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That invincible Samson, far renown'd,
The dread of Israel's foes, who with a strength
Equivalent to angels walk'd their streets, '
None offering fight; who single combatant
Duell’d their armies rank’d in proud array,
Himself an army, now unequal match
To save himself against a coward arm’d
At one spear's length. O ever failing trust,
In mortal strength! and oh what not in man
Deceivable and vain ? Nay what thing good
Pray'd for, but often proves our woe, our bane?)
I pray'd for children, and thought barrenness
In wedlock a reproach ; I gain'd a son,
And such a son as all men hail'd me happy;

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character of Manoah to represent

Mulier, amicum solis hoc magni juhim, as Milton does, even com

bar,

Dulce et tueri maria cum venti silent : plaining and murmuring at this

Dulce est et amnis largus, et vernans disposition of heaven, in the first

humus: bitterness of his soul. Such sud- Sunt aliis pulchra multa, quæ possum den starts of infirmity are ascribed addere, to some of the greatest person

Sed crede nullum gratius spectaculum

est, ages in Scripture, and it is agree

Quam post querelas orbitatis tetricæ, able to that well known maxim,

Conspicere florem libci úm orientem that religion may regulate, but domi. can never eradicate, natural pas- Eurip. Barnes, p. 443. Calton. sions and affections. Thyer. 354. And such a son &c.] It is 352. I pray'd for children, and very hard that the editors of thought barrenness

Milton have never taken the In wedlock a reproach ;] pains to correct the errors of the Some lines from a fragment of first edition, which he had himEuripides may be introduced self corrected. This verse at first here. They are very beautiful, was printed imperfect, and it has and not impertinent.

been followed in all the editions, Γυναι, φιλον μεν φεγγος ήλιου τοδε,

Such a son as all men hail'd me Καλον δε ποντου χειμ' ιδειν ενηνεμών, ,

happy ; Γητηρινον θαλλουσα, πλουσιον θ ύδωρ

And was wanting in the beginΠολλων σ' επαινον εστι μοι λεξει καλων. Αλλ' ουδεν ούτω λαμπρον, ουδ' ιδειν καλον,

ning, Ως τους απαισι, και ποθώ διδηγμενους, And such a son as all men hailid me Ilaidway νεογνων εν δομσις ιδειν φαος. .

happy;

355

360

365

Who would be now a father in my stead?
O wherefore did God grant me my request,
And as a blessing with such pomp adorn’d?
Why are his gifts desirable, to tempt
Our earnest pray’rs, then giv'n with solemn hand
As

graces, draw a scorpion's tail behind ? :
For this did th' Angel twice descend ? for this
Ordain'd thy nurture holy, as of a plant
Select, and sacred, glorious for a while,
The miracle of men ; then in an hour
Insnar'd, assaulted, overcome, led bound,
Thy foes derision, captive, poor and blind,
Into a dungeon thrust, to work with slaves ?
Alas methinks whom God hath chosen once
To worthiest deeds, if he through frailty err,
He should not so o’erwhelm, and as a thrall
Subject him to so foul indignities,
Be it but for honour's sake of former deeds.

SAMSON.
Appoint not heav'nly disposition, father;
Nothing of all these evils hath befall’n me.
But justly; I myself have brought them on,

370

375

So Milton himself corrected it, 359. —then giv'n with solemn and so Mr. Jortin and Mr.

hand Sympson conjectured it should

As graces, draw a scorpion's be read. And at the time of tail behind ?] writing this, in all probability He has raised this beautiful the author remembered the imagery on the following text, happy father in Terence. An- Luke xi. 12. If a son shall ask dria i. i. 69.

of his father an egg, will he offer Cum id mihi placcbat, tum uno ore him a scorpion ? He was not alomnes omnia

ways so happy. Warburton. Bona dicere, et laudare fortunas

373. AppointThat is, armeas, Qui natum haberem tali ingenio raign, summon to answer. Warpræditum.

burton. VOL. III.

