Page images

And now some public proof thereof require
To honor this great feast, and great assembly; i<3*5
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, Ii2i

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
On my refusal to distress me more, 1330

Or make a game of my calamities?
Return the way thou cam'st, I will rqt 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 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 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 1 is this thy resolution? 134+

Sam. So take it with what speed thy message needs.

Of. lam sorry what this stoutness will produce.

Sam. Perhaps thou shalt have cause to sorrow in. deed.

CHOr.Consider,Samson,mattersnowarestrain'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 1355 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 ail more execrably unclean, profane?

Chor. Yet with this strength thou serv'st the PhiIdolatrous, 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,ou tward acts defile

S A M. Whereoutwaid 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 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
Sam. Be of good courage, I begin to feel [reach.
Some rousing motions in me which dispose 1381
To something extraordinary my thoughts.
I with this messenger will go along,
Nothing to do, be sure, that may dishonor 138J5
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. 13 89
Chor.In time thou hast resolv'd,theman 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'stthou at our sending and command
Dispute thy coming i come withont delay; 1395
Or we shall find suchengins 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, 1401

Betause they shall not trail me through their streets
Like a wild beast, 1 am content to go.
Masters' commands come with a power 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 forbbiden in our law.

Of. I praise thy resolutioni doff these linksi
By this compliance thou wilt win the lords 14.11
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 j and how the sight
Of me as of a common enemy, 1416

So dreaded once, may now exasperate them,
I know noti 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 1421

Impetuous, insolent, unquenchablei
Happen what may, of me expeet 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 Israel be thy guide [name

To what may serve his glory best, and spread his Great among the Heathen round; 1430

Send thee the angel of thy birth, to stand

Volume HI.' * M

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. 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? 1444

Man. Peace with you, brethren; my inducement Was not at present here to find my son, [hither 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, 1450 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. 14-54

Chor.That hope would much rejoiceus 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, 1459 To' accept of ransom for my son their pris'ner. Some much averse I found and wondrous harsh,

« PreviousContinue »