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Of those who have me in their civil
power. [not. Cho. Where the heart joins not, outward acts defile SAMs. Where outward force constrains, the sen
tence holds. But who constrains me to the temple of Dagon, 1370 Not dragging i 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. Cho. How thou wilt here come off furmounts my reach.
1380 Sams. 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, 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.
Cho, In time thou hast resoiv'd, the man returns.
OFF. 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'it thou at our sending and command
Dispute thy coming ? come without delay; 1395
Sams. I could be well content to try their art,
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.
Off. 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, farewell; your company along I will not wilh, left it perhaps offend them To see me girt with friends; and how the sight 1415 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 With zeal, if ought religion seem 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,
Cho, Go, and the holy One Of Israel be thy guide To what may serve his glory best, and spread his name Great among the Heathen round;
1430 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 fhield 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 feed, As in thy wondrous actions hath been seen ! 1440 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, 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 Left I should see him forc'd to things unseemly. But that which mov'd my coming now was chiefly To give you part with me what hope I have With good success to work his liberty.
CHO. That hope would much rejoice us to partake With thee; say, reverend Sire, we thirft to hear.
Man. I have attempted one by one the lords,
far and civil, who confess'd
1470 If some convenient ransom were propos’d. Whát noise or thout was that it tore the sky,
Cho. Doubtless the people shouting to behold Their once great dread, captive, and blind before them, Or at fome proof of strength before them shown. 1475
Man. His ransom, if my whole inheritance
Cho. Fathers are wont to lay up for their sons, 1485 Thou for thy fon art bent to lay out all: Sons wont to nurse their parents in old age, Thou in old age car'tt how to nurse thy son Made older than thy age through eye-fight loft.
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 had not permitted 1495 His ftrength again to grow up with his hair Garrison'd round about him like a camp Of faithful soldiery, were not his parpofe To use him farther yet
fervice, Not to fit idle with fo great a gift
1500 Useless, and thence ridiculous about him. And fince his ftrength with eye-fight was not loft, God will restore him eye-light to his strength.
Cho. Thy hopes are not ill founded, nor seem vain Of his delivery, and thy 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 what Mercy of Heaven, what hideous noise was that! Horribly loud, unlike the former shout.
1510 Cho. Noise call you it, or universal groan, As if the whole inhabitation perishid ! Blood, death, and deathful deeds are in that noife, Ruin, destruction at the atmost point.