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: So saying he caught him up, and, without wing Supplanted Adam, and, by vanquishing Of hippogrif, bore through the air sublime, Temptation, hast regain's lost Paradise, Over the wilderness and o'er the plain,

And frustrated the conquest fraudulent. Till underneath them fair Jerusalem,

He never more henceforth will dare set foot The holy city, lifted high her towers,

In Paradise to tempt; bis spares are broke : And higher yet the glorious temple reard For, though that seat of earthly bliss be fail'd, Her pile, far off appearing like a mount

A fairer Paradise is founded now Of alabaster, topt with golden spires :

For Adam and bis chosen sons, whom thou, There, on the highest pinnacle, he set

A Saviour, art come down to re-install, The Son of God; and added thus in scorn. Where they shall dwell secure, when time sball “There stand, if thou wilt stand; to stand Of tempter and temptation without fear. {be, upright

But thou, infernal serpent ! shalt not long Will ask thee skill; I to thy Father's house Rule in the clouds like an autumnal star, Have brought thee, and highest plac'd : highest Or lightning, thou shalt fall from Heaven, trod is best:

down Now show thy progeny; if not to stand, Under his feet : for proof, ere this thou feel'st Cast thyself down; safely, if Son of God : Thy wound, (yet not thy last and deadliest For it is written, . He will give command

wound,) Concerning thee to his angels, in their hands By this repulse receir'd, and hold'st in Hell They shall up lift thee, lest at any time

No triumph : in all her gates Abaddon rues Thou chance to dash thy foot against a stone." » Thy bold attempt. Hereafter learn with awe

To whom thus Jesus : “ Also it is written, To dread the Son of God : he, all unarm'd, * Tempt not the Lord thy God.'» He said, and Shall chase thee, with the terrour of his voice, stood :

From thy demoníac holds, possession foul, But Satan, smitten with amazement fell. Thee and thy legions : yelling they shall fly, As when Earth's son Antæus, (to compare

And beg to hide them in a berd of swine, Small things with greatest,) in Irassa strove Lest he command them down into the deep, With Jove's Alcides, and, oft foil'd, still rose, Bound, and to torment sent before their time. Receiving from his mother Earth new strength, Hail, Son of the Most High, heir of both worlds Fresh from his fall, and fiercer grapple join'd, Queller of Satan! on thy glorious work Throttled at length in the air, expird and fell ; Now enter; and begin to save mankind.” So, after many a foil, the tempter proud,

Thus they the Son of God, our Saviour meek, Renewing fresh assaults, amidst his pride, Sung victor, and, from heavenly feast refresh'd, Pell whence he stood to see his victor fall: Brought on his way with joy; he, unobserv'ds And as that Theban monster, that propos'd Home to his mother's house private return'd. Her riddle, and him who solv'd it not devour'd, That once found out and solv'd, for grief and spite Cast herself headlong from the Ismenian steep ; So, struck with dread and anguish, fell the fiend, And to his crew, that sat consulting, brought

SAMSON AGONISTES, (Joyless triumphals of his hop'd success,)

A DRAMATIC Poem.
Ruin, and desperation, and dismay,
Who durst so proudly tempt the Son of God.

Aristot. Poet. cap. 6.
So Satan fell; and straight a fiery globe
Of angels on full sail of wing flew nigh,

Τραγωδία μίμησις πράξεως σπεδαίας, κ. τ. λ.
Who on their plumy vans receiv'd him soft
From his uneasy station, and upbore,

Tragedia est imitatio actionis seriæ, &c. per As on a floating couch, through the blithe air;

misericordiam et meteum perficiens talium Then, in a flowery valley, set him down

affectuum lustrationem.
On a green bank, and set before him spread
A table of celestial food, divine
Ambrosial fruits, fetch'd from the tree of life,
· And, from the fount of life, ambrosial drink,

CALLED TRASEDY'.
That soon refresh'd him wearied, and repair'd
What hunger, if aught hunger, had impair'd,

TRAGEDY, as it was anciently composed, Or thirst ; and, as he fed, angelic quires

hath been ever held the gravest, morales, and Sung heavenly anthems of his victory

most profitable of all other poems: therefore said Over temptation and the teinpter proud.

