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Imprison'd now indeed,
In real darkness of the body dwells,
Shut up from outward light

160
T'incorporate with gloomy night ;
For inward light alas
Puts forth no visual beam.
O mirror of onr fickle state,
Since man on earth unparalleld!

165
The rarer thy example stands,
By how much from the top of wondrous glory,
Strongest of mortal men,
To lowest pitch of abject fortune thou art fall’n.
For him I reckon not in high estate

170
Whom long descent of birth
Or the sphere of fortune raises :
But thee whose strength, while virtue was her mate,
Might have subdued the earth,
Universally crown’d with highest praises.

175
SAMSON.
I hear the sound of words, their sense the air
Dissolves unjointed ere it reach my ear.

162. For inward light alas and supposed Milton meant by

Puts forth no visual beam.] visual ray the sight, or at least The expression is fine, and means thought himself at liberty to use the ray of light, which occasions it in that highly figurative sense. vision. Mr. Pope borrowed the See what is said on the passage expression in one of his juvenile in the last edition of Mr. Pope's poems,

works. Warburton. He from thick films shall purge the

172. Or the sphere of fortune

raises ;] Fortune is painted on And on the sightless eye-ball pour a globe, which by her influence the day.

is in a perpetual rotation on its Either he mistook his original, axis. Warburton.

visual ray,

CHORUS.
He speaks, let us draw nigh. Matchless in might,
The glory late of Israel, now the grief;
We come thy friends and neighbours not unknown 180
From Eshtaol and Zora's fruitful vale
To visit or bewail thee, or if better,
Counsel or consolation we may bring,
Salve to thy sores ; apt words have pow'r to swage
The tumors of a troubled mind,
And are as balm to fester'd wounds.

SAMSON.
Your coming, friends, revives me, for I learn
Now of my own experience, not by talk,
How counterfeit a coin they are who friends

185

178. He speaks,] We have autem ad Eumenem utrumque followed Milton's own edition ; genus hominum, et qui propter most of the others have it He odium fructum oculis ex ejus casu spake.

capere vellent, (see above, ver. 181. From Eshtaol and Zora's 112. to stare at my affliction,] fruitful vale] These were two et qui propter veterem amicitowns of the tribe of Dan, Josh. tiam colloqui consolarique cuperent. xix. 41. the latter the birth-place Corn. Nepos in vita Eumenis. of Samson, Judges xiii. 2. and Calton. they were near one another. And

184. -apt words have pow'r the Spirit of the Lord began to to swage &c.] Alluding to these move him at times in the camp of lines in Æschylus. Prom. Vinct. Dan between Zorah and Eshtaol, 377. Judges xiii. 25. And they were

Ουκουν Προμηθευ τουτο γινωσκεις, both situated in the valley, Josh.

,

Οργης νoσoυσης εισιν ιατροι λογοι. . xv. 33. and therefore the poet Or to this passage in Menander. with great exactness says

Eshtaol and Zora's fruitful vale.

Λογος γαρ εσσι λυπης φαρμακον μονον. . 182. To visit or bewail thee,]

Thyer. The poet dictated

Or perhaps to Horace, epist. i. i. To visit and bewail thee:

34. The purpose of their visit was to

Sunt verba et voces, quibus hunc Lewail him ; or if betler, (that is

lenire dolorem if they found it more proper,) to Possis, et magnam morbi deponere advise or comfort him. Veniebat

år

partem.

200

Bear in their superscription, (of the most

190
I would be understood,), in prosp'rous days
They swarm, but in adverse withdraw their head,
Not to be found though sought. Ye see, O friends,
How many evils have inclos'd ine round;
Yet that which was the worst now least afflicts me, 195
Blindness, for had I sight, confus'd with shame,
How could I once look up, or heave the head,
Who like a foolish pilot have shipwrack'd
My vessel trusted to me from above,
Gloriously rigg'd? and for a word, a tear,
Fool, have divulg'd the secret gift of God
To a deceitful woman? tell me, friends,
Am I not sung and proverb’d for a fool
In every street ? do they not say, how well
Are come upon him his deserts ? yet why?
Immeasurable strength they might behold
In me, of wisdom nothing more than mean ;
This with the other should, at least, have pair’d,
These two proportion’d ill drove me transverse.

