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Pretors, proconsuls, to their provinces
That people, victor once, now vile and base ; Hasting, or on return, in robes of state,
Deservedly made vassal ; who, once just, Lictors and rods, the ensigns of their power, Frugal, and mild, and temperate, conquer'd well, Legions and cohorts, turms of horse and wings: But govern ill the nations under yoke, Or embassies from regions far remote,
Peeling their provinces, exhausted all
By lust and rapine; first ambitious grown
Of fighting beasts, and men to beasts expos'd
What wise and valiant man would seek to free And utmost Indian isle Taprubane,
These, thus degenerate, by themselves enslar'd? Dusk faces with white silken turbans wreath'd ; Or could of inward slaves make outward free ? From Gallia, Gades, and the British west;
Know therefore, when my season comes to sit Germans, and Scythians, and Sarmatians, north On David's throne, it shall be like a tree Beyond Danubius to the Tauric pool.
Spreading and overshadowing all the Earth ; All nations now to Rome obedience pay;
Or as a stone, that shall to pieces dash To Rome's great emperor, whose wide domain, All monarchies besides throughout the world; In ample territory, wealth, and power,
And of my kingdom there shall be no end : Civility of manners, arts and arms,
Means there shall be to this; but what the means And long renown, thou justly may'st prefer
Is not for thee to know, nor me to tell.” Before the Parthian. These two thrones except, To whom the tempter, impudent, replied. The rest are barbarous, and scarce worth the sight," I see all offers made by me how slight Shar'd among petty kings too far remov'd ; Thou valuest, because offer'd, and reject'st: These having shown thee, I have shown thee all Nothing will please the difficult and nice, The kingdoms of the world, and all their glory. Or nothing more than still to contradict: This emperor hath no son, and now is old,
On the other side know also thou, that I Old and lascivious, and from Rome retir'd
On what I offer set as high esteem, To Capreæ, an island small, but strong,
Nor what I part with mean to give for nought; On the Campanian shore, with purpose there All these, which in a moment thou behold'st, His horrid lusts in private to enjoy ;
The kingdoms of the world, to thee I give, Committing to a wicked favorite
(For, given to me, I give to whom I please,) All public cares, and yet of him suspicious ; No trifle; yet with this reserve, not else, Hated of all, and hating. With what ease, On this condition, if thou wilt fall down, Endued with regal virtues, as thou art,
And worship me as thy superior lord, Appearing, and beginning noble deeds,
(Easily done,) and hold them all of me; Might'st thou expel this monster from his throne, For what can less so great a gift deserve ?" Now made a sty, and, in his place ascending,
Whom thus our Savior answer'd with disdain. A victor people free from servile yoke!
"I never lik'd thy talk, thy offers less ; And with my help thou may'st; to me the power Now both abhor, since thou hast dar'd to utter Is given, and by that right I give it thee.
The abominable terms, impious condition: Aim therefore at no less than all the world; But I endure the time, till which expir'd Aim at the highest : without the highest attain'd, Thou hast permission on me. It is written, Will be for thee no sitting, or not long,
The first of all commandments, • Thou shalt wor On David's throne, be prophesied what will."
ship To whom the Son of God, unmov'd, replied. The Lord thy God, and only him shalt serve;' Nor doth this grandeur and majestic show And dar'st thou to the Son of God propound Of luxury, though call'd magnificence,
To worship thee accursd ? now more accurs'd More than of arms before, allure mine eye, For this attempt, bolder than that on Eve, Much less my mind; though thou shouldst add to And more blasphémous; which expect to rue. tell
'The kingdoms of the world to thee were given ? Their sumptuous gluttonies, and gorgeous feasts Permitted rather, and by thee usurp'd; On citron tables or Atlantic stone,
Other donation none thou canst produce. (For I have also heard, perhaps have read,) If given, by whom but by the King of kings, Their wines of Setia, Cales, and Falerne,
God over all supreme? If given to thee, Chios, and Crete, and how they quaff in gold, By thee how fairly is the giver now Crystal, and myrrhine cups, emboss'd with gems Repaid! But gratitude in thee is lost And studs of pearl; to me shouldst tell, who thirst Long since. Wert thou so void of fear or shame, And hunger still. Then embassies thou show'st As offer them to me, the Son of God ? From nations far and nigh: what honor that, To me my own, on such abhorred pact, But tedious waste of time, to sit and hear
That I fall down and worship thee as God? So many hollow compliments and lies,
Get thee behind me ; plain thou now appear'st Outlandish flatteries? Then proceed'st to talk That Evil-one, Satan for ever damn'd." Of the emperor, how easily subdued,
To whom the fiend, with fear abash'd, replied. How gloriously: I shall, thou say'st, expel “ Be not so sore offended, Son of God, A brutish monster; what if I withal
Though sons of God both angels are and men, Expel a devil who first made him such ?