“ True image of the Father ; whether thron'd Of that sort of dramatic poem, called Tragedy.) In the bosom of bliss, and light of light

Milton, who was inclin'd to Puritanism, had good Conceiving, or, remote from Heaven, enshrin'd reason to think, that the publication of his Sain. lu fleshly tabernacle, and human form,

son Agonistes would be very offensive to his bre. Wandering the wilderness; whatever place, thren, who beld poetry, and particularly that of Habit, or state, or motion, still expressing the dramatic kind, in the greatest abhorrence. The Son of God, with God-like force endued And, upon this account, it is probable, that, in Against the attempter of thy Father's throne, order to excuse himself from having engaged in And thief of Paradise ! him long of old

this proscribed and forbidden species of writing, Thou didst debel, and down from Heaven cast he thought it expedient to prefix to his play a With all his arıy; now thou bast aveng'd formal defence of tragedy.' WARTON,

THAT SORT OF DRAMATIC

POEM WHICH IS

hy Aristotle to be of power by raising pity and fable as may stand best with versimilitude and fear, or terrour, to purge the mind of those and decorum ; they only will. best judge who are not such like passions, that is, to temper and reduce unacquainted with #schylus, Sophocles, and Euthem to just measure with a kind of delight, ripides, the three tragic poets unequalled yet by stirred up by reading or seeing those passions any, and the best rule to all who endeavour to well imitated. Nor is Nature wanting in her write tragedy. The circumscription of time, own effects to make good bis assertion : for so, in wherein the whole drama begins and ends, is acphysic, things of melancholic bue and quality cording to ancient rule, and best example, within are used against melancholy, sour against sour, the space of twenty-four hours. 'salt to remove sąlt humours. Hence philosophers and other gravest writers, as Cicero, Plutarch,

THE ARGUMENT. and others, frequently cite out of tragic poets, both to adorn and illustrate their discourse. The | Samson, made captive, blind, and now in the Apostle Paul himself thought it not unworthy prison at Gaza, there to labour as in a comto insert a verse of Euripides into the text of mon workhouse, on a festival day, in the geHoly Scripture,

1 Cor. xv. 33; and Paræus, neral cessation from labour, comes forth into cominenting on the Revelation, divides the whole the open air, to a place nigb, somewhat retirbook as a tragedy, into acts distinguished each ed, there to sit a while and bemoan his condiby a chorus of heavenly harpings and song be- tion. Where be happens at length to be vitween. Heretofore men in highest dignity have sited by certain friends and equals of his tribe, Jaboured not a little to be thought able to com- which makes the Chorus, who seek to compose a tragedy. Of that honour Dionysius the fort bim what they cau; then by his old faelder was no less ambitious, than before of his ther Manoah, who endeavours the like, and attaining to the tyranny. Augustus Cæsar also withal tells him his purpose to procure his lihad begun his Ajax, but unable to please bis berty by ransom; lastly, that this feast was oun judgment with what he had begun, left it proclaimed by the Philistines as a day of unfinished. Seneca, the philosopher, is by some thanksgiving for their deliverance from the thought the author of those tragedies (at least the hands of Samison, which yet more troubles best of them) that go under that name. Gregory himn. Manoah then departs to prosecute bis Nazianzen, a father of the church, thought it endeavour with the Philistine lords for Samnot ubeseeming the sanctity of his person to son's redemption; who in the mean while is write a tragedy,which is entitled Christ suffering. visited by other persons; and lastly by a pub This is mentioned to vindicate tragedy from the lic officer to require his coming to the feast small esteem, or rather infamy, which in the before the lords and people, to play or show his account of many it undergoes at this day with strength in their presence; he at first refuses, other common interludes; happening, through dismissing the public officer with absolute dethe poet's errour ofintermixing comic stuff with nial to come; at length, persuaded inwardly travic sadness and gravity; or introducing tri- that this was from God, he yields to go along vial and vulgar persons, which by all judicious with him, who came now the second time with bath been counted absurd; and brought in with- great threatenings to fetch him: the Chorus out discretion, corruptly to gratify the people. yet remaining on the place, Manoah returns And though ancient tragedy 'use no prologue, full of joyful hope, to procure ere long his son's yet using sometimes, in case of self-defence, or deliverance: in the midst of which discourse explanation, that which Martial calls an epistle; an Hebrew comes in baste, confusedly at first, in behalf of this tragedy coming forth after the and afterward more distinctly, relating the ancient manner, much different from what among catastrophe, what Samson had done to the us passes for best, thus much before-hand may Philistines, and by accident to himself; where, be epistled; that Chorus is here introduced with the tragedy ends. after the Greek manner, not ancient only but modern, and still in use among the Italians. In the modelling therefore of this poem, with good reason, the ancients and Italians are rather fol.

