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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
Lest I should see him sorcd to things unseemly.
But that which mov'd my coming now, was chiefly
To give ye part with me what hope I have
With good success to work his liberty. 1454

Chor. That hope would much rejoice us to partake With thee; fay, reverend Sire, we thirst to hear.

Man. I have attempted one by one the lords
Either at home, or through the high street passing,
With supplication prone and father's tears,
T' accept of ranfomeformy son their pris'ner. 1460
Some much averse I found and wondrous harsh,
Contemptuous, proud, set on revenge and spite;
That part most reverenc'd Dagon and his priests:
Others more moderate seeming, but their aim
Private reward, for which both God and State 1465
They easily would set to sale: a third
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, 1470

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

Chor. Doubtless the people shouting to behold Theironce great dreadcaptive3andblindbesorethem, Or at some proof of strength before them shown.

Man.

Man. His ransome, if my whole inheritance
May compass it, shall willingly be paid
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 forgo
And quit: not wanting him, I shall want nothing.

Chor. Fathers are wont to lay up for their sons,
Thoufor thy son art bent to lay out all; 1486

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, 1490
And view him sitting 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 hath not permitted 1495
His strength again to grow up with his hair
Garrison'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.

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Chor. 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—O what Mercy of Heav'n, what hideous noise was 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.

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

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

Man. Some dismal accident it needs must be; What shall we do, stay here or run and see? 1520

Chor. Best keep together here, lest running thither We unawares run into danger's mouth. This evil on the Philistines is fall'n; From whom could else a general cry be heard? The susferers then will scarce molest us here, 1525 From other hands we need not much 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 flaughter'd walk his way? 1530 Man. That were ajoy presumptuous to be thought.

U Chor.

Chor. Yet God hath wrought things as incredible For his people of old; what hinders now?

Man. He can I know, but doubt to think he will; Yet hope would fain subscribe, and tempts belief. A little stay will bring some notice hither. 1536

Chor. Of good or bad so great, of bad the sooner; For evil news rides post, while good news baits. And to our wish I fee one hither speeding, An Hebrew, as I guess, and of our tribe. 1540

Mejf. O whither shall I run, or which way fly The sight of this so horrid spectacle, Which erst my eyes beheld and yet behold? For dire imagination still pursues me. But providence or instinct of nature seems, 1545 Or reason though disturb'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.

Man. 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.

Mejf. It would burst forth, but I recover breath And fense distract, to know well what I utter. 1556

Man. Tell us the sum, the circumstance defer.

Mejf. Gaza yet stands, but all her sons are fall'n, All in a moment overwhelm'd and fall'n.

Man.

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

MeJJ'. Feed on that first, there may in grief be surMan. Relate by whom. MeJJ. By Samson, (feit. Man. That still lessens The sorrow, and converts it nigh to joy.

MeJJ'. 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. Man. Suspense in news is torture, speak them out. MeJJ. Take then the worst in brief, Samson is dead. Assln.The worst indeed, O all my hope'sdefeatedi5 71 To free him hence! 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 delivery, which now proves 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, fay first, How dy'd he; death to life is crown or shame. All by him fell thou say'st, by whom fell he, 1580 What glorious handgaveSamsonhisdeath'swound? MeJJ. Unwounded of his enemies he fell. Man. Wearied with flaughter then or how? explain. MeJJ. By his own hands.

Man. Self-violence? what cause 1585

Brought him so soon at variance with himself

U 2 Among

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