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Sams. Thou know'st I am a Hebrew, therefore | Yet knowing their advantages too many, tell them,


Our law forbids at their religious rites
My presence, for that cause I cannot come.
Off. This answer, be assur'd, will not content


Sams. Have they not sword-players, and every


Of gymnic artists, wrestlers, riders, runners, 1324
Jugglers and dancers, antics, mummers, mimics,
But they must pick me out with shackles tir'd,
And over-labour'd at their public mill,
To make them sport with blind activity?
Do they not seek occasion of new quarrels
On my refusal to distress me more,
Or make a game of my calamities?
Return the way thou cam'st, I will not come.
Off: Regard thyself, this will offend them highly.
Sams. Myself? my conscience and internal




Can they think me so broken, so debas'd
With corporal servitude, that my mind ever
Will condescend to such absurd commands?
Although their drudge, to be their fool or jester,
And in my midst of sorrow and heart grief
To show them feats, and play before their god,
The worst of all indignities, yet on me
Join'd with extreme contempt? I will not come.
Off. My message was impos'd on me with speed,
Brooks no delay: is this thy resolution?


Sams. So take it with what speed thy message needs.


1401 Because they shall not trail me through their streets Like a wild beast, I am content to go, Masters' commands come with a power resistless To such as owe them absolute subjection; And for a life who will not change his purpose? (So mutable are all the ways of men) Yet this be sure, in nothing to comply Scandalous or forbidden in our law.


Off. I praise thy resolution: doff these links:
By this compliance thou wilt win the lords
To favour, and perhaps to set thee free.

Sams, Brethren, farewell; your company along
I will not wish, lest it perhaps offend them
To see me girt with friends; and how the sight
Of me as of a common enemy,


So dreaded once, may now exasperate them
I know not: lords are lordliest in their wine;
And the well-feasted priest then soonest fir'd
With zeal, if ought religion seem concern'd; 1420
No less the people on their holy-days
Impetuous, insolent, unquenchable:
Happen what may, of me expect to hear
Nothing dishonourable, impure, unworthy
Our God, our law, my nation, or myself,
The last of me or no I cannot warrant.


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Send thee the Angel of thy birth to stand
Fast by thy side, who from thy father's field,
Rode up in flames after this message told
Of thy conception, and be now a shield
Of fire; that Spirit that first rush'd on thee
In the camp of Dan


Off. I am sorry what this stoutness will produce. Sams. Perhaps thou shalt have cause to sorrow'



Chor. Consider, Samson; matters now are strain'd Up to the height, whether to hold or break; He's gone, and who knows how he may report 1350 Thy words by adding fuel to the flame? Expect another message more imperious, More loudly thund'ring than thou well wilt bear. Sams. Shall I abuse this consecrated gift Of strength, again returning with my hair After my great transgression, so requite Favour renew'd, and add a greater sin By prostituting holy things to idols; A Nazarite in place abominable Vaunting my strength in honour to their Dagon? Besides how vile, contemptible, ridiculous, 1361 What act more execrably unclean, profane? Chor. Yet with this strength thou serv'st the Philistines,

Idolatrous, uncircumcis'd, unclean.

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But who constrains me to the temple' of Dagon,
Not dragging? the Philistian lords command.
Commands are no constraints. If I obey them,
I do it freely, vent'ring to displease
God for the fear of man, and man prefer,
Set God behind: which in his jealousy
Shall never, unrepented, find forgiveness.
Yet that he may dispense with me or thee
Present in temples at idolatrous rites
For some important cause, thou need'st not doubt.
Chor. How thou wilt here come off surmounts
my reach.

Sams. Be of good courage, I begin to feel
Some rousing motions in me which dispose
To something extraordinary my thoughts.
I with this messenger will go along,

Nothing to do, be sure, that may dishonour 1385
Our law, or stain my vow of Nazarite.
If there be ought of presage in the mind,
This day will be remarkable' in my life
By some great act, or of my days the last.

