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draws out a piece by lot. Whoever draws mounted with the skull of a horse or cow, the black bit is the devoted person to be when it can be procured. Without these sacrificed to Baal, whose favour they the tire is incomplete. There is always mean to implore in making the year pro music and dancing until a late hour, ductive of the sustenance of man and sometimes till the dawn. In some places beast. Now the devoted person, in place a long file of nen bearing flambeaux of being sacrificed, is obliged to leap proceed from the fire a considerable three times through the flames. Mr. distance, until they meet parties bePennant, in his Tour through Scotland, longing to another fire, marching in gives some additional particulars :-On similar procession; and then both parties, the 1st of May, after kindling a fire in an waving their torches in mutual salutaopen space, they dress a caudle of eggs, tion, return. These long rows of moving milk, butter, and meal, to which each light seen on the slopes of the hills, and must contribute something; they begin the columns of flame from the blazing with spilling a portion of the caudle on piles, exhibit a very imposing spectacle. the ground by way of libation ; then each In North Wales this fire is kindled on person takes a cake marked into a num the 1st of November, when each person ber of divisions, each dedicated to some who runs through the fire casts a stone particular animal or being, either as the into it, and then runs off to escape froin supposed preserver or destroyer of their the black short-tailed cow: if any perflocks and herds; and breaking them off son's stone is missing in the morning, it in succession, with his face towards the is a diastrous sign. The custom of snapfire, Alings them over his shoulder, say apple, and burning nuts on that night is ing at each fling, “This I give to thee generally allowed to be a remnant of this preserve my sheep;";"_"This I give to
superstition, which still in various shapes thee-preserve my horses." So in the
exists in Norway, Denmark, and the same way to the noxious animals—“This
north of Germany. The Druids kindled I give to thee, fox-spare my lambs,” &c. two great fires in the year, both in the
In Ireland,—at least in the south beginning of summer and of winter. western part,—the “Baal Thinnih,” called Hence the difference of the time of obin English “ Bonefire," by the peasan servance in different places. try, is celebrated on St. John's eve. 438. Astoreth, or Astarte, was the godIt is a day and night of great merry dess of the Phænicians, the same as the making. I have myself joined, when a moon. Her image was represented with boy, in the amusement and the ceremony. horns—"Siderum regina bicornis.” (Hor. Close by each farm house a fire is kindled Carmin. sec. xxxv.) Groves were generally in the evening, and the cattle are brought her temples, where such obscenities were to it: if they cannot be driven through committed as rendered her worship infait, each interested person takes a burn
She was the same as the Syrian ing brand, a branch of a bush or tree, Venus, the Carthaginian Juno, and the and strives to strike the animals, who Egyptian Isis. Sometimes her worship is are frequently hemmed in by a circle of described by that of “the host of heaven;" men and women, to prevent their escape hence she is rightly said here to in their consternation. The affrighted in troop," as she was one of them. Her beasts running to and fro, and their fire worship was frequently joined to that of the armed pursuers, present together a curi sun; but while human victims and other ous and exciting scene, which spreads bloody sacrifices were offered to Baal, over the whole country. Some of the men cakes, precious liquors, and perfumes were and women leap through the fire. The offered to her: tables were prepared for cattle are supposed to be rendered fruit her offerings on the first of every month, ful, and preserved from evil during the on the flat roofs of houses, near gates, ensuing seasons, by this contact with the and on the cross ways. This the Greek's holy fire. This ceremony ended, all the called “Hecate's Supper." Solomon people of a district, young and old, as erected a grove and temple for her on semble at the general “ bonefire,” for the Mount of Olives. See 1 Kings xi. 5 ; which great preparations have been made. 2 Kings xxiii. 13.-(N. C. Spencer, De It is generally an immense pile of turf, Orig. Idolat.) of a pyramidal shape, with the decayed 444. “ Heart” is used here for untrunk of a tree in the middle, and out derstanding, as it is sometimes ; so is cor topping the lofty pile, decked round with in Latin, and keap in Greek. dry bones and green boughs, and sur 446. “ Thammuz," was the god of the