S

380

385

Sole author I, sole cause : if ought seem vile,
As vile hath been my folly, who' have profan'd
The mystery of God giv'n me under pledge
Of vow, and have betray'd it to a woman,
A Canaanite, my

faithless enemy.
This well I knew, nor was at all surpris'd,
But warn'd by oft experience: did not she
Of Timna first betray me, and reveal
The secret wrested from me in her height
Of nuptial love profess'd, carrying it straight
To them who had corrupted her, my spies,
And rivals? In this other was there found
More faith, who also in her prime of love,
Spousal embraces, vitiated with gold,
Though offer'd only, by the scent conceiv'd

390
Her spurious first-born, treason against me?
Thrice she assay'd with flattering pray’rs and sighs,
And amorous reproaches, to win from me
My capital secret, in what part my strength
Lay stor’d, in what part summ’d, that she might know;
Thrice I deluded her, and turn’d to sport

396 Her importunity, each time perceiving How openly, and with what impudence She purpos’d to betray me, and (which was worse Than undissembled hate) with what contempt She sought to make me traitor to myself; Yet the fourth time, when must'ring all her wiles, With blandish'd parlies, feminine assaults,

.

400

391. -treason against me?] By our laws called petty treason. Richardson.

401. She sought] So it is in Milton's own edition ; in most of the others She thought.

405

410

415

Tongue-batteries, she surceas'd not day nor night
To storm me over-watch'd, and wearied out,
At times when men seek most repose and rest,
I yielded, and unlock'd her all my heart,
Who with a grain of manhood well resolv'd
Might easily have shook off all her snares :
But foul effeminacy held me yok'd
Her bond-slave; O indignity, O blot
To honour and religion ! servile mind
Rewarded well with servile punishment !
The base degree to which I now am fall'n,
These rags, this grinding is not yet so base
As was my former servitude, ignoble,
Unmanly, ignominious, infamous,
True slavery, and that blindness worse than this,
That saw not how degenerately I serv’d.

MANOAH.
I cannot praise thy marriage choices, son,
Rather approv'd them not; but thou didst plead
Divine impulsion prompting how thou might'st
Find some occasion to infest our foes.
I state not that ; this I am sure, our foes
Found soon occasion thereby to make thee
Their captive, and their triumph; thou the sooner
Temptation found'st, or over-potent charms

420

425

411.-0 indignity! O blot &c.] there is something vastly grand Nothing could give the reader a and noble in his reflection upon better idea of a great and heroic his present condition on this ocspirit in the circumstances of casion, Samson, than this sudden gust These rags, this grinding is not yet of indignation and passionate self-reproach upon the mention

Thyer. ing of his weakness. Besides

so base &c.

430

435

To violate the sacred trust of silence
Deposited within thee; which to have kept
Tacit, was in thy pow'r: true; and thou bear'st
Enough, and more, the burden of that fault;
Bitterly hast thou paid, and still art paying
That rigid score. A worse thing yet remains,
This day the Philistines a popular feast
Here celebrate in Gaza; and proclaim
Great pomp, and sacrifice, and praises loud
To Dagon, as their God, who hath deliver'd
Thee, Samson, bound and blind into their hands,
Them out of thine, who slew'st them many a slain.
So Dagon shall be magnified, and God,
Besides whom is no God, compar'd with idols,
Disglorified, blasphem'd, and had in scorn
By the idolatrous rout amidst their wine;
Which to have come to pass by means of thee,
Samson, of all thy sufferings think the heaviest,
Of all reproach the most with shame that ever
Could have befall’n thee and thy father's house.

Samson.
Father, I do acknowledge and confess
That I this honour, I this pomp' have brought
To Dagon, and advanc'd his praises high

440

445

450

434. This day the Philistines a improved, and with great judgpopular feast &c.] Judg. xvi. 23. ment he hath put this reproach Then the lords of the Philistines of Samson into the mouth of the gathered them together, for to offer father, rather than any other of a great sacrifice unto Dagon their the dramatis personæ. God, and to rejoice; for they said, 449. -pomp] Public procesOur G ha delivered Samson sion, &c. See note, Par. Lost, our enemy into our hand, &c. viii. 60. and below, ver. 1312. This incident the poet hath finely E.

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