صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

Their Living Strength, and unfrequented left
His righteous altar, bowing lowly down
To bestial Gods ; for which their heads as low 435
Bow'd down in battle, sunk before the spear
Of despicable foes. With these in troop
Came Astoreth, whom the Phænicians callid
Astarté, queen of Heaven, with crescent horns
To whose bright image nightly by the moon 440
Sidonian virgins paid their vows and songs;
In Sion also not unsung, where stood
Her temple on the offensive mountain, built
By that uxorious king, whose heart, though large,
Beguiled by fair idolatresses, fell

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 Of Palestine, in Gath and Ascalon,

465 And Accaron and Gaza's frontier bounds. Him follow'd Rimmon, whose delightful seat Was fair Damascus, on tl... fertile banks Of Abbana and Pharphar, lucid streams. He also against the house of God was bold : 470

A leper once he lost, and gain'd a king ;
Ahaz, his sottish conqueror, 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, Isis, 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 The 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, equal'd 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 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 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

hen night

500 Darkens the streets, then wander forth the sons Of Belial, flown with insolence and wine. Witness the streets of Sodom, and that night In Gibeah, when the hospitable door Exposed a matron, to avoid worse rape.

505 These were the prime in order, and in might; The rest were long to tell, though far renown'd, The Ionian Gods, of Javan's issue; held

Gods, yet confess'd later than Heaven and Earth,
Their boasted parents : Titan, Heaven's first-born,510
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 reign'd: these first in Crete
And Ida known, thence on the snowy top 515
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,

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 soine glimpse of joy, to have found their Chief Not in despair, to have found themselves not lost 525 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 dispend 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 535 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:

540 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

545 With orient colours waving with them rose

A forest huge of spears; and thronging helms
Appeard, and serried shields in thick array
Of depth immeasurable : Anon they move
In perfect phalanx to the Dorian mood

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 breathed, 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 ; 565
Awaiting what command their mighty Chief
Had to impose : He tlirough 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 nuinber last he sums. And now his leart Distends with pride, and hardening in his strength Glories : for never, since created man, Met such imbodied force, as named with these Could merit more than that small infantry 575 Warr'd on by cranes; though all the giant brood Of Phlegra with the 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

580 Begirt with British and Armoric knights; And all who since, haptized or infidel, Jousted in Aspramont, or Montalban, Damasco, or Marocco, or Trebisond,

Or whom Biserta sent from Afric shore,

585 When Charlemain with all his peerage fell By Fontarabbia. Thus far these beyond Compare of inortal prowess, yet observed Their dread Commander; lie, above the rest In shape and gesture proudly eminent,

590 Stood like a tower : his form had yet not lost All her original brightness ; nor appear'd Less than Archangel ruin'd, and the excess Of glory obscured : as when the sun, new risen, Looks through the horizontal misty air

595 Shorn of his beams; or from behind the moon, In dim eclipse, disastrous twilight sheds On half the nations, and with fear of change Perplexes monarchs. Darken'd so, yet shone Above them all the Archangel: but his face

600 Deep scars of thunder had intrench'd; and care Sat on his faded cheek, but under brows Of dauntless courage, and considerate pride Waiting revenge: cruel his eye, but cast Signs of remorse and passion, to behold The fellows of his crime, the followers rather (Far other once beheld in bliss), condemn'd For ever now to liave their lot in pain; Millions of Spirits for his fault amerced Of Heaven, and from eternal splendours flung 610 For his revolt; yet faithful how they stood, Their glory wither'd: as when Heaven's fire Hath scathed the forest oaks, or mountain pine ; With singed top their stately growih, though bare, Stands on the blasted heath. He now prepared 615 To speak; whereat their doubled ranks they bend From wing to wing, and half enclose him round With all his peers: Attention held them mute. Thrice he essay'd, and thrice, in spite of scorn, Tears, such as Angels weep, burst forth : at last 620 Words, interwove with sighs, found out their way.

O Myriads of immortal Spirits! O Powers

605

« السابقةمتابعة »