صور الصفحة
PDF

From Aroer to Nebo, and the wild

Of southmost Abarim: in Hesebon

And Horonaim, Seon's realm, beyond

The flowery dale of Sibma elad with vines, 410

And Eleale, to the Asphaltie pool;

Peor his other name, when he entieed

Israel in Sittim, on their mareh from Nile,

To do him wanton rites, whieh eost them woe.

Yet thenee his lustful orgies he enlarged 415

Ev'n to that hill of seandal, by the grove

Of Moloeh homieide, lust hard by hate;

Till good Josiah drove them thenee to hell,

With these eame they, who, from the bordering flood

Of old Euphrates to the brook that parts 430

^Egypt from Syrian ground, had general names

Of Baalim and Ashtaroth, those male,

These feminine: for spirits, when they please,

Can either sex assume, or both; so soft

And uneompounded is their essenee pure; 420

Not tied or manaeled with joint or limb,

Nor founded on the brittle strength of bones,

Like eumbrous flesh; but in what shape they ehoose,

Dilated or eondensed, bright or obseure,

Can exeeute their aery purposes, 430

And works of love or enmity fulfil,

For those the raee of Israel oft forsook

Their Living Strength, and unfrequented left

His righteous altar, bowing lowly down

To bestial gods; for whieh their heads as low *ss

Bow'd down in battel, sunk before the spear

Of despieable foes. With these in troop

Came Astoreth, whom the Phoenieians eall'd

Astarto, queen of heaven, with ereseent horns;

To whose bright image nightly by the moon 440

Sidoniau virgins paid their vows and songs;

In Sion also not unsung, where stood

Arrwr is a town on the north side of the river Arnon: Aharim a ridge of mounTm:l- east of the northern part of the Dead .8ea and the lower Jordan, from one of the highest peaks of whieh, Mount Nebo, Muses surveyed the promised land. Hrtrbtm or Iasum is a eity of the Moahites taken from them by 8ibon king of the A,nonites; Numh.xxi.20. /Turonatm, another eity of the Moabites. mentioned ln lsaiah xv. 5. and Jee. xiviii. 3, 0, 8)bM, near Hethlxm. )isaiah xvi. 8,l was famous for Rs vineyards. EteiiU a iittle town north of Hrxl,ban. The Asphaltie pool is the Dead 8ea, so ealled from the Asphaltus or bitumen ahaunding in it. 8Rtim lmentioned in Numi)ers xxv. 11 la where the lsraeiites formed their last eneampment before erossing the Jordan. For the other name of Chtmot; namely,

Baal-pear; see Numb. xxv. 3. The hiil af seandal, the st,me as that opprohrious hiii.

417. Lust hard by hate, "What a fine moral sentiment has Miiton hero introdueed, and eouehed in half a verse."— Tbtkr. "The poet's moral is exaetly verified in the ineestuons and ernel eonduet of Amnon towards Tamar; 2 8am. xiii. 15. The hendstieh is a fine eommentary on the passage."—Toun.

422. Baalim and Asblaroth were the general names of the geds and geddesses of 8yria and Palestine: they are supposed to mean the sun and the host of heaven.

438. Aslortib was the geddess of the Ph'Vnieians, and under whose name the moon was adored. 8olo)nou buiit her a temple on the mount of Oiives, henee ealled the offensire mountain. 2 Ring* xxiii. 13.

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 eame next behind.

Whose aunual 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 roek 450

Ran purple to the sea, supposed with blood

Of Thammuz yearly wounded: the love-tale

Infeeted Sion's daughters with like heat;

Whose wanton passions in the saered poreh

Ezekiel saw, when, by the vision led, 4i5

His eye survey'd the dark idolatries

Of alienated Judith. Next eame ono

Who mourn'd in earnest, when the eaptive ark

Maim'd his brute image, head and hands lopt off

In his own temple, on the grunsel edge, 480

Where he fell flat, and shamed his worshippers:

Dagon his name; sea monster, upward man

And downward fish: yet had his temple high

Reared in Azotus, dreaded through the eoast

Of Palestine, in Gath, and Asealon, 400

And Aeearon and Gaza's frontier bounds.

Him follow'd Rimmon, whose delightful seat

Was fair Damaseus, on the fertile banks

Of Abbana and Pharphar, lueid streams.

