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Horribly loud, unlike the former shout.

Noise call you it or universal groan,
As if the whole inhabitation perish'd!
Blood, death, and deathful deeds are in that noise,
Ruin, destruction at the utmost point.

Of ruin indeed methought I heard the noise : 1515
Oh it continues, they have slain my son.

Thy son is rather slaying them, that outcry
From slaughter of one foe could not ascend.

Some dismal accident it needs must be ;
What shall we do, stay here or run and see? 1520

Best keep together here, lest running thither
We unawares run into danger's mouth.
This evil on the Philistines is fall’n ;
From whom could else a general cry be heard ?
The sufferers then will scarce molest us here,

From other hands we need not much to fear.
What if his eye-sight (for to Israel's God
Nothing is hard) by miracle restor’d,
He now be dealing dole among his foes,

1512. —inhabitation] Oixoupcem. Jonson's three plays, p. 31. Richardson.

derives the word dole from the 1514. -at the utmost point.] Greek ato tou disaur, distribuere. Al ultimo segno. Richardson. By the way we may observe,

1529. —be dealing dole] Dis- that the Chorus here entertains tributing his gifts and portions the same pleasing hope of Samamong

his enemies, from a Saxon son's eye-sight being by miracle word, says Skinner, but Mr. Up- restored, which he had before ton in his remarks upon Ben tacitly reproved in Manoah, and

And over heaps of slaughter'd walk his way? 1530

That were a joy presumptuous to be thought.

Yet God hath wrought things as incredible
For his people of old; what hinders now?

He can I know, but doubt to think he will;
Yet hope would fain subscribe, and tempts belief. 1535
A little stay will bring some notice hither.

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 speeding,
An Hebrew, as I guess, and of our tribe.

1540 MESSENGER. O whither shall I run, or which way fly Manoah who had before encou- be: and so is the next but one, raged the same hope in himself, in that and all the editions ; now desponds and reckons it though it seems to belong rather presumptuous in another. Such to Manoah. The line between changes of our thoughts are na- them, which is wanting (as I just tural and common, especially in now observed) in the text of the any change of our situation and first edition, in the Errata and circumstances. Fear and hope in all the editions since is given usually succeed each other like to the Chorus, but the poet cerague and fever. And it was not tainly intended both them and a slight observation of mankind, Manoah a share in it. that could have enabled Milton to have understood and described

CHOR. A little stay will bring the human passions so exactly.

some notice hither

Of good or bad so great. Max. Of 1536. A little stay will bring bad the sooner; some notice hither.] The text of For evil news rides post, while good the first edition wants the nine news baits,

CHOR. And to our wish I see one lines preceding this, and the line

hither speeding, that follows it: but they are sup- An Hebrew, as I guess, and of our plied in the Errata. This line in tribe. that edition is in the part of the

Calton. Chorus, as I think it ought to



The sight of this so horrid spectacle,
Which erst my eyes beheld and yet behold?
For dire imagination still pursues me,
But providence or instinct of nature seems,
Or reason though disturb’d, and scarce consulted,
To' have guided me aright, I know not how,
To thee first reverend Manoah, and to these
My countrymen, whom here I knew remaining,
As at some distance from the place of horror,
So in the sad event too much concern'd.

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.

It would burst forth, but I recover breath
And sense distract, to know well what I utter.

Tell us the sum, the circumstance defer.

Gaza yet stands, but all her sons are fall’n,
All in a moment overwhelm'd and fall’n.


1552. -and here before thee] 1556. And sense distract.] The Here again the old error was word is used likewise as an adcarefully preserved through all jective in Shakespeare. Julius the editions. In the first edition Cæsar, act iv. sc. 4. it was printed and heard before

With this she fell distract, thee; but we have corrected it,

And (her attendants absent) swal. as Milton himself corrected it in

low'd fire. the table of Errata.

1554. No preface needs,] No Twelfth-Night, act v. sc. 5. preface is wanting. Needs is a

They say, poor gentleman! he's verb neuter here as in Paradise

much distract. Lost X, 80. where see the note.

Sad, but thou know'st to Israelites not saddest 1560
The desolation of a hostile city.

Feed on that first, there may in grief be surfeit.

Relate by whom.

By Samson.

That still lessens
The sorrow, and converts it nigh to joy.

Ah Manoah, I refrain, too suddenly

To utter what will come at last too soon;
Lest evil tidings with too rude irruption
Hitting thy aged ear should pierce too deep.

Suspense in news is torture, speak them out.

Take then the worst in brief, Samson is dead. 1570

The worst indeed, O all my hope's defeated
To free him hence! but death who sets all free
Hath paid his ransom now and full discharge.
What windy joy this day had I conceiv'd
Hopeful of his delivery, which now proves 1575
Abortive as the first-born bloom of spring

1576. Abortive as the first-born justness and propriety. One canbloom of spring &c.] As Mr. not possibly imagine a more Thyer says, this similitude is to

exact and perfect image of the be admired for its remarkable dawning hope which Manoah


Nipt with the lagging rear of winter's frost!
Yet ere I give the reins to grief, say first,
How died he; death to life is crown or shame.
All by him fell thou say’st, by whom fell he,
What glorious hand gave Samson his death's wound?

Unwounded of his enemies he fell.

Wearied with slaughter then or how? explain.

By his own hands.


Self-violence? what cause Brought him so soon at variance with himself Among his foes?


Inevitable cause


had conceived from the favour- And when he thinks, good easy man, able answer he had met with

full surely from some of the Philistian lords,

His greatness is a ripening, nips his

root ; and of its being so suddenly ex

And then he falls, as I do, tinguished by this return of ill fortune, than that of the early Upon which Mr. Warburton rebloom, which the warmth of a

marks, that as spring-frosts are few fine days frequently pushes not injurious to the roots of fruitforward in the spring, and then trees, he should imagine the poet it is cut off by an unexpected wrote shoot, that is, the tender

shoot on which are the young return of winterly weather. As Mr. Warburton observes, this leaves and blossoms. The combeautiful passage seems to be parison, as well as expression of taken from Shakespeare, Henry nips, is juster too in this reading. VIII. act iii. sc. 6.

Shakespeare has the same thought

in Love's Labour Lost. This is the state of man; to-day he

Byron is like an envious sneaping The tender leaves of hopes, to mor

frost row blossoms,

That bites the first-born infants of And bears his blushing honours thick the spring.

upon him ; The third day comes a frost, a killing

See Warburton's Shakespeare, frost ;

vol. v. p. 413.

puts forth

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