Obrazy na stronie
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Surnam'd Peripatetics, and the sect
Epicurean, and the Stoic severe;
These here revolve, or, as thou lik'st, at home,
Till time mature thee to a kingdom's weight;
These rules will render thee a king complete
Within thyself, much more with empire join'd.”
..To whom our Saviour sagely thus replied.
"Think not but that I know these things, or
think
I know them not; not therefore am I short
Of knowing what I ought: he, who receives
Light from above, from the fountain of light,
No other doctrine needs, though granted true;
But these are false, or little else but dreams,
Conjectures, fancies, builton nothing firm.
The first and wisest of them all profess'd
To know this only, that he nothing knew;
The next to fabling fell, and smooth conceits;
A third sort doubted all things, though plain
Others in virtue plac'd felicity, [sense;
But virtuejoin'd with riches and long life;
Incorporal pleasure he, and careless ease;
The Stoic last in philosophic pride,
By him call’d virtue; and his virtuous man,
Wise, perfect in himself, and all possessing
Equal to God, oftshames not to prefer,
As fearing God norman, contemning all
Wealth, pleasure, pain or torment, death and life,
Which, when he lists, he leaves, or boasts he
For all his tedious talk is but vain boast, [can,
Prsubtle shifts conviction to evade.
Alas! what can they teach and not mislead,
snorant of themselves, of God much more,
And how the world began, and how man fell
Pegraded by himself, on grace depending?
Much of the soul they talk, but all awry,
And in themselves seek virtue; and to themselves
All glory arrogate, to God give none;
Rather accuse him under usual names,
ortune and Fate, as one regardless quite -
of mortal things. Who therefore seeks in these
one wisdom, finds her not; or, by delusion,
'ar worse, her false resemblance only meets,
onempty cloud. However, many books,
Wise men have said, are wearisome; who reads
ocessantly, and to his reading brings not
**pirit and judgment equal or superior,
And what he brings what needs he elsewhere
oncertain and unsettled still remains, [seek?)
*P vers'd in books, and shallow in himself,
*deor intoxicate, collecting toys
ind trifles for choice matters, worth a sponge;
*children gathering pebbles on the shore.
o,if I would delight my private hours
oth music or with poem, where so soon
**our native language, can I find
**lace? Allour law and story strewd
* hymns, our psalms with artful terms in-
scrib'd,
"Hebrew songs and harps, in Babylon
*Pleas'd so well our victor's ear, declare
*ather Greece from us these arts deriv'd;
limitated, while they loudest sing
he vices of their deities, and their own,
*hymn, or song, so personating
*godsridiculous, and themselves pastshame.
*theirswelling epithets, thick laid
**mish on a harlot's cheek, the rest,

Will far be found unworthy to compare
With Sion's songs, to all true tastes excelling,
Where God is prais'd aright, and God-like men,
The Holiest of Holies, and his saints,
(Such are from God inspir'd, not such from thee,)
Unless where moral virtue is express'd
By light of Nature, not in all quite lost.
Their orators thou then extoll'st, as those
The top of eloquence; statists indeed,
And lovers of their country, as may seem;
But herein to our prophets far beneath,
As men divinely taught, and better teaching
The solid rules of civil government,
In their majestic unaffected style,
Than all the oratory of Greece and Rome.
In them is plainest taught, and easiest learnt,
What makes a nation happy, and keeps it so,
What ruins kingdoms, and lays cities flat;
These only with our law best form a king.”
Sospake the Son of God; but Satan, now
Quite at a loss, (for all his darts were spent,)
Thus to our Saviour with stern brow replied.
“Since neither wealth nor honour, arms nor

