win or long inherit;
  But what it is, hard is to say,
  Harder to hit,
  (Which way soever men refer it)
  Much like thy riddle, Samson, in one day
  Or seven, though one should musing sit;
    If any of these or all, the Timnian bride
  Had not so soon preferr'd
  Thy Paranymph, worthless to thee compar'd,
  Successour in thy bed,
  Nor both so loosly disally'd
  Thir nuptials, nor this last so trecherously
  Had shorn the fatal harvest of thy head.
  Is it for that such outward ornament
  Was lavish't on thir Sex, that inward gifts
  Were left for hast unfinish't, judgment scant,
  Capacity not rais'd to apprehend
  Or value what is best
  In choice, but oftest to affect the wrong?
  Or was too much of self-love mixt,
  Of constancy no root infixt,
  That either they love nothing, or not long?
    What e're it be, to wisest men and best
  Seeming at first all heavenly under virgin veil,
  Soft, modest, meek, demure,
  Once join'd, the contrary she proves, a thorn
  Intestin, far within defensive arms
  A cleaving mischief, in his way to vertue
  Adverse and turbulent, or by her charms
  Draws him awry enslav'd
  With dotage, and his sense deprav'd
  To folly and shameful deeds which ruin ends.
  What Pilot so expert but needs must wreck
  Embarqu'd with such a Stears-mate at the Helm?
    Favour'd of Heav'n who finds
  One vertuous rarely found,
  That in domestic good combines:
  Happy that house! his way to peace is smooth:
  But vertue which breaks through all opposition,
  And all temptation can remove,
  Most shines and most is acceptable above.
    Therefore Gods universal Law
  Gave to the man despotic power
  Over his female in due awe,
  Nor from that right to part an hour,
  Smile she or lowre:
  So shall he least confusion draw
  On his whole life, not sway'd
  By female usurpation, nor dismay'd.
    But had we best retire, I see a storm?
    Sam. Fair days have oft contracted wind and rain.
    Chor. But this another kind of tempest brings.
    Sam. Be less abstruse, my riddling days are past.
    Chor. Look now for no inchanting voice, nor fear
  The bait of honied words; a rougher tongue
  Draws hitherward, I know him by his stride,
  The Giant Harapha of Gath, his look
  Haughty as is his pile high-built and proud.
  Comes he in peace? what wind hath blown him hither
  I less conjecture then when first I saw
  The sumptuous Dalila floating this way:
  His habit carries peace, his brow defiance.
    Sam. Or peace or not, alike to me he comes.
    Chor. His fraught we soon shall know, he now arrives.
    Har. I come not Samson, to condole thy chance,
  As these perhaps, yet wish it had not been,
  Though no friendly intent. I am of Gath,
  Men call me Harapha, of stock renown'd
  As Og or Anak and the Emims old
  That Kiriathaim held, thou knowst me now
  If thou at all art known. Much I have heard
  Of thy prodigious might and feats perform'd
  Incredible to me, in this displeas'd,
  That I was never present on the place
  Of those encounters, where we might have tri'd
  Each others force in camp or listed field:
  And now am come to see of whom such noise
  Hath walk'd about, and each limb to survey,
  If thy appearance answer loud report.
    Sam. The way to know were not to see but taste.
    Har. Dost thou already single me; I thought
  Gives and the Mill had tam'd thee? O that fortune
  Had brought me to the field where thou art fam'd
  To have wrought such wonders with an Asses Jaw;
  I should have forc'd thee soon with other arms,
  Or left thy carkass where the Ass lay thrown:
  So had the glory of Prowess been recover'd
  To Palestine, won by a Philistine
  From the unforeskinn'd race, of whom thou bear'st
  The highest name for valiant Acts, that honour
  Certain to have won by mortal duel from thee,
  I lose, prevented by thy eyes put out.
    Sam. Boast not of what thou wouldst have done, but do
  What then thou would'st, thou seest it in thy hand.
    Har. To combat with a blind man I disdain,
  And thou hast need much washing to be toucht.
    Sam. Such usage as your honourable Lords
  Afford me assassinated and betray'd,
  Who durst not with thir whole united powers
  In fight withstand me single and unarm'd,
  Nor in the house with chamber Ambushes
  Close-banded durst attaque me, no not sleeping,
  Till they had hir'd a woman with their gold
  Breaking her Marriage Faith to circumvent me.
