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He now be dealing dole among his foes,
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
For evil news rides post, while good news bates.
Messenger. O whither shall I run, or which way fly
The sight of this so horrid spectacle,
As at some distance from the place of horrour,
With rueful cry, yet what it was we hear not;
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. That still lessens
The sorrow, and converts it nigh to joy.
To utter what will come at last too soon;
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,
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
Messenger. Inevitable cause
At once both to destroy, and be destroy'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,
When to their sports they tum'd. Immediately
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,