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The infection, when their borrow'd gold compos'd
The calf in Oreb; and the rebel king
Doubled that sin in Bethel, and in Dan,
Lik'ning his Maker to the grazed ox,
Jehovah! who, in one night, when he pass'd
From Egypt marching, equall'd with one stroke
Both her first-born and all her bleating gods.1
BELIAL came last, than whom a spirit more lewd
Fell not from heaven, or more gross to love
Vice for itself: to him no temple stood,
Or altar smok'd: yet who more oft than he
Di temples, and at altars, when the priest
Turns atheist, as did Eli's sons who fill'd
With lust and violence the house of God?
In courts and palaces he also reigns,
And in luxurious cities, where the noiso
Of riot ascends above their loftiest tow'rs,
And injury, and outrage: and when night
Darkens the streets, then wander forth the sons
Of Belial, flown with insolence and wine:
Witness the streets of Sodom,4 and that night
In Gibeah, when the hospitable door
505 Expos'd a matron, to avoid worse rape. "


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Isis was the wife of Osiris, and supposed to represent the moon; and Orus, their son. The Egyptians worshipped several animals as types of the divinity. Eu. viii. 698; Omnigenumque Deum monslra et lalrator Anubis." (See Juv. Sat. 15.)

• "Bleating" may be used in general to express the cry of any animal, as "bleating herds," ii. 494; or it may be used as an epithet of contempt, a sheep being a stupid animal; or it may refer to the worship or Jupiter Ammon, under the figure of a ram. 2"Belial." I find but little about this divinity in mythology. From numerous passages of Scripture, where he is called the Devil, it appears he was the idol of unmitigated and unrestrained licentiousness—the god of reckless dissipation—the concentration of Bacchus and Venus. Belial means, without a yoke or restraint. (Sec 1 Sam. ii. 3, 4.) S" Flown," inflated. Virg. Eel. vi. 15 .—" Inflatum hesterno venas ut semper latcho."

See Gen. xix. Judges xix.

"Gibeah," a city of the tribe of Benjamin, on the highest hump of a ridge of hills, was about two leagues north of Jerusalem, and was the birth-place of Saul, the first king of Judea. Milton here refers to the outrage on the Levite's wife (Judges xix.) The story is this:—A Levite of Mount Ephraim, in the land of Benjamin, in this chapter called Jemini, while bringing home bis wife from her father's house at Bethlehem in Judah, was benighted at Gibeah, or Gabaa, and obtained a lodging at the bouse of a countryman of his. The townsmen (who are called sons of Belial) knocked at the door during the night, and obstreperously demanded that the stranger be sent out, “that they may abuse him." The old man implored of them "not to commit this crime against nature on the man i" they would not be satisfied with his words, which the man (the Levite) seeing, brought out his concubine (as he called his wife) to them and abandoned her to their wickedness; and when they had abused her all night, they let her go in the morning. But the woman at the dawning of the day returned to the house where her lord lodged, and there "fell down" dead. The Levite took her to his own home, and then "took a sword and divided the body of bis wife, with her bones, into twelve parts, and sent the pieces into all the borders of Israel. And when every one had seen this, they all cried out, "There was never such a thing done in Israel from the day that our fathers came up out of Egypt until this day; give sentence and decree in common


These were the prime, in order and in might:
The rest were long to tell, though far renown'd,
Th' Ionian gods, of Javan's issue; 1 held
Gods, yet confess'd later than heaven and earth,
Their boasted parents: Titan, heaven's first-born,
With his enormous brood, and birthright seiz'd
By younger Saturn; he from mightier Jove,
His own and Rhea's son, like measure found;
So Jove usurping reign'd: these first in Crete
And Ida known; thence on the snowy top
Of cold Olympus rul'd the middle air,
Their highest heaven; or on the Delphian cliff,
Or in Dodona, and through all the bounds
Of Doric land; or who, with Saturn old,
Fled over Adria to the Hesperian fields,
And o'er the Celtic roam'd the utmost isles.*


All these and more came flocking, but with looks
Downcast and damp; 5 yet such wherein appear'd
Obscure some glimpse of joy, to have found their chief
Not in despair—to have found themselves not lost
In loss itself; which on his count'nance cast
Like doubtful hue: but he, his wonted pride
Soon recollecting, with high words, that bore
Semblance of worth, not substance, gently rais'd
Their fainting courage, and dispell'd their fears:
Then straight commands. that at the warlike sound
532 Of trumpets loud, and clarions, be uprear'd



what ought to be done." Then all the tribes of Israel leagued together, and demanded the surrender of the Gabaailes for punishment: but the Benjamites refused, and made common cause with the offenders. The result was a desolating war, at the close of which only six hundred Benjamites, who fled to the rocky wilderness of Remon, survived, all the towns having been burned to the ground. Then, to save the tribe from utter extinction, the Israelites provided these six hundred with wives from Jabesh of Gilead, beyond the Jordan, which bad not furnished troops to the confederate army.

1 Javan, fourth son of Japhct son of Noah, was the progenitor of the Ionians and Greeks. Ionia was the ancient name of Attica.