  Therefore without feign'd shifts let be assign'd
  Some narrow place enclos'd, where sight may give thee,
  Or rather flight, no great advantage on me;
  Then put on all thy gorgeous arms, thy Helmet
  And Brigandine of brass, thy broad Habergeon,
  Vant-brass and Greves, and Gauntlet, add thy Spear
  A Weavers beam, and seven-times-folded shield,
  I only with an Oak'n staff will meet thee,
  And raise such out-cries on thy clatter'd Iron,
  Which long shall not with-hold mee from thy head,
  That in a little time while breath remains thee,
  Thou oft shalt wish thy self at Gath to boast
  Again in safety what thou wouldst have done
  To Samson, but shalt never see Gath more.
    Har. Thou durst not thus disparage glorious arms
  Which greatest Heroes have in battel worn,
  Thir ornament and safety, had not spells
  And black enchantments, some Magicians Art
  Arm'd thee or charm'd thee strong, which thou from Heaven
  Feigndst at thy birth was giv'n thee in thy hair,
  Where strength can least abide, though all thy hairs
  Were bristles rang'd like those that ridge the back
  Of chaf't wild Boars, or ruffl'd Porcupines.
    Sam. I know no Spells, use no forbidden Arts;
  My trust is in the living God who gave me
  At my Nativity this strength, diffus'd
  No less through all my sinews, joints and bones,
  Then thine, while I preserv'd these locks unshorn,
  The pledge of my unviolated vow.
  For proof hereof, if Dagon be thy god,
  Go to his Temple, invocate his aid
  With solemnest devotion, spread before him
  How highly it concerns his glory now
  To frustrate and dissolve these Magic spells,
  Which I to be the power of Israel's God
  Avow, and challenge Dagon to the test,
  Offering to combat thee his Champion bold,
  With th' utmost of his Godhead seconded:
  Then thou shalt see, or rather to thy sorrow
  Soon feel, whose God is strongest, thine or mine.
    Har. Presume not on thy God, what e're he be,
  Thee he regards not, owns not, hath cut off
  Quite from his people, and delivered up
  Into thy Enemies hand, permitted them
  To put out both thine eyes, and fetter'd send thee
  Into the common Prison, there to grind
  Among the Slaves and Asses thy comrades,
  As good for nothing else, no better service
  With those thy boyst'rous locks, no worthy match
  For valour to assail, nor by the sword
  Of noble Warriour, so to stain his honour,
  But by the Barbers razor best subdu'd.
    Sam. All these indignities, for such they are
  From thine, these evils I deserve and more,
  Acknowledge them from God inflicted on me
  Justly, yet despair not of his final pardon
  Whose ear is ever open; and his eye
  Gracious to re-admit the suppliant;
  In confidence whereof I once again
  Defie thee to the trial of mortal fight,
  By combat to decide whose god is God,
  Thine or whom I with Israel's Sons adore.
    Har. Fair honour that thou dost thy God, in trusting
  He will accept thee to defend his cause,
  A Murtherer, a Revolter, and a Robber.
    Sam. Tongue-doubtie Giant, how dost thou prove me these?
    Har. Is not thy Nation subject to our Lords?
  Thir Magistrates confest it, when they took thee
  As a League-breaker and deliver'd bound
  Into our hands: for hadst thou not committed
  Nortorious murder on those thirty men
  At Askalon, who never did thee harm,
  Then like a Robber stripdst them of thir robes?
  The Philistines, when thou hadst broke the league,
  Went up with armed powers thee only seeking,
  To others did no violence nor spoil.
    Sam. Among the Daughters of the Philistines
  I chose a Wife, which argu'd me no foe;
  And in your City held my Nuptial Feast:
  But your ill-meaning Politician Lords,
  Under pretence of Bridal friends and guests,
  Appointed to await me thirty spies,
  Who threatning cruel death constrain'd the bride
  To wring from me and tell to them my secret,
  That solv'd the riddle which I had propos'd.
  When I perceiv'd all set on enmity,
  As on my enemies, where ever chanc'd,
  I us'd hostility, and took thir spoil
  To pay my underminers in thir coin.
  My Nation was subjected to your Lords.
