Page images

Our captive, at the public mill our drudge,
And dar'ft thou at our fending and command
Dispute thy coming? come without delay;
Or we shall find fuch engines to affail
And hamper thee, as thou fhalt come of force,
Though thou art firmlier fastn'd than a rock.

Samf. 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 fuch as owe them absolute subjection:
And for a life who will not change his purpofe?
(So mutable are all the ways of men)
Yet this be fure, in nothing to comply
Scandalous or forbidden in our law.

Off. I praise thy resolution, doff thofe links:
By this compliance thou wilt win the lords
To favour, and perhaps to fet thee free.

Samf. Brethren farewell, your company along
I will not wifh, left it perhaps offend them
To fee me girt with friends; and how the fight
Of me as of a common enemy,

So dreaded once, may now exafperate them
I know not: lords are lordlieft in their wine;
And the well-feasted priest then soonest fir'd
With zeal, if aught religion feem concern❜d:
No lefs the people on their holy days
Impetuous, infolent, unquenchable,
Happ'n what may, of me expect to hear

[ocr errors]

Nothing difhonourable, 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 Ifrael be thy guide

To what may ferve his glory best, and spread his name Great among the heathen round;

Send the angel of thy birth to stand

Faft by thy fide, 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 rusht on thee
In the camp of Dan

Be efficacious in thee now at need.
For never was from heaven imparted
Measure of strength fo great to mortal seed,
As in thy wond'rous actions hath been seen.
But wherefore comes old Manoa in fuch hafte
With youthful steps? much livelier than ere while
He seems: fuppofing here to find his fon,

Or of him bringing to us fome glad news?

Man. Peace with you, brethren, my inducement hither
Was not at prefent here to find my fon,
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,
Left I should see him forc'd to things unfeemly:
But that which mov'd my coming now was chiefly
To give you part with me what hope I have
With good fuccess to work his liberty.



Chor. That hope would much rejoice us to partake With thee; fay, reverend Sire, we thirst to hear.

Man. I have attempted one by one the lords
Either at home, or through the high-street paffing,
With fupplication prone and fathers tears,
T'accept of ransom for my fon their pris'ner.
Some much averfe I found and wondrous harsh,
Contemptuous, proud, set on revenge and spite;
That part most reverenc'd Dagon and his priests.
Others more moderate feeming, but their aim
Private reward, for which both God and state
They easily would fet to fale; a third
More generous far and civil, who confefs'd'
They had enough reveng'd, having reduc'd
Their foe to mifery beneath their fears,
The rest was magnanimity to remit,
If fome convenient ransom was propos'd.
What noise or shout was that? it tore the sky.

Chor. Doubtless the people fhouting to behold
Their once great dread, captive, and blind before them,
Or at fome proof of strength before them shown.
Man. His ranfom, if my whole inheritance
May compass it, fhall willingly be paid
And number'd down: much rather I fhall chufe-
To live the poorest in my tribe, than richest,
And he in that calamitous prifon left.

No, I am fixt 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 fons,

Thou for thy son are bent to lay out all;
Sons wont to nurse their parents in old age,
Thou in old age car'ft how to nurse thy son,
Made older than thy age through eye-fight lost.

Man. It fhall be my delight to tend his eyes,
And view him fitting in the house, ennobl❜d
With all thofe high exploits by him atchiev❜d,
And on his shoulders waving down those locks,
That of a nation arm'd the strength contain❜d:
And I perfuade me God hath not permitted
His strength again to grow up with his hair
Garrison'd round about him like a camp
Of faithful foldiery, were not his purpose
To ufe him farther yet in some great service,
Not to fit idle with so great a gift

Ufelefs, and thence ridiculous about him.
And fince his strength with eye-fight was not lost,
God will restore him eye-fight to his strength.

Chor. Thy hopes are not ill founded, nor feem 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 -O what noife! Mercy of heav'n what hideous noife was that! Horribly loud, unlike the former shour.

Chor. Noife call you it, or universal groan,
As if the whole inhabitation perish'd!
Blood, death, and deathful deeds are in that noife,
Ruin, destruction at the utmost p int.

Man. Of ruin indeed methought I heard the noise. Oh it continues, they have flain my


Chor. Thy fon is rather flaying them, that out-cry From flaughter of one foe could not afcend.

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

Chor. Beft keep together here, left running thither We unawares run into danger's mouth. This evil on the Philistins is fall'n, From whom could elfe a general cry be heard? The fufferers then will fcarce moleft us here, From other hands we need not much to fear. What if his eye-fight (for to Ifrael's God Nothing is hard) by miracle restor❜d,

He now be dealing dole among his foes,


And over heaps of slaughter'd walk his way?

Man. That were a joy prefumptuous 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 fome notice hither.

Chor. Of good or bad fo great, of bad the fooner; For evil news rides poft, while good news baits. And to our wish I fee one hither speeding,

An Hebrew, as I guefs, and of our tribe.

Mef. O whither shall I run, or which way fly
The fight of this fo horrid spectacle,
Which erft my eyes beheld and yet
For dire imagination ftill pursues me.
But providence or inftinct of nature seems,
Or reason though disturb'd, and searce confulted
To have guided me aright, I know not how,

[ocr errors]


« PreviousContinue »