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with Æschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides, the three tragic poets unequalled yet by any, and the best rule to all who endeavour to write tragedy. The circumscription of time wherein the whole drama begins and ends, is according to ancient rule and best example, within the space of twenty-four hours.

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THE ARGUMENT.

SAMPSON made captive, blind, and now in the prison al

Gaza, there to labour as in a common work-house, on a festiral day in the general cessation from labour, comes forth into the open air, to a place nigh, somewhat retired, there to sit awhile and bemoan his condition. Where he happens at length to be visited by certain friends and equals of his tribe, which make the chorus, who seek to comfort him what they can ; then by his old father Manoa, who endeavours the like, and withal tells him his purpose to procure his liberty by ransom ; and lastly, that this feast was proclaimed by the Philistines as a day of thanksgiving for their deliverance from the hands of Sampson, which yet more troubles him. Manoa then departs to prosecute his endeavour with the Philistine lords for Sampson's redemption ; who in the mean while is visited by other persons ; and lastly by a public officer to require his coming to the feast before the lords and people, to play or show his strength in their presence ; he at

first refuses, dismissing the public officer with absolute denial to come ; at length persuaded inwardly that this was from God, he yields to go along with him, who came now the second time with great threatenings to fetch him; the chorus yet remaining on the place, Manoa returns full of joyful hope, to procure ere long his son's deliverance ; in the midst of which discourse an Hebrew comes in haste, confusedly at first, and afterwards more distinctly relating the catastrophe, what Sampson had done to the Philistines, and by accident to himself; whereuith the tragedy ends.

THE PERSONS

SAMSON,
MANOAH, the Father of Samson.
DALILA, his Wife.
HARAPHA, of Gath.
Public Officer.
Messenger.
Chorus of Danites.

The scene before the Prison in Gaza

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SAMSON, [Attendant leading him.]
Sams. A LITTLE onward lend thiy guiding hand
To these dark steps, a little farther on;
For yonder bank hath choice of sun or shade :
There I am wont to sit, when any chance
Relieves me from my task of servile toil,
Daily' in the common prison else enjoin'd me,
Where I, a pris'ner chain'd, scarce freely draw
The air imprison'd also, close and damp,
Unwholesome draught: but here I feel amends,
The breath of heav'n fresh blowing, pure and sweet,
With day-spring born; here leave me to respire.
This day a solemn feast the people hold
To Dagon their sea-idol, and forbid
Laborious works, unwillingly this rest
Their snperstition yields me; bence with leave
Retiring from the pop'lar noise, I seek
This mufrequented place to find some case,
Ease to the body some, none to the mind
From restless thoughts, that, like a deadly swarm
Of hornets arm’d, no sooner found alone,
But rush npon me thronging, and present
Times past, what once I was, and what am now.
O wherefore was my birth from Ileav'n foretold
Twice by an angel, wlo at last in sight
Of both my parents all in flames ascended
From off the altar, where an ofl'ring burn'd,
As in a fiery column charioting
His God-like presence, and from some great act

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Or benefit reveal'd to Abraham's race?
Why was iny breeding order'd and prescrib'd
As of a person separate to God,
Desgu'd for great exploits; if I must die
Betray 1, captiv'd, and both my eyes put out,
Made of ny enemies the scorn and gaze;
To grind in brazen fetters under task
With this heav'n-gifted strength? O glorious strength,
Put in the labour of a beast, debas'd
Lower han bondslave! promise was that I
Should Israel from Philistian yoke deliver;
Ask for this great deliverer now, and find him
Eyeless in Gaza at the mill with slaves,
Himself in bonds under Philistian yoke:
Yet stay, let me not rashly call in doubt
Divine prediction; what if all foretold
Had been fulfill'd but through mine own default,
Whom have I to complain of but myself,
Whó this high gist of strength committed to me,
In what part lodg'd, how easily hereft me,
Under the seal of silence could not keep,
But weakly to a woman must reveal it,
O’ercome with importunity and tears?
O impotence of mind, in body strong!
But what is strength without a double share
Of wisdom? vast, unwieldy, burthensome,
Proudly secure, yet liable to fall
By weakest suhtleties, not made to rule,
But to subserve where wisdom bears command!
God, when he gave me strength, to shew withal
How slighi the gift was, hung it in my hair.
But peace, I must not quarrel with the will
Of highest dispensation, which herein

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