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Say, [Muse,] their names then known ;] who first, who last,
Came singly | where he stood on the bare strand, i 380 While the promiscuous crowd stood yet aloof.
The chief were those who, from the pit of Hell
Their altars by his altar ; gods adored
Jehovah thundering out of Sion, throned
Abominations ;] and with cursed things 390 His holy rites and solemn feasts profaned,]
And with their darkness durst affront his light.]
First, Moloch, horrid king, besmeared with blood
Though, for the noise of drums and timbrels loud,
To his grim idol. | Him the Ammonite
Of utmost Arnon ;/ nor content with such 400 Audacious neighbourhood, the wisest heart
Of Solomon he led by fraud to build
378. Milton varies the terms employed to designate Satan, 337, he is called General, 348, Sultan, 358, Commander, and here Emperour.
378. As [being] next in worth.
379. Singly is not now used in the sense of one after another, the Latin singillatim.
384. The omission of as before gods is a Latinism.
392. Supply came from 379.
395. The omission of were before unheard is very unusual.
400. Wisest, the Superlat., is a Latinism. See ii. 954.
403. On that opprobrious hill.-See i. 2, Note. This hill is the Mount of Olives, 1 Kings xi. 7; the hill of scandal of 416, the offensive mountain of 443.
405 And black Gehenna called, the type of Hell. |
Next Chemos, the obscene dread of Moab's sons,
And Horonaim, Seon's realm, beyond
And Eleälé to the Asphaltic pool :]
To do him wanton rites, / which cost them woe. | 415 Yet thence his lustful orgies he enlarged
Even to that hill of scandal, by the grove
With these came they,| who, from the bordering flood 420 Of old Euphrates to the brook) that parts
Egypt from Syrian ground, had general 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 condensed, bright or obscure, 430 Can execute their aery purposes,)
And works of love or enmity fulfil.]
His righteous altar, bowing lowly down
406. Supply came again.
406. Obscene, because supposed to be identical with Priapus.
411. The Asphaltic pool, the Dead Sea, so called from the asphaltus or bitumen in it
412. See Numb. xxv. 9.
413. From Nile.—The article omitted, as 353, “to pass Rhene."
417. Lust hard by hate, i.e., closely con. nected with hate, in Appos. with orgies.
422. Those male, these feminine. --The correlative term to male is female; feminine is the correlative of masculine.
Bowed down in battle, sunk before the spear
Astarte, queen of Heaven, 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 Beguiled by fair idolatresses, fell
To idols foul. | Thammuz came next behind,
In amorous ditties, all a summer's day ; 450 While smooth Adonis from his native rock
Ran purple to the sea, supposed with blood
Whose wanton passions in the sacred porch 455 Ezekiel saw, , when, by the vision led,
His eye surveyed the dark idolatries
Maimed his brute image, head and hands lopt off 460 In his own temple, on the grunsel edge,
Where he fell flat, and shamed his worshippers ;]
Reared in Azotus, dreaded through the coast 465 Of Palestine, in Gath, and Ascalon,
And Accaron and Gaza's frontier bounds.]
436. Bow'd down-The participle.
439. With crescent horns cannot be governed by called, nor by came. We must supply being their before queen.
442. Unsung, agrees witb Astoreth.
451. Supposed [to run purple) with blood, &c., not supposed (to be) wounded.
458. Who mourned in earnest. -The lamentations for Thammuz were unfounded; his annual wound (447) was fabled, but Dagon suffered truly. See 1 Sam. v. 4.
460. Grunsel, i.e., groundsel edge, the basement of the pillars.
Him followed Rinmon, whose delightful seat
Of Abbana and Pharphar, lucid streams.
A leper once he lost, and gained a king ;
For one of Syrian mode, whereon to burn 475 His odious offerings, and adore the Gods |
Whom he had vanquished. | After these appeared
With monstrous shapes and sorceries abused 480 Fanatic Egypt and her priests, to seek
Their wandering gods disguised in brutish forms
The calf in Oreb ; , and the rebel king 485 Doubled that sin in Bethel, and in Dan,
Likening 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 n.ore gross to love
In temples and at altars,) when the priest 495 Turns atheist, 1 as did Eli's sons, who filled
471. A leper-Naaman, cured by Elisha, 2 Kings v. 17.
472. Ahaz.-See 2 Kings xvi. 10. 479. Abused=perverted.
481. Wandering. - So called because Osiris was supposed, on the death of the sacred bull, to wander into some other.
484. The rebel king-Jeroboam.
tions to the four following verses, which be
488. Equalled, in the sense of killed, not usual.
492. To him stood-A Latinism.
495. Atheist, not used in the strict sense of believer in no god, but as equivalent to godless, or ungodly.
With lust and violence the house of God ? |
Of riot ascends above their loftiest towers, 500 And injury, and outrage : 1 and) when night
Darkens the streets, then wander forth the sons
In Gibeah,] when the hospitable door 505 Exposed a matron, to avoid worse rape.
These were the prime in order and in might ;]
Gods, yet confessed later) than Heaven and Earth, 510 Their boasted parents] : Titan, Heaven's first-born,
With his enormous brood, and birthright seized
So Jove usurping reigned : | these first in Crete 515 And Ida known, thence on the snowy top
Of cold Olympus, ruled the middle air,
Of Dorick land ;| or who, with Saturn old, 520 Fled over Adria to the Hesperian fields, |
And o'er the Celtick roamed the utmost isles.]
502. Flown, i.e., overflowing; in Latin, sluere is so used, and though an Intrans. Verb, the past participle, fluxus, corresponding to flown, is common in poetry. The proposed emendations, blown or swol'n, are gratuitous, and no improvements.
503. Sodom.-See Genesis xix., Gibeah; Judges xix., Witness the streets of Sodom, i.e., Let the streets of Sodom witness.
507. The rest were long to tell.-A Latinism ; long est enumerare.
508. The Ionians are here assumed to be descendants of Javan, the son of Japhet.
Milton here adopts the view of the early Fathers, that the gods of the Greeks were not empty creations of the imagination, but real beings, of the class of fallen angels who seduced mankind from the worship of the true God. See i. 364-375.
511. And (with his] birthright seized, i.e., having his birthright seized. Seized must not be joined to with his enormous brood. This brood, the Titans, were not seized by Saturn.
519. Or who—an ellipse for—These or they who, &c.
521. To Celtic supply fields. To roam, as