THE PERSONS. lowed, as of much more authority and fame. Samson. The measure of verse used in the Chorus is of all MANOAH, the father of Samson, sorts, called by the Greeks Monostrophic, or Dalila, his wife. rather Apolelymenon, without regard had to Harapha of Gath. Strophe, Antistrophe, or Epode, which were a Public Offioer. kind of stanzas framed only for the music, then Messenger. used with the Chorus that song ; not essential to Chorus of Danites. the poem, and therefore not material; or, being

The Scene before the Prison in Gaza divided into stanzas or pauses, they may be called Allæostropha. 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

Samson, [Attendant leading him.] produced beyond the fifth act. Of the style and A LITTLE onward lend thy guiding hand uniformity, and that commonly called the plot, To these dark steps, a little further on ; whether intricate or explicit, which is nothing For yonder bank hath choice of sun or shade: indeed but such economy, or disposition of the There I am wont to sit, when any chance .

Relieves me from my task of servile toil, Inferior to the vilest now become
Daily in the common prison else enjbin'd me, Of man or worm; the vilest here excel me;
Where I, a prisoner chain'd, scarce freely draw They creep, yet see; 1, dark in light, expos'd
The air imprison'd also, close and damp, To daily fraud, contempt, abuse, and wrong,
Unwholesome draught: but here I feel amends, Within doors, or without, still as a fool,
The breath of Heaven fresh blowing, pure and in power of others, never in my own;
sweet

Scarce half I seem to live, dead more than half. With day-spring born; here leave me to respire.- O dark, dark, dark, amid the blaze of poon, This day a solemn feast the people hold

Irrecoverably dark, total eclipse To Dagon their sea-idol, and forbid

Without all hope of day! Laborious works; unwillingly this rest

O first created Beam, and thou great Word, Their superstition yields me; hence with leave “ Let there be light, and light was over all;" Retiring from the popular noise, I seek

Why am I thus bereav'd thy prime decree? This unfrequented place to find some ease, The Sun to me is dark Ease to the body some, none to the mind

And silent as the Moon, From restless thoughts, that, like a deadly'swarm

When she deserts the night, Of hornets arm'd, no sooner found alone,

Hid in her vacant interlunar cave. But rush upon me thronging, and present

Since light so necessary is to life,
Times past, what once I was, and what am now,

And almost life itself, if it be true
O, wherefore was my birth from Heaven foretold That light is in the soul,
Twice by an angel, who at last in sight

She all in every part; why was the sight
Of both my parents all in flames ascended To such a tender ball as the eye confin'd,
From off the altar, where an offering burn'd, So obvious and so easy to be quench'd ?
As in a fiery column charioting

And not, as feeling, through all parts diffus'd, His God-like presence, and from some great act That she might look at will through every pore? Or benefit reveal'd to Abraham's race?

Then had I not been thus exil'd from light, Why was my breeding order'd and prescribd As in the land of darkness, yet in light, As of a person separate to God,

To live a life half dead, a living death,
Design'd for great exploits ; if I must die And buried; but, O yet more miserable !
Betray'd, captív'd, and both my eyes put out, Myself my sepulchre, a moving grave;
Made of my enemies the scorn and gaze; Baried, yet not exempt,
To grind in brazen fetters under task (strength, By privilege of death and burial
With this Heaven-gifted strength? Ö glorious From worst of other evils, pains and wrongs ;
Put to the labour of a beast, debas'd

But made hereby obnoxious more
Lower than bond-slave! Promise was that I To all the miseries of life,
Should Israel from Philistian yoke deliver ;

Life in captivity
Ask for this great deliverer now, and find him Amung inhuman foes,
Egeless in Gaza at the mill with slaves,

But who are these for with joint pace I hear Himself in bonds under Philistian yoke : The trend of many feet steering this way; Yet stay, let me not rashly call in doubt Perhaps my enemies, who come to stare Divine prediction; what if all foretold

At my affliction, and perhaps to insult, Had been fulfilld but through mine own default, Their daily practice to afflict me more. Whom have I to complain of but myself?

