Page images


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 inroll'd, Due by the law to capital punishment ?

1225 To fight with thee no man of arms will deiga,

SAMs. Cam'st thou for this, vain boaster, to survey me, To défcant on my strength, and give thy verdict ? Come nearer, part not hence so flight inform’d; But take good heed my hand survey not thee. 1230

HAR. O Baal-zebub! can my ears unus'd Hear these dishonors, and not render death?

SAMs. Noman withholds thee, nothing from thy hand Fear I incurable ; bring up thy van, My heels are fetter'd, but my fist is free. 1235

HAR. This infolence other kind of answer fits,

SAMs. Go, baffled coward, left I run upon tliee,
Though in these chains, bulk without fpirit valt,
And with one buffet lay thy structure low,
Or swing thee in the air, then dash thee down

1240 To th' hazard of thy brains and shatter'd fides.

HAR. By Astaroth ere long thou shalt lament These braveries in irons loaden on thee.

Cho. His giantship is gone somewhat crest-faln, Stalking with less unconscionable strides,

1245 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 fons,
All of gigantic fize, Goliah chief.


[ocr errors]

Cho. He will directly to the lords, I fear 1250 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 fight Will not dare mention, lest a question rise Whether he durft accept the offer or not, 1235 And that he durst not plain enough appear'd. Much more amiction than already felt They cannot well impose, nor I sustain; If they intend advantage of my labors, 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 1265 Is hate, not help to me,


may with mine Draw their own ruin who attempt the deed.

Cho. Oh how comely it is, and how reviving To the spirits of just men long oppress'd ! When God into the hands of their deliverer 1270 Puts invincible might To quell the mighty of the earth, th’ oppressor, The brute and boisterous force of violent men Hardy and industrious to support Tyrannic power, but raging to pursue

1275 The righteous and all such as honor truth; He all their ammunition And feats of war defeats VOL. III.



With plain heroic magnitude of mind
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 defence 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

1299 That tyranny or fortune can inflict. Either of these is in thy lot, Samfon, with might indued Above the sons of men : but sight bcreay'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 reit,
Laboring thy mind
More than the working-day thy hands.
And yet perhaps more trouble is behind,

For I defcry 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

1303 A public Officer, and now at hand. His message will be short and voluble.


OFF. Hebrews, the pris'ner Samson here I seek.
Cho. His manacles remark him, there he fits.

Off. Samfon, to thee our lords thus bid me say;
This day to Dagon is a folemn feast,
With facrifices, triumph, pomp, and games ;
Thy strength they know surpassing human rate,
And now fome public proof thereof require
To honor this great feast, and great assembly; 1375
Rife 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'lt I am an Hebrew, therefore tell

Our Law forbids at their religious rites

1320 My presence ; for that caufe I cannot come.

Off, This answer, be assur'd, will not content them.

Sams. Have they not fword-players, and every fort
Of gymnic artists, wrestlers, riders, runners,
Juglers and dancers, antics, mummers, mimics, 1325
But they must pick me out with shackles tir'd,
And over-labor'd at their public mill,
To make them sport with blind activity ?
Do they not seek occafion of new quarrels
On my refusal to distress me more,

Or make a game of my calamities?
Return the way thou cam'ft, 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, fo debas'd 1335 With corporal servitude, that my mind ever

E 2


[ocr errors]

Will condescend to such absurd commands ?
Although their drudge, to be their fool or jefter,
And in my midst of sorrow and heart-grief
To show them feats, and play before their God, 1340
The worst of all indignities, yet on me
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 ?

SAMs. So take it with what speed thy message needs. OFF. I am sorry what this stoutness will produce. Sams. Perhaps thou shalt have cause to forrow'indeed.

Cho. 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 thundering than thou well wilt bear.

SAMs. Shall I abuse this consecrated gift Of strength, again returning with my hair 1355 After my great transgreffion, fo 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 ? 1360 Besides how vile, contemptible, ridiculous, What act more execrably unclean, profane ?

Cho. Yet with this strength thou serv'st the Philistines, Idolatrous, uncircumcis'd, unclean.

Sams. Not in their idol-worship, but by labor 1365 Honest and lawful to deserve my food


« PreviousContinue »