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Be efficacious in thee now at need.
For never was from Heaven imparted
Measure of strength so great to mortal seed,
As in thy wondrous actions hath been seen.
But wherefore comes old Manoah in such haste
With youthful steps? much livelier than erewhile
He seems; supposing here to find his son,
Or of him bringing to us some glad news?
Man. Peace with you, brethren; my induce
ment hither



Was not at present here to find my son,
By order of the lords new parted hence
To come and play before them at their feast.
I heard all as I came, the city rings,
And numbers thither flock, I had no will,
Lest I should see him forc'd to things unseemly,
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 1455

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 pris'ner. 1460
Some much averse I found and wondrous harsh,
Contemptuous proud, set on revenge and spite;
That part most reverenc'd Dagon and his priests:
Others more moderate seeming, but their aim
Private reward, for which both god and state 1465
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 great dread, captive, and blind before

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Man. It shall be my delight to tend his eyes, And view him sitting in the house, ennobled 1491 With all those high exploits by him achiev'd, And on his shoulders waving down those locks, That of a nation arm'd the strength contain❜d: And 1 persuade me God had not permitted His strength again to grow up with his hair Garrison'd round about him like a camp Of faithful soldiery, were not his purpose To use him further yet in some great service, Not to sit idle with so great a gift Useless, and thence ridiculous about him. And since his strength with eye-sight was not lost, God will restore his eye-sight to his strength. Chor. Thy hopes are not ill founded, nor seem Of his delivery, and thy joy thereon Conceiv'd agreeable to a father's love, In both which we, as next, participate. Man. I know your friendly minds and-O what





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Chor. Noise call you it or universal groan, As if the whole inhabitation perish'd! Blood, death, and deathful deeds are in that noise, Ruin, destruction at the utmost point. Man. Of ruin indeed, methought I heard the noise: 1515

Oh it continues, they have slain my son. Chor. Thy son is rather slaying them, that outcry

From slaughter of one foe could not ascend.


Man. Some dismal accident it needs must be ; What shall we do, stay here or run and see? 1520 Chor. Best keep together here, lest running We unawares run into danger's mouth. This evil on the Philistines is fallen; From whom could else a general cry be heard? The sufferers then will scarce molest us here, 1525 From other hands we need not much to fear. What if his eye-sight (for to Israel's God Nothing is hard) by miracle restor'd, He now be dealing dole among his foes,

And over heaps of slaughter'd walk his way? 1530 Man. That were a joy presumptuous to be


Chor. Yet God hath wrought things as incredible For his people of old; what hinders now?

Man. He can I know, but doubt to think he will; Yet hope would fain subscribe, and tempts belief. A little stay will bring some notice hither.


Chor. Of good or bad so great, of bad the sooner; For evil news rides post, while good news baits. And to our wish I see one hither speeding, A Hebrew, as I guess, and of our tribe.



Mess. O whither shall I run, or which way fly The sight of this so horrid spectacle, Which erst my eyes beheld and yet behold? For dire imagination still pursues me. But providence or instinct of nature seems, Or reason 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 horror, 1550 So in 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.

Mess. It would burst forth, but I recover breath And sense distract, to know well what I utter. 1556 Man. Tell us the sum, the circumstance defer. Mess. Gaza yet stands, but all her sons are fallen, All in a moment overwhelm'd and fallen.

Man. Sad, but thou know'st to Israelites not saddest

The desolation of a hostile city.


Mess. Feed on that first, there may in grief be surfeit.

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Man. The worst indeed, O all my hope's defeated To free him hence! but death who sets all free Hath paid his ransom 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 Nipp'd with the lagging rear of winter's frost! Yet ere I give the reins to grief, say first, How died he; death to life is crown or shame. All by him fell thou say'st, by whom fell he, 1580 What glorious hand gave Samson his death wound? Mess. Unwounded of his enemies he fell.

Man. Wearied with slaughter then or how ? ex

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At once both to destroy and be destroy'd;
The edifice, where all was met to see him
Upon their heads and on his own he pull'd.
Man. O lastly over-strong against thyself!
A dreadful way thou took'st to thy revenge.
More than enough we know; but while things yet
Are in confusion, give us if thou canst,
Eye-witness of what first or last was done,
Relation more particular and distinct.



Mess. Occasions drew me early to this city, And as the gates I enter'd with sun-rise, The morning trumpets festival proclaim'd Through each high street: little I had dispatch'd, When all abroad was rumour'd that this day 1601 Samson should be brought forth, to show the people Proof of his mighty strength in feats and games; I sorrow'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 seats where all the lords and each degree Of sort, might sit in order to behold; The other side was open, where the throng On banks and scaffolds under sky might stand; I among these aloof obscurely stood. The feast and noon grew high, and sacrifice Had fill'd their hearts with mirth, high cheer, and




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. 1620
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, 1626
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 1650
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 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 inmix'd, inevitably
Pull'd down the same destruction on himself,


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Nor much more cause; Samson hath quit himself
Like Samson, and heroicly hath finish'à
A life heroic, on his enemies


The work for which thou wast foretold

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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.



