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The next to fabling fell, and smooth conceits;

A tlurd sort doubted all things, though plain sense;

Others in virtue placed felicity,

But virtue joined with riches and long life;

In corporal pleasure he and careless ease;

The Stoic last in philosophic pride,

By him called virtue; and his virtuous man,

Wise. perfect in himself, and all possessing

Equal to God, oft shams not to prefer,

As fearing God nor man, contemning all

Wealth, pleasure, pain or torment, death and life,

Which, when he lists, he loaves, or boasts he can,

For all his tedious tatk is but vain boast,

Or subtle shifts conviction to evade.

Alas! what can they teach, and not mislead,

Ignorant of themselves, of God much more,

And how the world began, and how man fell

Degraded by himself, on grace depending?

Much of the soul they talk, but all awry,

And in themselves seek virtue, and to themselves

Al l glory arrogate, to God give none;

Rather aecuse him under usual names,

Fortune and fate, as one regardless quite

Of mortal thmgs. Who therefore seeks in these

True wisdom finds her not; or, by delusion,

Far worse, her false resemblance only meets,

An empty cloud. However, many books,

Wise men have said, are wearisome; who reads

Incessantly, and to his reading brings not

A spirit and judgment equal or superior

(And what he brings, what needs he elsewhere

seek ?)

Uncertain and unsettled still remains,
Deep tersed in books, and shallow in himself,
Crude or intoxicate, collecting toys
And trilles for choice matters, worth a sponge:
As children gathering pebbles on the shore.
Or, if I would delight my private hours
With music or with poem, where, so soon
As in dur native language, can I find
Tbnt solace? all our law and story strewed
With hymns, our psalms with artful terms in-
scribed,

Our Ilchrew songs and harps, in Babylon
That pleased so well our victors' car, declare
That rather Greece from us these arts derived;
Ill imitated, while they loudest sing
The vices of their deities, and their own,
In fable, hymn, or song, so personating
Their gods ridiculous, and themselves past shame.
Remove their swelling epithets, thick laid
As vnrmsn on a harlot's cheek, the rest,
Thin sown with aught of profit or delight,
Will far be found unworthy to compare
With Sinn's songs, to all true tastes excelling,
Where God is praised aright, and godlike men,
The I-jonnt of Holies, and his saints,
(Such are from God inspired, not such from thce,)
Usluw where moral viituc is expressed

By light of nature, not in all quite lost.
Their orators thou then extoll'st, as those
The top of eloquence; statists indeed,
And lovers of their country, as may seem
But herein to our prophets far beneath,
As men divinely taught, and better teaching
The solid rules of civil government,
In their majestic unaflected style,
Than all the oratory of Greece and Rome.
In them is plainest taught, and easiest learnt,
What makes a nation happy, and keeps it eo,
What ruins kingdoms, and lays cities flat:
These only with our law best form a king."

So spake the Son of God; but Satan, now
Quite at a loss, for all his darts were spent,
Thus to our Saviour with stern brow replied.
"Since neither wealth nor honour, arms nor artc
Kingdom nor empire pleases thee, nor aught
By me proposed in life contemplative
Or active, tended on by glory or fame,
What dost thou in this world? the wilderness
For thec is fittest place; I found thec there,
And thither will return thee; yet remember
What I foretell thee, soon thou shall have cause
To wish thou never hadst rejected thus
Nicely or cautiously my offered aid,
Which would have set thee in short time with ease
On David's throne, or throne of all the world,
Now at full age, fulness of time, thy season,
When prophecies of thee are best fulfilled.
Now contrary, if I read aught in Heaven,
Or Heaven write aught of fate, by what the stan
Voluminous, or single characters,
In their conjunction met, give me to spell,
Sorrows, and labours, opposition, hate
Attend thee, scorns, reproaches, injuries,
Violence and stripes, and lastly eruel death;
A kingdom they portend thee, but what kingdom,
Real or allegorie, I discern not;
Nor when; eternal sure, as without end,
Without beginning; for no date prefixed
Directs me in the starry rubric set."

