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in vain with the remorseless chains, which gnaw
and eat into thy flesh, festering thy limbs
with rankling rust.
H, whither shall I run, or which way fly
which erst my eyes beheld, and yet behold ?
for dire imagination still pursues me.
But providence or instinct of nature seems,
or reason, though disturbed and scarce consulted,
to have guided me aright, I know not how,
to thee first, reverend Manoa, and to these
my countrymen, whom here I knew remaining,
as at some distance from the place of horror,
so in the sad event too much concerned. 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. Man. Tell us the sum, the circumstance defer. Mess. Gaza yet stands, but all her sons are fallen,
all in a moment overwhelmed and fallen. Man. Sad; but thou knowest to Israelites not saddest
the desolation of a hostile city. Mess. Feed on that first, there may in grief be surfeit. Man. Relate by whom. Mess.
By Samson. Man.
That still lessens
the sorrow, and converts it nigh to joy.
Mess. Ah! Manoa, 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 out.
Mess. Take then the worst in brief, Samson is dead.
Man. All by him fell thou say'st, by whom fell he?
What glorious hand gave Samson his death's wound? 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 ? Mess.
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 tookest to thy revenge.
More than enough we know: but, while things yet
are in confusion, give us, if thou can’st,
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 dispatched
when all abroad was rumoured that this day
Samson should be brought forth to show the people
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
when to their sports they turned. Immediately
was Samson as a public servant brought,
in their state livery clad; before him pipes
and timbrels ; on each side went arméd 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. 1020 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 performed,
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 awhile
with both his arms on those two massy pillars,
that to the archéd roof gave main support.
He unsuspicious led him ; which when Samson
felt in his arms, with head awhile inclined,
and eyes fast fixt he stood, as one who prayed,
or some great matter in his mind revolved.
At last with head erect thus cried aloud:
'Hitherto, Lords, what your commands imposed
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 greater,
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 confusion to and fro
he tugged 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 immixed, inevitably
pulled down the same destruction on himself;
the vulgar only scaped who stood without.
here will we sit, and let the sounds of music creep in our ears; soft stillness and the night become the touches of sweet harmony: Sit, Jessica. Look, how the floor of heaven is thick inlaid with patines of bright gold;
there's not the smallest orb which thou behold'st
but in his motion like an angel sings,
still quiring to the young-ey'd cherubins:
such harmony is in immortal souls;
but whilst this muddy vesture of decay
doth grossly close it in, we cannot hear it.-
Come, ho, and wake Diana with a hymn;
with sweetest touches pierce your mistress' ear,
and draw her home with music.
Jes. I am never merry, when I hear sweet music.
Lor. The reason is, your spirits are attentive:
for do but note a wild and wanton herd,
or race of youthful and unhandled colts,
fetching mad bounds, bellowing, and neighing loud,
which is the hot condition of their blood;
if they but hear perchance a trumpet sound,
or any air of music touch their ears,
you shall perceive them make a mutual stand,
their savage eyes turn’d to a modest gaze,
by the sweet power of music: therefore, the poet
did feign that Orpheus drew trees, stones, and floods;
since nought so stockish, hard, and full of rage,
but music for the time doth change his nature.
The man that hath no music in himself,
nor is not mov'd with concord of sweet sounds,
is fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils;
the motions of his spirit are dull as night,
and his affections dark as Erebus:
let no such man be trusted.—Mark the music.
TROIL US AT THE PALACE OF CREESEID
'HEN said he thus: “O paleis desolate,
O paleis empty and disconsolate,
O thou lanterne, of which queint is the light,
O paleise whilom day, that now art night,
wel oughtest thou to fall, and I to die,
sens she is went, that wont was us to gie.
“O paleis whilom crowne of houses all,
enlumined with Sunne of alle blisse,
O ring, of which the rubie is out fall,
O cause of wo, that cause hast ben of blisse:
yet sens I may no bet, fain would I kisse
thy colde doores, durst I for this rout,
and farewel shrine of which the saint is out.”
Therewith he cast on Pandarus his eie,
with changed face, and pitous to behold,
and whan he might his time aright aspie,
aie as he rode, to Pandarus he told
his new sorow, and eke his joyes old.
So pitously, and with so deed an hew,
that every wight might on his sorow rew.
Fro thence-forth he rideth up and doune,
and every thing came him to remembraunce,
as he rode forth by the places of the toune,
in which he whilom had all his pleasaunce:
“Lo, yonder saw I mine owne lady daunce,
and in that temple with her eien clere,
me caught first my right lady dere.
“And yonder have I herde full lustily
my dere herte laugh, and yonder play
saw I her ones eke ful blisfully,
and yonder ones to me gan she say
‘now good sweete love me well I pray,'
and yonde so goodly gan she me behold,
that to the death mine herte is to her hold.”
'OR what is glory but the blaze of fame,
the people's praise, if always praise unmixed ? and what the people but a herd confused, a miscellaneous rabble, who extol things vulgar, and, well weighed, scarce worth the
praise? They praise and they admire they know not what, and know not whom, but as one leads the other. And what delight to be by such extolled, to live upon their tongues and be their talk, of whom to be dispraised were no small praise,