  It was the force of Conquest; force with force
  Is well ejected when the Conquer'd can.
  But I a private person, whom my Countrey
  As a league-breaker gave up bound, presum'd
  Single Rebellion and did Hostile Acts.
  I was no private but a person rais'd
  With strength sufficient and command from Heav'n
  To free my Countrey; if their servile minds
  Me their Deliverer sent would not receive,
  But to thir Masters gave me up for nought,
  Th' unworthier they; whence to this day they serve.
  I was to do my part from Heav'n assign'd,
  And had perform'd it if my known offence
  Had not disabl'd me, not all your force:
  These shifts refuted, answer thy appellant
  Though by his blindness maim'd for high attempts,
  Who now defies thee thrice to single fight,
  As a petty enterprise of small enforce.
    Har. With thee a Man condemn'd, a Slave enrol'd,
  Due by the Law to capital punishment?
  To fight with thee no man of arms will deign.
    Sam. Cam'st thou for this, vain boaster, to survey me,
  To descant on my strength, and give thy verdit?
  Come nearer, part not hence so slight inform'd;
  But take good heed my hand survey not thee.
    Har. O Baal-zebub! can my ears unus'd
  Hear these dishonours, and not render death?
    Sam. No man with-holds thee, nothing from thy hand
  Fear I incurable; bring up thy van,
  My heels are fetter'd, but my fist is free.
    Har. This insolence other kind of answer fits.
    Sam. Go baffl'd coward, lest I run upon thee,
  Though in these chains, bulk without spirit vast,
  And with one buffet lay thy structure low,
  Or swing thee in the Air, then dash thee down
  To the hazard of thy brains and shatter'd sides.
    Har. By Astaroth e're long thou shalt lament
  These braveries in Irons loaden on thee.
    Chor. His Giantship is gone somewhat crestfall'n,
  Stalking with less unconsci'nable strides,
  And lower looks, but in a sultrie chafe.
    Sam. I dread him not, nor all his Giant-brood,
  Though Fame divulge him Father of five Sons
  All of Gigantic size, Goliah chief.
    Chor. He will directly to the Lords, I fear,
  And with malitious counsel stir them up
  Some way or other yet further to afflict thee.
    Sam. He must allege some cause, and offer'd fight
  Will not dare mention, lest a question rise
  Whether he durst accept the offer or not,
  And that he durst not plain enough appear'd.
  Much more affliction then already felt
  They cannot well impose, nor I sustain;
  If they intend advantage of my labours
  The work of many hands, which earns my keeping
  With no small profit daily to my owners.
  But come what will, my deadlieit foe will prove
  My speediest friend, by death to rid me hence,
  The worst that he can give, to me the best.
  Yet so it may fall out, because thir end
  Is hate, not help to me, it may with mine
  Draw thir own ruin who attempt the deed.
    Chor. Oh how comely it is and how reviving
  To the Spirits of just men long opprest!
  When God into the hands of thir deliverer
  Puts invincible might
  To quell the mighty of the Earth, th' oppressour,
  The brute and boist'rous force of violent men
  Hardy and industrious to support
  Tyrannic power, but raging to pursue
  The righteous and all such as honour Truth;
  He all thir Ammunition
  And feats of War defeats
  With plain Heroic magnitude of mind
  And celestial vigour arm'd
  Thir Armories and Magazins contemns,
  Renders them useless, while
  With winged expedition
  Swift as the lightning glance he executes
  His errand on the wicked, who surpris'd
  Lose thir defence distracted and amaz'd.
    But patience is more oft the exercise
  Of Saints, the trial of thir fortitude,
  Making them each his own Deliverer,
  And Victor over all
  That tyrannie or fortune can inflict,
  Either of these is in thy lot,
  Samson, with might endu'd
  Above the Sons of men; but sight bereav'd
  May chance to number thee with those
  Whom Patience finally must crown.
  This Idols day hath bin to thee no day of rest,
    Labouring thy mind
  More then the day thy hands,
  And yet perhaps more trouble is behind.
  For I descry this way
  Some other tending, in his hand
  A Scepter or quaint staff he bears,
  Comes on amain, speed in his look.
  By his habit I discern him now
  A Public Officer, and now at hand.
  His message will be short and voluble.
    Off. Ebrews, the Pris'ner Samson here I seek.