If I, to try whether in higher sort Let his tormenter conscience find him out; Than these thou bear'st that title, have propas'd For him I was not sent; nor yet to free
What both from men and angels I receive,
Tetrarchs of fire, air, flood, and on the Earth, To Macedon and Artaxerxes' throne :
Whom well inspir'd the oracle pronounc'd
Wisest of men; from whose mouth issued forth Rather more honor left and more esteem;
Mellifluous streams, that water'd all the schools Me nought advantag'd, missing what I aim'd. Of academics old and new, with those Therefore let pass, as they are transitory,
Surnamed Peripatetics, and the sect The kingdoms of this world; I shall no more Epicurean, and the Stoic severe; Advise thee; gain them as thou canst, or not. These here revolve, or, as thou lik’st, at home, And thou thyself seem'st otherwise inclin'd Till time mature thee to a kingdom's weight; Than to a worldly crown; addicted more These rules will render thee a king complete To contemplation and profound dispute,
Within thyself, much more with empire join'd." As by that early action may be judg'd,
To whom our Savior sagely thus replied. When, slipping from thy mother's eye, thou went'st " Think not but that I know these things, or think Alone into the temple, there was found
I know them not; not therefore am I short Among the gravest rabbies, disputant
Of knowing what I ought: he, who receives On points and questions fitting Moses' chair, Light from above, from the fountain of light, Teaching, not taught. The childhood shows the man, No other doctrine needs, though granted true; As morning shows the day: be famous then But these are false, or little else but dreams, By wisdom; as thy empire must extend,
Conjectures, fancies, built on nothing firm. So let extend thy mind o'er all the world
The first and wisest of them all profess'd
But virtue joined with riches and long life ;
As fearing God nor man, contemning all
Wealth, pleasure, pain or torment, death and life,
Or subtle shifts conviction to evade.
And how the world began, and how man fell
Degraded by himself, on grace depending? City or suburban, studious walks and shades. Much of the soul they talk, but all awry, See there the olive-grove of Academe,
And in themselves seek virtue; and to themselves Plato's retirement, where the Attic bird
All glory arrogate, to God give none; Trills her thick-warbled notes the summer long; Rather accuse him under usual names, There flowery hill Hymettus, with the sound Fortune and Fate, as one regardless quite Of bees' industrious murmur, oft invites
Of mortal things. Who therefore seeks in these To studious musing; there Ilissus rolls
True wisdom, finds her not: or, by delusion, His whispering stream: within the walls, then view Far worse, her false resemblance only meets, The schools of ancient sages; his who bred An empty cloud. However, many books, Great Alexander to subdue the world,
Wise men have said, are wearisome; who reads Lyceum there, and painted Stoa next:
Incessantly, and to his reading brings not There shalt thou hear and learn the secret power A spirit and judgment equal or superior, Of harmony, in tones and numbers hit
(And what he brings what needs he elsewhere seek ?) By voice or hand; and various-measur'd verse, Uncertain and unsettled still remains, Æolian charms and Dorian lyric odes,
Deep vers'd in books, and shallow in himself,
And trifles for choice matters, worth a sponge ;
With music or with poem, where so soon Of moral prudence, with delight receiv'd
As in our native language, can I find In brief sententious precepts, while they treat That solace ? All our law and story strew'd Of fate and chance, and change in human life, With hymns, our Psalms with artful terms inscrib'd, High actions and high passions best describing : Our Hebrew songs and harps, in Babylon Thence to the famous orators repair,
That pleas'd so well our victor's car, declare Those ancient, whose resistless eloquence
That rather Greece from us these arts deriv'd; Wielded at will that fierce democratie,
III imitated, while they loudest sing Shook the arsenal, and fulmin'd over Greece The vices of their deities, and their own,
In fable, hymn, or song, so personating
From many a horrid rift, abortive pour’d
In ruin reconcild: nor slept the winds
Within their stony caves, but rush'd abroad Thin sown with aught of profit or delight, From the four hinges of the world, and fell Will far be found unworthy to compare
On the vex'd wilderness, whose tallest pines, With Sion's songs, to all true tastes excelling, Though rooted deep as high, and sturdiest oaks, Where God is prais'd aright, and godlike men, Bow'd their stiff necks, loaden with stormy blasts The Holiest of Holies, and his saints,
Or torn up sheer. Il wast thou shrouded then, (Such are from God inspir'd, not such from thee,) O patient Son of God, yet only stood'st Unless where moral virtue is express'd
Unshaken! Nor yet staid the terror there; By light of Nature, not in all quite lost.
