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Sams. Thou know'st I am a Hebrew, therefore Yet knowing their advantages too many, 1401 tell them,
Because they shall not trail me through their streets Our law forbids at their religious rites
1320 Like a wild beast, I am content to go, My presence, for that cause I cannot coine.
Masters' commands come with a power resistless off. This answer, be assurd, will not content To such as owe them absolute subjection; 1405 them.
And for a life who will not change his purpose ?
Yet this be sure, in nothing to comply
To favour, and perhaps to set thee free.
Sams. Brethren, farewell; your company along Do they not seek occasion of new quarrels
I will not wish, lest it perhaps offend them On my refusal to distress me more,
To see me girt with friends, and how the sight Or make a game of my calamities?
Of me as of a common enemy,
1416 Return the way thou cam'st, I will not come. So dreaded once, may now exasperate them
Off: Regard thyself, this will offend them highly. I know not: lords are lordliest in their wine;
With zeal, if ought religion seem concern'd; 1420
(naine off. My message was impos'd on me with speed, To what may serve his glory best, and spread his Brooks no delay: is this thy resolution ?
Great among the heathen round;
1430 Sams. Do take it with what speed thy message Send thee the Angel of thy birth to stand needs.
Fast by thy side, who from thy father's field, off. I am sorry what this stoutness will produce. Rode up in flames after this message told Sams. Perhaps thou shalt have cause to sorrow' Of thy conception, and be now a shield indeed.
Of fire; that Spirit that first rush'd on thee 1435
Be efficacious in thee now at need.
Measure of strength so great to mortal seed, Expect another message more imperious,
As in thy wondrous actions hath been seen. 1440
With youthful steps ? much livelier than erewhile
Or of him bringing to us some glad news?
Man. Peace with you, brethren; my induce By prostituting holy things to idols;
1445 A Nazarite in place abominable
Was not at present here to find my son,
Lest I should see him forc'd to things unseemly,
But that which mov'd my coming now, was chiefly
Chor. That hope would much rejoice us to par.
1455 defile not.
With thee; say, reverend Sire, we thirst to hear. Sams. Where outward force constrains the sen- Man. I have attempted one by one the lords tence holds.
1369 Either at home, or through the high street passing,
Contemptuous proud, set on revenge and spite ;
That part most reverenc'd Dagon and his priests: Set God behind : which in his jealousy 1375 Others more moderate seeming, but their aim Shall never, unrepented, find forgiveness.
Private reward, for which both god and state 1465 Yet that he may dispense with me or thee
They easily would set to sale; a third Present in temples at idolatrous rites
More generous far and civil, who confess'd
What noise or shout was that ? it tore the sky. To something extraordinary my thoughts.
Chor. Doubtless the people shouting to behold I with this messenger will go along,
Their once great dread, captive, and blind before Nothing to do, be sure, that may dishonour 1385
them, Our law, or stain my vow of Nazarite.
Or at some proof of strength before them shown. If there be ought of presage in the mind,
Man. His ransom, if my whole inheritance 1476
May compass it, shall willingly be paid
1480 To thee I am bid say. Art thou our slave,
No, I am fix'd not to part hence without him.
For his redemption all my patrimony
Chor. Fathers are wont to lay up for their sons,
Sons wont to nurse their parents in old age, Sams. I could be well content to try their art, Thou in old age car'st how to nurse thy son Which to no few of them would prove pernicious. Made older than thy age through eye-sight lost.
Man. It shall be my delight to tend his eyes, Man. The worst indeed, O all my hope's defeated And view him sitting in the house, ennobled 1491 To free him hence! but death who sets all free With all those high exploits by him achiev'd, Hath paid his ransom now and full discharge. And on his shoulders waving down those locks, What windy joy this day had I conceiv'd That of a nation arm'd the strength contain'd: Hopeful of his delivery, which now proves 1576 And I persuade me God had not permitted 1495 Abortive as the first-born bloom of spring His strength again to grow up with his hair Nipp'd with the lagging rear of winter's frost! Garrison'à round about him like a camp
Yet ere I give the reins to grief, say first, Of faithful soldiery, were not his purpose
How died he; death to life is crown or shame To use him further yet in some great service, All by him fell thou say'st, hy whom fell he, 1580 Not to sit idle with so great a gift
1500 What glorious hand gave Samson his death wound ? Useless, and thence ridiculous about him.
Mess. Unwounded of his enemies he fell. And since his strength with eye-sight was not lost, Man. Wearied with slaughter then or how ? exGod will restore his eye-sight to his strength.
