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Will not dare mention, lest a question rise
Whether he durst accept th' offer or not,
And that he durst not plain enough appear'd,
Much more affliction than already felt
They cannot well impose, nor I' sustain,
If they intend advantage of my labours,
The work of many hands, which earns my keeping
With no small profit daily to my owners. 1261
But come what will, my deadliest foe will prove.
My speediest friend, by death to rid me hence,
The worst that he can give, to me the best.
Yet so it may fall out, because their end
Is hate, not help to me, it may with mine
Draw their own ruin who attempt the deed.

chor. Oh how comely it is, and how reviving
To the spirits of just men long oppress'd,
When God into the hands of their deliverer 1270
Purs invincible might
To quell the mighty of the earth, th' oppressor,
The brute and boist'rous force of violent men
Hardy and industrious to support
Tyrannic power, but raging to pursue
The righteous and all such as honour truth ;
He all their ammunition
And feats of war defeats
With plain heroic magnitude of mind
And celestial vigour arm'd,

1280 Their armouries and magazines contemns, Renders them useless, while With wing'd expedition

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eir fortitude

Swift as the light'ning glance he execuies
His errand on the wicked, who surprisid
Lose their defence distracted and amaz'd.

But patience is more oft the exercise
Of saints, the trial of their fortitude,
Making them each his own deliverer,
And victor over all

1290 That Tyranny or Fortune can inflict. Either of these is in thy lot, Samson, with might indued Above the sons of men ; but sight bereav'd May chance to number thee with those Whom patience finally must crown.

This idol's day hath been to thee no day of rest, Labouring thy mind More than the working day thy hands. . And yet perhaps more trouble is behind, 1300 For I descry this way Some other tending, in his hand A scepter or quaint staff he bears, Comes on amain, speed in his look. By his habit I discern him now A public officer, and now at hand. His message will be short and voluble.

of. Hebrews, the pris'ner Samson here I seek CHOR. His manacles remark him, here he sits

OF. Samson, to thee our lords thus bid me say This day to Dagon is a solemn feast, 131 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;
Rise therefore with all speed and come along,
Where I will see thee hearten'd and fresh clad
T'appear as fits before th’ illustrious lords. [them

SAM. Thou know'st I am an Hebrew, therefore tell
Our law forbids at their religious rites 1320
My presence ; for that cause I cannot come.
OF. This answer, be assur'd, will not content

them. BAM. 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 tird, 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, Or inake a game of my. calamities? 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. Can they think me so broken, so debas'd 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

1330

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 ?

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

indeed.
CHOR. Consider, Samson, matters now are
Up to the highth, whether to hold or break; strain'd
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 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 ? Besides how vile, contemptible, ridiculous, 1361 What act more execrably unclean, profane ?

Chor. Yet with this strength thou serv'st the Idolatrous, uncircumcis'd, unclean. [Philistines

SAM. Not in their idol-worship, but by labour Honest and lawful to deserve my food Of those who have me in their civil power. [ble not. CHOR. Where the heartjoins not, outward acts deSAM. Where outward force constrains, the sen.

tence holds. But who constrains me to the temple of Dagon, Not dragging ? the Philistian lords command. 1311 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 reach, sam. Be of good courage, I begin to feel 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 dishonour 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. 1389 Chor. In time thou hast resolv'd, the man re

turns. 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

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