Page images
PDF
EPUB

Idolatrous, uncircumcis'd, unclean.

Sams. Not in their idol-worship, but by labor Honest and lawful to deserve my food 1366 Of those who have me in their civil power. (not.

Chor. Wherethe heart joins not, outwardacts defile Sams. Where outward force constrains, the sentence But who constrains meto the temple'ofDagon, (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 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. Ch. How thou wilt here come offsurmounts my reach.

Sams. Be of good courage, I begin to feel 1381 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 dishonor 1385 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 returns. Off. Samson, this second message from our lords

To

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.
Yet knowing their advantages too many, 1401
Because they shall not trail me through theirftreets
Like a wild beast, I am content to go.
Masters commands come with a pow'r refiftless
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.

Of. I praise thy resolution: doff these links: 1410 By this compliance thou wilt win the lords To favor, and perhaps to set thee free.

Sams. Brethren farewel ; your company along I will not wish, left 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-feafted priest then soonest fir’d

1416

1430

With zeal, if ought religion seem'd concern'd; 1420
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, 1425
The last of me or no I cannot warrant.

Chor. Go, and the Holy One
Of Ifrael be thy guide

(name 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 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. 1140 But wherefore comes old Manoah in such hafte 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? (hither

Man. Peace with you, Brethren; my inducement Was not at present here to find my son,: 1446 By order of the lords new parted hence

To

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,. 1450
Left 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. 1454

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 passing, With supplication prone and father's tears, T'accept of ransome for my son 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 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 ransome were propos’d. What noise or shout was that? it tore the sky.

Chor. Doubtless the people shouting to behold Theironcegreatdread captive,and blind before them, Or at some proof of strength before them shown.

Man.

Man. His ransome, 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. 1480 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 sons, Thou for thy son art bent to lay out all; 1486 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-light lost.

Man. It shall 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 shoulders waving down those locks, That of a nation arm’d the strength contain’d: And I persuade me God hath not permitted 1495 His strength again to grow up with his hair Garrison'd round about him like a camp Of faithful soldiery, were not his purpose To use him further yet in some great service, Not to sit idle with so great a gift

1500 Useless, and thence ridiculous about him. And since his strength with eye-fight was not loft, God will restore him eye-light to his strength.

Chor.

« PreviousContinue »