Page images


Living or dying thou hast fulfill'd
The work for which thou wast foretold
To Ifrael, 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 number more
Than all thy life hath lain before. [sublime,

1 SEMICHOR. While their hearts were jocund and
Drunk with idolatry, drunk with wine, 1670
And fat regorg’d of bulls and goats,
Chaunting their idol, and preferring
Before our living Dread who dwells
In Silo his bright sanctuary :
Among them he a spi'rit of phrenzy fent,
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 importun'd

Their own destruction to come 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 repro
And with blindness internal struck.

2 SEMICHOR. But he, though blind of fight,
Despis’d and thought extinguish'd quite,
With inward eyes illuminated,
His fiery virtue rous'd

1690 From



From under alhes into sudden flame,
And as an evening dragon came,
Assailant on the perched roofts,
And nests in order rang'd
Of tame villatic fowl; but as an eagle

His cloudless thunder bolted on their heads.
So virtue giv’n for lost,
Depress'd, and overthrown, as seem'd,
Like that self-begotten bird
In the Arabian woods imbost,

1700 That no second knows nor third, And lay ere while a holocaust, From out her ashy womb now teem'd, Revives, reflorishes, then vigorous most When most unactive deem'd,

1705 And though her body die, her fame survives A fecular 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

1710 A life heroic, on his enemies Fully reveng'd, hath left them years of mourning, And lamentation to the sons of Caphtor Through all Philiftian bounds, to Israel Honor hath left, and freedom, let but them 1715 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, But favoring 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

Sok'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, 1730
To fetch him hence, and folemnly 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
Of laurel ever green, and branching palm,

1735 With all his trophies hung, and acts inrollid In copious legend, or sweet lyric song. Thither shall all the valiant youth resort, And from his memory inflame their breasts To matchless valor, and adventures high: 174.0 The virgins also shall on feaftful 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,

1745 What th' unsearchable dispose of highest wisdom brings about, And ever best found in the close. Oft he seems to hide his face, But unexpectedly returns,

1750 VOL. III,



And to his faithful champion hath in place
Borne witness gloriously; whence Gaza mourns
And all that band them to refift
His uncontrolable intent;
His servants he with new acquist

Of true experience from this great event
With peace and consolation hath dismist,
And calm of mind, all pallion spent.


[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

Baccare frontem “ Cingite, ne vati noceat mala lingua futuro."

VIRGIL, Eclog. vii.


« PreviousContinue »