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From worst of other evils, pains and wrongs,
But made hereby obnoxious more
To all the miseries of life,
Life in captivity
Among inhuman foes.
But who are these? for with joint pace I hear
The tread of many feet steering this way;
Perhaps my enemies, who come to stare
At my affliction, and perhaps t insult,
Their daily practice to afflict me more,

This, this is he; softly a while,
Let us not break in upon
O change beyond report, thought, or belief!
See how he lies at random, carelessly diffus'd,
With languish'd head unpropp’d,
As one past hope, abandon’d,
And by himself given over ;
In slavish habit, ill-fitted weeds
O'er-worn and soil'd;
Or do my eyes misrepresent? Can this be he,
That heroic, that renown'd,
Irresistible Samson ? whom unarm'd


him ;



111. -steering this way;] If Latins. So Ovid ex Ponto, iii. this be the right, reading, the iii. 7. metaphor is extremely hard and

Publica me requies curarum somnus abrupt. A common man would

habebat, have said bearing this way.

War- Fusaque erant toto languida membra burton. 118. See how he lies at random,

Thyer. carelessly diffus'd,] This beautiful So Virgil, fusi per herbam, application of the word diffused Æn. i. 214. and in many other Milton has borrowed from the places. E.


No strength of man, or fiercest wild beast could with

Who tore the lion, as the lion tears the kid,
Ran on imbattled armies clad in iron,
And weaponless himself,

Made arms ridiculous, useless the forgery
Of brazen shield and spear, the hammer'd cuirass,
Chaly'bean temper'd steel, and frock of mail
Adamantean proof;
But safest he who stood aloof,
When insupportably his foot advanc'd,
In scorn of their proud arms and warlike tools,
Spurn’d them to death by troops. The bold Ascalonite
Fled from his lion ramp, old warriors turn’d
Their plated backs under his heel ;
Or grov'ling soild their crested helmets in the dust.
Then with what trivial weapon came to hand,
The jaw of a dead ass, his sword of bone,
A thousand fore-skins fell, the flow'r of Palestine,



133. Chalybean temper'd steel,] he had before used Æ'gean for That is, the best tempered steel Ægéan, and Thyestean for Thyeby the Chalybes, who were fa- stéan. mous among the ancients for 136. When insupportably his their iron works. Virg. Georg. i. foot advanc'd,] For this nervous 58.

expression Milton was probably At Chalybes nudi ferrum

indebted to the following lines

of Spenser, Faery Queen, b. i. The adjective should be pro- cant. vii. st. 11. nounced Chalybéan with the third

That when the knight he spied, he syllable long according to Hein

'gan advance sius's reading of that verse of With huge force, and insupportable Ovid, Fast. iv. 405.


Thyer. Æs erat in pretio : Chalybeïa massa

188. The bold Ascalonite] The latebat :

inhabitant of Ascalon, one of the but Milton makes it short by the five principal cities of the Philisame poetical liberty, with which stines, mentioned, 1 Sam. vi. 17.


In Ramath-lechi famous to this day.

145 Then by main force pulld up, and on his shoulders bore The gates of Azza, post, and massy bar, Up to the hill by Hebron, seat of giants old, No journey of a sabbath-day, and loaded so; Like whom the Gentiles feign to bear up

heaven. Which shall I first bewail Thy bondage or lost sight, Prison within prison Inseparably dark? Thou art become (0 worst imprisonment !) The dungeon of thyself; thy soul (Which men enjoying sight oft without cause complain)


145. In Ramath-lechi famous ner Milton designed them. Sympto this day.] Judges xv. 17.-he son. cast away the jaw-bone out of his 147. -post, and massy bar,] hand, and called that place Ra- Mr. Meadowcourt proposes to math-lechi, that is, the lifling up read posts, as being more conof the jaw-bone, or casting away formable to Scripture, Judges of the jaw-bone, as it is rendered xvi. 3. And Samson lay till midin the margin of our Bibles. night, and arose at midnight, and

147. The gates of Azza.) If took the doors of the gate of the the poet did not think the allite- city, and the two posts, and went ration too great, he possibly away with them, bar and all : would have wrote

and posts is certainly better on The gates of Gaza.

this account, but perhaps Milton So he does within six lines of might prefer post as somewhat

of a softer sound. the end of this play,

148. —Hebron, seat of giants -whence Gaza mourns.

old,] For Hebron was the city I cannot help remarking the of Arba, the father of Anak, and great difference there is betwixt the seat of the Anakims. Josh. Ben Johnsun's Chorusses, and xv. 13, 14. And the Anakims our author's. Old Ben's are of a were giants, which come of the poor similar regular contexture; giants. Numb. xiii. 33. our author's truly Grecian, and 157. —oft without cause comnoble, diversified with all the plain] So Milton himself cormeasures our language and po- rected it, but all the editions etry are capable of, and I am continue the old erratum comafraid not to be read in the man- plained.

Imprison'd now indeed,
In real darkness of the body dwells,

from outward light

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

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 Whome 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 iny ear.

162. For inward light alus 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

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

visual ray,

the day.

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.

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


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. 10 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's 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, ότι both situated in the valley, Josh.

Οργης νoσoυσης εισιν ιατροι λογοι. . xv. 33. and therefore the poet

Or to this with great exactness says Eshtaol

in Menander.

passage and Zora's fruitful vale.

Λογος γαρ εστι 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 roces, quibus hunc bewail him ; or if beller, (that is

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

partem. Ꭱ Ꮞ

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