So saying, he took, (for still he knew his powei Not yet expired,) and to the wilderness Brought back the Son of God, and left him there, Feigning to disappear. Darkness now rose, As daylight sunk, nnd brought in lowering raght, Her shadowy offspring, unsubstantial both, Privation mere of light and absent day, Our Saviour meek and with untroubled mind After his airy jaunt, though hurried sore, Hungry and cold, betook him to his rest, Wherever, under somc concourse of shades, Whose branching arms thick intertwined might

shield

From dews and damps of night his sheltered head j
But, sheltered, slept in vain; for at hu head
The Tempter watehed, and soon with ugly drea
Disturbed his deep. A.id cither tropi. now

Gui thunder, and both ends of Heaven; the

cloudl,

From many a horrid rift, abortive poured
Fierce rain with lightning mixed, water with firo
In ruin reconciled: nor slept the winds
Within their atony caves, but rushed abroad
From the four hinges of the world, and fell
On the vexed wilderness, whose tallest pines,
Though rooted deep as high, and sturdiest oaks,
Bowed their stlrTnecks, loaden with stormy blasts,
Or torn up sheer. Ill wast thou shrouded then,
O patient Son of God, yet only stood'st
Unshaken! Nor yet stayed the terror there;
Infernal ghosts, and hellish furies round
Environed thee, some howled, some yelled, some

shrieked,

Some bent at thee their fiery darts, while thou
Sat'st unappalled in calm and sinless peace!
Thus paused the night so foul, till morning fair
Catnc forth, with pilgrim steps, in amice gray,
Who with her radiant finger stilled the roar
Of thunder, chased the cluuds, and laid the winds,
And grisly spectres, which the fiend had raised
To tempt the Son of God with terrors dire.
And now the sun with more cffectual beams
Had cheered the face of earth, and dried the wet
From drooping plant or dropping tree; the birds,
Who all things now hchol d more frcth and green,
After a night of storm so ruinous,
Cleared up their choicest notes in bush and spray,
To gratulate the sncet return of morn.
Nor yet, amidst this joy and brightest morn,
Was absent, after all his mischief done,
The prince of darkness; glad would also seem
Of this fair change, and to our Saviour came;
Yet with no new device, (they all were spent,)
Rather by this his last allront resolved,
D,"sperate of better course, to vent his rage
And mad despite to be so oft repelled.
Him walking on a sunny hill he found,
Backed on the north and west by a thick wood;
Out of the wood he starts in wonted shape,
And in a careless mood thus to him said.

"Fair morning yet betides thce, Son of God,
After a dismal night: 1 heard the wrack,
As earth and sky would mingle; but myself
Was distant; and these flaws, though mortals fear

them

\s dangerous to the pillared frame of Heaven,
Or to the earth's dark basis underneath,
Are to the main as inconsiderable
And harmless, if not wholesome as a sneeze
To man's less universe, and soon arc gone;
Yet, Bs being ofttimes noxious where they light
On man, beast, plant, wasteful and turbulent,
Like turbulencies in the affairs of men,
Over whose heads tbey roar, and seem to point,
They oft foresignify and threaten ill:
This tempest at this desert most was bent,

Of men at thee, for only thou here dwell'st.
Did I not tell thce, if thou did'st reject
The perfect season offered with my aid
To win thy destined seat, but wilt prolong
All to the push of fate, pursue thy way
Of gaining David's throne, no man knows when,
For both the when and how is no where told?
Thou shall be what thou art ordained, no doubt;
For angels have proclaimed it, but concealing
The time and means. Each act is rightliest done,
Not when it must, but when it may be best:
If thou oluerve not this, be sure to find,
What I foretold thee, many a hard assay
Of dangers, and adversities, and pains,
Ere thou of Israel's sceptre get fast hold;
Whereof this ominous night, that closed thee

round,

So many terrors, voices, pnJigies,
May warn thee as a sure foregoing sign."

