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May compass it, shall willingly be paid
1490. It shall be my delight of the doating fondness of an old &c.] The character of a fond father. Nor is the poet less to parent is extremely well sup- be admired for his making Maported in the person of Manoah noah under the influence of this quite through the whole per- pleasing imagination go still fur. formance; but there is in my ther, and flatter himself even opinion something particularly with the hopes of God's restornatural and moving in this speech. ing his eyes again. Hope as
The circumstance of the old naturally arises in the mind in man's feeding and soothing his such a situation, as doubts and fancy with the thoughts of tend- fears do when it is overclouded ing his son and contemplating with gloominess and melancholy. him ennobled with so many fa- Thyer. mous exploits is vastly expressive
His strength again to grow up with his hair
1504. Thy hopes are not ill catastrophe of this tragedy. This
founded not seem vain abrupt start of Manoah upon Of his delivery,]
hearing the hideous noise, and This is very proper and becom- the description of it by the Choing the gravity of the Chorus, rus in their answer, in terms so as much as to intimate that his full of dread and terror, natuother hopes were fond and ex- rally fill the mind with a presagtravagant. And the art of the ing horror proper for the occapoet cannot be sufficiently ad- sion. This is still kept up by mired in raising the hopes and their suspense and reasoning cxpectations of his persons to the about it, and at last raised to a highest pitch just before the proper pitch by the frighted and dreadful catastrophe. How great distracted manner of the Mesand how sudden is the change senger's coming in, and his he from good to bad! The one sitation and backwardness in tellrenders the other more striking ing what had happened. What and affecting.
gives it the greater strength and 1508. -and-what noise! beauty is the sudden transition &c.] It must be very pleasing to from that soothing and flattering the reader to observe with what prospect with which Manoah was art and judgment Milton pre- entertaining his thoughts to a pares him for the relation of the scene so totally opposite. Thyer. Horribly loud, unlike the former shout.
1510 CHORUS. Noise call you it or universal groan, As if the whole inhabitation perish'd! Blood, death, and deathful deeds are in that noise, Ruin, destruction at the utmost point.
1512. -inhabitation) Oixouporn. Jonson's three plays, p. 31. Richardson.
derives the word dole from the 1514. -at the utmost point.] Greek ato tov dienesy, distribuere. Al ultimo segno. Richardson. By the way we may observe,
1529. -be dealing dole] Dis- that the Chorus here entertains tributing his gifts and portions the same pleasing hope of Samamong his enemies, from a Saxon son's eye-sight being by miracle word, says Skinner, but Mr. Up- restored, which he had before ton in his remarks upon Ben tacitly reproved in Manoah, and
And over heaps of slaughter'd walk his way? 1530
CHORUS. Of good or bad so great, of bad the sooner ; For evil news rides post, while good news baits. And to our wish I see one hither speeding, bits? An Hebrew, as I guess, and of our tribe. . 1540
MESSENGER. O whither shall I run, or which way fly Manoah who had before encou- be: and so is the next but one, raged the same hope in himself, in that and all the editions ; now desponds and reckons it though it seems to belong rather presumptuous in another. Such to Manoah. The line between changes of our thoughts are na- them, which is wanting (as I just tural and common, especially in now observed) in the text of the any change of our situation and first edition, in the Errata and circumstances. Fear and hope in all the editions since is given usually succeed each other like to the Chorus, but the poet cerague and fever. And it was not tainly intended both them and a slight observation of mankind, Manoah a share in it. that could have enabled Milton to have understood and described
CHOR. A little stay will bring
some notice hither the human passions so exactly.
Of good or bad so great. Max. Of 1536. A little stay will bring bad the sooner ; some notice hither.] The text of For evil news rides post, while good the first edition wants the nine
CHOR. And to our wish I see one lines preceding this, and the line that follows it: but they are sup
An Hebrew, as I guess, and of our plied in the Errata. This line in that edition is in the part of the
Calton. Chorus, as I think it ought to
The sight of this so horrid spectacle,
MA NOAH. .
1552. —and here before thee] 1556. And sense distract.) The Here again the old error was word is used likewise as an adcarefully preserved through all jective in Shakespeare. Julius the editions. In the first edition Cæsar, act iv. sc. 4. it was printed and heard before
With this she fell distract, but we have corrected it,
And (her attendants absent) swal. as Milton himself corrected it in
low'd fire. the table of Errata.
1554. No preface needs,] No Twelfth-Night, act v. sc. 5. preface is wanting. Needs is a
They say, poor gentleman! he's verb neuter here as in Paradise much distract. Lost X. 80. where see the note.