    Chor. His manacles remark him, there he sits.
    Off. Samson, to thee our Lords thus bid me say;
  This day to Dagon is a solemn Feast,
  With Sacrifices, Triumph, Pomp, and Games;
  Thy strength they know surpassing human rate,
  And now some public proof thereof require
  To honour this great Feast, and great Assembly;
  Rise therefore with all speed and come along,
  Where I will see thee heartn'd and fresh clad
  To appear as fits before th' illustrious Lords.
    Sam. Thou knowst I am an Ebrew, therefore tell them,
  Our Law forbids at thir Religious Rites
  My presence; for that cause I cannot come.
    Off. This answer, be assur'd, will not content them.
    Sam. Have they not Sword-players, and ev'ry sort
  Of Gymnic Artists, Wrestlers, Riders, Runners,
  Juglers and Dancers, Antics, Mummers, Mimics,
  But they must pick me out with shackles tir'd,
  And over-labour'd at thir publick Mill,
  To make them sport with blind activity?
  Do they not seek occasion of new quarrels
  On my refusal to distress me more,
  Or make a game of my calamities?
  Return the way thou cam'st, I will not come.
    Off. Regard thy self, this will offend them highly.
    Sam. My self? my conscience and internal peace.
  Can they think me so broken, so debas'd
  With corporal servitude, that my mind ever
  Will condescend to such absurd commands?
  Although thir drudge, to be thir fool or jester,
  And in my midst of sorrow and heart-grief
  To shew them feats, and play before thir god,
  The worst of all indignities, yet on me
  Joyn'd with extream contempt? I will not come.
    Off. My message was impos'd on me with speed,
  Brooks no delay: is this thy resolution?
    Sam. So take it with what speed thy message needs.
    Off. I am sorry what this stoutness will produce.
    Sam. Perhaps thou shalt have cause to sorrow indeed.
    Chor. Consider, Samson; matters now are strain'd
  Up to the highth, whether to hold or break;
  He's gone, and who knows how he may report
  Thy words by adding fuel to the flame?
  Expect another message more imperious,
  More Lordly thund'ring then thou well wilt bear.
    Sam. 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 thir Dagon?
  Besides, how vile, contemptible, ridiculous,
  What act more execrably unclean, prophane?
    Chor. Yet with this strength thou serv'st the Philistines,
  Idolatrous, uncircumcis'd, unclean.
     Sam. Not in thir Idol-worship, but by labour
  Honest and lawful to deserve my food
  Of those who have me in thir civil power.
    Chor. Where the heart joins not, outward acts defile not.
    Sam. Where outward force constrains, the sentence holds;
  But who constrains me to the Temple of Dagon,
  Not dragging? the Philistian Lords command.
  Commands are no constraints. If I obey them,
  I do it freely; venturing to displease
  God for the fear of Man, and Man prefer,
  Set God behind: which in his jealousie
  Shall never, unrepented, find forgiveness.
  Yet that he may dispense with me or thee
  Present in Temples at Idolatrous Rites
  For some important cause, thou needst not doubt.
    Chor. How thou wilt here come off surmounts my reach.
    Sam. Be of good courage, I begin to feel
  Some rouzing motions in me which dispose
  To something extraordinary my thoughts.
  I with this Messenger will go along,
  Nothing to do, be sure, that may dishonour
  Our Law, or stain my vow of Nazarite.
  If there be aught of presage in the mind,
  This day will be remarkable in my life
  By some great act, or of my days the last.
    Chor. In time thou hast resolv'd, the man returns.
    Off. Samson, this second message from our Lords
  To thee I am bid say. Art thou our Slave,
  Our Captive, at the public Mill our drudge,
  And dar'st thou at our sending and command
  Dispute thy coming? come without delay;
  Or we shall find such Engines to assail
  And hamper thee, as thou shalt come of force,
  Though thou wert firmlier fastn'd then a rock.
    Sam. I could be well content to try thir Art,
  Which to no few of them would prove pernicious.
  Yet knowing thir advantages too many,
  Because they shall not trail me through thir 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:
  By this compliance thou wilt win the Lords
  To favour, and perhaps to set thee free.