So talked he, while the Son of God went on Aml stayed not, but in brief him answered thus. "Me worse than wet thou find'st not; other

harm Those terrors which thou speak'st of, did me none;

11 never feared they could, though noising loud

. And threatening high; what they can do, as signs Betokening, or ill boding, I contemn

'As false portents, not sent from God, but thee;
Who, knowing 1 shall reign past thy preventing,
Obtrud'st thy offered aid, that I, aceepting,
At least might seem to hold all power of thee,
Ambitious spirit! and would'st be thought ms

God;

And storm'st refused, thinking to terrify
Me to thy will! desist, (thou art discerned,
And toil'st in vain,) nor me in vain molest."
To whom the fiend, now swollen with rage, re-
plied,

"Then hear, O Son of David, virgin-bom,
For Son of God to me is vet in doubt;
Of the Messiah I had heard foretold
By all the prophets: of thy birth at length,
Announced by Gabriel, with the first I knew,
And of the angelic song in Bethlehem field,
On thy Irirthnight, that sung thee Saviour bom
From that time seldom have I ceased to eye
Thy infancy, thy childhood, and thv youth,
Thy manhood last, though yet in private bree
Till at the ford of Jordan, whither all
Flock to the Baptist, I among the rest,

.(Though not to be baptized,) by voice irom
Heaven.

{Heard thee pronounced the Son of God beloted.

| Thenceforth 1 thought thee worth my nearer vie" And narrower serutiny, that I might learn In what degree or meaning thou art called

[The Son of God, which bears no single KTur

I The Son of God I also am, gr was;

I And tf I was, I am; relation stands;

All mm are sons of God j yet thee I thought

In some respect far higher so declared:

TI.erelore I watehed thy footsteps from that hour,

And followed thec still on to this waste wildj

Where, by all best conjectures, I collect

Thou nrt to bo my fatal enemy:

Good reason then, if I beforehand seek

To understand my adversary, who

And what he is; his wisdom, power, intent;

By parle or composition, trnce or league,

To win him, or win from him what I can:

An opportunity I here have had

To try thee, sift thee, and confess have found thee

Proof against all temptation, as a rock

Of adamant, and as a centre firm;

To the utmost of mere man both wise and good,

Not more; for honours, riches, kingdoms, glory,

Have been before contemned, and may again:

Therefore to know what more thou art than man,

Worth naming Son of God by voice from Heaven,

Another method I must now begin."

So saying he caught him up, and, without wing Of hippogrif, bore through the air sublime, Over the wilderness and o'er the plain, Till underneath them fair Jerusalem, The holy city, lifted high her towers, And higher yet the glorious temple reared Her pile, far off appearing like a mount Of alabaster, topt with golden spires: There on the highest pinnacle he set The Son of God; and added thus in scorn.

"There stand, if thou wilt stand; to stand upright

Will ask thee skill; I to thy Father's house
Have Drought thee, and highest placed: highest is

best:

JS'ow show thy progeny; if not to stand,
Cast thyself down; safely, if Son of God:
For it is written. ' He will give command
Concerning thee to his angels, in their hands
They shall uplift thee, lest at any time
Thou chance to dash thy foot against a stone.'"

To whom thus Jesus. "Also it is written, 'Tempt not the Lord thy God:'" he said, and

stood:

But Satan, smitten with amazement, fell.
As when earth's son Antieus (to compare
(Small things with greatest) in Irassa strove
With Jove's Aleides, and, oft foiled, still rose,
Receiving from his mother earth new strength,
Fresh from his fall, and fiereer grapple joined,
Throttled at length in the air, expired and fell;
So, after many a foil, the Tempter proud,
Renewing fresh assaults amidst his pride,
Fell whence he stood to sec his victor fall:
And as that Theban monster, that proposed
lie- riddle, and him, who solved it not devoured,
Tiat once fonnd out and solved, for grief and spite

Cast herself headlong from the Ismenian steep:

So, struck with dread and anguish, fell the fienCs

And to his erew, that sat consulting, brought

(Joyless triumphals of his hoped suecess)

Ruin, and desperation, and dismay,

Who durst so proudly tempt the Son of God.

So Satan fell; and straight a fiery globe

Of angels on full sail of wing flew nigh,

Who on their plumy vans received him soft

From his uneasy station, and upbore,

As on a floating couch, through the blithe air;

Then, in a flowery valley, set him down

On a green bank, and set before him spread

A table of celestial food, divine

Ambrosial fruits, fetehed from the tree of life,

And, from the fount of life, ambrosial drink,

That soon refreshed him wearied, and repaired

What hunger, if aught hunger had impaired,

Or thirst; and, as he fed, angelic choirs

Sung heavenly anthems of his victory

Over temptation and the tempter proud.

