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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.
MANOAH.

Believe not these suggestions which proceed
From anguish of the mind and humours black,
That mingle with thy fancy. I however
Must not omit a father's timely care
To prosecute the means of thy deliverance

By ransom, or how else: mean while be calm,

And healing words from these thy friends admit. 605

SAMSON.

O that torment should not be confin'd
To the body's wounds and sores,
With maladies innumerable
In heart, head, breast, and reins;

felt, and what he thought in some of his melancholy hours. He could not have wrote 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 solemnity and air of melancholy in the very sound of these verses, and the reader will find it very difficult to pronounce them without that grave and serious tone of voice which is proper for the occasion.

600. and humours black, That mingle with thy fancy.] This very just notion of the mind or fancy's being affected, and as it were tainted, with the vitiated humours of the body, Milton had before adopted in his Paradise Lost, where he intro

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duces Satan in the shape of a toad at the ear of Eve. iv. 804.

Or if, inspiring venom, he might taint
Th' animal spirits &c.

So again in the Mask,

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And settlings of a melancholy blood. Thyer. 606. 0 that torment should not be confin'd &c.] Milton, no doubt, was apprehensive that this long description of Samson's grief and misery might grow tedious to the reader, and therefore here with great judgment varies both his manner of expressing it and the versification. These sudden starts of impatience are very natural to persons in such circumstances, and this rough and unequal measure of the verses is very well suited to it. Thyer.

But must secret passage find

To th' inmost mind,

There exercise all his fierce accidents,
And on her purest spirits prey,
As on entrails, joints, and limbs,
With answerable pains, but more intense,
Though void of corporal sense.

My griefs not only pain me

As a ling'ring disease,

But finding no redress, ferment and rage,
Nor less than wounds immedicable

Rankle, and fester, and gangrene,

To black mortification.

Thoughts my tormentors arm'd with deadly stings
Mangle my apprehensive tenderest parts,
Exasperate, exulcerate, and raise

Dire inflammation, which no cooling herb
Or medicinal liquor can asswage,
Nor breath of vernal air from snowy Alp.

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Sleep hath forsook and giv'n me o'er

To death's benumbing opium as my only cure:
Thence faintings, swoonings of despair,
And sense of heav'n's desertion.

I was his nursling once, and choice delight, His destin'd from the womb,

Promis'd by heav'nly message twice descending.
Under his special eye

Abstemious I grew up, and thriv’d amain ;
He led me on to mightiest deeds
Above the nerve of mortal arm
Against th' uncircumcis'd, our enemies:
But now hath cast me off as never known,
And to those cruel enemies,

Whom I by his appointment had provok'd,
Left me all helpless with th' irreparable loss
Of sight, reserv'd 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,

deed 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, Carmen ii. 510.

-cui ruptus Athos, cui remige Medo Turgida sylvosam currebant vela per Alpem.

And the old Glossary interprets Alps by on a high mountains. 633. I was his nursling once

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&c.] This part of Samson's speech is little more than a repetition of what he had said before,

ver. 23.

O wherefore was my birth from
heav'n foretold
Twice by an angel &c.

But yet it cannot justly be imputed as a fault to our author. Grief though eloquent is not tied to forms, and is besides apt in its own nature frequently to recur to and repeats its source and object. Thyer.

No long petition, speedy death,

The close of all my miseries, and the balm.

CHORUS.

Many are the sayings of the wise

In ancient and in modern books inroll'd,
Extolling patience as the truest fortitude;
And to the bearing well of all calamities,
All chances incident to man's frail life,
Consolatories writ

Some source of consolation from above,
Secret refreshings, that repair his strength,

656. All chances incident to man's frail life, &c.] There is a full stop at the end of this line in all the editions, but there should be only a comma, as the sense evinces, the construction being And consolatories writ with &c. to the bearing well &c. Milton himself corrected it in the first edition; but when an error is once made, it is sure to be perpetuated through all the editions.

658. —and much persuasion sought] I suppose an error of the press for fraught. Warbur

ton.

With studied argument, and much persuasion sought Lenient of grief and anxious thought:

But with th' afflicted in his pangs their sound

Little prevails, or rather seems a tune

Harsh, and of dissonant mood from his complaint;
Unless he feel within

I conceive the construction to be, consolatories are writ with studied argument, and much persuasion is sought &c.

659. Lenient of grief] Ex

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Sunt verba et
lenire dolorem

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pressed from what we quoted before from Horace, epist. i. i. 34.

voces quibus hunc

Possis.

660. But with th' afflicted &c.] Here was another error perpetuated through all the editions,

But to th' afflicted &c. Milton himself corrected it, and certainly their sound prevails with th' afflicted is better than prevails to th afflicted.

661. -or rather seems a tune Harsh, and of dissonant mood &c.]

Alluding to Ecclus. xxii. 6. A tale out of season is as music in mourning. Thyer.

And fainting spirits uphold.

God of our fathers, what is man!
That thou tow'ards him with hand so various,

Or might I say contrarious,

Temper❜st thy providence through his short course, 670 Not ev'nly, as thou rul❜st

Th' angelic orders and inferior creatures mute,

Irrational and brute.

Nor do I name of men the common rout,
That wand'ring loose about

Grow up and perish, as the summer fly,
Heads without name no more remember'd,
But such as thou hast solemnly elected,
With gifts and graces eminently adorn'd
To some great work, thy glory,
And people's safety, which in part they' effect :
Yet toward these thus dignified, thou oft
Amidst their height of noon

J

667. God of our fathers, what is man! &c.] This and the following paragraph to ver. 705. seems to be an imitation of the Chorus in Seneca's Hippolytus, where the immature and undeserved fate of that young hero is lamented. Act iv. 971.

-sed cur idem,

Qui tanta regis, sub quo vasti
Pondera mundi librata suos
Ducunt orbes, hominum nimium
Securus abes; non sollicitus
Prodesse bonis, nocuisse malis?
&c. to the end.

Thyer.

677. Heads without name no more remember'd,] Milton here probably had in view the Greek

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term for this lower class of mortals. They style them avagious or avagiluntoi, men not numbered, or not worth the numbering. Thyer.

683. Amidst their height of noon] Milton is accustomed to this expression. See below, v. 1612.

The feast and noon grew high.
So in P. L. iv. 564.

This day at height of noon came to my sphere.

Compare P. L. v. 174. and Il Pens. 68. So in Harrison's Description of Britaine, prefixed to Hollingshead, "The husbandmen dine at high noone, as they call it." T. Warton.

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