    Sam. Brethren farewel, your company along
  I will not wish, lest it perhaps offend them
  To see me girt with Friends; and how the sight
  Of me as of a common Enemy,
  So dreaded once, may now exasperate them
  I know not. Lords are Lordliest in thir wine;
  And the well-feasted Priest then soonest fir'd
  With zeal, if aught Religion seem concern'd:
  No less the people on thir Holy-days
  Impetuous, insolent, unquenchable;
  Happ'n what may, of me expect to hear
  Nothing dishonourable, impure, unworthy
  Our God, our Law, my Nation, or my self,
  The last of me or no I cannot warrant.
    Chor. Go, and the Holy One
  Of Israel be thy guide
  To what may serve his glory best, & spread his name
  Great among the Heathen round:
  Send thee the Angel of thy Birth, to stand
  Fast by thy side, who from thy Fathers field
  Rode up in flames after his message told
  Of thy conception, and be now a shield
  Of fire; that Spirit that first rusht on thee
  In the camp of Dan
  Be efficacious in thee now at need.
  For never was from Heaven imparted
  Measure of strength so great to mortal seed,
  As in thy wond'rous actions hath been seen.
  But wherefore comes old Manoa in such hast
  With youthful steps? much livelier than e're while
  He seems: supposing here to find his Son,
  Or of him bringing to us some glad news?
    Man. Peace with you brethren; my inducement hither
  Was not at present here to find my Son,
  By order of the Lords new parted hence
  To come and play before them at thir Feast.
  I heard all as I came, the City rings
  And numbers thither flock, I had no will,
  Lest I should see him forc't to things unseemly.
  But that which moved my coming now, was chiefly
  To give ye part with me what hope I have
  With good success to work his liberty.
    Chor. That hope would much rejoyce us to partake
  With thee; say reverend Sire, we thirst to hear.
    Man. I have attempted one by one the Lords
  Either at home, or through the high street passing,
  With supplication prone and Fathers tears
  To accept of ransom for my Son thir pris'ner,
  Some much averse I found and wondrous harsh,
  Contemptuous, proud, set on revenge and spite;
  That part most reverenc'd Dagon and his Priests,
  Others more moderate seeming, but thir aim
  Private reward, for which both God and State
  They easily would set to sale, a third
  More generous far and civil, who confess'd
  They had anough reveng'd, having reduc't
  Thir foe to misery beneath thir fears,
  The rest was magnanimity to remit,
  If some convenient ransom were propos'd.
  What noise or shout was that? it tore the Skie.
    Chor. Doubtless the people shouting to behold
  Thir once great dread, captive, & blind before them,
  Or at some proof of strength before them shown.
    Man. His ransom, if my whole inheritance
  May compass it, shall willingly be paid
  And numberd down: much rather I shall chuse
  To live the poorest in my Tribe, then richest,
  And he in that calamitous prison left.
  No, I am fixt not to part hence without him.
  For his redemption all my Patrimony,
  If need be, I am ready to forgo
  And quit: not wanting him, I shall want nothing.
    Chor. Fathers are wont to lay up for thir Sons,
  Thou for thy Son art bent to lay out all;
  Sons wont to nurse thir Parents in old age,
  Thou in old age car'st how to nurse thy Son,
  Made older then thy age through eye-sight lost.
    Man. It shall be my delight to tend his eyes,
  And view him sitting in the house, enobl'd
  With all those high exploits by him atchiev'd,
  And on his shoulders waving down those locks,
  That of a Nation arm'd the strength contain'd:
  And I perswade me God had not permitted
  His strength again to grow up with his hair
  Garrison'd round about him like a Camp
  Of faithful Souldiery, 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 him eye-sight to his strength.
    Chor. Thy hopes are not ill founded nor seem vain
  Of his delivery, and thy joy thereon
  Conceiv'd, agreeable to a Fathers love,
  In both which we, as next participate.
    Man. I know your friendly minds and-O what noise!
  Mercy of Heav'n what hideous noise was that!
  Horribly loud unlike the former shout.
    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,
  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?
    Chor. Best keep together here, lest running thither
  We unawares run into dangers mouth.
  This evil on the Philistines is fall'n,
  From whom could else a general cry be heard)
  The sufferers then will scarce molest us here,
  From other hands we need not much to fear.
  What if his eye-sight (for to Israels 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?
    Man. That were a joy presumptuous to be thought.