21. i. 420 : Ολυμπον αγαννίρον. xv. 192 : Ζευς δ' ελαχ' ουρανόν ευρύν εν αιθέρι και νεφελησει.

8 He alludes to the oracles of Apollo at Delphi, and of Jupiter at Dodona, a city and wood in Epirus.

I. e. over the Adriatic sea to Hesperia or Italy, thence to Gaul and the places possessed by the Celtic tribes, and thence to the remote British Islands.

5"Damp" means here dispirited, He also uses the word elsewhere, to express a similar idea. So xi. 541; v. 65; ix. 45.

6"Which" refers, in my opinion, not, as some commentators think, to "looks downcast and damp" alone, but to the words "wherein appeared some glimpse of joy" as well; as both together produced among Ihe angels a look of doubt, and cast a similar hue of doubt on his countenance: bin as it may mar his hope to exhibit this, he quickly assumed a courageous air and vaunting tone.

1 Fairy Queen, II. ix. 2:—" Full lively is the semblaunt though the substance dead." -<rA.)

• A "clarion" is a small shrill treble trumpet. Hume. Spenser uses them together: "With shawms (hautboys) and trumpets, and with clarions sweet."

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His mighty standard. That proud honour claim'd
Azazel' as his right, a cherub tall;

Who forthwith from the glitt'ring staff unfurl'd
Th' imperial ensign; which, full high advanc'd,
Shone like a meteor, streaming to the wind,'
With gems and golden lustre rich emblaz'd,--
Seraphic arms and trophies; all the while
Sonorous metal blowing martial sounds:
At which the universal host up sent

A shout, that tore hell's concave; and, beyond,
Frighted the reign of Chaos and old Night."

All in a moment through the gloom were seen
Ten thousand banners rise into the air,
With orient colours waving: 5 with them rose
A forest huge of spears; and thronging helms
Appear'd; and serried shields, in thick array,
Of depth immeasurable: anon they move
In perfect phalanx to the Dorian mood

l "Azazel," from the Hebrew At and Azel, signifies, brave in retreating; a proper appellation for the standard-bearer of the fallen angels.

1 The following passage of Gray has been quoted as an imitation of this:

"Loose bis beard, and hoary hair.

Streamed tike a meteor to the troubled air."

1 think the following passage in Campbell's "Pleasures of Hope" is much more appropriate :—

"Where Andes, giant of the western star.

With meteor standard to the wind unfurled.

Looks from bis throne of clouds o'er half tho world."

3 "Reign," from regnum, here means kingdom. So Spenser, Fairy Queen, II. vii. 21, has "Plutoc's griesly rayne;" and Pope, II. i. has "Pluto's gloomy reign."—(N.; T.) It is evident to me that Milton, in these noble descriptions, must have recollected the following passages. Virgil, Mn. ix. 504 :—

En. iii. 673

"At tuba terribllcm sonilum procul ære canoro
lncrepult, sequltur clamor, cœlumque remugit."
"Clamorem Immensum tollit quo ponlus et undæ
Intremuere omnes, penitusuuc exterrlla tellus
Italiæ, Incurvisquo Immugiit Ætna cavernis."

So Discord, in the beginning of the 11th book of the Iliad, when sent down from heaven "holding between her hands the portentous sign of war," when she lights at the Grecian encampment, sends forth a shout that resounds from shore to shore. So II. ii. 334.

Ως έφατ', Αργείοι δε μεγ' ιαχον, αμφι δε νηες
Σμερδαλέον κονάβησαν.

"Orient," beaming, as the rising sun. (See Gier. Liber, xx. 58, 29.) Mn. xi. 600:

Il. iv. 447 :

tum late ferrous haslls

Horret ager, camplquo armis sublimibus ardent."

Συν ρ' εβαλον ῥινους, συν δ' έγχεα, και μενες ανδρών
Χαλκεοθωρήκων; αταρ ασπίδες ομφαλόεσσαι

Επληντ' αλλήλησε.

6 Homer describes his warriors moving on In close phalanx, horrent with spear and shield. 11. iv. 281 :

Δηΐον ες πολεμον πυκιναι κινυντο φαλαγγες
Κυανέαι, σακέσιν τε και έγχεσι πεφρικνίας.


Of flutes, and soft recorders; such as rais'd
To height of noblest temper heroes old
Arming to battle; and, instead of rage,
Delib'rate valour breath'd, firm, and unmov'd
With dread of death to flight, or foul retreat;
Nor wanting power to mitigate and 'suage,

With solemn touches, troubled thoughts; and chase
Anguish, and doubt, and fear, and sorrow, and pain,
From mortal, or immortal minds. Thus they,
Breathing united force, with fixed thought
Mov'd on in silence' to soft pipes, that charm'd
Their painful steps o'er the burnt soil: and now,
Advanc'd in view, they stand; a horrid front 2
Of dreadful length, and dazzling arms! in guise
Of warriors old with order'd spear and shield;
Awaiting what command their mighty chief
Had to impose. He through the armed files
Darts his experienc'd eye, and soon traverse
The whole battalion views—their order due—
Their visages and stature as of gods-

