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

But patience is more oft the exercise
Of saints, the trial of their fortitude,
Making theai each his own deliverer,
And victor over all 129(V

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, 1309
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.

or. Hebrews, the pris'ner Samson here I seek

Chor. His manacles remark him, here he sits

Of. Samson, to thecour 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

Sam. Have they not sword-players, and every sort
Of gymnic artists, wrestlers, riders, runners,
Jaglers and dancers, anties, mummers, mimies,
Eut 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.
Of Regard thyself, this willoffend them highly.
Sam. Myself? my conscience and internal peace.
Can they think me so broken, so debas'd
With corpoial 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, 1348

The worst of all indignities, yet on me

Join'd with extreme contempt P I will not come.

OF. My message was impos'd on me with speed, Brooks no delay: is this thy resolution f

SAM. So take it with what speed thy message needs, O F 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 rsnew'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. [file not. Chor. Where the heartjoins not, outwardacts de

SAM. Where outward force constrains, the tentence holds. But who constrains me to the temple of Dagon, Not dragging ? the Philistian lords command. 1311 Commands arc 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's; not doubt.

ciloit. How thou wilt here come off surmounts my reach,

s A M. 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. 1388

Chor. In time thou hast resolv'd, the roan returns.

Of. Samson, this second message from our loru 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;
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, 1101

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

Of. I praise thy resolution: doff these links: 1410 By this compliance thou wilt win the lords 1 o favour, and perhaps to set thee tree.

Sam. Brethren, farewell; your company along 1 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; 1 420 No less the people on their holy days Impetuous, insolent, unquenchable: Happen what may, of me expect to hear

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