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For evil news rides post, while good news bates.
And to our wish I see one hither speeding,
An Hebrew, as I guess, and of our tribe.

[Enter] Messenger.

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 horrour, So in the sad event too much concern'd. Man. The accident was loud, and here before


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.
Man. Tell us the sum, the circumstance defer.
Mess. Gaza yet stands, but all her sons are

All in a 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.
By Samson.



That still lessens The sorrow, and converts it nigh to joy.

Mess. Ah! Manoah, I refrain too suddenly To utter what will come at last too soon; Lest evil tidings with too rude irruption Hitting thy aged ear should pierce too deep. Man. Suspense in news is torture, speak them


Mess. Take then the worst in brief, Samson is dead.

Man. The worst indeed, O all my hopes 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
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? explain.

Mess. By his own hands.

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

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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 despatch'd,
When all abroad was rumour'd that this day
Samson should be brought forth, to show the

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;
among these aloof obscurely stood.
The feast and noon grew high, and sacrifice
Had fill'd their hearts with mirth, high cheer;
and wine,

When to their sports they turn'd.


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 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,
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 pil-
With horrible convulsion to and fro
He tugg'd, he shook, till down they came and

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 work for 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 number more 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 impórtun'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 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 lay ere while a holocaust,

Let us go find the body where it lies
Soak'd in his enemies blood; and from the streami
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
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,
And from his memory inflame their breasts
To matchless valour, and adventures high:
The virgins also shali, on feastful days,
Visit his tomb with flowers; only bewailing
His lot unfortunate in nuptial choice,
From whence captivity and loss of eyes.

Chor. 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, from this great event
With peace and consolation hath dismist,
And calm of mind, all passion spent.


ΤΟ 2



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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 eternal 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.



i. The Flood. [See No. iii. below.]

ii. Abram in Egypt.

iii. The Deluge.

iv. Sodom.

v. Dinah, Vide Euseb. Præparat. 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

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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-

vii. The golden Calfe, or The Massacre in

viii. The Quails. Num. xi.

ix. The Murmurers. Num. xiv.

x. Corah, Dathan, &c. Num. xvi, xvii.
xi. Moabitides. Num. xxv. [See No. Iv.

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 PURSOPHORUS, or Hybristes, or Dagonalia. Judg. xvi.

xix. Comazontes, or The Benjaminites, or The Rioters. Judg. xix, xx, xxi.

xx. Theristria, a Pastoral, out of Ruth. xxi. Eliade, 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. David adulterous. 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 Gynæcocratumenus, or Idolomargus, aut Thysiazusa. I Reg. xi. xxxii. Rehoboam. 1 Reg. xii. Wher is disputed of a politic religion. xxxiii. Abias Thersæus. I Reg. xiv. The queen,

after much dispute, as the last refuge, sent to the profet Ahias 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 TODD. the end of that poem.

The former part is 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 ovxvpavráμavog. 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. 'Opulárne. Or, better, Elias Polemistes.

xxxviii. Elisæus Hudrochóos. 11 Reg. ni. Hudrophantes. Aquator.

xxxix. Eliseus Adorodocétas.

xl. Elisaus Minutes, sive in Dothaimis. II Reg. vi.

xli. Samaria Liberala. II Reg. vii. xlii. Achabai Cunoborwmeni. II Reg. ix.

The Scene, Jesrael. Beginning, from the watchman's discovery of Jehu, till he go out. In the mean while, message of things passing brought to Jesebel, &c. Lastly, the 70 heads of Ahab's sons brought in, 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. Hezechias diogu. 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 afford átiguas 6ys,together with a faction that sought help from Egypt.

xlvii. Josiah Alalomenos. II Reg. xxiii. xlviii. Zedechia VOTEgiv. II Reg. But the story is larger in Jeremiah,

xlix. Salymas 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 Jeremiah.

1. Asa, or Ethiopes. II Chron. xiv. with the deposing his mother, and burning her idol.

li. The three children. Dan. iii.

lii. Abram from Morea, or Isaac redeem-
The oiconomie may be thus.
fift or sixt day after Abraham's depar-
ture. 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 lamentations, 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.

iii. Baptistes. The Scene, the Court.

Beginning, From the morning of Hero'ds birth day.

In the mar

gin of the MS. Or els the queen

Herod, by some counsel

er persuaded on his birth

may plot, under day to release John Bappra enseof beg

ging for his - tist, purposes it, causes besty, to seek him to be sent for to court The queen

to draw him in

to a snare by from prison.


his freedom of hears of it, takes occasion to passe wher he is, on purpose, that, under prætense 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 his sentence; which not finding, she herself craft ly assays; and on his constancie, founds an accusation to Herod of a contumacious affront, on such a day, before many peers; præpares the king to some passion, and at last by her daughter's dancing, effects it. There may prologize the spirit of Philip, Herod's brother. It may also be thought that Herod had well bedew'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 maister'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, præpares 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 citty solemnities; it beeing an honour that thire citty had decreed to all fair personages, as beeing 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 præsumption, singularity, breach of city-customs; in fine, offer violence. The Chorus of shepheards præpare resistance in thire maister'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 to gether 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 angels doe 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 evening every one, with mistresse or Ganymed, gitterning 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 how it differs from lust; seeking to win them.