Ho also against the house of God was bold: 470

A leper onee he lost, and gain'd a king;

Ahaz his sottish eonquerour, whom he drew

God's altar to disparage, and displaee,

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 erew, who under names of old renown,

Osiris, Isis, Orus, and their train,

With monstrous shapes and soreeries abused

Fanatie iEgypt and her priests, to seek 480

Their wandering gods disguised in brutish forms

Rather than human. Nor did Israel 'seape

The infeetion, when their borrow'd gold eomposed

The ealf in Oreb; and the rebel king

444. "And Ged gave 8olomon largeness of heart."—1 Rings iv. 20.

440. "Thammuz was the ged of the 8yrians, the same with Adonis, who was said to die every year, and revive again. He was slain by a wiid boar in Lehanon, whenee the river Adonis deseends: and when, at a eertain season of the year, this river began to be of a reddish hoe, the feasts of Adonis were eelebrated by the women,—the women made lond la

mentations for him."—NEWtolz. 8ee Ezek. viii. 12-18.

457. Sert eame tmt., For this ged of the Phiiistines, see Jndges xvi. 23; 1 8am. v. 4. GruntH, or groundstl sdge,—the edge of the foot-post of his temple ).-ate.

407. Rimmon was a ged of the 8yrians; see 2 Rings v. 18. observe the aeeent of Abhana is on the first syllable, and not on the seeond, as it is often ndspronouneed. For the aeeount of Nasman, see 2 Rings v.

400

[ocr errors]

Doubled that sin in Bethel and in Dan, 4n0
Likening his Maker to the grazed ox;
Jehovah, who in one night, when he pass'd
From .,35gypt marehing, equal'd with one stroke
Both her lirst-born and all her bleating gods.
Belial eame last, than whom a spirit more lewd 400
Fell not from heaven, or more gross to love
Viee 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
With lust and violenee the house of God?
In eourts and palaees he also reigns,
And in luxurious eities, where the noise
Of riot aseends above their loftiest towers,
And injury, and outrage: and when night
Darkens the streets, then wander forth the sons
Of Belial, flown with insolenee and wine.
Wituess the streets of Sodom, and that night
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 renown'd,
The Ionian gods, of Javan's issue, held
Gods, yet eonfess'd 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 reign'd: these first in Crete
And Ida known; thenee on the snowy top
Of eold Olympus ruled the middle air,
Their highest heaven; or on the Delphian eliff,
Or in Dodoua, and through all the bounds
Of Dorie land; or who with Saturn old
Fled over Adria to the Hesperian fields,
And o'er the Celtie roam'd the utmost isles.

All these and more eame floeking, but with looks
Downeast and damp; yet sueh wherein appear'd
Obseure some glimpse of joy, to have found their ehief
Not in despair, to have found themselves not lost 025
In loss itself; whieh on his eountenanee east
Like doubtful hue: but he, his wonted pride
Soon reeolleeting, with high words, that boro
Semblanee of worth, not substanee, gently raised

sio

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

485. Doubted. 8ee 1 Rings xii. 28, 28. For an aeeount of the Passover, see Exodus xii. 11 and following,

002. Flown, in the sense of fiushed.

508. Javun, the fourth son of Japhet, prohably settled in the western eoast of Asia Minor; henee, with eomo eorrnptton, the name 1onis.

510. Done land. That is, Greeee. Adria: the Adriatie. Hesperian fields: ltaly. Celtie: Franee, peopled in part by the Celts. l'tmost istet: Britain, lreland, and the adjaeent islumK

028. Rewliseting, that is, re-eolleeting,

Their fainted eourage, and dispell'd their fears: 530

Then straight eommands, that at the warlike sound

Of trumpets loud and elarions, be uprear'd

His mighty standard: that proud honour elaim'd

Azazel as his right, a eherub tall;

Who forthwith lrom the glittering 8taff unfurl'd 030

The imperial ensign, whieh, full high advaneed,

Shone like a meteor, streaming to the wind,

With gems and golden lustre rieh imblazed,

Seraphie arms and trophies: all the while

Sonorous metal blowing martial sounds: 040

At whieh the universal host up sent

A shout that tore hell's eoneave, and beyond

Frighted the reign of Chaos and old Night.

