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Bear in their superscription, (of the most
I would be understood,) in prosp'rous days
They swarm, but in adverse withdraw their head,
Not to be found though sought. Ye see, O friends,
How many evils have inclos'd ine round;
Yet that which was the worst now least afflicts me, 195
Blindness, for had I sight, confus'd with shame,
How could I once look up, or heave the head,
Who like a foolish pilot have shipwrack'd
My vessel trusted to me from above,
Gloriously rigg'd? and for a word, a tear,
Fool, have divulg'd the secret gift of God
To a deceitful woman? tell me, friends,
Am I not sung and proverb'd for a fool
In every street ? do they not say, how well
Are come upon him his deserts ? yet why?

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Immeasurable strength they might behold
In me, of wisdom nothing more than mean;
This with the other should, at least, have pair'd,
These two proportion'd ill drove me transverse.

CHORUS.
Tax not divine disposal ; wisest inen

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195. Yet that which was the being some cover to his shame worst now least afflicts me,] There and confusion. is no inconsistence in this with 210. Tax not divine disposal ; what he had said before, ver. 66. &c.] As this whole play, so but chief of all,

particularly the part of the ChoO loss of sight, of thee I most com- rus, is written in the very spirit plain.

of the ancients, and is formed When he was by himself, he con- exactly according to the precepts sidered his blindness as the worst of Horace. De Arte Poet. 193. of evils; but now, upon his friends coming in and seeing

Actoris partes Chorus, officiumque

virile him in this wretched condition,

Defendat; neu quid medios intsrciit least afflicls me, says he, as nat actus,

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Have err’d, and by bad women been deceiv?d;
And shall again, pretend they ne'er so wise.
Deject not then 'so overmuch thyself,
Who hast of sorrow thy full load besides;
Yet truth to say, I oft have heard men wonder
Why thou should'st wed Philistian women rather
Than of thy own tribe fairer, or as fair,
At least of thy own nation, and as noble.

Samson.
The first I saw at Timna, and she pleas'd
Me, not my parents, that I sought to wed
The daughter of an infidel: they knew not
That what I motion'd was of God; I knew

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Quod non proposito conducat et hæ Afflicted worth, and impious pride reat apte.

depress. Ille bonis faveatque, et concilietur Yet let their songs with apt coherence amice;

join, Et regat iratos, et amet pacare tu. Promote the plot, and aid the main mentes :

design.

Francis. Ille da pes laudet mensæ brevis; ille Such is the character and office

salubrem Justitiam, legesque, et apertis otia

of the Chorus, as prescribed by portis :

this great critic and poet, and it Ille tegat commissa, Deosque prece was never exemplified more fully tur et oret,

than in the Chorus of Milton. Ut redeat miseris, abeat fortuna su

216. -Philistian women rather] perbis.

So it is printed in Milton's own The Chorus must support an actor's edition, and woman is a mistake part;

of the other editions; for more Defend the virtuous, and advise with than one are mentioned after

art; Govern the choleric, the proud ap

wards. The first I saw at Timna, pease,

&c. ver. 219. the next I took to And the short feasts of frugal tables wife, &c. ver. 227. praise ;

219. The first I saw at Timna,] The laws and justice of well-govern'd Judg. xiv. 1. And Samson went

states, And peace triumphant with her open down to 1 imnath, and saw a wogates.

man in Timnath of the daughters Intrusted secrets let them ne'er be- of the Philistines, &c. tray,

222. That what I motion'd was But to the righteous Gods with ardour of God :) It was printed men

pray, That fortune with returning smiles tion'd, which is sense indeed, but may bless

Milton himself in the table of

From intimate impulse, and therefore urg'd .
The marriage on ; that by occasion hence
I might begin Israel's deliverance,

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The work to which I was divinely call’d.
She proving false, the next I took to wife
(O that I never had ! fond wish too late,
Was in the vale of Sorec, Dalila,
That specious monster, my accomplish'd snare. 230
I thought it lawful from my former act,
And the same end; still watching to oppress
Israel's oppressors : of what now I suffer
She was not the prime cause, but I myself,
Who vanquish'd with a peal of words (O weakness!)
Gave up my fort of silence to a woman.