plain. Chor. Thy hopes are not ill founded, nor seem Moss. By his own hands. Of his delivery, and thy joy thereon (vain Man. Self-violence? what cause
1589 Conceiv'd agreeable to a father's love, 1506 Brought him so soon at variance with himself In both which we, as next, participate.
Among his foes ? Man. I know your friendly minds and what Mess. Inevitable cause noise!
At once both to destroy and be destroy'd ; Mercy of Heaven, what hideous noise was that? The edifice, where all was met to see him Horribly loud, unlike the former shout. 1510 Upon their heads and on his own he pull'd. 159C Chor. Noise call you it or universal groan,
Man. O lastly over-strong against thyself! As if the whole inhabitation perish'd !
A dreadful way thou took'st to thy revenge. Blood, death, and deathful deeds are in that noise, More than enough we know; but while things yet Ruin, destruction at the utmost point.
Are in confusion, give us if thou canst, Man. Of ruin indeed, methought I heard the Eye-witness of what first or last was done, 159€ noise :
1515 Relation more particular and distinct. Oh it continues, they have slain my son.
Mess. Occasions drew me early to this city, Chor. Thy son is rather slaying them, that out- And as the gates I enter'd with sun-rise, cry
The morning trumpets festival proclaim'd From slaughter of one foe could not ascend. Through each high street: little I had dispatch'd,
Man. Some dismal accident it needs must be ; When all abroad was rumour'd that this day 1601 What shall we do, stay here or run and see ? 1520 Samson should be brought forth, to show the people
Chor. Best keep together here, lest running Proof of his mighty strength feats and games; We unawares run into danger's mouth. (thither I sorrow'd at his captive state, but minded This evil on the Philistines is fallen;
Not to be absent at that spectacle.
1605 From whom could else a general cry be heard ? The building was a spacious theatre The sufferers then will scarce molest us here, 1525 Half-round on two main pillars vaulted high, From other hands we need not much to fear. With seats where all the lords and each degree What if his eye-sight (for to Israel's God
Of sort, might sit in order to behold; Nothing is hard) by miracle restor'd,
The other side was open, where the throng 1610 He now be dealing dole among his foes,
On banks and scaffolds under sky might stand; And over heaps of slaughter'd
walk his way? 1530 I among these aloof obscurely stood. Man. That were a joy presumptuous to be The feast and noon grew high, and sacrifice thought.
Had fill'd their hearts with mirth, high cheer, and Chor. Yet God hath wrought things as incredible
wine, For his people of old; what hinders now ?
When to their sports they turn'd. Immediately Man. He can I know, but doubt to think he will; Was Samson as a public servant brought,
1616 Yet hope would fain subscribe, and tempts belief. In their state livery clad; before him pipes A little stay will bring some notice hither. 1536 And timbrels, on each side went armed guards,
Chor. Of good or bad so great, of bad the sooner ; Both horse and foot, before him and behind For evil news rides post, while good news baits. Archers, and slingers, cataphracts and spears. 16%C And to our wish I see one hither speeding,
At sight of him the people with a shout A Hebrew, as I guess, and of our tribe. 1340 Rifted the air, clamouring their god with praise,
Mess. O'whither shall I run, or which way fly Who' had made their dreadful enemy their thraí. The sight of this so horrid spectacle,
He patient but undaunted where they led him, Which erst my eyes beheld and yet behold? Came to the place, and what was set before him, For dire imagination still pursues me.