Syrians, the same as the river god pulled down, burying himself and all the Adonis, who was said to have been slain assembled princes of the land in its ruins. by a wild boar in the mountains of Liba See Milton's Samson Agonistes, and nus, from which the river Adonis flows. the Book of Judges, xvi. and xxiii. &c. At certain seasons this river became of a He is identified by different authors with ruddy hue, which the inhabitants sup different divinities, such as Neptune, posed to proceed from the blood of Ado Jupiter, Venus, Ceres. From the various, nis rising and mixing with it. This was the almost contradictory accounts that the signal for celebrating the feasts of have been given by a host of learned men Adonis, when the women made loud la of his attributes and powers, the simple mentations, inflicted stripes on them inference to be drawn is, that as they selves, and performed all the ceremonies were a maritime people, they naturally raof frantic grief, as if for a dead relation presented their tutelar god as half marine, or protector. Then they performed fu. half terrestrial, exhibiting the benefits to neral obsequies in honour of him. On the be derived from the cultivation of the next day it was reported that he revived ground (meant by Ceres), and the navi. and ascended to heaven. The discolour gation of the sea (meant by Neptune); ation of the water Maundrel, who saw it Jupiter, or the ruling power of the sky in that state, says is produced by a sort and seasons, exercising an influence over of red earth, washed by the rain from the both; and Venus promoting propagaadjacent beights into the river. Tamuz tion ; so that he was in reality the type means secret ; hence Adonis was so called of the great ruling power of the world. from the mystery observed in some of his Some say he was emblematic of the trarites, which were of a gross and impious dition of Noah and his wife issuing from kind. These were transferred to Jeru the sea, and then peopling and cultivating salem--even to the very temple on Mount the earth. Sion, to which Milton refers here. Eze 471. Naaman, general of the armies kiel (viii. 13, &c.) says that he witnessed of Benhadad, king of Syria, being afflicted these abominations in the temple, where with the leprosy, was cured by the prohe “saw between the porch and the altar phet Elisha, who recommended him to twenty-five men with their faces towards bathe seven times in the Jordan. Naathe east, worshipping the sun.” He also man offered him presents, which Elisha
saw at the door of the gate towards the refused. Then he requested of him to north, women weeping for Thamuz." allow him to take home two mule loads
458. “Who mourned in earnest." of the earth of the country, promising The following explanation of Newton has ever after to renounce the worship of been adopted by the modern commenta Rimmon. Elisha consented. Ahaz, king tors:—"The lamentations for Adonis of Judah, introduced the worship of Rimwere without reason; but there was real mon into Jerusalem after he bribed the occasion for Dagon's mourning, when king of Assyria with all the gold and the ark of the Lord was taken by the Phi silver found in the treasuries of the temple listines, and being placed in the temple and the palace, to invade Syria and take of Dagon, the next morning the statue of Damascus. It is thus he is called " conDagon was found stretched on the ground queror," for he was himself before this near the threshold, or grunsel, with its defeated by the king of Syria. (2 Kings v. head and hands lopped off.” See 1 Sam. v. and xvi.) But it is clear to me that as Dagon is 478. “ Apis."
