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All mortals I excell'd, and great in hopes,
With youthful courage, and magnaninous thoughts
Of birth from heaven foretold, and high exploits,
Full of divine instinct, after some proof
Of acts indeed heroic, far beyond
The sons of Anak, famous now and blazed;
Fearless of danger, like a petty god
I walk'd about admired of all, and dreaded
On hostile ground, none daring my affront;
Then swollen with pride, into the snare I fell
Of fair fallacious looks, venereal trains",
Soften'd with pleasure and voluptuous life ;
At length to lay my heads and hallow'd pledge
Of all my strength in the lascivious lap
Of a deceitful concubine, who shore me,
Like a tame wether, all my precious fleece ;
Then turn'd me out ridiculous, despoil'd,
Shaven, and disarm'd among mine enemies.

Cho. Desire of wine, and all delicious drinks,
Which many a famous warriour overturns,
Thou couldst repress; nor did the dancing ruby',
Sparkling, out-pour'd, the flavour, or the smell,
Or taste that cheers the heart of gods and men“,
Allure thee from the cool crystalline stream '.

I Into the snare I fell

Of fair fallacious looks, venereal trains. See Fairfax's translation of Tasso, b. iv. 26, where Hedroart, sending Armida to seduce the Christian host, and, if possible, its leader, bids her

Frame snares of looks, trains of alluring speech.-DUNSTER.

At length to lay my head, &c. Compare Spenser's “ Faerie Queene,” ii. vi. 14.

Thus when shee had his cyes and sences fed
With false delights, and fill'd with pleasures vayn,
Into a shady vale she soft him led,
And layd him downe upon a grassy playn :
She sett beside, laying his head disarm'd
In her loose lap.–TODD.

t The dancing ruby, &c. Dr. Newton and Mr. Thyer remark, that the poet probably alludes to Prov. xxiii. 31. *** Look not upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth its colour in the cup, when it moveth itself áright.” Milton has also “rubied nectar," “ Par. Lost,” b. v. 633. And dancing he has transferred hither from his “ Comus," v. 673.

And first behold this cordial julep here,
That flames and dances in his crystal bounds.— TODD.

Or taste that cheers the heart of gods and men.
Judges is. 13, “ Wine which cheereth God and man." Milton says

gods," which is just paraphrase, meaning the hero.gods of the leathen. Jotham is here speaking to an idolatrous city, that “ ran a whoring after Baalim, and made Baal-berith their god ;” a god spring from among men, as may be partly collected from his name, as well as from divers other circumstances of the story. Hesiod, in a similar expression, says that “the vengeance of the Fates pursued the crimes of gods and men,” Theog. v. 220.- Warburton.

Cool crystalline stream. Borrowed by Mason, in his additions to Gray's fragment of an “Ode to Vicissitude.”

Sam. Wherever fountain or fres! Against the eastern ray", transluce With touch ethereal of Heaven's fit I drank, from the clear milky juice Thirst, and refresh'd ; nor envied t Whose heads that turbulent liquor

Cho. O, madness, to think use o And strongest drinks our chief sup When God with these forbidden m His mighty champion, strong abov Whose drink' was only from the 1

Sam. But what avail'd this tem Against another object more enticii What boots it at one gate to make And at another to let in the foe, Effeminately vanquish'd ? by whic Now blind, dishearten'd, shamed, To what can I be useful, wherein e My nation, and the work from He But to sit idle on the household he A burdenous drone ; to visitants a Or pitied object; these redundant Robustious to no purpose, clusterir Vain monument of strength ; till li And sedentary numbness craze my To a contemptible old age obscure Here rather let me drudge and eari

w Wherever fountain or fresh cu

Against the eastern ray, &c.
This circumstance was very probably suggested
Mondo creato,' giorna iii, st. 8.—THYER.

