Chor. His manacles remark him, there he sits.

off. Samson, to thee our lords thus bid me say;1310 This day to Dagon is a solemn feast, With sacrifices, triumph, pomp, and games : Thy strength they know surpassing human rate, And now some public proof thereof require To honour this great feast, and great assembly; 1315 Rise therefore with all speed, and come along, Where I will see thee hearten'd, and fresh clad, To'

appear, as fits, before th' illustrious lords. Sams. Thou know'st I am an Hebrew, therefore

tell them, Our law forbids at their religious rites

1320 My presence; for that cause I cannot come.

Off. This answer, be assurd, will not content them,

Sams. Have they not sword-players, and every sort of gymnic artists, wrestlers, riders, runners, Jugglers, and dancers, antics, mummers, mimics, 1325 But they must pick me out, with shackles tir'd, And over-labour'd at their public mill, To make them sport with blind activity? Do they not seek occasion of new quarrels On my refusal to distress me more,

1330 Or make a game of my calamities? Return the way thou cam’st, I will not come.

Off. Regard thyself ; this will offend them highly..

Sams. Myself? my conscience and internal peace. Can they think me so broken, so debas'd 1335 With corporal servitude, that my mind ever Will condescend to such absurd commands? Although their drudge, to be their fool or jester, And in my midst of sorrow and heart-grief To show them feats, and play before their God, 1340 The worst of all indignities, yet on me Join'd with extreme contempt? I will not come.

Off My message was impos’d on me with speed, Brooks no delay: is this thy resolution ? Sams. So take it with what speed thy message needs,

1345 Vol. II.


off. I am sorry what this stoutness will prodgce.

[Exit.] Sams. Perhaps thou shalt have cause to sorrow in

deed. Chor. Consider, Samson; matters now are strain'd Up to the height, whether to hold or break: He's gone, and who knows how he may report 1350 Thy words by adding fuel to the flame? Expect another message more imperious, More lordly thundring than thou well wilt bear.

Sams. Shall I abuse tbis consecrated gift Of strength, again returning with my bair 1355 After my great transgression; so requite Favour renew'd, and add a greater sin By prostituting holy things to idols ? A Nazarite in place abominable Vaunting my strength in honour to their Dagon! 1360 Besides, how vile, contemptible, ridiculous, What act more execrably unclean, profane ! Chor. Yet with this strength thou serv'st the Philis

tines, Idolatrous, uncircumcis'd, unclean.

Sams. Not in their idol-worship, but by labour 1365 Honest and lawful to deserve my food of those, who have me in their civil power. Chor. Where the heart joins not, outward acts defile

not. Sams. Where outward force constrains, the sentence

holds. But who constrains me to the temple of Dagon, 1370 Not dragging? The Philistian lords command. Commands are no constraints. If I obey them, I do it freely, vent'ring to displease God for the fear of inan, and man prefer, Set God behind: which in his jealousy

1375 Shall never, unrepented, find forgiveness. Yet that he may dispense with me, or thee, Present in temples at idolatrous rites For some important cause, thou need'st not doubt. Chor. How thou wilt here come off surmounts my reach.


Sums. Be of good courage; I begin to feel Some rousing motions in me, which dispose To something extraordinary my thoughts. I with this messenger will go along, Nothing to do, be sure, that may dishonour 1985 Our law, or stain my vow of Nazarite. If there be aught of presage in the mind, This day will be remarkable in my life By some great act, or of my days the last. 1389 Chor. In time thou hast resolv'd, the man returns.

[Enter) Officer. Off. Samson, this second message from our lords To thee I am bid say. Art thou our slave, Our captive, at the public mill our drudge, And dar'st thou at our sending and command Dispute thy coming ? come without delay; 1395 Or we shall find such engines to assail And hamper thee, as thou shalt come of force, Though thou wert firmlier fasten'd than a rock.

Sams. I could be well content to try their art, Which to no few of them would prove pernicious. 1400 Yet, knowing their advantages too many, Because they shall not trail me through their streets Like a wild beast, I am conter Masters' commands come with a pow'r resistless To such as owe them absolute subjection ; 1405 And for a life who will not change his purpose? (So mutable are all the ways of men ;) Yet this be sure, in nothing to comply Scandalous or forbidden in our law.

off. I praise thy resolution : doff these links : 1419 By this compliance thou wilt win the lords To favour, and perhaps to set thee free.

Sams. Brethren, farewell; your company along I will not wish, lest it perbaps offend them To see me girt with friends, and how the sight 1415 of me, as of a common enemy: So dreaded once, may now exasperate them, I know not: lords are lordliest in their wine;

to go.

And the well-feasted priest then soonest fir'd
With zeal, if aught religion seem concern'd; 1420
No less the people, on their holy-days,
Impetuous, insolent, unquenchable:
Happen what may, of me expect to hear
Nothing dishonourable, impure, un worthy
Our God, our law, my nation, or myself,

1425 The last of me or no I cannot warrant. [Exit.]

Chor. Go, and the Holy One of Israel be thy guide To what may serve his glory best, and spread his name Great among the heathen round;

1430 Send thee the angel of thy birth, to stand Fast by thy side, who from thy father's field Rode 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 1435 In the camp of Dan, Be efficacious in thee now at need ! For never was from Heav'n imparted Measure of strength so great to mortal seed, As in thy wond'rous actions hath been seen.- 1440 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 some glad news?

[Enter] Manoah. Man. Peace with you, brethren; my inducement hither

1445 Was not at present here to find my son, By order of the lords now 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, 1460 Lest I should see him forc'd to things unseemly. But that which mov'd my coming now, was chiefly To give ye part with me what hope I have With good success to work his liberty.

Chor. That hope would much rejoiee us to partake With thee; say, reverend sire, we thirst to hear. 1456

Man. I have attempted one by one the lords Either at home, or through the high street passing, With supplication prone and father's tears, Ty accept of ransom for my son their pris'ner. 1460 Some much averse I found and wond'rous 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 sale: a third More generous far and civil, who confess'd They had enough reveng'd; having reduc'd Their foe to misery beneath their fears, The rest was magnanimity to remit,

1470 If some convenient ransom were propos'd. What noise or shout was that? it tore the sky.

Chor. Doubtless the people shouting to behold Their once great dread, çaptive, and blind before

them, Or at some proof of strength before them shown. 1475

Man. His ransom, if my whole inheritance
May compass it, shall willingly be paid
And number'd down: much rather I shall choose
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 fortgo
And quit: not wanting him, I shall want nothing.

Chor. Fathers are wout to lay up for their sons, 1485 Thou for thy son art bent to lay out all; Sons wont to nurse their parents in old age, Thou in old age car'st how to nurse thy son, Made older than thy age through eye-sight lost.

Man. It shall be my delight to tend his eyes, 1490 And view bim sitting in the house, ennobled With all those high exploits by him achiev'd, And on bis shoulders waving down those locks That of a nation arm'd the strength containd:

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