Page images
PDF
EPUB

And celestial vigor arm'd, 1280

Their armories 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 1285

Lose their defense distracted and amaz'd.

But patience is more oft the exercise
Os saints, the trial of their fortitude,
Making them each his own deliverer,
And victor over all 1290

That tyranny or fortune can inflict.
Either of these is in thy lot,
Samson, with might indued
Above the sons of men; but sight bereav'd
May chance to number thee with those 1295

Whom patience finally must crown.

This idol's day hath been to thee no day of rest,

Laboring thy mind

More than the working day thy hands.

And yet perhaps more trouble is behind, 1300

For I descry this way

Some other tending, in his hand

A scepter or quaint staff he bears,

Comes on amain, speed in his look.

By his habit I discern him now 1305

A public Officer, and now at hand.

His message will be short and voluble.

T Off

Off. Hebrews, the pris'ner Samson here I seek.

Chor. His manacles remark him, there he sits.

Off. Samson to thee our lords thus bid me fay; This day to Dagon is a solemn feast, 1311

With sacrifices, triumph, pomp, and games;
Thy strength they know surpassing human rate,
And now some public proof thereof require
To honor this great feast, and great assembly; 1315
Rife 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.

Sams. Thou know'st I am an Hebrew, therefore Our law forbids at their religious rites (tell them, My presence; for that cause I cannot come. 1321

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

Sams. 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 fhackels tir'd, 1326
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 not come.

Off. Regard thyself, this will offend them highly.

Sams. 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
To show them feats, and play before their God,
The worst of all indignities, yet on me 13 41

Join'd with extreme contempt? I will not come.

Off. My message was impos'd on me with speed, Brooks no delay: is this thy resolution? 1344

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

Off. I am sorry what this stoutness will produce. Sa/n.Perhaps thoushalthavecausetosorrow indeed.

Chor. Consider, Samson; matters now are strain'd
Up to the highth, whether to hold or break;
He's gone, and who knows how he may report
Thy words by adding fuel to the flame? 1351

Expect another message more imperious,
More lordly thund'ring than thou well wilt bear.

Sams. Shall I abuse this consecrated gift
Os 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 I359

Vaunting my strength in honor to their Dagon?
Besides how vile, contemptible, ridiculous,
Whatactmoreexecrablyunclean,profane? (stines,

Chor. Yet with this strength thou ferv'st the Phili

T 2 IdoIdolatrous, uncircumcis'd, unclean.

Sams. Not in their idol-worship, but by labor Honest and lawful to deserve my food 1366

Of those who have me in their civil power, (not.

Chor. Where the heart joins not, outwardacts defile
Sams. Where outward force constrains, the sentence
But who constrains me to the temple'ofDagon, (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.
Ch. How thou wilt here come offsurmounts my reach.

Sams. Be of good courage, I begin to feel 13 81
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 os presage in the mind,
This day will be remarkable in my life
By some great act, or of my days the last. 1389

Chor. In time thou hast resolv'd, the man returns.

Off. Samson, this second message from our lords

To

To thee I am bid say. Art thou our slave,
Our captive, at the public mill our drudge,
And dar'st thou at our sending and command
Dispute thy coming? come without delay; 1395
Or we mall find such engines to assail
And hamper thee, as thou shalt come of force,
Though thou wert firmlier fasten'd than a rock.

Sams. 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
Because they shall not trail me through theirstreets
Like a wild beast, I am content to go.
Masters commands come with a pow'r 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 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 farewel ; your company along
I will not wish, lest it perhaps offend them
To fee me girt with friends; and how the sight
Of me as of a common enemy, 1416

So dreaded once, may now exasperate them
I know not: lords are lordliest in their wine;
And the well-feasted priest then soonest fir'd

« PreviousContinue »