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Among the slaves and asses, 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 warrior, so to stain his honour,
But by the barber's razor best subdued.

Sams. 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 the trial of mortal fight,
By combat to decide whose god is God,
Thine, or whom I, with Israel's sons, adore.

Har. Fair honour that thou dost thy God, in trustHe will accept thee, to defend his cause, [ing A murderer, a revolter, and a robber! (me these?

Sams. Tongue-doughty giant, how dost thou prove

Har. 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.

Sams. 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 proposed. When I perceiv'd all set on enmity, As on my enemies, wherever chanced, I used 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, presumed
Single rebellion, and did hostile acts.
I was no private, but a person raised
With strength sufficient, & 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 naught,
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.

Har. With thee, a man condemn'd, a slave enroll’d,
Due by the law to capital punishment ?
To fight with thee, no man of arms will deign.

Sams. Camest thou for this, vain boaster, to survey To descant on my strength, & give thy verdict ? [me, Come nearer; part not hence so slight inform’d; But take good heed my

hand

survey not thee. Har. © Baal-zebub! can my ears, unused, Hear these dishonours, and not render death?

Sams. No man withholds thee; nothing from thy Fear I incurable ; bring up thy van; [hand My heels are fetter'd, but my fist is free.

Har. This insolence other kind of answer fits.

Sams. Go, baffled coward, lest I run upon thee,
Though in these chains, bulk without spirit vast;
And with one buffet, lay thy structure low,
Or swing thee in the air; then dash thee down,
To the hazard of thy brains, & shatter'd sides.

Har. By Astaroth, ere long, thou shalt lament These braveries, in irons loaden on thee. [Exit.

Chor. His giantship is gone, somewhat crest-fallen, Stalking with less unconscionable strides, And lower looks, but in a sultry chafe.

Sams. I dread him not, nor all his giant-brood, 'Though fame divulge him father of five sons, All of gigantic size, Goliah chief.

Chor. He will directly to the lords, I fear, And with malicious counsel, stir them up, Some way or other, yet further to afflict thee.

Sams. He must allege some cause, and offer'd Will not dare mention, lest a question rise, (fight Whether he durst accept the offer, or not ;

And, that he durst not, plain enough appear'd.
Much more affliction, than already felt,
They cannot well impose, nor I sustain ;
If they intend advantage of my labours,
The work of many hands, which earns my keeping,
With no small profit daily to my owners.
But come what will, my deadliest foe will prove
My speediest friend, by death to rid me hence ;
The worst that he can give, to me the best.
Yet so it may fall out, because their end
Is hate, not help to me; it may with mine
Draw their own ruin, who attempt the deed.

Chor. Oh how comely it is, & how reviving,
To the spirits of just men long oppress’d;
When God, into the hands of their deliverer,
Puts invincible might,
To quell the mighty of the earth, the oppressor,
The brute and boisterous force of violent men,
Hardy and industrious to support
Tyrannic power ; but raging to pursue
The righteous, and all such as honour truth;
He, all their ammunition,
And feats of war defeats,
With plain heroic magnitude of mind,
And celestial vigour, arm’d;
Their armouries and magazines contemns,
Renders them useless, while,
With winged expedition,
Swift as the lightning glance, he executes
His errand on the wicked, who, surprised,
Lose their defence, distracted and amazed.

But patience is more oft the exercise
Of saints, the trial of their fortitude ;
Making them each his own deliverer,
And victor over all
That tyranny, or fortune, can inflict.
Either of these is in thy lot,
Samson, with might endued,
Above the sons of men ; but sight bereaved
May chance to number thee with those,
Whom patience finally must crown.

This idol's day hath been, to thee, no day of Labouring thy mind

rest More, than the working day thy hands. And yet, perhaps, more trouble is behind; For I desery this way Some other tending, in his hand,

A sceptre or quaint staff he bears,
Comes on amain, speed in his look.
By his habit I discern him now
A public officer, and now at hand.
His
message

will be short and voluble.

Enter OFFICER.
Off. Hebrews, the prisoner Samson here I seek.
Chor. His manacles remark him; there he sits.

Off. Samson, to thee our lords thus bid me say;
This day to Dagon is a solemn feast,
With sacrifices, triumph, pomp, and games ;
Thy strength they know surpassing human rate,
And now some public proof thereof require,
To honour this great feast, and great assembly;
Rise therefore, with all speed, and come along,
Where I will see thee hearten’d, and fresh clad,
To appear, as fits, before the 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.

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, Jugglers, and dancers, antics, mummers, mimics, But they must pick me out, with shackles tired, And over-labour'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, Or make a game of my calamities? Return the way thou camest; 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 debased, 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 Joined with extreme contempt? I will not come.

Off. My message was imposed on me with speed, Brooks no delay: is this thy resolution?

Sams. So take it, with what speed thy message needs. Off. I am sorry what this stoutness will produce. [Erit. Sams.Perhaps thou shalt have cause to 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 fame?
Expect another message, more imperious,
More lordly thundering, than thou well wilt bear.

Sams. Shall I abuse this consecrated gift
Of strength, again returning with my hair,
After my great transgression ; so requite
Favour renew'd, and add a greater sin,
By prostituting holy things to idols ;
A Nazarite in place abominable,
Vaunting my strength, in honour to their Dagon ?
Besides, how vile, contemptible, ridiculous,
What act more execrably unclean, profane ?

Chor. Yet with this strength thou servest the
Idolatrous, uncircumcised, unclean. [Philistines,

Sams. Not in their idol-worship, but by labour, Honest and lawful, to deserve my food Of those, who have me in their civil power. [not.

Chor. Where the heart joins not, outward acts defile

Sams. Where outward force constrains, the sentence But who constrains me to the temple of Dagon, [holds. Not dragging ? The Philistian lords command. Commands are no constraints. If I obey them, I do it freely, venturing to displease God, for the fear of man, and man prefer, Set God behind : which, in his jealousy, 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.

Chor. How thou wilt come off here, surmounts my

Sams. Be of good courage; I begin to feel (reach. 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 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 resolved, 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 darest thou at our sending and command,

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