(Enter) ('horus. Who this high gift of strength committed to me, Chor. This, this is he; softly a while, In what part lodg'd, how easily bereft me, Let us not break in upon him : Under the seal of silence could not keep, O change beyond report, thought, or belief! But weakly to a woman must reveal it,

See how he lies at random, carelessly diffus'd, O'ercome with importunity and tears.

With languish'd head unpropt,
O impotence of mind, in body strong!

As one past hope, abandon'd,
But what is strength without a double share And by himself given over ;
Of wisdom? vast, unwieldy, burdensome, In slavish hahit, ill-fitted weeds
Proudly secure, yet liable to fall

O'er-worn and soildi
By weakest subtleties, not made to rule, Or do my eyes misrepresent ? Can this be he,
But to subserve where wisdom bears command! That heroic, that renown'd,
God, when he gave me strength, to show withal Irresistible Samson whom unarm'd
How slight the gift was, hung it in my hair, No strength of man, or fiercest wild beast, could
But peace, I must not quarrel with the will

withstand ; Of highest dispensation, which herein

Who tore the lion, as the lion tears the kid; Haply had ends above my reach to know : Ran on embattled armies clad in iron; Suffices that to me strength is my bane,

And, weaponless himself,
And proves the source of all my miseries; Made arms ridiculous, useless the forgery
So many, and so huge, that each apart

Of brazen shield and spear,the hammer'd cuirass, Would ask a life to wail; but chief of all, Chalybeau temper'd steel, and frock of mail

loss of sight, of thee 1 most cumplain! Adamantéan proof? Blind among enemies, O worse than chains, But safest he who stood aloof, Dungeon, or beggary, or decrepit age !

When insupportably his foot advanc'd, Light, the prime work of God to me is extinct, In scorn of their proud arms and warlike tools, And all her various objects of delight [eas'd, Spurn’d them to death by troops. The bold Annull’d, which might in part my grief have

Ascalonite

Fled from his lion ramp; old warriours turn'd To a deceitful woman? tell me, friends,
Their plated backs under his heel; [dust. Am I not sung and proverb'd for a fool
Or, groveling, soil'd their crested helmets in the In every street? do they not say, how well
Then with what trivial weapon came to hand, Are come upon him his deserts ? yet why?
The jaw of a dead ass, his sword of bone, Immeasurable strength they might behold
A thousand fore-skins fell, the flower of Palestine, In me, of wisdom nothing more than mean ;
In Ramatb-lechi, famous to this day.

This with the other should, at least, have pair'd, Then by main force pulld up, and on his These two, proportion’d ill

, druve me transverse. shoulders bore

Chor. Tax not divine disposal; wisest men The gates of Azza, post, and massy bar, Hare err'd, and by bad women been deceir'd; Up to the hill by Hebron, seat of giants old, And shall again, pretend they ne'er so wise. No journey of a sabbath-day, and loaded so; Deject not then so overmuch thyself, Like whom the Gentiles feign to bear up Heaven. Who hast of sorrow thy full load besides : Which shall I first bewail,

Yet truth to say, I oft have heard men wonder Thy bondage or lost sight,

Why thou shouldst wed Philistian women rather Prison within prison

Than of thine own tribe fairer, or as fair, Inseparably dark?

At least of thy owu nation, and as noble. Thou art become (О worst imprisonment !) Sams. The first I saw at Timna, and she The dungeon of thyself; thy soul, (complain)

pleas'd (Which men enjoying sight oft without cause Me, not my parents, that I sought to wed Imprison'd now indeed,

The daughter of an infidel : they knew not In real darkness of the body dwells,

That what I motion'd was of God; I knew Shut up from outward light

From intimate impulse, and therefore urg'd To incorporate with gloomy night ;

The marriage on; that hy occasion hence For inward light, alas!

