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Next Chemos the obscene dread of Moab's sons,
From Aroër to Nebo, and the wild
Of southmost Abarim; in Hesebon
And Horonáïm, Seon's realm, beyond
The flowery dale of Sibma clad with vines,

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And Eleälè, to the asphaltic pool:
Peor his other name, when he enticed
Israel in Sittim, on their march fronı Nile,
To do him wanton rites, which cost them woe,
Yet thence his lustful orgies he enlarged
Even 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 BAALIM 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,

430 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 Bowed down in battle, sunk before the spear Of despicable foes.

With these in troop Came Astoreth, whom the Phænicians called Astarte, 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,

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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

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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,
His eye surveyed the dark idolatries
Of alienated Judah.

Next came one
Who mourned in earnest, when the captive ark
Maimed his brute image, head and hands lopped off
In his own temple, on the grunsel edge,

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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 coast
Of Palestine, in Gath, and Ascalon,
And Accaron and Gaza's frontier bounds.

Him followed RIMMON, whose delightful seat
Was fair Damascus, on the fertile banks
Of Abana and Pharpar, lucid streams.
He also against the house of God was bold :

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A leper once he lost, and gained 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 vanquished.

After these appeared
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

480

Rather than human. Nor did Israel 'scape
The infection, when their borrowed gold composed
The calf in Oreb; and the rebel king
Doubled that sin, in Bethel and in Dan,
Likening his Maker to the grazèd ox;
Jehovah ! who in one night, when he passed
From Egypt marching, equalled 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 filled
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 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: The rest were long to tell, though far renowned, The Ionian gods, of Javan's issue ;-held Gods, yet confessed 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 reigned : 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, 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 roamed the utmost Isles.

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540

All these and more came flocking, but with looks
Downcast and damp; yet such wherein appeared
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
Semblance of worth, not substance, gently raised
Their fainting courage, and dispelled their fears :
Then straight commands, that at the warlike sound
Of trumpets loud and clarions, be upreared
His mighty standard : that proud honour claimed
Azazel as his right, a cherub tall ;
Who forthwith from the glittering staff unfurled
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:
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 mom ent, through the gloom, were seen
Ten thousand banners rise into the air,
With orient colours waving : with them rose
A forest huge of spears; and thronging helms
Appeared, and serried shields in thick array
Of depth immeasurable: anon they move
In perfect phalanx to the Dorian mood
Of Autes 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;
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,
Moved on in silence to soft pipes, that charmed

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560 580

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 ordered 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 stature as of gods-

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Their number last he sums. And now his heart
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
Warred on by cranes; though all the giant brood
Of Phlegra with the heroic race were joined
That fought at Thebes, and Ilium, on each side
Mixed with auxiliar gods; and what resounds
In fable or romance of Uther's son,
Begirt with British and Armoric knights;
And all who since, baptized or infidel,
Jousted in Aspramont or Montalban,
Damasco, or Morocco, or Trebisond,
Or whom Biserta sent from Afric shore,
When Charlemain 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

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Stood like a tower: his form had yet not lost
All her original brightness, nor appeared
Less than archangel ruined, 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; darkened so, yet shone
Above them all the archangel : but his face

600 Deep scars of thunder had intrenched, and care

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