arts,
Kingdom nor empire pleases thee, nor aught
By me propos'd in life contemplative
Or active, tended on by glory or fame,
What dost theu in this world 2 The wilderness
For thee is fittest place; I found thee there,
And thither will return thee; yet remember
What I foretel thee, soon thou shalt have cause
To wish thou never hadst rejected, thus
Nicely or cautiously, my offer'd aid, sease
Which would have set thee in short time with
On David's throne, or throne of all the world,
Now at full age, fulness of time, thy season
When prophecies of thee are best fulfill’d.
Now contrary, if I read aught in Heaven,
Or Heaven write aught of fate, by what the stars
Voluminous, or single characters,
In their conjunction met, give me to spell,
Sorrows, and labours, opposition, hate
Attend thee, scorns, reproaches, injuries,
Violence and stripes, and lastly cruel death; .
A kingdom they portend thee,but what kingdom,
Real or allegoric, I discern not;
Nor when; eternal sure, as without end,
Without beginning; for no date prefix’d
Directs me in the starry rubric set.”
So saying he took, (for still he knew his power
Not yet expir'd,) and to the wilderness
Brought back the Son of God, and left him there,
Feigning to disappear. Darkness now rose,
As day-light sunk, and brought in lowering
night,
Her shadowy offspring; unsubstantial both,
Privation mere of light and absent day.
Our Saviour meek, and with untroubled mind
After his aery jaunt, though hurried sore,
Hungry and cold, betook him to his rest,
Wherever, under some concôurse of shades,
Whose branching arms thick intertwin'd might
shield *
From dews and damps of night his shelter'd head;
But, shelter'd, slept in vain; for at his head
The tempter watch'd, and soon with ugly dreams
Disturb’d his sleep. And either tropic now
"Gan thunder, and both ends of Heaven; the
clouds,

**n with aught of profit or delight,

From many a horrid rift, abortive pour'd
Fierce rain with lightning mix'd, water with fire
In ruin reconcil'd: nor slept the winds -
Within their stony caves, but rush'd abroad
From the four hinges of the world, and fell
On the vex'd wilderness, whose tallest pines,
Though rooted deep as high, and sturdiest oaks,
Bow'd their stiffnecks, loaden with stormy blasts
Or torn up sheer. Ill wast thou shrouded then,
O patient Son of God, yet only stood'st
Unshaken l Nor yet staid the terrourthere;
Infernal ghosts and hellish furies round
Environ'd thee, some howl'd, some yell’d, some
shriek'd,
Somebent at thee their fiery darts, while thou
Satost unappall'd in calm and sinless peace
Thus passed the might so foul, till Morning fair
Came forth, with pilgrim steps, in amice gray;
Who with her radiant finger still'd the roar
Of thunder, chas'd the clouds, and laid the
winds,
And grisly spectres, which the fiend had rais'd
Totempt the Son of God with terrours dire.
And now the Sun with more effectual beams
Had cheer'd the face of Farth, and dried the wet
From drooping plant, or dropping tree; the
birds, [green,
Who all things now behold more fresh and
After a night of storm so ruinous,
Clear'd up their choicest notes in bush and spray,
To gratulate the sweet return of morn.
Noryet, amidst this joy and brightest morn,
Was absent, after all his mischief done,
The prince of darkness; glad would also seem
Of this fair change, and to our Saviour came;
Yet with no new device, (they all were spent,)
Rather by this his last affront resolv’d,
Desperate of better course, to vent his rage
And mad despite to be so oftrepell’d.
Him walking on a sunny hill he found,
Back'd on the north and west by a thick wood;
Out of the wood he starts in wonted shape,
And in a careless mood thus to him said.
“Fair morning yet betides thee, Son of God,
After a dismal night : I heard the wrack,
As earth and sky would mingle; but myself
Was distant; and these flaws, though mortals
fear them -
As dangerous to the pillar'd frame of Heaven,
Or to the Earth's dark basis underneath,
Are to the main as inconsiderable
And harmless, if not wholesome, as a sneeze
To man's less universe, and soon are gone;
Yet, as being ofttimes noxious where thew light
On man, beast, plant, wasteful and turbulent,
Like turbulencies in the affairs of men,
Over whose heads they roar, and seem to point,
They oft fore-signify and threaten ill:
This tempest at this desert most was bent;
Of men at thee, for only thou here dwell'st.
Did I not tell thee, if thou didst reject
The perfect season cffer'd with my aid
To win thy destin'd seat, but wilt prolong
All to the push of fate, pursue thy way
of gaining David's throne, no man knows when,
For both the when and how is no where told?
Thou shalt be what thou art ordain'd, no doubt;
For angels have proclaim'd it, but concealing
The time and means. Each act is rightliest done