I might begin Israel's deliverance, Puts forth no visual beam.

The work to which I was dividely call'd. O mirror of our ficklestate;

She proving false, the next I took to wife Since man on Earth unparalleld!

(O that I never had ! fond wish too late,) The rarer thy example stands,

Was in the vale of Sorec, Dalila, By how much from the top of wonderous glory, That specious monster, my accomplish'd snare. Strongest of mortal men,

I thought it lawful from my former act, To lowest pitch of abject fortune thou art fallen. And the same end; still watching to oppress For him I reckon not in high estate

Israel's oppressors : of what now I suffer Whom long descent of birth,

She was not the prime cause, but I myself, Or the sphere of fortune, raises ; (mate, Who, vanquish'd with a peal of words, (O But thee whose strength, while virtue was her

weakness!) Might have subdued the Earth,

Gave up my fort of silence to a woman. Universally crown'd with highest praises.

Chor. In seeking just occasion to provoke Sams. I hear the sound of words; their sense The Philistine, thy country's enemy, the air

Thou never wast amiss, I bear thee witness : Dissolves unjointed ere it reach my ear.

Yet Israël still serves with all bis sons. Chor. He speaks, let us draw nigh.-Match- Samps. That fault I take not on me, but transfer less in might,

On Israel's governors and heads of tribes, The glory late of Israel, now the grief;

Who, seeing those great acts which God had We come, thy friends and neighbours not un

done known,

Singly hy me against their conquerors From Eshtaol and Zora's fruitful vale,

Acknowledg'd not, or not at all consider'd, To visit or bewail thee; or, if better,

Deliverance offerd : I on the other side Counsel or consolation we may bring,

Us'd no ambition to commend my deeds ; Salre to thy sores; apt words have power to swage The deeds themselves, though mute, spoke lond The tumours of a troubled mind,

the doer : And are as balm to fester'd wounds.

But they persisted deaf, and would not scem Syms. Your coming, friends, revives me; for To count them things worth notice, till at length I learn

Their lords the Philistines with gather'd powers Now of my own experience, not by talk,

Enter'd Judea seeking me, who then
How counterfeit a coin they are who friends Safe to the rock of Etham was retir'd;
Bear in their superscription, (of the most Not flying, but fore-casting in what place
I would be understood ;) in prosperous days To set upon them, what advantag'd best :
They swarm, but in advérse withdraw their head, Mean while the men of Judah, to prevent
Not to be found, though sought. Ye see, 0 The harass of their land, beset me round;
friends,

I willingly on some conditions came
How many evils have enclos'd me round; Into their hands, and they as gladly yield me
Yet that which was the worst now least afflicts | To the uncireumcisd a welcome prey,

Bound with two cords; but cords to me were Blindness; for bad I sight, confus'd with shame,

tbreads

{flex How could I once look up or heave the head, Touch'd with the flame : on their whole host I Who, like a foolish pilot, bave shipwreck'd Voarm'd, and with a trivial weapon felPd My vessel trusted to me from above,

Their choicest youtb; they only liv'd who fled. Gloriously rigg'd ;, and for a word, a tear, Had Judah that day join'd, or une whole tribe, Fool ! have divulg'd the secret gift of God

They had by this possess'd the towers of Gath,

me,

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And lorded over them whom they now serve: As I suppose, towards your once gloried friend, But what more oft, in nations grown corrupt, My son, now captive, hither hath inform'd [age And by their vices brought to servitude,

Your younger feet, while mine cast back with Than to lave bondage more than liberty,

Came lagging after ; say if he be here. Bondage with ease than strenuous liberty ; Chor. Assignal now in low dejected state, And to despise, or envy, or suspect

As erst in highest, behold him where he lies. Whom God hath of his special favour rais'd Man. O miserable change! is this the man, As their deliverer? if he aught begin,

That invincible Samson, far renown'd, How frequent to desert him, and at last The dread of Israel's foes, who with a strength To heap ingratitude on worthiest deeds?

