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And the well feasted priest then soonest fir’d
With zeal, if aught religion seem concern’d;
No less the people on their holy-days
Impetuous, insolent, unquenchable :
Happen what may, of me expect to hear
Nothing dishonourable, impure, unworthy
Our God, our law, my nation, or myself,
The last of me or no I cannot warrant.

Chor. Go, and the Holy One
Of Israel be thy guide
To what may serve his glory best, and spread his

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name

Great among the heathen round;
Send thee the angel of thy birth, to stand
Fast by thy side, who from thy father's field
Rode up in flames after his message told
Of thy conception, and be now a shield
Of fire ; that spirit that first rush'd on thee
In the camp of Dan
Be efficacious in thee now at need.
For never was from heaven imparted
Measure of strength so great to mortal seed,
As in thy wondrous actions hath been seen.
But wherefore comes old Manoah in such haste
With youthful steps? much livelier than ere while
He seems ; supposing here to find his son,
Or of him bringing to us some glad news?
MAN. Peace with

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you,
brethren! my

inducement bither

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1434 shield] See T. Warton's Note on Comus, ver. 658.

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Was not at present here to find my son,
By order of the lords new parted hence
To come and play before them at their feast.
I heard all as I came, the city rings,
And numbers thither flock; I had no will,

I
Lest I should see him forc'd to things unseemly.
But that which mov'd my coming now,was chiefly
To give ye part with me what hope I have
With good success to work his liberty. [take

Chor. That hope would much rejoice us to par-
With thee; say, reverend Sire, we thirst to hear.

Man. I have attempted one by one the lords
Either at home or through the high street passing,
With supplication prone and father's tears,
To accept of ransom for my son their pris'ner.
Some much averse I found and wondrous harsh,
Contemptuous, proud, set on revenge and spite;
That part most reverenc'd Dagon and his priests :
Others more moderate seeming, but their aim
Private reward, for which both God and State
They easily would set to sale: a third
More generous far and civil, who confess'd
They had enough reveng’d, having reduc'd
Their foe to misery beneath their fears,
The rest was magnanimity to remit,
If some convenient ransom were propos’d.
What noise or shout was that? it tore the sky.

Chor. Doubtless the people shouting to behold
Their once great dread, captive and blind before them,
Or at some proof of strength before them shown. 1475

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Man. His ransom, if my whole inheritance
May compass it, shall willingly be paid
And number'd down : much rather I shall choose
To live the poorest in my tribe, than richest,
And he in that calamitous prison left.

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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 quit: not wanting him, I shall want nothing.

Chor. Fathers are wont to lay up for their sons, Thou for thy son art bent to lay out all : Sons wont to nurse their parents in old age, Thou in old age car'st how to nurse thy son, Made older than thy age through eyesight lost.

Man. It shall be my delight to tend his eyes, 1490 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 eyesight was not lost, God will restore him eyesight to his strength.

a

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1494 contain'd] Ovid. Met. viii. 8.

• Crinis inhærebat magni fiducia regni.' Todd.

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Chor. Thy hopes are not ill founded nor seem vain Of his delivery, and thy joy thereon Conceiv’d, agreeable to a father's love, In both which we, as next, participate.

[noise! Man. I know your friendly minds, and—0 what Mercy of heav'n, what hideous noise was that! Horribly loud, unlike the former shout.

Chor. 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.

Man. Of ruin indeed methought I heard the noise : 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 thither We unawares run into danger's mouth. 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; From other hands we need not much to fear. What if his eyesight, (for to Israel's God? Nothing is hard,) by miracle restord, He now be dealing dole among his foes,

, And over heaps of slaughter'd walk his way?

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1508 O what noise] Christ. Patiens, p. 16. ed. Rom.

A& πολυστόνων άϊον λαχαν γόων,
Φωνήν έκλυον, έκλυον βοάς στόνων, &c.

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Man. That were a joy presumptuous to be thought.

Chor. Yet God hath wrought things as incredible For his people of old ; what hinders now?

Man. 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.

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, So in the sad event too much concern'd. Man. The accident was loud, and here before

thee 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.

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

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