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1280

And celestial vigor arm’d,
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
Of 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 fight 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

Of.

Of. Hebrews, the pris’ner Samson here I seek. Chor. His manacles remark him, there he fits.

Of. Samson to thee our lords thụs bid me say; This day to Dagon is a folemn 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 Rise 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 fort Of gymnic artists, wrestlers, riders, runners, Juglers and dancers, antics, mummers, mimics, But they must pick me out with shackels 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 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

On my

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 1341 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. Sam.Perhaps thoushalt have causeto sorrow 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 Of 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

1359 Vaunting my strength in honor to their Dagon ? Besides how vile, contemptible, ridiculous, What act moreexecrably unclean, profane? (stines, Chor. Yet with this strength thou serv'st the Phili

Idolatrous, 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 meto the temple of Dagon, (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 1381 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. 1389

Chor. In time thou hast resolv'd, the man returns. Off. Samson, this second message from our lords

Το

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 shall 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 their streets
Like a wild beast, I am content to go.
Masters commands come with a pow'r resisless
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, left 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.

1416

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