Equivalent to angels walk'd their streets, Chor. Thy words to my remembrance bring None offering fight; who single combatant How Succoth and the fort of Penuel

Duelld their armies rank'd in prond array, Their great deliverer contemn'd,

Himself an army, now unequal match The matchless Gideon, in pursuit

To save himself against a coward arm'd Of Madian and her vanquish'd kings :

At one spear's length. O ever-failing trust And how ingrateful Ephraim

In mortal strength! and oh! what not in man Had dealt with Jephtha, who by argument, Deceivable and yain? Nay, what thing good Not worse than by his shield and spear,

Pray'd for, but often proves our bane? Defended Israel from the Ammonite,

I pray'd for children, and thought barrenness Had not his prowess quelld their pride

In wedlock a reproach ; I gain'd a son, In that sore battle, when so many died

And such a son as all men baild me happy;Without reprieve, adjudg'd to death,

Who would be now a father in my stead? For want of well pronouncing Shibboleth. O wherefore did God grant me my request,

Sams. Of such examples add me to the roll; And as a blessing with such pomp adorn'd? Me easily indeed mine may neglect,

Why are his gifts desirable, to tempt But God's propor'd deliverance not so.

Our earnest prayers, then,given with solemn hand Chor. Just are the ways of God,

As graces, draw a scorpion's tail behind ? And justifiable to men ;

For this did the angel twice descend ? for this Unless there be, who think not God at all : Ordain'd thy nurture holy, as of a plant If any be, they walk obscure;

Select, and sacred, glorious for a while, For of such doctrine never was there school, The miracle of men; then in an hour But the heart of the fool,

Eosnard, assaulted, overcome, led bound, And ng man therein doctor but bimself.

Thy foe's derision, captive, poor, and blind, Yet more there be, who doubt bis ways not into a dungeon thrust, to work with slaves ? As to his own edícts found contradicting, (just, Alas! methinks whom God hath chosen once Then give the reins to wandering thought, To worthiest deeds, if he through frailty err, Regardless of his glory's diminution;

He should not so o'erwhelm, and as a thrall Till by their own perplexities involvid,

Subject him to so foul indignities, They ravel more, still less resolvid,

Be it but for honour's sake of former deeds. But never find self-satisfying solution.

Sams. Appoint not heavenly disposition, father; As if they would confine the Interminable, Nothing of all these evils hath befall’n me And tie him to his own prescript,

But justly; I myself have brought thern on, Who made our laws to bind us, not himself, Sole author I, sole cause : if aught seem vile, And hath full right to exempt.

As vile hath been my folly, who have prophan'd Whom so it pleases him by choice

The mystery of God given me under pledge From national obstriction, without taint

Of vow, and have betray'd it to a woman,
Of sin, or legal debt;

Canaanite, my faithless enemy.
For with his own laws be can best dispense. This well I knew, nor was at all surpris'd,

He would not else, who never wanted means, But warn'd by oft experience: did not sbe
Nor in respect of the enemy just cause,

Of Timna first betray me, and reveal To set his people free,

The secret wrested from me in her height Have prompted this heroic Nazarite,

Of nuptial love profess'd, carrying it straight Against his vow of strictest purity,

To them who had corrupted her, my spies, To seek in marriage that fallacious bride, And rivals? In this other was there found Unclean, unchaste.

More faith, who also in her prime of love, Down, reason, then ; at least vam reasonings, Spousal embraces, vitiated with gold, Though reason here aver,

(down; Though offer'd only, by the scent conceiv'd That moral verdict quits her of unclean : Her spurious first-born, treason against me? Upchaste was subsequent, her stain not his. Thrice she assay'd with flattering prayers and But see here comes thy reverend sire

sighs, With careful step, locks white as down,

And amorous reproaches, to win from me Old Mangab: advise

My capital secret, in what part my strength Forth with how thou ought'st to receive him. Lay stord, in what part summ'd, that she might Samps. Ay me! another inward grief, awak'd

know ; With mention of that name, renews the assault. Thrice I deluded her, and turn'd to sport

Her importunity, each time perceiving [Enter] Manoah.

How openly, and with what impudence Man Brethren and men of Dan, for such ye She purpos'd to betray me, and (which was worse seem,

Than undissembled hate) with what contempt Though in this uncouth place; if old respect, She sought to make me traitor to myself;

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