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When to their sports they turn'd. . Immediately Was Samson as a public servant brought,
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 slingers, cataphracts, and spears.
At sight of him the people with a shout
Rifted the air, clamouring 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, 1625
To heave, pull, draw, or break, he still perform'd
All with incredible stupendous force,
None daring to appear antagonist.
At 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 awhile
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 awhile inclin❜d,
And eyes fast fixt he stood, as one who pray'd,
Or some great matter in his mind revolv'd:
At last with head erect thus cried 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 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
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 flower, not only
Of this, but each Philistian city round,
Met from all parts to solemnize this feast.
Samson, with these immixt, inevitably
Pull'd down the same destruction on himself;
The vulgar only scap'd who stood without.
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 liest 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 had slain before.
[sublime, 1. SEMICHOR. While their hearts were jocund and Drunk with idolatry, drunk with wine, And fat regorg'd of bulls and goats, Chanting their idol, and preferring Before our living Dread who dwell
In Silo his bright sanctuary :
Among them he a spirit of frenzy sent,
Who hurt their minds,
And urged them on with mad desire
To call in haste for their destroyer;
They, only set on sport and play,
Their own destruction to come speedy upon them.
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 extinguish'd quite, With inward eyes illuminated,
Like that self-begotten bird
1689 inward] H. More, Song of the Soul 1642. c. iii. st. 9. 'Our inward eyes that they be nothing bright.'
1035 villatic] Plin. lib. xxiii. sect. 17. Villaticas alites.'
In the Arabian woods imbost,
That no second knows nor third,
And lay ere while a holocaust,
From out her ashy womb now teem'd,
Revives, reflourishes, then vigorous most
When most unactive deem'd,
And though her body die, her fame survives
A secular bird ages of lives.
MAN. Come, come, no time for lamentation now, Nor much more cause: Samson hath quit himself Like Samson, and heroically hath finish'd
A life heroic, on his enemies
Fully reveng'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 1715
Find courage to lay hold on this occasion,
To himself and father's house eternal fame;
And, which is best and happiest yet, all this
With God not parted from him, as was fear'd,
But favouring and assisting to the end.
Nothing is here for tears, nothing to wail
Or knock the breast, no weakness, no contempt,
Dispraise, or blame, nothing but well and fair,
And what may quiet us in a death so noble.
Let us go find the body where it lies
1700 imbost] Sandy's Psalms, p. 65. Lord! as the hart imbost with heat.' Quarles's Emblems, p. 290, 'imbost doth fly.' Marino's Slaugh. of the Innocents, p. 61. Whiting's Albino and Bellama, p. 107.
Soak'd in his enemies' blood, and from the stream With lavers pure and cleansing herbs wash off The clotted gore. I with what speed the while, Gaza is not in plight to say us nay,
Will send for all my kindred, all my friends, 1730 To fetch him hence, and solemnly attend
With silent obsequy and funeral train
Home to his father's house: there will I build him
A monument, and plant it round with shade
Of laurel ever green, and branching palm,
With all his trophies hung, and acts inroll'd
In copious legend, or sweet lyric song.
Thither shall all the valiant youth resort,
And from his memory inflame their breasts
To matchless valour and adventures high:
The virgins also shall on feastful days
Visit his tomb with flowers, only bewailing
His lot unfortunate in nuptial choice,
From whence captivity and loss of eyes.
CHOR. All is best, though we oft doubt,
What th' unsearchable dispose
Of highest wisdom brings about,
And ever best found in the close.
Oft he seems to hide his face,
But unexpectedly returns,
1733 Home] See Par. Reg. iv. 638.
Home to his mother's house private return'd.'
1740 high] Hawes's Past. of Pleasure, 1554. ch. xxxii.
Right high aduentures unto you shall fall.'