Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

455

460

Among the heathen round; to God have brought
Dishonour, obloquy, and op'd the mouths
Of idolists, and atheists; have brought scandal
To Israel, diffidence of God, and doubt
In feeble hearts, propense enough before
To waver, or fall off, and join with idols;
Which is my chief affliction, shame and sorrow,
The anguish of my soul, that suffers not
Mine eye to harbour sleep, or thoughts to rest.
This only hope relieves me, that the strife
With me hath end; all the contést is now
'Twixt God and Dagon ; Dagon hath presum'd,
Me overthrown, to enter lists with God,
His deity comparing and preferring,
Before the God of Abraham. He, be sure, 465
Will not connive, or linger, thus provok’d,
But will arise, and his great name assert :
Dagon must stoop, and shall ere long receive
Such a discomfit, as shall quite despoil him
Of all these boasted trophies won on me,

470 And with confusion blank his worshippers.

MANOAH. With cause this hope relieves thee, and these words I as a prophecy receive ; for God, Nothing more certain, will not long defer To vindicate the glory of his name

a

475

472. and these words Dagon's worshippers is artfully I as a prophecy receive ;] presignified, as the death of This method of one person's Samson is in other places; but taking an omen from the words Manoah, as it was natural, acof another was frequently prac- cepts the good omen, without tised among the ancients: and thinking of the evil that is to in these words the downfall of follow.

480

Against all competition, nor will long
Indure it doubtful whether God be Lord,
Or Dagon. But for thee what shall be done?
Thou must not in the mean while here forgot
Lie in this miserable loathsome plight
Neglected. I already have made way
To some Philistian lords, with whom to treat
About thy ransom: well they may by this
Have satisfied their utmost of revenge
By pains and slaveries, worse than death inflicted 485
On thee, who now no more canst do them harm.

SAMSON.
Spare that proposal, father, spare the trouble
Of that solicitation ; let me here,
As I deserve, pay on my punishment;
And expiate, if possible, my crime,

490
Shameful garrulity. To have reveal'd
Secrets of men, the secrets of a friend,
How heinous had the fact been, how deserving
Contempt, and scorn of all, to be excluded
All friendship, and avoided as a blab,

495 The mark of fool set on his front? But I God's counsel have not kept, his holy secret Presumptuously have publish'd, impiously, Weakly at least, and shamefully: a sin That Gentiles in their parables condemn

500

500. That Gentiles in their pa- poetæ impendere apud inferos rables condemn &c.] Alluding to saxum Tantalo faciunt ob scethe story of Tantalus, who for lera, animique impotentiam, et revealing the secrets of the gods superbiloquentiam. Euripides aswas condemned to pains in hell. signs the same punishment, and Cicero Tusc. Disp. iv. 16. for the same reason. Orestes 8.

505

510

To their abyss and horrid pains confin'd.

MANOAH.
Be penitent and for thy fault contrite,
But act not in thy own affliction, son ;
Repent the sin, but if the punishment
Thou canst avoid, self-preservation bids;
Or th' execution leave to high disposal,
And let another hand, not thine, exact
Thy penal forfeit from thyself ; perhaps
God will relent, and quit thee all his debt;
Who ever more approves and more accepts
(Best pleas’d with humble and filial submission)
Him who imploring mercy sues for life,
Than who self-rigorous chooses death as due ;
Which argues over-just, and self-displeas’d
For self-offence, more than for God offended.
Reject not then what offer'd means; who knows
But God hath set before us, to return thee
Home to thy country and his sacred house,
Where thou may'st bring thy offerings, to avert
His further ire, with pray’rs and vows renewid?

SAMSON.
His pardon I implore; but as for life,
To what end should I seek it? when in strength
All mortals I excell'd, and great in hopes

515

520

-οσι θεοις ανθρωπος ων Κοινης τραπεζης αξιωμ' εχων ισον, Aκολασσον εσχε γλωσσαν, αισχιστην

YodOY.

