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At once both to destroy and be destroy'd;
1595 MESSENGER. Occasions drew me early to this city, And as the gates I enter'd with sun-rise, The morning trumpets festival proclaim'd Through each high street: little I had dispatch'd, When all abroad was rumour'd that this day 1600 Samson should be brought forth, to show the people Proof of his mighty strength in feats and games ; I sorrow'd at his captive state, but minded
1596. Occasions drew me early God who had given him such a &c.] As I observed before, that measure of strength, and was Milton had with great art excited summing up all his force and the reader's attention to this resolution, has a very fine effect grand event, so here he is no upon the imagination. Milton less careful to gratify it by the is no less happy in the sublimity relation. It is circumstantial, as of his description of this grand the importance of it required, exploit, than judicious in the but not so as to be tedious or too choice of the circumstances prelong to delay our expectation. ceding it. The poetry rises as It would be found difficult, I the subject becomes more inbelieve, to retrench one article teresting, and one may without without making it defective, or rant or extravagance say, that to add one which should not ap- the poet seems to exert no less pear redundant. The picture of force of genius in describing Samson in particular with head than Samson does strength of inclined and eyes fixed, as if he body in executing. Thyer. was addressing himself to that
Not to be absent at that spectacle.
1615 In their state livery clad; before him pipes And timbrels, on each side went armed guards, Both horse and foot, before him and behind
1604. -absent at that spectacle] history, mentions two theatres The language would be more built by one C. Curio, who lived correct, if it was absent from that in Julius Cæsar's time; each of spectacle.
which was supported only by 1605. The building was a spa- one pillar, or pin, or hinge, cious theatre though very many thousands
of Half-round on two main pillars people did sit in it together. See vaulted high, &c.]
Poole's Annotations. Mr. Thyer Milton has finely accounted for further adds, that Dr. Shaw in this dreadful catastrophe, and his travels observing upon the has with great judgment obviated eastern method of building says, the common objection. It is that the place where they exhibit commonly asked, how so great their diversions at this day is an a building, containing so many advanced cloister, made in the thousands of people, could rest fashion of a large penthouse, upon two pillars so near placed supported only by one or two together: and to this it is an- contiguous pillars in the front, swered, that instances are not or else at the centre, and that wanting of far more large and upon a supposition therefore that capacious buildings than this, in the house of Dagon, there was that have been supported only a cloistered structure of this by one pillar. Particularly, Pli- kind, the pulling down the front ny in the fifteenth chapter of the or centre pillars only which supthirty-sixth book of his natural ported it, would be attended with
Archers, and slingers, cataphracts and spears.
the like catastrophe that hap- 1619. --cataphracts] Men or pened to the Philistines. See horses completely armed, from Shaw's travels, p. 283.
Xatapgarow armis munio.
As with the force of winds and waters pent,
1665 Of dire necessity, whose law in death conjoin'd Thee with thy slaughter'd foes in number more Than all thy life had slain before.
1649. With horrible convulsion] ral passages which we have corIn several editions it is printed rected by the help of the first confusion, but Mr. Thyer, Mr. edition, without taking notice of Sympson, and every body saw them. . that it should be convulsion, and
in number more so it is in Milton's own edition. Than all thy life had slain beAnd in the next line it should fore.] not be He tugged, he took, as it Judges xvi. 30. So the dead which is absurdly in some editions, but he slew at his death, were more He tugged, he shook, as in the than they which he slen in his first edition: and there are seve- life. VOL. III.
1675 Who hurt their minds, And urg'd them on with mad desire To call in haste for their destroyer; They only set on sport and play Unweetingly importun'd
1680 Their own destruction to come speedy upon them. So fond are mortal men Fall'n into wrath divine, As their own ruin on themselves t'invite, Insensate left, or to sense reprobate,
1685 And with blindness internal struck.
1690 From under ashes into sudden flame, And as an evening dragon came,
1674. In Silv] Where the ta- 1692. And as an evening dragon bernacle and ark were at that came &c.] Mr. Calton says that time.
Milton certainly dictated 1682. So fond are mortal men,
And not as an evening dragon came. &c.] Agreeable to the common maxim, Quos Deus vult perdere Samson did not set upon them dementat prius. Thyer. like an evening dragon; but