CHORUS.
Tax not divine disposal ; wisest men

205

210

195. Yet that which was the being some cover to his shame worst now least afflicts me,] There and confusion. is no inconsistence in this with 210. Tax not divine disposal ; what he had said before, ver. 66. &c.] As this whole play, so --but chief of all,

particularly the part of the ChoO loss of sight, of thee I most com- rus, is written in the very spirit plain.

of the ancients, and is formed When he was by himself, he con- exactly according to the precepts sidered his blindness as the worst of Horace. De Arte Poet. 193. of evils; but now, upon his

Actoris partes Chorus, officiumqué friends coming in and seeing

virile him in this wretched condition,

Defendat ; neu quid medios interciit least offlicts me, says he, as nat actus,

215

Have err'd, and by bad women been deceiv'd;
And shall again, pretend they ne'er so wise.
Deject not then so overmuch thyself,
Who hast of sorrow thy full load besides ;
Yet truth to say, I oft have heard men wonder
Why thou should'st wed Philistian women rather
Than of thy own tribe fairer, or as fair,
At least of thy own nation, and as noble.

SAMSON.
The first I saw at Timna, and she pleas’d
Me, not my parents, that I sought to wed
The daughter of an infidel : they knew not
That what I motion'd was of God; I knew

220

Quod non proposito conducat et hæ- Afflicted worth, and impious pride reat apte.

depress. Jlle bonis faveatque, et concilietur Yet let their songs with apt coherence amice;

join, Et regat iratos, et amet pacare tu. Promote the plot, and aid the main mentes :

design.

Francis. Ille dapes laudet mensæ brevis; ille Such is the character and office salubrem

of the Chorus, as prescribed by Justitiam, legesque, et apertis otia portis:

this great critic and poet, and it Ille tegat commissa, Deosque prece. was never exemplified more fully tur et oret,

than in the Chorus of Milton. Ut redeat miseris, abeat fortuna su,

216. - Philistian women rather] perbis.

So it is printed in Milton's own The Chorus must support an actor's edition, and woman is a mistake part;

of the other editions ;

for more Defend the virtuous, and advise with than one are mentioned afterGovern the choleric, the proud ap

wards. The first I saw at Timna, pease,

&c. ver. 219. the next I took to And the short feasts of frugal tables wife, &c. ver. 227. praise ;

219. The first I saw at Timna,] The laws and justice of well-govern’d Judg. xiv. 1. And Samson went

states, And peace triumphant with her open

down to Timnath, and saw a wogates.

man in Timnath of the daughters Intrusted secrets let them ne'er be. of the Philistines, &c. tray,

222. That what I motion'd was But to the righteous Gods with ardour of God ;] It was printed men

pray, That fortune with returning smiles tion'd, which is sense indeed, but

art ;

Milton himself in the table of

may bless

225

230

From intimate impulse, and therefore urg'd
The marriage on ; that by occasion hence
I might begin Israel's deliverance,
The work to which I was divinely call’d.
She proving false, the next I took to wife
(O that I never had ! fond wish too late,)
Was in the vale of Sorec, Dalila,
That specious monster, my accomplish'd snare.
I thought it lawful from my former act,
And the same end; still watching to oppress
Israel's oppressors : of what now I suffer
She was not the prime cause, but I myself,
Who vanquish'd with a peal of words (O weakness!)
fort of silence to a woman.

236
CHORUS.
In seeking just occasion to provoke
The Philistine, thy country's enemy,
Thou never wast remiss, I bear thee witness :
Yet Israël still serves with all his sons.

SAMSON.
That fault I take not on me, but transfer
On Israel's governors, and heads of tribes,

Gave up my

240

errata substituted motion'd, which 241. That fault &c.] Milton is better: but the first error hath certainly intended to reproach still prevailed in all the editions. his countrymen indirectly, and

229. Was in the vale of Sorec, as plainly as he dared, with the Dalila,] Judg. xvi. 4. And it restoration of Charles II. which came to pass afterward, that he he accounted the restoration of loved a woman in the valley of slavery, and with the execution Sorek, whose name was Dalilah, of the regicides. He pursues &c.

the same subject again, 678 to 230.-my accomplish'd snare,] 700. I wonder how the liThere seems to be a quibble in censers of those days let it pass. the use of this epithet. War- Jortin. burton.

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