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

Cho. Go, and the Holy One

Of Israel be thy guide

[Exit.

To what may serve His glory best, and spread His name

Great among the heathen round;

1430

Send thee the Angel of thy birth, to stand
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 rushed on thee
In the camp of Dan,

Be efficacious in thee now at need!

For never was from Heaven 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 him bringing to us some glad news.
Man. Peace with you, brethren; my induce-
ment hither

Was not at present here to find my son,
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, 1450
Lest I should see him forced to things unseemly.
But that which moved my coming now was
chiefly

To give ye part with me what hope I have
With good success to work his liberty.

Cho. 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 prisoner
Some much averse I found and wondrous harsh,
Contemptuous, proud, set on revenge and spite,
That part most reverenced Dagon and his
priests;

Others more moderate seeming, but their aim
Private reward, for which both God and State
They easily would set to sale; a third
More generous far and civil, who confessed
They had enough revenged, having reduced.
Their foe to misery beneath their fears;
The rest was magnanimity to remit,
If some convenient ransom were proposed.
What noise or shout was that? it tore the sky.
Cho. Doubtless, the people shouting to behold
Their once great dread, captive and blind before
them,

1470

Or at some proof of strength before them shown.
Man. His ransom, if my whole inheritance
May compass it, shall willingly be paid
And numbered down; much rather I shall
choose

To live the poorest in my tribe, than richest
And he in that calamitous prison left.

1480

No, I am fixed not to part hence without him.
For his redemption all my patrimony,
If need be, I am ready to forgo

And quit; not wanting him, I shall want nothing.

Cho. Fathers are wont to lay up for their sons,

Thou for thy son are bent to lay out all;
Sons wont to nurse their parents in old age,
Thou in old age carest how to nurse thy son,
Made older than thy age through eyesight lost.
Man. It shall be my delight to tend his

eyes,

1490

And view him sitting in his house, ennobled
With all those high exploits by him achieved,
And on his shoulders waving down those locks
That of a nation armed the strength contained.
And I persuade me, God had not permitted
His strength again to grow up with his hair,
Garrisoned round about him like a camp
Of faithful soldiery, were not His purpose
To use him further yet in some great service,
Not to sit idle with so great a gift

1500

Useless, and thence ridiculous, about him. And since his strength with eyesight was not lost,

God will restore him eyesight to his strength. Cho. Thy hopes are not ill founded, nor seem vain

Of his delivery, and thy joy thereon.

Conceived, agreeable to a father's love,
In both which we, as next, participate.

Man. I know your friendly minds, and—oh, what noise!

Mercy of Heaven! what hideous noise was that? Horribly loud, unlike the former shout.

1510

Cho. Noise call you it, or universal groan,

As if the whole inhabitation perished?

Blood, death, and deathful deeds, are in that noise;

Ruin, destruction at the utmost point.

Man. Of ruin, indeed, methought I heard

the noise.

Oh! it continues; they have slain my son!

Cho. Thy son is rather slaying them; that

outcry

From slaughter of one foe could not ascend.

Man. Some dismal accident it needs must be. What shall we do, stay here, or run and see? 1520 Cho. Best keep together here, lest, running thither,

We, unawares, run into danger's mouth.
This evil on the Philistines is fallen;

From whom could else a general cry be heard?
The sufferers, then, will scarce molest us here;
From other hands we need not much to fear.
What if, his eyesight (for to Israel's God
Nothing is hard) by miracle restored,
He now be dealing dole among his foes,
And over heaps of slaughtered walk his way?
Man. That were a joy presumptuous to be
thought.

1529

Cho. 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 some notice hither.

Cho. Of good or bad so great, of bad the

sooner;

For evil news rides post, while good news baits.
And to our wish I see one hither speeding,
A Hebrew, as I guess, and of our tribe.

1540

Messenger. Oh, whither shall I run, or which way fly

The sight of this so horrid spectacle,
Which erst my eyes beheld, and yet behold?
For dire imagination still pursues me.

But Providence or instinct of nature seems,

Or reason, though disturbed, and scarce consulted,

To have guided me aright, I know not how,
To thee first, reverend Manoah, and to these
My countrymen, whom here I knew remaining,
As at some distance from the place of horror,
So in the sad event too much concerned.

1551 Man. The accident was loud, and here before thee

With rueful cry, yet what it was we hear not; No preface needs, thou seest we long to know. Mess. It would burst forth, but I recover breath,

And sense distract, to know well what I utter. Man. Tell us the sum, the circumstance defer. Mess. Gaza yet stands, but all her sons are fallen,

All in a moment overwhelmed and fallen. Man. Sad! but thou know'st to Israelites not saddest

The desolation of a hostile city.

1560

Mess. Feed on that first; there may in grief be surfeit.

Man. Relate by whom.

Mess.

Man.

By Samson.

That still lessens

The sorrow, and converts it nigh to joy.
Mess. Ah! Manoah, I refrain too suddenly
To utter what will come at last too soon;
Lest evil tidings, with too rude irruption
Hitting thy aged ear, should pierce too deep.
Man. Suspense in news is torture; speak
them out.

Mess. Take then the worst, in brief. Samson is dead.

1570

Man. The worst, indeed! Oh, all my hopes

defeated

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