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He now be dealing dole among his foes,
And over heaps of slaughtered walk his way?

Manoah. That were a joy presumptuous to be thought.

Chorus. Yet God hath wrought things as incredible

For his people of old: what hinders now? Manoah. 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.

Chorus. Of good or bad so great, of bad the
sooner;

For evil news rides post, while good news bates.
Arid to our wish I see one hither speeding,
An Hebrew, as I guess, and of our tribe.

Enter Messenger.

Messenger. O 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 disturb'd, 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 horrour,
So in the sad event too much concem'd.
Manoah. The accident was loud, and here be-
fore thee

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

And sense distract, to know well what I utter. Manoah. Tell us the sum, the circumstance defer.

Messenger. Gaza yet stands, but all her sons are fallen,

All in a moment overwhelm'd and fallen.
Manoah. Sad, but thou know'st to Israelites not
saddest ,
The desolation of a hostile city.
Messenger. Feed on that first; there may in grief

be surfeit.
Manoah. Relate by whom.
Messinger. By Samson.

Manoah. That still lessens

The sorrow, and converts it nigh to joy.
Messenger. Ah! Manoah, I refrain too sud-
denly

To utter what will come at last too soon;
Lest evil tidings with too rude irruption
Hitting thy aged ear should pierce too deep.

Manoah. Suspense in news is torture, speak them out.

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

Manoah. The worst indeed ! O all my hopes defeated

To free him hence! but death, who sets all free,
Hath paid his ransom now and full discharge.
What windy joy this day had I copceiv'd
Hopeful of his delivery, which now proves
Abortive as the first-born bloom of spring
Nipt with the lagging rear of winter's frost 1
Yet ere I give the reins to grief, say first,
How died he; death to life is crown or shame.
All by him fell, thou say'st; by whom fell he?
What glorious hand gave Samson his death's wound?

Messenger. Unwounded of his enemies he fell.

Manoah. Wearied with slaughter then, or how? explain.

Messenger. By his own hands.

Manoah. Self-violence? what cause

Brought him so soon at variance with himself
Among his foes r

Messenger. Inevitable cause

At once both to destroy, and be destroy'd;
The edifice, where all were met to see him,
Upon their heads and on his own he pull'd.

Manoah. O lastly over-strong against thyself! A dreadful way thou took'st to thy revenge.

More than enough we know; but while tilings yet Are in confusion, give us, if thou canst, Eye-witness of what first or last was dene, Relation more particular and distinct.

Messenger. Occasions drew me eariy to this city,
And, as the gates I enter'd wkh sun-rise,
The morning trumpets festival proclaim'd
Through each high street: little I had despatch'd
When all abroad was rumour'd that this day
Samson should be brought forth, to show the people
Proof of his mighty strength in feats and games;
I sorrowM at his captive state, but minded
Not to be absent at that spectacle.
The building was a spacious theatre
Half-round, on two main pillars vaulted high,
With seats where all the lords, and each degree
Of sort, might sit in order to behold;
The other side was open, where the throng
On banks and scaffolds under sky might stand;
I among these aloof obscurely stood.
The feast and noon grew high, and sacrifice
Had fill'd their hearts with mirth, high cheer, and
wine,

When to their sports they tum'd. Immediately
Was Samson as a publick servant brought,
In their state livery dad; before him pipes
And timbrels, on each side went armed guards,
Both horse and foot, before him and behind

Archers, and slingers, cataphracts and spears.

At sight of him the people with a shout

Rifted the air, clamouring their God with praise,

Who had made their dreadful enemy their thrall.

He patient, but undaunted, where they led him,

Came to the place; and what was set before him.

Which without help of eye might be assay' d,

To heave, pull, draw, or break, he still perform'd

All with incredible, stupendous force;

None daring to appear antagonist.

At length for intermission sake they led him

Between the pillars; he his guide requested

(For so from such as nearer stood we heard)

As over-tir'd to let him lean a while

With both his arms on those two massy pillars,

That to the arched roof gave main support.

He, unsuspicious, led him; which when Samson

Felt in his arms, with head a while inclin'd,

And eyes fast fix'd he stood, as one who pray'd,

Or some great matter in his mind revolv'd:

At last with head erect thus cried aloud;

"Hitherto, Lords, what your commands impos'd

I have perform'd, as reason was, obeying,

Not without wonder or delight beheld:

Now of my own accord such other trial

I mean to show you of my strength, yet greater,

As with amaze shall strike all who behold."

This utter'd, straining all his nerves be bow'd,

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