Abbildungen der Seite

MAN. 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 1495 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 eyesight was not lost,
God will restore him eyesight to his strength.
CHOR. 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.



MAN. I know your friendly minds, and-O

what noise!

Mercy of heav'n, what hideous noise was that? Horribly loud, unlike the former shout.

CHOR. Noise call you it or universal As if the whole inhabitation perish'd!

1494 contain❜d] Ovid. Met. viii. 8.

• Crinis inhærebat magni fiducia regni.'


1568 O what noise] Christ. Patiens, p. 16. ed. Rom.

'Α ἆ πολυστόνων ἄϊον ἰαχαν γόων,

Φωνὴν ἔκλυον, ἔκλυον βοὰς στόνων, &c.



Blood, death, and deathful deeds are in that noise, Ruin, destruction at the utmost point. [noise: MAN. Of ruin indeed methought I heard the Oh it continues, they have slain my son.

CHOR. Thy son is rather slaying them, that outcry

From slaughter of one foe could not ascend,

MAN. Some dismal accident it needs must be; What shall we do, stay here, or run and see?


CHOR. Best keep together here, lest running We unawares run into danger's mouth. [thither This evil on the Philistines is fall'n;

From whom could else a general cry be heard?
The sufferers then will scarce molest us here, 1525
From other hands we need not much to fear.
What if his eyesight, 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? 1530
MAN. That were a joy presumptuous to be
CHOR. Yet God hath wrought things as in-
For his people of old; what hinders now?

MAN. 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.

CHOR. Of good or bad so great, of bad the sooner; For evil news rides post, while good news baits. And to our wish I see one hither speeding,


An Hebrew, as I guess, and of our tribe.
MESS. 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 horror, 1550
So in the sad event too much concern'd. [thee
MAN. The accident was loud, and here before
With rueful cry, yet what it was we hear not;
No preface needs, thou seest we long to know.

MESS. It would burst forth, but I recover breath And sense distract, to know well what I utter

MAN. Tell us the sum, the circumstance defer. MESS. Gaza yet stands, but all her sons are All in a moment overwhelm'd and fall'n. [fall'n, MAN. Sad; but thou know'st to Israelites not The desolation of a hostile city. [saddest

MESS. Feed on that first, there may in grief be MAN. Relate by whom.

MESS. By Samson.


1554 needs] Needs' is a neuter verb. See P. L. x. 80, and note. Newton.

1562 Feed] Two Gent. of Verona, act iii. sc. 1. I have fed upon this woe already,

And now excess of it will make me surfeit.

[blocks in formation]


MAN. That still lessens

The sorrow,

and converts it nigh to joy.

MESS. Ah! Manoa, I refrain too suddenly 1565 To utter what will come at last too soon; Lest evil tidings with too rude irruption Hitting thy aged ear should pierce too deep. MAN. Suspense in news is torture, speak them [dead. MESS. Take then the worst in brief, Samson is MAN. The worst indeed. O! all my hopes




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 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? 1580
What glorious hand gave Samson his death's

MESS. Unwounded of his enemies he fell.

MAN. Wearied with slaughter then, or how? ex-
MESS. By his own hands.

MAW. Self-violence? what cause


Brought him so soon at variance with himself

1581 death's wound] Æn. xii. 322.

Pressa est insignis gloria facti,

Nec sese Æneæ jactavit vulnere quisquam.'

Among his foes?

MESS. 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.

MAN. O lastly over-strong against thyself! 1590
A dreadful way thou took'st to thy revenge.
More than enough we know; but, while things yet
Are in confusion, give us, if thou can'st,
Eye-witness of what first or last was done,
Relation more particular and distinct.


MESS. Occasions drew me early to this city, And as the gates I enter'd with sun-rise, The morning trumpets festival proclaim'd Through each high-street. Little I had dispatch'd When all abroad was rumour'd, that this day 1600 Samson should be brought forth to show the people Proof of his mighty strength in feats and games; I sorrow'd 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


« ZurückWeiter »