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CHORUS.
His manacles remark him, there he sits.

OFFICER.
Samson, to thee our lords thus bid me say ;
This day to Dagon is a solemn feast,
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
To appear as fits before th’illustrious lords.

SAMSON.
Thou know'st I am an Hebrew, therefore tell them,
Our law forbids at their religious rites
My presence; for that cause I cannot come.

OFFICER.
This answer, be assur'd, will not content them.

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1309. -remark him,] Dis- sc. 1. vol. ix. p. 29. Jonson's tinguish him, point him out. Cynth. Rev. a. iv. s. 6. and ShakeRichardson.

speare, K. Richard II. a. v. 3. 2. 1312. With sacrifices, triumph, Midnight Dream, a. i. s. I. Third pomp, and games;] Triumph was , Part K. Henry VI. a. v. s. 7. used for shews, such as masks, and this is the precise meaning revels, &c. See Burton's Ana- of Falstaffe's humour to Bartomie of Melancholie, Pref. p. 3. dolph," O, thou art a perpetual Bacon has an essay Of Masques triumph, &c." First P. Henry IV. and Triumphs. Ess. xxxvii. See a. iii. s. 3. Pomp also had a also his Essay Of Buildings, Ess. technical sense in the ancient xlv, where he would have a room masques, introduced perhaps by “ for a preparing place at times Jonson, for retinue, train, &c. of triumphes." And Bishop See note on P. L. viii. 60. T. Fysher's funeral sermon on Mar- Warton. garet Countess of Richmond, ed. 1313. - surpassing human rate,] Baker, 1708. p. 29. And in this In the first edition it was printed sense we are to interpret Drayton, race, but in the table of Errata vol. i. p. 331. And Beaumont we are desired to read rate. and Fletcher's Coronation, act ii.

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SAMSON.
Have they not sword-players, and every sort
Of gymnic artists, wrestlers, riders, runners,
Jugglers and dancers, antics, mummers, mimics,
But 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,
Or make a game of my calamities?
Return the way thou cam’st, I will not come.

OFFICER.
Regard thyself, this will offend them highly.

SAMSON.
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,
The worst of all indignities, yet on me
Join'd with extreme contempt? I will not come.

OFFICER.
My message was impos’d on me with speed,
Brooks no delay: is this thy resolution?

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1925. mummers, mimics,] Jt mirs? The table of Errata to was printed mummers, mimirs'; the first edition hath set us right, mummers are maskers according instructing us to read mimics, but to Junius, Skinner, and the other not one of the editions has fol etymologists; but what are mi- lowed it.

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SAMSON. 'So take it with what speed thy message needs. 1345

OFFICER.
I am sorry what this stoutness will produce.

SAMSON.
Perhaps thou shalt have cause to sorrow' indeed.

Chorus
Consider, Samson; matters now are strain'd
Up to the height, whether to hold or break :
He's
gone,

and who knows how he may report
Thy words by adding fuel to the flame?
Expect another message more imperious,
More lordly thund'ring than thou well wilt bear.

SAMSON.
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 ? 1360
Besides how vile, contemptible, ridiculous,
What act more execrably unclean, profane ?

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1347. Perhaps thou shalt have such hints as cannot be perfectly cause to sorrow indeed.] Here comprehended, till they are fully the catastrophe is anticipated, as explained by the event. The before, ver. 1266.

speaker himself can only be supLit may with mine

posed to have some general Draw their own ruin who attempt meaning, and not a distinct con

ception of all the particulars, And such anticipations are usual somewhat like the high priest in with the best dramatic writers, the Gospel, who prophesied withwho knowing their own plan out his knowing it. open it by degrees, and drop VOL. III.

X

the deed.

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

SAMSON.
Not in their idol-worship, but by labour 1365
Honest and lawful to deserve my food
Of those who have me in their civil power. .

CHORUS.
Where the heart joins not, outward acts defile not.

SAMSON.
Where outward force constrains, the sentence holds.
But who constrains me to the temple of Dagon, 1370
Not dragging ? the Philistian lords command.
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.

CHORUS.
How thou wilt here comeoff surmounts my reach. 1380

SAMSON.
Be of good courage, I begin to feel
Some rousing motions in me which dispose
To something extraordinary my thoughts.
I with this messenger

will

go along,

1377. Yet that he may dispense of this sort from Elisha, which &c.] Milton here probably had he seemingly grants him. See in view the story of Naaman the 2 Kings v. 18, 19. Thyer. Syrian's begging a dispensation 1384. I with this messenger will

Nothing to do, be

sure,
that
may

dishonour 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.

CHORUS.
In time thou hast resolv'd, the man returus. 1390

OFFICER.
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 al 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.

SAMSON. I could be well content to try their art, Which to no few of them would prove pernicious. 1400 Yet knowing their advantages too many, Because they shall not trail me through their streets Like a wild beast, I am content to go. Masters' commands come with a pow'r resistless

go along,) With what messen- hardly a sufficient intimation to ger? It was not expressly said

a blind man, unless we suppose before that the messenger was him to know that the

messenger coming; it was implied indeed was coming by the same impulse in what the Chorus had said, that he felt rousing him to some

thing extraordinary. How thou wilt here come off sur

1404. Masters' commands &c.] mounts my reach :

This was a feint, but it had beand this might very well be un- trayed itself had it not been coderstood by a man, who could vered by ver. 1408. see the messenger coming as Yet this be sure &c. well as the Chorus, but seems

Warburton.

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