Which without help of eye might be assay'd, 1626 But providence or instinct of nature seems,
1545 To heave, pull, draw, or brcak, he still perform'd Or reason though disturb'd, and scarce consulted, All with incredible, stupendous force, To have guided me aright, I know not how, None daring to appear antagonist. To thee first reverend Manoah, and to these At length for intermission' sake they led him 1630 My countrymen, whom here I knew remaining, Between the pillars; he his guide requested As at some distance from the place of horror, 1550 (For so from such as nearer stood we heard) So in the sad event too much concern'd.
As over-tir'd to let him lean a while Man. The accident was loud, and here before With both his arms on those two massy pillars, thee
That to the arched roof gave main support. 1635 With rueful cry, yet what it was we hear not; He unsuspicious led him; which when Sanson No preface needs, thou seest we long to know. Felt in his arms, with head a while inclin'd,
Mess. It would burst forth, but I'recover breath And eyes fast fix'd he stood, as one who pray'd, And sense distract, to know well what I utter. 1556 Or some great matter in his mind revolv'd :
Man. Tell us the sum, the circumstance defer. At last with head erect thus cried aloud, 1640
Mess. Gaza yet stands, but all her sons are fallen, Hitherto, lords, what your commands imposid All in a moment overwhelm'd and fallen.
I have perform'd, as reason was, obeying, Man. Sad, but thou know'st to Israelites not Noi without wonder or delight beheld: saddest
1560 Now of my own accord such other trial The desolation of a hostile city.
I mean to show you of my strength, yet greater; Mess. Feed on that first, there may in grief be As with amaze shall strike all who behold. 1646 surfeit.
This utter'd, straining all his nerves he bow'd, Han. Relate by whom.
As with the force of winds and waters pent, Mess. By Samson.
When mountains tremble, those two massy pillars Man. That still lessons
With horrible convulsion to and fro,
1650 The sorrow, and converts it nigh to joy.
He tugg'd, he shook, till down they came and drew Mess. Ah Manoah, I refrain too suddenly 1565 The whole roof after them, with burst of thunder To utter what will come at last too soon;
Upon the heads of all who sat beneath, Lest evil tidings with too rude irruption
Lords, ladies, captains, counsellors, or priests, Hitting thy aged ear should pierce too deep. Their choice nobility and flower, not only 1665 Man. Suspense in news is torture, speak them of this
but each Philistian city round out.
Met from all parts to solemnize this feast. Mus. Take then the worst in brief, Samson is Samson, with
these inmix'd, inevitably dead.
1570 Pull'd down the same destruction on himself,
The vulgar only scap'd who stood without. 1660 Nor much more cause; Samson hath quit himself
Chor. 6 dearly-bought revenge, yet glorious ! Like Samson, and heroicly hath finish'a 1711 Living or dying thou hast fulfiild
A life heroic, on his enemies The work for which thou wast foretold
Fully reveng'd, hath left them years of mourning, To Israel, and now liest victorious
And lamentations to the sons of Caphtor Among thy slain self-kill'd,
1665 Through all Philistian bounds; to Israel 1715 Not willingly, but tangled in the fold 1669 Honour hath left, and freedom, let but them Of dire necessity, whose law in death conjoin'd Find courage to lay hold on this occasion; Thee with thy slaughter'd foes in number more To himself
house eternal fame; Than all thy life had slain before.
1669 And which is best and happiest yet, all this Semichor. While their hearts were jocund and With God not parted from him, as was fear'd, 1720 Drunk with idolatry, drunk with wine, (sublime, But favouring and assisting to the end. And fat regorg'd of bulls and goats,
Nothing is here for tears, nothing to wail Chanting their idol, and preferring
Or knock the breast, no weakness, no contempt, Before our living Dread who dwells
Dispraise or blame, nothing but well and fair, In Silo his bright sanctuary:
1675 And what may quiet us in a death so noble. 1725 Among them he a spirit of phrensy sent
Let us go find the body where it lies Who hurt their minds,
Soak'd in his enemies' blood, and from the stream And urg'd them on with mad desire
With lavers pure and cleansing herbs wash off To call in haste for their destroyer ;
The clotted gore. I with what speed the while They only set on sport and play 1680 (Gaza is not in plight to say us nay)
1730 Unweetingly importun'd
Will send for all my kindred, all my friends,
With silent obsequy and funeral train
Home to his father's house: there will I build him As their own ruin on themselves to' invite, 1685
A monument, and plant it round with shade 1735 Insensate left, or to sense reprobate,
Of laurel ever green, and branching palm, And with blindness internal struck.
