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Yet with this strength thọu serv'st the Philistines,
Idolatrous, uncircumcis'd, unclean.

Not in their idol-worship, but by labour
Honest and lawful to deserve my food
Of those who have me in their civil power.

Where the heart joins not, outward acts defile not.

SAMSON. Where outward force constrains, the sentence holds. But who constrains me to the temple of Dagon, 1870 Not dragging ? the Philistian lords command. Commands are no constraints. If I obey them, I do it freely, vent'ring to displease God for the fear of man, and man prefer, Set God behind: which in his jealousy

1375 Shall never, unrepented, find forgiveness. Yet that he may dispense with me or thee Present in temples at idolatrous rites For some important cause, thou need’st not doubt.

How thou wilt here come off surmounts my reach. 1380

Be of good courage, I begin to feel
Some rousing motions in me which dispose
To something extraordinary my thoughts.
I with this messenger


go along,

1377. Yet that he may dispense of this sort from Elisha, which &c.] Milton here probably had he seemingly grants him. See in view the story of Naaman the 2 Kings v. 18, 19. Thyer. Syrian's begging a dispensation 1384. I with this messenger will that may


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Nothing to do, be sure, dishonour
Our law, or stain my vow of Nazarite.
If there be ought of presage in the mind,
This day will be remarkable in my life
By some great act, or of my days the last.

In time thou hast resolv'd, the man returns. 1390

... OFFICER. Samson, this second message from our lords 1 To thee I am bid say. . Art thou our slave, Our captive, at the public mill our drudge, And dar’st thou at our sending and command 1 Dispute thy coming? come without delay; 114; 1395 Or we shall find such engines to assail And hamper thee, as thou shalt come of force, Though thou wert firmlier fasten'd than a rock.

SAMSON. I could be well content to try their art, Which to no few of them would prove pernicious. 1400 Yet knowing their advantages too many, Because they shall not trail me through their streets Like a wild beast, I am content to go. Masters' commands come with a pow'r resistless

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go along,]

With what messen- hardly a sufficient intimation to ger? It was not expressly said a blind man, unless we suppose before that the messenger was

him to know that the messenger coming; it was implied indeed was coming by the same impulse in what the Chorus had said, that he felt rousing him to some

thing extraordinary. How thou wilt here come off sur

1404. Masters' commands &c.] mounts my reach :

This was a feint, but it had beand this might very well be un- trayed itself had it not been coderstood by a man, who could vered by ver. 1408. see the messenger coming as Yet this be sure &c. well as the Chorus, but seems





To such as owe them absolute subjection;
And for a life who will not change his purpose ?
(So mutable are all the ways of men)
Yet this be sure, in nothing to comply
Scandalous or forbidden in our law.

I praise thy resolution; doff these links:
By this compliance thou wilt win the lords
To favour, and perhaps to set thee free.

Brethren farewel; your company along
I will not wish, lest it perhaps offend them
To see me girt with friends; and how the sight
Of me as of a common enemy,
So dreaded once, may now exasperate them
I know not: lords are lordliest in their wine;
And the well-feasted priest then soonest fir'd
With zeal, if ought religion seem concern’d;
No less the people on their holy-days
Impetuous, insolent, unquenchable:
Happen what may, of me expect to hear
Nothing dishonourable, impure, unworthy
Our God, our law, my nation, or myself,
The last of me or no I cannot warrant.




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1410. I praise thy resolution :] poral and spiritual, whom he That is, of going, not what he tacitly compares with the lords said last. Richardson.

and priests of Dagon; and then, 1418. -lords are lordliest in 1421. he insinuates that their wine,

holidays also are of heathen inAnd the well-feasted priest &c.] stitution. He had spoken with First he expresses his contempt more complacency of holidays of a Nobility and an opulent in l'Allegro, 97. T. Warton. Clergy, that is, lords both tem


CHORUS. Go, and the Holy One Of Israel be thy guide To what may serve his glory best, and spread his name Great among the heathen round;

1430 Send thee the angel of thy birth, to stand Fast by thy side, who from thy father's field Rode


in flames after his message told Of thy conception, and be now a shield Of fire; that Spirit that first rush'd on thee In the camp of Dan Be efficacious in thee now at need. For never was from heav'n imparted Measure of strength so great to mortal seed, As in thy wondrous actions hath been seen. 1440 But wherefore comes old Manoah in such haste With youthful steps? much livelier than ere while He seems ; supposing here to find his son, Or of him bringing to us some glad news?

MANOAH. Peace with you, brethren? my inducement hither 1445 Was not at present here to find my son, By order of the lords new parted hence To come and play before them at their feast. I heard all as I came, the city rings, And numbers thither flock, I had no will, Lest I should see him forc'd to things unseemly. But that which mov'd my coming now, was chiefly To give ye part with me what hope I have With good success to work his liberty.

1450 1455


That hope would much rejoice us to partake
With thee; say, reverend Sire, we thirst to hear.

I have attempted one by one the lords
Either at home, or through the high street passing,
With supplication prone and father's tears,
T'accept of ransom for my son their pris'ner.
Some much averse I found and wondrous harsh, ;:(
Contemptuous, proud, set on revenge and spite;
That part most reverenc'd Dagon and his priests :
Others more moderate seeming, but their aim
Private reward, for which both God and State 1465
They easily would set to sale: a third : ;

generous far and civil, who confess'd!
They had enough reveng'd, having reduc'd
Their foe to misery beneath their fears,
The rest was magnanimity to remit,

1470 If some convenient ransom were propos' What noise or shout was that? it tore the sky.

Doubtless the people shouting to behold
Their once great dread, captive, and blind before them,
Or at some proof of strength before them shown. 1475


whole inheritance ini,


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His ransom,

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1463. That part most rever- He might also perhaps in this enc'd Dagon and his priests :] description of Manoah's appliMilton, I doubt not, in this place cation for Samson's deliverance indulges that inveterate spleen, glance at his own case after the which he always had against Restoration. Thyer. public and established religion.

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