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 dwells

In Silo his bright sanctuary:

Among them he a spirit' of phrensy sent Who hurt their minds,

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Their own destruction to come speedy' upon them.

Semichor. But he though blind of sight,

Fully reveng'd, hath left them years of mourning,
And lamentations 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 eternal fame;
And which is best and happiest yet, all this
With God not parted from him, as was fear'd, 1720
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. 1725
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 1735
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,

So fond are mortal men

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And with blindness internal struck.

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


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Of tame villatic fowl; but as an eagle

His cloudless thunder bolted on their heads.

Chor. All is best, though we oft doubt What th' unsearchable dispose

So virtue given for lost,

Of highest wisdom brings about,

Depress'd, and overthrown, as seem'd,

And ever best found in the close.

Like that self-begotten bird

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In the Arabian woods imboss'd,

But unexpectedly returns,

That no second knows nor third,

And to his faithful champion hath in place

And lay erewhile a holocaust,

From out her ashy womb now teem'd,

Bore witness gloriously; whenee Gaza mouras And all that band them to resist

Revives, reflourishes, then vigorous most When most unactive deem'd.


His uncontrolable intent;


His servants he with new acquist

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Of true experience from this great event With peace and consolation hath dismiss'd, And calm of mind all passion spent.


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L'Allegro is the cheerful, merry man; and in this poem he describes the course of mirth in the country and in the city from morning to noon, and from noon till night.


HENCE, #ain deluding joys,


The brood of Folly without father bred!
How little you bested,

Or fill the fixed mind with all your toys!

Dwell in some idle brain,


And fancies fond with gaudy shapes possess,
As thick and numberless

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Or let my lamp at midnight hour
Be seen in some high lonely tower,
Where I may oft outwatch the Bear,
With thrice-great Hermes, or unsphere
The spirit of Plato to unfold
What worlds, or what vast regions hold
Th' immortal mind that hath forsook
Her mansion in this fleshly nook:
And of those Demons that are found
In fire, air, flood, or under ground,
Whose power hath a true consent
With planet, or with element.
Sometime let gorgeous Tragedy
In scepter'd pall come sweeping by,
Presenting Thebes' or Pelops' line,
Or the tale of Troy divine,
Or what (though rare) of later age
Ennobled hath thy buskin'd stage.

But, O sad Virgin, that thy power
Might raise Museus from his bower,
Or bid the soul of Orpheus sing
Such notes, as warbled to the string,
Drew iron tears down Pluto's cheek,

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Prince Memnon's sister might beseem,

Or that starr'd Ethiop queen that strove

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Yet thou art higher far descended,

Thee bright-hair'd Vesta long of yore

To solitary Saturn bore;

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And made hell grant what love did seek.
Or call him up that left half told

The story of Cambuscan bold,


Of Camball, and of Algarsife,

And who had Canace to wife,

While yet there was no fear of Jove.


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That own'd the virtuous ring and glass,
And of the wond'rous horse of brass,
On which the Tartar king did ride;
And if aught else great bards beside
In sage and solemn tunes have sung,
Of turneys and of trophies hung,
Of forests, and enchantments drear,


Over thy decent shoulders drawn.
Come, but keep thy wonted state,

Where more is meant than meets the ear.


Thus, Night, oft see me in thy pale career,

With even step, and musing gait,

Till civil-suited Morn appear,

And looks commercing with the skies,

Not trick'd and frounc'd as she was wont

Thy rapt soul sitting in thine eyes:


With the Attic boy to hunt,

There held in holy passion still,

But kerchieft in a comely cloud,


Forget thyself to marble, till

While rocking winds are piping loud,

With a sad leaden downward cast,

Or usher'd with a shower still

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*Il Penseroso is the thoughtful, melancholy man; and this poem, both in its model and principal circumstances, is taken from a song in praise of melancholy, in Beaumont and Fletcher's comedy, called The Nice Valour, or Passionate Madman.

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