Mr. Warburton's remark is, that “the ancient mystagogues taught, “ that the Gods punished both “ the revealers and the violators

“ of their mysteries. Milton had “ here in his eye that fine passage of Virgil, Æn. vi. 617.

“ -sedet, æternumque sedebit “ Infelix Theseus, Phlegyasque mi.

“ serrimus omnes “ Admonet, et magna testatur voce

“ per umbras, &c.”

530

With youthful courage and magnanimous thoughts
Of birth from heaven foretold, and high exploits, 525
Full of divine instinct, after some proof
Of acts indeed heroic, far beyond
The sons of Anak, famous now and blaz’d,
Fearless of danger, like a petty God
I walk'd about, admir'd of all and dreaded
On hostile ground, none daring my affront.
Then swoll'n with pride into the snare I fell
Of fair fallacious looks, venereal trains,
Soften'd with pleasure and voluptuous life;
At length to lay my head and hallow'd pledge
Of all my strength in the lascivious lap
Of a deceitful concubine, who shore me
Like a tame wether, all my precious fleece,
Then turn'd me out ridiculous, despoild,
Shav’n, and disarm’d among mine enemies. 540

CHORUS.
Desire of wine and all delicious drinks,
Which many a famous warrior overturns,
Thou could'st repress, nor did the dancing ruby

535

531. -none daring my affront.] and ix. 1059. Samson from the None daring to contend with me, harlot-lap waked shorn of his and meet me face to face, accord- strength. Meadowcourt. ing to the etymology of the word. 543. -nor did the dancing ruby See the note on Paradise Lost, &c.] The poet here probably alix. 330.

ludes to Prov. xxiii. 31. Look not 535. -hallow'd pledge] This thou upon the wine when it is red, is the genuine reading of the when it giveth his colour in the first edition; in most of the cup, when it moveth itself aright. others it is absurdly corrupted 543. Compare Comus, 672. into hollow pledge.

-behold this cordial julep here, 538. -all my precious fleece,]

That flames, and dances in his crysRead of my precious fleece. Thus tal bounds, in Paradise Lost, i. 596. the sun

T. Warton. in a mist is shorn of his beams :

545

Sparkling, out-pour'd, the flavour, or the smell,
Or taste that cheers the hearts of Gods and men,
Allure thee from the cool crystalline stream.

SAMSON.
Wherever fountain or fresh current flow'd
Against the eastern ray, translucent, pure
With touch ethereal of heav'n's fiery rod,
I drank, from the clear milky juice allaying

550 Thirst, and refresh'd ; nor envied them the

grape Whose heads that turbulent liquor fills with fumes.

CHORUS. O madness, to think use of strongest wines And strongest drinks our chief support of health, When God with these forbidd'n made choice to rear 555 His mighty champion, strong above compare, Whose drink was only from the liquid brook.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

545. Or taste that cheers the agreeable to the text of Scripheart of Gods and men,] Taken ture than in the common edifrom Judg. ix. 13. —wine which tions, Gods or men. cheereth God and man. Milton 547. Wherever fountain or fresh says Gods, which is a just para- current flow'd phrase, meaning the hero-gods of Against the eastern ray, &c.] the heathen. Jotham is here This circumstance was very prospeaking to an idolatrous city, bably suggested to our author that ran a whoring after Baalim, by the following lines of Tasso's and made Baal-berith their God: poem del Mondo creato. Giora God sprung

from

among men, nata iii. st. 8. as may be partly collected from

O liquidi cristalli, onde s'estingua his name, as well as from divers

L'ardente sete a miseri mortali : other circumstances of the story. Ma piu salubre é, se tra viue pietre Hesiod in a similar expression Rompendo l'argentate, e fredde says, that the vengeance of the

corna,

Incontra il nuouo. sol, che il puro fates pursued the crimes of Gods

argento and mer. Theog. v. 220.

Co' raggi indoraΛια' ανδρων τι θεωντε &c.

Thyer. Warburton.

557. Whose drink &c.] Samson Gods and men is the reading of was a Nazarite, Judges xiii. 7. Milton's own edition, and more therefore to drink no wine, nor

« ZurückWeiter »