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To something extraordinary my thoughts.
I with this messenger will go along,
Nothing to do, be sure, that may dishonour
Our law, or stain my vow of Nazarite.
If there be aught of presage in the mind,
This day will be remarkable in my life
By some great act, or of my days the last.

Chor. In time thou hast resolv'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'st thou at our sending and command Dispute thy coming ? come without delay; Or we shall find such engines to assail And harper 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,
Because they shall not trail me through their streets
Like a wild beast, I am content to go,
Masters' commands come with a power resistless
To such as owe them absolute subjection;
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. 1 praise thy resolution: doff these links :
By this compliance thou wilt win the lords
To favour, and perhaps to set thee free.

Sams. Brethren, farewell ; your company along
I will not wish, lest it perhaps offend them
To see me girt with friends, and how the sight
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-feasted priest then soonest fir'd
With zeal, if aught religion seem concern'd;
No less the people on their holy-days

+ need:

Impetuous, insolent, unquenchable :
Happen what may, of me expect to hear
Nothing dishonourable, impure, unworthy
Our God, our law, my nation, or myself,
The last of me or no I cannot warrant.

* Chor. Go, and the Holy One Of Israel be thy guide To what may serve his glory best, and spread hi

name Great among the heathen round; Send thee the angel of thy birth to stand Fast by thy side, who from thy father's field, Rode up in flames after this message told Of thy conception, and be now a shield Of fire ; that Spirit that first rushed on thee In the camp of Dan Be efficacious in thee now at need; For never was from heaven imparted Measure of strength so great to mortal seed, As in thy wondrous actions hath been seen. But wherefore comes old Manoah in such haste With youthful steps? much livelier than erewhile He seems; supposing here to find his son, Or of him bringing to us some glad news? Man. Peace with you, brethren; my induce

ment hither 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, Lest I should see him forc'd 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.

Chor. That hope would much rejoice us to partake With thee; say, 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,
To accept of ransom for my son their pris’ner.
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
They easily would set to sail; 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,
If some convenient ransom were prepos'd.
What noise or shout was that? it tore the sky.

Chor. Doubtless the people shouting to behold Their once great dread, captive, and blind before them, Or at some proof of strength before them shown.

Man. His ransom, 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. No, I am fix'd not to part hence without him. For his redemption all my patrimony If need be, I am ready to forego And quit: not wanting him, I shall want nothing.

Chor. Fathers are wont to lay up for their sons.
Thou for thy son art bent to lay out all;
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,
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 had not permitted
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
Useless, and thence ridiculous about him.
And since his strength with eye-sight was not lost,
God will restore his eye-sight to his strength.

Chor. Thy hopes are not ill-founded, nor seem vain
Of his delivery, and thy joy thereon
Conceiv'd agreeable to a father's love,
In both, which we, as next, participate.
Man. I know your friendly minds and what

noise ? ,
Mercy of heaven, what hideous noise was that?.
Horribly loud, unlike the former shout.

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 slain my son.

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

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

Chor. Best keep together here, lest running thither We unawares run into danger's mouth. This evil on the Philistines is fallen; From whom could else a general cry be heard ? The sufferers then will scarce molest us here, From other hands we need not much to fear. What if his eye-sight (for to Israel's God Nothing is hard) by miracle restord, He now be dealing dole among his foes, And over heaps of slaughter'd walk his way?

Man. That were a joy presumptious to be thought.

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.

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 see one hither speeding,
An Hebrew, as I guess, and of our tribe.

Mess. 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, 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, 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.

Mess. It would burst forth, but I recover breath And sense distract, to know well what I utter.

Man. Tell us the sum, the circumstance defer.

Mess. Gaza yet stands, but all her sons are fallen, All in a moment overwhelm'd and fallen. Man. Sad, but thou know'st to Israelites not

saddest The desolation of a hostile city. Mess. Feed on that first, there may in grief be

surfeit.
Man. Relate by whom.
Mess. By Samson

Man. That still lessens
The sorrow, and converts it nigh to joy.

Mess. Ah Monoah, I refrain too suddenly
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.

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