Infernal ghosts and hellish furies round (shriek'd, Their orators thou then extoll'st, as those
Environ'd thee, some howld, some yell’d, some The top of eloquence; statists indeed,
Some bent at thee their fiery darts, while thou And lovers of their country, as may seem; Sat'st unappalld in calm and sinless peace! But herein to our prophets far beneath,
Thus pass'd the night so foul, till Morning fair As men divinely taught, and better teaching Came forth, with pilgrim steps, in amice grey ; The solid rules of civil goverement,
Who with her radiant finger still'd the roar In their majestic unaffected style,
Of thunder, chas'd the clouds, and laid the winds, Than all the oratory of Greece and Rome.
And grisly spectres, which the fiend had rais'd In them is plainest taught, and easiest learnt, To tempt the Son of God with terrors dire. What makes a nation happy, and keeps it so, And now the Sun with more effectual beams What ruins kingdoms, and lays cities flat;
Had cheer'd the face of Earth, and dried the wet
So spake the Son of God; but Satan, now Who all things now behold more fresh and green,
* Since neither wealth nor honor, arms nor arts, To gratulate the sweet return of morn. Kingdom nor empire pleases thee, nor aught Nor yet, amidst this joy and brightest morn, By me propos'd in life contemplative
Was absent, after all his mischief done,
The prince of darkness; glad would also seem
And mad despite to be so oft repell’d.
Him walking on a sunny hill he found,
• Fair morning yet belides thee, Son of God,
Was distant; and these laws, though mortals fear
As dangerous to the pillar'd frame of Heaven, Sorrows, and labors, opposition, hate
Or to the Earth's dark basis underneath,
Are to the main as inconsiderable
Yet, as being oft-times noxious where they light
On man, beast, plant, wasteful and turbulent, Without beginning; for no date prefix'd
Like turbulencies in the affairs of men,
Over whose heads they roar, and seem to point,
This tempest at this desert most was bent;
All to the push of fate, pursue thy way
For both the when and how is nowhere told ?
Thou shalt be what thou art ordain'd, no doubt ;
Whereof this ominous night, that clos'd thee round, “ There stand, if thou wilt stand ; to stand upright So many terrors, voices, prodigies,
Will ask thee skill; I to thy Father's house May warn thee, as a sure foregoing sign." Have brought thee, and highest plac'd : highest is So talk'd he, while the Son of God went on
“ Me worse than wet thou find'st not; other harm Cast thyself down; safely, if Son of God:
Thou chance to dash thy foot against a stone."