236 CHORUS. In seeking just occasion to provoke The Philistine, thy country's enemy, Thou never wast remiss, I bear thee witness : Yet Israël still serves with all his sons.

240 Samson. That fault I take not on me, but transfer On Israel's governors, and heads of tribes,

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errata substituted motion'd, which 241. That fault &c.] Milton is better: but the first error hath certainly intended to reproach still prevailed in all the editions. his countrymen indirectly, and

229. Was in the vale of Sorec, as plainly as he dared, with the Dalila, 7 Judg. xvi. 4. And it restoration of Charles II. which came to pass afterward, that he he accounted the restoration of loved a woman in the valley of slavery, and with the execution Sorek, whose name was Dalilah, of the regicides. He pursues &c.

the same subject again, 678 to 230. --my accomplish'd snare,] 700. I wonder how the liThere seems to be a quibble in censers of those days let it pass. the use of this epithet. War. Jortin. burton.

Who seeing those great acts, which God had done
Singly by me against their conquerors,
Acknowledg'd not, or not at all consider'd

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Deliverance offer'd: I on th' other side
Us'd no ambition to commend my deeds,
The deeds themselves, though mute, spoke loud the doer;
But they persisted deaf, and would not seem
To count them things worth notice, till at length: 250
Their lords the Philistines with gather'd pow'rs
Enter'd Judea seeking me, who then
Safe to the rock of Etham was retir'd,
Not flying, but forecasting in what place
To set upon them, what advantag'd best ;

255 Mean while the men of Judah, to prevent The harass of their land, beset me round; I willingly on some conditions came Into their hands, and they as gladly yield me To the uncircumcis'd a welcome prey, Bound with two cords ; but cords to me were threads Touch'd with the flame: on their whole host I flew Unarm’d, and with a trivial weapon felld Their choicest youth; they only liv'd who fled. Had Jydah that day join'd, or one whole tribe, 265 They had by this possess'd the tow'rs of Gath, And lorded over them whom now they serve:

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247. Us'd no ambition] Going the top of the rock Etam. Then about with studiousness and af- the Philistines went up, and pitched fectation to gain praise, as Mr. in Judah, &c. . Richardson says, alluding to the 254. —forecasting] The same origin of the word in Latin word as to cast, to consider, de

253. Safe to the rock of Etham vise means, &c. See Par. Lost, was retir'd, &c.] Judg. xv. 8. ii. 634. T. Warton. . And he went down, and dwelt in

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But what more oft in nations grown corrupt,
And by their vices brought to servitude,
Than to love bondage more than liberty,
Bondage with ease than strenuous liberty ;
And to despise, or envy, or suspect
Whom God hath of his special favour rais'd
As their deliverer ; if he ought begin,
How frequent to desert him, and at last
To heap ingratitude on worthiest deeds ?

CHORUS.
Thy words to my remembrance bring
How Succoth and the fort of Penuel
Their great deliverer contemn’d,
The matchless Gideon in pursuit
Of Madian and her vanquish'd kings :
And how ingrateful Ephraim

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268. But what more oft in na- self - potior visa est pericutions grown corrupt, &c.] Here losa libertas, quieto servitio. Mr. Thyer has anticipated me 278. How Succoth and the fort by observing, that Milton is very of Penuel &c.] The men of Sucuniform, as well as just, in his coth and of the tower of Penuel notions of liberty, always attri. refused to give loaves of bread buting the loss of it to vice and to Gideon and his three hundred corruption of morals: but in this men pursuing after Zebah and passage he very probably in- Zalmunna, kings of Midian. See tended also a secret satire upon Judg. viii. 4-9.. the English nation, which ac 282. And how ingrateful Ecording to his republican politics phraim &c.] Jephtha subdued had, by restoring the King, the children of Ammon; and he chosen bondage with ease rather is said to have defended Israel by than strenuous liberty. And let argument not worse than by arms, me add, that the sentiment is on account of the message which very like that of Æmilius Lehe sent unto the king of the chilpidus the consul, in his oration dren of Ammon, Judg. xi. 15– to the Roman people against 27. For his victory over the Sulla, preserved among the frag. Ammonites the Ephraimites enments of Sallust a nnuite le- vied and quarrelled with him ; gibus impositis ; accipite otium and threatened to burn his house cum servitio ; but for my- with fire: but Jephthah and the

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