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And number'a down: much rather I shall choose
To liye the poorest in my tribe, than richest,
And he in that calamitous prison left.
No, I am fix'd not to part hence without him,
For his redemption all my patrimony
If need be, I am ready to forego
And quít: hót wanting him, I shall want nothing.
Chorus. Fathers are wont to lay up for their sons,
Thou for thy són art bent to lay out all;
Sons wont to nurse their parents in old age,
Thóú in old age car'st how to nurse thy son,
Made older than thy age through eye-sight lost.
Manoah. It shall be my delight to tend his eyes, And view him sitting in the house, ennobled With all those high exploits by him achiev'd, And on his shoulders waving down those locks That of a nation arm'd the strength contain'd: And I persuade me, God hath not permitted His strength again to grow up with his hair, Garrison'd 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 Useless, and thence ridiculous about him. And since his strength with eye-sight was not lost, God will restore him eye-sight to his strength. Chorus. Thy hopes are not ill founded, nor seem
Of his delivery, and thy joy thereon
Conceiv'd, agreeable to a father's love,
In both which we, as next, participate.
Manoah. I know your friendly minds and-O
what noise !
Mercy of Heaven! what hideous noise was that?
Horribly loud, unlike the former shout.
Chorus. Noise call you it, or universal groan, As if the whole inhabitation perish'd ! Blood, death, and deathful deeds, are in that noise, Ruin, destruction at the utmost point. Manoah. Of ruin indeed methought I heard the
noise : Oh! it continues, they have slain my son. Chorus. Thy son is rather slaying them; that
outcry From slaughter of one foe could not ascend.
Manoah. Some dismal accident it needs must be,
What shall we do, stay here or run and see?
Chorus. Best keep together here, lest, running
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 eye-sight (for to Israel'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?
Manoah. That were a joy presumptuous to be
Chorus. Yet God hath wrought things as in-
For his people of old : what hinders now?
Manoah. He can, I know, but doubt to think he
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.
And to our wish I see one hither speeding,
An Hebrew, as I guess, and of our tribe.
Messenger. O whither shall I run, or which
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 erent too much concern’d.
Manoah. The accident was loud, and here be-
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
Manoah. Relate by whom.
That still lessens
The sorrow, and converts it nigh to joy.
Messenger. Ah! Manoah, I refrain too sud-
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
Manoah. The worst indeed! O all my hopes de-
To free him bence! but death, who sets all free,
Hath paid his ransom now and full discharge,
What windy joy this day had I conceiv'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 !
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?
Messenger. By his own hands.
Self-violence? what cause
Brought him so soon at variance with himself
Among his foes?
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.
Manoak. O lastly over-strong against thyself!
A dreadful way thou took'st to thy revenge.