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Who seeing those great acts, which God had done
Singly by me against their conquerors,
Acknowledg'd not, or not at all consider'd
Deliverance offer'd: I on th' other side
Us'd no ambition to commend my deeds,
The deeds themselves, though mute, spoke loud the doer;
But they persisted deaf, and would not seem
To count them thin 's worth notice, till at length
Their lords the Philistines with gather'd pow'rs
Enter'd Judea seeking me, who then
Safe to the rock of Etham was retir'd,
Not flying, but forecasting in what place
To set upon them, what advantag'd best ;
Mean while the men of Judah, to prevent
The harass of their land, beset me round;
I willingly on some conditions came
Into their hands, and they as gladly yield me
To the uncircumcis'd a welcome prey,

260 Bound with two cords ; but cords to me were threads Touch'd with the flame : on their whole host I flew Unarm’d, and with a trivial weapon felld

, Their choicest youth ; they only liv'd who fled. Had Judah that day join’d, or one whole tribe, 265 They had by this possess'd the tow'rs of Gath, And lorded over them whom now they serve:


247. Us'd no ambition] Going the top of the rock Etam. Then about with studiousness and af- the Philistines went up, and pitched fectation to gain praise, as Mr. in Judah, &c. Richardson says, alluding to the 254. --forecasting] The same origin of the word in Latin.

word as to cast, to consider, de253. Safe to the rock of Etham vise means, &c. See Par. Lost, was retir'd, &c.] Judg. xv. 8. iii. 634. T. Warton. And he went down, and dwelt in



But what more oft in nations grown corrupt,
And by their vices brought to servitude,
Than to love bondage more than liberty,
Bondage with ease than strenuous liberty ;
And to despise, or envy, or suspect
Whom God hath of his special favour rais'd
As their deliverer ; if he ought begin,
How frequent to desert him, and at last
To heap ingratitude on worthiest deeds?

Thy words to my remembrance bring
How Succoth and the fort of Penuel
Their great deliverer contemn'd,
The matchless Gideon in pursuit
Of Madian and her vanquish'd kings:
And how ingrateful Ephraim


268. But what more oft in na- self -potior visa est pericutions grown corrupt, &c.] Here losa libertas, quieto servitio. Mr. Thyer has anticipated me 278. How Succoth and the for! by observing, that Milton is very of Penuel &c.] The men of Sucuniform, as well as just, in his coth and of the tower of Penuel notions of liberty, always attri- refused to give loaves of bread buting the loss of it to vice and to Gideon and his three hundred corruption of morals: but in this

men pursuing after Zebah and passage he very probably in- Zalmunna, kings of Midian. See tended also a secret satire upon Judg. viii. 4-9. the English nation, which ac- 282. And how ingrateful Ecording to his republican politics phraim &c.] Jephtha subdued had; by restoring the King, the children of Ammon; and he chosen bondage with ease rather is said to have defended Israel by than strenuous liberty. And let argument not worse than by arms, me add, that the sentiment is on account of the message which very like that of Æmilius Le he sent unto the king of the chilpidus the consul, in his oration dren of Ammon, Judg. xi. 15– to the Roman people against 27. For his victory over the Sulla, preserved among the frag- Ammonites the Ephraimites enments of Sallust -annuite le- vied and quarrelled with him ; gibus impositis; accipite otium and threatened to burn his house cum servitio ; but for my- with fire: but Jephthah and the


Had dealt with Jephtha, who by argument,
Not worse than by his shield and spear,
Defended Israel from the Ammonite,
Had not his prowess quelld their pride
In that sore battle, when so many died
Without reprieve adjudg’d to death,
For want of well pronouncing Shibboleth.

Of such examples add me to the roll,

290 Me easily indeed mine may neglect, But God's propos’d deliverance not so.

Just are the ways of God,
And justifiable to men ;
Unless there be who think not God at all :

If any be, they walk obscure; .
For of such doctrine never was there school,
But the heart of the fool,
And no man therein doctor but himself.

Yet more there be who doubt his ways not just, 300 As to his own edicts found contradicting, Then give the reins to wand'ring thought,

men of Gilead smote Ephraim, "fool hath said in his heart, and took the passages of Jordan There is no God: and who before the Ephraimites, and there “ but a fool would have said slew those of them who could so?” not rightly pronounce the word 299. And no man therein doctor Shibboleth, and there fell at that but himself.] There is something time two and forty thousand of rather too quaint and fanciful in them. See Judg. xii. 1–6. this conceit, and it appears the

298. But the heart of the fool,] worse, as this speech of the Alluding to Psal. xiv. 1. and the Chorus is of so serious a nature, sentiment is not very unlike that and filled with so many deep of a celebrated divine, The and solemn truths. Thyer.



Regardless of his glory's diminution ;
Till by their own perplexities involv'd
They ravel more, still less resolv’d,
But never find self-satisfying solution.

As if they would confine th’ Interminable,
And tie him to his own prescript,
Who made our laws to bind us, not himself,
And hath full right t exempt
Whom so it pleases him by choice
From national obstriction, without taint
Of sin, or legal debt ;
For with his own laws he can best dispense.

He would not else who never wanted means,
Nor in respect of th’ enemy just cause
To set his people free,
Have prompted this heroic Nazarite,
Against his vow of strictest purity,
To seek in marriage that fallacious bride,
Unclean, unchaste.

Down reason then, at least vain reasonings down,
Though reason here aver
That moral verdict quits her of unclean :



303. Regardless of his glory's 324. That moral verdict quits diminution ;] This expression is her of unclean:] That is, by the strong as anciently understood. law of nature a Philistian woman Cicero de Orat. ii. 39. Majestatem was not unclean, yet the law of pop.

Rom. minuere is the same as Moses held her to be so. I do crimen læsæ majestatis. Corn. not know why the poet thought Nepos, Ages. 4. religionem minu- fit to make his hero scepticize ere is violare. Richardson. on a point, as irreconcileable to 319. -vow of strictest purity,] reason, which



well Not a vow of celibacy, but of accounted for by the best rules strictest purity from Mosaical of human prudence and policy. and legal uncleanness. War. The institution of Moses was to burton.

keep the Jewish people distinct



Unchaste was subsequent, her stain not his.

But see here comes thy reverend Sire
With careful step, locks white as down,
Old Manoah : advise
Forthwith how thou ought'st to receive him.

Aye me, another inward grief awak'd
With mention of that name renews th' assault.

Brethren and men of Dan, for such ye seem,

Though in this uncouth place ; if old respect,
As I suppose, tow’ards your once gloried friend,
My son now captive, hither hath inform’d
Your younger feet, while mine cast back with

age Came lagging after ; say if he be here.

As signal now in low dejected state,
As erst in high’est, behold him where he lies.

O miserable change! is this the man,



and separate from the nations. desirous to visit him than his This the lawgiver effected by a father. vast variety of means: one of 340. O miserable change! &c.] which was to hold all other na- This speech of Manoah's is in tions under a legal impurity ; the my opinion very beautiful in its best means of preventing inter- kind. The thoughts are exactly marriages with them. Warburton. such as one may suppose would

336. - while mine cast back occur to the mind of the old with age] This is very artfully man, and are expressed with an and properly introduced, to ac- earnestness and impatience very count for the Chorus coming to well suited to that anguish of Samson before Manoah, for it is mind he must be in at the sight not to be supposed that any of of his son under such miserable his friends should be more con- afflicted circumstances. It is not cerned for his welfare, or more at all unbecoming the pious grave

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