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So dreaded once, may now exasperate them,
Man. Peace with you, brethren; my inducement hither
Was not at present here to find my son,
But that, which mov'd my coming now, was |
chiefly To give ye part with me what hope I have With good success to work his liberty. Chor. That hope would much rejoice us to partake With thee; say, reverend sire, we thirst to hear. Man. I have attempted one by one the lords Either at home, or through the high street passIng, With supplication prone and father's tears, To accept of ransom for my son their prisoner. Some much averse I found and wonderous harsh, Contemptuous, proud, set on revenge and spite; That part most reverenc'd Dagon and his priests: Others more moderate seeming, but their aim Trivate reward, for which both God and state They easily would set to sale: a third More generous far and civil, who confess'd They had enough reveng'd; having reduc’d Their foe to misery beneath their fears, The rest was magnanimity to remit, If some convenient ransom were propos'd. What noise or shout was that? it tore the sky. Chor. Doubtless the people shouting to behold Their once §. dread, captive, and blind before them, Or at some proof of strength before them shown. Man. His ransom, if my whole inheritance May compass it, shall willingly be paid
And number'd down: much rather I shall choose
For evil news rides post, while good newsbates.
Most O whithershall I run, or which way fly The sight of this so horrid spectacle, Which erst my eyes beheld, and yet behold? For direimagination still pursues me. But providence or instinct of nature seems, Orfeason though disturb'd, and scarce consulted, To have guided me aright, I know not how, To thee first, reverend Manoah, and to these My countrymen, whom here I knew remaining, As at some distance from the place of horrour, Soin the sad event too much concern'd. Man. The accident was loud, and here before thee With rueful cry, yet what it was we hear not; No preface needs, thou seest we long to know. Mest. It would burst forth, but I recover breath And sense distract, to know well what I utter. Man. Tellus the sum, the circumstance defer. Mess. Gaza yet stands, but all her sons are fall'n, Allina moment overwhelm'd and fall'n. Man. Sad, but thou know'st to Israelites not The desolation of a hostile city. [saddest Mess. Feed on that first; there may in grief
be surfeit. Man. Relate by whom. Mess, By Samson. Man. That still lessens
Thesorrow, and converts it nightojoy.
Morethan enough we know; but while things yet
And, as the gates I enter'd with sun-rise,
and wine, When to their sports they turn'd. Immediately Was Samson as a public servant brought, In their state livery clad 5 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 theirdreadful 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 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 (For so from such 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 fast fix’d 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 pilWith horrible convulsion to and fro [lars 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 immix'd, 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 workfor which thou wast foretold To Israel, and now ly'st 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 numbermore Than all thy life hath slain before. 1. Semichor. While their hearts were jocund and sublime, Drunk with idolatry, drunk with wine, And fat regorg'd of bulls and goats, Chanting their idol, and preferring Before our living Dread who dwells In Silo, his bright sanctuary: Among them he a spirit of phrenzy sent, Who hurt their minds, And urg'd them on with mad desire To call in haste for their destroyer; They, only set on sport and play, Unweetingly impôrtun'd Their own destruction tocome 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, His fiery virtue rous'd From under ashes into sudden flame, And as an evening dragon came, Assailant on the perched roosts And nests in order rang'd 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 embost, That no second knows nor third, And layere 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 heroicly 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 Find courage to lay hold on this occasion; To himself and father's house etermal 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 of 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 Ibuildhira 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 valiantyouth resort, And from his memory inflame their breasts To matchless valour, and adventures high: The virgins also shall, onfeastful days, Visit his tomb with flowers; only bewailing His lot unfortunate in nuptial choice, From whence captivity and loss of eyes. Chor. Allis best, though we ofteoubt What the 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 greatevent With peace and consolation hath dismist, And calm of mind, all passion spent.
APPENDIX To SAMSON.A.GONISTES,
containing PLANs of oth ER SUBJECTs, ox-
i. The Flood. [See No. iii. below.] ii. Abram in AEgypt. iii. The Deluge. iv. Sodom. v. Dinah, Wide Euseb. Praeparat. Evangel. lib. ix. cap. xxii.