Mr. Geddes, in his learned and entertaining “ E: considers these lines of Milton as possessing mue another thing, with a passage in the philosopher's where, speaking of the poets, he says,

* As soon as t1 they become lymphatic, and rove like the furious honey and milk out of the rivers. The poets tell Essay, 1748, p. 184.- Todd.

* With touch ethereal of Hea This description of the first ray of light at the mo beautiful. We might trace it to Euripides, “Su Milton's " long-level'd rule of streaming light," Ce

y Those drink, Samson was a Nazarite, Judges xii. 7 ; therefore See Numb, vi, Amos ii. 12.-RICHARDSON.

2 But to sit idle on the house! It is supposed, with probability enough, that Milti he was a fellow-sufferer with him in the loss of his e that the similitude of their circumstances has enrich descriptions of the misery of blindness.—THYER.

a Craze my limbi He uses the word “ craze" much in the same i 210.--NEWTON.

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Till vermin, or the draff of servile food,
Consume me, and oft-invocated death
Hasten the welcome end of all my pains.

Man. Wilt thou then serve the Philistines with that gift
Which was expressly given thee to annoy them?
Better at home lie bed-rid, not only idle,
Inglorious, unemploy'd, with age outworn.
But God, who caused a fountain at thy prayer
From the dry ground to spring", thy thirst to allay
After the brunt of battel ; can as easy
Cause light again within thy eyes to spring,
Wherewith to serve him better than thou hast;
And I persuade me so : why else this strength
Miraculous yet remaining in those locks?
His might continues d in thee not for naught,
Nor shall his wondrous gifts be frustrate thus.

Sam. All otherwise to me my thoughts portend,
That these dark orbs no more shall treat with light,
Nor the other light of life continue long,
But yield to double darkness nigh at hand :
So much I feel my genial spirits droop,
My hopes all flat, Nature within me seems
In all her functions weary of herself ;
My race of glory run, and race of shame ;
And I shall shortly be with them that rest.



b Draft

The refuse. See

“ Par. Lost," b. x. 130, Thus Chaucer, " Prol. to the Parsones Tale :"

Why should I sowen draf out of my fist,

When I may sowen whete if that me liste ? And Shakspeare, “ Hen. IV.” part 1. a. iv. s. 2. “You would think I had a hundred and fifty tattered prodigals, lately come from swine-keeping, from eating draft and husks.” -Dunster,

< But God, who caused a fountain at thy prayer

From the dry ground to spring, &c. See Judges sv. 18, 19. But Milion differs from our translation of the Bible. The translation says, that God clave a hollow place that was in the jaw : ” Milton says, that "God caused a fountain from the dry ground to spring;” and herein he follows the Chaldee paraphrast and the best commentators, who understand it that God made a cleft in some part of the ground or rock, in the place called Lehi; Leli siguifying both a jaw, and a place so called.-Newton.

d Hlis might continues, &c. A fine preparative, which raises our expectation of some great event to be produced by his strength. -WARBURTON.

e So much I feel my genial spirits droop, &c. Here Milton, in the person of Samson, describes exactly his own case, what he felt, and what he thought, in some of his melancholy hours : he could not have written so well but from his own feeling and experience ; and the very flow of the verses is melancholy, and excellently adapted to the subject. As Mr. Thyer expresses it, there is a remarkable molempity and air of melancholy, in the very sound of these verses ; and the reader will

difficult to pronounce them without that grave and serious tone of voice which proper for the occasion.--Newton. Every reader of taste must subscribe with beartiness to this testimony of Thyer and Newton. The passage is truly pathetic and melodious.

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Man. Believe not these suggestic
From anguish of the mind and hum
That mingle with thy fancy. Th
Must not omits a father's timely ca
To prosecute the means of thy deliv
By ransom, or how else: meanwhil
And healing words from these thy f

Sam. O, that torment should not
To the body's wounds and sores,
With maladies innumerable
In heart, head, breast, and reins ;
But must secret passage find
To the inmost mind,
There exercise all his fierce acciden
And on her purest spirits prey,
As on entrails, joints, and limbs,
With answerable pains, but more is
Though void of corporal sense.

