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distributed between the Chorus and Manoa, so as to prolong the suspense before the messenger arrives. Originally the Chorus ran on continuously thus :


Not much to fear.

A little stay will bring some notice hither,
For evil news rides fast, while good news baits.
And to our wish I see one hither speeding-
An Ebrew, as I guess, and of our tribe."

The sense is here complete; but the addition of the ten lines, and their distribution between Manoa and the Chorus, are certainly an improvement.

1540. "An Ebrew." See note, line 1308.

1605–1610. “The building was," etc. Imagine as follows:-There is a large semicircular covered space or amphitheatre, with tiers of seats, the roof supported by two pillars rising about mid-point of the diameter of the semicircle. There is no wall at this diameter, but only these two pillars. Standing near them, therefore, Samson would look in upon the lords and others of high rank occupying the tiers of seats in the covered space, while behind him, in an open and uncovered space, and seeing only his back, would be the poorer and seatless rabble.

1608. "sort," mark, distinction.

1619. "cataphracts," mailed horsemen.

1627. "stupendious.” See Par. Lost, X. 351, and note


1645. “strike," an ironical play on the word.

1674. "Silo." Another instance of Milton's dislike of the sound sh. In Samson's time the Tabernacle and the Ark were in Shiloh (Josh xviii. 1).

1686. "struck." See note, Ode Nat. 95.

1692-1696. “And as an evening dragon came," etc. The violent change of metaphor, the dragon becoming an eagle within four lines, has caused some to suspect an error of the text. But is not the violence intentional? The blind Samson came among the assembled and seated Philistines like an evening dragon among tame fowl perched on their roosts, a fearful object certainly, but on the ground and darkly groping his way, so that he can only get at them by some chance spring forward and upward. Knowing this, though fluttered, they are on their guard against that possi

bility; when lo! their destruction comes upon them from him vertically downwards. The very enemy they saw on the ground was, in his own mind at that moment, swooping down upon them resistlessly from overhead; and so he who came as a ground-dragon ended as an eagle, the bird of Jove, bringing thunderbolts from a clear sky.

1695. "villatic fowl": farm-house fowl, from villa, a country house.

1697-1707. "So Virtue," etc. Observe the complexity of rhymes in this passage.

1699. "that self-begotten bird": the fabled phœnix. See Par. Lost, V. 272-274, and Epitaph. Dam. 181-189.

1700. "embost": hidden, or the same as "embosked."
"holocaust": a sacrifice burnt entire.

1703. "teemed": produced, sent forth. See Par. Lost,

VII. 454.

1707. "a secular bird," i.e. lasting for many sæcula, or generations.

1713. "the sons of Caphtor": the Philistines, reputed to have come from the Isle of Caphtor or Crete. See Amos ix. 7, and Deut. ii. 23.

1755. "acquist," acquisition: not unfrequent in old English writers, sometimes as acquest.

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AUTHOR'S PREFACE: “Of that sort of Dramatic Poem," The "verse of Euripides" which St. Paul is said to have inserted into the text of Holy Scripture consists of the words "Evil communications corrupt good manners” (1 Cor. xv. 33). The "Paræus" whose opinion as to the construction of the Apocalypse Milton cites, both here and in his Reason of Church Government, was David Paræus, a German theologian and commentator of high note among the Calvinists (1548-1622).— -When Milton says "Though the Ancient Tragedy use no Prologue," he uses "Prologue" in its modern sense as a kind of Preface to the Play, detached from the Play itself, and intended to put the audience in good humour with it beforehand. Though the Comedians Plautus and Terence had Prologues of this kind, the ancient Tragedians had none.—In the phrase “that which Martial calls an Epistle" there is an allusion to the "Epistola ad Lectorem" prefixed by Martial, by way of apology, to the First Book of his Epigrams.- -The three terms of Greek Prosody introduced by Milton in his Preface, and printed in Italics, viz. Monostrophic, Apolelymenon, and Allæostrophic, may in their present connexion be translated "Singlestanzaed," "Released from the restraint of any particular measure, " and "Divers-stanzaed." Milton's purpose is to explain to prosodians the metrical structure of his choruses in Samson. These choruses, he says, may be called Monostrophic, inasmuch as they run on without division into stanzas, or into the mutually balanced parts called strophe, antistrophe, and epodos in the regular musical chorus; the verse in which they are written is Apolelymenon, inasmuch as no particular measure is adopted, but each line is of any metre that the poet likes; or, if the choruses do sometimes seem

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to divide themselves into stanzas, then Allaostropha would
be the name for them, inasmuch as the stanzas are of
different metrical patterns.
12. "This day," etc.

Here Samson begins his soliloquy, the person who had guided him having retired. 13. Dagon, their sea-idol."


Compare Par. Lost, I.



66-109. "But, chief of all, O loss of sight,” etc. applying this passage to Milton himself, compare Sonnets XIX. XXII. XXIII., and Par. Lost, III. 1-55 and VII. I-39. 89. "her vacant interlunar cave," i.e. her "between moons cave, where she hides between old moon and new


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133. "Chalybean-tempered," i.e. tempered like the steel of the Chalybes, an iron-working nation of Asia Minor.


134. "Adamantean proof." It is doubtful whether this means proof against adamantean weapons" or "proof as being itself adamantean." The second meaning is the likelier. Adamant, literally "unsubduable," usually meant steel. 138. "Ascalonite." I Sam. vi. 17.

145. "In Ramath-lechi": so called from "the casting away of the jaw-bone" there: the name implying the phrase. See Judges xv. 17.

Deut. ii. 23.

147. "Azza": same as Gaza. See 148. "Hebron, seat of giants old." Josh. xv. 13, 14.

Numb. xiii. 33 and

The Titans: par

150. "Like whom the Gentiles," etc. ticularly Atlas.

181. "Eshtaol and Zora's fruitful vale." Samson's native district in Dan. See his life in Judges; also Josh. xv. 33 and xix. 41.

191-193. "In prosperous days," etc. Perhaps from Milton's own experience immediately after the Restoration. 209. "drove me transverse," i.e. out of my course, referring to the previous image of the ship.

219. "Timna." See Judges xiv. 1, where the word is "Timnath."

219-226. "she pleased me, not my parents," etc. Judges xiv. 2-4.

229. "Dalila." Observe the pronunciation Dalíla. See Par. Lost, IX. 1061, and note there.

241-255. "That fault I take not on me," etc. with an

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