Not when it must, but when it may be best:
If thou observe not this, be sure to find,
What I foretold thee, many a hard assay
Of dangers, and adversities, and pains,
Ere thou of Israel's sceptre get fast hold;
Whereof this ominous night, that clos'd that
So many terrours, voices, prodigies, [round,
May warn thee, as a sure fore-going sign.”
So talk’d he, while the Son of God wenton
And staid not, but in brief him answer'd thus:
“Me worse than wet thou find'st not; other
harm [none;
Those terrours, which thou speak'st of, did me
I never fear'd they could, though noising loud
And threatening high: what they can do assigns
Betokening, or ill-boding, I contemn
As false portents, not sent from God, but thee;
Who, knowing I shall reign past thy preventing,
Obtrud'st thy offer'd aid, that I, accepting,
At least mightseem to hold all power of thee,
Ambitious spirit! and wouldst be thought my

God;
And storm'st refus'd, thinking to terrify
Me to thy will! desist, (thou art discern'd
And toil'st in vain,) nor me in vain molest.”

To whom the fiend, now swolm with rage, re

plied. “Then hear, O son of David, virgin-born, For son of God to me is yet in doubt; Of the Messiah I had heard foretold By all the prophets; of thy birth at length, Announc'd by Gabriel, with the first I knew, And of the angelie song in Bethlehem field, On thy birth-night that sung thee Saviourbom, From that time seldom have I ceas'd to eye Thy infancy, thy childhood, and thy youth, Thy manhood last, though yet in private bred; Till at the ford of Jordan, whither all Flock to the Baptist, I, among the rest, (Though not to be baptiz'd.,) by voice from

Heaven Heard thee pronounc'd the Son of Gedbelord Thenceforth I thought thee worth my nearervico And narrower scrutiny, that I might learn In what degree or meaning thou art call’d The Son of God; which bears no singlesense. The Son of God I also am, or was; And if I was, I am; relation stands; All men are sons of God; yet thee I thought In some respect far higher so declard: Therefore I watch'd thy footsteps from thatho, And follow'd thee still on to this waste wild; Where, by all best conjectures, I collect Thou art to be my fatal enemy: Good reason them, if I before-hand seek To understand my adversary, who And what he is; his wisdom, power, intent: By parl or composition, truce or league, To win him, or win from him what I can: And opportunity I here have had To try thee, sist thee, and confess havefoundt" Proof againstall temptation, as a rock Of adamant, and, as a centre, firm ; To the utmost of mere man both wise and good. Not more; for honours, riches, kingdoms, so Have been before contemn'd, and may again. Therefore, to know what more thou art than no Worth naming Son of God by voice from Hoo Another method I must know begin.”

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So saying he caught him up, and, without wing 6f hippogrif, bore through the air sublime, Over the wilderness and o'er the plain, Till underneath them fair Jerusalem, The holy city, lifted high her towers, And higher yet the glorious temple rear'd Her pile, far off appearing like a mount ofalabaster, topt with golden spires: There, on the highest pinnacle, he set The Son of God; and added thus in scorn. “There stand, if thou wilt stand; to stand upright Will ask theeskill; I to thy Father's house Have brought thee, and highest plac'd : highest is best: Now show thy progeny; if not to stand, Cast thyself down; safely, if Son of God: For it is written, “He will give command Concerning thee to his angels, in their hands They shall uplift thee, lest at any time Thouchance to dash thy foot against a stone.’” To whom thus Jesus: “Also it is written, ‘Tempt not the Lord thy God.” He said, and stood :