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, Lot's son

in law, for despising the continual admonitions of Lot. Then, calling to the thunders, lightning, and fires, he bids them heare the call and command of God, to come and destroy a godlesse nation. He brings them down with some short warning to other nations to take heed.

W. Moabitides, or Phineas. The epitasis whereof may lie in the contention, first, between the father of Zimri and Eleazer, whether he [ought] to have slain his son without law? Next, the ambassadors of the Moabites, expostulating about Cosbi, a stranger and a noble woman, slain by Phineas.

It may be argued about reformation and punishment illegal, and, as it were, by tumult. After all arguments driven home, then the word of the Lord may be brought, acquitting and approving Phineas. Ivi. Christus Patiens. The Scene, in the garden. Beginning, from the comming

thither, till Judas betraies, and the officers lead him away. The rest by Message and Chorus.

His agony may receav noble expressions.

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Ixiii. The cloister-king Constans set up by Vortiger. Venutius, husband to Cartismandua.

Ixiv. Vortiger poison'd by Roena.

lxv. Vortiger immur'd.

Vortiger marrying Roena, See Speed. Reproov'd by VoSpeed. din, archbishop of London.

The massacre of the Britains by Hengist in thire cups at Salisbury plaine. Malmsbury.

lxvi. Sigher, of the East-Saxons, revolted from the faith, and reclaimed by Jarumang. lxvii. Ethelbert, of the East-Angles, slain by Offa the Mercian. See Holinsh. L. vi. C. v. Speed, in the life of Offa, and Ethelbert.

lxviii. Sebert slaine by Penda, after he had left his kingdom. See Holinshed, p. 116. Ixix. Wulfer slaying his tow sons for beeing Christians.

lxx. Osbert, of Northumberland, slain for ra

vishing the wife of Bernbocard, and the Danes brought in. See Stow, Holinsb. L. vi. C. xii. And especially Speed, L. viii. C. ii. Ixxi, Edmund, last king of the East-Angles,

martyr'd by Hinguar the Dane. See
Speed, L. viii, C. ii.

Ixxii. Sigbert, tyrant of the West-Saxons,
slaine by a swinheard.

lxxiii. Edmund, brother of Athelstan, slaine by a theefe at his owne table. Malmesb. lxxiv. Edwin, son to Edward the younger, for lust depriv'd of his kingdom, or rather by faction of monks, whome he hated; together [with] the impostor Dunstan. lxxv. Edward, son of Edgar, murder'd by his step-mother. To which may be inserted the tragedies stirr'd up betwixt the monks and priests about mariage. lxxvi. Etheldred, son of Edgar, a slothful king; the ruin of his land by the Danes. Ixxvii. Ceaulin, king of the West-Saxons, for tyrannie depos'd and banish't; and dy


lxxviii. The slaughter of the monks of Bangor by Edelfride, stirr'd up, as is said, by Ethelbert, and he by Austine the monke; because the Britains would not receave the rites of the Roman church. See Bede, Geffrey Monmouth, and Holinshed, p. 104. Which must begin with the convocation of British Clergie by Austin to determine superfluous points, which by them were refused.

lxxix. Edwin, by vision, promis'd the kingdom of Northumberland on promise of his conversion; and therein establish't by Rodoald, king of [the] East-Angles.

lxxx. Oswin, king of Deira, slaine by Oswie

his friend, king of Bernitia, through instigation of flatterers. See Holinsh. p.


lxxxi. Sigibert, of the East-Angles, keeping companie with a person excommunicated, slaine by the same man in his house, according as the bishop Cedda had foretold.

lxxxii. Egfride, king of the Northumbers, slaine in battle against the Picts; having before wasted Ireland, and made warre for no reason on men that ever lov'd the English; forewarn'd al o by Cuthbert not to fight with the Picts.

lxxxiii. Kinewulf, king of the West-Saxons, slaine by Kineard in the house of one of his concubins.

lxxxiv. Gunthildis, the Danish ladie, with her husband Palingus, and her son, slaine by the appointment of the traitor Edrick, in king Ethelred's days. Holinsh. L. vii. C. v. together with the massacre of the Danes at Oxford. Speed.

lxxxv. Brightrick, [king] of [the] West-Saxons, poyson'd by his wife Ethelburge, Offa's daughter; who dyes miserably also, in beggery, after adultery, in a nunnery. Speed in Bithrick.

lxxxvi. Alfred, in disguise of a minstrel, discovers the Danes' negligence; sets on [them] About the with a mightie slaughter.

same tyme the Devonshire men rout Hubba, and slay him.

lxxxvii. Athelstan exposing his brother Edwin to the sea, and repenting

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