Imagens da página

Say, [Muse,] their names then known ;] who first, who last,
Roused from the slumber, on that fiery couch,
At their great Emperour's call, as next in worth

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
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
385 Among the nations round | and durst abide

Jehovah thundering out of Sion, throned
Between the Cherubim ;] yea, often placed
Within his sanctuary itself their shrines,

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
Of human sacrifice, and parents' tears ;]

Though, for the noise of drums and timbrels loud,
395 Their children’s cries unheard,] that passed through fire

To his grim idol. | Him the Ammonite
Worshipped in Rabba and her watery plain,
In Argob and in Bassan, to the stream

Of utmost Arnon ;/ nor content with such 400 Audacious neighbourhood, the wisest heart

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

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,
From Aroer to Nebo, and the wild
Of southmost Abarim ; in Hesebon

And Horonaim, Seon's realm, beyond
410 The flowery dale of Sibma clad with vines ;

And Eleälé 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. | 415 Yet thence his lustful orgies he enlarged

Even 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 420 Of old Euphrates to the brook) that parts

Egypt from Syrian ground, had general names
Of Baälim and Ashtaroth ; those male,
These feminine :) for Spirits,) when they please,

Can either sex assume, or both ;) so soft 425 And uncompounded is their essence pure ;

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 obscure, 430 Can execute their aery purposes,)

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
435 To bestial gods ;] for which their heads as low

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
Of despicable foes. With these in troop
Came Astoreth, whom the Phænicians called

Astarte, queen of Heaven, with crescent horns ; | 440 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, 445 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 ; 450 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 455 Ezekiel saw, , when, by the vision led,

His eye surveyed the dark idolatries
Of alienated Judah. | Next came one|
Who mourned in earnest, I when the captive ark

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 ;]
Dagon his name, sea-monster, upward man
And downward fish :] yet had his temple high

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
Was fair Damascus, on the fertile banks

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 ;
Ahaz, his sottish conquerour] whom he drew
God's altar to disparage, and displace,

For one of Syrian mode, whereon to burn 475 His odious offerings, and adore the Gods |

Whom he had vanquished. | After these appeared
A crew, who, under names of old renown,
Osiris, Isis, Orus, and their train,

With monstrous shapes and sorceries abused 480 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 borrowed gold composed

The calf in Oreb ; , and the rebel king 485 Doubled that sin in Bethel, and in Dan,

Likening his Maker to the grazed ox;
Jehovah, who, in one night,) when he passed
From Egypt marching, equalled with one stroke

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
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 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.
486. Bentley raises some weighty objec-

tions to the four following verses, which be
considers spurious.

488. Equalled, in the sense of killed, not usual.

492. To him stood-A Latinism.
493. Yet who, sc., is.

495. Atheist, not used in the strict sense of believer in no god, but as equivalent to godless, or ungodly.

[ocr errors]

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, 500 And injury, and outrage : 1 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 505 Exposed a matron, to avoid worse rape.

These were the prime in order and in might ;]
The rest were long to tell, though far renowned,
The Ionian gods, of Javan's issue held

Gods, yet confessed later) than Heaven and Earth, 510 Their boasted parents] : Titan, Heaven's first-born,

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 reigned : | these first in Crete 515 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 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 whoan ellipse for—These or they who, &c.

521. To Celtic supply fields. To roam, as

« AnteriorContinuar »