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Man. Sad, but thou know'st to Ifraelites not faddeft The defolation of a hoftile city.
Mefs. Feed on that first, there may in grief be furfeit.
Man. Relate by whom. Mefs. By Samfon.
Man. That ftill leffens
The forrow, and converts it nigh to joy.
Mefs. Ah Manoah, I refrain, too fuddenly 1565
To utter what will come at laft too foon;
Left evil tidings with too rude irruption
Hitting thy aged ear fhould pierce too deep.
Man. Suspense in news is torture, speak them out.
Mefs. Take then the worst in brief, Samson is dead.
Man. The worst indeed, O all my hope's defeated 1571
To free him hence! but death who fets all free
Hath paid his ransome 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 winter's frost!
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 fay'ft, by whom fell he,
What glorious hand gave Samfon his death's wound?
Mefs. Unwounded of his enemies he fell.
Man. Wearied with flaughter then or how? explain.
Mefs. By his own hands.
Man. Self-violence? what cause ·
Brought him fo foon at variance with himself
Among his foes? Mefs. Inevitable cause
At once both to destroy and be destroy'd;
The edifice, where all were met to fee him,
Upon their heads and on his own he pull'd.
Man. O laftly over-ftrong against thyself!
A dreadful way thou took'ft to thy revenge.
More than enough we know; but while things yet
Are in confufion, give us if thou canft,
Eye-witness of what first or last was done,
Relation more particular and diftinct.
Mefs. Occafions 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
Samson should be brought forth, to fhow 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.
The building was a spacious theatre
Half-round on two main pillars vaulted high,
With feats where all the lords and each degree
Of sort, might fit in order to behold;
The other fide was open, where the throng
On banks and scaffolds under sky might stand;
I among these aloof obscurely ftood.
The feast and noon grew high, and sacrifice
Had fill'd their hearts with mirth, high chear, and wine,
When to their sports they turn'd. Immediately 1615
Was Samson as a public fervant brought,
In their state livery clad; before him pipes
And timbrels, on each fide went armed guards,
Both horse and foot, before him and behind
Archers, and flingers, cataphracts and fpears. 1620
At fight of him the people with a shout
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,
To heave, pull, draw, or break, he ftill perform'd
All with incredible, ftupendious force,
None daring to appear antagonist.
At length for intermiffion fake they led him
Between the pillars; he his guide requested
(For fo from fuch 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.
He unsuspicious led him; which when Samson
Felt in his arms, with head a while inclin'd,
And eyes faft fix'd he flood, as one who pray'd,
Or fome great matter in his mind revolv'd:
At last with head erect thus cry'd 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 fuch other trial
I mean to show you of my strength, yet greater; 1645
As with amaze shall strike all who behold.
This utter'd, ftraining all his nerves he bow'd,
As with the force of winds and waters pent,
When mountains tremble, those two maffy pillars
With horrible convulfion to and fro,
He tugg'd, he shook, till down they came and drew
The whole roof after them, with burft of thunder
Upon the heads of all who fat beneath,
Lords, ladies, captains, counsellors, or priests,
Their choice nobility and flow'r, not only
Of this but each Philistian city round
Met from all parts to folemnize this feast.
Samfon with these immix'd, inevitably
Pull'd down the fame deftruction on himself;
The vulgar only scap'd who stood without.
Chor. O dearly-bought revenge, yet glorious!
Living or dying thou haft fulfill'd
The work for which thou waft foretold
To Ifrael, and now ly'ft victorious
Among thy flain self-kill'd
Not willingly, but tangled in the fold
Of dire neceffity, whose law in death conjoin'd
Thee with thy flaughter'd foes in number more
Than all thy life had flain before.
(lime, Semichor. While their hearts were jocond and sub
Drunk with idolatry, drunk with wine,
And fat regorg'd of bulls and goats,
Chaunting their idol, and preferring
Before our living Dread who dwells
In Silo his bright fanctuary:
Among them he a spirit of phrenzy fent,
Who hurt their minds,
And urg'd them on with mad defire
To call in hafte for their destroyer;
They only set on sport and play
Semichor. But he though blind of fight, Despis'd and thought extinguish'd quite, With inward eyes illuminated,
His fiery virtue rous'd
From under ashes into fudden flame,
And as an evening dragon came,
Affailant on the perched roofts,
And nefts in order rang'd
Of tame villatic fowl; but as an eagle
His cloudlefs thunder bolted on their heads.
So virtue giv'n for loft,
Their own deftruction to come speedy upon them. So fond are mortal men
Fall'n into wrath divine,
As their own ruin on themselves t' invite,
Infenfate left, or to sense reprobate,
And with blindness internal struck.