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Sams. He must alledge some cause, andofter'd figfc Will not dare mention, lest a question rise Whether he durst accept the offer or not, And that he durst not plain enough appear'd. Much more affliction than already felt They cannot well impose, nor I sustain j If they intend advantage of my labours 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 Is hate, not help to me, it may with mine Draw their own ruin who attempt the deed.
Chor. Oh how comely it is and how reviving
To quell the mighty of the Earth, th' oppressor,
> The righteous and all such as honour Truth j
But patience is more oft the exercise
Labouring thy mind
Off. Hebrews the Pris'ner Samson here I seek.
Chor. His manacles remark him, there he sits.
Off. Samson, to thee our Lords thus bid me fay} This day to ^Dagon is a solemn Feast, With Sacrifices, Triumph, Pomp and Games } Thy strength they know surpassing human race, And now some publick proof thereof require To honour this great Feast, and great Assembly j Rise therefore with all speed and come along, Where I will see thee heartn'd and fresh clad To appear as fits before th'illustrious Lords.
Sams Thou kno w'st I am an Hebrew therefore tell Our Law forbids at their Religious Rites ^thera
.My My presence j for that cause I cannot come.
Off. This answer, be aslur'd, will not content them.
Sams. Have they not sword-players, and ev'ry fort Of Gymniclc Artists, Wrestlers, Riders, Runners, Juglers and Dancers, Anticks, Mummers, Mimirs, But they must pick me out with shackles tir'd, And over*labour'd at their publick Mill, To make them sport with blind activity? Do they not seek occasion of new quarrels On my refusal to distress me more, Or make a game of my calamities? Return the way thou cam'st, I will not come.
Off. Regard thy self, this will offend them highly.
Sams. Myself? my conscience and internal peace. Can they think me so broken, so debas'd With corporal servitude, that my mind ever Will condescend to such absurd commands? Although their drudge, to be their fool or jester, And in my midst of sorrow and heart-grief To shew them feats, and play before their god, The worst of all indignities, yet on me Join'd with extieme contempt? I will not come,
Ofs< My message was impos'd on me with speed5 Brooks no delay: is this thy resolution?
Sams, So take it with what speed thy message needs.
Of. I am sorry what this stoutness will produce.
Jtfflz/Terhaps thou (halt have cause to sorrow indeed.
Chor. Consider, Samson; matters now are strain*d Up to the heighth, whether to hold or break» He's gone, and who knows how he may report Thy words by adding fuel to the flame? Expect another message more imperious, More Lordly thund'ring than thou well wilt bear.
Sams. Shall I abuse this Consecrated gift Of strength, again returning with my hair After my great transgression, so requite Favour rcnew'd, and add a greater sin By prostituting holy things to Idols} A Nazarite in place abominable Vaunting my strength in honour to their Dagon? Besides how vile, contemptible, ridiculous,, What act more execrably unclean, prophane?
Chor. Yet with this strength thou serv'st thcThiIdolatrous, uncircumcis'd, unclean. [listins,
Sams. Not in their Idol-worship, but by labour .v "J 4- ." Honest