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To have wrought such wonders with an ass's jaw!
I should have forc'd thee soon with other arms,
Or left thy carcass where the ass lay thrown:
So had the glory of prowess been recover'd
To Palestine, won by a Philistine,
From the unforeskin'd race, of whom thou bear'st
The highest name for valiant acts; that honour,
Certain to have won by mortal duel from thee,
I lose, prevented by thy eyes put out.
Samson. Boast not of what thou would'st have
done, but do What then thou would'st; thou seest it in thy hand.
Harapha. To combat with a blind man I disdain, And thou hast need much washing to be touch’d.
Samson. Such usage as your honourable lords
Afford me, assassinated and betray'd,
Who durst not with their whole united powers
In fight withstand me single and unarm’d,
Nor in the house with chamber ambushes
Close-banded durst attack me, no, not sleeping,
Till they had hir'd a woman with their gold i
Breaking her marriage-faith to circumvent me.
Therefore, without feign'd shifts, let be assign'd
Some narrow place enclos’d, where sight may give
Or rather flight, no great advantage on me;
Then put on all thy gorgeous arms, thy helmet-
And brigandine of brass, thy broad habergeon,
Vant-brace and greves, and gauntlet, add thy spear,
A weaver's beam, and seven-times-folded shield;
I only with an oaken staff will meet thee,
And raise such outcries on thy clatter'd iron,
Which long shall not withhold me from thy head,
That in a little time, while breath remains thee,
Thou oft shalt wish thyself at Gath, to boast
Again in safety what thou would'st have done
To Samson, but shalt never see Gath more.
Harapha. Thou durst not thus disparage glorious
Which greatest heroes have in battle worn,
Their ornament and safety, had not spells
And black enchantment, some magician's art,
Arm’d thee or charm’d thee strong, which thou from
Heaven Feignd'st at thy birth, was given thee in thy hair, Where strength can least abide, though all thy hairs Were bristles rang'd like those that ridge the back Of chaf’d wild boars, or ruffled porcupines.
Samson. I know no spells, use no forbidden arts. My trust is in the living God, who gave me At my nativity this strength, diffus'd No less through all my sinews, joints, and bones, Than thine, while I preserv'd these locks unshorn, The pledge of my unviolated vow. For proof hereof, if Dagon be thy God, Go to his temple, invocate his aid
With solemnest devotion, spread before him
How highly it concerns his glory now
To frustrate and dissolve these magick spells,
Which I to be the power of Israel's God
Avow, and challenge Dagon to the test,
Offering to combat thee his champion bold,
With the utmost of his Godhead seconded :
Then thou shalt see, or rather, to thy sorrow,
Soon feel, whose God is strongest, thine or mine.
Harapha. Presume not on thy God, whate'er
Thee he regards not, owns not, hath cut off
Quite from his people, and deliver'd up
Into thy enemies' hand, permitted them
To put out both thine eyes, and fetter'd send thee
Into the common prison, there to grind
Among the slaves and asess thy comrades,
As good for nothing else; no better service
With those thy boisterous locks, no worthy match
For valour to assail, nor by the sword
Of noble warriour, so to stain his honour,
But by the barber's razor best subdued.
Samson. All these indignities, for such they are From thine, these evils I deserve, and more, Acknowledge them from God inflicted on me Justly, yet despair not of his final pardon, Whose ear is ever open, and his eye Gracious to re-admit the suppliant:
In confidence whereof I once again
Defy thee to a trial of mortal fight,
By combat to decide whose God is God,
Thine, or whom I with Israel's sons adore.
Harapha. Fair honour that thou dost thy God,
He will accept thee to defend his cause,
A Murderer, a Revolter, and a Robber!
Samson. Tongue-doughty Giant, how dost thou
prove me these? Harapha. Is not thy nation subject to our lords ? Their magistrates confess'd it, when they took thee As a league-breaker, and deliver'd bound Into our hands : for hadst thou not committed Notorious murder on those thirty men At Ascalon, who never did thee harm, Then like a robber stripp’dst them of their robes ? The Philistines, when thou hadst broke the league, Went up with armed powers thee only seeking, To others did no violence nor spoil.
Samson. Among the daughters of the Philistines I chose a wife, which argued me no foe; And in your city held my nuptial feast :. But your ill-meaning politician lords, Under pretence of bridal friends and guests, Appointed to await me thirty spies, Who, threatening cruel death, constrain’d the bride To wring from me, and tell to them, my secret,
That solv'd the riddle which I had propos’d.
When I perceiv'd all set on enmity,
As on my enemies, wherever chanc'd,
I us’d hostility, and took their spoil.
To pay my underminers in their coin.
My nation was subjected to your lords :
It was the force of conquest; force with force
Is well ejected when the conquer'd can.
But I, a private person, whom my country
As a league-breaker gave up bound, presum’d
Single rebellion, and did hostile acts.
I was no private, but a person rais’d
With strength sufficient, and command from Heaven,
To free my country; if their servile minds
Me, their deliverer sent, would not receive,
But to their masters gave me up for nought,
The unworthier they; whence to this day they serve,
I was to do my part from Heaven assign’d,
And had perform'd it, if my known offence
Had not disabled me, not all your force :
These shifts refuted, answer thy appellant,
Though by his blindness maim'd for high attempts,
Who now defies thee thrice to single fight,
As a petty enterprise of small enforce.
Harapha. With thee ! a man condemn’d, a slave
Due by the law to capital punishment !
To fight with thee no man of arms will deign.