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Sams. Thou know'st I am an Hebrew, therefore
Off. This answer, be assur'd, will not content
Went up with armed powers thee only seeking, | They cannot well impose, nor I sustain;
If they intend advantage of my labours,
With no small profit daily to my owners. And in your city held my nuptial feast :
But come what will, my deadliest foe will prore But your ill-meaning politician lords,
My speediest friend, by death to rid me hence; Under pretence of bridal friends and guests, The worst that he can give to me the best. Appointed to await me thirty spies,
Yet so it may fall out, because their end Who, threatening cruel death, constrain'd the bride Is hate, not help to me, it may with mine To wring from me, and tell to them, my secret, Draw their own ruin who attempt the deed. That solv'd the riddle which I had propos'd.
Chor. Oh how comely it is, and how reviving When I perceiv'd all set on enmity,
To the spirits of just men long oppress'd! As on my enemies, wherever chanc'd,
When God into the hands of their deliverer I us'd hostility, and took their spoil,
Puts invincible might To pay my underminers in their coin.
To quell the mighty of the Earth, the oppressol, My nation was subjected to your lords;
The brute and boisterous force of violent men, It was the force of conquest : force with force Hardy and industrious to support Is well ejected when the conquer'd can.
Tyrannic power, but raging to pursue
And feats of war defeats,
Their armouries and magazines contemns
But patience is more oft the exercise
And victory over all
Har. With thee! a man condem'd, a slave en- Either of these is in thy lot,
Samson, with might endued
Whom patience finally must crown.
Har. O Baal-zebub! can my ears unus'd And yet perhaps more trouble is behind,
A sceptre or quaint staff he bears,
Comes on amain, speed in his look.
By his habit I discern him now
[Enter OFFICER.) Or swing thee in the air, then dash thee down off. Hebrews, the prisoner Samson here I seeks To the hazard of thy brains and shatter'd sides. Chor. His manacles remark him, there he sits.
Har. By Astaroth, ere long thou shalt lament off. Samson, to thee our lords thus bid These braveries, in irons loaden on thee. (Erit.] This day to Dagon is a solemn feast,
Chor. His giantship is gone somewhat crestfallen, With sacrifices, triumph, pomp, and games: Stalking with less unconscionable strides,
Thy strength they know surpassing human rate, And lower looks, but in a sultry chafe.
And now some public proof thereof require Sams. I dread him not, nor all his giant-brood, To honour this great feast, and great assembly: Though fame divulge him father of five sons, Rise therefore with all speed, and come along, All of gigantic size, Goliah chief,
Where I will see thee hearten'd, and fresh clad, Chor. He will directly to the lords, I fear, To appear as fits before the illustrious lords. And with malicious counsel stir them up Some way or other yet further to afflict thee. (fight
tell them, Sams. He must allege some cause, and offer’d Our law forbids at their religious rites Will not dare mention, lest a question rise
My presence; for that cause I cannot come. Whether he durst accept the offer or not ; And, that he durst not, plain enough appcar'd.
them. Much more affliction than already felt
Sams. Have they not sword-players, and every sort
of gymnic artists, wrestlers, riders, runners, This day will be remarkable in my life
of. Samson, this second message from our lords To make them sport with blind activity ?
To thee I am bid say. Art thou our slave, Do they not seek occasion of new quarrels
Our captive at the public mill, our drudge, On my refusal to distress me more,
And dar'st thou at our sending and command Or make a game of my calamities?
Dispute thy coming ? come without delay; Return the way thou cam'st, I will not come. Or we shall find such engines to assail * Off. Regard thyself ; this will offend them highly. And hamper thee, as thou shalt come of force,
Sams. Myself? my conscience, and internal peace. Though thou wert firmlier fasten'd than a rock. Can they think me so broken, so debas'd
Sams. I could be well content to try their art, --With corporal servitude, that my mind ever
Which to no few of them would prove pernicious. Will condescend to such absurd commands ? Yet, knowing their advantages too many, Although their drudge, to be their fool or jester, Because they shall not trail me through their strects And in my midst of sorrow and heart-grief
Like a wild beast, I am content to go. To show them feats, and play before their god, Masters' commands come with a power resistless The worst of all indignities, yet on me
To such as owe them absolute subjection ; -Join'd with extreme contempt? I will not come.
And for a life who will not change his purpose ? off: My message was impos'd on me with speed,(So mutable are all the ways of men ;) Brooks no delay: is this thy resolution ?
Yet this be sure, in nothing to comply Sams. So take it with what speed thy message Scandalous or forbidden in our law. needs.
