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With zeal, if ought religion seem concern'd;
No less the people on their holy-days
Impetuous, infolent, unquenchable:
Happen what may, of me expect to hear
Nothing dishonorable, impure, unworthy
Our God, our Law, my Nation, or myself,
The last of me or no I cannot warrant.
Chor. Go, and the Holy One
Of Ifrael be thy guide
To what may serve his glory best, and spread his Great among the Heathen round;
Send thee the Angel of thy birth, to stand
Fast by thy fide, who from thy father's field
up in flames after his message told
Of thy conception, and be now a shield
Of fire; that Spirit that first rush'd on thee
In the camp of Dan
Be efficacious in thee now at need.
For never was from Heav'n imparted
Measure of strength fo great to mortal feed,
As in thy wondrous actions hath been seen.
But wherefore comes old Manoah in such haste
With youthful steps? much livelier than ere while
He seems: supposing here to find his son,
Or of him bringing to us fome glad news? (hither
Man. Peace with you, Brethren; my inducement
Was not at present here to find my fon,
By order of the lords new parted hence
To come and play before them at their feast.
I heard all as I came, the city rings,
And numbers thither flock, I had no will,
Left I should see him forc'd to things unfeemly.
But that which mov'd my coming now, was chiefly
To give ye part with me what hope I have
With good fuccefs to work his liberty.
Chor. That hope would much rejoice us to partake With thee; fay, reverend Sire, we thirst to hear.
Man. I have attempted one by one the lords
Either at home, or through the high street paffing,
With fupplication prone and father's tears,
T'accept of ransome for my fon their pris'ner. 1460
Some much averse I found and wondrous harsh,
Contemptuous, proud, set on revenge and spite;
That part most reverenc'd Dagon and his priests:
Others more moderate seeming, but their aim
Private reward, for which both God and State 1465
They easily would set to fale: a third
More generous far and civil, who confefs'd
They had enough reveng'd, having reduc'd
Their foe to misery beneath their fears,
The reft was magnanimity to remit,
If some convenient ransome were propos'd.
What noise or shout was that? it tore the sky.
Chor. Doubtless the people shouting to behold
Their once great dread, captive, and blind before them,
Or at fome proof of ftrength before them shown. 1475
Man. His ransome, if my whole inheritance
May compass it, fhall willingly be paid
And number'd down: much rather I fhall choofe
To live the poorest in my tribe, than richest,
And he in that calamitous prison left.
No, I am fix'd not to part hence without him.
For his redemption all my patrimony,
If need be, I am ready to forgo
And quit: not wanting him, I shall want nothing.
Chor. Fathers are wont to lay up for their fons,
Thou for thy fon art bent to lay out all; 1486
Sons wont to nurse their parents in old age,
Thou in old age car'ft how to nurse thy fon
Made older than thy age through eye-fight lost.
Man. It fhall be my delight to tend his eyes, 1490
And view him fitting in the house, ennobled
With all those high exploits by him achiev'd,
And on his fhoulders waving down those locks,
That of a nation arm'd the strength contain'd:
And I persuade me God had not permitted
His ftrength to grow up with his hair
Garrison'd round about him like a camp
Of faithful foldiery, were not his purpose
To use him further yet in some great service,
Not to fit idle with fo great a gift.
Useless, and thence ridiculous about him.
And fince his strength with eye-fight was not lost,
God will restore him eye-fight to his strength.
Chor. Thy hopes are not ill founded nor feem vain Of his delivery, and thy joy thereon Conceiv'd, agreeable to a father's love, In both which we, as next, participate.
Man. I know your friendly minds and---O what Mercy of Heav'n, what hideous noife was that! Horribly loud, unlike the former shout.
Chor. Noife call it or universal groan, you As if the whole inhabitation perish'd! Blood, death, and deathful deeds are in that noise, Ruin, destruction at the utmost point.
Man. Ofruin indeed methought I heard the noise, Oh it continues, they have flain my fon. 1516 Chor. Thy fon is rather flaying them, that outcry From flaughter of one foe could not ascend.
Man. Some dismal accident it needs must be; What shall we do, stay here or run and fee?
1520 Chor. Beft keep together here, left running thither We unawares run into danger's mouth.
This evil on the Philistines is fall'n;
From whom could elfe a general cry be heard?
The fufferers then will scarce moleft us here, 1525
From other hands we need not much to fear.
What if his eye-fight (for to Ifrael's God
Nothing is hard) by miracle restor'd,
He now be dealing dole among his foes,
And over heaps of flaughter'd walk his way?
1530 Man. That were a joy prefumptuous to be thought.
Chor. Yet God hath wrought things as incredible For his people of old; what hinders now?
Man. He can I know, but doubt to think he will; Yet hope would fain subscribe, and tempts belief. A little stay will bring fome notice hither.
Chor. Of good or bad so great, of bad the sooner; For evil news rides poft, while good news baits. And to our wish I fee one hither speeding, An Hebrew, as I guess, and of our tribe. Mefs. O whither shall I run, or which way fly The fight of this fo horrid spectacle, Which erft my eyes beheld and yet behold? For dire imagination ftill pursues me.
But providence or instinct of nature seems,
Or reason though disturb'd, and scarce confulted,
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 horror, 1550
So in the fad event too much concern'd.
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.
Mefs. It would burst forth, but I recover breath And sense distract, to know well what I utter. 1556 Man. Tell us the fum, the circumftance defer. Mess. Gaza yet stands, but all her fons are fall'n, All in a moment overwhelm'd and fall'n.