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HARAPHA

Dost thou already single me? I thought Gyves and the mill had tam'd thee. O that fortune Had brought me to the field, where thou art fam'd

To' have wrought such wonders with an ass's jaw; 1095 I should have forc'd thee soon with other arms,

Or left thy carcase where the ass lay thrown:
So had the glory' of prowess been recover'd
To Palestine, won by a Philistine

From the unforeskinn'd race, of whom thou bear'st 1100
The highest name for valiant acts; that honour
Certain to' have won by mortal duel from thee,
I lose, prevented by thy eyes put out.

SAMSON.

Boast not of what thou would'st have done, but do What then thou would'st, thou seest it in thy hand. 1105 HARAPHA.

To combat with a blind man I disdain,

And thou hast need much washing to be touch'd.

SAMSON.

Such usage as your honourable lords
Afford me' assassinated and betray'd,

Who durst not with their whole united powers
In fight withstand me single and unarm'd,

1093. Gyves] Chains, fetters. Cymbeline, act v. sc. 3.

-Must I repent?

I cannot do it better than in gyves. Romeo and Juliet, act ii. sc. 2. Juliet to Romeo.

'Tis almost morning. I would have
thee gone,
And yet no farther than a wanton's
bird,

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Nor in the house with chamber ambushes
Close-banded durst attack me, no not sleeping,
Till they had hir'd a woman with their gold
Breaking her marriage faith to circumvent me.
Therefore without feign'd shifts let be assign'd
Some narrow place inclos'd, where sight may give thee,
Or rather flight, no great advantage on me;
Then put on all thy gorgeous arms, thy helmet
And brigandine of brass, thy broad habergeon,
Vant-brass and greves, and gauntlet, add thy spear,
A weaver's beam, and seven-times-folded shield,
I only with an oaken staff will meet thee,

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1120

His left arm wounded had the knight of France,

His shield was pierc'd, his vantbrace cleft and split.

1 Sam. xvii. 6. And he had greves Greves, armour for the legs. of brass upon his legs. Gauntlet, i. sc. 3. old Northumberland an iron glove. 2 Henry IV. act speaks.

-Hence therefore, thou nice crutch;
A scaly gauntlet now with joints of

steel

Must glove this hand. 1121.-add thy spear, &c.] This is Milton's own reading: the other editions have and thy spear, which is not so proper, for it cannot well be said in construction, put on thy spear. A weaver's beam, as Goliath's was, 1 Sam. xvii. 7. And the staff of his spear was like a weaver's beam: and his brother's, 2 Sam. xxi. 19. the staff of whose spear was like a weaver's beam. And seventimes folded shield, as was Ajax's, clypei dominus septemplicis Ajax, Ovid. Met. xiii. 2.

And raise such outcries on thy clatter'd iron,
Which long shall not withhold me from thy head, 1125
That in a little time while breath remains thee,
Thou oft shalt wish thyself at Gath to boast
Again in safety what thou would'st have done
To Samson, but shall never see Gath more.
HARAPHA.

Thou durst not thus disparage glorious arms, Which greatest heroes have in battle worn, Their ornament and safety, had not spells And black inchantment, some magician's art, Arm'd thee or charm'd thee strong, which thou from heaven

1132. had not spells &c.] This is natural enough in the mouth of Harapha, and no ways inconsistent with the manners of the age in which this scene is laid, since we are informed in Scripture that they were at that time much addicted to magical superstition. But yet it is very probable, that Milton adopted this notion from the Italian Epics, who are very full of inchanted arms, and sometimes represent their heroes invulnerable by this art. So Ariosto's Orlando is described. Thyer.

Feign'dst at thy birth was giv'n thee in thy hair, 1135 Where strength can least abide, though all thy hairs Were bristles rang'd like those that ridge the back

Milton's idea is immediately and particularly taken from the ritual of the combat in chivalry. When two champions entered the lists, each took an oath, that he had no charm, herb,

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Of chaf'd wild boars, or ruffled porcupines.
SAMSON.

I know no spells, use no forbidden arts;
My trust is in the living God, who gave me
At my nativity this strength diffus'd

No less through all my sinews, joints, and bones,
Than thine, while I preserv'd these locks unshorn,
The pledge of my unviolated vow.

For proof hereof, if Dagon be thy God,
Go to his temple, invocate his aid
With solemnest devotion, spread before him
How highly it concerns his glory now
To frustrate and dissolve these magic spells,
Which I to be the power of Israel's God
Avow, and challenge Dagon to the test,
Offering to combat thee his champion bold,
With th' utmost of his Godhead seconded:
Then thou shalt see, or rather to thy sorrow
Soon feel, whose God is strongest, thine or mine. 1155

Among the slaves and asses, thy comrades,
As good for nothing else, no better service

1140

1138. or ruffled porcupines.] Who can doubt that Milton here had Shakespeare in mind? Hamlet, act i. sc. 8.

1145

HARAPHA.

Presume not on thy God, whate'er he be, Thee he regards not, owns not, hath cut off Quite from his people, and deliver'd up

Into thy enemies' hand, permitted them

To put out both thine eyes, and fetter'd send thee 1160 Into the common prison, there to grind

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With those thy boist'rous locks, no worthy match
For valour to assail, nor by the sword
Of noble warrior, so to stain his honour,
But by the barber's razor best subdued.
SAMSON.

All these indignities, for such they are
From thine, these evils I deserve and more,
Acknowledge them from God inflicted on me
Justly, yet despair not of his final pardon
Whose ear is ever open, and his
eye
Gracious to re-admit the suppliant ;
In confidence whereof I once again
Defy thee to the trial of mortal fight,
By combat to decide whose God is God,
Thine or whom I with Israel's sons adore.

HARAPHA.

Fair honour that thou dost thy God, in trusting
He will accept thee to defend his cause,
A murderer, a revolter, and a robber.

1162.thy comrades,] With the accent upon the last syllable, as in 1 Henry IV. act iv. sc. 2.

1165

And his comrades, that daft the world aside

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1175

SAMSON.

Tongue-doughty giant, how dost thou prove me these? HARAPHA.

1180

Is not thy nation subject to our lords?

Their magistrates confess'd it, when they took thee
As a league-breaker, and deliver'd bound

Into our hands: for hadst thou not committed 1185
Notorious murder on those thirty men

And bid it pass.

1181.Tongue-doughly] Doughty, that is, valiant. See Skinner. ga Cursoμes. Eschylus, Septem contra Thebas, 617. Richardson.

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