Page images
PDF

Contemptuous, proud, set on revenge andspite;
That part most reverenc' d Dagon and his priest:
Others more moderate seeming, but their aim
Private reward, for which both God and' state
They easily would set to sale: a third 1466

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, 147°

If some convenient ransom were propos'd.
What noise or shout was that? it tore the sky.

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

Man. His ransom, if my whole inheritance May compass it, shall willingly be paid '477

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 forego
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: i486
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-sight lost.

Man. It shall be my delight to tend his eyes, And view him sitting in the house, ennobled 1491

With all those high exploits by him achiev'd,
And on his shoulders waving down those locks
That of a nation arnVd the strength contain'd:
And I persuade me God had not permitted 149 s
His strength again to grow up with his hair
Ganison'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-sight was not lost,
God will restore him eye.sight to his strength.

Chor. Thy hopes are not ill founded nor seem vain Of his delivery, and the joy thereon 1505

Conceiv'd, agreeable to a father's love,
In both which we, as next, participate. [noise!

Man, I know your friendly minds and—O what Mercy of Heav'n,what hideous noisewas that! Horribly loud, unlike the former shout. 1510

Chor. Noise call you it or universal groan, As if the whole inhabitation perish'd! Blood, death, and deathful deeds are in that noise, Ruin, destruction at the utmost point. [noise:

Man. Of ruin indeed methought I heard the Oh it continues, they have slain my son. 1516

Chor, Thy son is rather slaying them, that outcry From slaughter of one foe could not ascend.

Man. Some dismal accident it needs must be; What shall we do, stay here or run and see I 1510

CHOR. Best keep together here,lest running thiWe unawares run into Danger's mouth, [ther

This evil on the Philistines is fall'n;
From whom could else a general cry be heard?
The sufferers then will scarce molest us here, 1525
From other hands wt need not muck to fear.
What if his eye-sight (for to Israel's God
Nothing is hard) by miracle restor'd,
He now be dealing dole among his foes,
And over heaps of slaughter'd walk his way? 153*
Man. That were a joy presumptous to bethought.
Chor. Yet God hath wrought things as incredi-
For his people of old; what hinders now? [ble
Man. He can I know, but doubt to think he will 5
Yet hope would fain subscribe, and tempts belief.
A little stay will bring some notice hither. 1536
Chor.Of goodor bad so great,of bad the sooner;
For evil news rides post, while good news baits,
And to our wish I see one hither speeding,
An Hebrew, as I guess, and of our tribe. 154,»

Mes. O whither shall I run, or which way fly
The sight of this so horrid spectacle,
Which earst my eyes beheld and yet behold?
For dire imagination still pursues me.
But Providence or instincl: of nature seems, 15A3
Or reason though diaturb'd, and scarce consulted,
To' have guided me aright, I know not how,
To thee first reverend Manoah, and to these
My countrymen, whom here I knew remaining,

As at some distance from the place of horror, 1550 So in the sad event too much concern'd.

Ma N . The accident was loud,and here before thee With rueful cry, yet what it was we hear not; No preface needs, thou seest we long to know.

Mes. It would burst forth, but I recover breath And sense distrait, to know well what I utter.

Man. Tell us the sum, the circumstance defer.

Mes. Gaza yet stands, but all her sons arefall'n, All in a moment overwhelm^ and fall n. [deH

Man. Sad, but thou know'st to Israelites not sadThe desolation of a hostile city. 1561

Mes. Feed on that first, there may in grief be

Man. Relate by whom. [surfeit.

Mes. By Samson.

Man . That still lessens
The sorrow, and converts it nigh to joy.

Mes. Ah Manoah, I refrain too suddenly 1565
To utter what will come at last too soon;
Lest evil tidings with too rude irruption
Hitting thy aged ear should pierce too deep. [out.

Man. Suspense in news is torture, speak them

Mes. Take then the worst in brief,Samson is dead.

Man. The worst indeed, O all my hopes defeated To free him hence 1 but Death who sets all free Hath paid his ransome now and full discharge. What windy joy this day had I conceiv'd Hopeful of his deli very, which nowproves 1575 Abortive as the first-born bloom of Spring

Nipt with the lagging rear of Winter's frost!
Yet ere I give the reins to grief, say first
How dy'd he; death to life is crown or shame.
All by him fell thou say'st, by whom fell he, 1580
Whatglorious hand gave Samson his death'swound?

Mes. Unwoundtd of his enemies he fell, [plain.

Man. Wearied with slaughter then or how ? ejf

Mes. By his own hands.

Man. Self-violence ? what cause
Brought him so soon at vaiiance with himself 1585
Among his foes?

Mes. Inevitable cause
At once both to destroy and be destroy'd;
The edifice, where all were met to see him,
Upon their heads and on his own he pull'd.

Man. O lastly over-strong against thyself! 1590
A dreadful way thou took'st to thy revenge.
More than enough we know ; but while things yet
Are in confusion, give us if thou canst,
Eye-witness of what first or last was done,
Relation more particular and distinct. 1595

Mes. Occasions drew me early to this city, And as the gates I enter'd with sun-rise, The morning trumpets festival proclam'd Through each high-street: little I had dispatch'd, When all abroad was rumor' d that this day 1600 Samson should be brought forth to show the people Proof of his mighty strength in feats and games 5 I sorrow'd at his captive state, but minded

« PreviousContinue »