My griefs not only pain me
As a lingering disease,
But, finding no redress, ferment an
Nor less than wounds immedicable
Rankle, and fester, and gangrene,
To black mortification.
Thoughts, my tormentors, arm'd w
Mangle' my apprehensive tenderes
Exasperate, exulcerate, and raise

f And hum

That mingle with thy funt This very just notion of the mind or fancy's bei the vitiated humours of the body, Milton had before he introduces Satan in the shape of a toad at the ea

Or if, inspiring venom, he

The animal spirits, &c.
So again in “ Comus," v. 809.

*Tis but And settlings of a melancholy

& I hor

Must not omit, &c. Such is also the language of Oceanus to his nephes -DUNSTER.

ho, that torment should not lMilton, no doubt, was apprehensive that this 1 misery might grow tedious to the reader, and there both his manner of expressing it, and the versificatio are very natural to persons in such circumstances, a the verse is very well suited to it.-- THYER.

I Thoughts, my tormentors, arm'd

Mangle, &c. This descriptive imagery is fine and well pursue of poisonous salts in the stomach and bowels, which the tender fibres, and end in a mortification, which as in that stage the pain is over.— WARBURTON.




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Dire inflammation, which no cooling herb
Or med'cinal liquord can asswage,
Nor breath of vernal air* from snowy Alp'.
Sleep hath forsook and given me o’er
To death’s benumbing opium as my only cure :
Thence faintings, swoonings of despair,
And sense of Heaven's desertion.

I was his nursling once ", and choice delight,
His destined from the womb,
Promised by heavenly message twice descending.
Under his special eye
Abstemious I grew up, and thrived amain :
He led me on to mightiest deeds,
Above the nerve of mortal arm,
Against the uncircumcised, our enemies :
But now hath cast me off as never known,
And to those cruel enemies,
Whom I by his appointment had provoked,
Left me all helpless, with the irreparable loss
Of sight, reserved alive to be repeated
The subject of their cruelty or scorn.
Nor am I in the list of them that hope:
Hopeless are all my evils, all remediless :
This one prayer yet remains, might I be heard,

j Or med'cinal liquor. Here “ medicinal” is pronounced with the accent upon the last syllable but one, as in Latin ; which is inore musical than as we commonly pronounce it, “medicinal,” with the accent upon the last syllable but two, or “med'cinal” as Milton has used it in “ Comus." The same pronunciation occurs in Sbakspeare, “ Othello," a. v. s. 2 :

Drop tears as fast as the Arabian trees

Their medicinal gun.-NEWTON. * Medicinal ” is not the reading of Milton's own edition : in that it is “ medcinal.” The supposed emendation of " medicinal ” is made in the folio of 1688, and it has been since invariably followed.— Todd.

k Nor breath of vernal air.
So, in that most delightful passage in “ Paradise Lost,” b. iv. 264:-

airs, vernal airs,
Breathing the smell of field and grove.-Todd.

I From snowy Alp. Alp" for mountain in general, as in “ Paradise Lost," b. ii. 620. Alp," | in the strict etymology of the word, signifies a mountain white with snow. We have

indeed appropriated the name to the high mountains which separate Italy from France and Germany; but any high mountain may be so called, and so Sidonius Apollinaris calls Mount Athos, speaking of Xerxes cutting through it, “ Carm.” ii. 510.- NEWTON.

Milton took this use of the word from the Italian poets, amongst whom it was very common.-HưRD.

m I was his nursling once, &c. 1 part of Samson's speech is little more than a repetition of what he had said before,

O, wherefore was my birth from Heaven foretold

Twice by an angel, &c. But yet it cannot justly be imputed as a fault to our author. Grief, though eloquent, is hot lied to forms, and is besides apt in its own nature frequently to recur to, and repeat, its source and subject.—THver.


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