With all his trophies hung, and acts inroll'd Semichor. But he though blind of sight,
In copious legend, or sweet lyric song. Despis'd and thought extinguish'd quite,
Thither shall all the valiant youth resort, With inward eyes illuminated,
1690 And from his memory inflame their breasts 1740 His fiery virtue rous'd
To matchless valour, and adventures high: From under ashes into sudden flame,
The virgins also shall on feastful days And as an evening dragon came,
Visit his tomb with flowers, only bewailing Assailant on the perched roosts,
His lot unfortunate in nuptial choice, And nests in order rang'd 1695 From whence captivity and loss of eyes.
1745 Of tame villatic fowl; but as an eagle
Chor. All is best, though we oft doubt His cloudless thunder bolted on their heads.
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 1700 Oft he seems to hide his face,
1750 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,
Bore witness gloriously; whenee Gaza mounts From out her ashy womb now teem'd,
And all that band them to resist Revives, reflourishes, then vigorous most 1705 His uncontrolable intent;
1755 When most unactive deem'd.
His servants he with new acquist
With peace and consolation hath dismissid,
END OF SAMSON AGONISTES.
HENCE, loathed Melancholy,
Towers and battlements it sees Of Cerberus and blackest Nild night born, Bosom'd high in tufted trees, In Stygian cave forlorn,
(unholy! Where perhaps some beauty lies, 'Mongst horrid shapes and shrieks, and sights The Cynosure of neighb'ring eyes.
5 Hard by, a cottage chimney smokes, Where brooding Darkness spreads his jealous From betwixt two aged oaks, And the night-raven sings;
wings, Where Corydon and Thyrsis, met, There under ebon shades, and low-brow'd rocks, Are at their savoury dinner set As ragged as thy locks,
Of herbs, and other country messes,
And then in haste her bower she leaves,
With Thestylis to bind the sheaves; And by men, heart-easing Mirth,
Or, if the earlier season lead, Whom lovely Venus, at a birth,
To the tann'd haycock in the mead, With two sister Graces more
15 fometimes with secure light To ivy-crowned Bacchus bore;
The uplana hamlets will invite, Or whether (as some sager sing)
When the merry bells ring round, The frolic wind that breathes the spring,
And the jocund rebecs sound Zephyr, with Aurora playing,
To many a youth, and many a maid, As he met her once a-Maying;
Dancing in the chequer'd shade; There on beds of violets blue,
And young and old come forth to play And fresh-blown roses wash d in dew,
On a sun shine holiday, Fill'd her with thee, a daughter fair,
Till the live-long day-light fail; So buxom, blithe, and debonaire.
Then to the spicy nut-brown ale, Haste thee, nymph, and bring with the 25 With stories told of many a feat, Jest and youthful Jollity,
How fairy Mab the junkets eat, Quips, and cranks, and wanton wiles,
She was pinch'd, and pull'd, she said, Nods and becks, and wreathed smiles,
And he, by friar's lantern led, Such as hang on Hebe's cheek,
Tells how the drudging goblin sweat, And love to live in dimple sleek;
30 To earn his cream-bowl duly set, Sport that wrinkled Care derides,
When in one night, ere glimpse of morn, And Laughter holding both his sides.
