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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

Of despicable foes. With these in troop
Came Astoreth, whom the Phænicians callid
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,
Beguild by fair idolatresses, fell

445 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

450 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 455 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,
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 475
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 480
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, 485
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 495
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. 505
These were the prime in order and in might;
The rest were long to tell, though far renown'd,
Th' lönian 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, 520
And o'er the Celtic roam'd the utmost isles.

Alltheseandmorecameflocking; 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 straightcommands 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

540 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

545 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 unmoy'd
With dread of death to flight or foul retreat ; 555
Nor wanting pow'r to mitigate and 'suage,
With solemntouches, troubl'd thoughts, and chace
Anguish, and doubt, and fear, and sorrow, and

pain 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, 570 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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