"True image of the Father; whether throned In the bosom of bliss, and light of light Conceiving, or, remote from Heaven, inshrined In fleshly tabernacle, and human form, Wandering the wilderness; whatever place, Habit, or state, or motion, still expressing The Son of God, with godlike foree endued Against thy attempter of thy Father's throne, And thief of Paradise! him long of old Thou did'st debel, and down from Heaven cast With all his army; now thou hast avenged Supplanted Adam, and, by vanquishing Temptation, hast regained lost Paradise, And frustrated the conquest fraudulent. He never more henceforth will dare set foot In Paradise to tempt; his snares are broke: For, though that seat of earthly bliss be failed, A fairer Paradise is founded now For Adam and his chosen sons, whom thou; A Saviour, art come down to reinstal, Where they shall dwell secure, when time Khali be Of tempter and temptation without fear. But thou, infernal serpent! shall not long Rule in the clouds; like an autumnal star, Or lightning, thou shalt fall from Heaven, tnxl

down

Under his feet; for proof, ere this thou fecl'st
Thy wound, (yet not thy last and deadliest wound.)
By thia repulse received, and hold'st in hell
No triumph; in all her gates Abaddon rues
Thy bold attempt. Hereafter learn with owe
To dread the Son of God: he, all unarmed,
Shall chase thec with the terror of his voice
From thy demoniac holds, possession foul,
Thee and thy legions; yelling they shall flj
And beg to hide them in a held of swine,
Lest he command them down into the deep,

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THE ARGUMENT.

bamson, made captive, blind, and now in the prison at Cart, there to labour as in a common workhouse, on a festival day, In the genera) cessat,ons from labour, comes forth into the open air, to a place nish, aomcwh.,t retired, there losit ewhile and bemoan his condition. Where he happens at length to be riaited by certain friends and equab of his tribe, which make the Chorus, who ecek to comfort him what they can; then by his old father Manoah, who endeavours the like, and wtthal >ells him his purpose to procure his liberty by ransom; lastly, that this feast was proclaimed by the Philiatineaasaday of thanksgivinj; for their deliverance from the hands of Samton, which yet more troubles him. Manoah then departs to prosecute his endeavour with the Philistine lords for Samson's redemption; who in the mean-while is visited by other persona; and lastly by a public officer to requlre his coming to the feast before the lords and people, to play or show his strength in their presence; heat f,rst refuses, dismissing the public officer wnh absolute denial to comr,; at length, per•uaded inwardly that this was from God, he yields to go a Ion? with him, who came now the second time with ereat threatenings to feteh him: the Chorus yet remaining on the place, Manoah returns full of joyful hope, to procure ere long bis son's deliverance: in the midst of which discourse an Hebrew comes in haste, confusedly at first, and afterwards more distinctly, relating the catastrophe, what Samson had dune lothe Philistines, and by aecident to himself; wherewith the tragedy ends.

THE PERSONS.

Samson.

Manoah, the Father nf Samson.

Dalila, Aw wtfe.

Harapha of Gu>/u

Publtc Officer.

Chwus of Dannes. The Scene before D,e Prison in Gaza.

SAMSON AGONISTES.

Samson, [Attendant leading him.]

^ Little onward lend thy quilling 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 toil,
Daily in the common prison else enjoined me,
Where I, a prisoner chained, scarce freely draw
The air imprisoned also, close and damp,
Unwholesome draught: but here I feel amends.
The breath of Heaven fresh blowing, pure and

sweet,

With dayspring bom; here leave me to respire.
This day a solemn feast the people hold
To Dagon their sea idol, and forbid
Laborious works; unwillingly this rest
Their 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 swann
Of hornets armed, no sooner found alone,
But rush upon me thronging, and present
Times past, what once I wan, 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 offering burned,
As in a fiery column charioting
His godlike presence, and from some great act
Or benef,t revealed lo Abraham's race?
Why was my breeding ordered and preseribed
As of a person separate to God,
Designed for great exploits; if I must die
Betrayed, captived, and both my eyes put out,
Made of my enemies the scorn and gaze,
To grind in brazen fetters under task
With this heaven-gifted strength? O glorious

strength,

Put to the labour of a beast, debased
Lower than bondslave! Promise was that 1
Should Israel from Philistian yoke deliver;
Ask for this great deliverer now, and find hut
Eyeless in Gaza at the mill with slaves,
Himself in bonds under Philistian yokn.