This was the name of said to weep in earnest, it must be in a consecrated bull maintained with great opposition to some act of Adonis him reverence and pomp at Memphis, supself, and not of his votaries. The ex posed to be the earthly personification of planation, I think, is to be found in a part Osiris. It was all black, except a cresof the ceremonial worship of Adonis at cent-like white spot on its forehead, and the annual feast. The priests contrived to had the figure of a beetle under its tongue. heat his brazen image, which had eyes of During its life it was worshipped as the brightened lead: the lead accordingly ran representative of the divinity, and at its down, and conveyed to the spectators the death was buried with great solemnity and beliefof his shedding tears. (See Calmet.) mourning. Then there was the most
462. Dagon." This was the great diligent search made, which sometimes divinity of the Philistines, whose temple occupied a long time, to find a successor at Gaza, the southern boundary of the with similar holy signs; and when he was promised land towards Egypt, Samson found the people indulged in every ex
cess of pleasure,- feasting, dancing, and idol of unmitigated and unrestrained singing out, “We have found him; let licentiousness—the god of reckless disus rejoice.” He was then led to the sipation--the concentration of Bacchus temple of Osiris, and installed in all the and Venus. Belial means, without a dignity of his predecessors. At Helio yoke or restraint. (See 1 Sam. ii. 3, 4.) polis there was a bullock consecrated to 502. “Flown," inflated. Virg. Ecl. vi. the sun, and called “Mnevis.” The wor 15:"Inflatum hesterno venas ut semper ship of Apis is still observed in India. laccho." Fr. Paolino (Voyage to East India, c. ii. 503. See Gen. xix. Judges xix. p. 21, English Edition,) says, that at 504. “ Gibeah,” a city of the tribe of Pondicherry he “saw the god Apis led Benjamin, on the highest hump of a ridge out in procession on one of the solemn of hills, was about two leagues north of occasions. He was a beautiful red-co Jerusalem, and was the birth-place of loured ox, of a middle size, preceded by a Saul, the first king of Judea. Milton band of musicians, the brahmins and the here refers to the outrage on the Levite's people following. Every door was open wife (Judges xix.) The story is this :as he passed, and rice, cakes, fruit, &c. A Levite of Mount Ephraim, in the land spread before him to tempt his appetite; of Benjamin, in this chapter called Jeand wherever he tasted a morsel, a bless mini, while bringing home his wife from ing was supposed to alight." In Egypt her father's house at Bethlehem in Judah, and India a good or bad omen was drawn was benighted at Gibeah, or Gabaa, and from his tasting or rejecting food when obtained a lodging at the house of a offered to him. It appears that the Indian countryman of his. The townsmen (who Apis, which is red, remains only three are called sons of Belial) knocked at the years in his holy office ; whereas the door during the night, and obstreperously Egyptian, which was black, remained demanded that the stranger be sent out, twenty-five, according to Plutarch, after “that they may abuse him.” The old man which it was drowned, embalmed, and implored of them “not to commit this buried in a subterranean vault, at Busiris, crime against nature on the man:" they now Abusir, near Memphis. If the In would not be satisfied with his words, which dian Apis die during the three years of the man (the Levite) seeing, brought out his representation of the divinity, he is his concubine (as he called his wife) to buried with great funeral pomp. The them and abandoned her to their wickedutility of the ox in husbandry is supposed ness; and when they had abused her all to be the cause of his deification. This night, they let her go in the morning. idolatry the Jews fell into when they But the woman at the dawning of the day made the golden calf, at the time they returned to the house where her lord were encamped near Mount Oreb (Exod. lodged, and there “fell down” dead. The xii. 35 ; xxxii. 4); and Jeroboam, whom Levite took her to his own home, and the Israelites, when they rebelled against then “ took a sword and divided the body Rehoboam the son and successor of So of his wife, with her bones, into twelve lomon, elected king, made two golden parts, and sent the pieces into all the calves. (1 Kings xii.)
borders of Israel. And when every one Isis was the wife of Osiris, and supposed
had seen thi
hey all cried out, “ There to represent the moon; and Orus, their was never such a thing done in Israel
from the day that our fathers came up The Egyptians worshipped several out of Egypt until this day; give senanimals as types of the divinity. Æn. viii. tence and decree in common what ought 698: “Omnigenumque Deum monstra to be done." Then all the tribes of Iset latrator Anubis." (See Juv. Sat. 15.) rael leagued together, and demanded the
489. “Bleating" may be used in ge surrender of the Gabaaites for punishneral to express the cry of any animal, as ment: but the Benjamites refused, and “ bleating herds," ii. 494 ; or it may be made common cause with the offenders. used as an epithet of contempt, a sheep The result was a desolating war, at the being a stupid animal; or it may refer to close of which only six hundred Benjathe worship of Jupiter Ammon, under mites, who fled to the rocky wilderness the figure of a ram.
of Remon, survived, all the towns having 490.“ Belial." I find but little about been burned to the ground. Then, to this divinity in mythology. From nu save the tribe from utter extinction, the merous passages of Scripture, where he Israelites provided these six hundred with is called the Devil, it appears he was the wives from Jabesh of Gilead, beyond the
Jordan, which had not furnished troops. to the confederate army.
508. Javan, fourth son of Japhet son of Noah, was the progenitor of the Ionians and Greeks. Ionia was the ancient name of Attica.
