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Audacious neighborhood, the wisest heart
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 valley of Hinnom, Tophet thence
And black Gehenna call'd, the type of Hell.
Next Chemos, the obscene dread of Moab's sons,
From Aroar to Nebo, and the wild
Of southmost Abarim; in Hesebon
And Horonaim, Seon's realm, beyond

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The flowery dale of Sibma clad with vines;
And Eleälé to the 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
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, from the bordering 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; Not tied or manacled with joint or limb, Nor founded on the brittle strength of bones, Like cumbrous flesh: but, in what shape they choose, Dilated or condensed, bright or obscure, Can execute their airy purposes, And works of love or enmity fulfil. For those the race of Israel oft forsook Their living Strength, and unfrequented left His righteous altar, bowing lowly down To bestial gods; for which their heads as low Bow'd down in battle, sunk before the spear Of despicable foes. With these in troop Came Astoreth, whom the Phænicians call'd Astarte, queen of heaven, with crescent horns; To whose bright image nightly by the moon Sidonian virgins paid their vows and songs, In Sion also not unsung, where stood

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Her temple on the offensive mountain, built
By that uxorious king, whose heart, though large,
Beguiled by fair idolatresses, fell
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
Ran purple to the sea, supposed with blood
Of Thammuz yearly wounded: the love-ta.e
Infected Sion's daughters with like heat,
Whose wanton passions in the sacred porch
Ezekiel saw, when, by the vision led,
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,
Where he fell flat, and shared his worshippers;
Dagon his name, sea-monster, upward man
And downward fish : yet had his temple high
Reard in Azotus, dreaded through the coast
Of Palestine, in Gath and Ascalon,
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:
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
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
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,

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Likening tis Maker to the grazéd ox,
Jehovah, who in one night, when he pass'd
From Egypt marching, equall’d with one stroke
Both her first-born and all her bleating gods.
Belial came last, than whom a spirit more lewd
Fell not from Heaven, or more gross to love
Vice for itself: to him 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

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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
In Gibeah, when the hospitable door
Exposed a matron, to avoid worse rape.
These were the prime in order and in might; 506
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,
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
Of cold Olympus ruled the middle air,
Their highest heaven; or on the Delphian cliff, 517
Or in Dodona, and through all the bounds
Of Doric land; or who with Saturn old
Fled over Adria to the Hesperian fields,
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 In loss itself; which on his countenance cast Like doubtful hue: but he, his wonted pride Soon recollecting, with high words, that bore 528

Semblance of worth, not substance, gently raised
Their fainting courage, and dispell'd their fears.
Then straight commands that at the warlike sound
Of trumpets loud and clarions, be uprear'd
His mighty standard: that proud honor claim’d
Azazel as his right, a cherub tall;
Who forth with from the glittering staff unfurl'd
The imperial ensign, which, full high advanced,
Shone like a meteor, streaming to the wind,
With gems and golden lustre rich emblazed, 538
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 colors 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

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In perfect phalanx to the Dorian mood,
Of flutes and soft recorders; such as raised
To height of noblest temper heroes old
Arming to battle; and, instead of rage,
Deliberate valor 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 fixéd thought
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,
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 statures as of gods;
Their number last he sums. And now his heart 571

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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
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,
Begirt with British and Armoric knights;

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And all who since, baptized or infidel,
Jousted in Aspramont or Montalban,
Damasco, or Marocco, or Trebisond;
Or whom Biserta sent from Afric shore,
When Charlemagne with all his peerage fell
By Fontarabia. Thus far these beyond
Compare of mortal prowess, yet observed
Their dread commander: he, above the rest
In shape and gesture proudly eminent,
Stood like a tower his form had not yet lost 5
All her original brightness, nor appear'd

592 Less than archangel ruin'd, and the excess Of glory obscured; as when the sun, new risen, Looks through the horizontal misty air, 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 Deep scars of thunder had intrench'd, and care Sat on his faded cheek, but under brows Of dauntless courage, and considerate pride,

603 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 Forever now to have their lot in pain, Millions of spirits for his fault amerced Of Heaven, and from eternal splendors flung For his revolt, yet faithful how they stood, Their glory wither’d: as when Heaven's fire Hatlı scathed the forest oaks, or mountain pines, With singéd top their stately growth, though bare, 614

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