Of I praise thy resolution : doff these links: off. I am sorry what this stoutness will produce. By this compliance thou wilt win the lords
(Erit.] To favour, and perhaps to set thee free. Sams. Perhaps thou shalt have cause to sorrow
Sams. Brethren, farewell ; your company along indeed.
I will not wish, lest it perhaps offend them Chor. Consider, Samson; matters now are strain'd To see me girt with friends; and how the sight Up to the height, whether to hold or break : Of me, as of a common enemy, He's gone, and who knows how he may report
So dreaded once, may now exasperate them, l'hy words by adding fuel to the flame?
I know not : lords are lordliest in their wine; Expect another message more imperious,
And the well-feasted priest then soonest fir'd More lordly thundering than thou well wilt bear.
With zeal, if aught religion seem concern'd; Sams. Shall I abuse this consecrated gift
No less the people, on their holy-days, Of strength, again returning with my hair
Impetuous, insolent, unquenchable : After my great transgression, so requite
Happen what may, of me expect to hear Favour renew'd, and add a greater sin
Nothing dishonourable, impure, unworthy By prostituting holy things to idols ?
Our God, our law, my nation, or myself,
The last of me or no I cannot warrant.
Of Israel be thy guide
(name What act more execrably unclean, prophane? To what may serve his glory best, and spread his Chor. Yet with this strength thou serv'st the Great among the Heathen round; Philistines,
Send thee the angel of thy birth, to stand Idolatrous, uncircumcis'd, unclean.
Fast by thy side, who from thy father's field Sams. Not in their idol-worship, but by labour Rode up in flames after his message told Honest and lawful to deserve my food
Of thy conception, and be now a shield Of those who have me their civil power.
Of fire; that spirit, that first rush'd on thee Chor. Where the heart joins not, outward acts In the camp of Dan, defile not.
(tence holds. Be efficacious in thee now at need. Sams. Where outward force constrains, the sen For never was from Heaven imparted But who constrains me to the temple of Dagon, Measure of strength so great to mortal seed, Not dragging ? the Philistian lords command. As in thy wondrous actions hath been seen. Commands are no constraints. If I obey them, But wherefore comes old Manoah in such haste I do it freely, venturing to displease
With youthful steps ? much livelier than ere while God for the fear of man, and man prefer,
He seems; supposing here to find his son,
Or of him bringing to us some glad news ?
(Enter MangaH.] Present in temples at idolatrous rites
Man. Peace with you, brethren; my inducement For some important cause, thou need'st not doubt.
hither Chor. How thou wilt here come off surmounts my Was not at present here to find my son, reach.
By order of the lords now parted hence Sams. Be of good courage ; I begin to feel To come and play before them at their feast. Some rousing motions in me,
which dispose I heard all as I came, the city rings, To something extraordinary my thoughts.
And numbers thither fock: I had no will, I with this messenger will go along,
Lest I should see him forc'd to things unseemly. Nothing to do, be sure, that may dishonour But that, which mov'd my coming now, was chiefly Our law, or stain my vow of Nazarite.
To give ye part with me what hope I have If there be aught of presage in the mind,
With good success to work his liberty.
Chor. That hope would much rejoice us toʻpartake This evil on the Philistines is fall’n : With thee; say, reverend sire, we thirst to hear. From whom could else a general cry be heard ?
Man. I have attempted one by one the lords The sufferers then will scarce molest us here; Either at home, or through the high street passing, From other hands we need not much to fear. With supplication prone and father's tears, What if, his eye-sight (for to Israel's God To accept of ransom for my son their prisoner. Nothing is hard) by miracle restor'd, Some much averse I found and wondrous harsh, He now be dealing dole among his foes, Contemptuous, proud, set on revenge and spite; And over heaps of slaughter'd walk lis way? That part most reverenc'd Dagon and his priests : Man. That were a joy presumptuous to be thout Others more inoderate seeining, but their aim Chor. Yet God hath wrought things as incredib Private reward, for which both God and state For his people of old; what hinders now? 1 They easily would set to sale : a third
Man. He can, I know, but doubt to think he wil More generous far and civil, who confessid Yet hope would fain subscribe, and tempts belief. They had enough reveng'd; having reduc'd A little stay will bring some notice hither. Their foe to misery beneath their fears,
Chor. Of good or bad so great, of bad the sooner: The rest was magnanimity to remit,
For evil news rides post, while good news bates If some convenient ransom were propos’d.
And to our wish I see one hither speeding, What noise or shout was that ? it tore the sky. An Hebrew, as I guess, and of our tribe.
Chor. Doubtless the people shouting to behold Their once great dread, captive, and blind before
[Enter MESSENGER.] them,
Mess. O whither shall I run, or which way fly Or at soine proof of strength before them shown. The sight of this so horrid spectacle,
Man. His ransom, if my whole inheritance Which erst my eyes beheld, and yet behold
For dire imagination still pursues me.