All in a moment through the gloom were seen

Ten thousand bauners rise into the air 040

With orient eolours waving: with them rose

A forest huge of spears; and thronging helms

Appear'd, and serried shields in thiek array

Of depth immeasurable: anon they move

In perfeet phalanx to the Dorian mood 000

Of flutes and soft reeorders; sueh as raised

To highth of noblest temper heroes old

Arming to battel; and, instead of rage,

Deliberate valor breathed, firm, and unmoved

With dread of death to flight or foul retreat; 000

Nor wanting power to mitigate and 'suage

With solemn touehes troubled thoughts, and ehase

Anguish, and doubt, and fear, and sorrow, and pain,

From mortal or immortal minds. Thus they,

Breathing united foree, with fixed thought, 000

Moved on in silenee to soft pipes, that eharm'd

Their painful steps o'er the burnt soil: and now

Advaneed in view they stand, a horrid front

Of dreadful length and dazzling arms, in guise

Of warriours old with order'd spear and shield, 508

Awaiting what eommand their mighty ehief

Had to impose: he through the armed files

Darts his experieneed eye, and soon traverse

The whole battalion views; their order due,

Their visages and stature as of gods; 070

Their number last he sums. And now his heart

Distends with pride, and, hardening in his strength,

Glories; for never, sinee ereated man,

Met sueh imbodied foree, as named with these

[merged small][ocr errors]

Could merit more than that small infantry 575

Warr'd )in by eranes; though all the giant brood

Of Phlegra with the heroie raee were join'd

That fought at Thebes and Ilinm, on eaeh side

Mix'd with auxiliar gods; and what resounds

In fable or romanee of Uther's son, 580

Begirt with British and Armorie knights;

And all who sinee, baptized or infidel,

Jousted in Aspramont or Montalban,

Damaseo, or Moroeeo, or Trebisond,

Or whom Biserta sent from Afrie shore, 085

When Charlemain with all his peerage fell

By Fontarabia. Thus far these beyond

Compare of mortal prowess, yet observed

Their dread eommander: he, above the rest

In shape and gesture proudly eminent, 000

Stood like a tower: his form had yet not lost

All her original brightness, nor appear'd

Less than arehangel ruin'd, and the exeess

Of glory obseured: as when the sun new-risen

Looks through the horizontal misty air, s08

Shorn of his beams; or from behind the moon,

In dim eelipse, disastrous twilight sheds

On half the nations, and with fear of ehange

Perplexes monarehs: darken'd so, yet shone

Above them all the Arehangel: but his faee two

Deep sears of thunder had intreneh'd, and eare

Sat on his faded eheek: but under brows

Of dauntless eourage, and eonsiderate pride

Waiting revenge: eruel his eye, but east

Signs of remorse and passion, to behold 000

The fellows of his erime, the followers rather,

(Far other onee beheld in bliss,) eondemn'd

For ever now to have their lot in pain;

Millions of spirits for his fault amereed

Of heaven, and from eternal splendours flung 010

For his revolt; yet faithful how they stood,

Their glory wither'd. As when heaven's fire

Hath seathed the forest oaks or mountain pines,

575. That is, nii the heroes and armies that ever assembletl, were no more thau pygndes eompared to these.

577. t'hlrgrs. The peninsula of Pal-j lene in Mamloniu. is said tv, have aneiently borne this name, and to have; wiInessed the eonfliet between the geds | and the earth-born Titans.—See Cramer's Greeee, i. p. 244.

580. Uiber's eon. Ring Arthur, son of 1'tl,er l'endragon. who was often in aliianee with the king of Armoricl, sinee ealled Bretagne. Aspramtmt or Montalhan: romantie namesof plaees mentioned in Orlando Furiose. Biserta: the aneient name of Utjea. Fbntarabia: a strong

town in Biseay, at the entranee into 8pain, and esteemed the key of the kingdom.

580. He afore the rrtt. This is one of the most subiime deseriptions of this most sublime of poets.

504. As when the sun. "Few poetieal images ean be finer than this, or more beautifully expressed. The preeision with whieh the langnage is deiineated, is ineomparable."—Iirtdoes.

507. Ditastrous twiiigld. Allnding to the popular superstition, that an eeiipse is the preeursor of war or some other national ealandty.

« السابقةمتابعة »