But Satan, smitten with amazement, fell. At least might seem to hold all power of thee,
As when Earth's son Antæus. (to compare Ambitious spirit! and wouldst be thought my God; Small things with greatest,) in Irassa strove And storm'st refus'u, thinking to terrify
With Jove's Alcides, and, oft foil'd, still rose, Me to thy will! desist, (thou art discernid, Receiving from his mother Earth new strength, And toil'st in vain,) nor me in vain molest.” Fresh from his fall, and fiercer grapple join'd,
To whom the fiend, now swollen with rage, replied. Throttled at length in the air, expir'd and fell ; “Then hear, O son of David, virgin-born,
So, after many a foil, the tempter proud, For Son of God to me is yet in doubt ;
Renewing fresh assaults, amidst his pride, Of the Messiah I had heard foretold
Fell whence he stood to see his victor fall : By all the prophets; of thy birth at length, And as that Theban monster, that propos'd Announc'd by Gabriel, with the first I knew, Her riddle, and him who solv'd it not devour'd, And of the angelic song in Bethlehem field, That once found out and solv'd, for grief and spite On thy birth-night that sung thee Savior born. Cast herself headlong from the Ismenian steep; From that time seldom have I ceas’d to eye So, struck with dread and anguish, fell the fiend, Thy infancy, thy childhood, and thy youth, And to his crew, that sat consulting, brought Thy manhood last, though yet in private bred ; (Joyless triumphals of his hop'd success,) Till at the ford of Jordan, whither all
Ruin, and desperation, and dismay, Flock to the Baptist, I, among the rest,
Who durst so proudly tempt the Son of God. (T'hough not to be baptiz'd,) by voice from Heaven So Satan fell; and straight a fiery globe Heard thee pronounc'd the Son of God belov'd. Of angels on full sail of wing flew nigh, Thenceforth I thought thee worth my nearer view Who on their plumy vans receiv'd him soft And narrower scrutiny, that I might learn
From his uneasy station, and upbore, In what degree or meaning thou art callid
As on a floating couch, through the blithe air ; The Son of God; which bears no single sense. Then, in a flowery valley, set him down The Son of God I also am, or was;
On a green bank, and set before him spread
A table of celestial food, divine
And, from the fount of life, ambrosial drink, Therefore I watch'd thy footsteps from that hour, That soon refresh'd him wearied, and repair'd And follow'd thee still on to this waste wild ; What hunger, if aught hunger, had impair'd, Where, by all best conjectures, I collect
Or thirst; and, as he fed, angelic quires Thou art to be my fatal enemy :
Sung heavenly anthems of his victory Good reason then, if I beforehand seek
Over temptation and the tempter proud. To understand my adversary, who
“ True image of the Father; whether thron'd And what he is; his wisdom, power, intent: In the bosom of bliss, and light of light By parl or composition, truce or league,
Conceiving, or, remote from Heaven, enshrin'd To win him, or win from him what I can : In fleshly tabernacle, and human form, And opportunity I here have had
Wandering the wilderness ; whatever place, To try thee, sift thee, and confess have found thee Habit, or state, or motion, still expressing Proof against all temptation, as a rock
The Son of God, with godlike force indued Of adamani, and, as a centre, firm:
Against the attempter of thy Father's throne,
And frustrated the conquest fraudulent.
For, though that seat of earthly bliss be fail'd, Till underneath them fair Jerusalem,
A fairer Paradise is founded now The holy city, lifted high her towers,
For Adam and his chosen sons, whom thou, And higher yet the glorious temple rear'd
A Savior, art come down to re-install, Her pile, far off appearing like a mount
Where they shall dwell secure, when time shall be Of alabaster, topt with golden spires :
Of tempter and temptation without fear. There on the highest pinnacle, he set
But thou, infernal serpent! shalt not long The Son of God and added thus in scom. Rule in the clouds like an autumnal star,
Or lightning, thou shalt fall from Heaven, trod down had begun, left it unfinished. Seneca, the philosoUnder his feet: for proof, ere this thou feel'st pher, is by some thought the author of those trageThy wound, (yet noi thy last and deadliest wound) dies (at least the best of them) that go under that By this repulse receiv'd, and hold'st in Hell name. Gregory Nazianzen, a father of the church, No triumph : in all her gates Abaddon rucs thought it not unbeseeming the sanctity of his Thy bold attempt. Hereafter learn with awe person to write a tragedy, which is entitled Christ To dread the Son of God: he, all unarm'd, suffering. This is mentioned to vindicate tragedy Shall chase thee, with the terror of his voice, from the small esteem, or rather infamy, which From thy demoniac holds, possession foul, in the account of many it undergoes at this day Thee and thy legions : yelling they shall fly, with other common interludes; happening, through And beg to hide them in a herd of swine, the poet's error of intermixing comic stuff with Lest he command them down into the deep, tragic sadness and gravity; or introducing trivial Bound, and to torment sent before their time. and vulgar persons, which by all judicious haih Hail, Son of the Most High, heir of both worlds, been counted absurd ; and brought in without Queller of Satan! on thy glorious work
discretion, corruptly to gratify the people. And Now enter; and begin to save mankind."
