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At Ascalon, who never did thee harm,
Then like a robber stripp'dst them of their robes ?
The Philistines, when thou hadst broke the league,
Went up with armed powers thee only seeking, , 1190
To others did no violence nor spoil.
Among the daughters of the Philistines
I chose a wife, which argued me no foe;
And in your city held my nuptial feast :
But your ill-meaning politician lords,
Under pretence of bridal friends and guests,
Appointed to await me thirty spies,
Who threat’ning cruel death constrain'd the bride
To wring from me and tell to them my secret,
That solv'd the riddle which I had propos’d.
When I perceiv'd all set on enmity,
As on my enemies, wherever chanc'd,
I us’d hostility, and took their spoil
To pay my underminers in their coin.
My nation was subjected to your lords.
It was the force of conquest; force with force
Is well ejected when the conquer'd can.
But I a private person, whom my country
As a league-breaker gave up bound, presum'd
Single rebellion, and did hostile acts.'
I was no private but a person rais'd
With strength sufficient and command from heaven
To free my country ; if their servile minds
Me their deliverer sent would not receive,
But to their masters gave me up for nought,
Th' unworthier they; whence to this day they serve.
I was to do my part from heav'n assign’d,
And had perform’d it, if my known offence
Had not disabled me, not all your force:
These shifts refuted, answer thy appellant
Though by his blindness maim'd for high attempts,
Who now defies thee thrice to single fight,
As a petty enterprize of small enforce.
With thee a man condemn’d, a slave inroll’d,
Due by the law to capital punishment ?
To fight with thee no man of arms will deign.
Cam’st thou for this, vain boaster, to survey me,
To descant on my strength, and give thy verdict ?
Come nearer, part not hence so slight inform’d;
But take good heed my hand survey not thee.
O Baal-zebub! can my ears unus'd
Hear these dishonours, and not render death?
No man withholds thee, nothing from thy hand
Fear I incurable ; bring up thy van,
My heels are fetter'd, but my fist is free.
This insolence other kind of answer fits.
1222. Who now defies thee 1231. O Baal-zebub!] He is thrice] This was the custom and properly made to invoke Baalthe law of arms to give the chal- zebuh, as afterwards to swear by lenge and to sound the trumpet Astaroth, that is, the deities of thrice. In allusion to the same the Philistines and neighbouring practice Edgar appears to fight nations, of whom we have said with the Bastard by the third something in the notes on the sound of the trumpet, Lear, act v. Paradise Lost, and the learned sc. 7.
reader may see more in Selden.
Go baffled coward, lest I run upon thee,
Though in these chains, bulk without spirit vast,
And with one buffet lay thy structure low,
Or swing thee in the air, then dash thee down
To th' hazard of thy brains and shatter'd sides.
By Astaroth ere long thou shalt lament
These braveries in irons loaden on thee.
His giantship is gone somewhat crest-fall’n,
Stalking with less unconscionable strides,
And lower looks, but in a sultry chafe.
I dread him not, nor all his giant-brood,
Though fame divulge him father of five sons,
All of gigantic size, Goliah chief.
He will directly to the lords, I fear,
And with malicious counsel stir them up
Some way or other yet further to afflict thee.
He must allege some cause, and offer'd fight
Will not dare mention, lest a question rise
Whether he durst accept th' offer or not,
And that he durst not plain enough appear'd.
1248. Though fane divulge him very well known: and the other &c.] So it plainly should be as four are mentioned 2 Sam. xxi. Milton himself corrected it, and 15-22. These four were born to not divulged as it is in all the edi- the giant or to Harapha in Gath, tions. Father of five sons &c. and fell by the hand of David, The story of Goliath of Gath is and by the hand of his servants.
Much more affliction than already felt
They cannot well impose, nor I sustain ;
If they intend advantage of my labours,
The work of many hands, which earns my keeping 1260
With no small profit daily to my owners.
But come what will, my deadliest foe will prove
My speediest friend, by death to rid me hence,
The worst that he can give, to me the best.
Yet so it may fall out, because their end
1265 Is hate, not help to me, it may with mine Draw their own ruin who attempt the deed.
Oh how comely it is, and how reviving
To the spirits of just men long oppress'd!
When God into the hands of their deliverer
Puts invincible might
To quell the mighty of the earth, th’ oppressor,
The brute and boist'rous force of violent men
Hardy and industrious to support
Tyrannic pow'r, but raging to pursue
1975 The righteous, and all such as honour truth; He all their ammunition And feats of war defeats With plain heroic magnitude of mind And celestial vigour arm'd,
1280 Their armories and magazines contemns, Renders them useless, while
1268. Oh how comely it is, &c.] of reflecting on the recent blessI am of opinion, that Milton, in ings of the restoration. Comthis chorus, is writing a pane- pare his Sonnet to Cromwell, gyric on the memory of Crom. T. Warton. well and his deliverance, instead
With winged expedition
Swift as the lightning glance he executes
His errand on the wicked, who surpris’d
1285 Lose their defence distracted and amaz'd.
But patience is more oft the exercise Of saints, the trial of their fortitude, Making them each his own deliverer, And victor over all
1290 That tyranny or fortune can inflict. Either of these is in thy lot, Samson, with might indued Above the sons of men; but sight bereav'd May chance to number thee with those
1295 Whom patience finally must crown.
This idol's day hath been to thee no day of rest,
Labouring thy mind
More than the working day thy hands.
And yet perhaps more trouble is behind,
For I descry this way
Some other tending, in his hand
A sceptre or quaint staff he bears,
Comes on amain, speed in his look.
By his habit I discern him now
A public officer, and now at hand.
His message will be short and voluble.
Hebrews, the pris'ner Samson here I seek.
1285. His errand] See the “ quaint habits breed astonishnote, Par. Lost, b. ii. 652. E. “ ment." Compare note on Ar
1303. - quaint staff ] Strange, cades, 47. T. Warlon. unusual, as in Comus, 157.“ my