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Though of their names in heav'nly records now
Nor had they yet among the sons of Eve
Through God's high suff'rance for the trial of man,
God their Creator, and th' invisible
Oft to the image of a brute adorn'd
Then were they known to men by various names, 375 And various idols through the heathen world.
Say, Muse, their names then known, who first,
Came singly where he stood on the bare strand, 380 While the promiscuous crowd stood yet aloof.
The chief were those, who, from the pit of hell
Their altars by his altar ;-gods ador'd
Jehovah thund'ring out of Sion, thron'd
Abominations ! and with cursed things 390 His holy rites and solemn feasts profan'd,
And with their darkness durst affront his light.
First, Moloch, horrid king! besmear'd with blood Of human sacrifice, and parents' tears ;
Though, for the noise of drums and timbrels loud, 395 Their children's cries unheard, that pass'd through fire
To his grim idol. Him the Ammonite
In Argob, and in Basan, to the stream
Of utmost Arnon. Nor content with such 400 Audacious neighbourhood, the wisest heart
Of Solomon he led by fraud, to build
The pleasant valley of Hinnom, Tophet thence 405 And black Gehenna callid,—the type of hell.
Next, CHEMOS, the obscene dread of Moab's sons,
And Horonaïm, Seön's realm, beyond
And Eleäle to th' asphaltic pool.
To do him wanton rites, which cost them woe. 415 Yet thence his lustful orgies he enlarg'd
Ev'n to that hill of scandal, by the grove
With these came they, who, from the bord’ring flood 420 Of old Euphrates to the brook that parts
Egypt from Syrian ground, had gen’ral names
Can either sex assume, or both; so soft 425 And uncompounded is their essence pure;
Not tied or manacled with joint or limb,
Dilated or condens'd, bright or obscure, 430 Can execute their aery purposes,
And works of love, or enmity, fulfil.
His righteous altar, bowing lowly down
Bow'd down in battle, sunk before the spear
With these in troop
Astarte, queen of heav'n, with crescent horns ; 440 To whose bright image nightly by the moon
Sidonian virgins paid their vows and songs;
By that uxorious king, whose heart, though large, 445 Beguild by fair idolatresses, fell To idols foul.
THAMMUZ came next behind,
In am'rous ditties, all a summer's day;
Ran purple to the sea, suppos'd with blood
Whose wanton passions in the sacred porch 455 Ezekiel saw, when, by the vision led,
His eye survey'd the dark idolatries
Next came one
Maim'd his brute image, head and hands lopp'd off 460 In his own temple, on the grunsel edge,
Where he fell flat, and sham'd his worshippers :
Rear'd in Azotus, dreaded through the coast 465 Of Palestine, in Gath, and Ascalon,
And Accaron, and Gaza's frontier bounds.
Him follow'd Rimmon, whose delightful seat
Of Abbana, and Pharphar, lucid streams : 470 He also 'gainst the house of God was bold:
A leper once he lost, and gained a king,—
For one of Syrian mode, whereon to burn 475 His odious off'rings, and adore the gods Whom he had vanquish’d.
After these appear'd
With monstrous shapes, and sorceries, abus'd 480 Fanatic Egypt and her priests, to seek
Their wand’ring gods disguis'd in brutish forms
The calf in Oreb; and the rebel king 485 Doubled that sin in Bethel, and in Dan,
Lik’ning his Maker to the grazed ox,
Both her first-born and all her bleating gods. 490 Belial came last, than whom a spirit more lewd
Fell not from heaven, or more gross to love
In temples, and at altars, when the priest 495 Turns atheist, as did Eli's sons who fill'd
With lust and violence the house of God?
Of riot ascends above their loftiest tow'rs, 500 And injury, and outrage: and when night
Darkens the streets, then wander forth the sons
In Gibeah, when the hospitable door 505 Expos'd a matron, to avoid worse rape.
These were the prime, in order and in might:
Th' Ionian gods, of Javan's issue ; held
Gods, yet confess'd later than heaven and earth, 510 Their boasted parents : Titan, heaven's first-born,
With his enormous brood, and birthright seiz'd
So Jove usurping reign'd: these first in Crete 515 And Ida known; thence on the snowy top
Of cold Olympus rul'd the middle air,
Of Doric land; or who, with Saturn old, 520 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 525 Not in despair—to have found themselves not lost
In loss itself; which on his count'nance cast
Semblance of worth, not substance, gently rais'd 530 Their fainting courage, and dispell’d their fears:
Then straight commands, that at the warlike sound
Azazel as his right, a cherub tall;
Th' imperial ensign ; which, full high advanc'd,
Seraphic arms and trophies; all the while 540 Sonorous metal blowing martial sounds:
At which the universal host up sent
All in a moment through the gloom were seen 545 Ten thousand banners rise into the air,