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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 conceived,
Hopeful of his delivery, which now proves
Abortive as the first-born bloom of spring
Nipt 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?
What glorious hand gave Samson his death's



Mess. Unwounded of his enemies he fell. Man. Wearied with slaughter, then, or how?


Mess. By his own hands.

Man. Self-violence? what cause Brought him so soon at variance with himself Among his foes?


Inevitable cause,

At once both to destroy and be destroyed;
The edifice, where all were met to see him,
Upon their heads and on his own he pulled.
Man. Oh, lastly over-strong against thyself!
A dreadful way thou took'st to thy revenge. 1591
More than enough we know ; but while things

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 entered with sun-rise,
The morning trumpets festival proclaimed
Through each high street. Little I had

When all abroad was rumoured that this day Samson should be brought forth to show the



Proof of his mighty strength in feats and games. I sorrowed 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 filled their hearts with mirth, high cheer

and wine,

When to their sports they turned.



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.
At sight of him the people with a shout
Rifted the air, clamouring their god with



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 assayed, To heave, pull, draw, or break, he still per


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-tired, 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

Felt in his arms, with head awhile inclined,
And eyes fast fixed, he stood, as


one who Or some great matter in his mind revolved. At last, with head erect, thus cried aloud :— Hitherto, lords, what your commands im




I have performed, 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

As with amaze shall strike all who behold." This uttered, straining all his nerves, he bowed;

As with the force of winds and waters pent, When mountains tremble, those two massy pillars

With horrible convulsion to and fro

He tugged, he shook, till down they came, and



The whole roof after them with burst of


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 immixed, inevitably
Pulled down the same destruction on himself;
The vulgar only scaped who stood without.
Cho. O dearly bought revenge, yet glorious!

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, 1731 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 enrolled
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; 1740
The virgins also shall, on feastful days,
Visit his tomb with flowers, only bewailing
His lot unfortunate in nuptial choice,
From whence captivity and loss of eyes.
Cho. All is best, though we oft doubt
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 frem this great event,
With peace and consolation hath dismissed,
And calm of mind, all passion spent.




Quorum pleraque intra annum ætatis vigesimum conscripsit.

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