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theory of an increasing rather than diminishing influence of Shakspere on Milton to account in part for the form of Samson Agonistes for which there seems to be no accounting according to those critics who have followed Johnson ever since he let fall his unfortunate dictum concerning the presence of a beginning and end but the absence of a middle in this tragedy.
Antony and Clepatra, II, 4, 216-223: Comus, 555-560:
From the barge
A strange invisible perfume hits the
Of the adjacent wharfs. The city cast
At last a soft and solemn-breathing sound
Rose like a steam of rich distilled perfumes,
Her people out upon her; and Antony
Enthron'd i' the market-place, did
Whistling to the air, which, but for vacancy,
Had gone to gaze on Cleopatra too And made a gap in nature.
King Lear, m, 1, 4-9:
Contending with the fretful elements;
Bids the wind blow the earth into the sea,
Or swell the curled waters 'bove the main,
That things might change or cease; tears his white hair,
Which the impetuous blasts, with eyeless rage,
Catch in their fury and make nothing of;
I Henry Fourth, 1, 3, 59-62:
And that it was great pity, so it
This villanous salt-petre should be digg'd
Out of the bowels of the harmless earth,
Which many a good tall fellow had destroy'd.
Lear, ш, 2, 1-6:
Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks! Rage! Blow!
You cataracts and hurricanoes, spout
Till you have drench'd our steeples,
drown'd the cocks!
You sulphurous and thought-executing fires,
Vaunt-couriers of oak-cleaving
Singe my white head!
*Note in both passages the singular antipathy to digging into the earth for materials of war.