And now some public proof thereof require
To honor 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.
SAM. Thou know'st I am an Hebrew, therefore tell

Our law forbids at their religious rites

My presence; for that cause I cannot come, 1321
OF. This answer, be assur'd, will not content them.
SAM. Have they not sword-players, and every sort
Of gymnic artists, wrestlers, riders, runners,
Juglers and dancers, antics, mummers, mimics,
But they must pick me out with shackles tir'd,
And over-labor'd at their public mill
To make them sport with blind activity?
Do they not seek occasion of new quarrels
refusal to distress me more,

On my
Or make a game of my



Return the way thou cam'st, I will not come.
OF. Regard thyself, this will offend them highly.
SAM.Myself? my conscience and internal peace.

mind ever


Can they think me so broken, so debas'd
With corporal servitude, that my
Will condescend to such absurd commands;
Although their drudge, to be their fool or jester,
And in my midst of sorrow and heart-grief 1339
To show them feats, and play before their god,
The worst of all indignities, yet on me

Join'd with extreme contempt? I will not come,

OF. My message was impos'd on me with speed, Brooks no delay: is this thy resolution ? 1344 SAM. So take it with what speed thy message needs. OF. I am sorry what this stoutness will produce. SAM. Perhaps thou shalt have cause to sorrow in deed.

CHOR.Consider, Samson,matters now are strain'd Up to the highth, 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 thund'ring than thou well wilt bear. SAM. Shall I abuse this consecrated gift Of strength, again returning with my hair After my great transgression, so requite Favor renew'd, and add a greater sin By prostituting holy things to idols; A Nazarite in place abominable


Vaunting my strength in honor to their Dagon ?
Besides how vile, contemptible, ridiculous, 1361
What act more execrably unclean, profane ?
CHOR. Yet with this strength thou serv`st the Phi-
Idolatrous, uncircumcis'd, unclean.

[listines, SAM. Not in their idol-worship, but by labor Honest and lawful to deserve my food

Of those who have me in their civil power. [not. CHOR. Where the heart joinsnot,outward acts defile SAM.Where outward force constrains, the sentence But who constrains me to the temple of Dagon, [holds. Not dragging? the Philistian lords command. 1371

Commands are no constraints. If I obey them,
I do it freely, vent'ring to displease
God for the fear of man, and man prefer,
Set God behind: which in his jealousy
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
SAM. Be of good courage, I begin to feel [reach.
Some rousing motions in me which dispose 1382
To something extraordinary my thoughts.
I with this messenger will go along,
Nothing to do, be sure, that may dishonor
Our law, or stain my vow of Nazarite.
If there be ought of presage in the mind,
This day will be remarkable in my life
By some great act, or of my days the last.



CHOR.In time thou hast resolv'd, the man returns. OF. 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 engins to assail

And hamper thee, as thou shalt come of force, Though thou wert firmlier fasten'd than a rock. SAM. I could be well content to try their art Which to no few of them would prove pernicious. Yet knowing their advantages too many,


Because they shall not trail me through their streets
Like a wild beast, I am content to go.
Masters' commands come with a power resistless
To such as owe them absolute subjection; 1455
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 forbbiden in our law.

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


SAM. Brethren farewel; your company along
I will not wish, lest it perhaps offend them
To see me girt with friends; and how the sight
Of me as of a common enemy,

So dreaded once, may now exasperate them,
I know not: lords are lordliest in their wine;
And the well-feasted priest then soonest fir'd
With zeal, if ought religion seem concern'd;
No less the people on their holy-days
Impetuous, insolent, 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 Israel 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

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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 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 some glad news?
MAN. Peace with you, brethren; my inducement
Was not at present here to find my son,
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,
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 rejoice us to partake

With thee; say, reverend Sire, we thirst to hear.

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, To' accept of ransom for my son their pris❜ner. Some much averse I found and wondrous harsh,


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