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And Devils to adore for Deities:
Then were they known to men by various names
And various idols through the Heathen world. 375
Say, Muse, their names then known; who first, wholast
Roused from the slumber, on that fiery couch,
At their great Emperor's call, as next in worth
Came singly where he stood on the bare strand,
While the promiscuous crowd stood yet aloof. 380
The chief were those, who from the pit of Hell
Roaming to seek their prey on earth, durst fix
Their seats long after next the seat of God,
Their altars by his altar; Gods adored
Among the nations round: and durst abide 385
Jehovah thundering out of Sion, throned
Between the cherubim; yea, often placed
Within his sanctuary itself their shrines,
Abominations; and with cursed things
His holy rites and solemn feasts profaned,

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,
Their children's cries unheard, that pass'd through fire,
To his grim idol. Him the Ammonite

396 Worship’d in Rabba and her watery plain, In Argob and in Bassan, to the stream Of utmost Arnon; Nor content with such Audacious neighborhood, the wisest heart

400 Of Solomon he led by fraud to build His temple right against the temple of God On that opprobrious hill: and made his grove The pleasant valley of Hinnom, Tophet thence And black Gehenna calld, the type of Hell. 405 Next Chemos, the obscene dread of Moab's sons, From Aroer to Nebo, and the wild Of southmost Abarim; in Hesebon

And Horonaim, Seon's realm, beyond
The flowery dale of Sibma clad with vines; 410
And Eleale to the Asphaltic pool.
Peor his other name, when he enticed
Israel in Sittim, on their march from Nile,
To do him wanton rites, which cost them woe.
Yet thence his lustful orgies he enlarged

415 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 Astaroth; those male, These feminine; For Spirits, when they please, Can either sex assume, or both; so soft And uncompounded is their essence pure; 425 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 obscured, Can execute their aery 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

435 Bow'd down in battle, sunk before the spear Of despicable foes.

With these in troop Came Astoreth, whom the Phænicians call'd 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,


Beguiled by fair idolatresses, fell

445 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 450 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 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 lopp'd off In his own temple, on the grunsel edge,

460 Where he fell flat, and shamed 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,

465 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 against the house of God was bold: 470 A leper once he lost, and gain’d 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

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 abused Fanatic Egypt, and her priests to seek


Their wandering Gods disguised in brutish forms
Rather than human.

Nor did Israel scape
The infection, when their borrow'd gold composed
The calf in Oreb; and the rebel king
Dɔubled that sin in Bethel and in Dan,

Likening 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 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 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 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.

505 These were the prime in order, and in might; The rest were long to tell, though far renown’d, The Ionian Gods, of Javan's issue; held Gods, yet confess'd 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 reign'd: these first in Crete And Ida known, thence on the snowy top

515 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 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 Not in despair, to have found themselves not lost 525 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 dispell’d their fears. 530 Then straight commands, that at the warlike sound Of trumpets loud and clarions be upreard His mighty standard: that proud honour claim’d Azazel as his right, a Cherub tall; Who forth with from the glittering staff unfurld 535 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:

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 colors 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

550 Of flutes and soft recorders; such as raised To height of noblest temper heroes old

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