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Doubled that sin in Bethel, and in Dan,
Likening his Maker to the grazed ox,
Jehovah, who, in one night, when he passed
From Egypt marching, equalled with one stroke
Both her first-born and all her bleating gods.
Belial came last, than whoin a spirit more lewd
Fell not from Heaven, or more gross to love
Vice for itself. To him no temple stood,
Or altar smoked; yet who more oft than he
In temples and at altars, when the priest
Turns atheist, as did Eli's sons, who filled
With lust and violence the house of God?
In courts and palaces he also reigns,
And in luxurious cities, where the noise
Of riot ascends above their loftiest towers,
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, and that night





487. “For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the first born in the land of Egypt, both man and beast and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the Lord." Exod. xii. 12

488. Equalled, i. e., made them equal. I suppose this to be the meaning here, although Milton generally uses the word as in i. 248.

490. Belial was not a heathen deity, i. 492. The Hebrew word means worthlessness. Later it became a sort of type of evil as in 2 Cor. vi. 15.

495. Eli's sons. Eli was a priest of the Lord whom we remember chiefly by the story of Samuel. His sons 66 were sons of Belial; they knew not the Lord." 1 Sam. ii. 12.

500-502. Milton had perhaps in mind the wild young men of fashion who harried the streets of London after their revels. They went by different names: the Tityre-Tu's appear as early as 1641; the Mohocks as late as Queen Anne's day.

502. Flown, flushed.

503. Sodom, the most notorious of the five cities of the plain. Gen. xviii.-xix.

In Gibeah, when the hospitable door
Exposed a matron to avoid worse rape.

These were the prime in order and in might:
The rest were long to tell, though far renowned,
The Ionian gods-of Javan's issue held
Gods, yet confessed later than Heaven and Earth,
Their boasted parents-Titan, Heaven's first-born,
With his enormous brood, and birthright seized
By younger Saturn; he from mightier Jove,
His own and Rhea's son, like measure found;
So Jove usurping reigned. These first in Crete
And Ida known; thence on the snowy top
Of cold Olympus ruled 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,


518. Dodona, the oracle of Zeus or Jove; it was in Epirus. 520. Adria, the Adriatic Sea.




504. Gibeah. Judges xix.-xx.

506. Prime, first, chief.

508. The Greek people were divided into three families, the Ionian, the Dorian (i. 519) and the Eolian. Of these the first being best known, to the Asiatics at least, stand for all. The Ionians were fabled to descend from Ion, whose name has been identified with Javan, the son of Japhet. Gen. x. 2.

Of Javan's issue, by Javan's issue considered to be gods.

509. Heaven and Earth, the parents of Saturn and Rhea, who dispossessed them of their power. They and the other Titans were in turn dispossessed by Jupiter or Jove and the later family of gods. 510. Titan. See the note to 1. 198.

515. Ida and Olympus, mountains, the former in Crete, the other in Thessaly, famous both in Greek mythology, especially the latter, which was the home of the gods.

517. Delphi, the oracle of Apollo, on the southern slope of Mount Parnassus.

Hesperian fields; Italy, where according to the traditions of Latin literature, Saturn, being cast out by Jupiter, had established his kingdom and an age of gold.

And o'er the Celtic roamed the utmost isles.


All these and more came flocking; but with looks
Downcast and damp, yet such wherein appeared
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 countenance cast
Like doubtful hue. But he, his wonted pride
Soon recollecting, with high words, that bore
Semblance of worth, not substance, gently raised
Their fainting courage, and dispelled their fears:
Then straight commands, that at the warlike sound
Of trumpets loud and clarions, be upreared
His mighty standard. That proud honour claimed
Azazel as his right, a Cherub tall:

Who forthwith from the glittering staff unfurled
The imperial ensign, which, full high advanced,
Shone like a meteor, streaming to the wind,
With gems and golden lustre rich emblazed,
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: with them rose
A forest huge of spears; and thronging helms
Appeared, and serried shields in thick array


543. Chaos and old Night. See ii. 960-962.

546, Orient, Eastern, i. e., the colors of sunrise.




521. O'er the Celtic, probably alludes to France, as utmost isles to the British Isles.

523. Damp. Damped, we should say.

526, 527. Cast like doubtful hue; i. e., at first their downcast appearance discouraged Satan.

534. A Cherub tall. The Cherubim were of second rank in the angelic host. See Introd., p. xxxiv.

542. Concave, the vault of hell.

Of depth immeasurable. Anon they move
In perfect phalanx to the Dorian mood
Of flutes and soft recorders; such as raised
To highth of noblest temper heroes old
Arming to battle, and, instead of rage,
Deliberate valour breathed, firm and unmoved
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 fixèd thought,
Moved on in silence to soft pipes, that charmed
Their painful steps o'er the burnt soil: and now,
Advanced in view, they stand, a horrid front
Of dreadful length and dazzling arms, in guise
Of warriors old with ordered spear and shield,
Awaiting what command their mighty chief
Had to impose. He through the armèd files
Darts his experienced eye, and soon traverse
The whole battalion views, their order due,
Their visages and stature as of gods;
Their number last he sums. And now his heart
Distends with pride, and hardening in his strength
Glories for never, since created man,
Met such embodied force as named with these
Could merit more than that small infantry

556. 'Suage, assuage.

568. Traverse, across.







550. Dorian mood. The Spartans were the chief Dorian people, famous for their prowess in war and for their severe discipline of life. Their music was like their national character.

573-576. For never after the creation of man, was collected together a force which, compared to these, would seem more than pygmies.

575. The battles of the Pygmies and the Cranes was the subject of one of the poems attributed to Homer.

Warred on by cranes; though all the giant brood
Of Phlegra with the heroic race were joined
That fought at Thebes and Ilium, on each side
Mixed with auxiliar gods; and what resounds
In fable or romance of Uther's son,
Begirt with British and Armoric knights;
And all who since, baptised 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




577. Phlegra, in Macedon. For the giant brood see note on i. 198. 578. Thebes and Ilium. The war of the Seven against Thebes and the Trojan war (Ilium was another name for Troy) are famous in Greek litera ure. Not only did the heroes do battle, but the gods themselves took sides and aided their favourites.

580. Uther's son, King Arthur. Read The Coming of Arthur, in Tennyson's Idylls of the King.

581. Armoric. The old inhabitants of Brittany (Armorica) were a Celtic people akin to the ancient British.

582. Baptised or infidel. Christian or Saracen, as in the Crusades and the legends developing from them.

583-587. As to Milton's use of geographical names see Introd., p. xlvii.

583. Aspramont was in southern France, the scene of certain exploits of the Paladin Orlando.

Montalban was the castle of Rinaldo in Languedoc.

584. Damasco, or Marocco. Milton probably had in mind the Crusades and the Spanish wars with the Moors. Trebisond was an Eastern empire south of the Black Sea, a great favourite of the old


585-587. Charles the Great of France, although a historical personage, was almost as great in romance as King Arthur. The legends relate that Agramant, King of Africa, preparing to invade Christendom, gathered a great army at Biserta, whence he marched into Spain. At Roncesvalles he came up with the retreating rear guard of Charlemagne's army under Orlando or Roland and destroyed it, Charlemagne himself being a considerable distance in advance. So the story is usually told, the latter part, at least, having some historic basis. Why Milton varies from this version is not known. Fontarabbia was at some distance from Roncesvalles.

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