    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,
  An Ebrew, as I guess, and of our Tribe.
    Mess. O whither shall I run, or which way flie
  The sight of this so horrid spectacle
  Which earst my eyes beheld and yet behold;
  For dire imagination still persues me.
  But providence or instinct of nature seems,
  Or reason though disturb'd, and scarse consulted
  To have guided me aright, I know not how,
  To thee first reverend Manoa, and to these
  My Countreymen, whom here I knew remaining,
  As at some distance from the place of horrour,
  So in the sad event too much concern'd.
    Man. The accident was loud, & here before thee
  With rueful cry, yet what it was we hear not,
  No Preface needs, thou seest we long to know.
    Mess. It would burst forth, but I recover breath
  And sense distract, to know well what I utter.
    Man. Tell us the sum, the circumstance defer.
    Mess. Gaza yet stands, but all her Sons are fall'n,
  All in a moment overwhelm'd and fall'n.
    Man. Sad, but thou knowst to Israelites not saddest
  The desolation of a Hostile City.
    Mess. Feed on that first, there may in grief be surfet.
    Man. Relate by whom. Mess. By Samson.
      Man. That still lessens
  The sorrow, and converts it nigh to joy.
    Mess. Ah Manoa I refrain, too suddenly
  To utter what will come at last too soon;
  Lest evil tidings with too rude irruption
  Hitting thy aged ear should pierce too deep.
    Man. Suspense in news is torture, speak them out.
    Mess. Then take the worst in brief, Samson is dead.
    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
  Nipt with the lagging rear of winters frost.
  Yet e're I give the rains to grief, say first,
  How dy'd he? death to life is crown or shame.
  All by him fell thou say'st, by whom fell he,
  What glorious hand gave Samson his deaths wound?
    Mess. Unwounded of his enemies he fell.
    Man. Wearied with slaughter then or how? explain.
    Mess. By his own hands. Man. Self-violence? what cause
  Brought him so soon at variance with himself
  Among his foes? Mess. Inevitable cause
  At once both to destroy and be destroy'd;
  The Edifice where all were met to see him
  Upon thir heads and on his own he pull'd
    Man. O lastly over-strong against thy self!
  A dreadful way thou took'st to thy revenge.
  More than anough we know; but while things yet
  Are in confusion, give us if thou canst,
  Eye-witness of what first or last was done,
  Relation more particular and distinct.
    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't
  When all abroad was rumour'd that this day
  Samson should be brought forth to shew 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 op'n, where the throng
  On banks and scaffolds under Skie might stand;
  I among these aloof obscurely stood.
  The Feast and noon grew high, and Sacrifice
  Had fill'd thir hearts with mirth, high chear, & wine,
  When to thir sports they turn'd. Immediately
  Was Samson as a public servant brought,
  In thir state Livery clad; before him Pipes
  And Timbrels, on each side went armed guards,
  Both horse and foot before him and behind
  Archers, and Slingers, Cataphracts and Spears.
  At sight of him the people with a shout
  Rifted the Air clamouring thir god with praise,
  Who had made thir dreadful enemy thir thrall.
  He patient but undaunted where they led him,
  Came to the place, and what was set before him
  Which without help of eye, might be assay'd,
  To heave, pull, draw, or break, he still perform'd
  All with incredible, stupendious force,
  None daring to appear Antagonist.
  At length for intermission sake they led him
  Between the pillars; he his guide requested
  (For so from such as nearer stood we heard)
  As over-tir'd to let him lean a while
  With both his arms on those two massie Pillars
  That to the arched roof gave main support.
  He unsuspitious led him;-which when Samson
  Felt in his arms, with head a while enclin'd,
  And eyes fast fixt he stood, as one who pray'd,
  Or some great matter in his mind revolv'd.
  At last with head erect thus cryed aloud,
  Hitherto, Lords, what your commands impos'd
  I have perform'd, as reason was, obeying,
  Not without wonder or delight beheld.
  Now of my own accord such other tryal
  I mean to shew you of my strength, yet greater;
  As with amaze shall strike all who behold.
