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Their Living Strength, and unfrequented left
His righteous altar, bowing lowly down

To bestial Gods; for which their heads as low
Bow'd down in battle, sunk before the spear
Of despicable foes. With these in troop
Came Astoreth, whom the Phoenicians call'd
Astarté, queen of Heaven, with crescent horns
To whose bright image nightly by the moon
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

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
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,
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,
And Accaron and Gaza's frontier bounds.
Him follow'd Rimmon, whose delightful seat
Was fair Damascus, on tl. fertile banks
Of Abbana and Pharphar, lucid streams.
He also against the house of God was bold :

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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
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 seck
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
Doubled 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
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
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
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.
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

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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
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,
And o'er the Celtic roam'd the utmost isles.

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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 cust 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 dispelt'd their fears. 530 Then straight commands, that at the warlike sound Of trumpets loud and clarions be uprear'd His mighty standard: that proud honour claim'd Azazel as his right, a Cherub tall; Who forthwith from the glittering staff unfurl'd 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: 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

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A forest huge of spears; and thronging helms
Appeard, and serried shields in thick array
Of depth immeasurable : Anon they move
In perfect phalanx to the Dorian mood

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Of flutes and soft recorders ; such as raised
To height of noblest temper heroes old
Arming to battle ; and instead of rage
Deliberate valour breathed, firm and unmoved
With dread of death to flight or foul retreat ; 555
Nor wanting power to mitigate and suage
With solemn touches troubled thoughts, and chase
Anguish, and doubt, and fear, and sorrow, and pain
From mortal or immortal minds. Thus they,
Breathing united force, with fixed thought, 560
Moved on in silence to soft pipes, that charm’d
Their painful steps o'er the burnt soil : and now
Advanced in view they stand; a horrid front
Of dreadful length and dazzling arms, in guise
Of warriors old with order'd spear and shield ; 565
Awaiting what command their mighty Chief
Had to impose : He tlirough the armed files
Darts his experienced eye, and soon traverse
The whole battalion views; their order due ;
Their visages and stature as of Gods ;

570 Their nuinber last he sums. And now his leart Distends with pride, and hardening in his strength Glories : for never, since created man, Met such imbodied force, as named with these Could merit more than that small infantry 575 Warr'd on by cranes; though all the giant brood Of Phlegra with the heroic race were join'd That fought at Thebes and Ilium, on each side Mix'd with auxiliar Gods'; and what resounds In fable or romance of Uther's son

580 Begirt with British and Armoric knights; And all who since, haptized or infidel, Jousted in Aspramont, or Montalban, Damasco, or Marocco, or Trebisond,

Or whom Biserta sent from Afric shore,
When Charlemain with all his peerage fell
By Fontarabbia. Thus far these beyond
Compare of inortal prowess, yet observed
Their dread Cominander; he, above the rest
In shape and gesture proudly eminent,
Stood like a tower: his form had yet not lost
All her original brightness; nor appear'd
Less than Archangel ruin'd, and the excess
Of glory obscured: as when the sun, new risen,
Looks through the horizontal misty air
Shorn of his beams; or from behind the moon,
In dim eclipse, disastrous twilight sheds
On half the nations, and with fear of change
Perplexes monarchs. Darken'd so, yet shone
Above them all the Archangel: but his face
Deep scars of thunder had intrench'd; and care
Sat on his faded cheek, but under brows
Of dauntless courage, and considerate pride
Waiting revenge: cruel his eye, but cast
Signs of remorse and passion, to behold
The fellows of his crime, the followers rather
(Far other once beheld in bliss), condemn'd
For ever now to have their lot in pain ;
Millions of Spirits for his fault amerced
Of Heaven, and from eternal splendours flung
For his revolt; yet faithful how they stood,
Their glory wither'd: as when Heaven's fire
Hath scathed the forest oaks, or mountain pine;
With singed top their stately growth, though bare,
Stands on the blasted heath. He now prepared
To speak; whereat their doubled ranks they bend
From wing to wing, and half enclose him round
With all his peers: Attention held them mute.
Thrice he essay'd, and thrice, in spite of scorn,
Tears, such as Angels weep, burst forth; at last 620
Words, interwove with sighs, found out their way.

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O Myriads of immortal Spirits! O Powers

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