* These numerous scripture subjects justify a remark made by Mr. Warton, that Milton early leaned towards religious subjects for plays, and wished to turn the drama into the scriptural channel: he accordingly, in his Reason of Ch. Gov. against Prelacy, written in 1641, tempers his praise of Sophocles and Euripides with recommending Solomon's Song; and adds, that “the
The Persons. HDine. Hamor. IDebora, Rebecca's nurse. Sichem. Jacob. Counselors 2. Simeon. Nuncius. Levi. Chorus.
vi. Thamar Cuophorusa. Where Juda is found to have been the author of that crime, which he condemned in Tamar: Tamar excus'd in what she attempt
ed., vii. The golden Calfe, or The Massacre in Horeb. viii. The 2uails. Num. xi. ix. The Murmurers. Num. xiv. x. Corah, Dathan, &c. Num. xvi, xvii. xi. Moabitides. Num. Xxv. [See No. lv. below.] xii. Achan. Joshue vii and viii. xiii. Josuah in Gibeon. Josh. x. xiv. Gideon Idoloclastes. Judg. vi., vii. xv. Gideon pursuing. Judg. viii. xvi. Abimelech the Usurper. Judg. ix. xvii. SAMson MARRIING, or in Ramach Lechi. Judg. xv. xviii. SAMson Punsophonus, or Hybrisles, or Dagonalia. Judg. xvi. xix. Comazontes, or The Benjaminites, or The Rioters. Judg. xix., xx, xxi. xx. Theristria, a Pastoral, out of Ruth. xxi. Eliadae, Hophni and Phinehas. I Sam. i, ii, iii, iv. Beginning with the first overthrow of Israel by the Philistines; interlac't with Samuel's vision concerning Elie's family. xxii. Jonathan rescued. I Sam. xiv. xxiii. Doeg slandering. I Sam. xxii. xxiv. The sheep-shearers in Carmel, a Pastoral. I Sam. xxv. xxv. Saul in Gilboa. I Sam. xxviii, xxxi. xxvi. David revolted. I Sam. from the xxvii chap. to the xxxi. xxvii. Davidadulterous. II Sam. c. xi, xii. xxviii. Tamar. II Sam. xiii. xxix. Achitophel. II Sam. xv, xvi, xvii, xviii. xxx. Adoniah. I Reg. ii. xxxi. Solomon Gynaecocratumenus, or lilolomargus, aut Thysiazusae. I Reg. xi. xxxii. Rehoboam. I Reg. xii. Wher is disputed of a politic religion. xxxiii, Abias Thersarus. IReg. xiv. The queen, after much dispute, as the last refuge, sent to the profet Abias of Shilo; receavs the message. The Epitasis, in that shee, hearing the child shall die, as she comes home, refuses to return, thinking thereby to elude the oracle.
Apocalypse of Saint John is the majestic image of a high and stately tragedy, shutting up and intermingling her solemn scenes and acts with a seven-fold chorus of hallelujahs and harping symphonies.” Prose-Works, edit. 1698, vol. i. 61. TODD. • so they are termed in Milton's MS. Those, which relate to Paradise Lost, have been given at the end of that poem. TODD.
The former partis spent in bringing the sick prince forth as it were desirous to shift his chamber and couch, as dying men use; his father telling him what sacrifize he had sent for his health to Bethel and Dan; his fearlessnesse of death, and putting his father in mind to set [send] to Ahiah. The Chorus of the Elders of Israel bemoning his virtues bereft them, and at another time wondring why Jeroboam, being bad himself, should so grieve for his son that was good, &c. xxxiv. Imbres, or The Showers. I Reg. xviii, xix. xxxv. Naboth cruxypayréa.svog. I Reg. xxi. xxxvi. Ahab. I Reg. xxii. Beginning at the synod of fals profets: ending with relation of Ahab's death: his bodie brought. Zedechiah slain by Ahab's friends for his seducing. (See Lavater, II Chron. xviii.) xxxvii. Elias in the mount. II Reg. i. 'optiéârno. Or, better, Elias Polemastes.