though ancient tragedy use no prologue, yet using Thus they the Son of God, our Savior meek, sometimes, in case of self-defence, or explanation, Sung victor, and, from heavenly feast refresh'd, that which Martial calls an epistle; in behalf of Brought on his way with joy; he, unobserv’d, this tragedy coming forth after the ancient manner, Home to his mother's house private return'd. much different from what among us passes for best,
thus much beforehand may be epistled ; that Chorus is here introduced after the Greek manner, not ancient only but modern, and still in use among the Italians. In the modelling therefore of this poem, with good reason, the ancients and Italians are
rather followed, as of much more authority and fame. SAMSON AGONISTES,
The measure of verse used in the Chorus is of all
sorts, called by the Greeks Monostrophic, or rather A DRAMATIC POEM.
A polelymenon, without regard had to Strophe, Antistrophe, or Epode, which were a kind of stanzas
framed only for the music, then used with the Aristot. Poet. cap. 6.
Chorus that sung; not essential to the poem, and
therefore not material ; or, being divided into stanΤραγωδία μίμησις πράξεως σπεδαίας, κ. τ. λ. zas or pauses, they may be called Allæostropha.
Division into act and scene referring chiefly to the
stage (to which this work never was intended) is Tragedia est imitatio actionis seriæ, &c. per misericordiam et here omitted. metum perticiens talium affectuum lustrationem.
It suffices if the whole drama be found not pro
duced beyond the fifth act.. Of the style and uniOf that sort of Dramatic Poem which is called formity, and that commonly called the plot, whether Tragedy.
intricate or explicit, which is nothing indeed but
such economy, or disposition of the fable as may TRAGEDY, as it was anciently composed, hath stand best with verisimilitude and decorum; they been ever held the gravest, moralest, and most only will best judge who are not unacquainted with profitable of all other poems: therefore said by Æschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides, the three tragic Aristotle to be of power, by raising pity and fear, poets unequalled yet by any, and the best rule to or terror, to purge the mind of those and such like all who endeavor to write tragedy. The circumpassions, that is, to temper and reduce them to just scription of time, wherein the whole drama begins measure with a kind of delight, stirred up by read- and ends, is, according to ancient rule, and best exing or seeing those passions well imitated. Nor is ample, within the space of twenty-four hours. Nature wanting in her own effects to make good his assertion: for so, in physic, things of melancholic hue and quality are used against melancholy,
THE ARGUMENT. sour against sour, salt to remove salt humors. Hence Philosophers and other gravest writers, as Samson, made captive, blind, and now in the prison Cicero, Plutarch, and others, frequently cite out of at Gaza, there to labor as in a common worktragic poets, both to adorn and illustrate their dis house, on a festival day, in the general cessation course.
The Apostle Paul himself thought it not from labor, comes forth into the open air, to a unworthy to insert a verse of Euripides into the place nigh, somewhat retired, there to sit awhile text of Holy Scripture, 1 Cor. xv. 33.; and Paræus, and bemoan his condition. Where he happens at commenting on the Revelation, divides the whole length to be visited by certain friends and equals book as a tragedy, into acts distinguished each by a of his tribe, which makes the Chorus, who seek chorus of heavenly harpings and song between. to comfort him what they can; then by his old Heretofore men in highest dignity have labored not father Manoah, who endeavors the like, and witha little to be thought able to compose a tragedy. al tells him his purpose to procure his liberty by Of that honor Dionysius the elder was no less am ransom; lastly, that this feast was proclaimed by bitious, than before of his attaining to the tyranny. the Philistines as a day of thanksgiving for their Augustus Cæsar also had begun his Ajax, but deliverance from the hands of Samson, which yet unable to please his own judgment with what he more troubles him. Manoah then deparis to