east of Eden in the land of Nod
A sleepless night, drowsing over Samson Agonistes. Dalila dandled forth, almost more specious than Helen among the Trojan Women, and the blind man missing his apotheosis, but not heroization. And then there are certain beautiful infelicities; I hesitate to say Milton loses his tone, but perhaps he clings rather too fiercely:
Chorus. But we had best retire, I see a storm?
Samson. Fair days have oft contracted wind and rain.
Chor. But this another kind of tempest brings.
Sam. Be less abstruse, my riddling days are past (1061–4).
Sam. Boast not of what thou wouldst have done, but do
What then thou wouldst, thou seest it in thy hand.
Harapha. To combat with a blind man I disdain,
And thou hast need much washing to be touched (1104–7).
It is a comfort to find I am not the only one nodding.1 One feels a certain sympathy with Bentley at such passages (forgoing, however, all ‘happy Conjectures’).
- Puts me in mind of a certain ‘suitably-attired-in-leather-boots/Head of a traveller’. More pompously, however, cf. Il. I.528–30:
ἦ καὶ κυανέῃσιν ἐπ’ ὀφρύσι νεῦσε Κρονίων·
ἀμβρόσιαι δ’ ἄρα χαῖται ἐπερρώσαντο ἄνακτος
κρατὸς ἀπ’ ἀθανάτοιο· μέγαν δ’ ἐλέλιξεν Ὄλυμπον.