phantes. Aquator. xxxix. Elisarus Adorodocetas. xl.. Elisaeus Minutes, sive in Dothaimis. II Reg. vi. xli. Samaria Liberata. II Reg. vii. xlii. Achabari Cunoborameni. II Reg. ix. The Scene, Jesrael. Beginning, from the watchman's discovery of Jehu, till he go out. In the meanwhile, message of things passing brought to Jesebel, &c. Lastly, the 70 heads of Ahab's sons broughtin, and message brought of Ahaziah's brethren slain on the way. Chap. x. xliii. Jehu Belicola. II Reg. x. xliv, Athaliah. II Reg. xi. xlv. Amaziah Doryalotus. II Reg. xiv. II Chron. xxv. xlvi. He techias woxioxêastoo. II Reg. xviii, xix. Hesechia beseiged. The wicked hypocrisy of Shebna, (spoken of in the xi. or thereabout of Isaiah,) and the commendation of Eliakim,will affordπwas Aéys,together with a faction that sought help from Egypt. xlvii. Josiah Alagomenos. II Reg. xxiii. xlviii. 2edechia yearsov. II Reg. But the story is larger in Jeremiah. xlix. Salymay Halosis. Which may begin from a message brought to the city, of the judgement upon Zedechiah and his children in Ribla : and so seconded with the burning and destruction of city and temple by Nebuzaradan; lamented by Jeremsah. . Asa, or AEthiopes. II Chron. xiv. with the deposing his mother, and burning her idol. The three children. Dan. iii. Abram from Morea, or Isaac redeemThe oiconomie may be thus. The fift or sixt day after Abraham's departure. Eleazar (Abram's steward) first alone, and then with the Chorus, dis
course of Abraham's strange voiage, thire mistresse sorrow and perplexity, accompanied with frightfull dreams; and tell the manner of his rising by night, taking his servants and his son with him. Next may come forth Sarah herself. After the Chorus, or Ismael, or Agar. Next some shepheard or companie of merchants, passing through the mount in the time that Abram was in the mid-work, relate to Sarah what they saw. Hence lanentations, fears, wonders. The matter in the mean while divulg'd, Aner, or Eschol, or Mamre, Abram's confederats, come to the house of Abram to be more certaine, or to bring news; in the mean while discoursing, as the world would, of such an action, divers ways; bewayling the fate of so noble a man faln from his reputation, either through divin justice or superstition, or coveting to doe some notable act through zeal. At length a servant, sent from Abram, relates the truth; and last he himselfe comes in with a great traine of Melchizedec's, whose shepheards, beeing secretlye witnesses of all passages, had related to their master, and he conducted his friend Abraham home with joy.
liii. Baptistes. The Scene, the Court.
Beginning, From the morning of Herods birth day. ... In thema. Herod, by some counselto er persuaded" on his birthmay plot, order day to release John Bappro-enseof beg- og ing for his il- tist, purposes it, causes to him to be sent for to court to a snare by from prison. The queen too.” “hears of it, takes occasion to passe wher he is, on purpose, that, under praetense of reconsiling to him, or seeking to draw a kind retractation from him of the censure on the marriage; to which end she sends a courtier before, to sound whether he might be persuaded to mitigate hissentence; which not finding, she herself craftily assays; and on his constancie, founds an accusation to Herod of a contumacious affront, on such a day, before many peers; praepares the king to some passion, and at last by her daughter's dancing, effects it. There may prologize the spirit of Philip, Herod's irother. It may also be thought that Herod had well bedev'd himself with wine, which made him grant the easier to his wive's daughter. Some of his disciples also, as to congratulate his liberty, may be brought in ; with whom, after certain command of his death, many compassionating words of his disciples, bewayling his youth cut off in his glorious cours; he telling them his work is don, and wishing them to follow Christ his maister.
liv, Sodom. The title, Cupid's funeral pile;
Sodom burning. The Scene before Lot's gate. The Chorus, consisting of Lot's shepherds come to the citty about some affairs, await in the evening thire master's return from his evening walk toward the citty gates. He brings with him two young men, or youths, of noble form. After likely discourses, prepares for thire entertainment. By then supper is ended, the gallantry of the towne passe by in procession, with music and song, to the temple of Venus Urania or Peor; and, understanding of tow noble strangers arriv'd. they send 2 of thire choysest youth,with the priest, to invite them to thire citly solemnities; it beeng an honour that thire citty had decreed to all fair personages, as beeng sacred to their goddess. The angels being ask’t by the priest whence they are, say they are of Salem; the priest inveighs against the strict reign of Melchisedec. Lot, that knows thire drift, answers thwartly at last. Of which notice given to the whole assembly, they hasten thither, taxe him of praesumption, singularity, breach of city-customs; in fine, offer violence. The Chorus of shepheards praepare resistance in thire master's defence; calling the rest of the serviture: but, being forc’t to give back, the angels open the dore, rescue Lot, discover themselves, warne him together his friends and sons in law out of the city. He goes, and returns; as having met with some incredulous. Some other freind or son in law (out of the way when Lot came to his house) overtakes him to know his buisnes. Heer is disputed of incredulity of divine judgements, and such like matters. At last is described the parting from the citty. The Chorus depart with their maister. The angelsdoe the deed with all dreadful execution. The king and nobles of the citty may come forth, and serve to set out the terror. A Chorus of angels concluding, and the angels relating the event of Lot's journey, and of his wife. The first Chorus, beginning, may relate the course of the citty; each eroing every one, with mistresss or Canymed, gitterming along the streets, or solacing on the banks of Jordan, or down the stream. At the priests inviting the angels to the solemnity, the angels, pittying their beauty, may dispute of love, and bovit differs from lust; seeking to winthor: In the last scene, to the king and nobles, when the fierce thunder begins aloft, the angel appeares all girt with flames, which, he saith, are the flames of true love, and tells the king, who falls down with terrour, his just suffering. as also Athane's, that is,Gener, Lotso