To have guided me aright, I know not how, No, I am fix'd not to part hence without him. To thee first, reverend Manoah, and to these For his redemption all my patrimony,
My countrymen, whom here I knew remaining, If need be, I am ready to forego
As at some distance from the place of horrour, And quit: not wanting him, I shall want nothing. So in the sad event too much concern'd.
Chor. Fathers are wont to lay up for their sons, Man. The accident was loud, and here before Thou for thy son art bent to lay out all ;
With rueful cry, yet what it was we hear not; Sons wont to nurse their parents in old age, No preface needs, thou seest we long to know. Thou in old age car’st how to nurse thy son,
Mess. It would burst forth, but I recover bread Made older than thy age through eye-sight lost. And sense distract, to know well what I utter.
Man. It shall be my delight to tend his eyes, Man. Tell us the sum, the circumstance defer. And view him sitting in the house, ennobled
Mess. Gaza yet stands, but all her sons are fall 2, With all those high exploits by him achiev'd, All in a moment overwhelm'd and fall’n. (sades And on his shoulders waving down those locks Man. Sad, but thou know'st to Israelites si That of a nation arm’d the strength contain'd: The desolation of a hostile city.
(surfa And I persuade me, God had not permitted
Mess. Feed on that first: there may in grief bk His strength again to grow up with his hair,
Man. Relate by whom. Garrison'd round about him like a camp
By Samson. Of faithful soldiery, were not his purpose
That still lessens To use him further yet in some great service; The sorrow, and converts it nigh to joy. Not to sit idle with so great a gift
Jess. Ah! Manoah, I refrain too suddenly Useless, and thence ridiculous about him.
To utter what will come at last too soon ; And since his strength with eye-sight was not lost, Lest evil tidings with too rude irruption God will restore him eye-sight to his strength. [vain Hitting thy aged ear should pierce too deep. (det
Chor. Thy hopes are not ill-founded, nor seem Man. Suspense in news is torture, speak thes Of his delivery, and the joy thereon
Mess. Take then the worst in brief, Samsos i Conceiv'd, agreeable to a father's love,
dead. In both which we, as next, participate. (noise ! Man. The worst indeed, O all my hopes de
Man. I know your friendly minds and what To free him hence ! but death, who sets all free, Mercy of Heaven, what hideous noise was that Hath paid his ransom now and full discharge. Horribly loud, unlike the former shout.
What windy joy this day had I conceiv'd Chor. Noise call you it, or universal groan, Hopeful of his delivery, which now proves As if the whole inhabitation perish'd !
Abortive as the first-born bloom of spring Blood, death, and deathful deeds, are in that noise, Nipt with the lagging rear of winter's frost ! Ruin, destruction at the utmost point.
Yet ere I give the reins to grief, say first, Man. Of ruin indeed methought I heard the noise : How died he; death to life is crown or shame. Oh! it continues, they have slain my son.
All by him fell, thou say'st : by whom fell he? Chor. Thy son is rather slaying them : that outcry What glorious hand gave Samson his death's wound? From slaughter of one foe could not ascend.
Mess. Unwounded of his enemies he fell. (plais Man. Some dismal accident it needs must be ; Man. Wearied with slaughter then, or how? & What shall we do, stay here or run and see?
Mess. By his own hands. Chor. Best keep together here, lest, running Man.
Self-violence? what cause thither,
Brought him so soon at variance with himself waves run into danger's mouth.
Among his foes ?
Met from all parts to solemnize this feast.
Samson, with these immix’d, inevitably The edifice, where all were met to see him,
Pull'd down the same destruction on himself; Upon their heads and on his own he pull’d. The vulgar only 'scap'd who stood without.
Man. O lastly over-strong against thyself! Chor. O dearly-bought revenge, yet glorious!
To Israel, and now ly'st victorious
Among thy slain self-kill'd, Relation more particular and distinct.
Not willingly, but tangled in the fold Mess. Occasions drew me early to this city; Of dire necessity, whose law in death conjoin'd And, as the gates I enter'd with sun-rise,
Thee with thy slaughter'd foes, in number more The morning trumpets festival proclaim'd
Than all thy life hath slain before. (sublime, Through each high street : little I had despatch'd, 1. Semichor. While their hearts were jocund and When all abroad was rumour'd that this day Drunk with idolatry, drunk with wine; Samson should be brought forth, to show the people And fat regorg'd of bulls and goats, Proof of his mighty strength in feats and games ; Chanting their idol, and preferring I sorrow'd at his captive state, but minded Before our living Dread who dwells Not to be absent at that spectacle.
