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And now some public proof thereof require
To honor this great feast, and great assembly; 1345
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.
SAM. Thou know'st I am an Hebrew, therefore tell

them Our law forbids at their religious ritesMy presence; for that cause I cannot come, 1321

Of.This answer, be assurd, will not content them.

SAM. Have they not sword-players, and every sort Of gymnic artists, wrestlers, riders, runners, Juglers and dancers, antics, mummers, mimics, But they must pick me out with shạckles tird, And over-labor'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,

1330 Or make a game of my calamities? Return the way thou cam'st, I will not come.

OF. Regard thyself, this will offend them highly.

SAM.Myself? my conscience and internal peace. Can they think me so broken, so debas'd 1335 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 1339 To show them feats, and play before their god, The worst of all indignities, yet on me Join'd with extreme contempt? I will not come,

Of. My message was impos'd on me with speed, Brooks no delay: is this thy resolution ? 1344

SAM. So take it with what speed thy message needs.
OF. I am sorry what this stoutness will produce.
Sam. Perhaps thou shalt have cause to sorrow in-

deed.
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 1350
Thy words by adding fuel to the flame?
Expect another message more imperious,
More lordly thund'ring than thou well wilt bear.

SAM. 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 Vaunting my strength in honor to their Dagon? Besides how vile, contemptible, ridiculous,

1361 What aut more execrably unclean, profane ?

Chor.Yet with this strength thou sery'st the Phi. Idolatrous, uncircumcis’d, unclean. [listines,

SAM. Not in their idol-worship, but by labor Honest and lawful to deserve my food Of those who have me in their civil power. [not. CHOR.Where the heart joinsnot,outward acts defile

Sam. Where ontward force constrains, the sentence But who constrains me tothe 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.
CHOR.How thou wilt here come off surmounts my

SAM. Be of good courage, I begin to feel [reach.
Some rousing motions in me which dispose 1382
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 resoly’d, the man returns.

OF. 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; 1395 Or we shall find such engins to assail And hamper thee, as thou shalt come of force, Though thou wert firmlier fasten'd than a rock.

Sam. 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

power

resistless 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 forbbiden in our law.

OF. I praise thy resolution: doff these links: By this compliance thou wilt win the lords

1411 To favour, and perhaps to set thee free.

SAM. Brethren farewel; 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,

1416 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 ought religion seem concern’d; No less the people on their holy-days

1421 Impetuous, insolent, unquenchable: Happen what may, of me expect to hear Nothing dishonorable, impure, unworthy Our God, our law, my nation, or myself, 1425 The last of me or no I cannot warrant.

Chor. Go, and the Holy One Of Israel be thy guide

[name To what may serve his glory best, and spread his Great among the Heathen round;

1430 Send thee the angel of thy birth, to stand Volume III.

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Fast by thy side, who from thy father's field
Rode up in flames after his message told
Of thy conception, and be now a shield
Of fire ; that Spirit that first rush'd on thee 1435
In the camp of Dan
Be efficacious in thee now at need.
For never was from Heav'n imparted
Measure of strength so great to mortal seed,
As in thy wondrous actions hath been seen. 1440
But wherefore comes old Manoah in such haste
With youthful steps ? much livelier than ere while
He seems: supposing here to find his son,
Or of hin bringing to us some glad news? 1444

Man. Peace with you, brethren; my inducement
Was not at present here to find my son, [hither
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, 14 50
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. 1454

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, 1459 To'accept of ransom for my son their pris'ner. Some much averse I found and wondrous harsh,

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