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THE PERSON S.
MANOAH, the Father of Samson.
The SCENE before the Prison in Gaza.
To these dark steps, a little further on;
chance Relieves me from my task of servile toil,
5 Daily' in the common prison else injoin'd me, Where I a prisoner chain'd, scarce freely draw The air imprison'd also, close and damp, Unwholesome draught: but here I feel amends,
Samson Agonistes The subject but To these dark steps,] So Tiresias a very indifferent one for a drama- in Euripides, Phæniffæ ver. 841. tic fable. However he has made the best of it. He seems to have
Ηγε τροπαροιθε θυγατερ, ως τυφλω wodi &c.
Richardson. chosen it for the sake of the fatire on bad wives. Warburton. 3. For yonder bank] The scene
Samson Agonistes] That is Sam- of this tragedy is much the same fon an actor, Samfon reprefented as that of the Οιδιπες επι κολωνω in a play. Aywisns, ludio, histrio, in Sophocles, where blind Oedipus actor scenicus.
is conducted in like manner and Samson] Milton after the ex- represented fitting upon a little hill ample of the Greek tragedians, near Athens: but yet I think there whom he professes to imitate, opens is scarcely a single thought the same his drama with introducing one of in the two pieces, and I am sure its principal personages explaining the Greek tragedy can have no the story upon which it is founded. pretence to be esteem'd better, but
Thyer. only because it is two thousand 1. A little onward lend thy guiding years older.
The breath of Heav'n fresh blowing, pure and sweet,
13. To Dagon their sea-idol,] For and the second time the Angel Milton both here and in the Pa- ascended in the flame of the altar. radise Loft follows the opinion of Judges XIII. 3. 11, 20. those, who describe this idol as 28. and from some great act,] part man, part fish. I. 462. Mr. Sympson says that the true Dagon his name, sea monster, reading is upward man
as from some
great And downward fish.
but the poet would hardly fay As in 24. Twice by an Angel,] Once a fiery column &c as from some to his mother, and again to his fa- great act &c; and therefore we may ther Manoah and his mother both, retain and, and as may be under
From off the altar, where an offering burn'd,
35 With this Heav'n-gifted strength? O glorious strength Put to the labor of a beast, debas'd Lower than bond-slave! Promise was that I Should Israel from Philistian yoke deliver ; Ask for this great deliverer now, and find him
40 Eyeless in Gaza at the mill with Naves,
stood tho' not express’d. As in a syllable captiv'd: but our old aufiery column charioting &c, and as thors give it the same pronunciafrom some great act c.
tion as Milton. Spenser. Faery 33. Betray'd, captív'd,] It hould Queen. B. 2. Cant. 4. St. 16. be pronounced with the accent
Thus when as Guyon Furor had upon the last syllable, as after
caprív'd: wards ver. 694.
and B. 3. Cant. 1. St. 2. To dogs and fowls a prey, or But the caprív'd Acrafia he sent: else captiv'd.
and Fairfax Cant. 19. I think we commonly pronounce Free was Erminia, but captiv'd it with the accent upon the first
Himself in bonds under Philiftian yoke:
55 By weakest subtleties, not made to rule, But to subserve where wisdom bears command ! God, when he gave me strength, to show withal How flight the gift was, hung it in my hair. . But peace, I must not quarrel with the will
53. But what is strength without Nos animo; quantoque ratem a double share
qui temperat &c. Jortin. Of wisdom, &c] Ovid. Met. XII]. Hor. Od. III. IV. 65, 363 Tu vires fine mente geris Vis confilî expers mole ruit sua. tu tantum corpore prodes,