But Satan, smitten with amazement fell.
As when Earth's son Antaeus, (to compare
Small things with greatest,) in Irassa strove
With Jove's Alcides, and, oft foil'd, still rose,
Receiving from his mother Earth new strength,
Fresh from his fall, and fiercer grapple join'd,
Throttled at length in the air, expir'd and fell;
So, after many a foil, the tempter proud,
Renewing fresh assaults, amidst his pride,
Fell whence he stood to see his victor fall:
And as that Theban monster, that propos'd
Her riddle, and him who solv’d it not devour’d,
Thatonce 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
(Joyless triumphals of his hop'd success,)
Ruin, and desperation, and dismay,
Whodurst so proudly tempt the Son of God.
SoSatan fell; and straight a fiery globe
Of angels on full sail of wing flew nigh,
Who on their plumy vans receiv'd himsoft
From his uneasy station, and upbore,
Ason a floating couch, through the blithe air;
Then, in a flowery valley, set him down
On agreen 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,
That soon refresh'd him wearied, and repair'd
What hunger, if aught hunger, had impaird,
Dr thirst; and, as he fed, angelic quires
Sung heavenly anthems of his victory
Over temptation and the tempter proud.
“True image of the Father; whether thron’d
In the bosom of bliss, and light of light
Xonceiving, or, remote from Heaven, enshrin'd
In fleshly tabernacle, and human form,
Wandering the wilderness; whatever place,
Habit, or state, or motion, still expressing
The Son of God, with God-like force endued
\gainst the attempter of thy Father's throne,
\nd thief of Paradise" him long of old
Thou didst debel, and down from Heaven cast
With all his army; now thou hast aveng'd

Supplanted Adam, and, by vanquishing Temptation, hast regain'd lost Paradise, . And frustrated the conquest fraudulent. He never more henceforth will dare set foot In Paradise to tempt; his snares are broke: For, though that seat of earthly bliss be fail'd, A fairer Paradise is founded now For Adam and his chosensons, whom thou, A Saviour, art come down to re-install, Where they shall dwell secure, when time shall Of tempter and temptation withoutfear. [be, But thou, infernal serpent! shalt not long Rule in the clouds like an autumnal star, Or lightning, thou shalt fall from Heaven, trod down Underhis feet: for proof, ere this thou feel'st Thy wound, (yet not thy last and deadliest wound,) By this repulse receiv'd, and hold'st in Hell No triumph : in all her gates Abaddon rues Thy bold attempt. Hereafter learn with awe To dread the Son of God : he, all unarm’d, Shall chase thee, with the terrour of his voice, From thy demoniac holds, possession foul, Thee and thy legions: yelling they shall fly, And beg to hide them in a herd of swine, Lest he command them down into the deep, Bound, and to torment sent before their time.Hail, Son of the Most High, heir of both worlds, Queller of Satan! on thy glorious work Now enter; and begin to save mankind.” Thus they the Son of God, our Saviour meek, Sung victor, and, from heavenly feast refresh'd, Broughton his way with joy; he, unobserv’d, Home to his mother's house private return'd.

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by Aristotle to be of power by raising pity and fear, ar terrour, to purge the mind of those and such like passions, that is, to temper and reduce them to just measure with a kind of delight, stirred up by reading or seeing those passions well imitated. Nor is Nature wanting in her own effects to make good his assertion: for so, in physic, things of melancholic hue and quality are used against melancholy, sour against sour, salt to remove salt humours. Hence philosophers and other gravest writers, as Cicero, Plutarch, and others, frequently cite out of tragic poets, both to adorn and illustrate their discourse. The Apostle Paul himself thought it not unworthy to insert a verse of Euripides into the text of Holy Scripture, 1 Cor. xv. 33; and Paraeus, eommenting on the Revelation, divides the whole book as a tragedy, into acts distinguished each by a chorus of heavenly harpings and song between. Heretofore men in highest dignity have laboured not a little to be thought able to compose a tragedy. Of that honour Dionysius the elder was no less ambitious, than before of his attaining to the tyranny. Augustus Caesar also had begun his Ajax, but unable to please his own judgment with what he had begun, left it unfinished. Seneca, the philosopher, is by some thought the author of those tragedies (atleast the best of them) that go under that name. Gregory Nazianzen, a father of the church, thought it not unbeseeming the sanctity of his person to write a tragedy, which is entitled Christsuffering. This is mentioned to vindicate tragedy from the small esteem, or rather infamy, which in the account of many it undergoes at this day with other common interludes; happening, through the poet's errour of intermixing comic stuff with tragic sadness and gravity; or introducing trivial and vulgar persons, which by all judicious hath been counted absurd; and brought in without discretion, corruptly to gratify the people. And though ancient tragedy use no prologue, yet using sometimes, in case of self-defence, or explanation, that which Martial calls an epistle; in behalf of this tragedy coming forth after the ancient manner, much different from what among us passes for best, thus much before-hand may be epistled; that Chorus is here introduced 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 followed, as of much more authority and fame. The measure of verse used in the Chorus is of all sorts, called by the Greeks Monostrophic, or rather Apolelymenon, without regard had to Strophe, Antistrophe, or Epode, which were a kind of stanzas framed only for the music, then used with the Chorus that sung; not essential to the poem, and therefore not material; or, being divided into stanzas or pauses, they may becalled Allaeostropha. 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 produced beyond the fifth act. Of the style and uniformity, and that commonly called the plot, whether intricate or explicit, which is nothing indeed but such economy, or disposition of the