His shadowy flail hath thresh'd the corn, Come, and trip it as you go,
That ten day-lab'rers could not end; On the light fantastic toe;
Then lies him down the lubbar-fiend, And in thy right-hand lead with thee,
And, stretch'd out all the chimney's length, The mountain nymph, sweet Liberty ;
Basks at the fire his hairy strength, And if I give thee honour due,
And crop-full out of doors he flings, Mirth, admit me of thy crew,
Ere the first cock his matin rings. To live with her, and live with thee,
Thus done the tales, to bed they creep, In unreproved pleasures free;
40 By whisp'ring winds soon lull'd asleep. To hear the lark begin his flight,
Towered cities please us then, And singing startle the dull Night,
And the busy hum of men, From his watch-tower in the skies,
Where throngs of knights and barons bold Till the dappled dawn doth rise;
In weeds of peace high triumphs hold, Then to come in spite of Sorrow,
45 With store of ladies, whose bright eyes And at my window bid good-morrow,
Rain influence, and judge the prize Through the sweet-brier, or the vine,
Of wit, or arms, while both contend Or the twisted eglantine:
To win her grace, whom all commend. While the cock with lively din
There let Hymen oft appear Scatters the rear of Darkness thin,
50 In saffron robe, with taper clear, And to the stack, or the barn-door,
And pomp, and feast, and revelry, Stoutly struts his dames before:
With mask and antique pageantry, Oft list'ning how the hounds and horn
Such sights as youthful poets dream Cheerly rouse the slumb'ring Morn,
On summer eves by haunted stream. From the side of some hoar hill
55 Then to the well trod stage anon, Through the high wood echoing shrill:
If Jonson's learned sock be on, Some time walking not unseen
Or sweetest Shakespeare, Fancy's child, By hedge-row elms, or hillocks green,
Warble his native wood-notes wild, Right against the eastern gate,
And ever, against eating cares, Where the great Sun begins his state,
60 Lap me in soft Lydian airs, Rob'd in flames, and amber light,
Married to immortal verse, The clouds in thousand liveries dight,
Such as the meeting soul may pierce, While the ploughman near at hand
In notes, with many a winding bout Whistles o'er the furrow'd land,
Of linked sweetness long drawn out. And the milk-maid singeth blithe,
65 With wanton heed, and giddy cunning, And the mower whets his scythe,
The melting voice through mazes running, And every shepherd tells his tale
Untwisting all the chains that tie
The hidden soul of harmony;
Of heap'd Elysian flowers, and hear
Such strains as would have won the ear Mountains on whose barren breast
Of Pluto, to have quite set free The lab'ring clouds do often rest;
His half-regain'd Eurydice. Meadows trim with daisies pied,
75 These delights, if thou canst give, Shallow brook and rivers wide:
Mirth, with thee I mean to live.
• L'Allegro is the cheerful, merry man; and in this poem he descrlbes the course of mirth in the country and in the city from morning to noon, and from noon till night.
HENCE, wain deluding joys,
Or let my lamp at midnight hour
85 The brood of Folly without father bred !
Be seen in some high lonely tower, How little you bested,
Where I may oft outwatch the Bear, Or fill the fixed mind with all your toys!
With thrice-great Hermes, or unsphere Dwell in some idle brain,
5 The spirit of Plato to unfold And fancies fond with gaudy shapes possess,
What worlds, or what vast regions hold
90 As thick and numberless
Th' immortal mind that hath forsook As the gay motes that people the sunbeams,
Her mansion in this fleshly nook : Or likest hovering dreams,
And of those Demons that are found The fickle pensioners of Morpheus' train. 1C
In fire, air, flood, or under ground, But hail, thou goddess, sage and holy,
Whose power hath a true consent
95 Hail, divinest Melancholy?
With planet, or with element. Whose saintly visage is too bright
Sometime let gorgeous Tragedy To hit the sense of human sight,
In scepter'd pall come sweeping by, And therefore to our weaker view
15 Presenting Thebes' or Pelops' line, O'erlaid with black, staid Wisdom's hue:
Or the tale of Troy divine,
100 Black, but such as in esteem,
Or what (though rare) of later age Prince Memnon's sister might beseem,
Ennobled hath thy buskin'd stage. Or that starr'd Ethiop queen that strove
Put, 0 sad Virgin, that thy power To set her beauties' praise above
20 Might raise Musæus from his bower, The Sea-nymphs, and their powers offended: Or bid the soul of Orpheus sing
105 Yet thou art higher far descended,
Such notes, as warbled the string, Thee bright-hair'd Vesta long of yore
Drew iron tears down Pluto's cheek, To solitary Saturn bore;
And made hell grant what love did seek. His daughter she (in Saturn's reign,
25 Or call him up that left half told Such mixture was not held a stain,)
The story of Cambuscan bold,
110 Oft in glimmering bowers and glades
Of Camball, and of Algarsife, He met her, and in secret shades
And who had Canace to wife, Of woody Ida's inmost grove,
That own'd the virtuous ring and glass, While yet there was no fear of Jove.
