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my labours,

Much more affliction than already felt
They cannot well impose, nor I sustain;
If they intend advantage of
The work of many hands, which earns my keeping 1260
With no small profit daily to my owners.
But come what will, my deadliest foe will prove
My speediest friend, by death to rid me hence,
The worst that he can give, to me the best.
Yet so it may fall out, because their end

1265 Is hate, not help to me, it may with mine Draw their own ruin who attempt the deed.

Oh how comely it is, and how reviving
To the spirits of just men long oppress’d!
When God into the hands of their deliverer

Puts invincible might
To quell the mighty of the earth, th’ oppressor, ,
The brute and boist'rous force of violent men
Hardy and industrious to support
Tyrannic pow'r, but raging to pursue

1275 The righteous, and all such as honour truth ; He all their ammunition And feats of war defeats With plain heroic magnitude of mind And celestial vigour arm’d, Their armories and magazines contemns, Renders them useless, while


1268. Oh how comely it is, &c.] of reflecting on the recent blessI am of opinion, that Milton, in ings of the restoration. Comthis chorus, is writing a pane- pare his Sonnet to Cromwell. gyric on the memory of Crom- T. Warton. well and his deliverance, instead


With winged expedition
Swift as the lightning glance he executes
His errand on the wicked, who surpris’d
Lose their defence distracted and amaz’d.

But patience is more oft the exercise
Of saints, the trial of their fortitude,
Making them each his own deliverer,
And victor over all

1290 That tyranny or fortune can inflict. Either of these is in thy lot, Samson, with might indued Above the sons of men; but sight bereav'd May chance to number thee with those

1295 Whom patience finally must crown.

This idol's day hath been to thee no day of rest,
Labouring thy mind
More than the working day thy hands.
And yet perhaps more trouble is behind,
For I descry this way
Some other tending, in his hand
A sceptre or quaint staff he bears,
Comes on amain, speed in his look.
By his habit I discern him now
A public officer, and now at hand.
His message will be short and voluble.

Hebrews, the pris'ner Samson here I seek.

1 300


1285. His errand] See the quaint habits, breed astonishnote, Par. Lost, b. ii. 652. E. “ment.” Compare note on Ar

1303. -quaint staff) Strange, cades, 47. T. Warion. unusual, as in Comus, 157. “ my



His manacles remark him, there he sits.

Samson, to thee our lords thus bid me say;
This day to Dagon is a solemn feast,
With sacrifices, triumph, pomp, and games; ;
Thy strength they know surpassing human rate,
And now some public proof thereof require
To honour this great feast, and great assembly;
Rise therefore with all speed and come along,
Where I will see thee hearten’d and fresh clad
appear as fits before th' illustrious lords.

Thou know'st I am an Hebrew, therefore tell them,
Our law forbids at their religious rites
My presence; for that cause I cannot come.

This answer, be assur'd, will not content them.


1309. -remark him,] Dis- sc. 1. vol. ix. p. 29. Jonson's tinguish him, point him out. Cynth. Rev. a. iv. s. 6. and ShakeRichardson.

speare, K. Richard II. a. v. s. 2. 1312. With sacrifices, triumph, Midnight Dream, a. i. s. 1. Third pomp, and games;] Triumph was Part K. Henry VI. a. v. s. 7. used for shews, such as masks, and this is the precise meaning revels, &c. See Burton's Ana- of Falstaffe's humour to Bartomie of Melancholie, Pref. p. 3. dolph, “ O, thou art a perpetual Bacon has an essay Of Masques triumph, &c." First P. Henry IV. and Triumphs. Ess. xxxvii. See a. iii. s. 3. Pomp also had a also his Essay Of Buildings, Ess. technical sense in the ancient xlv. where he would have a room masques, introduced perhaps by “ for a preparing place at times Jonson, for retinue, train, &c. " of triumphes." And Bishop See note on P. L. viii. 60. T. Fysher's funeral sermon on Mars Warton. garet Countess of Richmond, ed. 1313. --surpassing human rate,] Baker, 1708. p. 29. And in this In the first edition it was printed sense we are to interpret Drayton, race, but in the table of Errata vol. i. p. 331. And Beaumont we are desired to read rate. and Fletcher's Coronation, act ii.



Have they not sword-players, and every sort
Of gymnic artists, wrestlers, riders, runners,
Jugglers and dancers, antics, mummers, mimics,
But they must pick me out with shackles tir’d,
And over-labour'd at their public mill,
To make them sport with blind activity ?
Do they not seek occasion of new quarrels
On my refusal to distress me more,
Or make a game


Return the way thou cam'st, I will not come.

Regard thyself, this will offend them highly.

Myself? my conscience and internal peace.

Can they think me so broken, so debas'd
With corporal servitude, that my mind ever
Will condescend to such absurd commands?
Although their drudge, to be their fool or jester,
And in my midst of sorrow and heart-grief
To show them feats, and play before their God,
The worst of all indignities, yet on me
Join'd with extreme contempt? I will not come.

My message was impos’d on me with speed,
Brooks no delay: is this thy resolution?



1925. -mummers, mimics,] It mirs? The table of Errata to was printed mummers, mimirs; the first edition hath set us right, mummers are maskers according instructing us to read mimics, but to Junius, Skinner, and the other not one of the editions has fol. etymologists; but what are mi- lowed it.


So take it with what speed thy message needs. 1345

I am sorry what this stoutness will produce.

Perhaps thou shalt have cause to sorrow indeed.

Consider, Samson; matters now are strain'd

Up to the height, whether to hold or break :

and who knows how he may report
Thy words by adding fuel to the flame?
Expect another message more imperious,
More lordly thund'ring than thou well wilt bear.

Shall I abuse this consecrated gift
Of strength, again returning with my hair
After my great transgression, so requite
Favour renew'd, and add a greater sin
By prostituting holy things to idols ;
A Nazarite in place abominable
Vaunting my strength in honour to their Dagon ? 1860
Besides how vile, contemptible, ridiculous,
What act more execrably unclean, profane ?


1347. Perhaps thou shalt have such hints as cannot be perfectly cause to sorrow indeed.] Here comprehended, till they are fully the catastrophe is anticipated, as explained by the event. The before, ver. 1266.

speaker himself can only be sup: -it may with mine

posed to have some general Draw their own ruin who attempt meaning, and not a distinct conthe deed.

ception of all the particulars, And such anticipations are usual somewhat like the high priest in with the best dramatic writers, the Gospel, who prophesied withwho knowing their own plan out his knowing it. open it by degrees, and drop VOL. III.


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