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His temple right against the temple of God On that opprobrious hill; and made his grove The pleasant valley of Hinnom, Tophet thence And black Gehenna call'd, the type of Hell. 405 Next, Chemos, the óbfcene dread of Moab's fons,
to Moloch on the mount of Olives, I. Kings xi. 7, which is therefore called "that opprobrious hill." NEWTON.
Tickell has thought proper to alter the text, by reading "the opprobrious hill." Fenton follows him. TODD.
Ver. 404. The pleafant valley of Hinnom, &c.] See Jeremiah vii. 31. It was called alfo Tophet from the Hebrew toph, a drum; drums, and fuch like noify inftruments, being used to drown the cries of the miferable children who were offered to this idol. And Gehenna, or the valley of Hinnom, is in feveral places of the New Teftament, and by our Saviour himfelf, made the name and " type of Hell." NEWTON.
the type of Hell.] In Sylvefter's Du Bartas, edit. 1621, p. 425, the witch of Endor is called the "hideous type of Hell." TODD.
Ver. 406. Next, Chemos, &c.] Moloch and Chemos are joined together, I. Kings xi. 7. And it was a natural transition from the god of the Ammonites to the god of their neighbours, the Moabites. St. Jerom, and several learned men, affert Chemos and Baal-Peor to be only different names for the fame idol; and fuppofe him to be the fame with Priapus, the idol of turpitude, and therefore here called "the obfcene dread of Moab's fons, from Aroer," a city upon the Arnon, the boundary of their country to the north," to Nebo," a city eastward," and the wild of fouthmost Abarim," a ridge of mountains, the boundary of their country to the fouth; "Hefebon and Horonaim," two cities of the Moabites, taken from them by Sihon, king of the Amorites, Numb. xxi. 26, "beyond Sibma," a place famous for vineyards, Jer. xlviii. 22, and Eleälé, another city of the Moabites, not far from Hefebon, " to the Afphaltick pool," the Dead Sea, (fo called from the Afphaltus, or bitumen, abounding in it) the boundary of the Moabites to the weft. The Ifraelites worshipped
From Aroer to Nebo, and the wild
Peor his other name, when he entic'd
Ifrael in Sittim, on their march from Nile,
this god in Sittim, and committed whoredom with the daughters of Moab; for which there died of the plague twenty and four thoufand, Numb. xxv. 9. His high places were adjoining to thofe of Moloch on the mount of Olives, therefore here called "that hill of fcandal," as before "that opprobrious hill;" for Solomon did alfo "build an high place for Chemofh," as well as for Moloch, I. Kings xi. 7: But Jofiah brake in pieces their images &c. II. Kings xxiii. 13, 14. NEWTON.
Ver. 417. luft hard by hate ;] What a fine moral fentiment has Milton here introduced and couched in half a verfe! He might perhaps have in view Spenfer's Mask of Cupid, where Anger, Strife, &c. are reprefented as immediately following Cupid in the proceffion. See Faery Qu. iii. xii. THYER.
The poet's moral is exactly verified in the incestuous and cruel conduct of Amnon towards Tamar; II. Sam. xiii. 15. “Then Amnon hated her exceedingly; fo that the hatred, wherewith he hated her, was greater than the love, wherewith he had loved her." The hemiftich is a fine commentary on the paffage. TODD. from the bordering flood
Of old Euphrates] It is rightly called old, being
Of old Euphrates to the brook that parts 420
mentioned by the oldest historian in the earliest accounts of time, Gen. ii. 14. And it is called the bordering flood, being the utmoft limit or border Eaftward of the Promifed Land, according to Gen. xv. 1'8. NEWTON.
the brook that parts
Egypt &c.] Moft probably the brook Befor, mentioned in Scripture, near Rhinocolura; which city is affigned fometimes to Syria, and sometimes to Egypt. NEWTON.
Ver. 422. Baälim and Afharoth,] They are frequenly named together in Scripture. They were the general names of the gods and goddeffes of Syria and Palestine. They are fuppofed to mean the Sun and the host of heaven. NEWTON.
Ver. 423. For Spirits, when they pleafe, &c.] Dr. Newton is of opinion, that Milton borrowed these notions about Spirits, from Michael Pfellus's dialogue, published in Greek and Latin at Paris in 1615, concerning the operations of Demons: in which it is afferted, that they can affume either fex, and take what shape and colour they pleafe, and contract or dilate themfelves at pleasure, as they are of an airy nature. It should be obferved, that these operations are recounted in Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy, a book familiar to Milton. The whimsical notions of Pfellus are alfo oppofed, in this book, by a hoft of grave confutations. See the chapter entitled, "A digreffion of diuels, and how they cause melancholy." It may be proper alfo to compare a passage in Wierus De Præftigiis Dæmonum, 1582, lib. i. cap. xiv. which affords a commentary both to Pfellus and to Milton: "Dæmones, licet fexu et propria lingua careant, corpus tamen illud aereum fibi conceffum, pro arbitrio velut nubes, vento flante, in varias formas mutant, contrahúntque, atque extendunt, quemadmodum lumbricis videtur accidere ob fubftantiam molliorem, ductúque facillimam: neque folùm magnitudine diverfitas in eis accidit, verùm etiam figuras coloréjque variant multiformes.--Sic tanquam vir apparet, et mox occurit ut fæmina." This was com
Can either fex affume, or both; fo foft
Dilated or condens'd, bright or obfcure,
For thofe the race of Ifrael oft forfook
municated by Marcus to Michael Pfellus. Dr. Drake and Mr. Dunfter refer to the Satanick transformations enumerated by Sylvefter, Du Bart. 1621, p. 187, &c. TODD.
With thefe in troop
Came Aftoreth, &c.] The goddefs of the Phanicians, under which name the moon was adored. She is rightly faid to come in troop with Afhtaroth, as fhe was one of them; the moon with the fars. She is called queen of heaven, Jcr. vii. 18, and goddess of the Zidonians, I. Kings xi. 5; as the was worshipped very much in Zidon or Sidon, a famous city of the Phænicians. Solomon, who had many wives that were foreigners, was prevailed upon by them to introduce the worthip of this goddess into Ifrael; and he built her temple on the mount of Olives, which, on account of this and other idols, is called the mountain of corruption, II. Kings xxiii. 13, as here, by the poet, the fenfive mountain. NEWTON.
To whofe bright image nightly by the moon 440
To idols foul. Thammuz came next behind,
Ver. 444. whofe heart though large,] I. Kings iv. 29. "And God gave Solomon largeness of heart." Milton uses the expreffion" large heart," Par. Reg. B. iii. 10. So Henry More in his Song of the Soul, 1642, Part 2d, p. 100.
"Large hearts deride
"This pent hypocrifie." TODD.
Ver. 446. Thammuz] He was the god of the Syrians, the fame with Adonis; who was faid to die every year and revive again. He was flain by a wild boar in Lebanon, from whence the river Adonis defcends: And when this river began to be of a reddish hue, as it did at a certain season of the year, this was their fignal for celebrating their feasts of Adonis; and the women made loud lamentations for him, fuppofing the river was difcoloured with his blood. The like idolatrous rites were transferred to Jerufalem, where Ezekiel faw the women lamenting Thammuz, Ezek. viii. 13, 14. NEWTON.
Ver. 447. Whofe annual wound &c.] Ovid, Met. x. 726. "repetitáque mortis imago
"Annua plangoris peraget fimulamina." HUME.