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Man. Sad, but thou know'st to Israelites not saddest The desolation of a hostile city. 1561
MeJJ. Feed on that first, there may in grief be sur
Man. Relate by whom. Me/f. By Samson, (feit. Man. That still lessens The sorrow, and converts it nigh to joy.
Mejs. Ah Manoah, I refrain, too suddenly 1565 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.
Mejs. Take then the worst in brief, Samson is dead. Msln.The worst indeed, O all my hope'sdefeatedi5 71 To free him hence! but death who sets all free Hath paid his ransome now and full discharge. What windy joy this day had I conceivd Hopeful of his delivery, which now proves 1575 Abortive as the first-born bloom of spring Nipt with the lagging rear of winters frost! Yet ere I give the reins to grief, fay first, How dy'd he; death to life is crown or shame. All by him fell thou fay'st, by whom fell he, 1580 What glorious handgaveSamfonhisdeath'swound?
Mejs. Unwounded of his enemies he fell. Man. Wearied with staughter then or how? explain.
Mess'. By his own hands.
Man. Self-violence? what cause 1585
Brought him so soon at variance with himself
U 2 Among
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 their heads and on his own he pull'd. 1590
Man. O lastly over-strong against thyself!
A dreadful way thou took'st to thy revenge.
More than enough we know; but while things yet
Are in confusion, give us if thou canst,
Eye-witness of what first or last was done, 1595
Relation more particular and distinct.
Me/s. Occasions drew me early to this city,
And as the gates I enter'd with fun-rife,
The morning trumpets festival proclam'd
Through each high street: little I had dispatch'd,
When all abroad was rumor'd that this day 1601
Samson should be brought forth, to show the people
Proof of his mighty strength in feats and games;
I forrow'd at his captive state, but minded
Not to be absent at that spectacle. 1605
The building was a spacious theatre
Half-round on two main pillars vaulted high,
With feats where all the lords and each degree
Of fort, might sit in order to behold;
The other side was open, where the throng 1610
On banks and scaffolds under sky might stand;
I among these aloof obscurely stood.
The feast and noon grew high, and sacrifice (wine,
Had fill'd their hearts with mirth, high chear, and
When to their sports they turn'd. Immediately
Was Samson as a public servant brought, 1616
In their state livery clad; before him pipes
And timbrels, on each side went armed guards,
Both horse and foot, before him and behind
Archers, and flingers, cataphracts and spears. 1620
At sight of him the people with a fliout
Rifted the air, clamoring their God with praise,
Who' had made their dreadful enemy their 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, 1626
To heave, pull, draw, or break, he still perform'd
All with incredible, stupendious force,
None daring to appear antagonist.
At length for intermission fake they led him 1630
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 massy pillars,
That to the arched roof gave main support. 1635
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 who pray'd,
Or some great matter in his mind revolv'd:
At last with head erect thus cry'd aloud, 1640
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 trial
I mean to show you of my strength, yet greater;
As with amaze shall strike all who behold. 1646
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, 1650
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 fat beneath,
Lords, ladies, captains, counsellors, or priests,
Their choice nobility and flow'r, not only 1655
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. 1660
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 stain self-kill'd 1665
Not willingly, but tangled in the fold
Of dire necessity, whose law in death conjoin'd
Thee with thy staughter'd foes in number more
Than all thy life had stain before. (lime,
Semichor. While their hearts werejocolid and sub-
Drunk with idolatry, drunk with wine, 1671
And fat regorgd of bulls and goats,
Chaunting their idol, and preferring
Before our living Dread who dwells
In Silo his bright sanctuary: 1675
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 1680
Their own destruction to come speedy upon them.
So fond are mortal men
Fall'n into wrath divine,
As their own ruin on themselves t' invite. 1685
Insensate left, or to sense reprobate,
And with blindness internal struck.
Semichor. But he though blind of sight,
Despis'd and thought extinguish'd quite,
With inward eyes illuminated, i6go
His fiery virtue rous'd
From under ashes into sudden flame,
And as an evening dragon came,
Assailant on the perched roosts,
And nests in order rang'd 1695
Of/tame villatic fowl; but as an eagle
His cloudless thunder bolted on their heads.
So virtue giv'n for lost,