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Mes. Take then the worst in brief, Samson is dead.
M An . The worst indeed, O all my hopes defeated To free him hence ! but Death, who sets all free, Hath paid his ransom now and full discharge. 1575 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 winter's frost 1 Yet ere I give the reins 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, 1580 What glorious hand gave Samson his death wound?
MES. Unwounded of his enemies he fell.
Man. Wearied with slaughter then, or how?
Mes. By his own hands. [explain.
Man. Self-violence? what cause
Brought him so soon at variance with himself
Among his foes?
Mes. Inevitable cause
At once both to destroy and be destroy'd;
The edifice, where all were met to see him,
Upon their heads and on his own he pull'd.
Man. O lastly over-strong against thyself! 1590
A dreadful way thou tpok'st to thy revenge
More than enough we know; but while things
Are in confusion, give us if thou canst,
Eye-witness of what first or last was done,
Relation more particularly and distinct,
Mes. Occasions drew me early to this city,
And as the gates I enter'd with sun-rise.
The morning trumpets festival proclaimed
Through each high-street: little I had dispatch'd,
When all abroad was rumour'd thai this day 1600
Samson should be brought forth to show the peopU
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 mi^ht sit in order to behold;
The other side was open, where the throng
On banksand scaffolds, undersky might stand; 1610
I among these aloof obscurely stood.
The feast and noon grew high, and sacrifice
Had fill'd their hearts with mirth, high cheer, ami
When totheir sports they turn'd. Immcdiately[wiK
Was Samson as a public servant brought.
In the 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 1620
Rifted the air. clamoring their god with praise,
Who had made their dreadful enemy their thrall.
He patjent but undaunted where th;y led him,
Came to the place, and what was set toefore him.
Which without help of eye might be assay'd
To licave, pull, draw, or break, be still perform'd
All with incredible, stupendous force,
None daring to appear antagonist.
Ac length for intermission sake they led him
Between the pillars; he his guide requested 1630
(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 massy pillars,
That to one arched roof gave main support,
He unsuspicious led Him: which when Samson
Felt in his arms, with head a while inclin'd
And eyes fast fix'd he stood, as one pray'd,
Or some greater matter in his mind revolv'd:
At last with head erect thus cry'd aloud,
Hitherto Lords, what your commands impos'd 1640
I have perform'd, as reason was obeying,
Not without wonder or delight beheld:
Now of my own accord such other trial
I mean to show 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 massy pillars
With horrible convulsion to and fro 1649
He tugg'd, he shook, till down they came and drew
The whole roof after them, with burst of thunder
Upon the heads of all who sat beneath
Lords, ladies, captains, counsellors, or priests,
Their choice nobility and (lower, not only
Of this but each Philistian city round,
Met from all parts to solemnize this feast
Samson with these immix'd, inevitably
Pull'd down the same destruction on himself;
The vulgar only 'scap'd who stood without.
Chor O dearly-bought revenge, yet glorious 1 Living or dying thou hast fulfill'd 1661
The work for which thou wast foretold
To Israel, and now ly'st victorious
Among thy slain self-kill'd
Not willingly, but tangled in the fold
Of dire necessity, whose law in death conjoin'd
Thee with thy slaughter'd foes in number more
Than all thy life hath slain before. [sublime,
I SEM ICHOR. While their hearts were jocund and Drunk with idolatry, drunk with wine, 1670
And fat regorg'd of bulls and goats,
Chaunting their idol, and preferring
Before our living Dread who dwells
In Silo his bright sanctuary:
Among them he a spi'rit of phrenzy sent
Who hurt their minds,
And urg'd them on with mad desire
To call in haste for their destroyer;
They only set on sport and play
Unwectingly importun'd 1680
Their own destruction to come speedy upon then)'
So fond are mortal men
Fall'n into wrath divine,
As their own ruin on themselves to invite,
Insensate left, or to sense reprobate,
And with blindness internal struck.
2 SEMIchor. But he though blind of sight,
Despis'd and thought extinguished quite,
With inward eyes illuminated,
His fiery virtue rous'd 1690
From under ashes into sudden flame,
And as an evening dragon came,
Assailant on the perched roosts,
And nests in order rang'd
Of tame villatic fowl; but as an eagle
His cloudless thunder bolted on their heads,
So virtue giv'n for lost,
Depress'd, and overthrown, as seem'd,
Like the self-begotten bird
In the Arabian woods imbost, 1700
That no second knows nor third,
And lay ere while a holocaust,
From out her ashy womb now teem'd,
Revives, reflorishes, then vigorous most
When most unactive deem'd,
And though her body die, her fame survives
A secular bird ages of lives.
MAN- Conic, come, no time for lamentation now,
Nor much more cause; Samson hath quit himself
Like Samson, and heroicly hath finish'd 1710
A life heroic, on his enemies
Fully rcveng'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 his occasion;