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Or at some proof of strength before them shown.
And numbered down. Much rather I shall choose
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 eye-sight lost.
Man. It shall be my delight to tend his eyes, And view him sitting in his house, ennobled With all those high exploits by him achieved, And on his shoulders waving down those locks That of a nation armed the strength contained. And I persuade me God hath not permitted His strength again to grow up with his hair Garrisoned 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.
Chor. Thy hopes are not ill founded, nor seem
Of his delivery, and thy joy thereon
Man. I know your friendly minds, and . . . O, what noise !
Mercy of Heaven! what hideous noise was that?
Chor. Noise call you it, or universal groan,
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?
1520 Chor. Best keep together here, lest, running thither, We unawares run into danger's mouth. This evil on the Philistines is fallen:
From whom could else a general cry be heard?
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 speedingAn Ebrew, as I guess, and of our tribe.
Messenger. 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.
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. Mess. Gaza yet stands; but all her sons are fallen, All in a moment overwhelmed and fallen.
Man. Sad! but thou know'st to Israelites not ·
The desolation of a hostile city.
Mess. Feed on that first; there may in grief be surfeit.
That still lessens
The sorrow, and converts it nigh to joy.
Abortive as the first-born bloom of spring
Man. Wearied with slaughter, then, or how? explain. Mess. 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 destroyed.
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 canst, 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 entered with sun-rise, The morning trumpets festival proclaimed Through each high street. Little I had dispatched, When all abroad was rumoured that this day Samson should be brought forth, to show the people Proof of his mighty strength in feats and games. I sorrowed at his captive state, but minded Not to be absent at that spectacle.
The building was a spacious theatre,
Of sort, might sit in order to behold;
The other side was open, where the throng
On banks and scaffolds under sky might stand: 1610 I among these aloof obscurely stood.
The feast and noon grew high, and sacrifice
Had filled their hearts with mirth, high cheer, and wine,
At length, for intermission sake, they led him
I mean to show you of my strength yet greater