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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 Phoenicians callà
Astarte, queen of Heav'n, with crescent horns ;
To whose bright image nightly by the moon
Sidonian virgins paid their vows and songs,
Iu Sion also not unsung, where stood
Her temple on th' offensive mountain, built
By that uxorious king, whose heart, though large,
Beguil'd by fair idolatresses, fell
To idols foul. Thammuz came next behind,
Whose annual wound in Lebanon allur'd
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, suppos’d 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,
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 topt off
In his own temple, on the grunsel edge,
Where he fell flat, and sham'd 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,
And Accaron and Gaza's frontier bounds.
Him follow'd Rimmon, whose delightful seat
Was fair Damascus, on the fertile banks
Of Abhana and Pharphar, lucid streams.
He also' against the house of God was bold.
A leper once he lost, and gain’d a king,

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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
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 abus’d
Fanatic Egypt and her priests, to seek
Their wand'ring Gods, disguis'd in brutish forms
Rather than human. Nor did Israel 'scape
Th’ infection, when their horrow'd gold compos’d
The calf in Oreb; and the rebel king
Doubled that sin in Bethel and in Dan,
Likening his Maker to the grazed ox, sir
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.
Pelial came last, than whom a Spi'rit more lewd
Fell not from Heaven, or more gross to love
Vice for itself: to him no temple stood,
Nor altar smok'd; 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 violence the house of God?
In courts and palaces he also reigns,
And in luxurious cities, where the noise
Of ri’ot 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
Expos’d 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;
Th’lonian Gods, of Javan's issue held

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Gods, yet confess'd later than Heav'n and Earth;
Their boasted parents : Titan, Heav'n's first-born,
With his enormous brood, and birthright seiz'd
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 rul'd 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,
And o'er the Celtic roam'd the utmost isles.

All these and more came flocking; but with looks
Down cast 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 count'nance cast
Like doubtful hue: but he, his wonted pride
Soon recollecting, with high words, that bore
Semblance of worth, not substance, gently rais'd
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 honour claim'd
Azazel as his right, a Cheruh tall;
Who forthwith from the glittring staff unfurl'd
Th’imperial ensign, which, full high advanc'd,
Shone like a meteor streaming to the wind,
With gems and golden lustre rich emblaz'd,
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,

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With orient colours waving; with them rose
A forest huge of spears, and thronging helms
Appear’d, and serried shields in thick array, s 'ins
Of depth immeasurable : anon they move
In perfect phalanx to the Dorian mood
Of flutes and soft recorders; such as rais'd
To height of noblest temper heroes old
Arming to battle ; and, instead of rage,
Deliberate valour breath’d, firm and unmov'd
With dread of death, to flight or foul relreat ; ,
Nor wanting pow'r to mitigate and swage, het
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
Mov'd on in silence to soft pipes, that charm'd
Their painful steps o'er the burnt soil; and now
Advanc'd 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 experienc'd eye, and soon traverse
The whole battalion views, their order due,
Their visages and statures as of Gods,

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Their number last he sums. And now his heart
Distends with pride, and, hard’ning, in his strength 1 we
Glories: for never since created man
Met such embodied force as, nar'd with these,
Could merit more than that small infantry

575 Warr’d on by cranes ; tho' all the giant brood Of Phlegra with th' heroic race were join'd, That fought at Thebes and Hium, 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; And all who since, baptiz'd or infidel,“

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Jousted in Aspramont or Montalhan,
Damasco, or Marocco, or Trebisond,
Or whom Biserta sent from Afric shore
When Charlemain with all his peerage fell
By Fontarabbia. Thus far these beyond
Compare of mortal prowess, yet observ'd
Their dread commander: he above the rest
In shape and gesture proudly eminent
Stood like a tow'r; his form had not yet lost
All her original brightness, nor appear'd
Less than Archangel ruin'd, and th' excess
Of glory' obscur'd; 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 th’ 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,
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 have their lot in pain,
Millions of Spirits for his fault amerc'd
Of Heav'n, and from eternal splendors flung
For his revolt, yet faithful how they stood,
Their glory wither’d: as when Heav'n's fire
Hath scath'd the forest oaks, or mountain pines,
With singed top their stately growth, though bare,
Stands on the blasted heath. He now prepar'd
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.
Tbrice he essay'd, and thrice, in spite of scorn, - --

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