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Dilated or condens'd, 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 435
Bow'd down in battle, sunk before the spear
Of despicable foes. With these in troop
Came Astoreth, whom the Phoenicians call'd
Astarte, Queen of Heav'n, 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 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 am'rous ditties all a summer's day,


While smooth Adonis from his native rock 4501
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 lopt off
In his own temple, on the grunsel edge, 460
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 Abbana and Pharphar, lucid streams.


He also 'gainst the house of God was bold: 470
A leper once he lost, and gain'd a king,
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 off'rings, 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 borrow'd gold compos'd
The calf in Oreb; and the rebel king
Doubl'd that sin in Bethel and in Dan,


Lik'ning 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 Sp'rit more lewd
Fell not from Heaven, or more gross to love 491
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 riot ascends above their loftiest tow'rs,
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 th' 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' Iönian Gods, of Javan's issue held
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 seis'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 515
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
Downcast and damp, yet such wherein appear'd
Obscure some glimpse of joy, t'have found
their chief

Not in despair, t' have found themselves not lost
In loss itself; which on his count'nance cast 526
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 532
His mighty standard. That proud honour claim'd
Azazel as his right, a Cherub tall ;


Who forthwith from the glitt'ring staff unfurl'd
Th' imperial ensign, which full high advanc'd 536
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
With orient colours waving. With them rose
A forest huge of spears; and thronging helms



Appear'd, and serried shields in thick array
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
Delib'rate valour breath'd, firm and unmov'd
With dread of death to flight or foul retreat; 555
Nor wanting pow'r to mitigate and 'suage,
With solemn touches, troubl'd thoughts, and chace
Anguish, and doubt, and fear, and sorrow, and


From mortal or immortal minds. Thus they,
Breathing united force with fixed thought, 560
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 566
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,
Their number last he sums. And now his heart
Distends with pride, and hard'ning in his strength
Glories; for never since created man


Met such embody'd force, as nam'd with these Could merit more than that small infantry 575 Warr'd on by cranes; tho' all the giant brood

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