« PreviousContinue »
Samson. Cam'st thou for this, vain boaster, to survey me, '" To descant on my strength, and give thy verdict? Come nearer; part not hence so slight inform'd; .' But take good heed my hand survey not thee.. .' .
Harapha. O Baal-zebub! can my ears unus'd Jlear these dishonours, and not render death? Samson. No man witholds thee, nothing from thy hand Fear I incurable; bring up thy van, My heels are fetter'd, but my fist is free. . •
Harapha. This insolence other kind of answer
fits. Samson. Go, baffled coward! lest I run upon thee Though in these chains, bulk without spirit vast, And with one buffet lay thy structure low, . l Or swing thee in the air, then dash thee down To the hazard of thy brains and shatter'd sides. . .' .* Harapha. By Astaroth, ere long thou shalt lament These braveries, in irons loaden on thee. [Exit.'] Chorus. His giantship is gone somewhat crestfallen, Stalking with less unconscionable strides, And lower looks, but in a sultry chase.
Samson. I dread him not, nor all his giant-brood, Though Fame divulge him father of five sons, All of gigantick size, Goliah chief.
Chorus. He will directly to the lords, I fear,
And with malicious counsel stir them up
Some way or other yet further to afflict thee.
Samson. He must allege some cause, and offer'd.
Will not dare mention, lest a question rise •
Whether he durst accept the offer or not;
And, that he durst not, plain enough appear'd.
Much more affliction than already felc
They cannot well impose, nor I sustain;
If they intend advantage of my labours,
The work of many hands, which earns my keeping
With no small profit daily to my owners.
But come what will, my deadliest foe will prove
My speediest friend, by death to rid me hence;
The worst that he can give, to me the best.
Yet so it may fall out, because their end
Is hate, not help to me, it may with mine
Draw their own ruin who attempt the deed.
Chorus. Oh how comely it is, and how reviving
To the spirits of just men long oppress'd!
When God into the hands of their deliverer
Puts invincible might
To quell the mighty of the earth, the oppressour,
The brute and boisterous force of violent men, .-
Hardy and industrious to support
Tyrannick power, but raging to pursue
The righteous and all such as honour truth j
He all their ammunition • I
And feats of war defeats,
With plain heroick magnitude of mind
And celestial vigour arm'd;
Their armouries and magazines contemns,
Renders them useless; while
With winged expedition,
Swift as the lightning 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 therfl each his own deliverer,
And victor over all
That tyranny or fortune can inflict.
Either of these is in thy lot,
Samson, with might endued
Above the sons of men; but sight beteaVd
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,
For I descry this way
Some other tending; ip his hand
A scepter or quaint staff he bearSi
Comes ori afn&in, speed in his look.
By his habit I discern, him now
A publick -officer, and now at bwid}
His message will be short and vohribte.
Officer. Hebrews, the prisoner Samsori hews I seek.
Chorus. His manacles remark hkn, there he sits.
Cfficer. Sam9on,tothee our lords thus bid me say;
This day to Dagon is a solemn feast,
With sacrifices, triumph, pomp, and games:
Thy strength they knew surpassing human rate,
And now some pttbliek 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 the illustrious lords.
Samson. Thou knoWst I am an Hebrew, there*
fore 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 cttttttSnt
them. Samson. Have they not sword-players, and every sort Of gymnick artists, wrestlers, riders, runners, Juglers, and dancers, anticks, mummers* mimicks, But they must pick me out, with shackles tir'd, And over-labour'd at their publick mill) To make them sport with blind activity?
Do they not seek occasion of new quarrels
On my refulsal 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
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
Brooks no delay; is this thy resolution?
Samson. So take it with what speed thy message
needs. Officer. I am sorry what this stoutness will produce. [Exit.'] Samson. Perhaps thou shalt have cause to sorrow
indeed. Chorus. Consider, Samson; matters now are strain'd Up to the highth, whether to hold or break;