  This utter'd, straining all his nerves he bow'd,
  As with the force of winds and waters pent,
  When Mountains tremble, those two massie Pillars
  With horrible convulsion to and fro,
  He tugg'd, he shook, till down thy came and drew
  The whole roof after them, with burst of thunder
  Upon the heads of all who sate beneath,
  Lords, Ladies, Captains, Councellors, or Priests,
  Thir choice nobility and flower, not only
  Of this but each Philistian City round
  Met from all parts to solemnize this Feast.
  Samson with these immixt, inevitably
  Pulld down the same destruction on himself;
  The vulgar only scap'd who stood without.
    Chor. O dearly-bought revenge, yet glorious!
  Living or dying thou hast fulfill'd
  The work for which thou wast foretold
  To Israel, and now ly'st victorious
  Among thy slain self-kill'd
  Not willingly, but tangl'd in the fold
  Of dire necessity, whose law in death conjoin'd
  Thee with thy slaughter'd foes in number more
  Then all thy life had slain before.
    Semichor. While thir hearts were jocund and sublime,
  Drunk with Idolatry, drunk with Wine,
  And fat regorg'd of Bulls and Goats,
  Chaunting thir Idol, and preferring
  Before our living Dread who dwells
  In Silo his bright Sanctuary:
  Among them he a spirit of phrenzie sent,
  Who hurt thir minds,
  And urg'd them on with mad desire
  To call in hast for thir destroyer;
  They only set on sport and play
  Unweetingly importun'd
  Thir own destruction to come speedy upon them.
  So fond are mortal men
  Fall'n into wrath divine,
  As thir own ruin on themselves to invite,
  Insensate left, or to sense reprobate,
  And with blindness internal struck.
    Semichor. But he though blind of sight,
  Despis'd and thought extinguish't quite,
  With inward eyes illuminated
  His fierie vertue rouz'd
  From under ashes into sudden flame,
  And as an ev'ning 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 thir heads.
  So vertue giv'n for lost,
  Deprest, and overthrown, as seem'd,
  Like that self-begott'n bird
  In the Arabian woods embost,
  That no second knows nor third,
  And lay e're while a Holocaust,
  From out her ashie womb now teem'd
  Revives, reflourishes, then vigorous most
  When most unactive deem'd,
  And though her body die, her fame survives,
  A secular bird ages of lives.
    Man. Come, come, no time for lamentation now,
  Nor much more cause, Samson hath quit himself
  Like Samson, and heroicly hath finish'd
  A life Heroic, on his Ene'mies
  Fully reveng'd, hath left them years of mourning,
  And lamentation to the Sons of Caphtor
  Through all Philistian bounds. To Israel
  Honour hath left, and freedom, let but them
  Find courage to lay hold on this occasion,
  To himself and Fathers house eternal fame;
  And which is best and happiest yet, all this
  With God not parted from him, as was feard,
  But favouring and assisting to the end.
  Nothing is here for tears, nothing to wail
  Or knock the breast, no weakness, no contempt,
  Dispraise, or blame, nothing but well and fair,
  And what may quiet us in a death so noble.
  Let us go find the body where it lies
  Sok't in his enemies blood, and from the stream
  With lavers pure and cleansing herbs wash off
  The clotted gore. I with what speed the while
  (Gaza is not in plight to say us nay)
  Will send for all my kindred, all my friends
  To fetch him hence and solemnly attend
  With silent obsequie and funeral train
  Home to his Fathers house: there will I build him
  A Monument, and plant it round with shade
  Of Laurel ever green, and branching Palm,
  With all his Trophies hung, and Acts enroll'd
  In copious Legend, or sweet Lyric Song.
  Thither shall all the valiant youth resort,
  And from his memory inflame thir breasts
  To matchless valour, and adventures high:
  The Virgins also shall on feastful days
  Visit his Tomb with flowers, only bewailing
  His lot unfortunate in nuptial choice,
  From whence captivity and loss of eyes.
    Chor. All is best, though we oft doubt,
  What th' unsearchable dispose
  Of highest wisdom brings about,
  And ever best found in the close.
  Oft he seems to hide his face,
  But unexpectedly returns
  And to his faithful Champion hath in place
  Bore witness gloriously; whence Gaza mourns
  And all that band them to resist
  His uncontroulable intent,
  His servants he with new acquist
  Of true experience from this great event
  With peace and consolation hath dismist,
  And calm of mind all passion spent.

                                   -THE END-
.

Colophon

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