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21.

SAMSON AGONISTES.

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chance

SAMSON
Little onward lend thy guiding hand

To thefe dark steps, a little further on;
For yonder bank hath choice of sun or shade:
There I am wont to fit, when

any Relieves me from my task of servile toil, A

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5 Daily' in the common prison elfe injoind me, Where I a prisoner chain'd, scarce freely draw 1 The air imprison'd alfo, close and damp, Unwholesome draught: but here I feel amends,

The

Samson Agonistes] The fubject but To these dark fepo, ] So Tiresias a very indifferent one for a drama- in Euripides, Phænissæ ver. 841. tic fable. However he has made

Ηγε σe9παριθε θυγατερ, ως the best of it. He seems to have

Tupan mod, &c. Richardson. chosen it for the sake of the fatire on bad wives. Warburton.

3. For yonder bank] The scene of Samjon Agonistes] That is Sam- this tragedy is -mach the same as son an actor, Samson represented that of the Old 1786 GTI 102cvw in in a play. Aywursus, ludio, hi- Sophocles, where blind Oedipus trio, actor fcenicus.

is conducted in like manner and Samson Milton after the ex- represented fitting upon a little hill ample of the Greek tragedians, near Athens : but yet I think there whom he profeffes to imitate, opens is scarcely a single thought the same his drama with introducing one of in the two pieces, and I am sure its principal personages explaining the Greek tragedy can have no the story upon which it is founded. pretence to be esteem'd better, but

Thyer. only because it is two thousand 1. A little onward lend thy guiding years older. band

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13. TO

The breath of Heav'n fresh blowing, pure and sweet,
With day-spring born; here leave me to respire. Il
This day a solemn feast the people hold
To Dagon their sea-idol, and forbid
Laborious works ; unwillingly this rest
Their superstition yields me; hence with leave 15
Retiring from the popular noise, I seek

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This unfrequented place to find some ease,
Ease to the body fome, none to the mind
From restless thoughts, that like a deadly swarm)
Of hornets arm’d, no sooner found alone,

20 But rush upon me thronging, and present ** . Times past, what once I was, and what am now. O wherefore was my birth from Heav'n foretoldc !? Twice by an Angel, who at last in fightrot -A Of both my parents all in flames afcended!! lalu

'! 23

From 13. To Dagon their sea-idol,] For and the second time "the Angel Milton both here and Para- ascended in the flame of the altar. dise Lost follows of Judges XIII. 3, 11, zo.

e?! those, who describe this idol as

and from some great act) part man, part fish. I.

Mr. Sympson says that the tro Dagon his name, sea monster, reading is upward man

as from some great act: And downward fish.

but the poet would hardly fay As in 24. Twice by an Angel, ] Once à fiery column &c as from some to his mother, and again to his fa- great act &c; and therefore we may

Manoah and hic mntk or both, retain and, and as may be undet

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From off the altar, where an offering burnd,
As in a fiery column charioting
His god-like presence, and from some great act
Or benefit reveal'd to Abraham's race?

T Why was my breeding order'd and prescrih'd 30 As of a person separate to God, ; it

yrien T Design’d for great exploits; if I must die

a ani isest Betray'd, captív’d, and both my eyes put out,, AT Made of my enemies the scorn and gaze ; d et est To grind in brazen fetters under task

35 With this Heav'n-gifted strength? O glorious strength Put to the labor of a beast, debas'd

Lower than bondflave! Promise was that I
E

Should Israel from Philistian yoke deliver
Ask for this great deliverer now, and find him
Eyeless in Gaza at the mill with llaves,

Himself 1103 ftood tho not exprefs d. As in a syllable captiv'd: but our old auBeery column charioting &c, and as thors give it the same pronuncia. from some great act &c.

tion as Milton. Spenser. Faery 33. Betray'd, captív'd,] It should Queen. B. 2. Cant. 4. $t. 16. be pronounced with the accent up- Thus when as Guyon Furor had on the last syllable, as afterwards

captiv'd: wer. 694.

and B. 3. Cant. 1. St. 2. To dogs and fowls a prey, or

But the captiv’d Acrasia he sent: elfe captív'd.

and Fairfax Cant. 19. St. 95. I think we commonly pronounce

Free was Erminia, but captív'd it with the accent upon the first

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Himself in bonds under Philiftian yoke :
Yet stay, let me not rafhly call in doubts
Divine predi&ion; what if all foretoldi 1.129:-
Had been fulfill'd båt through mine own default, A
Whom have I to complain of but myself?
Who this high gift of strength committed to me,
In what part lodg’d, how leafily bereft me, 0
Under the seal of silence could not keep,
But weakly to a woman' must reveal it,

50 O'ercome with importunity and tears.

1 O impotence of mind, in body strong! But what is ftrength without a double sharoit A Of wisdom, vaft, unwieldy, burdensome, in Proudly fecure, yet liable to fall

$5 By weakest fubtleties, not made to rule, But to fubfervé where wisdom bears command! T God, when he gave me strength, to show withal ? How flight the gift was, hung it in my hair, But peace, I must not quarrel with the will bo

Of

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Nos animo; quantoque ratem qui

temperat &c. Fortin, Hor. Od. III. IV.65. Vis confili expers mole ruit fun.

Richardfor.

Tu vires fine mente geris

- tu tantum corpore prodes,

Of highest dispensation, which herein
Haply had ends above my reach to know:
Suffices that to me strength is my bạne,
And proves the fource of all my miseries;
So many, and fo huge, that each apart 65
Would ask a life to wail, but chief of all, envis

vis
O loss of fight, of thee I most complain! ly al
Blind among enemies, 9 worse than chains, bnu
Dungeon, or beggery, or decrepit age! 899 to
Light the prime work of God to me' is extinct, 70
And all her various objects of delight
Annull’d, which might in part my grief have casid,
Inferior to the vileft now become
Of man or worm; the vileft here excel me,
They creep, yet fee, I dark in light expos'd

75 To daily fraud, contempt, abuse and wrong, Within doors, or without, ftill as a fool, In pow'r of others, never in my own ;! Scarce half I seem to live, dead more than half. "G

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4669. or decrepit age!) So it is beggery in decrepit age?

printed in the first edition, the later editors have omitted or, con. Want join'd to the weaknesses of cluding I fuppose that it made the helpless age, says he would render verse a fyllable too long. Mr. Cal- it a very real misery. ton proposes to read

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87. And

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