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To such as owe them absolute subjection;
And for a life who will not change his purpose?
(So mutable are all the ways of men)
Yet this be sure, in nothing to comply
Scandalous or forbidden in our law.
OFFICER.

?

I praise thy resolution; doff these links: By this compliance thou wilt win the lords To favour, and perhaps to set thee free. SAMSON.

So dreaded once, may now exasperate them
I know not: lords are lordliest in their wine;
And the well-feasted priest then, soonest fir'd
With zeal, if ought religion seem concern'd; :-
No less the people on their holy-days
Impetuous, insolent, unquenchable:
Happen what may, of me expect to hear
Nothing dishonourable, impure, unworthy
Our God, our law, my nation, or myself,
The last of me or no I cannot warrant.

Brethren farewel; your company along

I will not wish, lest it perhaps offend them

To see me girt with friends; and how the sight, 1415

Of me as of a common enemy,

1410. I praise thy resolution:] That is, of going, not what he said last. Richardson. lords are lordliest in their wine,

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And the well-feasted priest &c.] First he expresses his contempt of a Nobility and an opulent Clergy, that is, lords both 'tem

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poral and spiritual, whom he tacitly compares with the lords and priests of Dagon; and then, 1421. he insinuates that holidays also are of heathen institution. He had spoken with more complacency of holidays in l'Allegro, 97. T. Warton.

CHORUS.

Go, and the Holy One

Of Israel be thy guide

To what may serve his glory best, and spread his name Great among the heathen round;

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Send thee the angel of thy birth, to stand
Fast by thy side, who from thy father's field
Rode up in flames after his message told
Of thy conception, and be now a shield
Of fire; that Spirit that first rush'd on thee
In the camp of Dan

Be efficacious in thee now at need.
For never was from heav'n imparted
Measure of strength so great to mortal seed,
As in thy wondrous actions hath been seen.
But wherefore comes old Manoah in such haste
With youthful steps? much livelier than ere while
He seems; supposing here to find his son,
Or of him bringing to us some glad news?

MANOAH.

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Peace with you, brethren? my inducement hither 1445
Was not at present here to find my son,
By order of the lords new parted hence
To come and play before them at their feast.
I heard all as I came, the city rings,

And numbers thither flock, I had no will,
Lest I should see him forc'd to things unseemly.
But that which mov'd my coming now, was chiefly

To give ye part with me what hope I have
With good success to work his liberty.

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CHORUS.

That hope would much rejoice us to partake With thee; say, reverend Sire, we thirst to hear. MANOAH.

I have attempted one by one the lords

Either at home, or through the high street passing,
With supplication prone and father's tears,
T' accept of ransom for my son their pris'ner.
Some much averse I found and wondrous harsh,
Contemptuous, proud, set on revenge and spite;
That part most reverenc'd Dagon and his priests:
Others more moderate seeming, but their aim
Private reward, for which both God and State
They easily would set to sale: a third
More generous far and civil, who confess'd
They had enough reveng'd, having reduc'd
Their foe to misery beneath their fears,
The rest was magnanimity to remit,
If some convenient ransom were propos'd.
What noise or shout was that? it tore the sky.

CHORUS.

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Doubtless the people shouting to behold

Their once great dread, captive, and blind before them,
Or at some proof of strength before them shown. 1475
MANOAH.
His ransom, if my whole inheritance

1463. That part most reverenc'd Dagon and his priests;] Milton, I doubt not, in this place indulges that inveterate spleen, which he always had against public and established religion.

He might also perhaps in this description of Manoah's application for Samson's deliverance glance at his own case after the Restoration. Thyer.

May compass it, shall willingly be paid

And number'd down: much rather I shall choose
To live the poorest in my tribe, than richest,
And he in that calamitous prison left.

No, I am fix'd not to part hence without him.
For his redemption all my patrimony,

If need be, I am ready to forego

And quit: not wanting him I shall want nothing.
CHORUS.

Fathers are wont to lay up for their sons,
Thou for thy son art bent to lay out all:
Sons wont to nurse their parents in old age,
Thou in old age car'st how to nurse thy son,
Made older than thy age through eye-sight lost.
MANOAH.

It shall be my delight to tend his eyes,
And view him sitting in the house, ennobled
With all those high exploits by him achiev'd,
And on his shoulders waving down those locks,
That of a nation arm'd the strength contain❜d:
And I persuade me God had not permitted

1490. It shall be my delight &c.] The character of a fond parent is extremely well supported in the person of Manoah quite through the whole performance; but there is in my opinion something particularly natural and moving in this speech. The circumstance of the old man's feeding and soothing his fancy with the thoughts of tending his son and contemplating him ennobled with so many famous exploits is vastly expressive

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of the doating fondness of an old father. Nor is the poet less to be admired for his making Manoah under the influence of this pleasing imagination go still further, and flatter himself even with the hopes of God's restoring his eyes again. Hope as naturally arises in the mind in such a situation, as doubts and fears do when it is overclouded with gloominess and melancholy. Thyer.

His strength again to grow up with his hair
Garrison'd round about him like a camp
Of faithful soldiery, were not his purpose
To use him further yet in some great service,
Not to sit idle with so great a gift

Useless, and thence ridiculous about him.
And since his strength with eye-sight was not lost,
God will restore him eye-sight to his strength.
CHORUS.

Thy hopes are not ill founded nor seem vain
Of his delivery, and thy joy thereon
Conceiv'd, agreeable to a father's love,
In both which we, as next, participate.
MANOAH.

I know your friendly minds and-O what noise!
Mercy of heav'n, what hideous noise was that!

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catastrophe of this tragedy. This abrupt start of Manoah upon hearing the hideous noise, and the description of it by the Chorus in their answer, in terms so full of dread and terror, naturally fill the mind with a presaging horror proper for the occasion. This is still kept up by their suspense and reasoning about it, and at last raised to a proper pitch by the frighted and distracted manner of the Messenger's coming in, and his hesitation and backwardness in telling what had happened. What gives it the greater strength and beauty is the sudden transition from that soothing and flattering prospect with which Manoah was entertaining his thoughts to scene so totally opposite. Thyer.

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