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For so from such as nearer stood we heard,
As over-tired 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 inclined,
And eyes fast fixt he stood, as one who pray'd,
Or some great matter in his mind revolved:
At last with head erect thus cried aloud,
Hitherto, lords, what your commands imposed
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 scaped 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.
1. SEMICHOR. While their hearts were jocund and sublime, Drunk with idolatry, drunk with wine,
And fat regorged of bulls and goats,
Chanting their idol, and preferring
Before our living Dread who dwelle
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
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,
Despised and thought extinguish'd quite,
With inward eyes illuminated,
His fiery virtue roused
From under ashes into sudden flame,
And as an ev'ning dragon came,
Assailant on the perched roosts
And nests in order ranged
Of tame villatic fowl; but as an eagle
His cloudless thunder bolted on their heads.
So virtue given for lost,
Depress'd, and overthrown, as seem'd,
Like that self-begotten. bird
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
1 Where the Ark then was.
2 See PLIN. lib. xxiii. sect. 17. "VD laticas alites."-RICHARDSON.
A secular bird ages of lives.'
MAN. Come, come, no time for lamentation now,
Nor much more cause: Samson kath quit himself
Like Samson, and heroically hath finished
A life heroic, on his enemies
Fully revenged, 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 bnt them
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
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
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
The Phoenix; supposed to make funeral pile of sweet scented woods, and fan it to a flame with her wings; from her ashes rose another phoenix, sole of its kind always. The phoenix
was considered an emblem of the re surrection.
The Philistines are called the song of Caphtor because they came originally from the island of Caphtor, or Crete.
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,
And to His faithful champion hath in place
Bore witness gloriously; whence Gaza mourns
And all that band them to resist
His uncontrollable intent:
His servants He, with new acquist
Of true experience from this great event,
With peace and consolation hath dismiss'd,
And calm of mind, all passion spent.
TO THE NIGHTINGALE.
O NIGHTINGALE, that on yon bloomy spray
Warblest at eve, when all the woods are still,
Thou with fresh hope the lover's heart dost fill,
While the jolly hours lead on propitious May.
Thy liquid notes that close the eye of day,
First heard before the shallow cuckoo's bill,
Portend success in love;' O if Jove's will
Have link'd that amorous power to thy soft lay,
Now timely sing, ere the rude bird of hate
Foretell my hopeless doom in some grove nigh;
As thou from year to year hast sung too late
For my relief, yet hadst no reason why:
Whether the Muse, or Love call thee his mate,
Both them I serve, and of their train am I
DONNA leggiadra il cui bel nome honora
L'herbosa val di Rheno, e il nobil varco,
Bene è colui d'ogni valore scarco
Qual tuo spirto gentil non innamora;
Che dolcemente mostra si di fuora
De sui atti soavi giamai parco,
E i don', che son d'amor saette ed arco,
La onde l'alta tua virtù s'infiora.
1 A superstition, which originated in Chaucer's "Cuckowe and Nightingale." But as I lay this othir night waking, I thought how lovers had a tokining, And among 'hem it was a commerne tale
That it were gode to here the Nightin
Moche rathir than the leude Cuckowe
Cuckows and Nightingale.