516. Il. i. 420: OvMTOV ayavvigov. Χν. 192: Ζευς δ' ελαχ' ουρανον ευρυν εν αιθερι και νεφελησι.
517, 518. He alludes to the oracles of Apollo at Delphi, and of Jupiter at Dodona, a city and wood in Epirus.
520, 521. I. e. over the Adriatic sea to Hesperia or Italy, thence to Gaul and the places possessed by the Celtic tribes, and thence to the remote British Islands.
523. “Damp" means here dispirited. He also uses the word elsewhere, to express a similar idea. So xi. 544 ; v. 65; ix. 45.
526,527. “ Which” refers, in my opinion, not, as some commentators think, to “looks downcast and damp" alone, but to the words “wherein appeared some glimpse of joy" as well; as both together produced among the angels a look of doubt, and cast a similar hue of doubt on his countenance; but as it may mar his hope to exhibit this, he quickly assumed a courageous air and vaunting tone.
529. Fairy Queen, II. ix. 2:-“ Full lively is the semblaunt though the substance dead."-(Th.)
532. A “clarion” is a small shrill treble trumpet. Hume. Spenser uses them together:~With shawms (hautboys) and trumpets, and with clarions sweet."
533. “Azazel," from the Hebrew Az and Azel, signifies, brave in retreating ; a proper appellation for the standardbearer of the fallen angels.
537. The following passage of Gray has been quoted as an imitation of this : "Loose his beard, and hoary hair,
Streamed like a meteor to the troubled air." I think the following passage in Campbell's “ Pleasures of Hope" is much more appropriate :“ Where Andes, giant of the western star,
With meteor standard to the wind unfurled, Looks from his throne of clouds o'er half the world."
Reign," from regnum, here means kingdom. So Spenser, Fairy Queen, II. vii. 21, has " Plutoe's griesly rayne;" and Pope, Il. i. has" Pluto's gloomy reign."-(N.; T.)
540-543. It is evident to me that Milton, in these noble descriptions, must have recollected the following passages. Virgil, Æn. ix, 504:
"At tuba terribilem sonitum proculære canots Increpuit, sequitur clamor, cælumque retou
git." Æn. iii. 673:“Clamorem immensum tollit quo pontus et
undæ, Intremuere omnes, penitusque exterrita tellus
Italiæ, incurvisque immugiit Ætnacavernis." So Discord, in the beginning of the 11th book of the Iliad, when sent down from heaven “holding between her hands the portentous sign of war," when she lights at the Grecian encampment, sends forth a shout that resounds from shore to shore. So Il. ii. 334.
Ως εφατ', Αργειοι δε μεγ’ ταχον, αμφι δε τηες
546, 547. “ Orient," beaming, as the rising sun. (See Gier. Liber. xx. 28, 29.) Æn. xi. 600:
tum late ferreus hastis Horret ager, campique armis sublimībus ar.
dent." Il. iv. 447 :Συν ρ' εβαλον ρινους, συν δ' εγχεα, και μετ'
ανόρων Χαλχεοθωρηκων" αταρ ασπιδες ομφαλοεσσαι : Eπληντ’ αλληλησι.
550. Homer describes his warriors moving on in close phalanx, horrent with spear and shield. Il. iv. 281:Δηϊον ες πολεμον πυκιναι κινυντο φαλαγγες Κυανεαι, σακέσιν τε και εγχεσ πεφρι" (See after, of this book, 563—565.) The phalanx was a compact square body of infantry, used in the armies of Macedon, so close as to present one solid mass, and very formidable on even ground, but inferior to the Roman legion on uneven ground, where it was comparatively incapable of quick evolutions or steady action. The sol. diers used immensely long spears, whence the name, some think (as Homer calls long poles or pikes phalanges), and held their shields closely locked and clasped together, or “serried,” from the French serrer, to lock: some again derive phalans from πελαζειν αγχι, to approach closely. --The Doric measure of music was of a grave, majestic character. The judgment of Milton, says Greenwood, is very great here. When Satan's associates were bordering on despair, he commanded his standard to be at once upreared, and the clarions and trumpets to sound, in order to raise their courage ; at which they sent up a tremendous shout of joy. But when it was necessary to mitigate this ardour, and they were to march steadily on, the musical instruments are changed for flutes and soft recorders to the Dorian mood, which
composed them to a more cool and deliberate valour, so that they marched on in silence and firm union. Thucyd. v. 70, and Aul. Gel. i. 11, represent the Lacedæmonians, a Doric people, using these instruments as calculated to inspire them with a greater coolness of courage and steadiness of action. The Lydian measure was of a softening and melancholy character. So Dryden, Alexander's Feast : “ Softly sweet in Lydian measure
Soon he sooth'd his soul to pleasure." The character of the Phrygian was that of sprightliness.