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Their number last he sums. And now his heart
Distends with pride, and hard'ning in his strength
Glories for never, since created man,

(See after, of this book, 563—565.) The phalanx was a compact square body of infantry, used in the armies of Macedon, so close as to present one solid mass, and very formidable on even ground, but inferior to the Roman legion on uneven ground, where it was comparatively incapable of quick evolutions or steady action. The soldiers used immensely long spears, whence the name, some think (as Homer calls long poles or pikes phalanges), and held their shields closely locked and clasped together, or "serried," from the French serrer, to lock : some again derive phalanx from eλučεcy ayɩ, to approach closely.—The Boric measure of music was of a grave, majestic character. The judgment of Milton, says Greenwood, is very great here. When Satan's associates were bordering on despair, he commanded his standard to be at once upreared, and the clarions and trumpets to sound, in order to raise their courage; at which they sent up a tremendous shout of joy. But when it was necessary to mitigate this ardour, and they were to march steadily on, the musical instruments are changed for flutes and soft recorders to the Dorian mood, which composed them to a more cool and deliberate valour, so that they marched on in silence and linn union. Thucyd. v. 70, and Aul. Gel. i. 11, represent the Lacedæmonians, a Doric people, using these instruments as calculated to inspire them with a greater coolness of courage and steadiness of action. The Lydian measure was of a softening and melancholy character. So Dryden, Alexander's Feasti

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"Horrid," the same as "horrent," ii. 513, bristled.—Mn. iii. 23, densis hastilibus horrida myrtus.


3" Ordered," i. e. borne regularly, according to military regulation, as on parade. -(R.)

"Traverse," «. e. transversely, across.

Dan. v. 20: "His heart was lifted up, and hit mind hardened in pride."—(Gill.)


Met such embodied force, as, nam'd with these,
Could merit more than that small infantry
Warr'd on by cranes; though all the giant brood
Of Phlegra with th' heroic race were join'd
That fought at Thebes, and Ilium, on each side
Mix'd with auxiliar gods; and what resounds
In fable or romance of Uther's son
Begirt with British and Armoric knights;
And all who since, baptiz'd or infidel,
Jousted in Aspramont, or Montalban,
Damasco, or Marocco, or Trebisond;"
Or whom Biserta sent from Afric shore,
When Charlemain with all his peerage fell
By Fontarabbia. Thus far these beyond
Compare of mortal prowess yet observ'd
Their dread commander: he, above the rest
In shape and gesture proudly eminent,


Stood like a tow'r: his form had yet not lost

l All the heroes and armies that ever assembled would, if mentioned in comparison With these angels, be no more than pygmies. Pliny (Nat. Hist. vii. 2) places these pygmies beyond the Indian mountains, and about the source of the Ganges.—(N.) He says they were only three spans high, each span three quarters of a foot, measuring from the top of the thumb to that of the little linger. See Iliad iii. C, for the simile of their disastrous battle with the cranes.

» "Phlegra" was a city in Maccdon, where the giants were defeated through the aid of Hercules, when they attacked the gods. Other accounts represent this defeat as having taken place at Cumæ, in Italy.—"Thebes;" this refers to the famous war of the seven chiefs against Thebes, the capital of Basolia, in the contest between £teocles and Polynices, sons of OEdipus, for the throne, in which, as in the Trojan war, the warriors o? each side were aided by their own tutelar deities.—(N.)

3 King Arthur, the Briton, the son of Uther Pendragon, who flourished in the beginning of the fifth century, was celebrated for his exploits by Geoffrey of Monmouth, and other writers of romance. He was often in alliance with the king of Armorica, since called Brelagne, or Brittany, in France.—(N.)

The names of these places are written as they were in the stories of romance. Aspramont is said to be a town of the Netherlands, in the duchy of Limburg, south of Liege; Montalban, on the borders of Languedoc; Trebisond was a city of Cappadocia, in the lesser Asia: all these places are famous in romance for joustings, or single combats, between the Christians and Saracens.

» He alludes to the Saracens, who crossed over from Biserta, the ancient Utica, in Africa, to Spain. The Spanish historians, whom Milton here follows as more romantic, say tha Charlemagne, king of France, and emperor of Germany, undertook, about the year 800, a war against the Saracens of Spain, but was routed and slain at Fontarabbia, a strong town in the province of Biscay. But the French wrilcrs say that be was victorious, and died at home in peace.—(N.) It has been urged against Milton as a fault, that he was too fond of allusions to the stories of romance. But it has been answered, I think successfully, that his imagination was enlarged by this kind of reading, and his style and imagery rendered more striking by its application. The same objection may apply to bis use of mythological tales. Besides, he had the authority of Spenser, and the old Italian poets. He drew, for illustration, from every source, sacred, profane, and romantic. -(P.)

Though so immeasurably superior to all earthly heroes, yet they obeyed their venerated commander. This gives a lofty idea or Satan. Addison says there is not a passage in the whole poem worked up to a greater pitch of sublimity, than the following description and comparisons. Homer compare! AJax to a tower; but that comparison wants the imposing touches of this.

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