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Their children's cries unheard, that pass'd thro' fire To his grim idol. Him the Ammonite
398 Worshipp'd in Rabba and her wat’ry plain, In Argob and in Basan, to the stream Of utmost Arnon. Nor content with such Audacious neighbourhood, the wisest heart 400 Of Solomon he led by fraud to build His temple right against the temple' of God, On that opprobrious hill; and made his grove The pleasant vale of Hinnom, Tophet thence And black Gehenna call'd, the type of Hell. 405 Next Chemos, th' obscene dread of Moab's sons, From Aroar to Nebo, and the wild Of southmost Abarim; in Hesebon And Horonaim, Seon's realm, beyond The flowery dale of Sibma clad with vines,
410 And Eleälé to th’ Asphaltic pool. Peor his other name, when he enticed Israel in Sittim, on their march from Nile, To do him wanton rites, which cost them woe. Yet thence his lustful orgies he enlarged
415 E’en to that hill of scandal, by the grove Of Moloch homicide ; lust hard by hate; Till good Josiah drove them thence to Hell. With these came they, who, froin the bord’ring flood Of old Euphrates to the brook that parts
420 Egypt from Syrian ground, had general names Of Baälim and Ashtaroth ; those male, These feminine: for spirits, when they please, Can either sex assume, or both; so soft And uncompounded is their essence pure 425 Not tied nor manacled with joint or limb; Nor founded on the brittle strength of bones, Like cumbrous flesh; but, in what shape they choose
406. Chemosh is thus mentioned next to Moloch because their names are united in Scripture, see 1 Kings xi. 7. This idol is supposed to be the same with Baal-Peor and with Priapus, see also Numbers xxv. 2 Kings xxiii.
417. The figure contained in this verse conveys a strong moral truth. Had it not been, however, that the music of the verse would have been injured, the idea would have been more correct by the transposition of the words lust and hate.-See Faery Queen, B. 3. Can. i 2.
422. The Gods of Syria, Palestine, &c. 428. Speculations about the nature of spirits were a favourite amusement with learned men a few centuries back. Milton doubt
Dilated or condensed, bright or obscure,
445 To idols foul. Thammuz came next behind, Whose annual wound in Lebanon allured The Syrian damsels to lament his fate In amorous ditties all a summer's day; While smooth Adonis from his native rock 450 Ran purple to the sea, supposed with blood Of Thammuz yearly wounded: the love-tale Infected Sion's daughters with like heat; Whose wanton passions in the sacred porch Ezekiel saw, when by the vision led,
455 His eye survey'd the dark idolatries Of alienated Judah. Next came one Who mourn'd in earnest, when the captive ark Maim'd his brute image, head and hands lopp'd off In his own temple, on the grunsel edge,
460 Where he fell flat, and shamed his worshippers : Dagon his name, sea-monster, upward man And downward fish: yet had his temple high Rear'd in Azotus, dreaded through the coast less partook in the interest. The work from which he is supposed to have taken most was by Psellus, an author who composed a dialogue on the subject.
438. For mention of this idol, see Jeremiah vii. 18. xliv. 17, 18. also 1 Kings xi. 5. 2 Kings xxiii. 13.
446. Thammuz, or Adonis, was the god of the Syrians. He was slain by a bear on mount Lebanon, from which the river of the vame name descended.
462. For the explanation of this passage, see i Sam. v. 4. vi, 17.
Of Palestine, in Gath and Ascalon,
406 And Accaron and Gaza's frontier bounds. Him follow'd Rimmon, whose delightful seat Was fair Damascus, on the fertile banks Of Abbana and Pharphar, lucid streams. He also 'gainst the house of God was bold : 470 A leper once he lust, and gain'd a king ; 'Ahaz his sottish conqu’ror, whom he drew God's altar to disparage and displace For one of Syrian mode, whereon to burn His odious offerings, and adore the gods
475 Whom he had vanquish’d. After these appear'd A crew, who, under names of old renown, Osiris, Iris, Orus, and their train, With monstrous shapes and sorceries abused Fanatic Egypt and her priests, to seek
480 Their wandering gods disguised in brutish forms Rather than human. Nor did Israel 'scape Th' infection, when their borrow'd gold composed The calf in Oreb; and the rebel king Doubled that sin in Bethel and in Dan,
485 Likening his Maker to the grazed ox; Jehovah, who in one night when he pass'd From Egypt marching, equallid with one stroke Both her first-born, and all her bleating gods. Belial came last, than whom a spirit more lewd 490 Fell not from heaven, or more gross to love Vice for itself: to whom no temple stood, Nor altar smoked; yet who more oft than he In temples and at altars, when the priest Turns atheist, as did Eli's sons, who fill'd 495 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 500 Darkens the streets, then wander forth the sons
467. Rimmon was a god of the Syrians. The leper mentioned was Naaman, spe 2 Kings v.
178. The principal deities of the Ægyptians.
190. Belial and 'Moloch have situations awarded them according to their characters; the one last because the most slothful, thua other first because the most violent.
Of Belial, flown with insolence and wine.
515 Of cold Olympus, ruled the middle air, Their highest heav'n; 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 th' Hesperian fields,
520 And o'er the Celtic roam'd the utmost isles.
All these and more came flocking; but with looks Downcast and damp; yet such wherein appear'd Obscure some glimpse of joy, to have found their
chief Not in despair, to have found themselves not lost 525 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 raised Their fainting courage, and dispell’d their fears. 530 Then straight commands, that at the warlike sound Of trumpets loud and clarions be uprear'd His mighty standard ; that proud honour claim'd Azazel as his right, a cherub tall ; Who forth with from the glittering staff unfurl'd 533 Th' imperial ensign; which, full high advanced, Shone like a meteor, streaming to the wind,
502. Blown has been proposed as another reading.
508. From Javan were descended the Jonians and Grecians, among whom arose the gods of the later mythology.
530. Their fainted courage in the first edition.
334. Azazel, according to its derivation, means brave in re. treating. The description in this passage is remarkably mag nificent
With gems and golden lustre rich emblazed
550 Of flutes and soft recorders; such as raised To height of noblest temper heroes old Arming to battle ; and instead of rage Deliberate valour breath'd, firm and unmoved With dread of death to flight or foul retreat : 555 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, 560 Moved on in silence, to soft pipes, that charm'd 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 order'd spear and shield, 560 Awaiting what command their mighty chief Had to impose: he through the armed files Darts his experienced eye, and soon traverse The whole battalion views, their order due, Their visages and stature as of gods :
570 Their number last he sums. And now his heart Distends with pride, and hardening in his strength Glories; for never since created man Met suc embodied force, as, named with these, Could merit more than that small infantry 575 Warr'd on by cranes : though all the giant brood
543 Reign used like the Latin regnum, for kingdom. 550. There were three kinds of music among the ancients. The Lydian, the most melancholy; the Phrygian, the most lively; and the Dorian, the most majestic. Milton has been very exact in employing music fit for each particular purpose.