560, 1. This is quite Homeric. Il. iii.
He was often in alliance with the king of Armorica, since called Bretagne, or Brittany, in France.--(N.)
583. The names of these places are written as they were in the stories of
Aspramont is said to be a town of the Netherlands, in the duchy of Limburg, south of Liege; Montalban, on the borders of Languedoc; Trebisond was a city of Cappadocia, in the lesser Asia: all these places are famous in romance for joustings, or single combats, between the Christians and Sara
Οι δ' αρ ισαν σιγη μενεα πνειoντες Αχαιοι.
563. “Horrid," the same as “horrent,” ii. 513, bristled. — Æn. iii. 23, densis hastilibus horrida myrtus.
565. “ Ordered,” i. e. borne regularly, according to military regulation, as on parade.-(R.)
568. Traverse," i. e. transversely, across.
571, 2. Dan. v. 20: “His heart was lifted
and his mind hardened in pride.” - Gill.)
575. All the heroes and armies that ever assembled would, if mentioned in comparison with these angels, be no more than pygmies. Pliny (Nat. Hist. vii. 2,) places these pygmies beyond the Indian mountains, and about the source of the Ganges.—(N.) He says they were only three spans high, each span three quarters of a foot, measuring from the top of the thumb to that of the little finger. See Iliad iii. 6, for the simile of their disastrous battle with the cranes.
577. Phlegra" was a city in Macedon, where the giants were defeated through the aid of Hercules, when they attacked the gods. Other accounts represent this defeat as having taken place at Cumæ, in Italy. — “ Thebes ;" this refers to the famous war of the seven chiefs against Thebes, the capital of Bæotia, in the contest between Eteocles and Polynices, sons of Edipus, for the throne, in which, as in the Trojan war, the warriors on each side were aided by their own tutelar deities.-(N.)
580. King Arthur, the Briton, the son of Uther Pendragon, who flourished in the beginning of the fifth century, was celebrated for his exploits by Geoffrey of Monmouth, and other writers of
585, &c. He alludes to the Saracens, who crossed over from Biserta, the ancient Utica, in Africa, to Spain. The Spanish historians, whom Milton here follows as more romantic, say that Charlemagne, king of France, and emperor of Germany, undertook, about the year 800, a war against the Saracens of Spain, but was routed and slain at Fontarabbia, a strong town in the province of Biscay. But the French writers say that he was victorious, and died at home in peace.-(N.) It has been urged against Milton as a fault, that he was too fond of allusions to the stories of romance. But it has been answered, I think successfully, that his imagination was enlarged by this kind of reading, and his style and imagery rendered inore striking by its application. The same objection may apply to his use of mythological tales. Besides, he had the authority of Spenser, and the old Italian poets.
He drew, for illustration, from every source, sacred, profane, and romantic.—(P.)
587, 8. Though so immeasurably superior to all earthly heroes, yet they obeyed their venerated commander. This gives a lofty idea of Satan. Addison says there is not a passage in the whole poem worked up to a greater pitch of sublimity, than the following description and comparisons. Homer compares Ajax to a tower; but that comparison wants the imposing touches of this.
596, &c. He compares him to the morning sun seen through a haze, or when eclipsed : in an eclipse of the sun, the moon is between it and the earth. It is said that the book was near being suppressed in consequence of this passage, which was interpreted as intimating new political convulsions, and the insecurity of royal power.
But in truth, Virgil said nearly the same in the court of Augustus, whose government succeeded a commonwealth, as did that of