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As with the force of winds and waters pent,
When mountains tremble, those two massy pillars
With horrible convulsion to and fro,
He tugg'd, he shook, till down they came and drew 1650
The whole roof after them, with burst of thunder
Upon the heads of all who sat beneath,
Lords, ladies, captains, counsellors, or priests,
Their choice nobility and flow'r, not only
Of this but each Philistian city round

Met from all parts to solemnize this feast.
Samson with these immix'd, inevitably
Pull'd down the same destruction on himself;
The vulgar only scap'd who stood without.

O dearly-bought revenge, yet glorious !

Living or dying thou hast fulfill'd
The work for which thou wast foretold
To Israel, and now li’est victorious
Among thy slain self-kill'd
Not willingly, but tangled in the fold

1665 Of dire necessity, whose law in death conjoin'd Thee with thy slaughter'd foes in number more Than all thy life had slain before.


1649. With horrible convulsion) ral passages which we have corIn several editions it is printed rected by the help of the first confusion, but Mr. Thyer, Mr. edition, without taking notice of Sympson, and every body saw them. that it should be convulsion, and 1667. -in number' more so it is in Milton's own edition. Than all thy life had slain bec! And in the next line it should fore.] not be He tugged, he took, as it Judges xvi. 30. So the dead which is absurdly in some editions, but he slew at his death, were more He tugged, he shook, as in the than they which he slew in his first edition: and there are seve.. life. VOL. III.


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While their hearts were jocund and sublime,
Drunk with idolatry, drunk with wine,

And fat regorg'd of bulls and goats,
Chaunting their idol, and preferring
Before our living Dread who dwells
In Silo his bright sanctuary:
Among them he a spi'rit of frenzy sent,

1675 Who hurt their minds, And urg'd them on with mad desire To call in haste for their destroyer; They only set on sport and play Unweetingly importun'd

1680 Their own destruction to come speedy upon them. So fond are mortal men Fall’n into wrath divine, As their own ruin on themselves t invite, Insensate left, or to sense reprobate,

1685 And with blindness internal struck.

But he though blind of sight,
Despis'd and thought extinguish'd quite,
With inward eyes illuminated,
His fiery virtue rous'd

1690 From under ashes into sudden flame, And as an evening dragon came,

1674. In Silo] Where the ta- 1692. And as an evening dragon bernacle and ark were at that came &c.] Mr. Calton


that time.

Milton certainly dictated 1682. So fond are mortal men,

And not as an evening dragon came. &c.] Agreeable to the common maxim, Quos Deus vult perdere Samson did not set upon them dementat prius. Thyer. like an evening dragon ; but 1695

Assailant on the perched roosts,
And nests in order rang'd
Of tame villatic fowl; but as an eagle
His cloudless thunder bolted on their heads.
So virtue giv’n for lost,
Depress'd, and overthrown, as seem'd,
Like that self-begotten bird
In the Arabian woods imbost,
That no second knows nor third,
And lay ere while a holocaust,
From out her ashy womb now teem’d,
Revives, reflourishes, then vigorous most
When most unactive deem'd,
And though her body die, her fame survives



darted ruin on their heads like ticas alites, Plin. lib. xxiii. sect, 17. the thunder-bearing eagle. Mr. Richardson. Sympson to the same purpose

1695. --but as an eagle &c.] proposes to read

In the Ajax of Sophocles it is And not as evening dragon came

said that his enemies, if they saw but as an eagle &c.

him appear, would be terrified Mr. Thyer understands it other the vulture or eagle, ver. 167.

like birds at the appearance of wise, and explains it without any alteration of the text, to which

Αλλ' οσε


on &c. rather I incline. It is common

The Greek verses, I think, are enough among the ancient poets faulty, and as I remember, are to meet with several similies corrected not amiss by Dawes in brought in to illustrate one ac

his Miscell. Critic. Jortin. tion, when one cannot be found 1700. -imbost.] Concealed, that will hold in every circum- covered. Spenser, Faery Queen, stance. Milton does the same

b. i. cant. ii. st. 24. here, introducing this of the A knight her met in mighty arms dragon merely in allusion to the imbost. order in which the Philistians

Richardson. were placed in the amphitheatre, 1702. -a holocaust] An enand the subsequent one of the tire burnt-offering. Else geneeagle to express the rapidity of rally only part of the beast was that vengeance which Samson burnt. 'Richardson. took of his enemies.