30 And of the wondrous horse of brass, Come, pensive Nun, devout and pure,
On which the Tartar king did ride;
115 Sober, steadfast, and demure,
And if aught else great bards beside All in a robe of darkest grain,
In sage and solemn tunes have sung, Flowing with majestic train,
Of turneys and of trophies hung, And sable stole of Cyprus lawn,
Of forests, and enchantments drear, Over thy decent shoulders drawn.
Where more is meant than meets the ear. 120 Come, but keep thy wonted state,
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 :
40 With the Attic boy to hunt, There held in holy passion still,
But kerchieft in a comely cloud,
125 Forget thyself to marble, till
While rocking winds are piping loud, With a sad leaden downward cast,
Or usher'd with a shower still Thou fix them on the earth as fast:
When the gust hath blown his fill, And join with thee calm Peace, and Quiet,
45 Ending on the rustling leaves, Spare Fast, that oft with gods doth diet,
With minute drops from off the eaves.
130 And hears the Muses in a ring.
And when the sun begins to fling Aye round about Jove's altar sing:
His flaring beams, me, goddess, bring And add to these retired Leisure,
To arched walks of twilight groves, That in trim gardens takes his pleasure
50 And shadows brown, that Sylvan loves, But first and chiefest, with thee bring,
Of pine, or monumental oak,
135 Him that yon soars on golden wing,
Where the rude ax with heaved stroke Guiding the fiery-wheeled throne,
Was never heard the Nymphs to daunt, The cherub Contemplation ;
Or fright them from their hallow'd haunt. And the mute Silence hist along,
55 There in close covert by some brook, 'Less Philomel will deign a song,
Where no profaner eye may look,
140 In her sweetest, saddest plight,
Hide me from day's garish eye, Smoothing the rugged brow of Night,
While the bee with honied thigh, While Cynthia checks her dragon yoke,
That at her flowery work doth sing, Gently o'er th' accustom'd oak;
GO And the waters murmuring, Sweet bird, that shunn'st the noise of folly,
With such concert as they keep,
146 Most musical, most melancholy !
Entice the dewy-feather'd Sleep; Thee, chantress, oft, the woods among,
And let some strange mysterious dream I woo, to hear thy evening-song;
Wave at his wings in airy stream And missing thee, I walk unseen
65 Of lively portraiture display'd, On the dry smooth-shaven green,
Softly on my eyelids laid.
150 To behold the wand'ring moon,
And as I wake sweet music breathe Riding near her highest noon,
Above, about, or underneath, Like one that had been led astray
Sent by some spirit to mortals good, Through the heaven's wide pathless way, 70 Or th' unseen genius of the wood. And oft, as if her head she bow'd,
But let my due feet never fail
155 Stooping through a fleecy cloud.
To walk the studious cloisters pale, Oft on a plat of rising ground,
And love the high embowed roof, I hear the far-off curfew sound,
With antique pillars massy proof, Over some wide-water'd shore,
75 And storied windows richly dight, Swinging slow with sullen roar;
Casting a dim religious light.
160 Or if the air will not permit,
There let the pealing organ blow, Some still removed place will fit,
To the full-voic'd choir below, Where glowing embers through the room
In service high and anthems clear, Teach light to counterfeit a gloom,
80 As may with sweetness through mine ear, Far from all resort of mirth,
Dissolve me into ecstacies,
165 Save the cricket on the hearth,
And bring all heaven before mine eyes ! Or the belman's drowsy charm,
And may at last my weary age To bless the doors from nightly harm:
Find out the peaceful hermitage, 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.