fable as may stand best with versimilitude and decorum; they only will best judge who are not unacquainted with Æschylus, Sophocles, and Enripides, the three tragic poets unequalled yetby any, and the best rule to all who endeavour to write tragedy. . The circumscription of time, wherein the whole drama begins and ends, is according to ancient rule, and best example, within the space of twenty-four hours.

The ARGUMENT.

Samson, made captive, blind, and now in the prison at Gaza, there to labour as in a common workhouse, on a festival day, in thegeneral cessation from labour, comes forth into the open air, to a place nigh, somewhat retired, there to sit a while and bemoan his condition. Where he happens at length to be visited by certain friends and equals of his tribe, which makes the Chorus, who seek to comfort him what they cau; then by his old father Manoah, who endeavours the like, and withal tells him his purpose to procure his liberty by ransom; lastly, that this feast was proclaimed by the Philistines as a day of thanksgiving for their deliverance from the bands of Samson, which yet more troubles him. Manoah then departs to prosecute his endeavour with the Philistine lords for Samson's redemption; who in the mean while is visited by other persons; and lastly by a public officer to require his coming to the feast before the lords and people, to play or show his strength in their presence; he at first refuses, dismissing the public officer with absolute denial to come; at length, persuaded inwardly that this was from God, he yields to go along with him, who came now the second time with great threatenings to fetch him: the Chorus yet remaining on the place, Manoah returns full of joyful hope, to procure ere long his son's deliverance: in the midst of which discourse an Hebrew comes in haste, confusedly at first, and afterward more distinctly, relating the catastrophe, what Samson had done to the Philistines, and by accident to himself; wherewith the tragedy ends.

THE PERSONS.
SAMson.
MANoah, the father of Samson.
DALILA, his wife.
HARApha of Gath.
Public Officer.
Messenger.
Chorus of Danites.

The Scene before the Prison in Gaza.

Samson, [Attendant leading him.]

A little onward lend thy guiding hand
To these dark steps, a little further on;
For yonder bank hath choice of sun or shade:
There I am wont to sit, when any chance