1706. -her fame survives 1695. --villatic fowl ;] Villa- A secular bird ages of lives.]

A secular bird ages of lives.

Come, come, no time for lamentation now;
Nor inuch more cause; Samson hath quit himself
Like Samson, and heroically hath finish'd

A life heroic, on his enemies
Fully reveng'd, hath left them years of mourning,
And lamentation to the sons of Caphtor

ages of

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The construction and meaning dies" but “ her fame survives," of the whole period I conceive i. e. continues to live, “ to be this, Virtue given for lost, lives.” And " a secular bird" like the phenix consumed and may refer to the person implied now teemed from out her ashy in the possessive pronoun her," womb, revives, reflourishes, and construction common in Milthough her body die which was · ton. If this be so, virtue will the case of Samson, yet her fame have been confused in the course survives a phenix many ages: of the passage with the bird to for the comma after survives in which it is compared, a thing all the editions should be omit- not unparalleled in our author. ted, as Mr. Calton has observed E. as well as myself. The phenix, This soleinn introduction of says he, lived a thousand years the phenix is a gross outrage of according to some, (see Bochart's poetical propriety. It is faulty, Hierozoicon, pars secunda, p. not only as it is incongruous to 817.] and hence it is called here the personage to whom it is a secular bird. Ergo quoniam ascribed, but as it is so evidently sex diebus cuncta Dei opera per- contrary to reason and nature, fecta sunt; per secula sex, id est that it ought never to be menannorum sex millia, manere hoc tioned but as a fable in a serious statu mundum necesse est. Lac

Johnson. tantius, Div. Inst. lib. vii. c. 14. 1713. —to the sons of Caphtor] The fame of virtue (the Semi- Caphtor it should be, and not chorus saith) survives, outlives Chaptor, as in several editions: this secular bird many ages. The and the sons of Caphtor are Phicomma, which is in all the edi- listines, originally of the island tions after survives, breaks the Caphtor or Crete. The people construction.


were called Caphtorim, Chere1706. Had this been the in- thim, Ceretim, and afterwards tended construction, he should Cretians. A colony of them rather have said the secular settled in Palestine, and there “ bird.” But survives may be went by the name of Philistim. perhaps more naturally con- Meadowcourt. trasted with dies; her body

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Through all Philistian bounds; to Israel
Honour hath left, and freedom, but let them
Find courage to lay hold on this occasion ;
To' himself and father's house eternal fame;
And which is best and happiest yet, all this
With God not parted from him, as was fear’d,
But favouring and assisting to the end.

Nothing is here for tears, nothing to wail
Or knock the breast, no weakness, no contempt,
Dispraise, or blame, nothing but well and fair,
And what may quiet us in a death so noble.
Let us go find the body where it lies

1725 Soak'd in his enemies' blood, and from the stream With lavers pure and cleansing herbs wash off The clotted gore. I with what speed the while (Gaza is not in plight to say us nay) Will send for all my kindred, all my friends, 1730 To fetch him hence, and solemnly attend With silent obsequy and funeral train Home to his father's house: there will I build him A monument, and plant it round with shade Of laurel ever green, and branching palm,

1735 With all his trophies hung, and acts inrolld In copious legend, or sweet lyric song. Thither shall all the valiant youth resort, And from his memory inflame their breasts

1730. Will send for all my kin- house of his father, came down dred, all my friends, &c.] This and took him, and brought him is founded upon what the Scrip- up, and buried hin between Zorah -ture saith, Judges xvi. 31. which and Eshtavl in the burying-place the poet has finely improved. of Manoah his father. Then his brethren, and all the

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