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CHORUS.

His manacles remark him, there he sits.
OFFICER.

Samson, to thee our lords thus bid me say;
This day to Dagon is a solemn feast,
With sacrifices, triumph, pomp, and games;
Thy strength they know surpassing human rate,
And now some public proof thereof require
To honour this great feast, and great assembly;
Rise therefore with all speed and come along,
Where I will see thee hearten'd and fresh clad
To' appear as fits before th' illustrious lords.

SAMSON.

1309. -remark him,] Distinguish him, point him out. Richardson.

1312. With sacrifices, triumph, pomp, and games;] Triumph was used for shews, such as masks, revels, &c. See Burton's Anatomie of Melancholie, Pref. p. 3. Bacon has an essay Of Masques and Triumphs. Ess. xxxvii. See also his Essay Of Buildings, Ess. xlv. where he would have a room "for a preparing place at times "of triumphes." And Bishop Fysher's funeral sermon on Margaret Countess of Richmond, ed. Baker, 1708. p. 29. And in this sense we are to interpret Drayton, vol. i. p. 331. And Beaumont and Fletcher's Coronation, act ii.

Thou know'st I am an Hebrew, therefore tell them, Our law forbids at their religious rites

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My presence; for that cause I cannot come.

OFFICER.

This answer, be assur'd, will not content them.

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sc. 1. vol. ix. p. 29. Jonson's Cynth. Rev. a. iv. s. 6. and Shakespeare, K. Richard II. a. v. s. 2. Midnight Dream, a. i. s. 1. Third Part K. Henry VI. a. v. s. 7. and this is the precise meaning of Falstaffe's humour to Bardolph, “O, thou art a perpetual triumph, &c." First P. Henry IV. a. iii. s. 3. Pomp also had a technical sense in the ancient masques, introduced perhaps by Jonson, for retinue, train, &c. See note on P. L. viii. 60. T. Warton.

1313.-surpassing human rate,] In the first edition it was printed race, but in the table of Errata we are desired to read rate.

SAMSON.

Have they not sword-players, and every sort
Of gymnic artists, wrestlers, riders, runners,
Jugglers and dancers, antics, mummers, mimics,
But they must pick me out with shackles tir'd,
And over-labour'd at their public mill,
To make them sport with blind activity?
Do they not seek occasion of new quarrels
On my refusal to distress me more,
Or make a game of my calamities?
Return the way thou cam'st, I will not come.
OFFICER.

Regard thyself, this will offend them highly.
SAMSON.

Myself? my conscience and internal peace.
Can they think me so broken, so debas'd
With corporal servitude, that my mind ever
Will condescend to such absurd commands?
Although their drudge, to be their fool or jester,
And in my midst of sorrow and heart-grief
To show them feats, and play before their God,
The worst of all indignities, yet on me
Join'd with extreme contempt? I will not come.
OFFICER.

My message was impos'd on me with speed, Brooks no delay: is this thy resolution?

1825. —mummers, mimics,] It was printed mummers, mimirs; mummers are maskers according to Junius, Skinner, and the other etymologists; but what are mi

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mirs? The table of Errata to the first edition hath set us right, instructing us to read mimics, but not one of the editions has followed it.

SAMSON.

'So take it with what speed thy message needs. 1345

OFFICER.

I am sorry what this stoutness will produce.

SAMSON.

Perhaps thou shalt have cause to sorrow' indeed.
CHORUS.

gone,

Consider, Samson; matters now are strain'd
Up to the height, whether to hold or break :
He's and who knows how he may report
Thy words by adding fuel to the flame?
Expect another message more imperious,
More lordly thund'ring than thou well wilt bear.
SAMSON.
Shall I abuse this consecrated gift

Of strength, again returning with my hair
After my great transgression, so requite
Favour renew'd, and add a greater sin
By prostituting holy things to idols;
A Nazarite in place abominable
Vaunting my strength in honour to their Dagon? 1360
Besides how vile, contemptible, ridiculous,

What act more execrably unclean, profane ?

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such hints as cannot be perfectly comprehended, till they are fully explained by the event. The speaker himself can only be supposed to have some general meaning, and not a distinct conception of all the particulars, somewhat like the high priest in the Gospel, who prophesied without his knowing it.

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CHORUS.

Yet with this strength thou serv'st the Philistines, Idolatrous, uncircumcis'd, unclean.

SAMSON.

Not in their idol-worship, but by labour
Honest and lawful to deserve my food

Of those who have me in their civil power.

CHORUS.

Where the heart joins not, outward acts defile not.
SAMSON.

1365

Where outward force constrains, the sentence holds. But who constrains me to the temple' of Dagon, 1370 Not dragging? the Philistian lords command. Commands are no constraints. If I obey them, I do it freely, vent'ring to displease God for the fear of man, and man prefer, Set God behind: which in his jealousy Shall never, unrepented, find forgiveness. Yet that he may dispense with me or thee Present in temples at idolatrous rites

For some important cause, thou need'st not doubt.

1377. Yet that he may dispense &c.] Milton here probably had in view the story of Naaman the Syrian's begging a dispensation

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CHORUS.

How thou wilt here come off surmounts my reach. 1380
SAMSON.

Be of good courage, I begin to feel

Some rousing motions in me which dispose
To something extraordinary my thoughts.
I with this messenger will go along,

of this sort from Elisha, which he seemingly grants him. See 2 Kings v. 18, 19. Thyer.

1384. I with this messenger will

Nothing to do, be sure, that may
Our law, or stain my vow of Nazarite.
If there be ought of presage in the mind,
This day will be remarkable in my life
By some great act, or of my days the last.

CHORUS.

In time thou hast resolv'd, the man returns.
OFFICER.

Samson, this second message from our lords
To thee I am bid say. Art thou our slave,
Our captive, at the public mill our drudge,
And dar'st thou at our sending and command
Dispute thy coming? come without delay;
Or we shall find such engines to assail
And hamper thee, as thou shalt come of force,
Though thou wert firmlier fasten'd than a rock.
SAMSON.

go along,] With what messenger? It was not expressly said before that the messenger was coming; it was implied indeed in what the Chorus had said,

How thou wilt here come off surmounts my reach :

and this might very well be understood by a man, who could see the messenger coming as well as the Chorus, but seems

dishonour

I could be well content to try their art,

Which to no few of them would prove pernicious. 1400
Yet knowing their advantages too many,
Because they shall not trail me through their streets
Like a wild beast, I am content to go.
Masters' commands come with a pow'r resistless

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hardly a sufficient intimation to a blind man, unless we suppose him to know that the messenger was coming by the same impulse that he felt rousing him to something extraordinary.

1404. Masters' commands &c.] This was a feint, but it had betrayed itself had it not been covered by ver. 1408.

Yet this be sure &c.

Warburton.

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