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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;

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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? 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 men

195. Yet that which was the worst now least afflicts me,] There is no inconsistence in this with what he had said before, ver. 66.

-but chief of all,

O loss of sight, of thee I most complain.

When he was by himself, he considered his blindness as the worst of evils; but now, upon his friends coming in and seeing him in this wretched condition, it least afflicts me, says he, as

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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

Quod non proposito conducat et hæreat apte.

Ille bonis faveatque, et concilietur amice;

Et regat iratos, et amet pacare tu

mentes:

Ille dapes laudet mensæ brevis; ille

salubrem

Justitiam, legesque, et apertis otia portis:

Ille tegat commissa, Deosque precetur et oret,

Ut redeat miseris, abeat fortuna superbis.

The Chorus must support an actor's
part;
Defend the virtuous, and advise with

art;
Govern the choleric, the proud ap-
pease,

And the short feasts of frugal tables praise;

The laws and justice of well-govern'd

states,

And peace triumphant with her open
gates.
Intrusted secrets let them ne'er be-
tray,

But to the righteous Gods with ardour

pray,

That fortune with returning smiles

may bless

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Afflicted worth, and impious pride depress.

Yet let their songs with apt coherence join,

Promote the plot, and aid the main design. Francis. Such is the character and office of the Chorus, as prescribed by this great critic and poet, and it was never exemplified more fully than in the Chorus of Milton.

216.-Philistian women rather] So it is printed in Milton's own edition, and woman is a mistake of the other editions; for more than one are mentioned afterwards. The first I saw at Timna, &c. ver. 219. the next I took to wife, &c. ver. 227.

219. The first I saw at Timna,] Judg. xiv. 1. And Samson went down to Timnath, and saw a woman in Timnath of the daughters of the Philistines, &c.

222. That what I motion'd was

of God;] It was printed mention'd, which is sense indeed, but 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,
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.
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.
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.
SAMSON.

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

errata substituted motion'd, which is better: but the first error hath still prevailed in all the editions.

229. Was in the vale of Sorec, Dalila,] Judg. xvi. 4. And it came to pass afterward, that he loved a woman in the valley of Sorek, whose name was Dalilah,

&c.

230.—my accomplish'd snare,] There seems to be a quibble in the use of this epithet. Warburton.

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241. That fault &c.] Milton certainly intended to reproach his countrymen indirectly, and as plainly as he dared, with the restoration of Charles II. which he accounted the restoration of slavery, and with the execution of the regicides. He pursues the same subject again, 678 to 700. I wonder how the licensers of those days let it pass. Jortin.

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

247. Us'd no ambition] Going about with studiousness and affectation to gain praise, as Mr. Richardson says, alluding to the origin of the word in Latin.

253. Safe to the rock of Etham was retir'd, &c.] Judg. xv. 8. And he went down, and dwelt in

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Not flying, but forecasting in what place
To set upon them, what advantag'd best;
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 fell'd
Their choicest youth; they only liv'd who fled.
Had Judah that day join'd, or one whole tribe,
They had by this possess'd the tow'rs of Gath,
And lorded over them whom now they serve:

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the top of the rock Etam. Then the Philistines went up, and pitched in Judah, &c.

254. forecasting] The same word as to cast, to consider, devise means, &c. See Par. Lost, iii. 634. T. Warton.

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

268. But what more oft in nations grown corrupt, &c.] Here Mr. Thyer has anticipated me by observing, that Milton is very uniform, as well as just, in his notions of liberty, always attributing the loss of it to vice and corruption of morals: but in this passage he very probably intended also a secret satire upon the English nation, which according to his republican politics had, by restoring the King, chosen bondage with ease rather than strenuous liberty. And let me add, that the sentiment is very like that of Emilius Lepidus the consul, in his oration to the Roman people against Sulla, preserved among the fragments of Sallust annuite legibus impositis; accipite otium cum servitio;- but for my

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self -potior visa est periculosa libertas, quieto servitio.

278. How Succoth and the fort of Penuel &c.] The men of Succoth and of the tower of Penuel refused to give loaves of bread to Gideon and his three hundred men pursuing after Zebah and Zalmunna, kings of Midian. See Judg. viii. 4—9.

282. And how ingrateful Ephraim &c.] Jephtha subdued the children of Ammon; and he is said to have defended Israel by argument not worse than by arms, on account of the message which he sent unto the king of the children of Ammon, Judg. xi. 15— 27. For his victory over the Ammonites the Ephraimites envied and quarrelled with him ; and threatened to burn his house with fire: but Jephthah and the

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