Relieves me from my task of servile toil,
Daily in the common prison else enjoin'd me,
Where I, a prisoner chain'd, scarce freely draw
The air imprison'd also, close and damp,
Unwholesome draught: but here I feel amends,
The breath of Heaven fresh blowing, pure and
sweet -
With day-spring born; hereleavemeto respire.—
This day a solemn feast the people hold
To Dagon their sea-idol, and forbid
Laborious works; unwillingly this rest
Their superstition yields me; hence with leave
Retir ng from the popular noise, I seek
This unfrequented place to find some ease,
Ease to the body some, none to the mind
From restless thoughts, that, like a deadly swarm
Ofhornets arm’d, no sooner found alone,
But rush upon me thronging, and present
Times past, what once I was, and what am now.
D, wherefore was my birth from Heaven foretold
Twice by an angel, who at last in sight
Of both my parents all in flames ascended
From off the altar, where an offering burn'd,
Asin a fiery column charioting
His God-like presence, and from some great act
Orbenefit reveal’d to Abraham's race?
Why was my breeding order'd and prescrib'd
As of a person separate to God,
Design'd for great exploits; if I must die
Betray'd, captiv'd, and both my eyes putout,
Made of my enemies the scorn and gaze;
To grind in brazenfetters under task [strength,
With this Heaven-gifted strength? O glorious
Put to the labour of a beast, debas'd
Lower than bond-slave! Promise was that I
Should Israel from Philistian yoke deliver;
Ask for this great deliverer now, and find him
Eyeless in Gaza at the mill with slaves,
Himself in bonds under Philistian yoke:
Yet stay, let me not rashly call in doubt
Divine prediction; what if all foretold
Had been fulfill'd but through mine own default,
Whom have I to complain of but myself?
Who this high gift of strength committed to me,
In what part lodg’d, how easily berest me,
Under the seal of silence could not keep,
But weakly to a woman must reveal it,
Percome with importunity and tears.
Qimpotence of mind, in body strong !
But what is strength without a double share
Of wisdom vast, unwieldy, burdensome,
Proudly secure, yet liable to fall
By weakest subtleties, not made to rule,
But to subserve where wisdom bears command
God, when he gave me strength, to show withal
How slight the gift was, hung it in my hair.
But peace, I must not quarrel with the will
of highest dispensation, which herein
Haply had ends above my reach to know:
*ffices that to me strength is m y bane,
And proves the source of all my miseries;
*many, and so huge, that each apart
Would ask a life to wail ; but chief of all,
* of sight, ofthee i most complain:
*ind among enemies, o worse than chains,
Pungeon, or beggary, or decrepitage!
ot, the prime work of God to me is extinct,
*all her various objects of delight [eas'd,
"null'd, which might in part my grief have

Inferior to the vilest now become Of man or worm; the vilest here excel me ; They creep, yet see; I, dark in light, expos'd To daily fraud, contempt, abuse, and wrong, Within doors, or without, still as a fool, In power of others, never in my own; Scarce half I seem to live, dead more than half. 9 dark, dark, dark, amid the blaze of noon, Irrecoverably dark, total eclipse Without all hope of day ! O first created Beam, and thou great Word, “Let there be light, and light was over all ;” Why am I thus bereav'd thy prime decree? The Sun to me is dark And silent as the Moon, When she deserts the night, Hid in her vacant interlunar cave. Since light so necessary is to life, And almost life itself, if it be true That light is in the soul, She all in every part; why was the sight To such a tender ball as the eye confin'd, So obvious and so easy to be quench'd? And not, as feeling, through all parts diffus'd, That she might look at will through every pore? Then had I not been thus exil'd from light, As in the land of darkness, yet in light, To live a life half dead, a living death, And buried; but, O yet more miserable 1 Myself my sepulchre, a moving grave; Buried, yet not exempt, By privilege of death and burial From worst of other evils, pains and wrongs; But made hereby obnoxious more To all the miseries of sife, Life in captivity Among inhuman foes. But who are these? for with joint pace I hear The tread of many feet steering this way; Perhaps my enemies, who come to stare At my affliction, and perhaps to insult, Their daily practice to afflict me more. [Enter] Chorus. Chor, This, thisis he'; softly a while, Let us not break in upon him: O change beyond report, thought, or belief! See how he lies at random, carelessly diffus'd, With languish'd head unpropt, As one past hope, abandon'd, And by himself given over; In slavish habit, ill-fitted weeds O'er-worm and soil'd ; Or do my eyes misrepresent? Can this be he, That heroic, that renown'd, Irresistible Samson 2 whom unarm'd No strength of man, or fiercest wild beast, could withstand; Who tore the lion, as the lion tears the kid; Ram on embattled armies clad in iron; And, weaponless himself, Made arms ridiculous, useless the forgery of brazen shield and spear,the hammer'd cuirass, Chalybean temper'd steel, and frock of mail Adamantéan proof? But safest he who stood aloof, when insupportably his foot advanc'd, In scorn of their proud arms and warlike tools., Spurn'd them to death by troops. The bold Ascalomite

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