In Silo, his bright sanctuary :
Among them he a spirit of phrenzy sent,
To call in haste for their destroyer;
They, only set on sport and play,
Their own destruction to come speedy upon them.
Insensate left, or to sense reprobate,
His fiery virtue rous'd
So virtue, given for lost,
Depress'd, and overthrown, as seem'd,
And lay ere while a holocaust,
Man. Come, come; no time for lamentation now At last with head erect thus cried aloud,
Nor much more cause ; Samson hath quit himself “ Hitherto, lords, what your commands impos'd Like Samson, and heroicly hath finish'd I have perform’d, as reason was, obeying,
A life heroic, on his enemies Not without wonder or delight beheld:
Fully reveng’d, hath left them years of mourning, Now of my own accord such other trial
And lamentation to the sons of Caphtor
With God not parted from him, as was fear'd,
Or knock the breast; no weakness, no contempt, Lords, ladies, captains, counsellors, or priests, Dispraise, or blame; nothing but well and fair, Their choice nobility and flower, not only
And what may quiet us in a death so noble. Of this but each Philistian city round,
Let us go find the body where it lies
Soak'd in his enemies' blood; and from the stream The idle spear and shield were high up hung;
The trumpet spake not to the armed throng;
As if they surely knew their sovran Lord was by With silent obsequy, and funeral train, Home to his father's house: there will I build him But peaceful was the night, A monument, and plant it round with shade Wherein the Prince of light Of laurel ever green, and branching palm,
His reign of peace upon the Earth began : With all his trophies hung, and acts inrollid The winds, with wonder whist, In copious legend, or sweet lyric song.
Smoothly the waters kist, Thither shall all the valiant youth resort,
Whispering new joys to the mild ocean, And from his memory inflame their breasts
Who now hath quite forgot to rave, (wave To matchless valour, and adventures high :
While birds of calm sit brooding on the charmed The virgins also shall, on feastful days, Visit his tomb with flowers; only bewailing
The stars, with deep amaze, His lot unfortunate in nuptial choice,
Stand fix'd in stedfast gaze, From whence captivity and loss of eyes.
Bending one way their precious influence; Chor. All is best, though we oft doubt
And will not take their flight, What the unsearchable dispose
For all the morning light, Of highest Wisdom brings about,
Or Lucifer that often warn’d them thence; And ever best found in the close.
But in their glimmering orbs did glow, Oft he seems to hide his face,
Until their Lord himself bespake, and bid them go But unexpectedly returns, And to his faithful champion hath in place
And, though the shady gloom Bore witness gloriously ; whence Gaza mourns,
Had given day her room, And all that band them to resist
The Sun himself withheld his wonted speed, His uncontrollable intent;
And hid his head for shame, His servants he, with new acquist
As his inferior flame Of true experience, from this great event
The new-enlighten'd world no more should need: With peace and consolation hath dismist,
He saw a greater Sun appear
[bear. And calm of mind, all passion spent.
Than his bright throne, or burning axletree, could
Sat simply chatting in a rustic row;
That the mighty Pan
Was kindly come to live with them below;
Perhaps their loves, or else their sheep, It was the winter wild,
Was all that did their silly thoughts so busy keep While the Heaven-born child All meanly wrapt in the rude manger lies;
When such music sweet Nature in awe to him,
Their hearts and ears did greet,
As never was by mortal finger strook ;
Answering the stringed noise,
As all their souls in blissful rapture took :
(close Only with speeches fair
With thousand echoes still prolongs each heavenly She wooes the gentle air
To hide her guilty front with innocent snow; Nature that heard such sound, And on her naked shame,
Beneath the hollow round Pollute with sinful blame,
Of Cynthia's seat, the aery region thrilling, The saintly veil of maiden white to throw; Now was almost won Confounded, that her Maker's eyes
To think her part was done, Should look so near upon her foul deformities. And that her reign had here its last fulfilling;
She knew such harmony alone But he, her fears to cease,
Could hold all Heaven and Earth in happier union. Sent down the meek-ey'd Peace;
She, crown'd with olive green, came softly sliding At last surrounds their sight Down through the turning sphere,
A globe of circular light,
(array'd; His ready harbinger,
That with long beams the shamefac'd night With turtle wing the amorous clouds dividing; The helmed Cherubim, And, waving wide her myrtle wand,
And sworded Seraphim, She strikes an universal peace through sea and land. Are seen in glittering ranks with wings display'd,
Harping in loud and solemn quire, (Heit
. No war, or battle's sound,
With unexpressive notes, to Hcaven's new-boru Was heard the world around: