« AnteriorContinuar »
Sams. Wherever fountain or fresh current flow'd
Against the eastern ray, translucent, pure
With touch ethereal of Heaven's fiery rod,
I drank, from the clear milky juice allaying
Thirst, and refresh'd; nor envied them the grape,
Whose heads that turbulent liquor fills with fumes.
Cho. O, madness, to think use of strongest wines
And strongest drinks our chief support of health,
When God with these forbidden made choice to rear
His mighty champion, strong above compare,
Whose drink was only from the liquid brook.
Sams. But what avail'd this temperance, not complete
Against another object more enticing ?
What boots it at one gate to make defence,
And at another to let in the foe,
Effeminately vanquish’d? by which means,
Now blind, dishearten’d, shamed, dishonour'd, quell'd,
To what can I be useful, wherein serve
My nation, and the work from Heaven imposed,
But to sit idle on the household hearth,
A burdenous drone; to visitants a gaze,
Or pitied object; these redundant locks,
Robustious to no purpose, clustering down,
Vain monument of strength; till length of years
And sedentary numness craze my limbs
To a contemptible old age obscure ?
Here rather let me drudge and earn my bread;
Till vermin, or the draff of servile food,
Consume me, and oft-invocated death
Hasten the welcome end of all my pains.
Man. Wilt thou then serve the Philistines with that gift
Which was expressly given thee to annoy them?
Better at home lie bed-rid, not only idle,
Inglorious, unemployed, with age outworn.
But God, who caused a fountain at thy prayer
From the dry ground to spring, thy thirst to allay
After the brunt of battel; can as easy
Cause light again within thy eyes to spring,
Wherewith to serve him better than thou hast;
And I persuade me so: why else this strength
Miraculous yet remaining in those locks ?
His might continues in thee not for naught,
Nor shall his wondrous gifts be frustrate thus.
Sams. All otherwise to me my thoughts portend,
553. O, madness, &c. Milton exempli- | that "he cuused a fountain from the dry fied, in his life, the truth of these noble ground to spring;" and herein be follows lines,-heing a singular example of tein- the Chaldee paraphrase and the best perance and abstumiousness,
commentators, who understand it that 557. Whose drink. Judges xiii. 7. God made a cleft in some part of the
581. Caused a fountain. See Judges xv. ground or rock, in the place called L'hi: 18, 19. Milton differs from our tran-lu- this word signifying both a jaw and a tion, which says that “Gol clave an hol- place so called.-NEWTON. low place that was in the jaw;" Milton,
That these dark orbs no more shall treat with light,
Nor th' other light of life continue long,
But yield to double darkness nigh at hand:
So much I feel my genial spirits droop,
My hopes all flat, Nature within me seems
In all her functions weary of herself;
My race of glory run, and race of shame;
And I shall shortly be with them that rest.
Man. Believe not these suggestions, which proceed
From anguish of the mind and humours black,
That mingle with thy fancy. I however
Must not omit a father's timely care
To prosecute the means of thy deliverance
By ransom, or how else: meanwhile be calm,
And healing words from these thy friends admit.
Sams. O, that torment should not be confined
To the body's wounds and sores,
With maladies innumerable
In heart, head, breast, and reins;
But must secret passage find
To the inmost mind,
There exercise all his fierce accidents,
And on her purest spirits prey,
As on entrails, joints, and limbs,
With answerable pains, but more intense,
Though void of corporal sense.
My griefs not only pain me
As a lingering disease,
But, finding no redress, ferment and rage;
Nor less than wounds immedicable
Rankle, and fester, and gangrene,
To black mortification.
Thoughts, my tormentors, arm'd with deadly stings,
Mangle my apprehensive tenderest parts,
Exasperate, exulcerate, and raise
Dire inflammation, which no cooling herb
Or med'cinal liquor can asswage,
Nor breath of vernal air from snowy Alp.
Sleep hath forsook and given me o'er
To death’s benumming opium as my only cure:
Thence faintings, swoonings of despair,
And sense of Heaven's desertion.
594. So much I feel, &c. Here Milton, verses; and the reader will find it very in the person of Samson, describes ex- difficult to pronounce them without that actly his own case-what he felt and grave and serious tone of voice which is what he thought in some of his melan- proper for the occasion.-NEWTON, choly hours: he could not have written 627. Med'cinal, for medicinal, as Milton 60 well, but from his own feeling and ex. spells it also in his prose works. perience; and the very flow of the verres 628. Alp, from the Greek alpos, is melancholy, and excellently adapted to “white," means any mountain “white" the subject. As Mr. Thyer expresses it, with snow. It is now particularly approThere is a remarkable solemnity and air printed to the celebrated mountains of of melancholy in the very sound of these Switzerland.
I was his nursling once, and choice delight,
His destined from the womb,
Promised by heavenly message twice descending:
Under his special eye
Abstemious I grew up, and thriv'd amain :
He led me on to mightiest deeds,
Above the nerve of mortal arm,
Against the uncircumcised, our enemies :
But now hath cast me off as never known,
And to those cruel enemies,
Whom I by his appointment had provoked,
Left me all helpless, with the irreparable loss
Of sight, reserved alive to be repeated
The subject of their cruelty or scorn.
Nor am I in the list of them that hope:
Hopeless are all my eyils, all remediless :
This one prayer yet remains, might I be heard,
No long petition, speedy death,
The close of all my miseries, and the balm.
Cho. Many are the sayings of the wise,
In ancient and in modern books inroll’d,
Extolling patience as the truest fortitude ;
And to the bearing well of all calamities,
All chances incident to man's frail life,
With studied argument, and much persuasion sought,
Lenient of grief and anxious thought:
But with the afflicted in his pange their sound
Little prevails, or rather seems a tune
Harsh, and of dissonant mood from his complaint;
Unless he feel within
Some source of consolation from above,
Secret refreshings, that repair his strength,
And fainting spirits aphold.
God of our fathers, what is man!
That thou towards him with hand so various,
Or might I say contrarious,
Temper'st thy providence through his short course,
Not evenly, as thou rulest
The angelick orders, and inferiour creatures mute,
Irrational and brute.
Nor do I name of men the common rout,
That, wandering loose about,
Grow up and perish, as the summer-fly,
Heads without name, no more remember'd;
But such as thou hast solemnly elected,
With gifts and graces eminently adorn'd,
To some great work, thy glory,
And people's safety, which in part they effect:
Yet toward these thus dignified, thou oft
658. Sought : Collected studiously or with pains.
Amidst their highth of noon,
Changest thy countenance, and thy hand, with no regard
Of highest favours past
From thee on them, or them to thee of service.
Nor only dost degrade them, or remit
To life obscured, which were a fair dismission;
But throw'st them lower than thou didst exalt them high;
Unseemly falls in human eye,
Too grievous for the trespass or omission;
Oft leavest them to the hostile sword
Of heathen and profane, their carcasses
To dogs and fowls a prey, or else captiv'd;
Or to the unjust tribunals, under change of times,
And condemnation of the ingrateful multitude.
If these they 'scape, perhaps in poverty.
With sickness and disease thou bow'st them down,
Painful diseases and deform’d,
In crude old age;
Though not disordinate, yet causeless suffering
The punishment of dissolute days: in fine,
Just or unjust, alike seem miserable,
For oft alike both come to evil end.
So deal not with this once thy glorious champion,
The image of thy strength, and mighty minister.
What do I beg? how hast thou dealt already!
Behold him in this state calamitous, and turn
His labours, for thou canst, to peaceful end.
But who is this, what thing of sea or land?
Female of sex it seems,
That so bedeck’d, ornate, and gay,
Comes this way sailing
Like a stately ship
Of Tarsus, bound for the isles
Of Javan or Gadire
With all her bravery on, and tackle trim,
Sails fill’d, and streamers waving,
695. Or to the unjust tribunals. Here, posing them, addressed the last two imDo doubt, Milton reflected upon the trials mediately to Heaven, as a prayer for and sufferings of his party after the himself. If the conjecture of this appliRestoration; and probably be might cation be just, we may add, that never have had in mind particularly the case was the prevalence of a righteous prayer of Sir Harry Vane, whom he has so more happily conspicuous: and let me highly celebrated in one of his conuets. here remark, that however various the
697. If these they 'scape, &c. This was opinions of men may be concerning Milhis own case: he escaped with life, but ton's political character, the integrity of lived in poverty; and though he was al- his heart appears to have secured to him ways strictly sober and temperate, yet he the favour of Providence; since it pleased was much afflicted with the gout and the Giver of all good not only to turn other “painful diseases in crude old age,' his labours to a peaceful end, but to irrawhen he was not yet a very old man. diate his declining life with the most Crude is used for premature, and coming abundant portion of those pure and subbefore his time.
lime mental powers, for which he had 708. Behold him in this state, &c. The constantly and fervently prayed, as the concluding verses of this beautiful Cho- choicest bounty of Heaven.-HAYLEY. rus appear to me particularly affecting, 715. Isles of Javan: Greece. Gudire: from the persuasion that Milton, in com- | Gadez, Cadiz.
Courted by all the winds that hold them play,
An amber scent of odorous perfume
Her harbinger, a damsel train behind :
Some rich Philistian matron she may seem ;
And now, at nearer view, no other certain
Than Dalila thy wife.
Sams. My wife! my traitress: let her not come near me.
Cho. Yet on she moves, now stands and eyes thee fix'd,
About to have spoke; but now, with head declined,
Like a fair flower surcharged with dew, she weeps,
And words address'd seem into tears dissolved,
Wetting the borders of her silken veil:
But now again she makes address to speak.
Dal. With doubtful feet and wavering resolution
I came, still dreading thy displeasure, Samson ;
Which to have merited, without excuse,
I cannot but acknowledge; yet, if tears
May expiate, (though the fact more evil drew
In the perverse event than I foresaw,)
My penance hath not slacken’d, though my pardon
No way assured. But conjugal affection,
Prevailing over fear and timorous doubt,
Hath led me on, desirous to behold
Once more thy face, and know of thy estate,
If aught in my ability may serve
To lighten what thou suffer'st, and appease
Thy mind with what amends is in my power,
Though late, yet in some part to recompense
My rash, but more unfortunate misdeed.
Sams. Out, out, hyæna! these are thy wonted arts,
And arts of every woman false like thee,
To break all faith, all vows, deceive, betray,
Then as repentant to submit, beseech,
And reconcilement move with feign'd remorse,
Confess, and promise wonders in her change:
Not truly penitent, but chief to try
Her husband, how far urged his patience bears,
His virtue or weakness which way to assail:
Then with more cautious and instructed skill
Again transgresses, and again submits;
That wisest and best men,
full off beguiled,
732. With doubtful feet. The scene be- | beauty, is their forming so fine a contrast tween Samson and Dalila is drawn up to each other.—THYER. with great judgment and particular 748. The Hyaena is a creature somebeauty. One cannot conceive a more what like a wolf, and is said to imitate artful, soft, and persuasive eloquence, a human voice so aptly as to draw people than that which is put into the mouth to it, and then devour them.--NEWTON. of Dalila; nor is the part of Samson less 759. That wisest and best men, &c. Milto be admired for that stern and resolute ton had reason to lament that excess of firmness which runs through it. What indulgence with which he forgave and also gives both parts a great additional | received again bis disobedient and long