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His eloudless thunder bolted on their heads.
In the Arabian woods embost, Itoo
That no seeond knows nor third,
And lay erewhile a holoeaust,
From out her ashy womb now teem'd,
Revives, reflourisnes, then vigorous most
When most unaetive deem'd; 1705
And, though her body die, her fame survives
A seeular bird ages of lives.
Man. Come, eome; no time for lamentation now,
1000. 8elf-begotisn bird: The Phnraix.
1700. Embost: Enelosed ln a woed.
is this: Virtne, given for lost, iike the
tines, originally of the island Caphtor or
1721. AVAino" is hers for tears. The whole of this speeeh of Manooh is in n high degree pleasing and interesting, From this plaee to the eonelusion it gradnally rises in beauty, so as to form one of the most eaptivating parts of this adndrable tragedy.—Dunster.
1730. 1KB send, Ae. This is fonnded on what is said in Jndges xvi. 31, whieh the Thither shall all the valiant youth resort,
And from his memory inflame their breasts
To matehless valour, and adventures high: 1740
The virgins also shall, on feastful days,
Visit his tomb with flowers; only bewailing
His lot unfortunate in nuptial ehoiee,
From whenee eaptivity and loss of eyes.
Cuo. All is best, though we oft doubt 174$
But unexpeetedly returns, 1750
His servants he, with new aequist 1754
1757. Witb peaee, Ae . This moral les- "Tragedy is of power, by raising pity
pon in the eonelosion is very Iine, and and fear or terror, to purge the mind of
exeellently snited to the begiuning, For those and sueh like passion.''," Ae . This
Miiton had ehosen for the motto to this he exempiifies here in Manoah and the
pie.-e a passage out of Aristotle, whieh Chorus, after their verious agitations of
may show what was his design in writing passion, aeqnieseing in the Divine dispen
this tragedy, and the sense of whieh he sationB,andtherehyineuleatingamostin
hath expressed in the prefaee, that struetive lesson to the readee.—Newvon.
"8amson Agonisves" is the only tragedy that Milton finished, thongh he sketehed ont the plans of several, and proposed the subjeets of more, in his manuseript preserved in Trinity College, Cambridge: and we may suppose that he was determined to the ehoiee of this partieular subjeet by the similitude of his own eireumstanees to those of 8amson blind and among the Phiiistines. This I eoneeive to be the last of his poetieal pieees; and it is written in the very spirit of the aneients, and eqnals, if not exeeeds, any of the most perfeet tragedies whieh were ever exhibited on the Athenian stage, when Greeee was in its glory. As this work was never intended for the stage, the division into aets and seenes is omitted. Bishop Atterbury had an intention of getting Pope to divide it into aeta and seenes, and of having it aeted at Westminster; but his eommitmen to the Tower pnt an end to that design. It has sinee been brought upoi the stage in the form of an Oratorio; and Handel's musie is never employed to greater advantage, than when it is adapted to Miiton's words, That great artist has done eqnal justiee to onr anthor's "L'Allegro" and "11 Penseroso;" as if the same spirit possessed both masters, and as if the god of musie and of verse was still one and the same.—Newvon.
The nephew of Milton has told us, that he eonld not aseertain the time when this drama was written; bnt it prohably flowed from the heart of the indignant poet soon after his spirit had been wounded by the ealamitous destiny of his friends, to whieh ho alludes with so mueh energy and pathos, in the ehorus, line 052, Ae. lie did not design the drama for a theatre, nor has it the kind of aetion reqnisite for theatrieal interest: bnt in one point of view the "8amson Agonistes" is the most singularly affeeting eomposition that was ever produeed by sensibility of heart and vigonr of imagination. To give it this partieular effeet, we must remember, that the lot of Milton had a marvellous eoineidenee with that of his hero in three remarkable points: first, lbnt we shonld regard this as the most ineonsiderable artiele of resemblaneel ho had been tormented by a beautiful, bnt disaffeetionate and disobedient wife; seeondly, he had been the great ehampion of his eonntry, and as sueh the idol of publie admiration; lastly, he had fallen from that height of unrivalled glory, and had experieneed the most humiliating reverse of fortune. In delineating the greater part of 8amson's sensations under ealamity, he had only to deseribe his own. No dramatist ean have ever eonformed so literally as Hilton to the Ho rattan preeept, 8i vie me flerey &e.I "If yon wish me to weep, yon must first weep yourself;" and if, in reading the "8amson Agonistes," we observe how many passages, expressed with the most energetie sensibility, exhibit to our faney the sufferings and real sentiments of the poet, as well as those of his here, we may derive from this extraordinary eomposition a kind of pathetie delight, that no other drama ean afford; we may applaud the felieity of genins, that eontrived, in this mauner, to relieve a heart overburdened with angnish and indignation, and to pay a half-eoneealed, yet hallowed tribnte, to the memories of dear thongh dishonoured friends, whom the state of the times allowed not the afflieted poet more openly to deplore.—Hayley.
ln "8amson Agonistes" Milton has given us, in English, a perfeet 8ophoelean tragedy, in whieh every minutest peeuliarity of the Attie seene is so faithfully and exaetly reprodueed, that a reader unaeqnainted with the Greek langnage will form a mueh moro just and eorreet notion of elassieal tragedy from reading "8amson," than from studying even the finest and most aeeurate translations of the great dramas of the Athenian theatre. This may appear extravagant, nay, even paradoxieal; bnt we speak advisedly. The Greek tragedies were grand historieal eompositions, fonnded upon the traditional or mythologie legends of the people for whom they were written, and whose religions and patriotie feelings were in the highest degree appealed to by what they eonsidered as a saered and affeeting representation: exaetly as the rude audienee of the Middle Ages had their sensibiiities powerfully exeited by the mysteries. Now the legends of elassieal mythology neeessarily affeet no less than the stories of the 8eripture history; and eonseqnently the "8amson" (being in all points of strueture and arrangement an exaet faesimile of a Greek tragedyl produees upon us, Christians, on effeet infinitely more analogons to that made upon an Athenian by a tragedy of 8ophoeles, than eonld be produeed by our reading the best mere translation of a tragedy of 8ophoeles that the skill of man ever exeented.—8naw.