Yet stay, let me not rashly call in doubt

Diviitu prediction, what if all foretold

Had been fulfilled but through mine own default,

Whom have I t? complain of but myself,

Who thu high gift of strength committed to me,

In what part lodged, how easily bereft me,

Under the seal of silence could not keep,

But weakly to a woman must reveal it,

O'ereome with importunity and tears 1

O impotence of mind, in body strong!

But what is strength without a double share

Of wisdom? vast, unwieldy, burdensome,

Proudly secure, yet liable to fall

By weakest subtleties; not made to rule,

But to subserve where wisdom bears command I

God, when he gave me strength, to show 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

Haply had ends above rny reach to know;

Suffices that to me strength is my bane,

And proves the souree of all my miseries;

.So many, and so huge, that each apart

Would ask a life to wail; but chief of all,

O loss of sight, of thee I most complain!

Blmd among enemies, O worse than chains,

Dungeon, or beggary, or deerepit age!

Light, the prime work of God, to me is extinct,

And all her various objects of delight

Annulled, which might in part my grief have

eased,

Inferior to the vilest now become
Of man or worm: the vilest here excel me;
They ereep, yet see; I, dark in light, exposed
To daily fraud, contempt, abuse, and wrong,
Within duors, or without, still as a fool,
In power of others, never in my own;
Siaree half I seem to live, dead more than half.
O dark, dark, dark, amid the blaze of noon,
Irrecoverably dark, total eclipse
Without all hope of day!
O first ereated beam, and thou great Word,
"Let there be light, and light was over all;"
Why am I thus bereaved 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.
Smce light so necessary is to life,
And almost life itself, if it be true
Triai light is in the soul,
i.She'all in every part; why was the sight
To such a tender ball as the eye confined,
So obvious andsi> easy to be quenched?
.And not, as reelmg, through all parts diffused,
Thai- she might Wk at will through every pore?
TN.n had I not l•'en thus exiled from light
As i:i the tand of darkness, yet in light,
To live a life hulf dead, a living death,

And buried; but, O yet more miserable!

Myself my sepulehre, a moving grave;

Buried, yet not exempt,

By privilege of death and burial,

IV- mi 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 steering this way;

Perhaps my enemies, who comn to stare

At my affliction, and perhaps to insult,

Their daily practice to afflict me more.

[Enter] Chonu.
Char. This, this is he: softly awhile,

Let us not break in upon him:

O change beyond report, thought, or belief!

See how he lies at random, carelessly diffused,

With languished head unpropt,

As one past hope, abandoned,

And by himself given over;

In slavish habit, ill-fitted weeds

O'erworn and soiled;

Or do my eyes misrepresent? Can this be ho,

That heroie, that renowned,

Irresistible Samson? whom unarmed

No strength of man or fiereest wild beast could withstand;

Who tore the lion, as the lion tears the kid j

Ran on embattled armies clad in iron,

And, weaponless himself,

Made arms ridiculous, useless the forgery

Of brazen shield and spear, the hammered cmrass,

Chalybean tempered steel, and frock of mail

Adanmnlean proof?

But safest he who stood aloof,

When insupportably his foot advanced,

In scorn of their proud arms and warlike tools,

Spurned them to death by troops. The bold Aecalonite

Fled from his lion ramp; old warriors turned

Their plated ibacks under his heel;

Or, groveling, soiled their erested helmets in the dust. •

Then with what trivial weapon come to hand,

The jaw of a dead ass, his sword of bone,

A thousand forcjkins fell, the flower of Palestine,

In Rameth-leehi famous to this day,

Then by main foree pulled up, and on hi s shoulders bore

The gates of Azza, j>ost, and massy bar,

Up to the hill by Hebron, seat of giants old.

No journey of a Sabhuth day, and loaded S3,

Like whom the Gentiles feign to bear up l 'euven

Which shall I first bewail,

Thy bondage, or lost sight,

Prison within prison

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